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#1970051 - 10/07/12 10:07 PM Genuis modern day classical composers?
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Was talking with a friend about the c. 18th and c.19th composers- Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, Schubert etc and I am not aware of anyone alive composing today at their genius level. The greatest musical geniuses of those days can't be beaten. What do you all think?
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"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1970074 - 10/07/12 10:56 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
Sand Tiger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 995
Loc: Southern California
I tend to agree. Like the art of painting, a lot of the great work has already been done. If a person tries to name a critically acclaimed living painter today, most of the general public will have never have heard of him/her and may not appreciate their work. It is similar in terms of instrumental music.

In music, like painting, there isn't too much further to go in terms of abstraction. They already had the orchestra sitting in total silence as a piece, and that was in 1952.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%E2%80%B233%E2%80%B3

The atonal stuff that sometimes gets positive reviews is analogous to some of the modern paintings that art critics appreciate, but the masses find difficult to process. That was true even by the 1950s, with Rothko, Pollock and others as painter examples that are widely acclaimed as genius level work, but that still leaves much of the general public scratching their heads as to why those works are considered great.

In popular music, there are certainly modern day greats whose music will likely live for 200 years. Lennon and McCarty are often cited. Someone like Bob Dylan has had even greater influence, touching far more lives and influencing culture and politics, with a reach that extends far beyond music. If there were a survey taken of working songwriters and composers, Dylan would likely win in a runaway, because Dylan has inspired and influenced so many other songwriters.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that J.S. Bach was not considered great when he was alive. It was only when Mozart, Beethoven and others started looking at Bach's compositions that he was elevated to genius status. By some accounts Bach was considered the equivalent of a School master who taught music. He was forced to churn out 25 minutes of new music every week, have it written out, and hand copied in a time before modern pens or modern copies. The pieces had to be rehearsed and ready for Sunday services, while also teaching and disciplining a classroom full of students.

Often times it is advances in technology that brings new instruments to the world that moves music forward. One reason Mozart wrote relatively simple piano music, was that his piano was five octaves and had a tinny sound with only one wire, one hammer per key. As the piano and orchestra matured, composers were able to extend their compositional reach. They also had the benefit of standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before them.

While there are almost certainly modern day instrumental composers that are critically acclaimed, I think they will tend to fall into the category of genius along the lines of someone such as the painter Jackson Pollock. Genius level for sure to the critics, but not so much for the masses.

Then there are controversial areas, like movie music and Broadway music. Take John Williams, while serious critics pan his serious works, his music themes will likely live for 200 years too. Certainly Williams' Star Wars music, Olympic themes have reached world wide audiences, and are already near iconic status.

Those composing for Broadway are often in a similar category, critically panned, but their reach and influence can be long and far. For example the songs from West Side Story (1957) are already over 50 years old and there are still new productions of the play. Other Broadway show music will likely have similar legs.

The serious classical music folks will likely tear apart my comments. However, if longevity, popularity, reach, influence are measures, I think there is a lot to be said for Dylan, Williams, Bernstein and others that write for more of a popular audience, than those that write for what is now a truly tiny population segment that seeks out and enjoys new classical music.
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#1970086 - 10/07/12 11:23 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1397
Loc: Dallas, TX
I think I generally disagree because I don't think we can actually compare apples to apples in these kinds of questions. The designation of the "greatest musical geniuses" of a particular era is largely a judgement of history (as are many of the distinctions between art, pop, and folk music). The test of musical greatness is often simply that something stands the test of time for succeeding generations.

In many ways, we are still engaged in the struggle to construct those judgements about our contemporary experience. Ironically, we can't escape the ambiguities of the process because our interpretations of the present always incorporate our judgements of the past. So contemporary genius might differ in its essential character from past genius, but we have little but a constructed experience of the past by which to measure.
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#1970333 - 10/08/12 02:10 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1208
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Was talking with a friend about the c. 18th and c.19th composers- Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Liszt, Schubert etc and I am not aware of anyone alive composing today at their genius level. The greatest musical geniuses of those days can't be beaten. What do you all think?
Interesting topic, Edwardian, and something I've wondered about too! In fact, I've had some discussions along these lines with my teacher, who happens to be a composer. I ran across this related article (http://www.salon.com/2002/10/02/classical/) some time ago. Can I ask you to read it, and come back and tell me what you think.
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Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1970387 - 10/08/12 04:24 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: MaryBee]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England

Quote:
Interesting topic, Edwardian, and something I've wondered about too! In fact, I've had some discussions along these lines with my teacher, who happens to be a composer. I ran across this related article (http://www.salon.com/2002/10/02/classical/) some time ago. Can I ask you to read it, and come back and tell me what you think.


Thanks for that MaryBee. I'm not sure Classical is music that can be seen as not very popular as my experience of going to the Liverpool Philharmonic to concerts conducted by Vasily Petrenko have really opened my eyes. The hall is packed out with yes, mostly over 40s, but I have seen children there who have been very excited and thrilled at the music! I have seen a 4 year old boy excitedly saying to his nan ( who had brought him) that he wanted to learn piano. And one teenaged lad with learning difficulties was exhilarated by the orchestra and wanted to know what all the instruments were and was waving his arms about pretending to conduct!
The first time I went I was surprised by all the whooping and cheering and ovations at the end- as loud as you get at pop concerts!
The thing is that famous pianists pack out concert halls and opera stars do too and sell many albums. The pop charts telling us a single is the number one only measure that kind of music- so it doesn't tell one how popular an opera singer is and how many concerts are sell outs etc. Look at Lucianao Pavarotti- he was and still is every bit as celebrated as The Beatles.
Regarding pop music - although some song writers like The Beatles, Dylan, and Gary Barlow were and are good at what they do they are not at the same level as composers like Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt- their music is infinetly more complex and harder to play.
Some of the film score writers like John Barry have indeed wrote some beautiful music which will live on- but probably isn't the same complexity of Beethoven's. I'm no expert being a beginner on piano- but it does seem to me when I listen to the composers of the 1700s and 1800s their music was a genius unequalled since.

A modern composer I like is Dario Marianelli who composed the soundtrack for Pride and Prejudice (2005). The music is adapted from the late Beethoven Sonatas.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfAISYpT...ture=plpp_video


Edited by EdwardianPiano (10/08/12 04:26 PM)
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1970393 - 10/08/12 04:40 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
EdwardianPiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
Quote:
I tend to agree. Like the art of painting, a lot of the great work has already been done. If a person tries to name a critically acclaimed living painter today, most of the general public will have never have heard of him/her and may not appreciate their work. It is similar in terms of instrumental music.




I agree about art- the art of earlier centuries wins hands down over this modern art stuff!




Quote:
The atonal stuff that sometimes gets positive reviews is analogous to some of the modern paintings that art critics appreciate, but the masses find difficult to process. That was true even by the 1950s, with Rothko, Pollock and others as painter examples that are widely acclaimed as genius level work, but that still leaves much of the general public scratching their heads as to why those works are considered great.



I have heard about atonal music but not heard any.



Quote:
Another thing to keep in mind, is that J.S. Bach was not considered great when he was alive. It was only when Mozart, Beethoven and others started looking at Bach's compositions that he was elevated to genius status. By some accounts Bach was considered the equivalent of a School master who taught music. He was forced to churn out 25 minutes of new music every week, have it written out, and hand copied in a time before modern pens or modern copies. The pieces had to be rehearsed and ready for Sunday services, while also teaching and disciplining a classroom full of students.




Didn't know that about Bach!



Quote:
Often times it is advances in technology that brings new instruments to the world that moves music forward. One reason Mozart wrote relatively simple piano music, was that his piano was five octaves and had a tinny sound with only one wire, one hammer per key. As the piano and orchestra matured, composers were able to extend their compositional reach. They also had the benefit of standing on the shoulders of the giants that came before them.



Yes, Beethoven was born just at the right time for the new pianoforte developments!


I attended a Mozart Concerto performance recently- of course played on a modern concert grand. I was struck at how different the orginal concerto must have sounded on the pianos around then. It may have been something like this:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M4e7kVkNEU&feature=fvwrel


I am fascinated by early pianos. Even mine from circa 1910 isn't the same as a modern piano- but I like that!
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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#1970405 - 10/08/12 05:05 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
Its all relative, in 200 years they will be waxing poetically about these days...

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#1970532 - 10/08/12 10:14 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
MaryBee Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 1208
Loc: Cleveland, OH
There's no doubt that music of the classical masters can still fill halls, and people now days still love their music.

However, if Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and the other "greats" were composing today, they would probably not be creating anything like what they did back in their day. Their compositions grew out of their experiences, the current events of the time, their colleagues, and the composers who came before them. How different would their work be, if they were composing in the year 2012?

I can't help but think they would find something to write, but it might not be something that we find quite so easily appealing as those 18th and 19th century works. But could this be because of our comfort with this style, which has been deeply embedded in our culture for so long?

It is interesting to note that many composers did stretch the limits of the musical standards of their time, with the result being that some of their music did not appeal and/or was not understood by their audiences. Yet later, it was accepted as great music.

Before making judgements on whether there are any current-day genius-level composers, I think we might have to wait for the 22 century.
_________________________
Mary Bee
Current mantra: Play outside the box.
XVI-XXXIV

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#1970592 - 10/09/12 12:21 AM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
I think it is the odd artist who is appreciated in their lifetime. Most art takes a while to become "great", largely due to public opinion.

If I had to think of two composers today who are in the mold of the great composers of the past, the first two that would come to mind are John Williams and Hans Zimmer. But, then, our definitions may differ.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#1970905 - 10/09/12 05:09 PM Re: Genuis modern day classical composers? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
I disagree, I actually like very few classics, although I am going sort of a classic route because this is a good foundation stone to being able to play anything.

There are MANY MANY great musicians and composers. Which exist today. Its just that many of them are not in the limelight and heck many of them are completely unknown.

Maybe its because of the massive growth in choices of media which means they don't stand out. They are drowned in the sea of the good, the bad and the ugly. Especially since youtube allows anybody and everybody to join the crowd. Or newsgrounds.

Piano specifically consider this guy:



Shadow6nothing9, he composes everything himself. But look at the view counts on his videos, <300 views (and thats not a youtube error). His highest view count is <7000 viewers Yet I find his pieces amazing.

I particularly like the Terminal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Lesv4EbUMs&feature=related

While in the semi mainstream we have Yoko Kanno. Almost unknown outside of Japan but responsible for this master piece, its not that complicated but I can listen to this song for hours.



She's has such a depth of skill that she covers multiple genres, modern classical, rock, pop to haunting sonatas.

So there! grin

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