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#404503 - 03/07/08 01:21 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by ChopinChamp:
Brahms? Better than Chopin? Im sure even Brahms would die laughing over that comment. [/b]
Of course Brahms was very humble, but we all have our egos, and necessarily so. How can you justify trying to add your own original music to a repertoire that is already filled with great masterpieces by Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, et al? What can you possibly contribute that hasn't already been contributed? What makes your music worthwhile for being played and studied not only in your own lifetime, but even after you die?

One answer (of course not the only one) is that you have to feel that your contributions are not only good enough to be placed alongside those of the old masters, but also that you are offering something unique that the old masters did not have to offer. Regardless of what you *say* to others about being humble, you still have to have that inner sense of worth and, to a certain extent, perhaps partial superiority in creating something new that others have not created before you.
_________________________
Sam

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#404504 - 03/07/08 01:34 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ChopinChamp:
Brahms? Better than Chopin? Im sure even Brahms would die laughing over that comment. [/b]
Of course Brahms was very humble, but we all have our egos, and necessarily so. How can you justify trying to add your own original music to a repertoire that is already filled with great masterpieces by Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, et al? What can you possibly contribute that hasn't already been contributed? What makes your music worthwhile for being played and studied not only in your own lifetime, but even after you die?

One answer (of course not the only one) is that you have to feel that your contributions are not only good enough to be placed alongside those of the old masters, but also that you are offering something unique that the old masters did not have to offer. Regardless of what you *say* to others about being humble, you still have to have that inner sense of worth and, to a certain extent, perhaps partial superiority in creating something new that others have not created before you. [/b]
You are psychoanalyzing Brahms.
Which is absurd and useless.

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#404505 - 03/07/08 01:56 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cultor:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by ChopinChamp:
Brahms? Better than Chopin? Im sure even Brahms would die laughing over that comment. [/b]
Of course Brahms was very humble, but we all have our egos, and necessarily so. How can you justify trying to add your own original music to a repertoire that is already filled with great masterpieces by Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, et al? What can you possibly contribute that hasn't already been contributed? What makes your music worthwhile for being played and studied not only in your own lifetime, but even after you die?

One answer (of course not the only one) is that you have to feel that your contributions are not only good enough to be placed alongside those of the old masters, but also that you are offering something unique that the old masters did not have to offer. Regardless of what you *say* to others about being humble, you still have to have that inner sense of worth and, to a certain extent, perhaps partial superiority in creating something new that others have not created before you. [/b]
You are psychoanalyzing Brahms.
Which is absurd and useless. [/b]
I agree. \:\)

But when I see that Brahms is quoting another composer in such a way, I can't help but wonder why.

To say that it was homage or just a tune flowing through his mind is equally psychoanalytical -- whatever explanation you give for "why" is trying to get inside Brahms's head, which of course we can only speculate at doing.

So I'm not saying that this is necessarily what Brahms was thinking in his head, because of course I don't know what he was thinking -- but it's one idea to understanding the question, "why".
_________________________
Sam

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#404506 - 03/07/08 03:09 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Cultor Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/07
Posts: 342
Loc: BsAs
May be Brahms wasn’t quoting or plagiarizing.
There are too many themes in music history. Suddenly one (purposely or unconscientiously) erupted into his sketches. Who knows?
Nevertheless, if you are so concerned, why don’t you trace the theme backwards?
For instance: I think the first 8 bars melody of the “original” Chopin piece are not new. You can discern some mode there. And interesting half tones. May be Chopin himself was influenced by some other antique musical figures. Greek, Semitic, Gregorian?

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#404507 - 03/07/08 03:39 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
If anyone really wants an unquestionable example of a composer who believed with a vengeance that he was better than past masters, look no further than that upstart who goes by the name of Richard Wagner.

edit: Don't get me wrong -- I love Wagner's music too. But one can't deny the scale of his ego!
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

Top
#404508 - 03/08/08 05:05 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7784
Look, the answer to the "why" question is going to be out-and-out fiction, since there's reasonable doubt that the resemblance is even a real quote, much less a deliberate one. Make up whatever you want. Write a novel. But here's the another "why" question: why should anyone care, if none of this sheds any light on anything, because there's no evidence that any of it is real, and therefore (since so far you shown us zero actual evidence otherwise), it has to remain in the realm of meaningless coincidence?

A few years back I was playing through a Mendelssohn piece and suddenly realized there was a Tchaikovsky orchestral piece that was very close to it, not only in the notes themselves, but also in the general tone. I think the resemblance is far more pronounced than the similarities in this Chopin/Brahms thing you are harping on. But what of it? The composers are long dead. Whether Tchaikovsky was consciously modeling on or even plagiarizing the Mendelssohn seems pretty inconsequential. So what if he was? It's not as if it's worth spending the rest of my life combing through every tidbit of information that might be possibly relevant to see if the resemblance was conscious or not. It just doesn't matter that much, especially in light of the well-known fact that many composers frequently do consciously model their writing after other composers, and steal and borrow as much as they think they can get away with. It's not as if they are about to provide a list all of their influences for any given work (although sometimes they point some out, as Ravel did with his G major concerto). They may not even remember who they borrowed from, for that matter.

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#404509 - 03/08/08 09:20 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
If anyone really wants an unquestionable example of a composer who believed with a vengeance that he was better than past masters, look no further than that upstart who goes by the name of Richard Wagner.

edit: Don't get me wrong -- I love Wagner's music too. But one can't deny the scale of his ego! [/b]
According to Cosima's diary entry, Wagner said he didn't consider himself to be a real composer, because his "innovative" musical ideas were just a result of his composing something suitable for the drama. Without the situations of the drama, he wouldn't have come up with that stuff, he said. And without the drama, the music wouldn't necessarily make much sense. He considered himself to be a music dramatist, which he was.

BTW, I'm sure Wagner had his opinions about conformists and parrots and other complacent fools.

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#404510 - 03/08/08 09:37 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
If anyone really wants an unquestionable example of a composer who believed with a vengeance that he was better than past masters, look no further than that upstart who goes by the name of Richard Wagner.

edit: Don't get me wrong -- I love Wagner's music too. But one can't deny the scale of his ego! [/b]
According to Cosima's diary entry, Wagner said he didn't consider himself to be a real composer, because his "innovative" musical ideas were just a result of his composing something suitable for the drama. Without the situations of the drama, he wouldn't have come up with that stuff, he said. And without the drama, the music wouldn't necessarily make much sense. He considered himself to be a music dramatist, which he was.

BTW, I'm sure Wagner had his opinions about conformists and parrots and other complacent fools. [/b]
True, but Wagner survives mainly as a composer. It can be argued that much of his dramatic theories simply led to cinema (which seems to be where music and drama come closest together, thus far), but otherwise I seriously doubt Wagner's name looms as large in the dramatic world as it does in the musical world.

If that last sentence of yours was meant to imply that Brahms or myself or both are "conformists and parrots and complacent fools," that's just about as laughable as Wagner's authentic, written dismissal of Brahms as a "Jewish czardas player." \:D It's very amusing, but hardly something to be taken seriously.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

Top
#404511 - 03/08/08 10:58 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
"True, but Wagner survives mainly as a composer."

Your initial argument seemed to be that Wagner thought of himself as a better composer than Beethoven etc.... If it was something else, I'm not sure what sort of relevance it was supposed to have in this thread. So I'm assuming that that was what you were trying to say. Now, as I tried to point out in my previous post, when you go to the primary sources, you might find that your statement was incorrect. Savvy? What I meant with the parrot comment was that your comment didn't seem like something you would say if you were familiar with the primary sources (and if you were an honest & intelligent person, but let's not talk about that).

Anyway, I guess cows will sooner grow a fair pair of wings than you will admit ignorance of Wagner's personality.

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#404512 - 03/08/08 11:11 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
 Quote:
Originally posted by Antonius Hamus:
"True, but Wagner survives mainly as a composer."

Your initial argument seemed to be that Wagner thought of himself as a better composer than Beethoven etc.... If it was something else, I'm not sure what sort of relevance it was supposed to have in this thread. So I'm assuming that that was what you were trying to say. Now, as I tried to point out in my previous post, when you go to the primary sources, you might find that your statement was incorrect. Savvy? What I meant with the parrot comment was that your comment didn't seem like something you would say if you were familiar with the primary sources (and if you were an honest & intelligent person, but let's not talk about that).

Anyway, I guess cows will sooner grow a fair pair of wings than you will admit ignorance of Wagner's personality. [/b]
I don't need to point out to you of all people that Wagner viewed his music-drama "revolution" in many ways as the culmination of much of the music of the past (seeing himself as the only logical continuation of Beethoven, etc.). It's clear that this and other such sentiments in his writings scream out that he saw himself as just as great or greater than the past masters, even when he stops short of saying it blatantly. The whole thing about Wagner surviving mainly as a composer is the simple fact that, despite what you pointed out in your other post about the dramatic reasons behind Wagner's musical innovations, he must be judged as a musician first and foremost (i.e. with the same criteria as other composers), and that his dramatic theories, while being the impetus behind his musical advances, must take a back seat when judging his worth as a composer (and of course, if he was right about his own evaluation of himself). I happen to think Wagner's music is wonderful, but the less admirable traits of his persona cannot be denied by anyone who has read his writings. Then again, you are the resident Wagner apologist, so anything that belittles your god must vex you horribly.

In any case, this is most likely all I really want to say about this matter since you've devolved into a troll again. Oh wait, being a troll is your natural state. In any case, I'll just sit back, smile, and enjoy.
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

Top
#404513 - 03/08/08 11:49 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
Look, the answer to the "why" question is going to be out-and-out fiction, since there's reasonable doubt that the resemblance is even a real quote, much less a deliberate one. Make up whatever you want. Write a novel. But here's the another "why" question: why should anyone care, if none of this sheds any light on anything, because there's no evidence that any of it is real, and therefore (since so far you shown us zero actual evidence otherwise), it has to remain in the realm of meaningless coincidence?

A few years back I was playing through a Mendelssohn piece and suddenly realized there was a Tchaikovsky orchestral piece that was very close to it, not only in the notes themselves, but also in the general tone. I think the resemblance is far more pronounced than the similarities in this Chopin/Brahms thing you are harping on. But what of it? The composers are long dead. Whether Tchaikovsky was consciously modeling on or even plagiarizing the Mendelssohn seems pretty inconsequential. So what if he was? It's not as if it's worth spending the rest of my life combing through every tidbit of information that might be possibly relevant to see if the resemblance was conscious or not. It just doesn't matter that much, especially in light of the well-known fact that many composers frequently do consciously model their writing after other composers, and steal and borrow as much as they think they can get away with. It's not as if they are about to provide a list all of their influences for any given work (although sometimes they point some out, as Ravel did with his G major concerto). They may not even remember who they borrowed from, for that matter. [/b]
I'm curious, and that's enough justification for me to care about it and wonder about it. I realize not everyone is interested in such things, but that's no reason why *I* shouldn't be interested.
_________________________
Sam

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#404514 - 03/08/08 12:00 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Pianojerome, please do tell us about the Scarlatti reference in Brahms whenever you can. Is it from one of Brahms's Lieder?
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

Top
#404515 - 03/08/08 12:24 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
Pianojerome, please do tell us about the Scarlatti reference in Brahms whenever you can. Is it from one of Brahms's Lieder? [/b]
I don't remember where it is. I just wrote to my musicology professor to see if he remembers the title -- we took a little field trip a few weeks ago to the home of a retired professor here who collects old music scores, and he showed us the score where Brahms had written in Scarlatti's name. I'll let you know as soon as I hear a response.
_________________________
Sam

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#404516 - 03/08/08 12:25 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Auntie Lynn:
Hey, my darlings...remember that old tune "How Dry I Am..."? Well the Barlow/Morgenstern Dictionary of Musical Themes lists no less than 83 tunes that start off in that fashion and the Dictionary of Opera and Song Themes lists no less than 73...blame it on the Common Practice Period (thanks Mr. Piston).

I once had some idiot tell me that he though Begin the Beguine and Silent Night sounded alike...go figure... [/b]
"How dry I am" even shows up in Beethoven's Op. 10 No. 3 first movement. Think about it when you hear the opening theme, and then how it's repeated in the closing of the first half of the first movement. ;\)

John
_________________________
Nothing.

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#404517 - 03/08/08 12:44 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
 Quote:
Originally posted by John Citron:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Auntie Lynn:
Hey, my darlings...remember that old tune "How Dry I Am..."? Well the Barlow/Morgenstern Dictionary of Musical Themes lists no less than 83 tunes that start off in that fashion and the Dictionary of Opera and Song Themes lists no less than 73...blame it on the Common Practice Period (thanks Mr. Piston).

I once had some idiot tell me that he though Begin the Beguine and Silent Night sounded alike...go figure... [/b]
"How dry I am" even shows up in Beethoven's Op. 10 No. 3 first movement. Think about it when you hear the opening theme, and then how it's repeated in the closing of the first half of the first movement. ;\)

John [/b]
Other interesting uses of "How Dry I am" as pointed out in Bernstein's "Infinite Variety of Music" lecture:

Beethoven: Second Symphony, primary theme of second movement
Brahms: First Piano Concerto, second subject of first movement
Strauss: Death and Transfiguration, "transfiguration" theme
Shostakovich: Fifth Symphony, primary theme of last movement

I wish I can remember the other ones Bernstein pointed out. Then of course pianojerome pointed out recently the middle section of Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu, with the addition of an upper neighbour scale degree 6 (which in turn resembles a passage from the F minor Nocturne).
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

Top
#404518 - 03/08/08 01:06 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
I agree. "Why?" is a very pertinent question, regardless of the example Sam chooses to cite. What are the intentionst of a composer, poet, or a photographer deliberately quoting another artist? It's not so much a musical question as one that gets at the general human condition.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#404519 - 03/08/08 01:29 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Mattardo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/11/08
Posts: 1306
I personally think it's quite possible to enjoy a piece (such as the Chopin) for it's beautiful simplicity without resorting to an unecesarry complication of it. The biggest problem I have when I take the plunge to write a composition (which is rare, I must admit) is to keep the original idea simple until it evolves. There is always the temptation, when looking back to try and improve the original idea (which is not always a bad idea) but this usually results in a very complicated original idea that has great trouble evolving later and has lost some of it's charm in the process - the original elements that made it to nice become hazy with the added elements and the original idea is lost amid the details.
If we assume that Brahms 'stole' Chopin's idea to "improve" it, then we must also wonder whether it is an actual improvement when the 2 pieces are set side by side. Complicating the simple does not always make for a more pleasing sound. Sure, it may be full of technical and musical "wows" but in the end, only the analyzer will appreciate it IF the original simple idea is lost. Mozart is fine as he is - his ideas are beautiful. Haydn's ideas (if we compare the piano sonatas) become a little more technically advanced in areas and feature many musical jokes and jests, and while brilliant, they lack the simple charm that Mozart had. There are, of course, exceptions but I think most people will see what I mean. Generally, Mozart is much more highly regarded for his simplicity - make one wrong note on your piano and the gig is up and Mozart cringes in his makeshift grave.
Whether Brahms thought to improve on Chopin is a question I can't answer, but my personal opinion is that he was not trying to improve it as a means of asserting his mastery of composition. I tend to think that Brahms might just have been inspired by the piece. Look at Rachmaninoff's variations on Chopin's prelude. Is he trying to say he is better than Chopin and that Chopin should be kicked for not elaborating more? No, I doubt it. Chopin's prelude is fine without Rachmaninoff's variations - in fact, it's brilliant in it's simplicity. Rachmaninoff just loved that piece so much he couldn't help showing off with it.
It has been mentioned before that if we start chasing themes borrowed, stolen, adored by composers the chase will never end. With enough time on our hands, we could attribute almost any musical idea to someone's elses muse....

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#404520 - 03/08/08 02:59 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Janus Sachs:
Pianojerome, please do tell us about the Scarlatti reference in Brahms whenever you can. Is it from one of Brahms's Lieder? [/b]
I don't remember where it is. I just wrote to my musicology professor to see if he remembers the title -- we took a little field trip a few weeks ago to the home of a retired professor here who collects old music scores, and he showed us the score where Brahms had written in Scarlatti's name. I'll let you know as soon as I hear a response. [/b]
It is indeed from the lieder -- "Unuberwindlich" Op. 72 No. 5.
_________________________
Sam

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#404521 - 03/08/08 03:58 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Janus K. Sachs Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/07
Posts: 1710
Loc: Betelgeuse, baby!
Thanks, pianojerome! Will explore...
_________________________
Die Krebs gehn zurcke,
Die Stockfisch bleiben dicke,
Die Karpfen viel fressen,
Die Predigt vergessen.

Die Predigt hat g'fallen.
Sie bleiben wie alle.

Top
#404522 - 03/08/08 05:25 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7784
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
I'm curious, and that's enough justification for me to care about it and wonder about it. I realize not everyone is interested in such things, but that's no reason why *I* shouldn't be interested. [/b]
Your curiosity and interest may be admirable, but accepting your own self-generated fantasies as if they are real answers to "why" is less so. That is unless you are practicing to be a professional fiction writer, or political speech-writer.

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#404523 - 03/08/08 05:42 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sam gives one possible answer to "why?". That's all. There's nothing didactic in it. It's all speculation. It pretends to nothing more.

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#404524 - 03/08/08 06:51 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7784
 Quote:
Originally posted by tomasino:
Sam gives one possible answer to "why?". That's all. There's nothing didactic in it. It's all speculation. It pretends to nothing more.

Tomasino [/b]
It reads to me as if it does pretend to something more, particularly the initial assertion that the resemblance is a conscious and deliberate "plagiarism" by Brahms. If I thought he thought it was pure fantasy and nothing more, I would react differently.

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#404525 - 03/08/08 07:01 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5919
Loc: Down Under
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
But when I see that Brahms is quoting another composer in such a way, I can't help but wonder why. [/b]
[1] You are assuming that it is a quote and not an accidental co-incidence of notes. I think not all of us agree with that assumption.

[2] You ask "why?" One could equally ask "Why not?" \:\)
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

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#404526 - 03/08/08 10:56 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by wr:
 Quote:
Originally posted by tomasino:
Sam gives one possible answer to "why?". That's all. There's nothing didactic in it. It's all speculation. It pretends to nothing more.

Tomasino [/b]
It reads to me as if it does pretend to something more, particularly the initial assertion that the resemblance is a conscious and deliberate "plagiarism" by Brahms. If I thought he thought it was pure fantasy and nothing more, I would react differently. [/b]
from my first post in this thread:

 Quote:
I'd like your opinion on a different idea.... The key point here is that obviously we don't know what Brahms was thinking, but we can certainly guess!
also from my first post:

 Quote:
So what do you think? Possible?
and from my third post:

 Quote:
That said, it's entirely plausible that it was entirely subconscious
and, most clearly, in my sixth post:

 Quote:
So I'm not saying that this is necessarily what Brahms was thinking in his head, because of course I don't know what he was thinking -- but it's one idea to understanding the question, "why".
There's nothing dogmatic here -- I've not presented this as the absolute truth, as something that I am convinced is what Brahms was really thinking. To the contrary, I tried to make it clear numerous times that this is merely a possibility -- but a possibility rooted in study of the two scores and of Brahms's relationship to past composers, including Chopin, and also in the study of an article by an established academic on the very subject of Brahms quoting Chopin in many pieces.

I could be wrong. I often am. But just because we can't (obviously) get inside someone's head to know what he was thinking, does not mean that we cannot make educated guesses.
_________________________
Sam

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#404527 - 03/08/08 11:01 PM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
pianojerome Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/05
Posts: 9868
 Quote:
Originally posted by currawong:
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianojerome:
But when I see that Brahms is quoting another composer in such a way, I can't help but wonder why. [/b]
[1] You are assuming that it is a quote and not an accidental co-incidence of notes. I think not all of us agree with that assumption.

[2] You ask "why?" One could equally ask "Why not?" \:\) [/b]
[1] Yes, I am fairly certain that it is a quote and not an accidental co-incidence of notes. Of course I could be wrong -- but the similarities are just too accurate and diverse, and Brahms's familiarity with Chopin's music too intimate for me to readily accept that it was a mere coincidence. As to why he quoted -- I just gave one idea, but of course I do not know for certain if it's the right idea.

[2] Good question. \:\) If an author did something like this, s/he'd be slammed for plagiarism. But it seems that since so many great composers have done this, it's okay for music. Different rules for different games.
_________________________
Sam

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#404528 - 03/09/08 03:04 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7784

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#404529 - 03/09/08 04:03 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
To me, Sam's question isn't about musical issues. Rather, it's about the nature of flattery: what complex of emotions and private thoughts are we experiencing when we compliment our mother-in-law on her new dress? That's one part of the question.

The other is of a nearly religious nature: what happens when it is suggested to a group of worshipers, that a deity--in Sam's example, Johannes Brahms--is merely human, and prone to the same foibles and tomfoolery as the rest of us?

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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#404530 - 03/09/08 04:06 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
Antonius Hamus Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2230
Janus Sachs,

You seem to like crude caricatures about Wagner, almost as much as you like all sorts of wriggling. I'd like to see you back your statements up with references to primary sources. Let's start with:

 Quote:
Wagner's dismissal of Brahms as a "Jewish czardas player."
I found this from Alex Ross's blog:

"It is hard to judge who was more responsible for the famous quarrel between [Wagner and Brahms]. Brahms fueled the fire in 1860 by signing a manifesto against the 'music of the future,' which protested 'new and outlandish theories contrary to the very nature of music.' But Avins points out that Wagner made a conciliatory gesture toward Brahms several years after that episode, inviting him to a party in Vienna. It was Brahms's possibly calculated contact with Mathilde Wesendonck, the woman who inspired Tristan, that finally incited Wagner to his usual spewing of bile. By 1879, Brahms was being attacked in the pages of the Bayreuther Blätter for dressing himself up as a 'Jewish czardas player.'"

Ross isn't the most objective commentator one can find ("usual spewing of bile"), but the above paragraph seems to suggest that Wagner didn't, in fact, call Brahms a Jewish czardas player, let alone dismiss him as one. So who's the troll now? Perhaps you should be more careful about spreading insubstantial slander, when there is someone around who actually knows something about the subject, or bothers to find out.

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#404531 - 03/09/08 05:10 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7784
 Quote:
Originally posted by tomasino:
To me, Sam's question isn't about musical issues. Rather, it's about the nature of flattery: what complex of emotions and private thoughts are we experiencing when we compliment our mother-in-law on her new dress? That's one part of the question.

The other is of a nearly religious nature: what happens when it is suggested to a group of worshipers, that a deity--in Sam's example, Johannes Brahms--is merely human, and prone to the same foibles and tomfoolery as the rest of us?

Tomasino [/b]
I'm not following you on the flattery idea, since Chopin would never have heard the Brahms in order to be flattered (or more likely, not) by it. Or is that what you meant? Sorry, I just didn't get it.

The other idea, that this is about Brahms having some ordinary human motivations driving a composition, at least in part, in opposition to some idealized version of him that would never do such a thing, makes more sense to me, at least as an idea. But shouldn't we get some information about Brahms' character to back that up? From what little I know about him, he seems to have been a pretty unusual human being. I need to read the Swafford biography, I think.

This thread reminded me of a famous anecdote in which a listener, after the premiere of a new Brahms work, remarks to Brahms that there was a resemblance of one of Brahms' themes to a theme of Beethoven's, and Brahms retorted, "Any idiot can see that." And it occurred to me that even if Brahms hadn't noticed the resemblance himself until that very moment that someone else pointed it out to him, he still might have pretended that it was totally obvious. At any rate, I've read that he was well-known for his unremittingly sharp and disparaging tongue (sort of like some other composers - what is it about them, anyway?).

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#404532 - 03/09/08 11:59 AM Re: Hey Chopin, I'm better than you.
tomasino Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/24/05
Posts: 2039
Loc: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally posted by tomasino:

Sam's question . . . "is about the nature of flattery: what complex of emotions and private thoughts are we experiencing when we compliment our mother-in-law on her new dress?"

wr's response to Tomasino:

"I'm not following you on the flattery idea, since Chopin would never have heard the Brahms in order to be flattered . . ."

Here's a little rewrite: "What complex of emotions and private thoughts are we experiencing when we eulogize our mother-in-law lying dead in her casket?"

Tomasino
_________________________
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do so with all thy might." Ecclesiastes 9:10


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