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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
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 2470
Loc: France
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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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
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
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
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 Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4834
Loc: USA
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
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5277
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
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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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
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
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/13
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 Online   content
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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
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/13
Posts: 51
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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Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
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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Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
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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Registered: 12/28/07
Posts: 728
Loc: South Carolina, USA
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
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/13
Posts: 51
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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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 4261
Loc: Pretoria South Africa
"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 Online   content
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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 Online   content
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Registered: 11/11/09
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Loc: New York
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
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2764
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
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
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5314
Loc: Europe
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
Junior Member

Registered: 02/10/13
Posts: 10
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 Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12075
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
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 Online   content
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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 Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12075
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
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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Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5277
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
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
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
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 Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19801
Loc: New York
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England


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


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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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Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England
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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"He who divines the secret of my music is delivered from the misery that haunts the world."


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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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Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2764
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
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
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7913
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/29/11
Posts: 753
Loc: Liverpool, England
Amongst modern composers I like Richard Harvey- quite haunting music actually:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQV1_B63LTM&feature=related
_________________________
"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."

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


Ludwig Van Beethoven

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