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Prof_Pretorius
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07 Jul 2009, 11:53 pm

It's all about delaying gratification ...

You kids think you have to express yourself every minute ....

Stuff it, would you, until the end of the concert ! !! !


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MJE
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08 Jul 2009, 7:59 am

kxmode wrote:
Have you seen André Rieu's concerts? He encourages audience members to dance in the front, and stand up and clap, and even has them participate in the concert itself!

     I have been exposed to a little of his work - enough to know what his concerts are like. This is not because I am keen on his work (I'm not), but because my mother is, and I have occasionally seen some of his performances when at her place.
     This might be okay if your main interest in music is being part of an event; but I think his style is almost hopeless for wanting to listen to good performances of music. This is partly because that "audience participation" (clapping during the music, singing, whatever) really does interfere with hearing the actual music itself; but additionally because Rieu so often strips away the "less popular" or less approachable parts of a piece, thus leaving only the "big tune", and allowing the total performance to fit within a 3- or 4-minute time-span - all nice and pre-digested, nothing too demanding or too long.
     For example, he plays only the popular (and possibly overplayed) second half of Rossini's "William Tell" Overture, apparently completely oblivious of the possibility that playing the complete piece, starting with the slower, quieter opening section, just makes that fast final portion all the more effective and dramatic for having come after the earlier quieter passage.
     I hate to think what he might do to the popular but quite long and complex piano concertos of Rachmaninov, for example. Imagine the Concerto no. 3 (made especially popular by the movie "Shine" about pianist David Helfgott) reduced from its 45-minute duration to a 3-minute compilation of its biggest tunes - the prospect makes me shudder.
     I don't hold this view of Rieu's work because of my desire to appear more highbrow than others or to project a supposed superiority, but simply because it seems an obvious objective truth that extraneous sound or curtailed performances must interfere with the appreciation of a piece as its composer wrote it. If anyone here thinks I am showing my snobbishness for this view of Rieu's work, so be it. I would deny it, because, as I said above, I would view snobbishness merely as the use of specialized knowledge or appreciation to appear superior to others, not as the simple enjoyment of it - and the desire to appear superior to others has nothing to do with the reasons for my opinion.
     I might, in my less mature years, have had a little of this kind of snobbery, but I don't believe I have it to any significant degree now, and view it as slightly silly and pointless now. I don't attach any importance now to appearing superior to others (because I know I'm not); nor do I set any store in showing others how deeply I appreciate music, nor in projecting any image of myself to others, nor in "expressing myself". It is simply listening to the music in the best conditions possible that is important, and that is the sole reason for my views, even if they do seem a bit "highbrow" by some others.

Regards, Michael.



just_ben
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08 Jul 2009, 5:35 pm

I wouldn't say I'm fed up with snobbery, so to speak, but I think it's got it's time and it's place. Like MJE said, it can be nice to just hear a piece of music without distraction, but at the same time, that's not why I got into it. Sitting still during a piece is just too boring for words as far as I'm concerned.
I would also agree sitting and listening doesn't count as snobbery, but it does certainly act as a predicate. I had a couple of friends in college (not university, different things in England) who were big classical nuts from public schools. I invited them to a heavy metal gig one time in the name of mutual curiosity (they wanted to see what metal like live, and I wanted to see what they thought). I wasn't surprised to see a total lack of enjoyment on their faces, but a little irritated that they later expressed annoyance at the boisterousness of the audience.
Time and a place for culture, thank you very much.


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MJE
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08 Jul 2009, 6:11 pm

just_ben wrote:
Sitting still during a piece is just too boring for words as far as I'm concerned.

     Why do you find it boring? That would seem to suggest that you find the music itself boring.

just_ben wrote:
I would also agree sitting and listening doesn't count as snobbery, but it does certainly act as a predicate.

     I don't see any connection here.

just_ben wrote:
I had a couple of friends in college (not university, different things in England) who were big classical nuts from public schools. I invited them to a heavy metal gig one time in the name of mutual curiosity (they wanted to see what metal like live, and I wanted to see what they thought). I wasn't surprised to see a total lack of enjoyment on their faces, but a little irritated that they later expressed annoyance at the boisterousness of the audience.

     I'm surprised that, with the noise levels I would expect at such an event, the boisterousness of the audience was at all noticeable. I would not want to attend such a concert, not because of snobbishness, but because of a real fear that my hearing might be damaged.

Regards, Michael.



just_ben
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09 Jul 2009, 5:26 am

I don't find the music boring though, which is why I want to be able to move with it. What's wrong with that?

The connection is that when you're forced to sit and listen and act politely, the overwhelming tendency (at least in my old circle of friends) is to carry it on, and to develop a snobby character.

They said something about not being able to watch the performance properly with people headbanging and moshing and stuff. And you were that worried about your hearing being damaged, you just wear ear plugs. That's what I do and I can still hear fine. You don't have to be a deaf, boozed up meat-head to enjoy live rock and roll. Nor do you have to be a dinner jacket wearing private school elitist snob to enjoy classical music.
I would agree with your definition of snobbery though, and unfortunately for me, I often seem to run into these types at classical concerts. I guess to some extent it's a kind of prejudice, but I'm working on that.

On a side note, I worry sometimes that the power of classical music is somewhat diluted by the elitist attitudes around it i.e. the misinformed concept you have to know music theory to truly appreciate it, or play a classical instrument.
Not really sure where I am with this now. It takes me ages to organise my thoughts and I don't usually bother on forum posts.
I kind of agree, and I kind of don't, Michael. There. :)


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MJE
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09 Jul 2009, 11:36 am

just_ben wrote:
I don't find the music boring though, which is why I want to be able to move with it. What's wrong with that?

     Nothing wrong with it as such, and I was just asking why you found that difficult, not intending to criticize you for it. Maybe I am less physical in some ways, and I feel little impulse to move to music just because I like it. My earlier point was simply that that sort of behaviour would be a significant distraction to others in some situations such as concerts; and I dislike that simply for reasons of courtesy to others, not because of snobbishness.

just_ben wrote:
The connection is that when you're forced to sit and listen and act politely, the overwhelming tendency (at least in my old circle of friends) is to carry it on, and to develop a snobby character.

     Just because some people may affect a snobbish manner at classical concerts, it's no reason to think that classical music itself is snobbish. I don't quite understand why some people seem to get confused between simple etiquette designed to be considerate of others with snobbishness.

just_ben wrote:
They said something about not being able to watch the performance properly with people headbanging and moshing and stuff.

     I must say I'd be inclined to agree with that. Nothing to do with snobbishness, but just that I would think that to be an extremely distracting environment in which to listen to music.

just_ben wrote:
And you were that worried about your hearing being damaged, you just wear ear plugs. That's what I do and I can still hear fine.

     There seems to me something quite irrational about going to an event to listen to music, but having to wear earplugs to keep out some of the music - why do they perform so extremely, dangerously loudly? Apart from muting the sound to a more acceptable level, I wonder whether earplugs also distort the music by suppressing some frequencies more than others, and thus marring the performance as you hear it.
     I hate wearing earplugs or earphones, actually - they feel like six-inch nails driven into the sides of my head - so it is not really an acceptable solution to me; I would just not go. *No* performance is worth even the slightest risk of permanently damaging your hearing.

just_ben wrote:
You don't have to be a deaf, boozed up meat-head to enjoy live rock and roll.

     I certainly agree with that; in fact, I think that would get in the way of enjoying it. But it is a fact that, without wearing earplugs, some regular attenders at such concerts do get impaired hearing over time. I read not so long ago that if you are close enough to the loudspeakers, as little as 15 seconds' exposure can cause irreversible damage.
     With the current trend to suing almost anyone you can find a grievance against, however ridiculous, I wonder why I have not heard of cases of performers or concert organizers being sued by attenders who claim that their hearing has been damaged and they weren't sufficiently warned about the noise levels and the danger posed. I wonder whether this will happen one day, and whether noise levels will come down because organizers fear lawsuits being brought against them.

just_ben wrote:
Nor do you have to be a dinner jacket wearing private school elitist snob to enjoy classical music.

     Again, I agree. I occasionally attend classical concerts with my aunt, who is strongly into the classical concert scene; and my instinct is just to dress normally - which for me is somewhat conservatively but not at all formally. Actually, because I tend to be too casual about such things by some people's standards and my mother is more "traditional", she still tends to play mother to me and may well get me to dress up before I go to meet my aunt. I may go along with it rather than debate it (some things are just not worth arguing about), but it's certainly not because I consider it essential or because I'm concerned about the image I may project to others at the concert.

just_ben wrote:
I would agree with your definition of snobbery though, and unfortunately for me, I often seem to run into these types at classical concerts. I guess to some extent it's a kind of prejudice, but I'm working on that.

     As long as their snobbish manner or behaviour is not interfering with your enjoyment, I don't see that there's any need to pay the slightest attention to what they're doing.
     Just as a matter of interest, how do these snobbish types interfere with your enjoyment of the concert? Just what are they doing that hurts you? Your statement that "unfortunately" you often run into them seems to indicate that it upsets you in some way.

just_ben wrote:
On a side note, I worry sometimes that the power of classical music is somewhat diluted by the elitist attitudes around it i.e. the misinformed concept you have to know music theory to truly appreciate it, or play a classical instrument.

     I don't think the concept is entirely true, but it is not entirely misinformed either. I am thoroughly familiar with music theory at an advanced level, and play the piano and have composed classical music; so I think I can speak on the other side of this.
     I certainly don't think you have to either play an instrument or know music theory to enjoy most classical music; but on the other hand it may help you enjoy subtler aspects that you may otherwise be unaware of. Some composers do put very subtle things into their music, and it would be futile to deny this just to try to make classical music seem all egalitarian. It *isn't* egalitarian: some pieces are quite easy to listen to, and some quite difficult. And with some of the more obscure or modernist styles of composition, or even some of the more complex types of older music, there may be little on the surface that will have immediate appeal to the everyday listener. That doesn't mean this more obscure music is beyond their reach, but it will be more difficult for them to learn to like it, and they may have to listen to it many times and be motivated enough to make more effort; and in such cases an understanding of music theory may help. But this is at the more extreme end, and with the majority of classical pieces I see no reason why an ordinary person can't learn to thoroughly enjoy them with only a reasonable but not extreme effort, or even with little effort - even though some of the secrets of the music may take a little time to become apparent.

Regards, Michael.



Prof_Pretorius
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09 Jul 2009, 11:59 am

Precisely how did the people at a classical concert act snobbish?

Did they turn down your offer of sharing a pint after the concert?

Did they sneer at your tattered jeans ?

Did they make rude comments regarding your nose ring ???


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