classical music, and musicians. Composers, etc.



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  • classical music, and musicians. Composers, etc.

    I need some details on some "controversial" composers, or their work. Possibly, a controversial meanign behind the music? Mozart, Beethoven, anyone help me out here?

  • #2
    Wagner was a notorious bigot (I think the story is he would wear white gloves and throw them out after conducting something composed by a Jew). And if memory serves, his marriage was like something out of Poe. Or maybe that was Mahler. Or both.

    Look Up Alma Mahler...And Her Obituary Song By Tom Lehrer


    • #3
      Mozart, as a Freemason, included "coded" references to the Masonic ritual in a few of his pieces (notably his opera "The Magic Flute"). The opeaning bar of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (dah-dah-dah-dum) was, in WWII, recognized as a sign of victory, the three dashes and a dot of Morse code being a "V", like Churchill's famous two-fingered salute.

      Controversy in terms of how the music is perceived really begins with Beethoven, whose later works (piano sonatas, string quartets, etc.), struck audiences as being atonal and arhythmic.

      In the 20th century, composers such as Schoenberg, Berg and Webern have been controversial in their use of the 12-tone row. Though there is great beauty in their music, you need to listen again and again to understand how it comes across.

      Perhaps the most controversial and fascinating piece of concert music is John Cage's "4'33"" (i.e. "four minutes, thirty-three seconds"), in which a pianist steps out onto the stage, sits at his instrument and, for four minutes and thirty-three seconds, does nothing. The audience "gets" it after a minute or so--that what they're listening to, what they're paying deep attention to, is the sound of silence and of the sounds of themselves against it. Here's something to read about it:"4'33"".


      • #4
        What are words that start with C?

        A Day in the Life of a Musician
        Erik Satie

        An artist must regulate his life.

        Here is a time-table of my daily acts. I rise at 7.18; am inspired from 10.23 to 11.47. I lunch at 12.11 and leave the table at 12.14. A healthy ride on horse-back round my domain follows from 1.19 pm to 2.53 pm. Another bout of inspiration from 3.12 to 4.7 pm. From 5 to 6.47 pm various occupations (fencing, reflection, immobility, visits, contemplation, dexterity, natation, etc.)

        Dinner is served at 7.16 and finished at 7.20 pm. From 8.9 to 9.59 pm symphonic readings (out loud). I go to bed regularly at 10.37 pm. Once a week (on Tuesdays) I awake with a start at 3.14 am.

        My only nourishment consists of food that is white: eggs, sugar, shredded bones, the fat of dead animals, veal, salt, coco-nuts, chicken cooked in white water, mouldy fruit, rice, turnips, sausages in camphor, pastry, cheese (white varieties), cotton salad, and certain kinds of fish (without their skin). I boil my wine and drink it cold mixed with the juice of the Fuschia. I have a good appetite but never talk when eating for fear of strangling myself.

        I breathe carefully (a little at a time) and dance very rarely. When walking I hold my ribs and look steadily behind me.

        My expression is very serious; when I laugh it is unintentional, and I always apologise very politely.

        I sleep with only one eye closed, very profoundly. My bed is round with a hole in it for my head to go through. Every hour a servant takes my temperature and gives me another.


        Take a gander at Satie but don't stare too long.


        Tell me why you are looking for controversy in composers' lives and or their compositions.
        "When you want to fool the world, tell the truth."

        -Otto Von Bismarck


        • #5
          Jake's mention of the 4'33" reminds me of the Franz Joseph Hayden symphony (BTW he wrote something like 104 symphonies -- compare that to 41 for Mozart and 9 for Beethoven) where it begins with a full orchestra and little by little, as the symphony progresses, musicians exit the stage until, finally, you're left with only one musician playing the final notes.

          As for controversy... Robert Schumann went mad hearing the note "A", and I'm not totally certain of this, but following his death I believe his wife married another composer whose name escapes me (BTW his wife, Clara Schumann, was said to be a consummate pianist).
          Just one more reason to get hammered tonight.


          • #6
            I believe Clara never remarried. But she was great friends (unromantically, I believe) with Brahms who liked nothing more than to go to the childhood home of the future philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and play boogie-woogie on their piano. True story.