Re: Chicago Open 2009 Discussion
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:37 pm
I've made the case elsewhere that composer questions tend be easier to write well and more accessible than individual work tossups, particularly common practice works, which very hard to tell apart with a great deal of training. It is true that a smaller portion of modern composers would have several tossupable works, if one were inclined to write such tossups, but I am still inclined to believe even restricting oneself to such big composers you would have as many or more late 19 and 20th century composers and works than in the common practice period. For every Mozart you have a Richard Strauss or Bartok or Copland. Part of this is simply a reflection of the fact that a lot more people alive and writing music in the late 19th and 20th centuries than previous ones, and part because less stuff has had time to fall by the wayside. Certainly a ratio of 1/5 or 1/6 of the music distribution would do it the period a great disservice.ThisIsMyUsername wrote:Sargon wrote: Charlie's suggestion of confining 20th century music to 1/5-1/6 of the tournament seems hard to justify. A very sizeable portion, probably at least half, of the orchestral canon in most concert halls is Late Romantic or later.This reasoning seems to suppose that most of the tossups should ask about composers rather than pieces. It's possible that if we picked a chunk of time in the 20th century like 1950-1960 there might be more tossupable composers active during that period than in the period 1850-1860 (though I'm not sure that this is true), but there are definitely not more composers and pieces combined that we can tossup from 1950-1960 than from 1850-1860. Yeah we can't ask about the Nielsen of the Baroque era, because he's been forgotten. But I could write a tossup about a different work of Mozart for every tournament in the year, while Contemporary Classical music has no equivalent that can provide such a wealth of possible answers. You might find more Elliot Carter pieces than Mendelssohn pieces on some orchestra's program for the year, but how many of those can I tossup? Only a few 20th century composers like Stravinsky, Sibelius, Mahler, and Prokofiev really provide a large range of tossupable pieces, and they skew towards the first half of the century, and are vastly outnumbered by the composers in the 19th century alone who provide ranges of answers equally large, if not larger.Sargon wrote: There may be about as many top tier composers in each era, but when you drop to second tier composers (like Nielsen or Vaughan Williams) there are way more well known and frequently performed 20th century composers than ones from earlier periods. Earlier music should not be completely neglected, but I think one would be hard pressed to find a dozen baroque composers more well known than Nielsen, or for that matter Ginastera. Even in my hobby horse of Renaissance music, I would think more than maybe a dozen composers from the period being tossuped regularly would be excessive at even the highest level.