Author Topic: Round the clock Schubert...  (Read 1746 times)

Offline Jim Penn

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Round the clock Schubert...
« on: February 12, 2012, 12:42:49 pm »
Radio 3 are going to do another of their 200 hours wall-to-wall marathons dedicated to a single composer, this time Schubert.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16990281


Offline kleines c

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2012, 01:00:49 pm »
Writing in 'The Sunday Telegraph', Roger Scruton argues that the composer's musical legacy contains more consolation for our loneliness than any other human creation.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9075810/Schubert-is-needed-now-more-than-ever.html

What do you reckon, Jim Penn?

« Last Edit: February 16, 2012, 01:46:31 pm by kleines c »

Offline Jim Penn

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2012, 02:52:10 pm »
I like some Schubert, but by no means much, and I certainly wouldn't agree with the hyperbole Scruton comes out with there. I can't say I find Schubert's music to be much of a consolation (from what, exactly?!).

Scruton mentions Chopin a couple of times in the article, and to be honest I find the 11 minutes or so of Chopin's 4th ballade more "relevant" to me than everything of Schubert that I know, but each to his own, I guess.... On the whole though, my general feeling is that if Schubert IS so relevant and offers such important consolation, like previous R3 marathons, Schubert isn't necessarily going to be best served by 200 hours of his music being broadcast without interruption.

Selva Oscura

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2012, 03:21:38 pm »
"He makes us stare into the void, and does so in a way that is neither morbid nor despairing but strangely enriching, urging us to value the moment not despite its transience but because of it." That's very nice for you, "Professor" Scruton, but I'm not part of your cosy little first-person plural. Packaging Schubert's music (or anyone else's) up into a tidy formulation like that denies any complexity to the relation between composer, music, listener and society. As it happens Schubert is one of my favourite composers but I hardly recognise his work under Scruton's layers of unimaginative petty-bourgeois gift-wrapping, reading which made me feel quite sick, my fault for following a link to the Telegraph I suppose.

simon howard

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2012, 03:25:18 pm »
Interesting how Scruton's piece is written in abstractions, generalities, with high-flown pathos as sauce.

"We have lost touch with what matters, which is the poignant sense of being."

?

"The result is as life-affirming as any music that I know. The experience of loss endows Schubert’s two great song-cycles – Winterreise and Die schöne Müllerin – with their sacred character. You cannot listen to these works in just any mood. The space that they define is a religious space, a space of pure epiphanies."

Winterreise ends with an old man, frozen into a state almost tangential to life or death (into the state of Wordsworth's Solitaries, say) but certainly not into a state that transcends life or death. He plays a droning melody on a hurdy-gurdy, obviously for coins (so like Wordsworth's solitaries he continues to scrape enough to sustain bare life, & to have some uncanny motivation to do so) & is barked at by dogs & taunted by children. He hasn't got any shoes. He walks barefoot on ice. & the "shadow of death" in Schubert wasn't something immaterial - it was syphilis.

All of which is very distant from Scruton's high-minded formulations. If the song-cycles "define" any space it's surely an a-religious rather than anti-religious space. I think Schubert's greatest music is like very little else, but I don't think it's served well by Scruton's high cultural banalities & platitudes. As for the 200 hours: the songs put into context, with discussions of the poets & literary movements Schubert set or was connected to; the instrumental music in connection with Viennese musical life at the time, that could be superb broadcasting. If they are just going to play everything with no context or differentiation, then I agree with Jim's "Schubert isn't necessarily going to be best served by 200 hours of his music being broadcast without interruption."


Selva Oscura

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 03:29:10 pm »
"We have lost touch with what matters, which is the poignant sense of being."
It's that "we" again. Maybe he means his morally bankrupt and intellectually empty Tory chums.

Offline Roehre

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2012, 03:50:06 pm »
"We have lost touch with what matters, which is the poignant sense of being."
It's that "we" again. Maybe he means his morally bankrupt and intellectually empty Tory chums.
Joining with the likewise morally bankrupt emty headed non-entities from Labour
Ars longa, vita brevis

Selva Oscura

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2012, 03:55:12 pm »
Joining with the likewise morally bankrupt emty headed non-entities from Labour
The difference being that they probably aren't Scruton's chums.

Offline Roehre

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2012, 03:55:39 pm »
. As for the 200 hours: the songs put into context, with discussions of the poets & literary movements Schubert set or was connected to; the instrumental music in connection with Viennese musical life at the time, that could be superb broadcasting.

Cross fingers for that, but  I am afraid that's not going to happen as too elitist or intellectually demanding for the R3 listeners. They might even  considering listening (? as far as background music can go in that respect) to CFM.
Ars longa, vita brevis

Offline ahinton

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2012, 06:04:28 pm »
I like some Schubert, but by no means much, and I certainly wouldn't agree with the hyperbole Scruton comes out with there. I can't say I find Schubert's music to be much of a consolation (from what, exactly?!).

Scruton mentions Chopin a couple of times in the article, and to be honest I find the 11 minutes or so of Chopin's 4th ballade more "relevant" to me than everything of Schubert that I know, but each to his own, I guess...
I'm afraid that I almost do, too (curious that you should mention this particular work!), although I have spent much time trying to come to terms with Schubert and there are undoubtedly a few works of his without which I would not wish to be, so I'd not go quite so far as you do here!

Offline evanj

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 07:09:09 pm »
"He makes us stare into the void, and does so in a way that is neither morbid nor despairing but strangely enriching, urging us to value the moment not despite its transience but because of it." That's very nice for you, "Professor" Scruton, but I'm not part of your cosy little first-person plural. Packaging Schubert's music (or anyone else's) up into a tidy formulation like that denies any complexity to the relation between composer, music, listener and society. As it happens Schubert is one of my favourite composers but I hardly recognise his work under Scruton's layers of unimaginative petty-bourgeois gift-wrapping, reading which made me feel quite sick, my fault for following a link to the Telegraph I suppose.

i agree with every word of this, or as the kids say: +1

Offline oliver sudden

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2012, 08:43:25 pm »
Renounce the shoe! Follow the gourd!

Offline perfect wagnerite

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2012, 10:38:26 pm »
As it happens Schubert is one of my favourite composers but I hardly recognise his work under Scruton's layers of unimaginative petty-bourgeois gift-wrapping ...

Very much my thoughts too. Scruton appears not to have got past Lilac Time; I've known and loved Schubert's music for decades and I'm bound to say that consolation plays very little part in my appreciation of his work (which quite obviously is very different at 50 from what it was when I was 20).  Moreover, the various ranking of composers that Scruton appears to endorse has always struck me as a particularly inane exercise.

But what is supposed to be the point of this 200 hours of continuous broadcasting?  Obviously, nobody is going to be able to listen all the way through; and I'd be very surprised if we got the sort of programming that Simon describes.  It seems to me that this sort of scheduling is really a substitute for imaginative programming - a gimmick dressed up as innovation, an easy choice that avoids questions of quality and intelligent curatorship.
As a young man I harbored the populist idea of writing for the public. I learned that the public didn't care. So I decided to write for myself. Since then people have gotten interested - Elliott Carter

Offline Bryn

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2012, 10:47:57 pm »
While agreeing that these round the clock gimmicks are just that. I did manage to save the DAB mp2s of nearly all the Tchaikovsky (and Stravinsky) Experience, and have much enjoyed dipping into it since. I quite expect that, what with Pure DAB products MP2 saving facilities, and the BBC iPlayer, I will grab most, if not all, of the Schubert event for later, more considered, listening.

Offline martle

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Re: Round the clock Schubert...
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2012, 10:49:32 pm »
[
But what is supposed to be the point of this 200 hours of continuous broadcasting? 

£££ saved, as per usual. I hate these things. They're pathetically lazy and cynical.

(And I write as a fairly recent Schubert convert.)
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