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"is it a problem or an astute decision by Adams to mostly ignore (as I now do) the classical music tradition between 1750 and 1900?"

Sad! its a shame to ignore Beethoven or Bach. Wagner i can understand, even Brahms, but these two B's shouldnt be ignored! and dont forget mozart, tchaikovsky, liszt (who's late music might as well be 20th century) and chopin! mussorgsky (also startlingly modern) and debussy, ravel, mahler... theres so much goodness.

I would disagree, though, about Adams. He seems keenly aware of 19th century practices- he orchestrated Liszt's Lugubre gondola #2, ("the black gondola") and often his harmonies seem straight out of a Debussy, a Ravel or a Mahler.

But focusing on the 20th century is such a great thing- theres so much good stuff out there that so many are unaware of. Personally, I dont know some of the music you write about, so its a wonderful resorce for me.

richard friedman

John has studied 19thC music well. But part of the post-modernist "tradition" is to borrow unshamelessly from wherever you can, and especially from pop culture. Mahler did it in his time (all those liederei) and so did just about every composer going back to Pérotin. So? John's a good post-modernist.

But, you just might not like the "post" in post-modernism. I know I don't. Modernism is good enough for me. I'll take mine on rye.

Tim Rutherford-Johnson

Don't worry, anon - Bach died in 1750, so Adams isn't ignoring him!

Hucbald

Jeez. When I started blogging I didn't expect many people to actually, you know, READ what I write; and I certainly didn't expect to be QUOTED on another blog! Guess I'll have to start a self-editing exercise or two. LOL!

What I was really bashing with my bombast is the undercurrent of dilettantism that I detect in a lot of composers nowadays.

And yes, late Liszt is very modern sounding compared with other common practice dudes, and even compared with other late Romantics. His late choral music is really stupendous, and his late solo organ works are very introspectively sublime. I often lament the fact that he is dissed by people who I don't think are really aware of the totality of his output.

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