Opinions in musicPosted: 5 April 2012
There are plenty of – not all, but there are more than a few – harp pieces, no matter how beautiful your sound, how flawless your technique and how touching your musicality, that are just badly-structured, sugary, derivative, lacking in imagination, boring, cheesy, whatever – we spend hours discussing so-called major repertoire no pianist would do more than sight read through before returning the music to the library.
Lately, I started wondering about the harp repertoire. I’ve read similar comments to the one above and I’m always wondering – how do people come to such conclusions? Especially as they often recommend modern pieces* written for the harp – there’s no exception, it’s hard for me to like those pieces.
Is this because I lack certain insights in music theory? After all, I used to hate technical death metal and now I enjoy it and it helps me focus while writing things like internship reports that need to be finished in three weeks Or Else. I’ve forced myself to listen to a few pieces that are often recommended but that doesn’t really help. I only like the Third movement of the Ginastera harp concerto because Elizabeth Jaxon made a very nice video about it – it’s a funny melody but I wouldn’t say it really touches a string within me. This also applies to compulsory pieces for competitions, even for amateur competitions, there’s usually a modern piece that was specifically commissioned by the competition. How could I spend hours learning such a piece I don’t ‘get’?
And then you start thinking. I set mastering Fauré’s impromptu as a goal – when I’m 40 I want to be able to play that. I think Fauré is a very good example of the unimaginative pieces mentioned above – but somehow, that piece really resonates with me, something other pieces of music fail to do.
And I keep wondering – what is it that allows people to like modern classical music? I am really interested in an honest answer – I’d gladly like modern music but I’ve found, I can’t. I hope that doesn’t make me a lesser musician…
The point of this post? Very bold statements as to the quality of musical pieces without supporting argumentation can make people feel very unsure about their abilities to discern good music. (I like death metal, perhaps that speaks for itself…).
I’m very bad at naming classical music genres. I can easily explain most metal genres, but I haven’t really put thought into classical music genres. So all I know is that there’s really classical (Bach/Mozart/Handel) and more impressionist (Debussy) – and, well, modern. Salzedo / Grandjany / Renie are probably also modern but I like that music. I mean the music that involves weird tonalities, strange saw-like sounds coming from strings etc. etc.