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willedoo
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Here's a bit of culture for the high-brow sophisticates and uncouth ruffians alike. It's a comparison clip of eight different performances of Tchaikovsky's famous Dance of the Little Swans from Swan Lake, performed by leading ballet companies. Performing in order are the American Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet, Michailovsky Ballet, Royal Ballet, Tokyo Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Paris Ballet and the La Scala Ballet.

 

If you have absolutely nothing better to do for 13 minutes, what would be your vote for number one. IMO it's the Paris Ballet hands down, for overall poise, grace, timing and leg/footwork. Their pointe work rivals that of the Russians, which is impressive on it's own.

 

 

 

Edited by willedoo
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I thought once that I would take in some culture and went with my wife to a ballet performance. I think it was Midsummer Nights Dream and from memory it was a South Australian Ballet company. Not my cup of tea, but what really pissed me off was the behavoiur of one of the prima donnas. She seemed to relax into a slovenly ball when she wasn't the centre of attention.

I spent a few years photographing for a ballet school and learnt what should and should not be done, but that prima donna was just too lazy to put on a good performance for what she no doubt thought was a hick audience.

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The problem with these "High Culture" performances, be they ballet or opera is that to really appreciate them one has to have a good knowledge of the symbolisms used in ballet, or be multilingual to understand the lyrics of an opera. Lack of multilingual ability makes it impossible for the average monolinguist to understand and enjoy the stories of the operas. That is a crying shame. I'd love to hear the stories as they unfold.

 

Mind you, I can't stand hearing sopranos. I find the high frequencies they sing in painful to the ear. And half the time they forget the words and just go on la-la-ing. My old man used to say that sopranos sound like someone has just snuck up on them and given them a pinch on the bum.

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1 hour ago, old man emu said:

My old man used to say that sopranos sound like someone has just snuck up on them and given them a pinch on the bum.

Or like a cat when you stand on it's tail. I agree about the sopranos; I used to be a tenor but these days I'll sing for a fiver.

Edited by willedoo
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When I worked in Singapore I used to enjoy the Chinese operas.

I was once asked how I could understand them by a Chinese and I told him what the story line was. He never woke up to the fact that they just about all have the same story line.

I have enjoyed some opera, but very little ballet. I saw the Mikado played by a big professional company in a bush setting. It was spoilt by a massive thunderstorm which nearly destroyed the set. The bloke playing the Mikado role, stood in the only place that wasn't saturated with rain, acting the part while all else descended into chaos. When the rain stopped, all the amplification gear would not work, so we all got up close to the stage and I could hear better without the boom boxes. It was a magnificient performance in the end, but sadly they have never come back. That storm finished them for the outback.

I can't say the same for ballet.

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I am definitely lowbrow, virtually subterrainian. I have never been to an opera or ballet, and not inspired with what I have seen on TV. The nearest I have come is an Andrew Lloyd Webber concert, Starlight Express. I have been to many popular music concerts - Rod Stewart, Elton John, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond, John Fogarty, John Farnham, etc., but opera and ballet leave me cold. 

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Peter, I'm with you on the opera bit; just seems like a lot of bellowing. I haven't seen a great lot of the live theatre thing, but one memorable show was an African dance troupe that was doing the rounds quite a few years ago. They were on stage doing tribal dance and song combined, representative of many different tribal groups. The performers were all from various tribes, and to make up the numbers they would all chip in and play the role of the particular tribal dance being performed.

 

When they did the Maasai one where they leap vertically like a pogo stick, one bloke was going about two foot higher than all the others. I couldn't believe how someone could spring that high in the air. At the end of the show, they introduced the performers by name and tribe, and sure enough he was the only true Maasai.

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I am not particularly a fan of going to an opera however I do love the actual music, the singing is ok in small doses.    I do think it comes down to being literate in that form.  I don't understand why people watch cricket or tennis but then I am not literate in that area.    Today we tend to need our music to be 3 minute ditties with verse, chorus, verse etc. Popular music has to be instantly likable for commercial reasons.       I have been a working musician/music teacher since 1979 (although retiring on Saturday form the professional part of it)   The thing about playing in an orchestra or band is that you don't instantly love each piece you are called upon to play however the more play it the more you understand it and start to appreciate it. My own musical tastes span pretty much  the full range.    In the end music is to be enjoyed, it doesn't have to be worthy or complex if you enjoy it.  I can be worth persisting  sometimes, I used to hate olives and now I love them.

 

Here is a short piece with soprano by Australia composer Elena Kats-Chernin, pretty easy to listen to in my opinion

 

Eliza's Aria by Elena Kats-Chernin

 

 

 

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Elena Kats-Chernin seems to be the pin up girl for ABC Classical. They play her works almost as often as Bach or Beethoven. I can't hack Peter Sculthorpe's work,  but that is simply because he headed off down the track less worn. 

1 hour ago, red750 said:

I am definitely lowbrow, virtually subterranean.

Red, if you poo-pooed all music you'd be a lowbrow, but the popular artists you name do carry on the tradition of Beethoven and Strauss and a lot of 19th Century composers who wrote for the entertainment of the masses who, due to the industrial revolution, had the time and money to attend concerts, as you do when you go to the concerts of your favorites.

 

The people who show that they are lowbrow are the ones who cry "Turn it off!" whenever the sound of anything but contemporary popular music is played. When there was work driving mini-buses, I had the radio tuned to the classical stations. It is amazing how that sort of music playing in the background relaxed the passengers. 

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I can't understand why so many people thing the classical music is so much better than non classical, but then I can understand when I listen to our local ABC station, playing what it calls music. It is 95% dreadful and I wonder why it was recorded and then kept for future playing. It is what I call screech and squawk.

I liked the music such as the big bands also the popular music of the first half of the 20th century, but from then on it seems to go bad. I would love to hear Abba for example, or the Seekers, songs that you can make out what is being said, not rap or its close follower Crap.

How about jazz, the only way to hear it is to go to a specialist program. Then their is the clever stuff such as Flanders and Swan or Tom Lehrer, wouldn't ot be a change to once a week hear something like that on your local radio.

One thing I have noticed in recent years is that the Christmas Carols that used to be played ad nauseum from mid November on have disappeared. I thought that was good, but I would like to hear one now, just to show that we haven[t all bowed down to the Muslim minority who must not be offended. I realise that this post may be considered offensive, but so who cares.

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2 hours ago, Yenn said:

I can't understand why so many people thing the classical music is so much better than non classical

The term "classical music" did not appear until the early 19th century, in an attempt to distinctly canonize the period from Johann Sebastian Bach to Ludwig van Beethoven as a golden age. The earliest reference to "classical music" recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary is from about 1829. It is a classification of musical styles classical music has been noted for its development of highly sophisticated forms of instrumental music such as the symphony, concerto, fugue, sonata, and mixed vocal and instrumental styles such as opera, cantata, and mass. At the same time there was the simpler styles of popular music that were created by the less sophisticated musicians in local communities. You'd call that Folk or Traditional music styles.

 

It is impolite to say that one type of music is better or worse than another. The music is there to be played and enjoyed, be it Handel's Water Music, the Bach family symphonies, Strauss' waltzes, New Orleans Jazz, Swing, Big Band Rock'n'Roll, Country and many others. Personally I like the sound of 20's Jazz. 

 

You must be living on another planet if your ears have not already been assailed for over a month with carols and Christmas songs. I wish that Silent Night became The Sounds of Silence.

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The classical period is considered to be 1750 - 1830,  The term wasn't  used at the time but applied retrospectively.  The term classical is used informally but strictly speaking incorrectly. For example Beethoven is not classical music but from the romantic period and Bach is from Baroque music.

8 minutes ago, old man emu said:

It is impolite to say that one type of music is better or worse than another.

I couldn't agree more.  I have worked with musicians my whole working life and I know that the concert pianist listens to heavy metal and the rock musician goes to the opera.   

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The application and interpretation of the term "classical music" definitely has the odour of class distinction in British society, and hence the formation of our cultural attitudes. It was only the Upper Crust who could afford to attend opera in Britain, and coupled with the fact that most opera lyrics were not in English, the rest of the population could not enjoy operas. There was a strong music hall tradition, and we mustn't forget the works of Gilbert & Sullivan and the like. No doubt the hoy-polloy of Italy, France, Germany etc., flocked to the opera in their own countries because they could understand the lyrics.

 

As for composers of modern popular music, the Beatles did not have the ability to express their musical phrases in musical notation, or to give them the technical names, but they were able to describe them in in simple words and by demonstration. It is unfortunate that popular music in the 2020's is dominated by cacophonies.

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I attended a concert by the James Last Big Band (and have a few old 78's of his) at Melbourne's Festival Hall (better known as "The House of Stouch because that"s where they held boxing matches), many years ago, and although I didn't attend any concerts here in Melbourne, I have watched a bit of Ande Rieu on TV. Some say he has commercialised J.S.Bach and his waltzes, but I think he has popularised them in the modern era.

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The great thing is about being alive today is that we have at very low cost access to at least 1000 years of music (much more if you consider all sources of music).      When we judge today's music we need to understand that music being created today has not yet been sifted by history,   During Mozart's day there were plenty of poor quality composers, they just did not stand the test of time.

 

Popular  commercial music needs to be simple so that it can be enjoyed on the first hearing.  "Classical"  music tends to be more dense and complex and does take more time understand.  This does not mean any form of music is superior, just different.     My own Spotify play list is extremely diverse.

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1 hour ago, octave said:

Classical"  music tends to be more dense and complex and does take more time understand

I think that that statement takes appreciation of music too far for the non-musician. While music can indeed affect the emotions, it may become a distraction to delve deeply into its construction. Apart from ceremonial and religious music, the rest is meant to uplift the spirit, whether is is a pastoral,  a nocturn, a triumphant march, or songs from a G&S operetta.

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1 minute ago, old man emu said:

I think that that statement takes appreciation of music too far for the non-musician

 

Maybe but it can be appreciated on many levels. There is nothing wrong with  enjoying the way a piece of music makes you feel, there is also nothing wrong with knowing why it may have that effect on you.   You do not have to analyze a piece of music in great detail to enjoy it but if you want to you can get more out of it if you want to delve a little.  I am not saying this is what everyone should do.

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I suppose that anyone's appreciation of anything can be increased as they increase their knowledge of the topic. Music is such a prismoidal thing that it can be appreciated with virtually no knowledge of its intricacies. Just ask a one-year-old to explain the musical work that contains the tune to "Twinkle, twinkle little star".

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It is great to be living on another planet and also impolite. But why is it impolite? Surely anyone can have an opinion. Does my expressing an opinion that the music the local ABC plays is poor affect anyone, or should I not express it. In that case I cannot see how the radio presenters should be allowed to say it is good. Having talked to some of them over the years I am told that they have a list of allowed music they can play. I just wonder why that list is all the same, screech and squawk, rather than a mixture of all kinds of music.

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