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#371717 - 12/30/06 01:27 AM Would you rather...
CherryCoke Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/11/02
Posts: 531
I'm on winter break from school and extremely bored. So here's a hypothetical "would you rather:"

Let's say you are a professional musician. Would you rather be a passable, decent-but-not-incredible pianist who is very professionally successful, well recognized and good source of income -OR- an extraordinaly gifted musician who is far lesser known, with only an adequate income?

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#371718 - 12/30/06 01:39 AM Re: Would you rather...
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21299
Loc: Oakland
"I've been rich, and I've been poor. Rich is better."

A quote attributed to quite a few people!
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Semipro Tech

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#371719 - 12/30/06 01:53 AM Re: Would you rather...
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Richer.
_________________________
I have my own weapon of mass destruction in the form of a "teenage" German Shepherd. Anything she spies and can get ahold of is fair game.

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#371720 - 12/30/06 02:55 AM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Who needs more than an adequate income?! Gentlemen ! Jesus Christ! I would--of course--choose the second option.

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#371721 - 12/30/06 09:41 AM Re: Would you rather...
The Emperor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/06
Posts: 96
Loc: Lagos, Portugal
I'm both actually, rich and talented....errr not really :p

I would go for second option, adequate income is enough for me and talent is never enough.

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#371722 - 12/30/06 11:00 AM Re: Would you rather...
playliszt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/06
Posts: 449
Loc: Oh/Fla
I bet Mick Jagger would give a great answer.

Since its hypothetical, I would choose the second option and then choose to win the Lottery!

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#371723 - 12/30/06 11:48 AM Re: Would you rather...
signa Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/04
Posts: 8483
Loc: Ohio, USA
my teacher is in the 2nd category, but wish he'd have a good source of income. who wouldn't anyway?

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#371724 - 12/30/06 12:00 PM Re: Would you rather...
Goldberg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/03
Posts: 1231
Loc: U.S.
I've said it to many people throughout my life. If I become a successful professional performer, I would be much happier succeeding within the 2nd scenario. I would rather that I play with artistic subtlety, nuance, and expression that is recognized by a small group of specialized connoisseurs, as opposed to by playing in a standard way that emphasizes large-scale, marketable "artistry" which is really just about the loud and fast playing that appeals to the relatively uneducated audience. I think each one is equally difficult as far as attaining success (in the first case, you would have to have a truly developed talent and a higher level of craft and expression than is common in most pianists; in the second case, you would have to have the luck and advertisement of a celebrity, complete with contacts and serendipity. Of course, in both situations you would have to have both things, but in each one there is one thing that weighs more heavily than the other, in my opinion). I also would be much happier succeeding as a true artist with a perfectly acceptable income (just enough to live and be comfortable), than as a public's pianist who dumbs himself down to cover a wide range of tastes at once.

And, winning the Lottery wouldn't hurt. Which reminds me, I need to check my Powerball ticket...

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#371725 - 12/30/06 12:15 PM Re: Would you rather...
Kreisler Offline



Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13763
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I think this is another one of those pointless questions. You're creating a dichotomy where none exists in reality.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#371726 - 12/30/06 01:03 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230

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#371727 - 12/30/06 01:23 PM Re: Would you rather...
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8827
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
Alicia Keys - Olli Mustonen
Hah! That was good (and very clever), Antonius!

If I don't always agree with Mustonen's interpretations, he certainly makes you hear the music from a fresh perspective. BTW, I have a good friend that lives in Finland (near Helsinki) and, alas, he heard Mustonen recently and described the experience as a definite "modified rapture".
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#371728 - 12/30/06 03:37 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
I would choose my path to affect the greatest number of people in the most positive way possible.

That being said, the question might as well be reworded: "Would you rather be a tree that falls 'fabulously' in the forest, or a tree that 'just falls' in a city park?"

I would also challenge anyone who choses the second option to explore the idea of being buried in an unmarked grave.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371729 - 12/30/06 04:30 PM Re: Would you rather...
-Frycek Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/06/05
Posts: 5921
Loc: SC Mountains
The second option - and as I intend to be cremated Derulux's question is moot. ;\)
_________________________
Slow down and do it right.

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#371730 - 12/30/06 05:39 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Derulux may be confusing "lesser known" with unknown ... one passage from Hamlet also comes to mind, but not clearly enough to be quoted verbatim ... or quoted at all ... but you know the passage ... or you get back to college...

Mustonen's different all right ... his style is about as marked as Gould's was ... I often enjoy Mustonen's playing more than Gould's...

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#371731 - 12/30/06 05:58 PM Re: Would you rather...
Troy M. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/06
Posts: 59
Loc: Arizona
Me, I think i would choose the 2nd, i love aviation, and would love to a Pilot, plan to be right now. I still love the piano though!

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#371732 - 12/30/06 09:03 PM Re: Would you rather...
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21299
Loc: Oakland
I suspect that Van Cliburn would have performed more if he had not been from such a wealthy family.
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#371733 - 12/30/06 10:40 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Derulux may be confusing "lesser known" with unknown ... one passage from Hamlet also comes to mind, but not clearly enough to be quoted verbatim ... or quoted at all ... but you know the passage ... or you get back to college...[/b]
Ah, Hamlet. Let's go earlier... a paraphrase of what Thetis said to Achilles:
 Quote:
But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten...
The marking of a grave is one wrought from our own ego. It is a stone, a physical object, a marker that says, "I was here once." It is only human nature to be remembered.

Surely, with the first choice, you will be remembered long after your death. If you reach enough people, you may even become "immortal". But undoubtedly, with the second, you would fall into the category Thetis described for Achilles before he went to Troy. Those who would actively choose to NOT reach a greater number of people should very much be willing to be forgotten.

Most of us, when we truly reflect on the subject, will find that we are afraid of this--to be forgotten--because, in our minds, it implies that our life has meant nothing. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371734 - 12/31/06 12:22 AM Re: Would you rather...
Auntie Lynn Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Well, money isn't everything but it's way ahead of whatever's in second place. As previously mentioned, there's a zillion piano players in this town better than me; however, the love and respect of your peers cannot be slid under the broiler and feed your family or buy you a trip to a world-class beach to retrench after a hard year's work...

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#371735 - 12/31/06 12:45 AM Re: Would you rather...
Horace Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 505
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:

Most of us, when we truly reflect on the subject, will find that we are afraid of this--to be forgotten--because, in our minds, it implies that our life has meant nothing. ;\) [/b]
Maybe that's a good reason to do good deeds anonymously - train your psyche to appreciate the good for goodness' sake, and you'll have no worries about being remembered - you'll just assume the good you did will have ripples throughout time.

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#371736 - 12/31/06 05:00 AM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
Derulux may be confusing "lesser known" with unknown ... one passage from Hamlet also comes to mind, but not clearly enough to be quoted verbatim ... or quoted at all ... but you know the passage ... or you get back to college...[/b]
Ah, Hamlet. Let's go earlier... a paraphrase of what Thetis said to Achilles:
 Quote:
But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten...
The marking of a grave is one wrought from our own ego. It is a stone, a physical object, a marker that says, "I was here once." It is only human nature to be remembered.

Surely, with the first choice, you will be remembered long after your death. If you reach enough people, you may even become "immortal". But undoubtedly, with the second, you would fall into the category Thetis described for Achilles before he went to Troy. Those who would actively choose to NOT reach a greater number of people should very much be willing to be forgotten.[/b]
Yet Beethoven wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience ... Reaching a wider audience wouldn't have helped him reach "immortality" ... it was the deeper effect of Beethoven's uncompromising music that did the trick ... along with the persistent support of the true connoisseurs of the 19th century ... Liszt, Wagner, and the other few ... there are always only a few ... as Schopenhauer noted in one of his essays that can be found in the collection "Art of Literature" ... Sometimes these few manage to 'immortalize' the supported artist by effecting that that artist becomes part of the curricula of most schools and colleges ... Sometimes they don't manage the feat ... the artist's work will live on with as much true vigour either way, if the always relatively small circle of shifting connoisseurs (shifting as they die and are replaced) manage to keep it available without the help of schools and masses in this mass-market democracy of a world (surprisingly often they do manage it ... I'm confident that Harry Potter--now read by everybody, not just kids--will have been forgotten for centuries, when R. A. Lafferty is still being read by those who appreciate the best in literature ... They wrote for different markets, Lafferty and that woman (who I suppose still writes): Lafferty wrote for the one that will last, and the one that will, by the way, outnumber the other market once, if our planet hasn't turned into Venus before the numbers have accumulated sufficiently--not that it would matter, just a by-the-way for those who care about numbers).

 Quote:
Originally posted by Derulux:
Most of us, when we truly reflect on the subject, will find that we are afraid of this--to be forgotten--because, in our minds, it implies that our life has meant nothing. ;\) [/b]
Perhaps it would be of help for a person to reflect that were the memory of him to outlast his descendants, it wouldn't outlast humanity, which, in turn, has to go sooner or later, and it doesn't matter if it goes sooner, inasmuch as everything will then be as it was before there was life, anyway... Of course, it might be a good idea not to reflect much, and live instead... Dumbing down is not living, it's snivelling compromise, it's being a shell inhabited by ghosts...

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#371737 - 12/31/06 04:20 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Sorry, but that was, largely, too convoluted to follow. I did manage to extract some of your ideas, but that one long run-on sentence really threw me.

I'm confident that Harry Potter--now read by everybody, not just kids--will have been forgotten for centuries, when R. A. Lafferty is still being read by those who appreciate the best in literature [/b]
But I did catch this... Harry Potter is an original landmark in literature. It won't be 'dying' anytime soon...and it currently holds every publishing record ever set except for one: total number of copies sold. That title still belongs to the Bible.

Whether author J.K. Rowling will continue to be a phenomenon after Harry Potter is up for debate, but Harry Potter itself will shortly be among the "classics", as soon as it is old enough to warrant such a title. (That is, as long as she doesn't screw up the last book... the jury is still out on that. ;\) )
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371738 - 12/31/06 04:28 PM Re: Would you rather...
Gyvulys624 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 12
If i was good enough to be rich, i wouldn't need more talent.

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#371739 - 12/31/06 07:24 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
No problem... I'll make it easier to follow:

Beethoven, for example, wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience. Reaching a wider audience wouldn't have helped him reach "immortality", anyway: it was the deeper effect of Beethoven's uncompromising music that did the trick (along with the persistent support of the true connoisseurs of the 19th century).

Convoluted? It really contained only a couple of simple ideas.

The connoisseurs were Liszt, Wagner, and the other few (Mendelssohn pehraps). There are always only a few, or relatively few conoisseurs out there at one particular moment or age (maybe you're one, but you just need to get rid of your fear of elitism, and join the club). Anyway, sometimes these few conoisseurs manage to 'immortalize' the supported artist (Beethoven or whomever) by making them a part of the curricula of most schools and colleges (or making sure that others do it). Sometimes they *don't* manage the feat, but the artist's work will live on with as much true vigour *either way*, *if* the always relatively small circle of connoisseurs manages to keep the artist's work available (in-print, whatever) without the help of schools and masses in this market democracy of a world. Often they do manage it.

As for Harry's becoming a classic, we'll see, but I bet it won't... On the other hand, Raf's a classic already, in the small circles, and will be forever.

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#371740 - 12/31/06 07:35 PM Re: Would you rather...
ecm Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 1276
Loc: Republic of Macedonia
I don't care about income.
I care about what makes me feel good that I do. Music and piano is what makes me feel alive.
I will care about income when I have children in 15 years... \:D

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#371741 - 01/01/07 01:29 AM Re: Would you rather...
ryan.greene Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 159
Loc: Dayton, OH
I don't want to go on tour or anything because I want to be able to stay with my family and have a stress-free (relatively) life as an adult. It would be very rewarding, but also very stressful.

I am more aiming to become a very good pianist but at the same time a very good teacher. It would be rewarding and I could still perform on occasion. It would also be more stable, and probably bring in more money than me trying to make it "big time".
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#371742 - 01/01/07 04:33 AM Re: Would you rather...
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
R.A. who-erty?

I am not sure what the criteria for a "classic" are, but I am fairly sure that it is just mostly chance that makes the difference. Several books that I am somewhat familiar with were ones that I read (more like HAD to read) at school, and that I would probably put down after a couple chapters at most now (pretty much anything by Dickens). Before people get on their high horse and dismiss me as uncouth, I'd like to get to the point which is: in the arts, quality can certainly not be determined simply by its popularity, nor can it be determined by its lack of popularity. If Harry Potter® is very popular right now, there is nothing inherent in that which points to obscurity later. Who knows who will write penetrating and insightful analyses of Hermione's character?

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#371743 - 01/01/07 05:31 AM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Iain:
R.A. who-erty?[/b]
That seems to me more like an example of bad rhetoric than an indication of actual interest, but I'll mention anyway that R. A. Lafferty* was an author whose very demanding stuff was being published, through good will and generous effort, in the 80s and early 90s by various small presses devoted solely or almost completely to publishing Lafferty: extremely few contemporary authors have been thus served or respected. The small presses were run by various professors, critics, authors...

*Lafferty is an Irish name, a fact which should help you remember the name.

At his website, author Terry Bisson writes of Lafferty that "[Lafferty] interested me in SF again, after I had outgrown my early love for Simak and Asimov and Heinlein. What a word slinger: what a richness of idea and image, in Irish-cadenced prose! Lafferty wrote the opposite of the post-Chekhovian modern short story. Show don’t tell? The pleasure is in the telling. Rhetoric, in the grand old manner, was at the center of his game. He could go from high-faluting to just plain faluting, and back again, all in a paragraph. Like Charles Mingus, another American original, Lafferty loved the sounds he made; never satisfied with mere profundity, he was pretty, too. He was our Mingus, I think, elevating us all. ... I believe his day is yet to come; that like Melville, Lafferty will be 'discovered,' and his Okla Hannali will take its rightful place as one of the three or four truly great 20th century American novels."

 Quote:
Originally posted by Iain:
I am not sure what the criteria for a "classic" are,[/b]
There are no criteria for inclusion in the canon, if that's what you were getting at. However, and as my Collins English Dictionary assures me, I was using the word quite conventionally when I used it to mean a work of lasting significance. A work of literature has lasting significance when it's different enough and good enough that it can't be replaced by the works of the next generations of writers. Lafferty's work won't be replaced, because writing stuff that could possibly replace his work would quite simply take much more skill and imagination than almost any writer has or will likely ever have.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Iain:
I'd like to get to the point which is: in the arts, quality can certainly not be determined simply by its popularity, nor can it be determined by its lack of popularity.[/b]
Did I say it could be?

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#371744 - 01/01/07 01:13 PM Re: Would you rather...
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
Well yes I believe you did.

We as people have a tendency to back the underdog over what is prevalent; I'm not damning this, but we must be aware that we are actually doing it for emotional, transitory reasons, rather than analytical, intelligent ones. Therefore your statement that Harry Potter will not reach "classic" despite the fact that it already has suggests this tendency to me.

I'm certainly not going to turn this into an argument on the merits of Harry Potter (I don't even like it that much), but we can see this in our field as well, in the reactive authentic movement, and in the general dislike of pianists such as Horowitz and Volodos.

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#371745 - 01/01/07 03:33 PM Re: Would you rather...
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5286
Loc: Philadelphia
Beethoven, for example, wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience.[/b]
This is why I was confused... that statement supports my argument. The rest, however, does not even address the topic. (Third-party intrusions do not affect a personal choice.) ;\)

R.A. who-erty?[/b]
He was a fairly obscure science fiction writer (if you can call his works science fiction...some can't) who ignored the traditional mode of telling a story, and through that, won some uniqueness. Still, he only had/has a small cult following, and will likely never break into the mainstream. (His death several years ago has also hindered his chances of writing a best-seller anytime soon.)

I am not sure what the criteria for a "classic" are[/b]
(unofficially)
#1: Popularity
#2: Popularity among "scholars"
#3: Time

quality can certainly not be determined simply by its popularity[/b]
Be careful... you're bordering on "personal taste" when you say "quality". ;\)

I'll mention anyway that R. A. Lafferty* was an author whose very demanding stuff was being published, through good will and generous effort, in the 80s and early 90s by various small presses devoted solely or almost completely to publishing Lafferty: extremely few contemporary authors have been thus served or respected. The small presses were run by various professors, critics, authors...[/b]
If we're talking about the same Lafferty, his first novel was published forty years ago. His first story, almost fifty.


I think I shall stop and let you two duke it out from here. ;\)
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#371746 - 01/01/07 03:38 PM Re: Would you rather...
LWpianistin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 500
Loc: VA/MD/England...long story...
I'd opt for the first one because that's what I will be - an adequate musician. If I would make lots of money, and be well-known...sure!
_________________________
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#371747 - 01/01/07 04:40 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Iain: "Well yes I believe you did."
Well, but I didn't. Perhaps you would like to try and read more carefully what I have written.

 Quote:
Iain: "your statement that Harry Potter will not reach 'classic' despite the fact that it already has"
None of my dictionaries gives "temporal popularity" as a definition of "classic".

I don't believe Harry will last, because the next generation will have its own Harrys that will go by some other name.

 Quote:
Me: "Beethoven, for example, wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience."

Derulux: "This is why I was confused... that statement supports my argument."
I don't see how. Your message seemed to be that one should try to reach as wide an audience as possible or be forgotten. My message was that those whose works have outlasted generations and centuries have almost always been the uncompromising guys who didn't dilute and thin their work to make it reach a wider audience. Every generation has its popular stuff, but the stuff that will last almost always comes from the uncompromising guys.

 Quote:
Derulux: "[Lafferty] was a fairly obscure science fiction writer"
Who happened to also write a very well-received novel about Native Americans, a novel currently available from University of Oklahoma Press, if you would like to read it (it sounds like you haven't read any Lafferty story or novel).

 Quote:
Derulux: "[Lafferty] ignored the traditional mode of telling a story, and through that, won some uniqueness."
First of all, what do you mean by "traditional mode of telling a story"? In some ways, Lafferty is more traditional than Harry Potter. If some one quality makes Lafferty unique, it is his use of language. He often uses extreme compression of time; he often uses multiple extended metaphors throughout a work; he sometimes uses shifting focalization in a manner that might confuse readers new to Lafferty; he sometimes uses his characters as well as his non-participant narrator to tell the reader that he's being literal, although he's in fact being metaphorical; etc.; but none of that would alone make him unique.

 Quote:
Derulux: "Still, he only had/has a small cult following"
If he has "a small cult following", then the cult is one of the most elite small cults that have followed an author in the latter half of the 20th century, the "Lafferty cult" including authors like Gene Wolfe, Arthur C. Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson.

 Quote:
"If we're talking about the same Lafferty, his first novel was published forty years ago."
Yeah, sure. That much can be gathered from the Wikipedia article, isn't that right, Derulux? In the 60s and 70s, however, Lafferty was being published by major publishers, a bit of information which didn't serve the point I was making (that of rare attention having been given to Lafferty by his peers and such who went on to publish his work, after the major publishers had abandoned him; which was also an example of the general process of an elite group of connoisseurs making and keeping a genius' work available and known to those who care about such stuff).

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#371748 - 01/01/07 04:58 PM Re: Would you rather...
Iain Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/06
Posts: 545
Loc: London, UK
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
[QUOTE] Iain: "your statement that Harry Potter will not reach 'classic' despite the fact that it already has"
None of my dictionaries gives "temporal popularity" as a definition of "classic".

You can't say that it is temporal popularity until it has ended.

 Quote:
Me: "Beethoven, for example, wasn't willing to be forgotten, nor did he dumb down his music to reach a wider audience."

I don't think he could have "dumbed down" his music even if he wanted to.

I don't see how. Your message seemed to be that one should try to reach as wide an audience as possible or be forgotten. My message was that those whose works have outlasted generations and centuries have almost always been the uncompromising guys who didn't dilute and thin their work to make it reach a wider audience. Every generation has its popular stuff, but the stuff that lasts usually comes from the uncompromising guys.

What, like Rossini and Mendelssohn and early Liszt? This music was often written for the audience and still endures.

 Quote:
Derulux: "Still, he only had/has a small cult following"
If he has "a small cult following", then the cult is one of the most elite small cults that have followed an author in the latter half of the 20th century, including authors like Gene Wolfe, Arthur C. Clarke, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, Poul Anderson.

Certainly Gene Wolfe is the finest author I have ever read (and who is astoundingly unpopular), but I wouldn't call Arthur Clarke "cult".

I don't mean to malign Mr. Lafferty at all, I just read a short story of his which can be found online which seemed to be interesting.

As far as something being better inherently because it is less popular (not graspable by the masses) is crude. I think that some people are inherently anti-social (myself for instance) and tend to enjoy most the books and music that are not that popular (I always enjoyed Medtner and Scriabin). The reality is, Beethoven is popular because his music touches everybody (Clockwork Orange), not just some cultured elite. Mozart is the same, and Bach is mostly the same.

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#371749 - 01/01/07 05:10 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Iain: "Certainly Gene Wolfe is the finest author I have ever read (and who is astoundingly unpopular), but I wouldn't call Arthur Clarke 'cult'."

I didn't mean to call either of them 'cult'. I meant that they are (or were, inasmuch as some of them are now dead) a part of the "small cult-following" that Derulux told me (or you) Lafferty had achieved.

Wolfe is indeed a fine writer. He wrote the following of Lafferty: "No true reader who has read as much as a single story by Raphael Aloysius Lafferty needs to be told that he is our most original writer. In fact, he may not be just ours, but the most original writer in the history of literature ... Just about everything Lafferty writes is fun, is witty, is entertaining and playful. But it is not easy, for it is a mingling of allegory with myth, and of both with something more..."

I hope you will explore more Lafferty: you would no doubt enjoy the journey. And if you would happen to read his novel, The Devil Is Dead, send me an e-mail, and I'll send you the missing last chapter and Interglossia (Lafferty didn't deliver them to the publisher in time, and they were omitted: that was in the 70s, not yet the happy small-press time).

I don't think Mozart or any other classical composer touches the majority of people very deeply. But I've already written too much about the subject earlier in these forums...

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#371750 - 01/01/07 05:26 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:

Wolfe is indeed a fine writer. He wrote the following of Lafferty: "No true reader who has read as much as a single story by Raphael Aloysius Lafferty needs to be told that he is our most original writer. In fact, he may not be just ours, but the most original writer in the history of literature ... Just about everything Lafferty writes is fun, is witty, is entertaining and playful. But it is not easy, for it is a mingling of allegory with myth, and of both with something more..."[/b]
By the way, Iain, Wolfe wrote that in his introduction to Lafferty's Episodes of the Argo, a book that also contains the missing last chapter of The Devil is Dead, but also a book now quite unavailable. Speaking of The Devil is Dead, I and Mr. Eric Walker (author of the www.greatsfandf.com website) are planning to bring out a new edition of the novel, edition which would include the last chapter and Interglossia. If you're interested, I'll let you know how it goes.

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#371751 - 01/01/07 06:07 PM Re: Would you rather...
LiszThalberg Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/06
Posts: 3288
Personally I would chose to the be the great pianist. Are Books a Million gift cards included in adequate But hey! What do I know about income?! I'm only 13! \:D


Matt

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#371752 - 01/01/07 06:47 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
By the way, Wolfe's introduction contains some observations that should be of general interest to whoever reads this thread, and that I think are sufficiently relevant to this thread to be quoted here:

 Quote:
...while the rest of us strive (often unsuccesfully) for originality, Lafferty struggles to suppress it. To a commercial publisher, a desirable--which is to say, a highly profitable--writer is one who sees exactly what the mass of book-buyers see, and not a whit more clearly than they, but is able to enunciate his vision (if it may be called that) in a way that they cannot. Thus we have hundreds, if not thousands, of turgid novels about wealthy families who are not in the least like actual wealthy families but are instead what people lacking both experience and insight imagine such families to be. These books, and many other kinds by writers of the same sort, may be said in both senses to constitute the base of popular literature for adults.

Over them are the books of writers that see the same things that others do, but see them more clearly; these are the books for which true readers search, for the most part. For instance, I (for I count myself a true reader as well as you) had never, even after Proust and dozens of lesser authors, understood what it was like to be a genuine aristocrat, with a title the passing centuries had left meaningless ... until I read "Isak Dinesen" ... I had seen people of that kind, most clearly perhaps in the seven novels of Proust, but I had seen them from without. Dinesen had not only seen them but had seen them through their own eyes, and was able to make me see them too.

Lafferty is not like that.

Lafferty sees what we do not see ...

The words every writer dreads most are "I didn't understand." And every writer of any merit at all must hear them often. It is impossible to write intelligently about anything even marginally worth writing about, without writing too obscurely for a great many readers, and particularly for those who refuse as a matter of principle to read with care and to consider what they have read.

(Wolfe then recounts some of the reactions to his own work.)

Think of the wall of incomprehension a writer like Lafferty faces, a wall as blank, as ugly, and as unyielding as concrete. Small wonder that he labors at times to shut an eye. Less wonder, even, that too often only small presses like this one will publish him when he has refused...

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#371753 - 01/01/07 06:57 PM Re: Would you rather...
Requiem Aeternam Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 1395
Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Book of the New Sun is the greatest sci fi/fantasy series of all time \:\)
_________________________
"He who turns himself into a beast, gets rid of the pain of being a man."

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#371754 - 01/02/07 10:27 AM Re: Would you rather...
MarioQuirozA Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 62
Loc: Morelia,Michoacán,México
I think it would be great if you delete the words "well recognized and good source of income" and "with only an adequate income" in order to have the sentence:

"Would you rather be a passable, decent-but-not-incredible pianist who is very professionally successful -OR- an extraordinaly gifted musician who is far lesser known?"

I have this 7 year old student who played very well on her first piano examination. She got Excellent grades for her performance.

My dear friends, this is priceless and no money can buy it. ;\)
_________________________
Chopin forever

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#371755 - 01/02/07 12:50 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Has anybody heard about or read the contemporary review of Beethoven's opus 111 where the reviewer writes more or less the following: "Beethoven's loss of hearing must be considered the reason for some of the horrible stuff contained herein, or else printer's errors; this music is also much too difficult for the hobbyist to sight-read at his leisure; we cannot recommend it to any working person or woman, except as a curiosity; however, we must admit that it was intended for a different market, and that it is art, rather than entertainment, howsoever ugly and modern and riddled with errors." (Heavy paraphrasing, and perhaps something amounting to inaccuracy, but that was the essence of it: anybody remember it more clearly?)

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#371756 - 01/02/07 03:17 PM Re: Would you rather...
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Iain: "What, like Rossini and Mendelssohn and early Liszt? This music was often written for the audience and still endures."

The early Liszt pieces that people still include in their lists of favourites were often *not* written for any audience, if not a private one. Liszt played mostly transcriptions in concert. He probably only ever played just a few of his etudes and Annees publicly; there is no evidence to the contrary (and many of his concert programs are well documented). I would recall that Alan Walker writes in his Liszt biography that Liszt performed the Dante Sonata only once in public, and that it wasn't well received.

I don't know much about Rossini or Mendelssohn. However, I think Mendelssohn wrote his best piece of music when he was 16--certainly the best known of his pieces--and I don't think he wrote it any specific audience in mind.

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#371757 - 01/02/07 03:58 PM Re: Would you rather...
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1036
Loc: Massachusetts
Nice discussion. It seems hard to make the decision because the question is a little vague to me.
But to whoever mentioned Alicia Keyes this woman is AMAZING.

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