Does Beethoven need to be "cancelled"?

PeterA

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Mike Lavigne

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are we really giving the light of day to this poppycock?

i suppose i should just go watch football all day. outta here.....
 

Al M.

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From the Vox article:

"If you pretend like there’s no other music out there, that Beethoven is the greatest music that ever will matter,” says McGill, then orchestras will alienate new listeners, since “we’re not promoting any of the composers alive today that are trying to become the Beethovens of their day.”

I agree. I have always been in favor of listening to New Music. It also seems that New Music can be attractive to young listeners. In late 2004 there was a concert at the Boston Symphony featuring Elliott Carter's modernist Symphonia, and Beethoven's Eroica symphony. A person in our group spoke with one young listener who expressed a clear preference for the modern work. A young lady (about 25 years old), who once sat next to me during last year's Stockhausen festival of his opera cycle Licht (Light), said with the deep enthusiasm after one extreme avantgarde electronic piece, which I thought would be really an acquired taste, that all the music that she had heard during the festival was "a miracle".

Of course, these are just anecdotes. However, I can also confidently report that the most attentive, least coughing, least noise interrupting audiences that I have experienced consistently were in concerts of modern classical avantgarde music.

Nothing against Beethoven -- I love to regularly return to his music, recently with his Choral Fantasy -- but there is other music out there too.

Certainly, the modern large orchestra is by nature, by its makeup of players, slanted towards the 19th century repertoire.

I wish I would not just hear more modern music in the concert hall, but also more other older music like Haydn, for example. What a genius composer who deserves to be much more widely played and heard.
 
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PeterA

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I agree with you Mike that it seems like “poppycock”, especially as I sit here listening to my new “Young Beethoven” by the Janaki string trio LP this morning. I was really just more curious if anyone else had stumbled upon this idea.

To me, it will seem laughable and ludicrous until it is canceled from the curriculum.
 

spiritofmusic

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Not to worry...the musical scholars of the future will be revering Stormzy and Billy Eilish as "the new classical". Beethoven? Just some deaf German, apparently.
 

PeterA

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I wish I would not just hear more modern music in the concert hall, but also more other older music like Haydn, for example. What a genius composer who deserves to be much more widely played and heard.

Al, I don’t think anyone’s pretending there’s no other music beyond Beethoven. I would certainly add Bach and Brahms.

Seriously, I listened to Hayden’s “Harmoniemesse” on Argo last night. It is excellent. You would enjoy it. And Billie Eilish does the new James Bond theme song, so it is all good.
 

Al M.

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To me, it will seem laughable and ludicrous until it is canceled from the curriculum.

Really? That won't happen. You remember the fantastic performance of Beethoven's Second Symphony by the young student orchestra at Jordan Hall (New England Conservatory) in Boston last year? One of the most glorious musical experiences of my life.
 
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PeterA

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Really? That won't happen. You remember the fantastic performance of Beethoven's Second Symphony by the young student orchestra at Jordan Hall (New England Conservatory) in Boston last year? One of the most glorious musical experiences of my life.

I do remember that. That was fantastic. I’m more concerned with the teaching curriculum not the playing repertoire. Vincent Scully, esteemed art historian at Yale University taught a European art history survey course for generations. It was canceled last year for reasons similar to those outlined in the article in the OP. His course and his teachings were canceled much to the dismay of his students and generations of alumni who took the course. It’s just an example which people can certainly ignore.
 

spiritofmusic

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Al, I don’t think anyone’s pretending there’s no other music beyond Beethoven. I would certainly add Bach and Brahms.

Seriously, I listened to Hayden’s “Harmoniemesse” on Argo last night. It is excellent. You would enjoy it. And Billie Eilish does the new James Bond theme song, so it is all good.
Well, it still hasn't been released, this delay the final push along with Covid to shut down the main UK-wide cinema chain for good. I can wait forever to hear Billie drone on, but it's a crying shame for everyone associated with the UK cinema industry.
 

jeffrey_t

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I read about this on another forum and did a search to learn more. I thought it was some kind of joke. I really do not know what to say. Vincent Scully's famous European Art survey course at Yale University was also recently cancelled.

https://www.vox.com/switched-on-pop/21437085/beethoven-5th-symphony-elitist-classism-switched-on-pop

https://www.classicfm.com/composers/beethoven/composer-cancelled-fifth-symphony-elitist-vox-debate/

After reading this article Peter, I come to a completely different conclusion. I don't see how this article is about "wokeness" or "cancel culture" running amuck, I see it as explanation of why classical music is different from every type of music played in the United States (jazz, folk, country, rock, hip-hop, etc) where you have to sit absolutely still and silent. It does seem to keep away a diverse audience, as with the attendees of Walt Disney Hall where the crowd is 65+.

One of my favorite movies is Amadeus. I always found it interesting that the depiction of the crowds at the performances was much more raucous and rowdy than the classic performances of today. Now I know why.
 
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Al M.

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After reading this article Peter, I come to a completely different conclusion. I don't see how this article is about "wokeness" or "cancel culture" running amuck, I see it as explanation of why classical music is different from every type of music played in the United States (jazz, folk, country, rock, hip-hop, etc) where you have to sit absolutely still and silent. It does seem to keep away a diverse audience, as with the attendees of Walt Disney Hall where the crowd is 65+.

One of my favorite movies is Amadeus. I always found it interesting that the depiction of the crowds at the performances was much more raucous and rowdy than the classic performances of today. Now I know why.

There may be a musical explanation though for why audiences should be silent during classical performances. While jazz lives from improvisation and the energy from the audience can actually heighten performance, audience reaction during a classical performance might prove distracting to the musicians.
 
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wil

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Why anyone would criticize the convention of silence during a musical performance is ridiculous.
 

Joe Whip

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I have been to more jazz shows than I can count. Most audiences are there to listen and are respectful . Some just talk, talk, talk. I am not there to hear their banal conversations. I am polite about it but have heard others who weren’t so nice. One night in Birdland, one person was drunk and was so obnoxious, I thought one of the patrons was going to slug them. The show was stopped and they were escorted out. Have only seen this once, but tons of shushes.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Just don't take any photos at a King Crimson gig. Robert Fripp will stop proceedings, and you will be ejected.
 

tima

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I agree with you Mike that it seems like “poppycock”, especially as I sit here listening to my new “Young Beethoven” by the Janaki string trio LP this morning. I was really just more curious if anyone else had stumbled upon this idea.
...

Classical music has been on tenuous financial ground ever since it stopped being subsidized by once major record labels. GWGB. Start defunding small local orchestras may be all it takes... or censoring this thread. Hits too close to home. /rantoff

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...y-positive-feedback.31367/page-25#post-678078

(WBF url insert cannot handle the string lengths of it's own urls!)
 
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Ron Resnick

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Dear Members,

I have re-opened this thread -- at the risk it will devolve once again into politics. Please tailor your posts thoughtfully and closely to the specific subject of the opening post, and to Beethoven's music.

This means, without limitation, no discussion of the comparative accuracy of news organizations (Jeffrey_T), the "cancelation" of historical figures and statue pull-downs (Tima and Jeffrey_T), or complaints about an exaggeration of cultural change in America today (Al M), etc.

And please don't discuss political issues implicitly or through proxies or analogies to the opening topic.

Thank you.
 
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Al M.

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Ron, posts # 16 and especially #17 clearly devolved into politics -- and you let them stand. You should delete them too.

The original thread title was not particularly helpful either; it is good that it has been adjusted. Please note that in my first post #3 I chose to ignore it and its implications, and instead turned to more worthwhile things. Until things later went south.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Ron, posts # 16 and especially #17 clearly devolved into politics -- and you let them stand. You should delete them too.

The original thread title was not particularly helpful either; it is good that it has been adjusted. Please note that in my first post #3 I chose to ignore it and its implications, and instead turned to more worthwhile things. Until things later went south.

I deleted original post number #16, and I deleted the political part of Tima's post.
 
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Al M.

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