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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: CyberGene] #2940594 01/30/20 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
I like his symphonies and symphonic dances, I adore his 2nd and 3rd piano concertos, I occasionally enjoy a few of his piano pieces but I fail to see what kind of innovation he has really done in music.

To say something (perhaps pointlessly) subjective, I find a lot of his writing in the piano concertos and symphonies to be "kitsch and cheesy", and this feeling gets worse the more I know the melodies.

On the other hand, I love almost all his solo piano and chamber pieces. While he was a wonderful composer on the solo piano, unfortunately, I feel like he lost his taste and decorum whenever he got near a orchestra.

Last edited by 3am_stargazing; 01/30/20 12:10 PM.

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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940671 01/30/20 02:24 PM
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This is low quality research. The measure of novelty was just pulled out of the air as something the researchers thought about and was not validated. It does not consider all of the aspects of music, just note values. It is not surprising that they obtained erroneous results. Rachmaninov may be a great composer, but finding a very late romantic composer who was born 60+ years after Chopin, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Liszt (and was composing most of his romantic works after the romantic era was over) the most innovative should have given the researchers pause that their measure may be wrong. Rachmaninov was heavily influenced Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Chopin.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940680 01/30/20 02:43 PM
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Nope. Chopin was the most innovative. Fight me! 😂😂😂😂😂


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Sweelinck] #2940714 01/30/20 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Rachmaninov was heavily influenced Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, and Chopin.

Rachmaninoff also was influenced by others as well: he cherished Anton Rubinstein, he had respect for Scriabin, and he loved Grieg.

I know, because Rachmaninoff based his Third Concerto in D minor after the Rubinstein Fourth (also in D minor). Rachmaninoff also based his First Concerto in F-sharp minor off of Grieg's A minor, for a more famous example.

Rachmaninoff played Scriabin's concerto in 1911 with Scriabin conducting, and again in 1915 as a memorial for Scriabin.

Rachmaninoff was not necessarily the most innovative. Rachmaninoff took cues from the past. But his music is wonderful!

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Nope. Chopin was the most innovative. Fight me! 😂😂😂😂😂

Chopin was very innovative.

Ballades were first written by Chopin! Liszt's 2 ballades, Brahms's 4 ballades, and Grieg's 1 ballade, came much later.

He made études into an exercise for the heart, rather than just technique.

Polonaises never sounded better under Chopin. (Beethoven's Op. 89 cannot compare to Chopin's Op. 53.)

But ultimately, John Field invented the nocturne, so we need to stop neglecting the past.

Just like how we wouldn't have the same Rach #3 we have today without Anton Rubinstein, Chopin wouldn't have written Nocturnes without John Field, or Études without Czerny.

Originally Posted by Mosotti
Researchers are right, Rachmaninoff is the pinnacle of piano composition. He somehow managed to create these incredibly difficult pieces which are at the same time incredibly beautiful/emotional. No one has done it at that level smile


Sure, Rachmaninoff's level is incredibly high to reach. But the pinnacle of piano composition is not Rachmaninoff. That'd be Mozart.
Mozart influenced Beethoven, who influenced Anton Rubinstein, who influenced Tchaikovsky, who influenced Rachmaninoff.

Last edited by iaintagreatpianist; 01/30/20 04:26 PM.

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Some of my favorite composers: Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Edvard Grieg, Edward MacDowell.
Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940726 01/30/20 05:23 PM
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OK, now let's really get down to work! cool

How about an 'official' ranking of those composers in the article, on innovation -- considering just piano music (actually better we say keyboard), as in the article.

(Methodology: the top of my head.) ha

BTW, "top of the head" has its advantages, because it can take everything into account, and in flexible proportions according to what seems most relevant for each composer -- which IMO is exactly what the most perfect objective methods would do, if only we could put it into a formula, which I don't think we could, and even if we did, it would still be subjective.

The only disadvantage, as near as I can tell, is that it's the top of my head. grin

Bach
Beethoven
Chopin
Liszt
Debussy (the article has him absurdly low -- below the median)
Ravel
Scarlatti
Mozart (I'm ready to be blasted for not putting him higher, and I wouldn't fight you on it)
Schumann (in fact I could be blasted for not putting everybody higher)
Schubert
Albeniz
Mendelssohn
Brahms
Tchaikovsky
Rachmaninoff
Haydn
Mussorgsky
Clementi (who I love, but still)
Handel (I might just not know enough about his keyboard music; could belong higher)

Other official rankings invited, of course. smile

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Mark_C] #2940727 01/30/20 05:31 PM
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......BTW, here's how the article ranks them, I think. (a little hard to see exactly)

Rachmaninoff
Brahms (who BTW is also not generally considered particularly an innovator)
Bach
Chopin
Mendelssohn
Schumann
Ravel
Albeniz
Handel
Liszt
Schubert
Scarlatti
Debussy
Beethoven
Mussorgsky
Tchaikovsky
Mozart
Haydn
Clementi

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940737 01/30/20 05:56 PM
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- Bach, I can end up here smile
- Chopin (nobody else could ever reach his lyricism, greatest melodies ever)
- Wagner - wow, so daring harmonies and instrumentation, still unreachable and still applicable (P.S. not a piano composer but I think he innovated a lot to influence many late-romantic piano composers)
- Debussy - took-off from Wagner's initial hints at non-functional harmony and brought it to entirely new and original level of tone/chord color, still applicable to this day
- Stravinsky probably... for daring to experiment in a way that's both atonal yet fresh and captivating (in contrast to Schönberg) (P.P.S not piano composer either but I still think is very important for modern piano music as an early innovator in modernism)

Honorable mention: Scriabin who kind of innovated in every of the above fields but somehow isn't known a lot today and I still don't know why...

Last edited by CyberGene; 01/30/20 06:05 PM.

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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: pianoloverus] #2940740 01/30/20 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I suppose with the appropriately chosen definition of innovative any composer could end up being the most innovative.[...]


Exactly: the discussion is unfocused and its conclusion would be indecisive unless there is a mutual agreement on what "innovative" means.

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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940745 01/30/20 06:31 PM
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I think several posters are confusing innovative with great or assuming great means innovative. For example, from what I've read Bach is considered the apotheosis of the Baroque but not particularly innovative.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: pianoloverus] #2940752 01/30/20 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think several posters are confusing innovative with great or assuming great means innovative. For example, from what I've read Bach is considered the apotheosis of the Baroque but not particularly innovative.

Bach innovated in almost every possible way smile Even by following centuries’ standards.

Here’s a proof:


Just kidding. But still... 🤪


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940756 01/30/20 07:15 PM
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Quote

Brahms (who BTW is also not generally considered particularly an innovator)

The symphonies and piano concertos may not be particularly innovative, but I think Brahms chamber music is quite innovative. The Serenade #1 in D for orchestra shows a fair bit of originality, as do the Rhapsody in Gm Op 79 #2 and Capriccio in Gm Op 116 #3. No doubt others may be identified. On the other hand, a piece like the Handel variations would not be very innovative (despite being among his greatest works).


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940764 01/30/20 07:29 PM
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I've by no means digested the article, but for the authors novelty in music seems to mean lots of chord-to-chord transitions that haven't been used much in the past. And they apparently count any vertical arrangement of notes as a unique chord, which means anyone can be a novel composer for piano by simply juxtaposing a whole bunch of chords in many different inversions and registers. And it does seem like Rachmaninoff did a lot of that, maybe more than anybody considering how dense many of his compositions are. But to take this a metric for real musical novelty seems misguided.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940768 01/30/20 07:43 PM
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Bach has tremendously innovative. If you compare JS Bach and Handel, Handel generated harmonic variety through key changes. I think that was typical of most Baroque composers other than Bach (and earlier composers who achieved harmonic variety). Bach generated harmonic variety through use of much more diverse and innovative harmonies, much more so than any of his contemporaries or predecessors.

I realize that my comment is a general one, and no doubt exceptions may be found, but I think Bach was tremendously innovative with respect to harmonization.

Since the research was with respect to keyboard music, I think it would be remiss not to consider the substantial innovative contributions of some earlier keyboard players/composers: Sweelinck, Frescobaldi, Froberger, and Buxtehude.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940772 01/30/20 07:49 PM
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I think that there is a fatal flaw in the measure used by the researchers. Even if their measure actually captured musical variety, it is biased to later composers. If a composer used paradigms of all who came before and added 1% original paradigms, the researcher’s measure would show that composer to be more innovative than predecessors.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940818 01/30/20 11:30 PM
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Bach, Mozart and Beethoven blew all the other composers out of the water in terms of their impact on the development of Western classical music....even if you just consider their keyboard works (solo and ensemble).

.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940832 01/31/20 12:44 AM
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When it comes to innovation, I do not think any of those old fogies compare to Henry Cowell.


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Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940862 01/31/20 03:55 AM
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Similarly, Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt were less novel than Mendelssohn and Schumann, but eventually came to exert more influence and inspire more piano music to follow.
What's the basis for that statement? I think it's wrong, peer reviewed or not. Rachmaninoff was a fine composer and great pianist, but I don't think of "innovative" when I hear his music.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: pianoloverus] #2940864 01/31/20 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think several posters are confusing innovative with great or assuming great means innovative. For example, from what I've read Bach is considered the apotheosis of the Baroque but not particularly innovative.

Bach was paradoxically extremely innovative and forward-looking though within the established forms, mainly in terms of chromaticism. There's a video clip with Charles Rosen in some documentary (can't remember the name of it) in which he demonstrates this at the keyboard using the examples of the opening or closing chorus of the St Matthew Passion compared to the closing chorus of Handel's Theodora.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940882 01/31/20 06:52 AM
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It is very difficult to isolate the individual contribution of one composer. When looking at large shifts of style in music history, it is always related to a network of factors including social, economic and other surrounding arts. Mozart did not create his style out of the blue but was fed and influenced by other composers and previously existing technic.

So was Bach who worked essentially within the framework of the musical legacy of his german predecessors, themselves largely influenced by italian and french music (luth style and orchestral dances). The chromaticism of Bach music is actually lesser than many other composers before him like Schein, or Schutz (not speaking of the intense chromaticism of most italian composers of the early baroque period). The so called great composers demonstrated a superior talent in compositions, but to measure how much is due to their own contribution vs what they borrowed from other contemporaries or past composers is complicated, and then to rank it is even more difficult and very subjective.

In a sense if innovation includes perfecting a style one can say that Bach achieved a superior talent in developing at the highest level existing forms, which can be viewed as a form of innovation. In other areas like coming up with new structures and style, he would be ranked lower than other composers of his time or past times.

Re: Research finds Rachmaninoff was the most innovative composer [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2940893 01/31/20 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
The chromaticism of Bach music is actually lesser than many other composers before him like Schein, or Schutz (not speaking of the intense chromaticism of most italian composers of the early baroque period).
Define "lesser". The importance of chromaticism in Bach is not for its own sake, but as a medium of expression. I can't think of any composer before him that's comparable in a consistent way. It was clarity and not necessarily chromaticism that was the Italian influence on Bach. Come to think of it, one innovation of Bach was fusing all those disparate regional styles while not going whole-hog Italianate like Handel.

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