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#2036192 - 02/20/13 01:36 AM Do you think there will ever be another great composer?
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
And when I say "composer", I mean contemporary-classical composer. I understand that composition has shifted mainly from the concert hall to the movie screen. I realize that composers do still very much exist, but do you think there will ever be another 'great' composer in the classical scene?

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#2036195 - 02/20/13 01:44 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Offline
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Loc: New York
You never know things like this till after the fact, and I think the basic ideas of "composer" and of "classical" have changed and are probably evolving faster than ever before, to an extent that we don't have much idea of how this will be considered in the future.

I think it's quite possible that in the future, people like John Lennon and Stephen Sondheim will be regarded as great "classical" composers, and as per your mentioning film, John Williams too. I would even also mention Andrew Lloyd Webber even though his borderline plagiarism infuriates me. ha
And Leonard Bernstein -- of course.

My answer is a clear yes, and that it's probably wrong to think we have fewer of them now than there were in the past.

BTW, very good question, as your questions tend to be. smile

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#2036197 - 02/20/13 01:49 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You never know things like this till after the fact, and I think the basic ideas of "composer" and of "classical" has changed and are probably evolving faster than ever before, to an extent that we don't have much idea of how this will be considered in the future.

I think it's quite possible that in the future, people like John Lennon and Stephen Sondheim will be regarded as great "classical" composers, and as per your mentioning film, John Williams too.

My answer is a clear yes, and that it's probably wrong to think we have fewer of them now than there were in the past.


I agree that there are great music makers amongst us right now and throughout the 1900's, but pop music and its variations are a much different kind of composition than classical/contemporary-classical music. I am not familiar with any of the modern-day composers of the classical sense, but I'd be willing to bet that they are not innovating the way Bach, Beethoven, or any of the classical titans did. Or are they?... I'd love to learn more about this. Who are some significant modern-day composers?

...and I'll be darned if John Williams is ever considered a great composer, now or in the future. cry


Edited by JoelW (02/20/13 02:00 AM)

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#2036199 - 02/20/13 01:52 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
BTW, very good question, as your questions tend to be. smile


I have my ups and my downs. Haha...

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#2036201 - 02/20/13 02:00 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5192
Loc: Europe
Hem...

John Williams IS considered a great composer for film. The best out there... (living).

Now, I'd like to think that some recent composers were all "Great". Messiaen, Ligeti for example. Stravinsky. Heck all these died less than 30 years ago (a bit more some, a lot less for others). And they are "great" for me.

So my answer is a resounding YES! There will be more "greats". Unless one wishes to be focused only to very specific aesthetics and ideas in music, in which case I'd say that there's no hope for them to find the greatness in newer stuff.

___________________

There is one band that I consider "GREAT" right now. Radiohead! If you don't know them, check them out.
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#2036202 - 02/20/13 02:03 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Hem...

John Williams IS considered a great composer for film. The best out there... (living).

Now, I'd like to think that some recent composers were all "Great". Messiaen, Ligeti for example. Stravinsky. Heck all these died less than 30 years ago (a bit more some, a lot less for others). And they are "great" for me.

So my answer is a resounding YES! There will be more "greats". Unless one wishes to be focused only to very specific aesthetics and ideas in music, in which case I'd say that there's no hope for them to find the greatness in newer stuff.

___________________

There is one band that I consider "GREAT" right now. Radiohead! If you don't know them, check them out.


Okay, okay... John Williams might be 'great' but I don't know how I can respect him when he blatantly rips music straight from the mighty masters of the past and doesn't even do so much as to change the tempo or key. C'mon!

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#2036205 - 02/20/13 02:13 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5192
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Okay, okay... John Williams might be 'great' but I don't know how I can respect him when he blatantly rips music straight from the mighty masters of the past and doesn't even do so much as to change the tempo or key. C'mon!
You should see what others do in film music! grin
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#2036207 - 02/20/13 02:17 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Nikolas]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
Nikolas, it is true that you've composed for video games. Yes? What games?

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#2036213 - 02/20/13 02:44 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5192
Loc: Europe
A little googling could get you out of trouble! Anyhow... www.northbysound.com

The couple of more recent are Privates which won a BAFTA aware for 2012 (I think), and Resonance which is considered one of the best adventure games of 2012 (and still sells quite nicely, if I may say so...).


Edited by Nikolas (02/20/13 02:45 AM)
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#2036222 - 02/20/13 03:53 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
John Williams is definitely not great.

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#2036223 - 02/20/13 03:56 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
stores Offline
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Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 6645
Loc: Here, as opposed to there
No.
_________________________

"And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity... -Debussy

"It's ok if you disagree with me. I can't force you to be right."

♪ ≠ $


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#2036225 - 02/20/13 04:28 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5272
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You never know things like this till after the fact, and I think the basic ideas of "composer" and of "classical" has changed and are probably evolving faster than ever before, to an extent that we don't have much idea of how this will be considered in the future.

I think it's quite possible that in the future, people like John Lennon and Stephen Sondheim will be regarded as great "classical" composers, and as per your mentioning film, John Williams too.

My answer is a clear yes, and that it's probably wrong to think we have fewer of them now than there were in the past.


I agree that there are great music makers amongst us right now and throughout the 1900's, but pop music and its variations are a much different kind of composition than classical/contemporary-classical music. I am not familiar with any of the modern-day composers of the classical sense, but I'd be willing to bet that they are not innovating the way Bach, Beethoven, or any of the classical titans did. Or are they?... I'd love to learn more about this. Who are some significant modern-day composers?

...and I'll be darned if John Williams is ever considered a great composer, now or in the future. cry

Two ideas I'll jump in with, but first let me say this: I fall firmly into the camp that believes there is no such thing as "good" or "bad" art, but rather, only art that you either like or dislike. I believe that to say otherwise is extremely arrogant, because it presumes that 'your' tastes are better than 'mine'. wink

Now, then:

1. John Williams is a great composer. He composes for film, and in that medium, there is no one better (arguably, ever).

2. Weren't Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and the rest really composing what was "popular" music at that time? We have innovators today just as much as we had innovators in the past. Look at rap music. Didn't exist thirty years ago. Look at sonata form. Didn't exist before Handel and Mozart, and modern sonata form didn't truly exist before Beethoven.

Look at the "music video". Didn't exist in its modern form until Michael Jackson. Until Liszt, most if not all pianists played with the piano facing 'straight' at the audience, instead of turning it sideways.

If you use a very narrow-minded definition of "innovation," then yes, only the people you want to fit in that category will be innovators. But if you take it in a much broader sense, you can see that there are some wonderful innovations going on even now.
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#2036228 - 02/20/13 04:41 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
I think you're confusing great with prolific. Everything he does is thoroughly mediocre and semi plagiarised.

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#2036229 - 02/20/13 04:50 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Nikolas]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7741
Originally Posted By: Nikolas


John Williams IS considered a great composer for film. The best out there... (living).



If really true, that's pretty sad.

Quote:



Now, I'd like to think that some recent composers were all "Great". Messiaen, Ligeti for example. Stravinsky. Heck all these died less than 30 years ago (a bit more some, a lot less for others). And they are "great" for me.

So my answer is a resounding YES! There will be more "greats". Unless one wishes to be focused only to very specific aesthetics and ideas in music, in which case I'd say that there's no hope for them to find the greatness in newer stuff.



Among the living, I'd say Kurtag, Boulez, Norgard, Reich, Birtwhistle, and Lachenmann all have a pretty good shot at being considered "great" or at least "important" fifty years from now (assuming anyone even cares, then). And that's just a quick, off the top of the head list that's not meant to be exhaustive - I'm sure I've left off at least as many as I included, probably more. If he hadn't recently died, Jonathan Harvey would definitely be on it.

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#2036235 - 02/20/13 05:48 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
I'd throw Dutilleux into the hat.

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#2036238 - 02/20/13 06:07 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
Why shouldn't be? I think we can't really judge who that "great" composer is until their work stands the test of time.

Having said that, though, I would nominate John Williams or maybe Michael Giacchino but since you lot have already disregarded the former as "great", feel free to disagree. I don't possess the necessary insight outside the film/game music world to really know better.


Edited by Clayman (02/20/13 07:49 AM)
_________________________
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Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

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#2036244 - 02/20/13 06:45 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: debrucey]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5275
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: debrucey
John Williams is definitely not great.


I disagree. Your opinion might have just a tad more weight if your profile weren't so quiet. smile

Along with John Williams there are many composers who write for the screen who are worthy of our notice.
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#2036246 - 02/20/13 06:53 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Hookxs Offline
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Registered: 01/02/13
Posts: 247
Loc: Czech Republic
Ennio Morricone.

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#2036250 - 02/20/13 07:14 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
In what way is my profile quiet?

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#2036253 - 02/20/13 07:32 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4744
If history has told us anything, it's that people like 'tunes'. Mozart loved it when the Prague public went around whistling tunes from Le nozze di Figaro; Verdi was the 'popular' composer of his day, and likewise his arias were treated as pop songs by the public - of all classes.

When composers decided that they'd just write music according some dictat or rules that they invented themselves (based on a mathematical formula which has nothing to do with the aesthetics of music), and couldn't care less about what the musical cognoscenti or the listening public thinks, the rot set in....

Bernstein, Barber, Poulenc, Shostakovich, Britten and some others from that era took note of serialism, maybe even used it occasionally in their music, but above all, their music remain based on recognizable melody and harmony. And their music is still played today, and very popular.

Today's composers employ a huge range of styles from jazz, popular music, spiritual minimalism, and yes, even serialism. But I'd wager that those composers who still divorce themselves from the musical public and persist in writing 'squeaky-gate' and pure serial stuff will soon be forgotten (if they were ever remembered.....), while composers like Thomas Ades, Kaija Saariaho, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Sofia Gubaidulina, Kimmo Hakola, Peter Sculthorpe, Carl Vine, John Corigliano, James MacMillan etc will continue to be played. Alongside the music of Nino Rota, John Williams, Andrew Lloyd-Webber and some pop tunes........ grin. But 'greatness'? Only time will tell.

I probably listen to a lot more contemporary music than most classical musicians, and even composers (some of whom appear to live in a world of their own, divorced from reality....), and consider myself very broad-minded, but I do get turned off when a composer talks for 10 minutes on some abstract notion of existentialism and how it manifests in their new piece, only to then find myself listening to a collection of sound effects......

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#2036262 - 02/20/13 07:59 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
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Registered: 01/07/13
Posts: 300
Loc: Prague, Czech Rep.
I think bennevis is right on. Everyone likes music they can connect to on some level. Most people, however, want music they can hum along. Composers disconnected from the reality may be taught at universities one day but few people (if any at all) will ever attend a concert of their music.
_________________________
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Learning to play the piano since 06/2013 on a Kawai CA-95.

Music is what feelings sound like. ~ Author Unknown

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#2036271 - 02/20/13 08:18 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Hookxs]
izaldu Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
Originally Posted By: Hookxs
Ennio Morricone.


Took a long while for his name to pop up! Morricone, Grusin ... they re still alive. So JW can t be the greatest film composer alive.

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#2036273 - 02/20/13 08:21 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
izaldu Offline
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Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
I don't think time affects greatness or not. I couldn't care less if Uvstolskaya is forgotten in 10 years time . She ll always be one of the greatest in the 20th century to me. While Williams will be a very competent copyst whose music will never irritate but will never move m either.

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#2036274 - 02/20/13 08:23 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: debrucey]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5275
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: debrucey
In what way is my profile quiet?


If that link was there all along, my apologies.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#2036277 - 02/20/13 08:31 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Derulux]
izaldu Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 1248
Loc:
Originally Posted By: Derulux
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You never know things like this till after the fact, and I think the basic ideas of "composer" and of "classical" has changed and are probably evolving faster than ever before, to an extent that we don't have much idea of how this will be considered in the future.

I think it's quite possible that in the future, people like John Lennon and Stephen Sondheim will be regarded as great "classical" composers, and as per your mentioning film, John Williams too.

My answer is a clear yes, and that it's probably wrong to think we have fewer of them now than there were in the past.


I agree that there are great music makers amongst us right now and throughout the 1900's, but pop music and its variations are a much different kind of composition than classical/contemporary-classical music. I am not familiar with any of the modern-day composers of the classical sense, but I'd be willing to bet that they are not innovating the way Bach, Beethoven, or any of the classical titans did. Or are they?... I'd love to learn more about this. Who are some significant modern-day composers?

...and I'll be darned if John Williams is ever considered a great composer, now or in the future. cry

Two ideas I'll jump in with, but first let me say this: I fall firmly into the camp that believes there is no such thing as "good" or "bad" art, but rather, only art that you either like or dislike. I believe that to say otherwise is extremely arrogant, because it presumes that 'your' tastes are better than 'mine'. wink

Now, then:

1. John Williams is a great composer. He composes for film, and in that medium, there is no one better (arguably, ever).

2. Weren't Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and the rest really composing what was "popular" music at that time? We have innovators today just as much as we had innovators in the past. Look at rap music. Didn't exist thirty years ago. Look at sonata form. Didn't exist before Handel and Mozart, and modern sonata form didn't truly exist before Beethoven.

Look at the "music video". Didn't exist in its modern form until Michael Jackson. Until Liszt, most if not all pianists played with the piano facing 'straight' at the audience, instead of turning it sideways.

If you use a very narrow-minded definition of "innovation," then yes, only the people you want to fit in that category will be innovators. But if you take it in a much broader sense, you can see that there are some wonderful innovations going on even now.



Williams the greatest? Please ... Nino Rota ... Even Chaplin ... Morricone ... Max Steiner

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#2036333 - 02/20/13 10:23 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
I have to learn to avoid threads like this entirely. It's much better for the wellbeing of both my furniture and my forehead.

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#2036353 - 02/20/13 11:05 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21207
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Given the restrictions on the definition of "composer," this is like arguing about who is the greatest player in double A minor league baseball.
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#2036376 - 02/20/13 11:49 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
John Williams is definitely not as good as whoever wrote and arranged the music for Hello, Dolly! (1969 film version)

That stuff is genius.

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#2036378 - 02/20/13 11:51 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: BDB]
JoelW Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4709
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: BDB
Given the restrictions on the definition of "composer," this is like arguing about who is the greatest player in double A minor league baseball.


But the question pertained specifically to that 'restriction'. I didn't ask who the great musicians of our time are. I know they exist, obviously. I asked about the contemporary-classical scene in specific.

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#2036382 - 02/20/13 11:59 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21207
Loc: Oakland
Yes, the greatest player of the minor leagues of music!
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#2036389 - 02/20/13 12:16 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: izaldu]
didyougethathing Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/11
Posts: 542
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: izaldu
Originally Posted By: Hookxs
Ennio Morricone.


Took a long while for his name to pop up! Morricone, Grusin ... they re still alive. So JW can t be the greatest film composer alive.


I consider Bernard Herrmann one of the all-time great film composers as well.

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#2036400 - 02/20/13 12:29 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RBMusik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/13
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia
I'll take a stab. By your classification, the answer seems to be "no".

To say contemporary and classical in the same breath is the answer, in my opinion.

Contemporary is defined as "happening, existing, living, or coming into being during the same period of time"

Classical music is defined as that from the 'Common Practice Period', generally agreed to be 1600-1900.


The word 'great' to me doesn't just apply to the talent required to produce the music, but also to the level of awareness required to be recognized by 'civilization'. It also applies to achieving 'greatness' in the era to which the endeavor is actually relevant. From a popular perspective, 'classical' music composed now attempts to emulate another time/era. So, while it may be good, better, or even genius from an academic/musical standpoint, that music is not authentic. It's actually not contemporary, either. It references a period that was ONCE popular music. A heady thought for sure, but something to ponder.... if there really should be folks currently writing 'classical' music. If you compose it today, it's just, well, ....music. Mozart didn't call himself a 'classical music composer'. He was a composer.

To me, that's why you get contemporary composers extolling some deep and other worldly meaning to their music. They are attempting to advance a concept or create a new 'genre'. I love and appreciate classical music. It's doubtful anyone new will come along with such profound affect.

The evolution of this question seems to then ask... "are there any genres of piano/orchestral music today that will achieve the same 'greatness' as from the common practice period?"

With all the outstanding gangster-rap songs hitting the street... sadly I think not.

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#2036405 - 02/20/13 12:38 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Clayman]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19606
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Clayman
I think we can't really judge who that "great" composer is until their work stands the test of time.

I agree, and to that extent I would quibble with how most of the posts are expressing it.

Quote:
Having said that, though, I would nominate John Williams or maybe Michael Giacchino but since you lot have already disregarded the former as "great", feel free to disagree.

Remember, it was me who first mentioned Williams, and I didn't say that at all. I put it speculatively in the future tense, like how you want these things. smile

Originally Posted By: not Clayman
John Williams is definitely not great.

(not showing who it was who said it, in the interests of his furniture and forehead) grin

For one thing, I thought the concluding thing in "Close Encounters" -- it was sort of like a "chamber symphony" -- was in itself pretty close to great: the music in its own right, and how it matched the scenario of different civilizations finding their communication through music. Call me sappy ha but it was one of my most moving musical experiences ever, including everything.

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#2036411 - 02/20/13 12:45 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 752
Loc: Liverpool, England
There will never ever be another Beethoven- he was in a class of his own.
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"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


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#2036416 - 02/20/13 12:54 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

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Posts: 21207
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Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
There will never ever be another Beethoven- he was in a class of his own.

That is true of everyone who ever lived!
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#2036438 - 02/20/13 01:36 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
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The times are changing, that much is certain. As RBMusik pointed out, the famous composers of the past centuries did NOT consider themselves "classical", nor were they considered that by any stretch of imagination. Back then, education was scarce and only the most talented, gifted individuals were given education in the music theory area.

Now, in the era of technology that does pretty much everything for you, anyone can write music (to that extent, I saw a funny pic not long ago describing quite well the evolution of music composition and who can do it -- in 1700 it was the brightest minds on Earth, then through the centuries to 2000 when any owner of iMac can do it). One cannot help but wonder what kind of music the composers living in the 18th century would have written, had they had the tools and possibilities we have nowadays. Something tells me it would sound different.

At any rate, regardless of what debrucey's self-righteous attitude can or cannot digest, I do consider Williams and a handful of other composers great and I believe Williams has earned at least a bit of respect for himself from the contemporary orchestral music world for some of his works, like Schindler's List. I'm not saying every single of his works was a masterpiece in itself but to call him a plagiarist is unjust and derogatory at the very least.

Oh, and as for me, my favorite composer now is Thomas Bergersen, a young talent from Norway currently writing amazingly imaginative tunes for his production music company called Two Steps From H_e_l_l (silly filter changes that to "heck"...). You can look him up, YouTube is full of his stuff and the album "Two Steps From Heaven" might be a good start. His music is often very far from "classical" music but that's only for the better as far as I'm concerned. He's great in my books.


Edited by Clayman (02/20/13 02:01 PM)
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#2036451 - 02/20/13 02:01 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: RBMusik]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: RBMusik
I'll take a stab. By your classification, the answer seems to be "no".

To say contemporary and classical in the same breath is the answer, in my opinion.

Contemporary is defined as "happening, existing, living, or coming into being during the same period of time"

Classical music is defined as that from the 'Common Practice Period', generally agreed to be 1600-1900.


The word 'great' to me doesn't just apply to the talent required to produce the music, but also to the level of awareness required to be recognized by 'civilization'. It also applies to achieving 'greatness' in the era to which the endeavor is actually relevant. From a popular perspective, 'classical' music composed now attempts to emulate another time/era. So, while it may be good, better, or even genius from an academic/musical standpoint, that music is not authentic. It's actually not contemporary, either. It references a period that was ONCE popular music. A heady thought for sure, but something to ponder.... if there really should be folks currently writing 'classical' music. If you compose it today, it's just, well, ....music. Mozart didn't call himself a 'classical music composer'. He was a composer.

To me, that's why you get contemporary composers extolling some deep and other worldly meaning to their music. They are attempting to advance a concept or create a new 'genre'. I love and appreciate classical music. It's doubtful anyone new will come along with such profound affect.

The evolution of this question seems to then ask... "are there any genres of piano/orchestral music today that will achieve the same 'greatness' as from the common practice period?"

With all the outstanding gangster-rap songs hitting the street... sadly I think not.


Actually, no, there are very many definitions of and interpretations of the word " classical ". Music from the so called Classical period is just one of many.

Writing like, or in the style of, these classical composers would be called neo-classisism. The question of the thread would then have to be changed to " Do you think there will ever be another great classic-style-period-style c.q. neo-classical composer?"

However, that is not the question posed by the thread. In fact, the question posed is not even " Do you think that there will ever by another great classical composer" but " composer " in general.

Kreisler has, yet again, provided perhaps the most satisfying answer.

Three meanings of the word " classical " that I believe would be very interesting to insert into the thread head and to continue discussing are:

1) in an idiom which most listeners would classify as belonging to the genre of art music, set apart from pop music;

2) the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times;

3) A work of art of recognized and established value judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.

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#2036472 - 02/20/13 02:39 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RealPlayer Offline
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I wonder if the OP could tell us the name of the most recent composer he knows of that he considers great.
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#2036491 - 02/20/13 03:25 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Kreisler Offline



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As far as great composers currently getting wide distribution and attention for piano music, Carl Vine and Lowell Liebermann are the two who come to mind. Magnus Lindberg recently wrote a concerto that was premiered by Yefim Bronfman with NYP. James MacMillan also has a couple of new concerti published by Boosey & Hawkes.

And there are plenty of great composers whose piano output is limited:

Chen Yi, David Maslanka, Kevin Puts, Jennifer Higdon, Mason Bates, Max Richter, Nico Muhly, Carter Pann, etc...

I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to why we haven't found the next Chopin or Beethoven. I think people don't look very hard. I think the lack of sheet music retailers make it difficult to browse. Concert artists don't program/champion a lot of new music. Looking at the 10 recitals presented by the Chicago Symphony during the 2013/2014 season, we have:

Denk - Bach
Schiff - Bach
Trifonov - Stravinsky, Ravel, Schoenberg, Schumann
Kissin - Schubert and Scriabin
Uchida - Beethoven
Andsnes - Beethoven
The Labeques - Gershwin, Glass, Bernstein
Lugansky - Rachmaninoff, Franck, Prokofiev
Ax - Brahms, Dean, Mazzoli
Feltsman - Haydn, Schubert, Prokofiev

So...in ten recitals, there are only three living composers represented and only two new commissions (both from Ax.)

A better question to ask might be:

If another great composer appears, will anybody bother to notice?
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#2036497 - 02/20/13 03:42 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
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Good question. Maybe it's that people are not really that open to anything new. They have grown to recognize and love the old masters and sort of prefer/seek out concerts of their music. The new artists are therefore in a difficult position because they have to compete for their place under the sun while they really should not need to do that at all. There is plenty of room for new talent.

Or am I wrong?


Edited by Clayman (02/20/13 03:43 PM)
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#2036504 - 02/20/13 03:52 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: BDB]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
There will never ever be another Beethoven- he was in a class of his own.

That is true of everyone who ever lived!



Not of me it isn't LOL.
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#2036505 - 02/20/13 03:58 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: theJourney]
RBMusik Offline
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Originally Posted By: theJourney


However, that is not the question posed by the thread. In fact, the question posed is not even " Do you think that there will ever by another great classical composer" but " composer " in general.



Thank you for the lecture on neo-classic music. I'm aware there are many ways to classify genres, which is why I framed my opinion with definitions and assumptions. This is the essence of debate.

But the OP does not mean composer in general.

"And when I say "composer", I mean contemporary-classical composer. ...... do you think there will ever be another 'great' composer in the classical scene?"

So, again I assert, No. There won't be another neo, contemporary, "in the style of", orchestral, piano, etc. composer that will be recognized as 'great' by my personal definition of greatness. That is, little children learning his/her songs at the piano bench 100 years from now and studying their biography. One mans humble opinion on the original question. PW can be a prickly place. Nice thoughts. Cheers!
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#2036531 - 02/20/13 04:50 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
A better question to ask might be:

If another great composer appears, will anybody bother to notice?

Great points about the performers. I think, though, that this question tends to lead us down the road to, "What defines greatness?" Is it some internal thing that is great no matter how many or how few people appreciate it? Or is it defined by massive popularity, enjoyment, and leaving a lasting impression that stands the test of time?

And I know we've tried to define that before to mixed results, so... whistle
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#2036538 - 02/20/13 05:02 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Dave Horne Offline
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I have the greatest respect for those very few musicians who are total musicians.

John Williams stands out in that regard since he has done just about everything. When he was in his 20's he was a studio jazz pianist and was on the Henry Mancini Peter Gunn LP (among many other recordings). He conducts, composes, orchestrates ... what have I left out?

While I'm not a fan of Marvin Hamlisch, he also would fall under that total musician label.
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#2036541 - 02/20/13 05:04 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
-Frycek Offline
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Great composers are like saints, they usually have to be dead awhile - - -
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#2036549 - 02/20/13 05:15 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: RealPlayer]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
I wonder if the OP could tell us the name of the most recent composer he knows of that he considers great.
Exactly what I was wondering.
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#2036552 - 02/20/13 05:22 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Derulux]
tomtomasino Offline
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Originally Posted By: Derulux
and modern sonata form didn't truly exist before Beethoven.


I'm curious. What would "modern sonata form" be? Is it recognized as such, or are you simply referring to the various latter day compositions called "sonatas?"

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#2036558 - 02/20/13 05:35 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Dave Horne]
bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I have the greatest respect for those very few musicians who are total musicians.

John Williams stands out in that regard since he has done just about everything. When he was in his 20's he was a studio jazz pianist and was on the Henry Mancini Peter Gunn LP (among many other recordings). He conducts, composes, orchestrates ... what have I left out?

While I'm not a fan of Marvin Hamlisch, he also would fall under that total musician label.



Actually, there are many classical musicians who do all that and a lot, lot more. Lenny Bernstein did it, performed and recorded Mozart concertos as well as Rhapsody in Blue conducting from the piano, plus wrote West Side Story (probably the greatest musical ever) and several symphonies - not to mention Prelude, Fugue and Riffs (a written-out jazz piece with contrapuntal ingenuity that wouldn't have disgraced the great JSB: http://youtu.be/FD-Wa6RyLbk ), conducted some of the best Mahler performances ever with the Wiener Philharmoniker (the Symphony No.5 especially), gave a series of classic lectures on music etc, etc.....which puts Williams quite in the shade.

Among living pianist-composer-conductors, Thomas Ades stands out - he was a child prodigy as a pianist, winning the piano section of the 1990 BBC Young Musician Competition playing a Bartok concerto (as well as his own compositions in the semi-finals), then became more well-known as a composer (his first opera Powder Her Face being a very modern take on contemporary trashy 'culture'), directed the famous Aldeburgh Festival - all the while still performing as pianist and conductor.

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#2036607 - 02/20/13 07:48 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
daviel Offline
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John Williams - Andre Previn - Bernstein. Haven't they composed for movies, broadway, shows? Isn't attending classical programs sort of like going to a museum?
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#2036639 - 02/20/13 10:00 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: daviel]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: daviel
John Williams - Andre Previn - Bernstein. Haven't they composed for movies, broadway, shows? Isn't attending classical programs sort of like going to a museum?

I'm glad you didn't say cemetery. ha

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#2036641 - 02/20/13 10:12 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RBMusik Offline
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Among American popular music, I'd offer up Henry Mancini as a great composer.

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#2036675 - 02/20/13 11:58 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
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Stephen Sondheim has taken the musical back to its opera roots, but he is not as great as some of his musical predecessors.
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#2036684 - 02/21/13 12:20 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
theJourney Offline
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I would nominate Nicolai Kapustin. For most of his career he has been almost as unknown as Bach was, he creates/writes often using classical forms but with a Jazz idiom, many of his works are difficult, tours de force for the pianist, interesting to the analyst or theorist but, at the same time, very listenable and accessible for the casual or general listener.

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#2036689 - 02/21/13 12:28 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: stores]
Bobpickle Offline

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I'm working on it. Don't rush me! laugh










Originally Posted By: stores
No.


hey, stores is back!

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#2036695 - 02/21/13 12:47 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
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I'll cast a vote for Alan Menken.

Sondheim is brilliant (I'm conducting Forum in May!), but I think Jonathan Tunick deserves some credit as well. (For those who don't know Tunick, he orchestrated many of Sondheim's musicals, including Sweeney Todd, Company, Into the Woods, and A Little Night Music.)

I was thinking about something today - many of the composers we regard as great were masters of a particular musical structure and venue. For Beethoven and Brahms, it was sonata form and the concert hall. For Chopin, it was the salon and dance/story forms. For Schubert, it was the salon and song. For Bach, it was counterpoint and the church. For Puccini, it was opera. For Haydn, it was the symphony and string quartet in the court. Mozart could pretty much do it all. Stravinsky had ballet. (Yeah, he did lots of other stuff, but let's face it, his fame rests largely on Rite, Firebird, and Petrushka.)

Today, the structures and venues have changed. John Williams writes a great film score. Sondheim writes a great musical. Jason Robert Brown writes a great cabaret song. Pink Floyd was a master of the album. The Grateful Dead and Phish mastered the jam band.

Today's "classical" scene is fractured. There's no single structure or venue. Symphonies are freer in form, as is solo piano music. Composers experiment more with different ensembles (thanks in large part to Pierrot Lunaire.)

This makes it far more difficult to compare composers. We can say that Beethoven is great in part because lots of composers wrote symphonies and his symphonies, by comparison, are deemed artful. We can say Chopin was great because lots of people wrote waltzes and mazurkas and etudes and, by comparison, his are deemed artful.

But it's very difficult to say that someone today is a great composer of piano sonatas because very few are doing it, and the form isn't standardized. It's difficult to compare the piano sonatas of Tippett, Vine, Liebermann, and Hough because they aren't structurally similar (at least not in the way Beethoven's sonatas were similar to Haydn, Mozart, Dussek, Kuhlau, Field, etc...)

Anyway, it's getting late and my mind is starting to poke gigantic holes in my own theory, but hopefully some of that drivel will generate some food for thought. (And you have to at least give me some credit for finding a way to mention Mozart, Menken, and Phish in the same post.)
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#2036700 - 02/21/13 12:56 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
JoelW Offline
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Great post.

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#2036711 - 02/21/13 01:58 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
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One should also remember that many of the composers who are thought of as composers of other genres also wrote things that were closer to what are considered classical forms. Charles Mingus wrote Epitaph, a multi-movement piece. Duke Ellington wrote sacred concerts. Dave Brubeck also wrote sacred choral music.

Gonzalo Rubalcaba has written a series of small piano pieces, which he told me he could not play anywhere until the local jazz powers allowed him to play them here, which points to another problem in trying to restrict composers so tightly to certain genres. Composers who may have started with one genre may not stay with it, but because they get typecast, they are not considered to be another type of composer, even when they are writing different kinds of music.

There are composers of what is considered contemporary classical music that I have enjoyed very much. But they are, as I said, minor league players with limited audiences.
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#2036718 - 02/21/13 02:05 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Clayman Offline
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Much of what Kreisler has said makes sense but imho it only goes to show that it's basically pointless to try to name contemporary composers that may one day be recognized along with names like Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc. There are many more names to consider than there ever were two centuries ago. Everyone can come and and add their own bunch of names to the list but no-one is any wiser.

Still, that doesn't mean we can't argue over every single one to the death and beyond, does it? :]
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#2036725 - 02/21/13 02:13 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Clayman]
Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted By: Clayman
Much of what Kreisler has said makes sense but imho it only goes to show that it's basically pointless to try to name contemporary composers that may one day be recognized along with names like Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc. There are many more names to consider than there ever were two centuries ago. Everyone can come and and add their own bunch of names to the list but no-one is any wiser.

Still, that doesn't mean we can't argue over every single one to the death and beyond, does it? :]

I think there are probably the same number of names, or perhaps even more names two hundred years ago. What we have left is, largely, the cream of the crop. Who knows what music was lost to us forever because someone randomly deemed it wasn't worthy enough to save?

Just look at music from the 50's and 60's. If you ask average kids today who the Beatles were, just about everyone could tell you. If you ask them who the Drifters were, you may get some responses, but not many. If you ask them who the Brooklyn Bridge were, I would be willing to bet not one kid under 25 has ever heard of them. You could probably do this with music as late as the 80's and get the same result for kids born in the 90's and later.

Now, compound that over 200 years, and make it even worse by talking about an era before recordings ever existed, and we may very well be surprised to see just how many other composers there were back then.
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#2036734 - 02/21/13 02:46 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Kreisler
....Today, the structures and venues have changed.

Yes

Quote:
....Today's "classical" scene is fractured. There's no single structure or venue....

Yes

Quote:
....This makes it far more difficult to compare composers.

Yes

Quote:
....it's very difficult to say that someone today is a great composer of piano sonatas because very few are doing it, and the form isn't standardized.

Yes (I guess, although I have to admit I didn't exactly know that) grin

Quote:
Anyway, it's getting late and my mind is starting to poke gigantic holes in my own theory....

..............NOT! smile

Originally Posted By: JoelW
Great post.

+1!

Originally Posted By: Clayman
Much of what Kreisler has said makes sense but imho it only goes to show that it's basically pointless to try to name contemporary composers that may one day....

No, it all makes sense! grin
But I'm with you that we can rarely if ever know until time has passed, and Frycek may be right:

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Great composers are like saints, they usually have to be dead awhile - - -


BTW, great quote by Harold Schonberg in "The Great Pianists," about BACH's reputation as a composer in his time:

Originally Posted By: Harold Schonberg although not really "posted" :)
He was, after all, known in Germany as the greatest of organists, the most brilliant of clavierists, and a composer second only to the mighty Telemann.


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#2036767 - 02/21/13 05:11 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Andromaque Offline
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Needless to say, even the composers who are now considered great were neither recognized as such nor widely performed in their own time. Beethoven's premieres of masterpieces such as his 4th piano concerto failed miserably; Bach was known regionally as a great organist and kapellmeister during his lifetime, but he was essentially forgotten before Mendelssohn rescued him from obscurity nearly 100 years after his death!
As for availability of scores and access to the music, it is worth remembering that composers in the eighteenth and nineteenth century were essentially dependent on wealthy patrons for their survival, and their music was heard largely by the elite and the upper middle class in live public concerts or, more commonly, within the confines of great homes and palaces . No Spotify or even CD printing.

Having said that, I think that there are many contemporary composers who are likely to be remembered and performed 100 years from now. Some were already mentioned. I would add Thomas Ades who has produced extraordinarily beuatiful works, most of which have been reviewed very successfully. His sonata for piano and cello, titled Lieux retrouvés, is brilliant, if extrmely challenging to play: he premiered it but other pianists (Denk) are also planning to perform it. The score is available for about $30. Other composers (alive or just recently dead) such as Ligeti, Kyurtag or Elliott Carter are already fairly renowned and their works are performed with reasonable frequency. Perhaps not as often as Beethoven's Fifth symphony, but they have not been aorund that long either.
I should also mention Stephen Hough, a pianist-composer in the tradition of the classical and romantic period. He is about to premiere his second piano sonata, Notturno Luminoso, in NY, and many people, moi included, are looking forward to it. I thought that his first sonata was very promising of greater works to come. So, as always, good and may be great things are out there. You just have to 1)look for them 2) listen with an open mind even if you will still tune in to Landowska playing your Bach favorites ar the end of the day.

By the way, Kudos to the performers who dare to perform contemporary works and even commission them. For instance, Hilary Hahn commissioned 27 short pieces for violin and piano from 27 different composers; Jennifer Koh, another brilliant violinist, has also premiered and commissioned new pieces etc. As you probably know, there are quite a few pianists who "specialize" in modern and contemporary works, like Ursula Oppens. I think that lack of awareness of contemporary composers contributes significantly to the general impression of greatness in music being desperately dead. In my mind, conservatories and teachers take a major share of the blame. They keep cranking performers, professional and amateurs, who are steeped in the old traditions and greaty discouraged if not frightened to approach and present more modern composers.
I have digressed a bit from the original question, but I think that recognition of greatness takes some work, not to mention some familiarity with what is being produced.

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#2036787 - 02/21/13 06:53 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Kreisler]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7741
Originally Posted By: Kreisler


I was thinking about something today - many of the composers we regard as great were masters of a particular musical structure and venue. For Beethoven and Brahms, it was sonata form and the concert hall. For Chopin, it was the salon and dance/story forms. For Schubert, it was the salon and song. For Bach, it was counterpoint and the church. For Puccini, it was opera. For Haydn, it was the symphony and string quartet in the court. Mozart could pretty much do it all. Stravinsky had ballet. (Yeah, he did lots of other stuff, but let's face it, his fame rests largely on Rite, Firebird, and Petrushka.)



Yes, sort of, but that's oversimplifying things too much, I think.

For example - what about variation form? Most of the composers you name did masterful variation sets. And too, how we remember them isn't necessarily how the composers themselves and their contemporaries saw things.

Quote:


Today, the structures and venues have changed. John Williams writes a great film score. Sondheim writes a great musical. Jason Robert Brown writes a great cabaret song. Pink Floyd was a master of the album. The Grateful Dead and Phish mastered the jam band.



Your jump from art music to pop music is making my head hurt. Can't we deal with them more or less as separate categories?

Yes, I know, Italian opera was more or less a form of pop music in its day, but that's a special and unusual case (and Italian concert music suffered because of it, Paganini notwithstanding).

But to me, there's a pretty big difference between "great" when applied to music from the classical tradition and when applied to other traditions and forms. It's not that classical music is ipso facto "better", but it is coming from a different cultural stream.

Quote:


Today's "classical" scene is fractured. There's no single structure or venue. Symphonies are freer in form, as is solo piano music. Composers experiment more with different ensembles (thanks in large part to Pierrot Lunaire.)

This makes it far more difficult to compare composers. We can say that Beethoven is great in part because lots of composers wrote symphonies and his symphonies, by comparison, are deemed artful. We can say Chopin was great because lots of people wrote waltzes and mazurkas and etudes and, by comparison, his are deemed artful.

But it's very difficult to say that someone today is a great composer of piano sonatas because very few are doing it, and the form isn't standardized. It's difficult to compare the piano sonatas of Tippett, Vine, Liebermann, and Hough because they aren't structurally similar (at least not in the way Beethoven's sonatas were similar to Haydn, Mozart, Dussek, Kuhlau, Field, etc...)



Yes, I think you are right about the amazing diversity in points of view from composers of art music today. It seems to be settling down a bit, in the sense that there are no new major trends stirring things up. Seems like the last one was spectralism, and that has been around for a while.

As far as comparing them to come up with who is really great... I think it may be more about who not only masters their idiom, but has something to say. Having other composers around to provide a scale that shows why the greats are great is useful, but I'm not sure it's required. Something to think about...

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#2036791 - 02/21/13 07:02 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
chrisbell Offline
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Yes. Anders Hillborg for instance.

http://www.hillborg.com/


Edited by chrisbell (02/21/13 07:03 AM)
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#2036806 - 02/21/13 07:55 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Hem...

John Williams IS considered a great composer for film. The best out there... (living).

Now, I'd like to think that some recent composers were all "Great". Messiaen, Ligeti for example. Stravinsky. Heck all these died less than 30 years ago (a bit more some, a lot less for others). And they are "great" for me.

So my answer is a resounding YES! There will be more "greats". Unless one wishes to be focused only to very specific aesthetics and ideas in music, in which case I'd say that there's no hope for them to find the greatness in newer stuff.

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There is one band that I consider "GREAT" right now. Radiohead! If you don't know them, check them out.


Okay, okay... John Williams might be 'great' but I don't know how I can respect him when he blatantly rips music straight from the mighty masters of the past and doesn't even do so much as to change the tempo or key. C'mon!


Sorry if this has been touched on already, I'm just now reading through this thread. But there are some things about film composing I'd like to point out:

-All of them have teams that work on the music. It's not all John Williams, but he gets the credit.
-Writing music that is dictated by what is going on the screen is a far different being than writing an opera (which the composer dictates what happens) or a symphony (the composer has much more freedom). I think this does mean less development of themes, or who knows what direction the composer would have gone if they didn't cut short the love scene? Stuff like this bothers me and it's why I rarely listen to soundtracks. I can enjoy them in a movie, but that's about it. I can listen to an opera without seeing it though, and love it and appreciate it.

I think these 2 points really in my mind change how I feel about film music. John Williams may be a great film composer, that's about all I can give him.
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#2036845 - 02/21/13 09:37 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Morodiene]
RBMusik Offline
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Agreed. I was part of a two man team that scored a documentary last year called Cruzin... A cycling film set in Vietnam. The main challenge was academic from a musical standpoint. It was a small challenge to develop a theme, but once locked in, cues and timing were the main obstacle. I realized the restrictions would likely drive me mad if I did it for a living (which I don't, thankfully). It's definitely a skill that requires as much technical ability as creative ability.... Probably more the former wink

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#2036940 - 02/21/13 12:31 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Mark... Offline
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Will new age music in 100 years be classical?

Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?

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#2036991 - 02/21/13 02:06 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Steve Chandler Offline
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Just diving into this thread perhaps a bit late so I have a few points to make.

John Williams is a very skilled composer. His mastery of orchestration builds on the genius of Mahler. If you haven't heard his piece American Journey (i.e. not film music, but certainly programmatic) then you haven't heard the man at his best. The challenge of film music is that the music must support must always be secondary to the action on the screen. By definition film music cannot be truly great for that reason, although it can certainly be very good (as Williams IMO accomplishes). As for JW's being derivative, I heard that when Star Wars was first mocked up they used Mars from Holst's t The Planets. The marching orders were to write something exactly like that.

More recent discussion has focused on whether we can recognize greatness in our own time. I believe we can because information travels much faster now than even 50 years ago. However, the vetting process still takes some time, but more people are aware of what's being composed now than have previous times have had awareness of their own times.

As I've posted before there is much truly great choral music being composed now. I've mentioned Eric Whitacre and Morten Lauridsen before, both have been recognized by the ACDA (American Choral Director's Association) and Whitacre's virtual choirs have attracted thousands of participants. Choral music requires that capable singers be able to understand the music which tends to make it easier on the ears of unsophisticated audiences. It's too bad so few pianists sing or folks here would be more familiar with this repertoire.

The issue of venues is valid. It seems to me the most creative music doesn't necessarily fit into a particular mold. It seems networking (social and virtual) is the new route to becoming known. With that in mind there's more opportunity now than there has ever been, the challenge is to distinguish and differentiate oneself. But that's always been the challenge. Still the realm of art music is has been fighting the hangover from serialism and dodecaphony and the summary dismissal of the audience for the past 60 years.

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#2036994 - 02/21/13 02:14 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Okiikahuna Offline
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
. . . do you think there will ever be another 'great' composer in the classical scene?


As much as I love contemporary music, I think the short answer clearly has to be: No, not for us.

Long answer: In my long ago, misspent youth, back in the days when any respectable rock tune had to include the obligatory improvised guitar solo, I spent long hours in various studios in search of that elusive pop hit.

When it came time for that solo, some ill prepared borderline-incompetent guitarist would come in and starting recording a bunch of semi-random blues-scale riffs over the track. After countless punch-ins and endless frustration, something vaguely resembling coherence would start to emerge, at which point the exhausted string picker would be sent home with the idea that we would come back to this later after he had done some homework and come up with something better.

But then, almost every time, a mysterious but well-known process would kick in: As we continued work on other parts of the track, and in the process listened to that half-assed solo dozens or even hundreds of times, it would get better and better, until it achieved a state of near perfection. If the guitarist ever did return, nothing he could do could possibly approach the perfection of the track he had already laid down, which was now the only thing that could possibly work on that song.

Now, replace the near-illiterate string picker with a brilliant composer who actually is one of the finest musical minds of his generation, a person whose natural talent has been refined by years of intense devotion to his craft and studies with other brilliant musical minds. Replace the string of clichéd blues scale riffs with a deeply considered and refined expression of his deepest feelings and musical thoughts brought to life through a long and perhaps agonizing compositional process.

So far, so good. But now replace our distracted hearing of the solo a few dozen times with decades or centuries of intense attention by the finest interpreters and musicologists of the of the intervening years, all looking deeply for structure and meaning, often spending far more time and energy in this search than the composer did in the actual composition. Top this off with our own experience, growing up and hearing this piece repeatedly at a time when the musical synapses in our brains are still being formed, endless reading and discussions in which the perfection and genius of the music is discussed and pointed out.

Now, how could any modern piece ever possibly be that good?

K.

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#2036997 - 02/21/13 02:27 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark...]
Andromaque Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark...
Will new age music in 100 years be classical?

Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?




1-No

2-Yes

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#2037005 - 02/21/13 02:38 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Andromaque]
Brad Hoehne Offline
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Maybe I'm a hopeless philistine, but the most extraordinary composition I've heard from the last 10 years has been the entirety of the Sufjan Stevens album "Illinoise." I suspect that many folks here will wrinkle their nose to it because it's primarily pop but I think it's worth a few listens. It's rich and multi-layered. Every time I put it on I hear something new in it.


Edited by Brad Hoehne (02/21/13 04:10 PM)
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#2037008 - 02/21/13 02:41 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Andromaque]
RBMusik Offline
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Originally Posted By: Andromaque
Originally Posted By: Mark...
Will new age music in 100 years be classical?

Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?




1-No

2-Yes


#1, I can't hum any Yanni or John Tesh melodies.... my fault. And, for question 2, given the evolution of music and the body of knowledge added through analysis, it's a fairly safe bet there are those with an increased level of ability. They just need to find a really good PR firm wink

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#2037015 - 02/21/13 02:50 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: RBMusik]
Brad Hoehne Offline
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Originally Posted By: RBMusik


#1, I can't hum any Yanni or John Tesh melodies.... my fault.


I cant really hum most Schoenberg but it's definitely classical and definitely great. I think I'd become a hermit the day that Yanni is considered a great composer.
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#2037026 - 02/21/13 03:29 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
AimeeO Offline

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I think Wim Statius Muller's Antillean Dances are gorgeous. But then, I'm still working on my exposure to different composers, so I don't know if he's taking from anyone else. When I've got the classical station on, I always stop when I hear his pieces.




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#2037027 - 02/21/13 03:31 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Mark... Offline
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I think American composer William Gillock as a recent great composer.

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#2037028 - 02/21/13 03:31 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: didyougethathing]
Brad Hoehne Offline
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Originally Posted By: didyougethathing


I consider Bernard Herrmann one of the all-time great film composers as well.


I'd place a vote for Bernard Herrmann, too. His "Vertigo" soundtrack is a great piece independent of the movie. "Obsession" and "Taxi Driver" are pretty awesome as well.
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#2037072 - 02/21/13 04:54 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
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If were naming off movie composers, I've always liked what Dany Elfman did for the Simpsons and the Spider-man films. I also like the soundtrack for Signs, by James Newton Howard.

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#2037088 - 02/21/13 05:14 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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His mastery of orchestration!? He employs other people to do that for him. As do a most film composers.

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#2037159 - 02/21/13 07:04 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark...]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark...
Will new age music in 100 years be classical?

Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?




No..and no!
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#2037160 - 02/21/13 07:07 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark...]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark...
Will new age music in 100 years be classical?


Not as a genre. But, theoretically, it's possible that a composer who is writing music that is currently dubbed "new age" (possibly not by the composer herself) will have somehow transitioned over to "classical". Assuming there will be a "classical" category 100 years from now, which may not be true.

Quote:


Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?



What do you mean? Certainly there are many composers who have the skill and talent to write art music at a very advanced level, if that's what you are talking about.

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#2037165 - 02/21/13 07:21 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: wr]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: wr

Quote:


Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?



What do you mean? Certainly there are many composers who have the skill and talent to write art music at a very advanced level, if that's what you are talking about.


I think Bach and Chopin were a little more than the above description.

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#2037166 - 02/21/13 07:21 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark...]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark...
Will new age music in 100 years be classical?


Well, not classical (because "classical music" indicates a certain genre, including of course music which is not of the "classical period"), but it certainly won't be "new" any more...
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#2037170 - 02/21/13 07:27 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: wr

Quote:


Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?



What do you mean? Certainly there are many composers who have the skill and talent to write art music at a very advanced level, if that's what you are talking about.


I think Bach and Chopin were a little more than the above description.



Imagine bringing them forward in time to hear the pop music in the charts today- they'd be sick!
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#2037172 - 02/21/13 07:32 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: wr

Quote:


Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?



What do you mean? Certainly there are many composers who have the skill and talent to write art music at a very advanced level, if that's what you are talking about.


I think Bach and Chopin were a little more than the above description.



Imagine bringing them forward in time to hear the pop music in the charts today- they'd be sick!


They would be happy not to have been born in our time!
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#2037179 - 02/21/13 07:42 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: debrucey]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
His mastery of orchestration!? He employs other people to do that for him. As do most film composers.

But not Erich Wolfgang Korngold. He always did his own orchestrations, and if you listen to his deliciously scored soundtracks, there is no way anyone else could have accomplished that.

What a pity the most talented composer after Mozart was reduced to a mere Hollywood hack, though I suppose he enjoyed the sunny climate.

Korngold knew Max -Gone-with-the Wind- Steiner of course, and there is an anecdote:

Steiner: Ah Erich! Why is it that my music is getting so much better, though your music is getting worse?

Korngold: That is because you have been copying me, and I have been copying you!
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#2037181 - 02/21/13 07:46 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: argerichfan]
johnlewisgrant Offline
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Little bits of compositional genius exist, like Glenn Gould's cadenzas for Beethoven's PC 1.

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#2037187 - 02/21/13 07:58 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: ChopinAddict]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
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Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Originally Posted By: JoelW
Originally Posted By: wr

Quote:


Does anyone have the ability to write like Bach, Chopin and the like today?



What do you mean? Certainly there are many composers who have the skill and talent to write art music at a very advanced level, if that's what you are talking about.


I think Bach and Chopin were a little more than the above description.



Imagine bringing them forward in time to hear the pop music in the charts today- they'd be sick!


They would be happy not to have been born in our time!


Indeed - being born outside of one's own time must be so jarring.

OTOH, their medical issues might not have been so devastating...

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#2037208 - 02/21/13 08:33 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: johnlewisgrant]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: johnlewisgrant
Little bits of compositional genius exist, like Glenn Gould's cadenzas for Beethoven's PC 1.

And perhaps Schnittke's cadenza to the Beethoven violin concerto?

Could be, though one could argue that neither is particularly relevant to musical matters at hand, though I am not adverse to cadenzas 'out of the sound world' of the concerto. I guess it depends how far out we go.

For that matter, Beethoven's 3rd cadenza to his first concerto (admittedly unedited by the composer) is too over-the-top with its excessive diminished 7th chords and general empty rhetoric, though it is certainly a technical tour de force. No wonder pianists like it, though the 2nd cadenza makes the most musical sense, given context.

But of course I seem to be alone on this board in preferring the more modest cadenza in Rachmaninov 3. The BIG one screams a lot -must be where the money is- but neither the composer, Horowitz, Weissenberg or Argerich ever used it.

Sorry for OT!
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#2037300 - 02/22/13 01:54 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: EdwardianPiano]
theJourney Offline
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Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Imagine bringing them forward in time to hear the pop music in the charts today- they'd be sick!


I don't know.
Shocked because of their old ears, but probably not any more sick than hearing the contemporary popular music being sung at the local biergarten.

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#2037306 - 02/22/13 02:17 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
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Okay, okay... so obviously the maestros of the past would most likely be sick to hear the noise that passes off as music these days, but what about before music got horrible? (<-- my opinion of course)

What do you think some of the great composers from the 1800's and prior would think if they heard In The Mood by Glenn Miller's Orchestra? I think we can all agree that's a pretty darn good tune...

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#2037320 - 02/22/13 03:12 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: argerichfan]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan


Steiner: Ah Erich! Why is it that my music is getting so much better, though your music is getting worse?

Korngold: That is because you have been copying me, and I have been copying you!


Nice!

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#2037324 - 02/22/13 03:30 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: theJourney]
landorrano Offline
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Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Imagine bringing them forward in time to hear the pop music in the charts today- they'd be sick!


Originally Posted By: JoelW
Okay, okay... so obviously the maestros of the past would most likely be sick to hear the noise that passes off as music these days,


I disagree ... and vigorously!

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#2037327 - 02/22/13 03:38 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: landorrano]
Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted By: landorrano
Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Imagine bringing them forward in time to hear the pop music in the charts today- they'd be sick!


Originally Posted By: JoelW
Okay, okay... so obviously the maestros of the past would most likely be sick to hear the noise that passes off as music these days,


I disagree ... and vigorously!

As do I.. another example of grafting your personal tastes onto another person, who may not share the same view at all. Was it not Wagner who said, "Make it new!"?
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#2037332 - 02/22/13 03:51 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: landorrano]
Ian_G Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan


Steiner: Ah Erich! Why is it that my music is getting so much better, though your music is getting worse?

Korngold: That is because you have been copying me, and I have been copying you!


*Ach

laugh

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#2037341 - 02/22/13 04:35 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Derulux]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: Derulux
Was it not Wagner who said, "Make it new!"?


I said no such thing. wink

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#2037343 - 02/22/13 04:52 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Dave Horne Offline
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I haven't read all the posts in this thread but I think it's safe to state that the language of music is well established and that only new dialects might be created from time to time.
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#2037372 - 02/22/13 07:55 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Dave Horne]
Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I haven't read all the posts in this thread but I think it's safe to state that the language of music is well established and that only new dialects might be created from time to time.


I'm not sure that this is necessarily true. English was thought well-established when Chaucer was alive. It's changed since then. English was thought well-established when Shakespeare was alive. It's changed since then. English was thought well-established since Poe was alive. It's changed since then. Heck, colloquialisms today are far different than they were during the Roaring 20's. And English in Europe is far different than English in America.

Similarly, music was thought well-established when Mozart was alive. It's changed since then. I won't do this all again, but you can see clearly how music has changed during each period.

Now, if you mean to say, specifically, that the language of "classical music" is well-established, then I would have to say I agree with you. It would be like saying Middle English is well-established. Of course it is. It's several hundred years old. Nobody speaks that way anymore, though we recognize it when we heareth it. But language has moved beyond such a narrow scope and definition. And so has music.
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#2037382 - 02/22/13 08:22 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Derulux]
JanVan Offline
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Posts: 51
Honestly, I don't think the language analogy is valid because even if the English language has evolved over the course of the past 500 years, the basic structural elements (vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, etc.) are still very much the same and people can still easily understand and relate to the English of centuries past.

However, the bulk of contemporary art music has moved away from the modal/tonal foundations of music that prevailed for almost a millenium. Many composers of the 20th century have therefore lost the vital connection with the general public which cannot make sense of their new musical language and constructs.

I think it is safe to say that virtually all contemporary music that is loved by the general public today (whether jazz, rock, pop, film music, ...) is tonal in nature and features recognizable melodies that anyone can sing along with after a few listenings.

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#2037385 - 02/22/13 08:35 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
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Not to mention that English language has actually deteriorated in recent years - or rather its common use has. Anyone who works with children and teens knows that their ability to write coherent sentences and even have a vocabulary of words that are 3-syllables is much less than in previous years. This is a huge problem that universities face with incoming freshmen and they've had to respond with "Writing emphasis" courses in the hopes of assigning more written assignments and requiring student to enroll in a certain number of these courses it will help get them up to speed of what they should be able to do at that age. Sometimes change isn't for the better.
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#2037386 - 02/22/13 08:35 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
JanVan Offline
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As for film composers, I would like to mention Jerry Goldsmith who composed great music (some of it semi-atonal and quite avant-garde) for Aliens, The Omen, Poltergeist, and a lot of other movies.

I also think that John Williams has composed some extraordinary music for movies such as Jaws (possibly the best and most effective movie theme ever) and E.T. (with the incredible use of the Stravinsky chord).

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#2037419 - 02/22/13 09:43 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JanVan]
Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted By: JanVan
Honestly, I don't think the language analogy is valid because even if the English language has evolved over the course of the past 500 years, the basic structural elements (vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, etc.) are still very much the same and people can still easily understand and relate to the English of centuries past.

I challenge you to read Beowulf without a translation into modern English. laugh
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#2037425 - 02/22/13 10:03 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JanVan]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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My personal standard for answering the original poster's question is to use the criteria of: level of virtuosity required to play the music on an instrument, variety in the music they produce, the ability to appeal to a broad range of listeners and age groups, its "staying power" over generations, and the regard/respect the composer has in the eyes of other composers and musicians, as well as the general public, over time. A couple of terrific examples of modern composers/musicians that I feel meet all these criteria are Chick Corea and Jon Anderson and the band Yes. I find that modern "classical" music, more often than not, sounds dissonant and un-melodic to my ears.
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#2037443 - 02/22/13 11:07 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JanVan]
wdot Offline
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Please help a fellow out. By "Stravinsky Chord" do you mean a situation where two discordant tonalities are juxtaposed. If so, I have always compared the conclusion of E.T. with the conclusion of Firebird.

Or am I completely off base?

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#2037471 - 02/22/13 11:56 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: wdot]
JanVan Offline
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What I mean is the major triad sounding over the minor third in the bass (e.g. C Major over E-flat). It's a long time since I saw the score but it is somewhere at the end of the opening theme which also features some nice atonal writing.

I think it attests to the genius of John Williams that he is able to blend many different musical idioms into a single work in a coherent and musically satisfying fashion that perfectly supports the storyline of the movie.

Some of his later work is arguably of much lesser quality but I guess that is due to the relentless work pressure of having to produce a high volume of music to meet the demand.

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#2037477 - 02/22/13 12:01 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
btb Offline
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"John Williams is definitely not great."

Thus sayeth a palooka of the first water ... but then I'm
unhbottling my pent-up venum after 10 days with my Internet on the blink ... pardon the indelicate phraseology chaps.

But I've just been re-reading the first Harry Potter Book (HP and the Philosopher's Stone) and watching again
my VCR of same ... John Williams fashions his indelible spell on the magical Hogwarts adventures.

But thinking back ... do you chaps remember those early days
when the movie "Jaws" blew our minds ... and that growly
menace came closer and closer ... the music grew louder to the awesome first strike. (Dum-di-dum-dum)

Ever since, I never put a toe into the briny ... and all because of merry John Williams.

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#2037488 - 02/22/13 12:16 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Morodiene Offline
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I'm hearing a lot of people saying that a certain modern composer is "great", but do they mean "acceptable considering there's not much to choose from" or "Great" like it belongs up there with Beethoven and Chopin and the like?

I'm not talking about just opinion, but there are quantifiable aspects to the music of great composers that I think help point to what made them great. Things like a singable melody, driving complex rhythm, unique harmonic progression, careful thematic development, and writing idiomatically for an instrument or the voice are just a few that come to mind.

A lot of unfamiliar names have been named and I will take some time to listen to these composers that people are calling "great" with an open mind. I love championing new music, by the way. I premiered a new opera recently and will be a part of another new opera by a local composer. I also encourage piano students to develop their compositional abilities so that perhaps down the road they will know how to develop a theme properly rather than just give reiterations with light modifications or a key change.

I just honestly feel that most of the modern music I've heard can be catchy in some way, but lacks the depth that you find with other great music: the kind of depth that the more you listen and study the more you appreciate what's going on. Again, I will listen to the ones suggested in this post and hope to learn some great new music, but I am a bit skeptical that anything will touch me on the level of the music of the great composers of the past does.
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#2037512 - 02/22/13 01:11 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Morodiene]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
....I premiered a new opera recently....

You put on operas? cool
Does that mean if we study voice with you, we can be in an opera? grin

I'm on record as "hating opera" but I wouldn't mind being in one. ha

Quote:
I just honestly feel that most of the modern music I've heard can be catchy in some way, but lacks the depth that you find with other great music....

I think so too, but I think it reflects our own experience and biases and may not truly be so, and also that the future may judge musical greatness on different dimensions than we do.

Remember, Bach in his time was regarded as "second only to the mighty Telemann"!

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#2037529 - 02/22/13 01:47 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: CC2 and Chopin lover]
Steve Chandler Offline
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Originally Posted By: CC2 and Chopin lover
I find that modern "classical" music, more often than not, sounds dissonant and un-melodic to my ears.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I'm hearing a lot of people saying that a certain modern composer is "great", but do they mean "acceptable considering there's not much to choose from" or "Great" like it belongs up there with Beethoven and Chopin and the like?

I'm not talking about just opinion, but there are quantifiable aspects to the music of great composers that I think help point to what made them great. Things like a singable melody, driving complex rhythm, unique harmonic progression, careful thematic development, and writing idiomatically for an instrument or the voice are just a few that come to mind.

How do you quantify a melody? Is a melody really necessary? If your answer is yes, then please sing the melody of Bach's C major Prelude from Book 1 WTC.

My point is this melody can be important but I don't believe it's necessary. A recognizable musical concept is necessary, but a melody (defined as a sequence of single notes) isn't. Contemporary music is rife with unique harmonic progressions and driving complex rhythms and much of it also has careful thematic development and idiomatic writing for the instrument or voice. I would also agree that the music of the mid 20th century serialists leaves me cold, because it usually lacks melody, rhythms that make sense and harmony that isn't an unending mush of dissonance. I think 21st century composers are seeking ways to find fresh harmonic ideas that have an ebb and flow of dissonance, melody and rhythm that allows their music to have an emotional impact.

For me that's the definition of great music, it has an emotional impact on the listener (within the confines of western culture). If it touches me emotionally, positively, negatively, then I'll want to listen to it again, and again...etc.

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#2037531 - 02/22/13 01:53 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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We NEED to remember that there's a huge industry behind what we call classical music, and those 'greats'. It's been like that for hundreds of years actually!

So we should dust off their influence if we are to decide who is great and who not.
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#2037543 - 02/22/13 02:23 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
tomtomasino Offline
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Minnesota Public Radio has a little catch line they like to throw in during station breaks:

"Remember, all music was once new."

Which is true, It's hard to disagree with that. And the implication, that we should give all new music a chance is something I also agree with--for awhile. But I won't listen endlessly in the spirit of tolerance. I won't necessarily listen until I am "used to it," and am on the edge of saying "I like it."

Endless listening and endless tolerance can lead to some strange conclusions. I imagine most of us could get used to the smell of our dirty socks piled up in the bottom of our bedroom closets. After while, if our mom comes in and throws the socks in the washer, we might be left feeling that we miss that smell. Indeed, we like it.

This little cameo of how we come to "like" things can be applied to many issues of art and taste.

I've been trying for years to come up with a better way to validate artistic expression, but I haven't quite got it yet. But I do know that I'm very wary of getting used to something by endlessly and tolerantly listening it.

TomTomasino
aka
tomasino

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#2037554 - 02/22/13 02:46 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Mark_C]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

You put on operas? cool
Does that mean if we study voice with you, we can be in an opera? grin

I'm on record as "hating opera" but I wouldn't mind being in one. ha


It's actually quite fun, and the composer I've been working with, Michael Ross, really comes up with some unique ideas so it's a pleasure to work on these with him. And they're in the language of the people (as originally intended) so you can mostly understand the words laugh

Quote:

I think so too, but I think it reflects our own experience and biases and may not truly be so, and also that the future may judge musical greatness on different dimensions than we do.

Remember, Bach in his time was regarded as "second only to the mighty Telemann"!


Also remember that Buxtehude would walk for miles through a snowstorm to hear Bach's music, he so highly regarded his contemporary. Of course we have biases, but I think that there are those composers that are inarguably great, and there's a reason for it in how they composed their craft. I just can't say John Williams or anyone that I've listened to thus far touches on that. I think Morricone is close, but I'd have to hear more of his work - it seems to me to lack a bit of the innovation part that the greats did, but I could be wrong.
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#2037556 - 02/22/13 02:52 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Steve Chandler]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Originally Posted By: CC2 and Chopin lover
I find that modern "classical" music, more often than not, sounds dissonant and un-melodic to my ears.

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I'm hearing a lot of people saying that a certain modern composer is "great", but do they mean "acceptable considering there's not much to choose from" or "Great" like it belongs up there with Beethoven and Chopin and the like?

I'm not talking about just opinion, but there are quantifiable aspects to the music of great composers that I think help point to what made them great. Things like a singable melody, driving complex rhythm, unique harmonic progression, careful thematic development, and writing idiomatically for an instrument or the voice are just a few that come to mind.

How do you quantify a melody? Is a melody really necessary? If your answer is yes, then please sing the melody of Bach's C major Prelude from Book 1 WTC.

My point is this melody can be important but I don't believe it's necessary. A recognizable musical concept is necessary, but a melody (defined as a sequence of single notes) isn't. Contemporary music is rife with unique harmonic progressions and driving complex rhythms and much of it also has careful thematic development and idiomatic writing for the instrument or voice. I would also agree that the music of the mid 20th century serialists leaves me cold, because it usually lacks melody, rhythms that make sense and harmony that isn't an unending mush of dissonance. I think 21st century composers are seeking ways to find fresh harmonic ideas that have an ebb and flow of dissonance, melody and rhythm that allows their music to have an emotional impact.


I did not say my list was exhaustive, nor did I imply all great pieces have a singable melody. Why did you jump to that conclusion?

It is my opinion that great music often highlights one or two of these three aspects of music, with the other aspects in the background: melody, harmony, rhythm. Rarely will you find a piece that has all 3 as prominent, but generally one or two really stand out. Therefore, a piece doesn't necessarily have to have a melody to be successful and touching to the audience - which is precisely why I pointed out the other aspects in the rest of my sentence.
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#2037558 - 02/22/13 02:55 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: tomtomasino]
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted By: tomtomasino
I imagine most of us could get used to the smell of our dirty socks piled up in the bottom of our bedroom closets. After while, if our mom comes in and throws the socks in the washer, we might be left feeling that we miss that smell. Indeed, we like it.



+1 to the dirty sock analogy. I just took some time to listen to a few examples by some of the composers listed in this thread. There is much that while it may be "different" it doesn't mean it is musically engaging to me. I don't really care how much work a composer did in crafting a piece if it doesn't first draw me in and make me want to listen to more.
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#2037563 - 02/22/13 03:14 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Dave Horne Offline
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I think there should be some credit given for composing with a deadline in plain view. It's one thing to be creative, it's quite another to be creative and meet a deadline.

Just a thought.
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#2037572 - 02/22/13 03:26 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Morodiene]
Derulux Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I'm hearing a lot of people saying that a certain modern composer is "great", but do they mean "acceptable considering there's not much to choose from" or "Great" like it belongs up there with Beethoven and Chopin and the like?

I'm not talking about just opinion, but there are quantifiable aspects to the music of great composers that I think help point to what made them great. Things like a singable melody, driving complex rhythm, unique harmonic progression, careful thematic development, and writing idiomatically for an instrument or the voice are just a few that come to mind.

My question, then, is a simple one: who decided which aspects? And what sort of consensus leads to a scientific conclusion that that consensus is correct?
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#2037574 - 02/22/13 03:33 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Derulux]
Mark_C Offline
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Originally Posted By: Derulux
My question, then, is a simple one: who decided which aspects?

I have the answer: Nobody. grin

Quote:
And what sort of consensus leads to a scientific conclusion that that consensus is correct?

Every generation has sort of its consensus, the next generation might have a different one, not to mention the next era, and the accumulated generation gaps can lead to there being no resemblance before long.

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#2037640 - 02/22/13 05:33 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: wr]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Quote:
OTOH, their medical issues might not have been so devastating...



Probably most of their medical conditions. That'd be the one thing they would like about our century.
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#2037642 - 02/22/13 05:36 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Quote:
What do you think some of the great composers from the 1800's and prior would think if they heard In The Mood by Glenn Miller's Orchestra? I think we can all agree that's a pretty darn good tune...



Yeah Glenn Miller was good- they could have a dance to that!
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#2037655 - 02/22/13 06:06 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Morodiene]
Steve Chandler Offline
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Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Also remember that Buxtehude would walk for miles through a snowstorm to hear Bach's music, he so highly regarded his contemporary. Of course we have biases, but I think that there are those composers that are inarguably great, and there's a reason for it in how they composed their craft. I just can't say John Williams or anyone that I've listened to thus far touches on that.

Please get the facts straight, a young Bach walked to hear Buxtehude who was an old man at the time. Here's a link for more information:

http://www.melos.ca/bux.pdf

One of the musicians who had studied them was the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then employed as an organist in
Arnstadt, some 400 km south of Lübeck. In 1705, the 20-year old Bach asked his supervisor for four weeks leave to visit Lübeck to “learn one thing and another about his art;” almost certainly it was Buxtehude whom Bach wanted to see. One wonders how he thought he could walk to and from Lübeck and have time to learn much there in just four weeks. He actually spent four months there.

On his return to Arnstadt, Bach was reprimanded for the long absence from his duties and also for confusing the congregation with “strange variations” and “foreign tones” in
his chorales. Indeed, Bach’s compositions for organ changed significantly after his visit to Lübeck, becoming more dramatic and harmonically complex. It is thought that hearing
Buxtehude’s music had a profound impact on the developing musical mind of the young Bach, who was essentially self-taught; however, it is not known whether he and the 68-year old Buxtehude actually met.

As for whether JW's music does it for you try this piece his Song for World Peace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhtQRu40V7s

As a native New Englander I also like this piece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgkdm1Vs_9s

This last one really shows Williams' mastery of orchestration. The orchestral clarity is wonderful and the photos set with the music made me homesick.


Edited by Steve Chandler (02/22/13 06:14 PM)
Edit Reason: add details of Bach Buxtehude visit

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#2037678 - 02/22/13 06:59 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Morodiene]
wr Offline
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Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7741
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: tomtomasino
I imagine most of us could get used to the smell of our dirty socks piled up in the bottom of our bedroom closets. After while, if our mom comes in and throws the socks in the washer, we might be left feeling that we miss that smell. Indeed, we like it.



+1 to the dirty sock analogy. I just took some time to listen to a few examples by some of the composers listed in this thread. There is much that while it may be "different" it doesn't mean it is musically engaging to me. I don't really care how much work a composer did in crafting a piece if it doesn't first draw me in and make me want to listen to more.


I think the dirty sock analogy is rude, and insulting to those of us who like the music in question. It makes me feel like I did when I was in school and kids made fun of me for liking classical music.

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#2037748 - 02/22/13 10:15 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
EdwardianPiano Offline
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Amongst modern composers I like Richard Harvey- quite haunting music actually:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQV1_B63LTM&feature=related
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#2037751 - 02/22/13 10:22 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Steve Chandler]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler

Please get the facts straight, a young Bach walked to hear Buxtehude who was an old man at the time.

I caught that myself earlier this afternoon. Bach was only 22 when Buxtehude passed, so unlikely he would have known any of Bach's music.

But to give Morodiene the benefit of the doubt, I think it was just a simple slip-up, especially as the Bach visit to Buxtehude is fairly common knowledge.
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#2037790 - 02/23/13 01:13 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
RealPlayer Offline
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Arggh, I so want to post a response to this thread when I have the time and energy to devote to it...it's late now; I'm tired.
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#2037792 - 02/23/13 01:17 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: RealPlayer]
beet31425 Online   content
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Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
Arggh, I so want to post a response to this thread when I have the time and energy to devote to it...it's late now; I'm tired.


When you do post, I'll read what you have to say carefully, and I'm sure a lot of other folks will too. smile


-J

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#2037795 - 02/23/13 01:25 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: beet31425]
Nikolas Offline
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Posts: 5192
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
Arggh, I so want to post a response to this thread when I have the time and energy to devote to it...it's late now; I'm tired.


When you do post, I'll read what you have to say carefully, and I'm sure a lot of other folks will too. smile


-J
Same here. Joe do so, please!
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#2037816 - 02/23/13 03:58 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Nikolas]
currawong Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: RealPlayer
Arggh, I so want to post a response to this thread when I have the time and energy to devote to it...it's late now; I'm tired.
When you do post, I'll read what you have to say carefully, and I'm sure a lot of other folks will too. smile
Same here. Joe do so, please!
Yes, please do. I look forward to reading it.
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#2037996 - 02/23/13 01:46 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: tomtomasino]
Lemon Pledge Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 350
Originally Posted By: tomtomasino
Minnesota Public Radio has a little catch line they like to throw in during station breaks:

"Remember, all music was once new."

Which is true, It's hard to disagree with that. And the implication, that we should give all new music a chance is something I also agree with--for awhile. But I won't listen endlessly in the spirit of tolerance. I won't necessarily listen until I am "used to it," and am on the edge of saying "I like it."

Endless listening and endless tolerance can lead to some strange conclusions. I imagine most of us could get used to the smell of our dirty socks piled up in the bottom of our bedroom closets. After while, if our mom comes in and throws the socks in the washer, we might be left feeling that we miss that smell. Indeed, we like it.

This little cameo of how we come to "like" things can be applied to many issues of art and taste.

I've been trying for years to come up with a better way to validate artistic expression, but I haven't quite got it yet. But I do know that I'm very wary of getting used to something by endlessly and tolerantly listening it.

TomTomasino
aka
tomasino



I'll speculate very confidently that no composer wants you to listen to his music "endlessly and tolerantly," until you "get used to it" and are kinda-sorta ready to admit that you maybe like it. No one else is asking you to do this either. What some of us do want from people with your attitude (to the extent that we care at all) is a good-faith acknowledgement that if we've grown to love something that you don't like or understand or want to be a part of, it's not because we've merely become accustomed to it, our natural and true perceptions distorted by familiarity or will-power. There is no dirty sock. We are not fooling ourselves, or pretending.

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#2038013 - 02/23/13 02:24 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Lemon Pledge]
debrucey Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
Originally Posted By: Lemon Pledge
Originally Posted By: tomtomasino
Minnesota Public Radio has a little catch line they like to throw in during station breaks:

"Remember, all music was once new."

Which is true, It's hard to disagree with that. And the implication, that we should give all new music a chance is something I also agree with--for awhile. But I won't listen endlessly in the spirit of tolerance. I won't necessarily listen until I am "used to it," and am on the edge of saying "I like it."

Endless listening and endless tolerance can lead to some strange conclusions. I imagine most of us could get used to the smell of our dirty socks piled up in the bottom of our bedroom closets. After while, if our mom comes in and throws the socks in the washer, we might be left feeling that we miss that smell. Indeed, we like it.

This little cameo of how we come to "like" things can be applied to many issues of art and taste.

I've been trying for years to come up with a better way to validate artistic expression, but I haven't quite got it yet. But I do know that I'm very wary of getting used to something by endlessly and tolerantly listening it.

TomTomasino
aka
tomasino



I'll speculate very confidently that no composer wants you to listen to his music "endlessly and tolerantly," until you "get used to it," and are kinda-sorta ready to admit that you maybe like it. No one else is asking you to do this either. What some of do us want from people with your attitude (to the extent that we care at all) is a good-faith acknowledgement that if we've grown to love something that you don't like or understand or want to be a part of, it's not because we've merely become accustomed to it, our natural and true perceptions distorted by familiarity or will-power. There is no dirty sock. We are not fooling ourselves, or pretending.


This is what I hate about certain critics of contemporary music. The insinuation that my deep love for music they find distasteful is some sort of affect or the result of submission to constant exposure/study. All the time you hear 'people don't want to hear such and such'. Well I bloody well do, and I'm a person.


Edited by debrucey (02/23/13 02:39 PM)

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#2038127 - 02/23/13 07:29 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8807
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
I have a very 'live and let live' attitude about music. If I don't care much for Xenakis (heard his Herma for piano the other day... and the point was?), Rap, Republican Country and Western, New Age bilge, well to each his own. Just don't criticize ME, okay?

I have been studying English pre-Reformation liturgical music the last several weeks (there isn't much of it, thank-you Henry VIII), but would not expect anyone here to give a damn. But that is my business.

And yet... the Met Broadcast of Carmen this morning was incredible. Across the board, who could not love music which communicates with such insolent ease?
_________________________
Jason

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#2038163 - 02/23/13 08:55 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3886
Loc: New York
Speaking of which, I jjust watched Fanny Ardant play Maria Callas including the Carmen role. I have been looking for the right term to describe her and Jason just nailed it. Gloriously, elegantly insolent!! Insolentissima actually.

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#2038275 - 02/24/13 03:16 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
btb Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
I haven't washed my socks in weeks ... wonder why nobody loves me.

PS My first hearing of Carmen during my student days
had me intoxicated for days ... all those songs about
Toreadors with Habaneras and a dame who sold cigarettes ... pity they all came to a sticky end.(Thank you Mr Bizet)

Wonder if Beethoven changed his socks while writing his
9th Symphony?

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#2038289 - 02/24/13 05:12 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Dara Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/18/09
Posts: 1024
Loc: west coast island, canada
Thom Yorke ...

amongst many other incredible musicians, composers, writers, soloists, performers,
my choice for current, recent (past 20 years) ,
works of genius, passion, composition and wonder

... and pianist, innovator, composer/improv artist,
Keith Jarrett

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#2038320 - 02/24/13 07:59 AM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: Steve Chandler]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11357
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

Also remember that Buxtehude would walk for miles through a snowstorm to hear Bach's music, he so highly regarded his contemporary. Of course we have biases, but I think that there are those composers that are inarguably great, and there's a reason for it in how they composed their craft. I just can't say John Williams or anyone that I've listened to thus far touches on that.

Please get the facts straight, a young Bach walked to hear Buxtehude who was an old man at the time. Here's a link for more information:

http://www.melos.ca/bux.pdf

One of the musicians who had studied them was the young Johann Sebastian Bach, then employed as an organist in
Arnstadt, some 400 km south of Lübeck. In 1705, the 20-year old Bach asked his supervisor for four weeks leave to visit Lübeck to “learn one thing and another about his art;” almost certainly it was Buxtehude whom Bach wanted to see. One wonders how he thought he could walk to and from Lübeck and have time to learn much there in just four weeks. He actually spent four months there.

On his return to Arnstadt, Bach was reprimanded for the long absence from his duties and also for confusing the congregation with “strange variations” and “foreign tones” in
his chorales. Indeed, Bach’s compositions for organ changed significantly after his visit to Lübeck, becoming more dramatic and harmonically complex. It is thought that hearing
Buxtehude’s music had a profound impact on the developing musical mind of the young Bach, who was essentially self-taught; however, it is not known whether he and the 68-year old Buxtehude actually met.


You are correct, I misremembered the story. smile

Quote:
As for whether JW's music does it for you try this piece his Song for World Peace.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhtQRu40V7s

As a native New Englander I also like this piece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgkdm1Vs_9s

This last one really shows Williams' mastery of orchestration. The orchestral clarity is wonderful and the photos set with the music made me homesick.


My contention with JW has more to do with the constraints of writing music for film (and the use of assistants) than it does with his talent. I like the pieces you posted above much better than soundtracks, as they sound exactly what we wanted to write rather than fitting something to a screenplay.
_________________________
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Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2038456 - 02/24/13 01:49 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: debrucey]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19606
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: debrucey
His mastery of orchestration!? He employs other people to do that for him. As do a most film composers.

Yes, and other people also mentioned that teams are involved in a lot of the work, BUT.....do y'all know that the master artists of the past, I think going back to Rembrandt and probably much further, had assistants who did a lot of the actual painting? If we're going to say this takes away from whatever "greatness" might ever be put on John Williams or anyone else, we're going to have to revise a lot of who we've been considering great for many centuries.

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#2038459 - 02/24/13 01:52 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
True, but that was specifically a criticism of describing him as a master of orchestration on the same level as Mahler. However good you think he might be as a composer, a master of orchestration he is not.

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#2038467 - 02/24/13 02:17 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4744
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (both the original jazz band version and the orchestral version) was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé, not by himself - that clarinet solo at the start and all...
However, he did orchestrate his Piano Concerto in F.

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#2038644 - 02/24/13 07:11 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: bennevis]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8807
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: bennevis

However, he did orchestrate his Piano Concerto in F.

And it works, IMO, superbly. What a great piece of music.
_________________________
Jason

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#2038716 - 02/24/13 10:32 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1706
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I'm not going to pretend to be a serious student of contemporary "classical" music, but I've heard a lot of it and liked very little. To my taste, serious composing took a wrong turn somewhere in the Second Viennese School and never really recovered.

That said, I've been very impressed by several of the compositions of John Corigliano. Of any contemporary composer whose work I've heard, he strikes me as one who does many of the good things we appreciate in the "greats" without copying them. Since he teaches too, I'm hoping he can pass on some useful perspectives to students.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2038727 - 02/24/13 10:57 PM Re: Do you think there will ever be another great composer? [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2114
Loc: Canada
If anything, we need more of it. From personal experience, it's the new music that leaves audiences leaving with something different than just meek appreciation for the skills of the performers.
_________________________
Working on:
Beethoven - Piano Sonata op. 109
Brahms - 6 Klavierstucke op. 119
Rachmaninoff - Piano Sonata no.1

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