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Chaszz
03-25-2001, 01:16 AM
Originally posted by Chris:
While I love Mozart's music very much, I very definitely see Beethoven as the superior composer. To me it seems that Beethoven never wrote a single note that wasn't carefully considered and absolutely perfect in its place. Mozart on the other hand, had quite a bit of stuff that was just kind of thrown out there, without much care, or so it seems to my ears. Sometimes when I am listening to Mozart, I think to myself, "How wonderful it would have been if he had done this instead." But with Beethoven, every bit of potential seems painstakingly squeezed from the material, making each individual work a true labor of love. That, to me, is the difference.

Pianist Alfred Brendel, one of the more intelligently articulate musicians, discusses Mozart and Beethoven:
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15736

Relative to the above quote by Chris, Brendel points out that Mozart, Haydn and J.S. Bach all had many pots cooking on the stove at one time, to strict deadlines, and therefore may have let some mediocre movements slip by into their ouvres. Whereas although Beethoven also was usually juggling works (and publishers), he was perhaps more self-consciously an Artist with a capital A than the others, and took care to let NOTHING in that was not of first quality. Unlike Bach and Haydn, he was his own boss and could set his own schedule. Although Mozart was also his own boss, his career was a frantic and pathetic search for ever more commissions.

yenl
09-30-2002, 11:11 PM
Well someone said Mozart's music cannot measure up to Beethoven's, and while she stated that she did not want to start an argument, I want to also state my own personal opinion: Mozart to me is the greatest composer who ever walked the face of this earth, and Beethoven simply cannot compare. I tried and tried to listen to Beethoven's chamber music, and I have to return quickly to Mozart's much more compelling works. Those of you who prefer Beethoven at least need to consider the fact that Mozart's life was cut short, what towering works would he have provided later generations with, had he lived to the ripe old age of 57 (I believe Beethoven was 57 when he died)?

Yen

Chaszz
09-30-2002, 11:38 PM
Originally posted by yenl:
Well someone said Mozart's music cannot measure up to Beethoven's, and while she stated that she did not want to start an argument, I want to also state my own personal opinion: Mozart to me is the greatest composer who ever walked the face of this earth, and Beethoven simply cannot compare. I tried and tried to listen to Beethoven's chamber music, and I have to return quickly to Mozart's much more compelling works. Those of you who prefer Beethoven at least need to consider the fact that Mozart's life was cut short, what towering works would he have provided later generations with, had he lived to the ripe old age of 57 (I believe Beethoven was 57 when he died)?

Yen

I find most of Mozart's works somewhat lacking also, with some wonderful exceptions. To me this message is testimony to what I've been trying to say on the Handel vs. Bach thread, which is that composers reach different people to different extents. I don't believe a truly objective ranking can be made.

Chris
10-01-2002, 12:23 AM
While I love Mozart's music very much, I very definitely see Beethoven as the superior composer. To me it seems that Beethoven never wrote a single note that wasn't carefully considered and absolutely perfect in its place. Mozart on the other hand, had quite a bit of stuff that was just kind of thrown out there, without much care, or so it seems to my ears. Sometimes when I am listening to Mozart, I think to myself, "How wonderful it would have been if he had done this instead." But with Beethoven, every bit of potential seems painstakingly squeezed from the material, making each individual work a true labor of love. That, to me, is the difference.

Chris
10-01-2002, 08:03 AM
Bump to account for time bug.

Oh, and I know Brendel - I like his work very much.

Rod
10-01-2002, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
While I love Mozart's music very much, I very definitely see Beethoven as the superior composer. To me it seems that Beethoven never wrote a single note that wasn't carefully considered and absolutely perfect in its place. Mozart on the other hand, had quite a bit of stuff that was just kind of thrown out there, without much care, or so it seems to my ears. Sometimes when I am listening to Mozart, I think to myself, "How wonderful it would have been if he had done this instead." But with Beethoven, every bit of potential seems painstakingly squeezed from the material, making each individual work a true labor of love. That, to me, is the difference.

Well said Chris.



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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Rod
10-01-2002, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
Bump to account for time bug.

Oh, and I know Brendel - I like his work very much.

Not so well said Chris.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Chris
10-01-2002, 06:52 PM
Thanks. Or shut up. Or something.

Chaszz
10-01-2002, 07:30 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Not so well said Chris.



I like Brendel's playing also.

Rod, who would YOU recommend for the Beethoven piano sonatas (or should I say pianoforte sonatas)?

Rod
10-01-2002, 07:43 PM
Originally posted by yenl:
Well someone said Mozart's music cannot measure up to Beethoven's, and while she stated that she did not want to start an argument, I want to also state my own personal opinion: Mozart to me is the greatest composer who ever walked the face of this earth, and Beethoven simply cannot compare. I tried and tried to listen to Beethoven's chamber music, and I have to return quickly to Mozart's much more compelling works. Those of you who prefer Beethoven at least need to consider the fact that Mozart's life was cut short, what towering works would he have provided later generations with, had he lived to the ripe old age of 57 (I believe Beethoven was 57 when he died)?

Yen

I ask you to consider Beethovens compositions up to the age of Mozart's death - I think Beethoven's concept of the sonata and other chamber music was way ahead of Mozart's or anybodies during this time - the quality of the ideas and the disciplined manner of their application within the framework of sonata form. I can say the same for the Symphony and Concerto too. I've often talked about Beethoven's quintet for piano and winds (op16), which is regularly compared with Mozart's by the critics, always to Beethoven's disadvantage. Yet I hear both compositions on both modern and period instruments and I simply cannot accept this position from the establishment. I suggest it is Beethoven's that is the superior work.

That being said, I have also often said that Beethoven is the worst performed composer of them all. He was by nature the most 'con brio' of composers, yet usually what we hear is slothfull and dull, I presume resulting from the performers/conductors spending too much time with late Romantic music. But this is not Beethoven's fault!


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

[This message has been edited by Rod (edited October 01, 2002).]

Joy
10-01-2002, 09:46 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
I ask you to consider Beethovens compositions up to the age of Mozart's death - I think Beethoven's concept of the sonata and other chamber music was way ahead of Mozart's or anybodies during this time - the quality of the ideas and the disciplined manner of their application within the framework of sonata form. I can say the same for the Symphony and Concerto too. I've often talked about Beethoven's quintet for piano and winds (op16), which is regularly compared with Mozart's by the critics, always to Beethoven's disadvantage. Yet I hear both compositions on both modern and period instruments and I simply cannot accept this position from the establishment. I suggest it is Beethoven's that is the superior work.



Well said, Rod!

Joy
10-01-2002, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
I like Brendel's playing also.



So do I. I have some CD's of him playing Beethoven's 'Pathetique' & 'Appassioniata'.
Very good indeed!

SR
10-02-2002, 07:25 AM
Really a pointless discussion. Both composers were great masters and if you find B or M more appealing to you fine, but don't get your opinion confused with fact. Both men are doubtless in the top 5, that is all that matters to me. BTW which is the better color yellow or blue ?

Steve

Chris
10-02-2002, 11:54 AM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
I like Brendel's playing also.

Rod, who would YOU recommend for the Beethoven piano sonatas (or should I say pianoforte sonatas)?



I believe Rod's choice for the best complete set is Badura-Skoda. A while ago they had his complete sonatas available for download at http://www.mp3.com but I'm not sure if they are still available. Worth checking out.

Peter
10-02-2002, 02:13 PM
Originally posted by SR:
Really a pointless discussion. Both composers were great masters and if you find B or M more appealing to you fine, but don't get your opinion confused with fact. Both men are doubtless in the top 5, that is all that matters to me. BTW which is the better color yellow or blue ?

Steve

I entirely agree! It also applies to the Handel-Bach debate.

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
10-02-2002, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by SR:
Really a pointless discussion. Both composers were great masters and if you find B or M more appealing to you fine, but don't get your opinion confused with fact. Both men are doubtless in the top 5, that is all that matters to me. BTW which is the better color yellow or blue ?

Steve

I'd be interested to know where you think it is in this chain where 'opinions' are in conflict with 'facts'?!

Given that almost all of the well known composers had their 'champions', this discussion is no more low-brow than those held by these famous men.



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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Sorrano
10-02-2002, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by SR:
Really a pointless discussion. Both composers were great masters and if you find B or M more appealing to you fine, but don't get your opinion confused with fact. Both men are doubtless in the top 5, that is all that matters to me. BTW which is the better color yellow or blue ?

Steve


Definately yellow!

Chris
10-03-2002, 12:12 AM
<font color = #0000FF>Nonsense you fools! Blue is clearly the greatest color. Blue owns you all.</font>

SR
10-03-2002, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
I'd be interested to know where you think it is in this chain where 'opinions' are in conflict with 'facts'?!



I didn't mean to imply there were any incorrect facts presented. What I do mean is that preference for Mozart or Beethoven
does not qualify as making him "the best" I see that confusion from time to time here, as I also see it on Mozart oriented sites. If you don't like Mozart that doesn't make him a bad composer. I don't like Haydn in general, but I trust that he is a great composer, as many knowledgeable people do love him, and some of his works I also find quite appealing. I find statements that Mozart is clearly better, or vice versa to be quite unprovable, but they do speak quite clearly to the lack of understanding of the poster.

Regards

Steve

Rod
10-03-2002, 06:41 PM
Originally posted by SR:
....but they do speak quite clearly to the lack of understanding of the poster.

Regards

Steve

Tell that to Beethoven!


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Sorrano
10-03-2002, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by SR:
I didn't mean to imply there were any incorrect facts presented. What I do mean is that preference for Mozart or Beethoven
does not qualify as making him "the best" I see that confusion from time to time here, as I also see it on Mozart oriented sites. If you don't like Mozart that doesn't make him a bad composer. I don't like Haydn in general, but I trust that he is a great composer, as many knowledgeable people do love him, and some of his works I also find quite appealing. I find statements that Mozart is clearly better, or vice versa to be quite unprovable, but they do speak quite clearly to the lack of understanding of the poster.

Regards

Steve


Certainly, personal opinion does not really contribute to such a discussion. When one does look at the output of both composers one can determine who's music is better constructed, which composer makes best use of materials (themes, harmonies, etc.), which composer had the greater influence on posterity in terms of subsequent compositional trends as well as longevity for personal appeal, as well as other criteria.

Rod
10-03-2002, 09:23 PM
Originally posted by Sorrano:

Certainly, personal opinion does not really contribute to such a discussion. When one does look at the output of both composers one can determine who's music is better constructed, which composer makes best use of materials (themes, harmonies, etc.), which composer had the greater influence on posterity in terms of subsequent compositional trends as well as longevity for personal appeal, as well as other criteria.



Explain why so much Beethoven is never performed or rarely even recorded, when so much other drivel from the world of classical music is? There is a critical lack of discernment from those concerned with this genre of music. As far as I am concerned a considerable proportion of this music is barely worth the paper its written on.


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

SR
10-03-2002, 09:36 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Tell that to Beethoven!




Please explain how that is a response.

Steve

Susie Pratt
10-04-2002, 01:17 AM
Hey Yenl, it must be lonely to be a Mozart fan in this the Beethoven territory... I too love Mozart and prefer him to any other composer. He's the King of Melodies, that's all I want to say.

Rod
10-04-2002, 01:19 AM
Originally posted by SR:
Please explain how that is a response.

Steve

Beethoven himself in later life stated on various occasions that Handel was the greatest composer, on two of these he makes this judgement directly in comparison with Mozart, and of all the baroque composers only Handel and JS Bach were any good.

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

SR
10-04-2002, 02:11 AM
Originally posted by Rod:
Beethoven himself in later life stated on various occasions that Handel was the greatest composer, on two of these he makes this judgement directly in comparison with Mozart, and of all the baroque composers only Handel and JS Bach were any good.



Then Mozart and Beethoven would have been in agreement about Handel. Mozart did arangements of Handels Messiah, Acis and Galetea, Judas Macaebus. He had nothing but praise for Handel. I also am aware os a Beethoven quote re: Mozart. Beethoven carried a copy of one of the Mozart piano concertos (#20 k466 I think). Schindler reported that Beethoven had said "We will never be able to write music like this". Well, Beethoven was incorrect in my opinion because he did write music as good.

I have things about Beethoven I prefer over Mozart. I have Mozartian pieces that exceed Beethoven. I can't pick a "champ" If you think you can thats great, for you. Another earlier poster made reference to the fact that subjective issues can't be resolved but that somehow it is possible to decide who made BETTER use of melody or harmony. Please define BETTER.

So what do you think is yellow or blue the BEST color ?


Regards

Steve

Chaszz
10-04-2002, 03:06 AM
Originally posted by SR:
I have things about Beethoven I prefer over Mozart. I have Mozartian pieces that exceed Beethoven. I can't pick a "champ" If you think you can thats great, for you. Another earlier poster made reference to the fact that subjective issues can't be resolved but that somehow it is possible to decide who made BETTER use of melody or harmony. Please define BETTER.

So what do you think is yellow or blue the BEST color ?


Regards

Steve



I agree, Steve. There is a lot of subjectivity involved in these judgments, and different people hear the same composer differently. When a composer makes it into the standard repertory, than posterity has spoken; but posterity is just a great many subjective judgments that happen to more or less agree. I don't believe there are valid objective standards for judging a work that allow it to be ranked, or admitted or excluded. Those standards exist to be broken, as Beethoven did many times.

Chaszz
10-04-2002, 03:32 AM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
I agree, Steve. There is a lot of subjectivity involved in these judgments, and different people hear the same composer differently. When a composer makes it into the standard repertory, than posterity has spoken; but posterity is just a great many subjective judgments that happen to more or less agree. I don't believe there are valid objective standards for judging a work that allow it to be ranked, or admitted or excluded. Those standards exist to be broken, as Beethoven did many times.



I'm responding to myself here, since there's something I'd like to add to what I said just above. Here's a quote from a commentary on Wagner's Tannhauser, which I think says a lot:

"That salvation theme that begins and ends the opera at different intensities is a simple progression of quarter, half and triple notes in three-quarter time. What makes it so potent that one can still be stirred at the five hundredth hearing?... The mystery of music must transcend explanation."

This is true, and I think more awareness of music's mystery would temper the tendency of several writers on this site to reduce it to comparisons of an absolute nature, and of each to think of his own subjective opinion as a sort of scientific truth.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rod
10-04-2002, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chaszz:
[b]
This is true, and I think more awareness of music's mystery would temper the tendency of several writers on this site to reduce it to comparisons of an absolute nature, and of each to think of his own subjective opinion as a sort of scientific truth.



Several writers...? It seems to this writer that the status quo is worthy of contradiction. It is only through a more polarised and focussed frame of thought that any progress can be made. And anyway, blanket statements like 'oh I like all composers' make for poor conversation. Which is why most CM bulletin boards, other than this one, are utterly tedious.

I agree that music is to a degree a 'mystery' that should not be pigeon-holed into fanciful poetic picture painting that writers often attempt to do. Rather, comments should be restricted where possible to general analysis of form and content, and nothing more. Music is music. If I want romantic drivel I can read a Mills & Boon novel!


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin


[This message has been edited by Rod (edited October 04, 2002).]

Chaszz
10-04-2002, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by Rod:

I agree that music is to a degree a 'mystery' that should not be pigeon-holed into fanciful poetic picture painting that writers often attempt to do. Rather, comments should be restricted where possible to general analysis of form and content, and nothing more. Music is music. If I want romantic drivel I can read a Mills & Boon novel!



If one person thinks a melody is beautiful and full of life, and another cannot hear anything much in it, no analysis of form and content will clarify this mystery. And this emotional reaction is the reason people bother to listen to music.

And what to you is romantic drivel may be the first person attempting to describe the ineffable feelings that the music gives him, in the only way he knows how or can attempt. Surely saying that 'the change in the second development section, where the subdominant is used instead of the relative minor,
is very original', communicates to the other person an even worse idea of what the listener is experiencing.

Rod
10-04-2002, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
If one person thinks a melody is beautiful and full of life, and another cannot hear anything much in it, no analysis of form and content will clarify this mystery. And this emotional reaction is the reason people bother to listen to music.

And what to you is romantic drivel may be the first person attempting to describe the ineffable feelings that the music gives him, in the only way he knows how or can attempt. Surely saying that 'the change in the second development section, where the subdominant is used instead of the relative minor,
is very original', communicates to the other person an even worse idea of what the listener is experiencing.

My point was that no attempt should be made to try and explain in any detail the aesthetic qualities of the piece, other than its general form and nature. People too often attempt to ascribe a 'programme' or hidden meaning to an instrumental piece. This is not to be recommended. By applying romantic drivel you take away the music's 'independance' as pure music.



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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Sorrano
10-04-2002, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Explain why so much Beethoven is never performed or rarely even recorded, when so much other drivel from the world of classical music is? There is a critical lack of discernment from those concerned with this genre of music. As far as I am concerned a considerable proportion of this music is barely worth the paper its written on.





Popularity and greatness do NOT go hand in hand. How many recordings of the "Moonlight" Sonata are you going to see as opposed to the "Hammerklavier"? Or "Fur Elise" as to the Diabelli Variations. The general populace have a far greater want of general sweetness (marshmallows) than they do of the meat and potatoes. It is beyond me that people prefer Britney Spears to Beethoven's String Quartets.

Sorrano
10-04-2002, 08:42 PM
Originally posted by Chaszz:

And what to you is romantic drivel may be the first person attempting to describe the ineffable feelings that the music gives him, in the only way he knows how or can attempt. Surely saying that 'the change in the second development section, where the subdominant is used instead of the relative minor,
is very original', communicates to the other person an even worse idea of what the listener is experiencing.

And there are those who delight in that very 'original' treatment of materials sometimes even more so than the overall sound of the composition. I myself enjoy following the various developmental techniques that composers employ to enhance their music. It is as fascinating to me as any other method of enjoyment I could utilize.

Chaszz
10-04-2002, 10:39 PM
Originally posted by Sorrano:

Popularity and greatness do NOT go hand in hand. How many recordings of the "Moonlight" Sonata are you going to see as opposed to the "Hammerklavier"? Or "Fur Elise" as to the Diabelli Variations. The general populace have a far greater want of general sweetness (marshmallows) than they do of the meat and potatoes. It is beyond me that people prefer Britney Spears to Beethoven's String Quartets.

Very true, but is the Moonlight Sonata a good example? Forget the sweet first movement; the third movement, with its headlong rhythm and complex cascades of chords and notes, is to me one of the most astonishing things Beethoven ever wrote. I know this isn't why the sonata is so popular, but still, how great!

SR
10-04-2002, 11:55 PM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
If one person thinks a melody is beautiful and full of life, and another cannot hear anything much in it, no analysis of form and content will clarify this mystery. And this emotional reaction is the reason people bother to listen to music.



Very true. I also find my frame of mind at any given time varies. Some times I want Beethoven, sometimes I want Mozart. Sometimes I want Stravinsky.

Many times I have heard music that did not grab me and I have dismissed it as not top quality work. On a later hearing when my mood is different or more receptive I find the very same "cold" piece to be full of beauty. I am astonished that I could have not noticed the first time. Nothing changed but me.


Steve

Chaszz
10-05-2002, 12:24 AM
Originally posted by SR:
Very true. I also find my frame of mind at any given time varies. Some times I want Beethoven, sometimes I want Mozart. Sometimes I want Stravinsky.

Many times I have heard music that did not grab me and I have dismissed it as not top quality work. On a later hearing when my mood is different or more receptive I find the very same "cold" piece to be full of beauty. I am astonished that I could have not noticed the first time. Nothing changed but me.


Steve




This is very well said and true.

It reminds of a scene in the novel 'The Last Gentleman' by Walker Percy. A man is in a museum and can feel nothing for the artworks. Suddenly a huge skylight crashes to the floor and shatters. The man is surprised and unhurt, and then further surprised to find that the Velazquez paintings have suddenly come alive for him and are beautiful.

Joy
10-05-2002, 06:59 AM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
Very true, but is the Moonlight Sonata a good example? Forget the sweet first movement; the third movement, with its headlong rhythm and complex cascades of chords and notes, is to me one of the most astonishing things Beethoven ever wrote. I know this isn't why the sonata is so popular, but still, how great!



So true. I'm lucky that my classical station always plays all the movements in a piece and never plays just one. I know some radio stations that have a habit of playing one movement alone all the time. I bet many people know The Moonlight first movement but would never recognize the third movement or even know that it is part of The Moonlight. I agree with you about the third movement, an absolutely brillant piece.

Joy
10-05-2002, 07:01 AM
Originally posted by SR:

Many times I have heard music that did not grab me and I have dismissed it as not top quality work. On a later hearing when my mood is different or more receptive I find the very same "cold" piece to be full of beauty. I am astonished that I could have not noticed the first time. Nothing changed but me.

Steve

[/B]

So true. That's happened to me on many occasions. It has to be the mood we are in at the time.

Joy

[This message has been edited by Joy (edited October 05, 2002).]

Sorrano
10-05-2002, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by Chaszz:
Very true, but is the Moonlight Sonata a good example? Forget the sweet first movement; the third movement, with its headlong rhythm and complex cascades of chords and notes, is to me one of the most astonishing things Beethoven ever wrote. I know this isn't why the sonata is so popular, but still, how great!




I am agreed with you here. My reference to the "Moonlight" Sonata should, of course, been restricted to the 1st movement. While I consider it nice I enjoy more many of the other slow movements of Beethoven's that are more obscure and shouldn't be.

John Rasmussen
10-06-2002, 11:50 PM
Originally posted by SR:
Really a pointless discussion. Both composers were great masters and if you find B or M more appealing to you fine, but don't get your opinion confused with fact. Both men are doubtless in the top 5, that is all that matters to me. BTW which is the better color yellow or blue ?

Steve

Green! http://www.gyrix.com/ubb/smile.gif

At this level, comparing composers has got to be entirely a matter of preference, like Karajan to Solti, or chateaubriand to filet mignon, or Steinway to Boesendorfer.

[This message has been edited by John Rasmussen (edited October 06, 2002).]