Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Likes and dislikes

The horn has a list of his dislikes. He lists Vivaldi, Gounod and Poulenc.

Vivaldi's 10,000 concertos were mostly written for his orphans to play. He didn't spend a lot of time with them. Picture an orchestra of young girls. Mostly it's the same four concertos that get played over and over--often as though they were one piece.

My own personal dislike is for anything that usually plays on classical music radio stations, including Vivaldi. The objective seems to be to bore you to death.

The fact that our concept of Vivaldi is of such boring music was the reason I was so shocked when I attended Cecilia Bartoli's Vivaldi concert. The variety was astounding. Who knew? I blame the programming choices of orchestras and radio stations for this perception of Vivaldi.

As for the other two, it is not unusual for people to dislike the French. I doubt if he likes Josephine Baker either. (Who is enjoying a revival. I saw two records of her at R2 the other day.) I have always adored Poulenc's songs which are completely French. If you were brought up on the three B's, your head may never get around French music.

Post Script
I have decided that it isn't fair for me to leave out my own likes and dislikes. I generally assume that if I don't like someone it is probably my fault. Or the performer's.

When I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, they had a fabulous classical music radio station affiliated with the university that played lots of interesting music. I particularly liked the Ether Game program where they played obscure pieces and people phoned in the answers. Someone always knew the answer. I remember recognizing a Haydn piece for baryton--you simply knew that had to be what a baryton sounded like--but they wanted to know the exact piece. That level of trivia I simply cannot manage.

I would be listening, and I would say to myself, "Whoever wrote it, that is really trash." It always turned out to be Sibelius.


Paul said...

KVOD-FM, Denver's classical music station, continues to be dominated by baroque music, but also a lot of what one might consider "top of the pops" material -- and that includes The three Bs. It's boring, and I only listen when I don't have a CD player handy.

I think Poulenc's music is brilliant, although "Dialogue of the Carmelites" is a bit beyond me. I first came into contact with his material when we sang his "Gloria" in high school choir. He also wrote some kick-ass organ music.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for quoting from one of my blog posts.
However, I would like to make it clear that I am in no way Anti-French, and actually enjoy a lot of French music, such as Rameau, Berlioz, Saint-Saens, Dukas, Roussel, Magnard, Honegger, Franck, Messiaen and others.
I have seen and heard Josephine Baker on television, and think she is an interesting character.
I have great admiration for French culture as a whole, whether in music, literature or Art. Poulenc and Gounod are just two French composers I don't like much.
Best regards, Robert Berger.