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This 37 message thread spans 3 pages: [1]  2   3  > >  
  question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  denico at 19:41 on 23 May 2007

Hello everyone

I really like much of the music i can listen to on the composers showcases. For example, i am really impressed by Bushra El-Turks music.

Most of the music from the different showcases seems very modern. And i am starting to appreciate this modern classical music.
But there are not many composers here who are writing classical music in the romantic style.I really like the music from composers as Tchaikovsky, de Falla, Albeniz etc. And when i write music, i am influenced by these composers, because i listen to them a lot. So most of the things i write are in this romantic classical style. And when i look at the programms of the symphony orchestra's in Holland, most of the time they play barok, classical or romantic music.

I am however new to composing and did not study music. And i am not an expert of classical music at all.

Why are there only a few composers here who write in this romantic classical style ? Is it just because you are more inspired by modern music ? Or maybe it is not done to compose this old fashioned music ? Or do you think it is to commercial ?
I really dont have a clue where the romantic classical composers are and i really would like to know what you think about this.

By the way , I think it is really great to hear all these audio samples from you, it really inspires me.

Thanks and Kind regards

A starting composer

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  James McFadyen at 21:43 on 23 May 2007

I'm a post-minimalist composer so I write in romantic style.

I do think there is too much pressure on what a score looks like rather than what it sounds like. I am never one to judge a score on its looks, except in terms of technique or scoring for instruments.

I'm inspired by composers like John Adams, Michael Torke, Steve Reich and Stravinsky.

Another composer who has impressed me is Joan Tower. A composer of modern up-to-date music steeped in romantic scoring and drama!

I just bought another CD of Michael Torke entitled 'Overnight Mail' and can't wait 'till it arrives!

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  ruska02 at 14:03 on 24 May 2007

I think you should start asking yourself why none of the great composer of the Austrian- France -German and Itlalian enviroment has never given even the slightest appreciation on new romantic or minimalism. I think the answer is that when a composer has really studied his/her culture and his/her history cannot simply imitate or repeat silly simple sequences. That is all. Do not tell me the audience likes more this than that because usually what more people like is not a sign of artistic valu, may be commercial, but not poetic. Anyway I would also lie to to consider this words o fPierre Boulez "As not you have absorbed the history that comes before you , you certainly do not go very far" or better "do not oper door that are already open"

Roberto Rusconi Composer

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  denico at 15:47 on 24 May 2007

Hello Ruska

thats a fair answer. I did not study music and i am not so familiar with Modern Classical music. I would never say that the old 20th century music is better than modern classical music (because more people like it). But i will also never say that new melodic music is less artistic because it is less complicated and it is something that was done a century ago. I think simplicity is a great thing. Many great things, music, ideas or inventions are very simple. And when someone composes simple melodic melodies, and it comes from his heart, it has as much artistic value as a modern, more complicated piece of music. And it is no problem at all when it is also commercial. That just means that many people enjoy the music, and that's never a bad thing.

But i certainly am going to listen more to modern music. So maybe my composing style will change into a more modern style in the future. But if I will stick to composing 'melodic simple' music, i personally wouldn't care if the modern classical enviroment wouldnt appreciate my music. I personally do not compose music to be appreciated by any classical enviroment, i write music because i want people to enjoy it. But i will certainly take Pierre Boulez' advice and i will try to absorb the classical period from Stravinsky to these days, so i am more aware in which direction the classical music evolved.

Thanks for your advice and kind regards


  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  jujomonk at 16:50 on 24 May 2007

I agree with you, Denico. I am a "romantic" composer in the sense that I believe music is more about emotion than form.

I am an extremely new composer, and all of my musical knowledge revolves around what I listen to and what I study. If I had to pick my favorite composers, I would say the 4 B's: Beethoven, Brahms, Bach, and Berlioz.

But no matter what I listen to or study, I tend to find that I have my own musical database that I can call on, that is from my own creative instincts, and that differs from all of the other composers. Most of the time that I listen to music, I can point out that I would not have written the piece out exactly as it had unfolded but would of branched off on a separate path, and that, in itself, tells me I can differentiate myself from my predecessors, whether romantic or not.

If you cannot write from your heart, as an artist you would fail. If you group yourself up with others, you conform to traditional thoughts. I think that is what a lot of modern music is, a conformation with the "new". It's new and some what exciting, but I think a lot of composers simply conform in the belief that that is what will embolden the future of writing. Sometimes it works, like with Stravinsky, who tore his way through many different sound mediums. But I think he is the exception.

All the great composers seemed like they were doing something new, but I believe that all they did was follow where their creative instincts lead them. They found kindred spirits in their fellow composers, but did not bother to group themselves together as a collective whole. I would rather classify myself as a romantic than anything else because the romantics were all about an individual's tendencies and idiosyncracies, what makes him tick, and what it means to be an artist. Of the 4 B's, Berlioz would be my favorite, simply because his music has such an extreme individualism that it is hard to confuse him with anyone else.

Sorry for my rant, I am kind of idealistic.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  James McFadyen at 18:32 on 24 May 2007

Roll on us romantics!

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  denico at 18:41 on 24 May 2007

let there be..eh.... a new romantic revolution ! :-)

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 01:40 on 25 May 2007

In response to all of this: the composers of the second Viennese school (Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern) considered their music to be romantic, and I agree with them.

As far as why I may not compose in a romantic style, or why many modern composers don't use this style, it may simply be because when searching for their compositional voices, they found that the romantic style simply is not theirs. If it is yours, then it's yours. If that's what your ear is more attracted to, then so be it. Personally, I struggled a long time to find my voice, and now that I've found it, I'm in my stage of extreme exploration.

That's not to say that I don't like the romantics. Hell, sit me down at a piano, and I'll play you all of Chopin's opus 10 etudes and his concerto and some Mazurkas and Nocturnes. I LOVE Chopin, I admire Schumann, I bask in Schubert. I hate Brahms, though. Don't ask me why. Wagner I also REALLY love. Chopin, out of all the romantics, though, has the biggest influence on me, and you can actually hear it in my music if you listen correctly.

Lastly, post minimalism is not "romantic" per se. Also, the term "post-minimalism" is very loaded. Technically, Brian Eno is a "post-minimalist," but his music is generally categorized as "ambient" or "new age." Also, someone like Charlemagne Palestine is technically a "post-minimalist" but... have you heard him strum two pianos with the dampers deactivated?!? Post-minimalism, in its most generally accepted form, may be highly "expressive" music or "emotional" music, but not really romantic.

In my opinion, the most romantic music ever is Berg because it is all encompasing, emotionally. Chopin covers the good and the bad of love and life from one side. Berg covers it from ALL sides - the good, the bad, the ugly, the nasty, the violent, the cute, the sensual, the stuff that one has to tolerate or ignore... Berg, for me, gets it all. Listen to the Lulu suite or Wozzeck, or the op. 1 piano sonata, and you'll understand what I mean.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  dunkinwedd at 01:50 on 04 June 2007

Dear Piargno,

I love you dearly, but to describe Schoenberg as a romantic is just an abuse of language.

If Schoenberg is a romantic, then I'm from the Second Viennese School.


  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 17:28 on 04 June 2007

Awww! I love you too! And I highly recommend listening to Mitsuko Uchida playing Schoenberg's Op. 11 - extremely romantic! (Actually, when I played it, I thought it was really romantic...)

I dunno - the Fuenf Orchesterstuecke are romantic to me. And Schoenberg's early string quartets - come on!!! He really is romantic! Give the guy a chance!

:-) Good times!

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  mattgreenecomposer at 02:27 on 14 June 2007

I am a "romantic" composer if you want to call me that. I also have many pieces that are Jazz and early 20th c. style as well.. I have many pieces on my website with samples you might be interested in. It is more of a piano website though so all the pieces on it are for piano or for piano and another instrument in some way or another.

Romantic music is hard to write, plain and simple. Thats why you don't see many composers writing it today. You have to study to write like Brahms or Chopin etc. and I mean STUDY!. There is no formula to write from, (no 12 tone row, rules of 16th century counterpoint or liturgical text to follow) or what not. The goal is emotion. Plain and simple thats what it is about. Trying to get this across to the listener is every "serious" composers goal. It is highly personal music that encompasses all knowledge of Western music up to that point ie. harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, voicings and form. Once harmony and chords are dismantled voicings of traditional chords, parallel fiflths and harmonic transitions are dismantled. That throws that off the composers Palette. Your left with different sonorities. This requires less knowledge (or even no knowledge) of traditional style music and deals more with texture, timbre of instruments and form. From there it's a whole new ball game. These things are important, but it's less to work with, giving the listener less to hold onto, and that's probably why most people probably don't find it to their liking.


  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 05:07 on 14 June 2007

I really don't mean to start a fight, and I'm sorry if what I said earlier was rude in any way, but Matt - you basically said: "I'm a romantic composer. I work hard because that's what romantic composers do. Modern composers don't work hard - it's easier to write modern music because it's just systems. Any one can do it!"

If this is what you're implying, then I must tell you this. I was young once and thought this. Then I started to play non-romantic, "modern music" and study it, only to find out I was dead wrong. It is very possible to be aware of counterpoint and voicings when writing a 12-tone piece or other atonal pieces. This is a very big reason why Berg sounds different from Dallapiccola, Webern, Schoenberg, and Babbit. You can distinguish between the musics of these composers. If you can't, then either you have a bad musical ear, or you're close-minded.

Composing good minimalism is also not "easy" (and notice I threw in the word "good"). The architecture and coloring of Reich and Adams is definitately as sophisticated as Chopin, and definately moreso than Brahms (who didn't always follow the strict rules of counterpoint).

I may have personally knocked some past composers on this forum, but I never meant to knock any compositional style, and I don't think any one should. It's extremely immature, ESPECIALLY of a composer, who should be intimately familiar with the amount of work that goes into composing a good piece.

Bad pieces on the other hand...

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  James McFadyen at 11:18 on 14 June 2007

And more importantly, NEVER under-estimate the power of a good tune!

Malcolm Arnold was never really respected by his peers and academics because it was thought he was too light-weight.

He wrote music for the listener and that is something to admire big style.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  piargno at 13:53 on 14 June 2007

Of course, James. And further along this point, I have two questions for all:

1) If Diane Warren, who has written countless love songs and pop songs for many groups (including "Don't Wanna' Miss a Thing" performed by Aerosmith for the movie "Armageddon") can move people just as deeply as Mahler, then why isn't she as valid?

2) If "Pierrot Lunaire" by Schoenberg can make someone cry because of its sheer beauty, but not make you cry, then why must you knock it because you aren't moved by it? Is it because you assume that some aren't?

Maybe I'm weird, but I'm moved more by Cage's Sonatas and Interludes than I am by a Bruchner symphony. I'm moved more by a Ligeti Etude than I am by anything Mozart has composed. I'm moved more by Stockhausen than I am by any varismo opera. Am I to blame for having this taste? Are you to blame for having yours?

De gustibus non es disputandum. Seriously.

  Re: question from a newbee, where are the romantics ?  ruska02 at 14:01 on 14 June 2007

Just to be sincere

A good tune is something really usefull for everyone's bathroom needs , of course
but whistling down the bridge is not beeing a composer , mate.
I think what keeps classical music classical, beside its contemporary, baroque, modern or classical attitude are the ties with the precideng histories and the use of a particular language (as "if it aint got that swing it ain jazz) or better with Casals "call it what you want but do not call it classical music"
I subscribe the latter beside its
"de gustibusnon disputandum est" english is a necessity latin an art , sorry again

Roberto Rusconi Composer

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