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  • 1 month later...

I did just by chance, hear a works by American composer--Elliott Carter called,Symphonia: sum fluxae pretium spei--which is about a "airborne bubble, bouncing around". It seemed to me, a very good example of a piece of music that was difficult to related to any of the usual kinds of motivating elements in music composition(race, country, religion, picture, etc) and creation. I'm sure there:eek_big: are other music works and composers. I thought it was interesting example.

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  • 3 months later...

If I might proffer an opinion, I would say that while what you say in your first post is partially true, in that all composers are influenced by the music they hear and play in their youth (Gustav Mahler springs to mind as a good example), and this effect was much more marked before the twentieth century - i.e. before the recording process was developed - the mark of a 'good' composer lies in the way they absorb outside influences, process them, and then compose their own music in a way that is notably individual. Take Gustav Holst, for example: an English composer (despite his name - it started off as von Holst, but he decided to drop the 'von' in the First World War) who in his youth fell under the spell of Richard Wagner's music, as did so many others. As a result, he wrote imitation Wagner, of which his early opera Sita is an example. But in his mature music, the impression is that only Holst could have written it. The Planets is the obvious example but his chamber opera Sāvitri shows it better, in my opinion.

An anecdote I heard many years ago relates how someone, after hearing Sibelius's Symphony no 6, asked the composer if he'd been studying Palestrina's music while composing it. The response was apparently not pretty to hear, but he eventually conceded that he had. Elgar was another who didn't appreciate being told that his music sounded like anybody else's; I think it was the lady who appears as 'Dorabella' in his Variations on an Original Theme (Enigma) who was reported as getting her head bitten off on more than one occasion (you'd think she'd have learnt from the first time!).

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Well... I think it would be more correct to say that there were rumours of an Eighth Symphony for donkey's years, but nothing surfaced from Sibelius for the last forty years of his life; if I remember correctly, he published Tapiola in about 1928 and then fell silent until his death in 1957.

 

I would certainly agree with you that especially in his programmatic works, his evocation of dramatic episodes (mostly from the Finnish epic, the Kalevala) can be breathtaking. I would give as examples The Return of Lemminkainen, where he derives every motif from the first three basson notes(!), and The Swan of Tuonela, where his string writing is little short of miraculous. Someone once commented that his writing wasn't orchestrated; it grew on the orchestra.

 

In my opinion his symphonies are rather less Norse, as you put it. The decidedly odd no. 4 is probably my favourite amongst them.

 

A curiosity about Sibelius which I've just remembered is that some of the works he published - piano works, mostly (again if I remember correctly) - are quite trivial and show not a trace of his genius. I've played one or two of them in years past and they made no impression on me whatsoever.

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Is there some composer that breaks that trend--that is, composes without any racial country etc. directions or couldn't this be possible?:doh:

 

The ones you mention had reasons to write traditional music for a living, yet had the imagination to expand vastly upon the repertory and styles available.

 

Many (most?) classical composers had to lean on market demands to make money.

 

Today times are different and composers are more free to listen to other influences - and it is probably difficult to avoid being inspired by other cultures etc in the modern world.

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The ones you mention had reasons to write traditional music for a living, yet had the imagination to expand vastly upon the repertory and styles available.
Partially true. But Mozart himself failed to make a living out of freelance writing. I know this because when he was my age, he'd been dead for some years

 

 

Many (most?) classical composers had to lean on market demands to make money.
"No fool ever wrote, except for money." (Dr. Samuel Johnson)

 

 

Today times are different and composers are more free to listen to other influences - and it is probably difficult to avoid being inspired by other cultures etc in the modern world.
More likely impossible - though I myself have never been able to get under the skin of anything that doesn't involve equal temperament. Indian music, for example. God knows I've tried.
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Partially true. But Mozart himself failed to make a living out of freelance writing. I know this because when he was my age, he'd been dead for some years.

 

Mozart lived most of his life on income from touring, performances, and freelance work, and eventually he did quite well before he got sick. He died from illness (possibly rheumatic fever).

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That is a very interesting idea that I didn't think about and it does make sense. Even Beethovan in his 9th, turned to a "religious" motif even though he would not have had to do so for any other reason than a personal, inner expression. I'm not sure that Beethovan was related to any religion but with his great musical creations, he was certainly spiritual. I could be wrong.:doh:

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Searching the internet I was somewhat surprised to find a large number of well known composers that were not of a "religious nature" although I not sure how these websites could fully determine that. It is kind of interesting. see--

 

It is interesting, but I'm skeptical as well.

 

Bach is a shining example of the Church's clutch on music. As far as I can tell, Bach did not really fight the church, but rather embraced it. His songs embrace spirituality.

 

During the "scientific revolution" period, I would not be surprised to know of the composers' true beliefs (or their rebellion against prevalent beliefs). Today, it's a moot issue.

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...Bach is a shining example of the Church's clutch on music...

Which Church/church do you have in mind, may I ask? I don't think that statement has any meaning.

...As far as I can tell, Bach did not really fight the church, but rather embraced it. His songs embrace spirituality...

Which 'songs' do you have in mind, may I ask? J.S. Bach wrote cantatas, motets, masses, a Magnificat, Passions, oratorios, chorales, organ works, keyboard works, orchestral music, instrumental music and Die Kunst der Fuge.

 

Songs (whether Lieder or Gesänge, if you speak German) don't feature in his output.

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Which Church/church do you have in mind, may I ask? I don't think that statement has any meaning.

 

The Lutheran Church:

Bach’s musical style arose from his extraordinary fluency in contrapuntal invention and motivic control, his flair for improvisation at the keyboard, his exposure to South German, North German, Italian and French music, and his apparent devotion to the Lutheran liturgy.

 

Which 'songs' do you have in mind, may I ask? J.S. Bach wrote cantatas, motets, masses, a Magnificat, Passions, oratorios, chorales, organ works, keyboard works, orchestral music, instrumental music and Die Kunst der Fuge.

 

Songs (whether Lieder or Gesänge, if you speak German) don't feature in his output.

 

I didn't have any particular songs in mind, but I know he wrote a slew of songs for the Lutheran Church, like cantatas for example.

 

What do you mean by "songs don't feature in his output"?

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The Lutheran Church

Then why refer to it as 'the' Church (or church)?

I didn't have any particular songs in mind, but I know he wrote a slew of songs for the Lutheran Church, like cantatas for example.

 

What do you mean by "songs don't feature in his output"?

 

I mean 'He didn't write any.' As I attempted to point out, a 'song' (translated by the words 'Lied' and 'Gesang' in German) is not a motet, a cantata, nor any of the other categories I mentioned.

 

My apologies for not making myself clear enough.

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Then why refer to it as 'the' Church (or church)?

 

Was there another church in Germany at the time?

 

Bach wrote an enormous amount of church music, including the full liturgy cycle (masses etc for the four-year church cycle). Its difficult to argue that the chuch did not have a huge impact on Bach's work.

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