MAB Posted August 24, 2007 Share Posted August 24, 2007 The version of the story I heard was that it was Benjamin Britten who, once a year, would solemnly play a recording of a piece of Brahms to remind himself 'just what a talentless bastard he was'. I rather agree with this, so far as his orchestral music is concerned. I find Brahms' harmonic language to be rather like Joseph Conrad's prose style ; every last implication is spelled, out, there is nowhere left for the imagination to explore. In particular, I cannot stand the German Requiem, especially 'How lovely are thy dwellings' - makes me cringe even to think about it. There are some composers who I like but in part ; I love the Beethoven quartets, but would not cross the road to hear any of the symphonies. But this whole question of likes and dislikes - as well as being very funny to read - is difficult because one's tastes change over time. I used to adore Franck, then suddenly went off him, just wanting him to grow up and stop being so adolescent. In particular, I could never understand why anyone would bother with the Fantaisie in A. Suddenly, though, the penny dropped and I fell in love with all the organ music, particularly - you guessed it - the Fantaisie in A. Confining myself to organ music, I would allow the first and last movements of Widor 5 and 6 but apart from that cannot see why anyone would bother to waste so much time on so many notes where so little is said. Also, anything by Kenneth Leighton heads straight for Room 101 ; I find his music to be, as a friend of mine once said of Herbert Howells 'all the same .. . but miserable'. (One other great put down comes from a composer friend of mine who, after listening to a piece of William Matthias remarked ' ah, yes, Matthias ; the lack of talent in every bar'. Cruel, but very funny). M Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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