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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:25 pm 
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Brian wrote:
Brian, it's true that not all of the sources would be familiar with all of the symphonies of the composers you listed, because Schnittke and Henze wrote their last symphonies in 1998 & 2000 respectively, so their last symphonies are newer than some of my sources. But it's not necessarily the case that if they didn't list these works, then they must not have heard them. What you think is good won't always be the same as what another person thinks is good, and I think most of the sources are basing their choices on more than just how good they think the work is. What I'm trying to show on this list is the general consensus for what the greatest symphonies are.

Many of the symphonies by the composers you listed are fairly recent, and sometimes it takes time for a work to be recognized as great, even if it's a work that is well enough known. That's true of Mahler's symphonies. They weren't generally recognized as great right away, not because they were unknown, but because at first, most people didn't understand them.


Thanks for the response, Brian. There are certainly people who would have critiqued Mahler's symphonies long ago, so why was their 'greatness' not recognized by those (I assume) musicologists/music critics at that time? I don't think anyone can say, so I don't think it really matters in the least. The bottom line is that it all comes down to interpretation according to perception, and aesthetics. I just hope people realize that lists are nothing more than a starting point for the exploration of what many of us think is amazing music. Thanks for the excellent work on the lists, Brian. I'm sure anyone who's been here recognizes and appreciates your outstanding effort.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:02 am 
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corrections, if you want to listen to some of the recommendations I made, I think you would really enjoy at least a few of them. I love symphonies that move well like Prokofiev's do, and there are some that I mentioned that move very well. I don't think you'll be too disappointed.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:53 pm 
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Thank you, Brian B. I agree that the best ways to view the lists is as a starting point for exploring classical music. When a person has explored a great deal, and maybe even soon after he begins exploring, he is bound to find things he likes that aren't on the lists.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:44 pm 
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Brian B wrote:
corrections, if you want to listen to some of the recommendations I made, I think you would really enjoy at least a few of them. I love symphonies that move well like Prokofiev's do, and there are some that I mentioned that move very well. I don't think you'll be too disappointed.


I will look into them.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2014 10:03 pm 
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I cringe with frustration every time I read one of these so called 100 greatest this or that lists. I keep reminding myself that music is subjective and everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion...therefore I will take this opportunity to present my own opinion in "rebuttal" to this listing- with all due respect Brian. I find many of the supposedly "greatest symphonies" on this list are lightweight and even Beethoven- who is certainly one of the greats- always seems to come in first place... and the Choral Symphony comes in first place so often that it begins to sound like a cliche. After 40 years of listening to symphonic music, doing significant research, speaking to critics, musicologists, conductors and musicians and asking music store owners which CDs go flying off the shelves, I came to the conclusion that your positioning of the Mahler symphonies is way off base- again this is my opinion. The 2nd, 8th and 3rd symphonies should all be amoung the top 10 at the very least. In terms of musical complexity, intellectual depth, impact on audiences and shear emotional impact and power, Mahler is without a doubt, the equal of Beethoven and to not include his 2nd "Resurrection" Symphony among the top three greatest pieces of music ever created by man, makes me doubt the veracity of these lists as being anything but a popularity contest and the opinion of the individuals who created these lists- again with all due respect. I expect a significant amount of criticism about my opinion and I'm waiting to hear everyone pounce on me- but I am a Mahlerite and we are used to criticism.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:57 pm 
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What the lists on this site try to do is list the items as objectively as possible, granting that it's impossible for any such list to be 100% objective. In the case of this list, I tried to list the symphonies based primarily on generally held views of their excellence, but also considering their historical importance. So if Beethoven 9 at #1 is a cliché, in a way, that's the main idea. It could be called a cliché because it's a generally held view. And "popularity contest" also comes fairly close to the idea of "generally held view", though the list should also to agree represent the views of musicians and scholars, and not just the public. We don't expect any one person's tastes to line up perfectly with the rankings on the list, and you won't be as frustrated if you don't expect the list to match your personal tastes.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Symphonies
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:44 pm 
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Thanks Brian for a reasonable and rational response to my dismay about Mahler not being higher on your list. Classical music and symphonic music in particular, can be such an emotionally evocative art form and its impact on the listener can be profound. I first heard Mahler's 2nd symphony as a twenty something back in the 60s when the Mahler resurgence was being led by Bernstein. I was familiar with other classical pieces and adored Beethoven and Dvorak. But at the time, I knew nothing about Mahler, hadnt ever heard anything by him and had no idea of his place in the overall scheme of classical music. But listening to the "Resurrection" for the first time, was a profound experience- the symphony hit me in the gut emotionally and the last movement in particular actually brought tears to my eyes. It still does some 50 years after the fact. That's the power of music and its profound effect on people. Isnt it incredible that musical notes can bring tears to your eyes? Keep going with your lists and I'll try to be more open minded when I dont see my personal favorites at the top. Thanks for the response.


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