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Subject: Re: 'History's Greatest Composer'
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:15:30 -0500
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Though I don't always agree with you, I certainly do this time. "The greatest" (or even just 
plain "great") is such a subjective thing, relying on personal experience and personal taste. 
And ultimately I think trying to rate a "greatest" composer (or artist of any sort, or any 
work of art) is just a meaningless, superficial exercise. 

We *can* point to concrete, objective fact - which is the longest symphony, or the tallest 
building, or which composer wrote the most operas, or what author wrote the shortest 
novel, etc. But I just don't think "the greatest" can really ever be fact - and rarely even 
clear consensus. 


On Tue, 28 Feb 2017 12:03:51 -0500, Genevieve Castle Room 
<[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Donald,
>
>>"Inanity? or insanity?"
>
>Both inane and insane.
>
>I don't think the question "Who was the greatest composer of all time?" is
>a particularly good one -- and I don't think you should go in for age
>adjustment. Was Keats a greater poet than Shakespeare? And who knows when
>great minds--musical or otherwise--will burn out? Mathematicians for
>example do their best work at a relatively young age and coast along after
>that unless they reinvent themselves (and note when Gelernter himself
>stopped publishing his "hardcore" scientific work).
>
>
>
>
>
>On Tuesday, February 28, 2017, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> Inanity? or insanity?
>>
>> I don't think the professor's question is either, provided one
>> holds the assumption that what is accomplished by age 31
>> promises a couple more decades of progressive creativity;
>> there are in fact hints of continued mastery of Mahlerian
>> proportions in Schubert's latest compositions, so who knows?
>>
>> There is no question in my mind that the finished masterpieces
>> do constitute "greatness' superior to that of Schubert's competitors,
>> including Mozart and his FIGARO.  "Listen carefully" the professor
>> pleads, and who can argue against that, or against his ultimate
>> examples from the late works of Beethoven,  though I would
>> personally insist on the inclusion of Opus 125.
>>
>> dtmk
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 12:21 AM, Genevieve Castle Room <
>> [log in to unmask]
>> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml',[log in to unmask]);>> wrote:
>>
>>> Yale computer science professor David Gelernter asks 'Who is history’s
>>> greatest composer?'
>>>
>>>
>>> >"Who is history’s greatest composer? (I encourage my students to ask this
>>> sort of wildly unpopular question because it sharpens one’s critical
>>> understanding, and forces one to make choices.) The composer is Franz
>>> Schubert; he died at 31, and none of his three competitors had finished
>>> masterpieces to compare with his at 31. His three opus posthumous sonatas
>>> are among the deepest achievements in art. The slow movements of the last
>>> two might be the most beautiful in all of music—in competition only with
>>> Mozart’s Requiem and the last movement of Beethoven’s op 111 sonata. And
>>> what if Schubert’s competitors had each died at 31? Beethoven had finished
>>> his stupendous C minor piano concerto, op. 37, and several perfect piano
>>> sonatas; but his great work was yet to come. Bach had finished Herz und
>>> Mund und Tat und Leben, one of his finest cantatas and his single biggest
>>> hit (it includes “Jesus Joy of man’s desiring”); but his greatest music
>>> all
>>> came later. Mozart is the toughest competitor, because he finished Figaro
>>> at 30—Figaro, greatest of his operas, greatest of all operas, the best
>>> answer in music (better even than Don Giovanni) to the hardest of all
>>> musical problems--how to come to an end. But listen carefully once more to
>>> the three sonatas and Schubert wins. (Which doesn’t change the underlying
>>> truth, that Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, his op 110 and 111 sonatas, his
>>> string quartet in C# minor and the Gross Fuge are the greatest music of
>>> all.)"
>>>
>>> https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/
>>> theres-enough-time-to-change-everything/517209/
>>>
>>> ---------------------
>>>
>>> Sheer inanity..... Professor Gelernter wants to sharpen his students'
>>> critical understanding by forcing them to make absurd choices, and has a
>>> pre-packaged answer to boot.
>>>
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>>
>>
>
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