Classical composers and the dullest authors..

A couple of polls for a leisurely Sunday..
First of all, and Troppo Armadillians who’ve been commenting on music and composers recently might like this, Norm Geras over at Normblog is now conducting a poll of ‘five favourite classical composers.’ Just send him a list of your five favourite classical composers, in order of ranking. In my own selection, I’ve interpreted this rather widely to include Renaissance, baroque and neo-classical, not strictly speaking just the chronological Classical period, and Norm’s not objected. I chose to interpret favourites as being those to whom I listen the most, with my selection being 1/Henry Purcell; 2/Mozart; 3/Vivaldi; 4/William Byrd; 5/Arvo Part. I also pointed out to him that I listen extensively to Beethoven, Rameau, Telemann, Orlando Gibbons, Debussy, Ravel, and heaps more, but those are probably the ones that are most on my CD player.
So email Norm at normblog-at-yahoo.co.uk and let him have your five faves!
The other poll is mine–well, it’s not really a poll, as I couldn’t be bothered collating results, I’m afraid, just a bit of fun for you to consider, and send lists in through comments. Who are the dullest authors you have ever read, and why?

I shamelessly pilfered the idea for this from one of the old magazines I’ve been reading, lately. This was an issue of Vanity Fair of 1923, in which ‘ten prominent literary experts’ (most of whom I’d never heard of, but some of whom, H.L.Mencken, Edna Ferber and James Branch Cabell, are still well-known today)were asked to nominate the ten authors they’d found most boring and unreadable. They were asked to be as honest as possible. The whole tone was lighthearted, not sneering. In fact some of it was flippant in the extreme. Here’s some of the ones that recurred on more than one ‘literary expert’s’ list: Dostoevski, Gertrude Stein, DH Lawrence(probaly the overall winner, in terms of votes!), George Eliot, Henry James, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud..Others with single votes included Shakespeare, Dante, Goethe, Dickens, Scott, Cervantes, Marcus Aurelius, Stevenson, Hardy, Kipiling, Chesterton, Doyle, Melville, Meredith and more. There were also writers I’d never heard of, proving the fleetingness of fame, even of the dull kind. The funniest contributions were from the two female literary ‘experts’, Edna Ferber and Elinor Wylie. Ferber did not nominate authors but books, including ‘The Book of Job’, ‘Plane Geometry’, ‘Eat and Grow Thin’, ‘Pollyanna’ and others, Elinor Wylie had wicked little comments on each of her selections..eg, ‘Robert Louis Stevenson–because his admirers call him R.L.S.’; Dante Alighieri–‘because I can’t read Italian’; Selma Lagerlof–‘because an English lady read her aloud to me’; William Shakespeare’as a comic writer. Because I am sadly deficient in humour.’..
In the spirit of this selection, I invite Troppo Armadillians–who never mind a bit of ‘literary expertism’ to nominate their favourites for The World’s Dullest Authors poll. Fiction or non-fiction or poetry permitted. Here’s my own, not in order of ranking–I find them unreadable pretty equally:
1/James Joyce–especially Finnegan’s Wake, but also Ulysses(although the latter can be bearable read out loud–it’s simply unreadable). Like Dubliners, and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, though.
2/Lenin–perfect example of incomprehensible, orotund language hiding brutally simple slogans;
3/Louis de Bernieres-kernels of good stories buried under mounds of anxious, overworked literary try-hardism;
4/Robert Ludlum–breathless, incoherent, enormous ‘thrillers’ that could have done with a great deal of sharpening and cutting(give me a Tom Clancy or Frederick Forsyth any day. Mind you, the Bourne films are 2000 percent better than the books;)
5/Robert Jordan–oh God, on and on and on, won’t he ever stop!
6/any slight literary novel built around some quaint premise, like the study of clouds, or the proboscis of a moth, or what have you; (I know, it’s cheating but there’s too many of them to name them, and I hate ’em all!)
7/Iris Murdoch–one ofthe most overrated writers ever, dense, dull and hazy;
8/DH Lawrence–too much harping on and on about that mysterious sex urge, and some truly laughable situations, esp in Women in Love–I cannot put out of my mind a confrontation between one of the main male characters and a male rabbit–supposed to show male nature red in tooth and claw–but I ask you, a rabbit! Of all his books, I like best Kangaroo, the extraordinary novel he wrote about Australia–and his poetry’s not bad, in small doses;
9/Jean-Paul Sartre–overrated old sacred monster, with one idea he harped on and on about. His non-fiction is bad enough; his ‘fiction’ esp plays, is dreadful. Place him beside a truly great existentialist writer of that period-the wonderful Albert Camus–and you can see what a self-regarding dull dog he was!
10/ Anita Brookner–tiresomely repetitive, overworked, slight. The first one I quite liked–but she’s written the same book over and over and obsessively over again. Enough!

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Glenn Condell
Glenn Condell
2022 years ago

Michael Ondaatje, daylight second.

bill
bill
2022 years ago

Barbara Kingsolver : so earnest, so politically correct, so predictable, so dull.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I mostly agree with Sophie’s list, except that I’d certainly add the moronic Tom Clancy to the list of boring latter day potboiler authors (I don’t mind Freddie Forsyth). Clancy’s plots are predictable and his characters stereotypical cardboard cutouts. At the more “literary” end of the spectrum, I’d include Tom Wolfe (which unsurprisingly puts me offside with Miranda Devine). I haven’t attempted to read his latest “I Am Charlotte Simmons”, so I might conceivably be doing him an injustice, but I found “Bonfire of the Vanities” a very reliable soporific. I’d also include a raft of turgid 19th century authors with Thomas Hardy at the head.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Richard Nixon. His memoirs (bought second hand at an op-shop in the late seventies to avoid paying royalties to the bugger) made a great doorstop until I packed them off to a church fete a few years ago.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

as part of my ongoing fascination with cults a few years back in the interests of research I read a bunch of L Ron Hubbard books and two or three Ayn Rand “novels”. turgid comes to mind rather than dull.

and years ago I was in USA when everybody was raving about this great best selling australian novel I had never heard of. The Thorn Birds, by Collleen “Its part of the island culture to rape 12 year old girls” McCullough. So I read it in Estes Park Colarado. Maybe her Roman series was better, I don’t know as I’ve never been game to pick up another of her books.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Big Lawrence fan here, especially Sons & Lovers – almost my idea of the perfect novel. Kangaroo is, alas, too uneven, but flashes brilliantly on occasion.

Dullest book ever written? Opening the envelope … yes, it’s a lay down … the book that would kill even the brownest of brown dogs … is … the biography of John Howard.

James Russell
2022 years ago

This 1923 poll thing is the first time I can remember seeing Nietzsche cited as a dull author. I wish to register my disagreement.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

if Nietzsche is a dull author, then anything written by an Englishman (or woman) is a barbiturate.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

What I think is duller than depleted uranium.

Geoffrey Archer – writes in crayons and only uses three of ’em too: black, white and grey.
Robert Ludlum – author of the “The Ludlum Formula.”
Tom Clancy – even his editors were bored, letting through egregious syntax like “He was wearing a Saville Row suit he once fought a terrorist in.” I hope it was generously cut. The suit I mean. Not the terrorist.
Derek Von Bustlurcher -“Wanka”.
Donna Tartt – If Livejournal existed back then, a lotta trees would be have spared.
Thomas Mann – I’ve taking “The Magic Mountain” on long distance flights for nearly a decade now and still haven’t made it past the first chapter a la Clive James. Ooh! look! pretty clouds out the window.
Ditto Thomas Wolfe – Angels go home!
Henry James – While I would be the first to agree that the “The Turn of the Screw”

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

‘…any slight literary novel built around some quaint premise, like the study of clouds, or the proboscis of a moth, or what have you..’

I hadn’t noticed there was such a genre, let alone formed an opinion about it, but you’ve convinced me it’s something well worth hating!

It’s obvious from the discussion so far that no one has read any applied econometrics.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

I can only manage three at this time of night:

James Joyce – Finnegan’s Wake. Reading it is like stumbling thrugh a maze at midnight bumping into trees and getting your both feet caught in rabbit traps.

Thomas Pynchon – Gravity’s Rainbow (except for the orgy scenes. No, come to think of it, including the orgy scenes).

Noam Chomsky – Deterring Deocracy. Like trying to read to the sound of a high-pitched buzz saw droning for hours and hours and hours. And hours and hours and…

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Both your. Dem. (Hey, that’s James Joyce, isn’t it?)

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Disagree Chatwin is crap, Nabakov. Read his ‘Lament for Afghanistan’, especially the closing paragraphs.

Agree totally Powys is sssssssssslow moving crap. Boy, did I have trouble with ‘Glastonbury’.

One addition: Jean-Paul Sartre – Saint Genet, actor [comedien in the original; are they the same, Sophie?] and martyr. Acres of turgid prose in which to drown a writer whose own words are quite transparent – however unpleasant, on occasion.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

A little O/T but one of the Powys Brothers – Theodore, wrote beautifully and clearly – and “Mr Weston’s Good Wine” is one of my all time favourite novels. F R Leavis was a big fan :) Agree re Jonathon though.

Genet himself is a wonderful writer, and the film of “Querelle of Brest” brilliant – though a little distasteful for some.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Oh, and Nietzsche is the opposite of dull!

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

And I disagree with Sophie about Lenin – a punchy writer, whatever you think of his politics. He outdid even Marx in vitriol. Stalin, on the other hand, reads very dully.

Sartre’s philosophy is turgid, I’ve not read his fiction. Simone de Beauvoir had all the literary talent in that couple – her novels are brilliant reads.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Especially ‘The Thief’s Journal’, I think, Mark. Did not at all like Patrice Chereau’s filmed ‘version’ of the book’, which he called ‘L’Homme Blessse’ (‘The Wounded Man’, if my schoolboy French serves me correctly). Chereau of course is he who first filrmed Wagner’s Ring Cycle – the (?) 1983 Bayreuth production conducted by Pierre Boulez. Very good too.

And Genet’s ‘Our Lady of the Flowers’ is quite extraordinary.

Sorry, this is even more OT.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

I tried reading Satre’s Nausea many years ago. Never got past the first page. Other books which I have never been able to finish: AS Byatt’s Posession, Proust’s Rememberance of things past, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason,

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Mark, Lenin was a lunatic, so of course he wrote with colour. Stalin was an simple assassin, so of course he didn’t. (Couldn’t resist….)

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Make that ‘complicated lunatic….’

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Oh yeah, Colleen McCullough’s The first man in Rome and Patrick White’s Vivisector. Never got past the first 10 pages or so either.

No offence to Sophie whose fiction I haven’t read but I find most Australian fiction authors deadly dull (except for Robert Dessaix)

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Try SM’s ‘Hand of Glory’ for mid-teens and above, Jason. Teriffic read.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Grr. Terrific.

tim
tim
2022 years ago

I’m listening to gustav mahler a lot lately – I had never studied or played his music when i was playing. Its very full of expression. I have also been trying to justify spending the $200 odd to buy the full ring cycle by wagner. I have been listening to bits of it and want to own the whole thing. I would have really loved to have spent $1700 and gone to it in Adelaide!
My preference in philosphy centres around hebrew world view and epistemology. Genesis in Space and Time by Fancis Shchaeffer is one of the 7-8 books I am (concurrently) reading now.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Rob, here’s Lenin:

“The oppressing classes have constantly persecuted the great revolutionaries in their lifetime, reacted to their teachings with the most savage malice, the wildest hatred and the most shameless campaigns of lies and slander. Attempts are made after their death to convert them into harmless icons, to canonise them, so to speak, and to confer a certain prestige on their names so as to ‘console’ the oppressed classes by emasculating the essence of the revolutionary teaching, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it. The bourgeoisie and the opportunists within the working-class movement cooperate in this ‘elaboration’ of Marxism. They forget, erase and destroy the revolutionary side of this doctrine, its revolutionary soul. They push to the foreground and extol what is or seems acceptable to the bourgoisie. All the social-chauvinists are now ‘Marxists’; oh, please don’t laugh!”

That’s very good punchy polemical writing. I don’t see how his style can be described as “incomprehensible, orotund language”. Lenin, before the October 1917 revolution, had to get his ideas across both to the Russian people and to other Communists and his chief means was his pen, just as Marx’ was. Therefore he had to cultivate an effective writing style. The fact that Lenin was arguably the most influential figure of the 20th century (again, a judgement made irrespective of one’s approval or disapproval of his politics and his legacy) is testimony to the power of his writing. It’s not for nothing that ‘State and Revolution’, from which I’ve been quoting, is published in Penguin’s ‘Twentieth Century Classics’.

I’d recommend a look at pp xxi-xxv of Robert Service’s intro where he treats of Lenin’s style. Service is a very distinguished Russian historian and certainly not an apologist for Marxism-Leninism.

I’d exempt Lenin’s philosophical work, particularly ‘Empiricism and Materio-criticism’ from this. But as political polemic, he’s one of the best. Most politicians write very poorly, Churchill being another notable exception. I’m unsure as to why Sophie’s pick out Lenin as the only political writer in a list of authors of fiction (unless Sartre is also included in this category – but his political journalism doesn’t read badly compared to his philosophy).

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Tim, go for Solti. There are great new digitallty remastered versions of his classic 1960’s set going at reasonable prices.

The more recent cycles like Barenboim’s or Levine’s have merits but are not on a par. Most of all, they just don’t have the singers.

My favourites are the two full cycles recorded with Furtwangler at the helm in the early 50’s, but the sound was pretty crap even for its day (not his Walkure with the VPO for Decca, available on EMI Reference, which is damn good). Everything is great except the sound. And the sound is a big thing in Wagner. Solti had great sound, great production, usually pretty good voices, a terrific orchestra and himself as a great conductor. Not the finest thing in all categories, but all things considered the one closest to the top on all the key things: sound, production, voices, orchestra and conductor. Happy listening!.

And hopelessly OT as usual.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Well, I’m not impressed by Lenin’s polemics. This is stuff anybody could have said. Have you seen Leni Riefenstahl’s ‘The Triumph of the Will’? Put those words into the mouth of Hitler, with a few variations, and you’d get the same forceful, polemical effect.

And what on earth does this mean:

“….so as to ‘console’ the oppressed classes by emasculating the essence of the revolutionary teaching, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it.”

I have no idea. It’s just words strung together for the purpose of making a polemical point,and arousing passion in his audience because it sounds so neat. I grant you this is more interesting than Chomsky, who bores you to death without even trying, but as far as I can see it makes no significant contribution to the language of political discourse, any more thn [g]No[a]m[e] Chomsky does. Now there’s a postmodern un-naming non-convention.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Perhaps this is polemic too, of another kind; but here it is, and it shows Lenis’s own rhetoric in a different light.

‘A number of the Cheka’s interrogators peeled off victims’ hands to produce ‘gloves’ of human skin; in Voronesz naked prisoners were rolled arond in barrels studded with nails; in Poltava priests were impaled; in Odessa captured White officers were tied to planks and fed slowly into furnaces; in Kiev cages of rats were fixed on to prisoners’ bodies and heated until the rats knawed their way into the victims’ intestines’.

This was the work of Lenin’s Cheka (secret police), of whom he said: ‘[The Cheka] has been able to counter your intrigues …. as no one would have done when you were smothering us….and would stop at nothing in order to wreck our peaceful work’.

Andrew and Daniel, The Mitrokhin Arichive, 1999.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Andrw and MITROKHIN. The latter was a KGB archivist who defected to the west in the late 90’s with a lot of interesting information, to say the least.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Oh come on Rob, I’m not defending Lenin and the Cheka. Aren’t you the defender of the contention that we should judge writing purely as such and not by its political context :)

“And what on earth does this mean:

“….so as to ‘console’ the oppressed classes by emasculating the essence of the revolutionary teaching, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarising it.”

He’s referring to the German revisionists’ giving up on their ideals for parliamentary office. But perhaps you need to know the historical context to interpret the author’s intention :)

Anyway, I’m not discussing politics on this thread, sticking determinedly to aesthetics.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

OK, Mark (but you quoted the guy…..mutter, mutter).

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

And to clarify: on judging works on their own merits I thought I was very careful to talk only about works of art and their experiential envelope, not about works of exteror commentary and polemic, as Lenin’s self-evidently is. Very rarely,and then only in the hands of great scholars and aesthetes, do you you see a blurring of the boundary between the categories.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Only because I disagreed with Sophie’s assessment, Rob. And you see how hard these lines between aesthetics and politics are to draw, perhaps :) Anyway, I’ll stop going on about it!

william
william
2022 years ago

Fun but it’s missing a caveat: works in translation should name the translator, since the work itself might be a very funny one, to a native reader, but a very tiresome one, if the translator was tiresome. My two candidates would be Vanity Fair and anything by Walter Scott, unless it had been retold for 8 year olds, like my gripping version of Ivanhoe.

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

Kathy Lette. Even seeing her name in print makes me start grinding my teeth.

W
W
2022 years ago

Sophie, top poll.
I nominate Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd’. In it he has a description of a field that goes something like “The blade of grass in the top left hand corner of the field was blowing this way and that, and the blade beside it was blowing that way and this, and the blade beside that had some dew on it and….”. Unreadable overblown urgh.

W
W
2022 years ago

And composers:
Mercadante
Vivaldi
Rossini
Puccini
Verdi

There is not anyone else is there?
Oh, yeah: Leoncavallo and Mascagni

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

my favourite classical composers, are, sadly, very predictable.

Bach, Bach, and Bach (all JS), with a smattering of Beethoven and Mozart.

wen
wen
2022 years ago

Most boring:

Thos. Hardy
Henry James (I’ve read the first 100 pages of Bostonians 50 times in the last few years, & every time I get to page 101 I fall asleep & forget what I’ve read … Nab’s Jamesian prose is far more gripping)
Anita Brookner
Sebastian Faulks
Jamaica Kincaid
Emily Bronte

Jason — I haven’t posted a comment, but strangely enough my moral political thingo came up practically identical to yours — and my classical choice would be Bach Bach Bach Mozart Beethoven. I thought the quiz was bollocks (most of my answers were at best ‘least worse’), but maybe there was something to it….

James Farrell
James Farrell
2022 years ago

If we’re doing composers now: Beethoven, Handel, Monteverdi, Beethoven, Bach/Mozart/etc.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Mark, the reason I quoted Lenin as a dull author is because to me he is indeed dull–the colour comes few and far between long and involved fustian jargon, lots of exclamation marks and boring rants about the same old suspects. I’d been told he was a ‘good’ writer in terms of totalitarian polemicists, but found him very swiftly unreadable, repellent but also hugely boring. I have not read Stalin–the sight of his many massive tomes, densely printed, in the old Soviet bookshop in Sydney put me right off. I’ve read Trotsky and think he’s a far better writer than Lenin though that is only a matter of less dull than very dull. He has much more punch and verve though he’s a truculent ranter too–the books I’ve read are ‘Terrorism and Communism’ and ‘Whither France?’–and in that he has much more in common with another totalitarian polemicist, Hitler. Mein Kampf is a repellent, vile piece of shit–but never does Hitler hide his intentions. He is brutally direct. How anyone who read Mein Kampf could possibly have mistaken Hitler’s intentions is beyond me. It’s the wolf in wolf’s clothing, whereas Lenin’s is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, necessarily clothed in obsfucation. You can’t bear to read the whole of Mein Kampf because your skin begins to crawl and you feel sick to the stomach–but Hitler is not dull in the way Lenin was, to me. He even makes jokes–of a grim, sinister kind of humour.
I haven’t read Bukharin, but someone told me he was ‘better’ than all the rest of the Bolshevik writers. Has anyone read him? Is this true? Haven’t read Mussolini either though I’ve been told it’s very bombastic.
The political writers I’ve most enjoyed–in terms of their literary merit and readability, anyway(I don’t always agree with what they say)–are the late 18th cent and early 19th cent writers like Voltaire, Alexis de Tocqueville, Tom Paine, Edmund Burke, Thomas Carlyle. Everything expressed in terms anyone can understand, and yet it’s intelligent, passionate and well-informed, and very elegant, deft writing. Not dull at all. Generally speaking, the totalitarian political polemicists/so-called philosophers of the 20th cent can’t even reach their bootstraps, in terms of style and readbility.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Fair enough, Sophie but there’s a difference between political polemics (which will inevitably contain dissimulation – left, right or centre) and political philosophy which is often beautifully or powerfully written. Hobbes isn’t a bad writer for instance! And I’d add Mill to the 19th century list…

As I was trying to say, it’s really a difference in rhetorical aim between political writing and fiction – persuasion or evocation. Therefore I’d argue not necessarily amenable to being judged by the same standards.

Fyodor
2022 years ago

Most boring author is really hard, as I have studied econometrics and “critical theory”.

Most over-rated boring author for me would be James Joyce. Why anyone would read Ulysses over Homer’s Odyssey is beyond me.

Favourite classical composers:

1. Mussorgsky
2. Puccini
3. Vivaldi
4. Rimsky-Korsakov
5. Debussy

My two cents on Lenin is that he was a third-rate intellectual, a fourth-rate writer and a first-rate organiser. If he hadn’t led the Bolsheviks he would have been consigned to the dustbin of Russian intellectual mediocrities.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

The one literature writer I could never get into was Richardson. Didn’t like Lawrence either. Not so strong on Joyce or Henry James either (loved Nabakov’s parody of James).

Agree with FXH that L Ron Hubbard is seriously dull. How he started a cult is a mystery, but perhaps cults rely on dull repetition.

As for Lenin, I remember Alexei Sayle quoting him as saying that he regarded freedom of expression as a precious thing – so precious that it had to be rationed very sparingly. As Sayle said, if only that had been greeted by rasperries, stamping and hysterical laughter, we might’ve been spared his political career and had instead an interesting stand-up comic.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Well if we’re doing top 10 classical composers –

Bach/Mozart/Beethoven – equal first

Then in no particular order:

Monteverdi
Handel
Brahms
Schumann
Schubert
Bartok
Sibelius
Purcell
Vivaldi

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Not quite OT, but here’s an intersting article in the SMH (sourced from the Guardian) on classical music. Some parallels with recent Troppo discussions on pomo, I think, about how art dies when stuffy intellectuals get their hands on it.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/Opinion/Classical-music-is-ready-for-an-encore/2005/02/20/1108834658986.html

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

even the likes of charlie parker apparently claimed to learn to appreciate music listening to stravinsky, etc. not all modernism is bad.

when you get a performer like Glenn Gould (even despite his incessant humming) you can make classical music really appealing. on the other hand all those classical bands that try too hard to be sexy and hip etc can be a turnoff and occasionally a travesty.

incidentally i think if JS Bach were alive today he wouldn’t be a classical composer, he’d be someone like Keith Jarrett. one reason i like bach is you can see him as a jazz player, he’s a hip cat

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

oh yeah, Satie had some great chops too and i guess you’d classify him as modernist.
OT but has anyone else read Godel, Escher and Bach? talk about polymathic eloquence –
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465026567/102-5025744-3870560

megan
2022 years ago

The most tediously boring book I’ve ever started trying to read was Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. Can’t comment on him as an author in general, as that book was enough to put me off him for good.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Aie-aie! Re the link Rob gave us, the estimable Martin Kettle(whose pieces I usually enjoy)leaves out the most popular modern classical composer of them all, the extraordinary Estonian composer Arvo Part. Concerts of Part’s music always sell out, and his CDs are very popular, and some of his works even available on Naxos. Much less intellectual and rarefied than say Tavener,(a fellow Russian Orthodox) much closer to the grandeur, tragedy and beauty of the old Russian composers, his music–which uses both instruments and voice– is magnificent, and he’s one of my top five.
I noticed some of his music was used in Since Otar Left, incidentally. I’ve often wondered why it wasn’t more used in film. It is intensely atmospheric.