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Ayn Rand and Beethoven

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Heh, leave it to DU to discuss Ayn Rand in their "Religion/Theology" forum...

I quote "Rand also said that it's an objective fact that Beethoven's music is malevolent and that it's an objective fact that Rachmaninoff's music is better than Beethoven's music"

There's probably a reason why no source is given for that quote--namely, that the source is the poster's buttocks!

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Steve, Kainscalia and I have dropped it. Please do the same.

Oh, and for the record, I don't admit to a mistake, but it's not about that. Again, it was the tone of voice (which I don't have to tolerate on my blog.) I didn't come here to start any fights, nor am I interested in participating in one; hence, the "moving on."

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Why did Ayn Rand dislike Beethoven?

Wasn't Beethoven a Romantic?

I was in the audience at one of her Ford Hall Forum speeches when a young woman asked Ayn Rand if she liked Beethoven. This was the first time Beethoven was mentioned publicly by Ayn Rand.

What I remember clearly is that she said that she did not like his music. She said that she realized his importance to the development of music, which she said in a fairly positive way. She said nothing about the questioner's obvious like of his music or implied something wrong with the questioner. She merely and only stated her preference. Finally, she said that she wished people would not send her recordings. She said that no one who didn't know her personally could know her taste in music. She clearly did not think that her taste had any implication for anyone besides herself.

Since then I have had a couple occasions to talk to prominent Objectivists, people who were connected with ARI, about music. One really liked Viennese Operetta and disliked Baroque. Another said that they saw no reason to give up the music they liked when younger, which in this case was Blues. In neither case did we talk about any other music. Neither of these people gave the slightest impression that I should like or dislike according to their tastes.

Regarding Beethoven, I have heard from other Objectivists with backgrounds in music that they considered Beethoven in general to have a depressive tendency (my words). I am certain that they didn't mean that every piece was so, but that it was a general tendency.

Personally, years ago I bought the DG Time-Life collection of Beethoven, something like 60 LPs. I can't say that I listened to all of it, but I know a lot of his music. There are some pieces that I like a lot. There is a great deal that I don't. Of the things that I like, only two or three do I like enough to listen to very often, given that I have a lot of options.

This thread is kind of disappointing. There are overheated defenses. Some have called people names who opposed them and become indignant when their opponent didn't want to put up with it. Take a deep breath.

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I have repeatedly said that the whole argument must be examined from the point of view of Beethoven's entire life, his achievements and his expressed philosophy- present in so many of his works that it is completely impossible to ignore. Space over there keeps pulling up the Heiligestadt Testament - early Beethoven at 25- as the Absolute Proof That Beethoven Was A Malevolent Bastard, efficiently ignoring everything that came after Beethoven turned 25 - evidence of works that I have pointed out, which are enormous, and which carry a definitely heroism in the romanticist vein, of which Fidelio is but one of the best examples. Space drops all historical context, freezing Beethoven exactly at the point of his Heiligestadt visit, and perpetuates him as he is there, in a sort of immutable ideological stasis.

Need I bring up the first edition version of We The Living, where so many of Kira's lines seem to be somewhat inconsistent, before Rand was able to fully structure her philosophy and then revise the novel? Kira said to Andrei, "I loathe your ideals. I admire your methods", with "I admire your methods" being dropped in revision as that would imply that Andrei's methods were somehow dissociated from his ideals. In another exchange Kira tells him, "What are your masses but mud to be ground underfoot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it?" this sentence was also omitted, since by then Rand's incorporation of the principle of non-aggression contradicts the seemingly violent and slightly ill-willed undertones of her phrase. Therefore Rand, at 52, corrected this edition of a work she published when she was 31 in order to raise it to her refined philosophical standards. We the Living was Ayn Rand early in her life, not even fully fleshed out on her philosophy yet, and the example is perfectly analogous: there were many things in We The Living's first printing that Rand disagreed with after she had developed her philosophy. But if we were to follow Space's approach, it would be the Rand of We The Living that should be held as the ultimate Rand - for no other reason that that is a document that shows Rand perhaps in a less flattering light (philosophically, prior to the re-editing) than the rest of her oeuvre.

Honest? Not by a long shot. But that's precisely what Spacerider did with the Heiligestadt Testament and Beethoven. Just as Rand's youthful inconsistency is seen as only a step towards reaching the heights she reached in her maturity, one is equally inclined to see that of Beethoven after the Testament.

Edited by kainscalia
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kainscalia,

I am familiar with the Beethoven pieces that you have listed in earlier posts. A couple I like considerably, some I do not.

I love Beethoven’s Ninth, think that Fidelio is at best modest, with a couple good tunes (I have over 150 complete opera recordings!), enjoy his Fantasia, and think Wellington’s Victory is a well intentioned mish-mash. I think that I have all of Beethoven’s songs. I have perhaps 600 to 700 songs total, including all of Schubert’s. In spite of that, I have to admit that I have some trouble listening to the songs. But, I would put Beethoven’s near the end of my list of preferences, along with Cui and Wolf. Against all of them, I often prefer Cole Porter. I do not hear or experience what you do. As you can see, I love opera and prefer Verdi and Puccini. Puccini can reach deep inside of me and show me the wonder of life. I don’t really care how he lived.

I appreciate that you have an admiration for the life of Beethoven. I suspect that your interest in his life came from your enjoyment of his music. Would you might feel differently if that life was lived by some whose music you didn’t like? Conversely, if Beethoven had lived a thoroughly mundane life, the music would still be the same music (I realize that there was a connection between the life and the music). All of which is beside the point. The point is that the music speaks to you more than it speaks to me. That is perfectly okay.

That someone feels that a composer’s music is depressive has no meaning for you or for me or anyone. Art will impact different people differently, even good people. It may or may not tell you anything about a person. My wonderful girlfriend likes music that drives me to distraction, and vise versa.

That another blogger felt that a written statement made at a young age was an indication of the life lived is still beside the point. He doesn’t like the music. You may feel he is wrong, but what he finds in the music is what he finds. Your arguments do not touch that point.

Beethoven does not need defense. His music speaks for itself. It speaks to each of us. What we hear is our own, our own values, our own personality, our own background, our own self. The best of us do not like the same music. Even with an objective standard of music, we will still like different music. Some rational people will even like music that does not meet the standard. There is an objective standard for art, for example, but many of us like “bad” art for our own reasons. It’s okay.

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"That another blogger felt that a written statement made at a young age was an indication of the life lived is still beside the point. He doesn’t like the music. You may feel he is wrong, but what he finds in the music is what he finds. Your arguments do not touch that point."

C.W., in case you're referring to me, I never gave an opinion about the music per se, which I happen to like to an extent. :)

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"That another blogger felt that a written statement made at a young age was an indication of the life lived is still beside the point. He doesn’t like the music. You may feel he is wrong, but what he finds in the music is what he finds. Your arguments do not touch that point."

C.W., in case you're referring to me, I never gave an opinion about the music per se, which I happen to like to an extent. :)

Sorry, spaceplayer, I should have checked closer.

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You are missing the point, CW. The blogger in question states that Beethoven's philosophical background was, overall, malevolent, and that this is reflected in his music.

Would you might feel differently if that life was lived by some whose music you didn’t like?

That is irrelevant. Beethoven's music is the way it is precisely because of his convictions. It was his ideals and his beliefs that drove him to compose the ninth. If the life had been lived by somebody else, it wouldn't have been Beethoven's music. Someone else would not have done the same things as Beethoven did. Or are you saying now that intellectual creation is now divorced from the person? You cannot separate Wagner's music from Wagner's beliefs, because they are intertwined: the themes of his operas, the way he created the leitmotivic framework, and finally the whole package was dictated by what Wagner's beliefs were concerning aesthetics, politics and philosophy in general. There is a reason why all of his heroes are incredibly immoral people - and also why he is such a terrible dramatist ( Opera's secret-that-nobody-wants-to-admit is that Wagner was a thoroughly incapable dramatist (which is why everything in the Ring cycle moves at a glacial pace, a fact which Anna Russell always loved to point out) and not that good as a librettist either (The rousing ride of the Valkyries is accompanied by the most pedestrian text in the history of libretti.)) All you need to do is analyze the predominant philosophy in Wagner's works - and then brave the incredibly odious and tedious reading of his many many essays on the subject of art- and you'll see how much of his fabled ring cycle falls under the same kind of philosophy that would cause strife throughout Europe in years to come.

Fidelio is at best modest, with a couple good tunes

I find it interesting that you dismiss Fidelio, but as a professional in the field of opera (not merely an aficionado) I've become accustomed to it. The operagoing audience is often partial to Rossini's superfluous writing, or perhaps the beautiful swelling, passionate melodic lines of Puccini, or even the trademark brilliance of the fireworks in Donizetti's mad scenes. Beethoven did little of that: his vocal writing treats the voice as an instrument and his consideration is not how to impress the audience but how to incorporate the dramatic elements into the musical elements. Whilst "In des Lebens Frühlingstagen" may not be written in the popular flavor of, say, "E Lucevan Le Stelle," it is much more profound. Puccini certainly is a master at his craft--- yet since we are talking about leaning towards benevolence or malevolent universes, isn't it interesting that whilst Beethoven's only opera culminated in the triumph of the individual over adversity, nearly all of Puccini's popular operas (and I'm even including Suor Angelica here) end in sorrow, tragedy and death?

  1. La Villi.- Curses and dancing until you die from exhaustion. Very benevolent.
  2. Edgar-. Lovers slain, vengeance, and an ending in tears.
  3. Manon Lescaut.- Girl meets boy, boy loves girl, girl tears boy's hearts to pieces, then dies in his arms. No Big Happy.
  4. La Boheme.- Same as above, with a few variants for Musetta and Marcello (no happy relationships in this opera.) No possibility of happiness at the end.
  5. Tosca.- Mamma Mia. Torture, Death, Lust, death by firing squad and death by jumping from a tower. Nope.
  6. Madama Butterfly.- Innocence abused, betrayed, and then finally suicide. Grab your hankies. (Personally this is the one that hits me the most. I've never attended a good performance of Butterfly that didn't leave me dabbing away at my eyes. Then, of course, there's the bad ones...)
  7. La Rondine.- Depending on what ending the company is using, Magda either abandons Ruggero for Rambaldo (her pimp) because she believes she cannot live with Ruggero because of her past as a courtesan, or Ruggero abandons Magda and she walks into the sea and drowns. Either way Doretta gets the short shrift.
  8. Il Tabarro.- Dead lovers here, too!
  9. Suor Angelica.- Dead nun, move along, noting to see here :)
  10. Turandot.- Dumb Prince is in love with a Psycho Bitch. Psycho Bitch kills everyone who might even threaten to marry her. Dumb Prince still loves Psycho Bitch, even after she tortures his sweet little servant girl and then has her impaled. Psycho Bitch then falls in love with Dumb Prince. They probably toast their marriage with the blood of babies and dance over their bodies.

That leaves us with...

  1. La Fanciulla del West.- AT LAST! A happy ending! Minnie and Johnson ride off into the Californian sunset. And hardly anyone had to die to get here! (Well, HARDLY anyone in comparison to Turandot, which begins with a beheading and goes downhill from there)
  2. Gianni Schicchi.- When done well, this is a hilarious one-act opera.

Now, Giacomo wrote for the voice like very few ever did, and the passion found in his scores can seldom be matched. But if you're going to speculate about a man in the way it has been done here, let's open the field further -- why should Beethoven get all the hits and Gigi get a get-out-of-jail-free card?

That another blogger felt that a written statement made at a young age was an indication of the life lived is still beside the point. He doesn’t like the music. You may feel he is wrong, but what he finds in the music is what he finds. Your arguments do not touch that point.

As stated above, you missed the point. My point is that the proof of Beethoven's ideals is in the music, if you're willing to study it instead of giving a listen and write everything off on a gut reaction- Beethoven, above everything, was an intellectual composer, and his music was not written by whim. But much more importantly: That what space is trying to do is cast aspersions upon the character and philosophy of a composer based upon one sole document (written, again, at 25), as opposed to not only his many documented letters and conversation notebooks, but the very clear ideological sketches he left behind whilst working on his masterpieces (reading his notes on the work he did of re-composing Schiller's poem for his symphony is very interesting), and his other miscellaneous writings. He was not a jolly man, he was taciturn (so was Roark), and irritable (a man who suffered from pain nearly all of his life) and moody with bouts of depression ( most likely bipolar in a pre-psychiatric society), but throughout his writings and his music you can clearly see a man in constant search of the good and the beautiful, something that he believes is possible. That he never let these adversities crush him completely even towards the end of his life shows a man who was deeply convinced in the ideals of heroism-- Leonora is not just a pretty figure in an opera, and the tenor solo in the ninth is not just a convenient transition point. The fact that he admired Napoleon before he became a tyrant, and that he despised him forevermore afterward as a betrayer of his ideals shows how much he wanted to see real heroes. He even went as far as to denounce him with the following words:

"He, too, then, is nothing better than an ordinary man! Now he will

trample on all human rights only to humor his ambition; he will place

himself above all others,--become a tyrant! Pity that I do not understand the art of war as well as I do the

art of music; I should yet conquer Napoleon!"

With those words Beethoven tore the title page off the manuscript for his third symphony, then called "Napoleon", and re-baptized it as the "Eroica", the heroic symphony, demonstrating that his ideals could never die, regardless of who betrayed them.

Ignoring the avalanche of evidence against space's sole paper is not only dishonest, it is also intellectually lazy.

Edited by kainscalia
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You are missing the point, CW. The blogger in question states that Beethoven's philosophical background was, overall, malevolent, and that this is reflected in his music.

That is irrelevant.

Sorry, kainscalia. You didn't pay attention. I am now a strawman. Actually, much of what you said was not in refutation, but supported me. But, it doesn't matter. Apparently you are on a roll, and in spite of what is said, you will continue.

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Sorry, kainscalia. You didn't pay attention.

I will draw your attention to the actual point, which is this:

The misrepresentation of a composer from someone who should know better (i.e. someone who is in the field of music). If it seems that I place a great deal of importance on the focus of the testament is because the aforementioned person tried to rely on it as a tool by which he could affirm the composer's malevolence. The document is so important to him that he leans almost exclusively upon it in his blog, and raises the point that since apparently the accusations of malevolence were raised against him, then there must be something there to warrant the claim. This can only be either someone who is on the whole ignorant of Beethoven's life (that is, someone who has not studied him at length), or someone who is clearly intent on making the whole image of the composer match a pre-set goal.

It's not too dissimilar to the Rand critics on the internet who take the heated exchange between the 'cult' woman during her last Donahue appearance to reinforce their assertion that Ayn Rand was a tyrannical, ravenous raging madwoman foaming at the mouth at the slightest provocation. It's this kind of misrepresentation that I find very irritating, specially when trying to apply the 'Byronic' tag to Beethoven- Beethoven and Byron counted among the most talked-about figures of their era, but there could be no greater difference between their philosophies. From a dramatic point of view, If Beethoven had subscribed to the Byronic conception of the world, he would not have written "Fidelio", which is about winning struggles and the prevalence of justice. He would have written "Tosca."

Edited by kainscalia
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I will draw your attention to the actual point, which is this:

The misrepresentation of a composer from someone who should know better (i.e. someone who is in the field of music). If it seems that I place a great deal of importance on the focus of the testament is because the aforementioned person tried to rely on it as a tool by which he could affirm the composer's malevolence.

Whose "actual point"? You responded to my comments and my point, not visa versa.

And here is where we have a problem, there are two conflated, separate issues. To name first the one that you mostly address in your last post, kainscalia, is the more academic issue of Beethoven's person, i.e., his outlook, his attitude toward his music, and what he intended to communicate in his music. The other issue is how the listener responds to this music.

In my last post, I did not in fact express how I respond to any composer other than to say that I didn't care for much of Beethoven and that I preferred Puccini, among others. You then went off on this totally irrelevant binge about Puccini not being all sweetness and light. Accused me of "dismissing" a piece of music, where I only said that I found that I didn't enjoy it when compared to others. You also threw in an appeal to authority to even things out.

My comments in this thread have wholly concerned the point that what a person likes in music is totally personal. That's it. That is what Ayn Rand meant when she said that no one who didn't know her knew what her taste in music was. Taste. But you dismissed my comments because it didn't address what you wanted to talk about. It's okay to not be interested, but not to criticize me for things I didn't say.

As for the academic issues, I have no knowledge and no interest. As an outsider, I can only say that you seem to be very upset about what you consider to be a dumb, unprofessional judgment. If someone makes an error, point it out clearly, and go on to something more interesting (sorry, gratuitous advice).

From what I can tell, the rest of us are interested in what Ayn Rand meant when she said that she did not care for Beethoven.

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The other issue is how the listener responds to this music.

Then perhaps that is the problem. Because of my particular training as a musician, I don't allow myself the luxury of gut-level reactions to music. For me musical pleasure, when it comes to classical music, has to be an integration of intellectual and emotional aspects. Where available I try to avail myself of an analysis of the work as a whole from the different aspects of how I emotionally react to the work, what the composer is doing (which draws on knowledge of musical history and musical theory, and if available knowledge of the ideological work behind the piece), whether he is succeeding at his goal or not, and whether or not it has a significant philosophical statement. So, for example, Beethoven's "Fidelio" is a work that resounds deeply with me because not only of the emotional reactions I have to the music ("Mir ist so wunderbar", for example, I find indescribably beautiful) but from all of the other fields collected. Kurt Weill's "Street Scene", for example, is a work I abhor-- although Weill can write beautifully-sounding music, "Street Scene" in all of the other fields is a malevolent little pill full of poison and hatred towards man and modern society, though not nearly as vicious as his other work, 'The Threepenny Opera' which is a Marxist critique of the capitalist world. Separated from Weill's ideology is, for example, his set of songs including "It Never Was You," which do not espouse the composer's vile philosophy and which actually allow him to use his gifts for musical composition within a context that is not malevolent - so to my total enjoyment, his collections of songs are far superior than "Street Scene", even though "Street Scene" is a very sophisticated score. (This is why I will never perform the role of Sam though I have been offered it, but would sing the tenor solo in the Ninth in the blink of an eye).

Accused me of "dismissing" a piece of music, where I only said that I found that I didn't enjoy it when compared to others.

Then perhaps the problem there is imprecise language. What you said was, in exact terms, that "Fidelio is at best modest," which is a statement that the opera in itself is of 'modest' quality- this is not an emotional reaction but rather an intellectual or academic judgment- it's not an emotional term.

Edited by kainscalia
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In the book Objectively Speaking their is a transcript of the lecture in which Rand commented on Beethoven (and other 'Favourites in Art')

i don;t have the book with me, but she was asked about Wagner, Beethoven, and Rachmaninov (I think)

- Wagner she said was bad music, and bad philosophy

- Beethoven she said she had to admire as a technician, couldn't deny the degree of craft, but disliked the music on the basis of its (supposed) malevolent worldview

- Rachmaninov (I think it was he, maybe Tchaikovsky), she adored

personally I find Beethoven's work usually follows the pattern of a titanic struggle and eventual triumph, it's very stirring

but what i like about it is there's something so immediate and direct - like you are not enjoying the music because it is evoking something else, you're just enjoying its pure form, note for note

hard to explain really

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Then perhaps that is the problem. Because of my particular training as a musician, I don't allow myself the luxury of gut-level reactions to music. For me musical pleasure, when it comes to classical music, has to be an integration of intellectual and emotional aspects. Where available I try to avail myself of an analysis of the work as a whole from the different aspects of how I emotionally react to the work, what the composer is doing (which draws on knowledge of musical history and musical theory, and if available knowledge of the ideological work behind the piece), whether he is succeeding at his goal or not, and whether or not it has a significant philosophical statement. So, for example, Beethoven's "Fidelio" is a work that resounds deeply with me because not only of the emotional reactions I have to the music ("Mir ist so wunderbar", for example, I find indescribably beautiful) but from all of the other fields collected. Kurt Weill's "Street Scene", for example, is a work I abhor-- although Weill can write beautifully-sounding music, "Street Scene" in all of the other fields is a malevolent little pill full of poison and hatred towards man and modern society, though not nearly as vicious as his other work, 'The Threepenny Opera' which is a Marxist critique of the capitalist world. Separated from Weill's ideology is, for example, his set of songs including "It Never Was You," which do not espouse the composer's vile philosophy and which actually allow him to use his gifts for musical composition within a context that is not malevolent - so to my total enjoyment, his collections of songs are far superior than "Street Scene", even though "Street Scene" is a very sophisticated score. (This is why I will never perform the role of Sam though I have been offered it, but would sing the tenor solo in the Ninth in the blink of an eye).

Then perhaps the problem there is imprecise language. What you said was, in exact terms, that "Fidelio is at best modest," which is a statement that the opera in itself is of 'modest' quality- this is not an emotional reaction but rather an intellectual or academic judgment- it's not an emotional term.

Regarding your first point, I think you made a good representation of the difference between a person with professional musical training and a music lover. You want to see the nuts and bolts and can understand them and appreciate them. I, being only a high school clarinet player (which was long ago), can read the music (I do have several Dover scores) and enjoy seeing some of the internal supporting instrumental parts, but it really only helps me hear more in the music. That is good if I enjoy the music.

I have met professional young musicians who recognized only the technical aspect of their craft. School didn't really teach them how to enjoy the music. They follow, I guess, Stravinsky, whom, I have heard, said that music did not have an emotional element.

I will also own up to imprecision. When I said "modest" I was speaking within the parameters of my own personal view of the work. I do respect Beethoven and his creative and technical abilities and would not want to denigrate them. I have seen Fidelio and have one good recording. I am pleased with both. But in relation to other operas, to me it is a modest work. After reading of your regard for “Mir ist so wunderbar” I listened to a copy I own sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Kristen Flagstad, Josef Greindl, and Anton Dermota. I love ensembles.

I am pleased that you mentioned your professional vocation. (If I could sing at all I would sing in the chorus of the Ninth with as equal a passion as I would in the Verdi Requiem. What about the tenor solo there?) Perhaps you could open a new thread and talk about your experiences, points you find interesting, and singers you admire.

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In the book Objectively Speaking their is a transcript of the lecture in which Rand commented on Beethoven (and other 'Favourites in Art')

i don;t have the book with me, but she was asked about Wagner, Beethoven, and Rachmaninov (I think)

- Wagner she said was bad music, and bad philosophy

- Beethoven she said she had to admire as a technician, couldn't deny the degree of craft, but disliked the music on the basis of its (supposed) malevolent worldview

- Rachmaninov (I think it was he, maybe Tchaikovsky), she adored

personally I find Beethoven's work usually follows the pattern of a titanic struggle and eventual triumph, it's very stirring

but what i like about it is there's something so immediate and direct - like you are not enjoying the music because it is evoking something else, you're just enjoying its pure form, note for note

hard to explain really

That's Mozart, too. The pure beauty of his music is amazing to behold.

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I am pleased that you mentioned your professional vocation. (If I could sing at all I would sing in the chorus of the Ninth with as equal a passion as I would in the Verdi Requiem. What about the tenor solo there?) Perhaps you could open a new thread and talk about your experiences, points you find interesting, and singers you admire.

I don't have time to answer to your post in full as it deserves because I am running off to an audition and will not return until later today, but I wanted to mention that I do have such a place as you suggest- my blog, Nourrit's Number, is where I make regular posts about it. I haven't posted anything of the sort here because I thought there wouldn't be much interest in the ramblings of an opera singer. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

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I don't have time to answer to your post in full as it deserves because I am running off to an audition and will not return until later today, but I wanted to mention that I do have such a place as you suggest- my blog, Nourrit's Number, is where I make regular posts about it. I haven't posted anything of the sort here because I thought there wouldn't be much interest in the ramblings of an opera singer. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

I like your blog, P. You've an interesting life.

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I don't have time to answer to your post in full as it deserves because I am running off to an audition and will not return until later today, but I wanted to mention that I do have such a place as you suggest- my blog, Nourrit's Number, is where I make regular posts about it. I haven't posted anything of the sort here because I thought there wouldn't be much interest in the ramblings of an opera singer. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

I also liked your blog. Looking forward to more.

Both my girlfriend and I have lived in Colorado, where are you, generally?

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Thanks for the comments on the blog-- I'm in the Fort Collins/Loveland area.

That's not my only blog. I sort of have four blogs, separated by categories:

Whereas Nourrit's Number is about my singing career and the aspect of music and arts,

Aristotle's Lighthouse is about Objectivism and philosophy,

Second Life Kain is about me on Second Life,

A Square Round Table is exclusively me in the 'first life' realm, and miscellaneous things that don't fit in the firs three.

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I have met professional young musicians who recognized only the technical aspect of their craft. School didn't really teach them how to enjoy the music. They follow, I guess, Stravinsky, whom, I have heard, said that music did not have an emotional element.

I highly doubt Stravinsky ever said this. It would completely contradict Stravinsky's own aesthetic - the most important foundation of which was melody (he said this constantly). In fact, Stravinsky's personal philosophy was one grounded in romanticism and rational thought, which is very important when understanding his sense of rhythm, timing, development, and (most importantly) instrumentation. Listen to his Symphonies of Wind Instruments for a great example of all these properties.

Why should school teach you how to enjoy music? I'm in music school right now, and I would be insulted if I, as a musician my whole life, and a composer for nearly as long, were forced to take "music appreciation" classes. Why would I be going to one of the best institutes of music in the country if I didn't enjoy the music already? Enjoying the music is rudimentary - it is the first step. I couldn't have learned how to program without first enjoying my time spent on the computer and thinking logically - just as I could not learn to play Mozart's clarinet concerto without first enjoying my time playing hot crossed buns in 2nd grade.

Edited by Andrew Grathwohl
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I highly doubt Stravinsky ever said this. It would completely contradict Stravinsky's own aesthetic - the most important foundation of which was melody (he said this constantly). In fact, Stravinsky's personal philosophy was one grounded in romanticism and rational thought, which is very important when understanding his sense of rhythm, timing, development, and (most importantly) instrumentation. Listen to his Symphonies of Wind Instruments for a great example of all these properties.

Why should school teach you how to enjoy music? I'm in music school right now, and I would be insulted if I, as a musician my whole life, and a composer for nearly as long, were forced to take "music appreciation" classes. Why would I be going to one of the best institutes of music in the country if I didn't enjoy the music already? Enjoying the music is rudimentary - it is the first step. I couldn't have learned how to program without first enjoying my time spent on the computer and thinking logically - just as I could not learn to play Mozart's clarinet concerto without first enjoying my time playing hot crossed buns in 2nd grade.

Reread kianscalia above to understand the context.

It was a big jump to go from what I said, even without the actual context, to "music appreciation" classes.

In the spirit of this entire discussion, let me say that Stravinsky........ Well, my experience of Stravinsky has alway supported the quotation.

And in the spirit of other disucssion that you and I have had, please offer up an example of Stravinsky's rationality. I am curious. Thank you.

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  • 2 months later...

Here's a radical thought.

Assuming we're all adults here, how about you just listen to the music? Put on a CD of Beethoven, listen, don't think. Just listen. Do you like it? If not, you don't.

You can learn to appreciate music, but you can't learn to *like* music. You like what you like, and while your tastes may change over time (even as an adult), you can't change the fact that at a particular moment you like something. Music is not a matter of thinking. Music is supposed to evoke emotions, not deep philosophical thoughts about the meaning of life. You may think such things *after* listening to something because the emotions you felt while listening prompted you to think about such matters. But that's not what I'm talking about here.

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