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Subject: Re: Dialogues of the Carmelites
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 21 Feb 2018 23:20:07 -0500
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I tend to think that Mr. Perraud's reference to "snide condescension" was not about the 
blogger, but the Opera-L poster who quoted the blogger. 

We all have likes and dislikes. But some people really love music. Others think that they 
can show their superiority (phony and narcissistic as it is) by routinely cutting down the 
music that other people love. That's more about unhealthy love of self than it is about 
love for any music at all. 


On Wed, 21 Feb 2018 14:07:00 -0500, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Read the full review on the blog called Capriccio, and you will see that
>the writer has a  healthy admiration for Poulenc's music.  His intention
>was to place an opinion of what the composer was trying to do with
>"DIALOGUES" in contrast to all his other less ambitious works.  I think
>it's a thoughtful essay.   Words like "snide condescesion" don't have
>much application to perceptive criticism: who wants to read only polite,
>impersonal ramblings carefully phrased to avoid accidental injury?  I
>may not agree with every word but I'm thankful the essay was brought
>to our attention.
>
>dtmk
>
>
>On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 12:22 PM, Louis Perraud <[log in to unmask]>
>wrote:
>
>> Dear Mr. Padillo
>>
>> Thanks for your vigorous defense of M. Poulenc's wonderful opera. What
>> really irritated me about the post you were replying to was not the
>> writer's preference for other 20th century operas--that's a judgement that
>> goes with having an individual set of ears--nor his rejection of the
>> religious and political values that underlie the opera--those are
>> judgements he has every right to make.  No, what bothered me was the post's
>> snide condescension, and assumption that the writer had an irrefutable
>> correct view that there is no room to disagree with.
>>
>> Louis Perraud
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> n--- "G. Paul Padillo" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: s
>> > "The music in Carmelites makes one almost suspect a confectionaryn
>> > misspelling -- sickly sweet and pleasurable in small quantities but
>> > actually of little nutritious value. There are a few scenes that stick
>> out
>> > but the lack of real musical invention makes it a dull overall listening
>> > experience."  (Snip)
>> > ******
>> >
>> > This (along with nearly everything else in the post, attached to the
>> bottom,
>> > where it belongs) has to be among the most hilarious, yet still bilious
>> > statements of bullshit I’ve ever run across regarding what is widely, and
>> > correctly accepted as one of the masterpieces of the mid 20th century,
>> > bringing to mind the nonsense by some British critic citing “Nozze di
>> > Figaro” as an inflated, overrated, bore “people only pretend to like
>> because
>> > they’re supposed to,” proving no lack of idiocy in the world of
>> criticism and
>> > journalism.
>> >
>> > 15-20 years ago I had “dialogues” with a fellow lister who hated this
>> opera,
>> > stating how he “was enraged by “the passivity of the Sisters of Carmel”
>> > and their like “lambs-to-the-slaughter” idea of martyrdom, questioning
>> why
>> > a composer could possibly be drawn to this text.  Poulenc should “have
>> > been ashamed to bring this before the public .  .  . At a time when the
>> > whole world was still reeling . . . how could Poulenc choose to set this
>> little
>> > antique tragedy about the Carmelite nuns of 1789."
>> >
>> > The beauty – and horror – of Poulenc’s opera, I believe, is how it
>> addresses
>> > universally many issues and, despite the specificity of it its setting,
>> is
>> > ultimately a story that could take, and has taken place at any given
>> time in
>> > any part of the world.  In “Dialogues” Poulenc has given us one of the
>> few
>> > repertory pieces which, alongside Wagner’s “Parsifal” has caused many to
>> > profoundly examine one’s personal faith, whatever that faith may be.
>> >
>> >
>> > As to the irrational necessity felt to pit Poulenc’s opera with those
>> less
>> > frequently performed (“more esoteric,” if you will) operas by Janacek and
>> > Busoni is unnecessary and, ultimately, useless.  The three composers had
>> > entirely different – and unique – styles that had/have nothing to do with
>> > each other aside from each man being at the top of his game and
>> > producing works of genius.  A personal preference for another work does
>> > not diminish the artistic accomplishment of Monsieur Poulenc with his
>> > Dialogues.
>> >
>> > From the initial buzz at its La Scala premiere to continued productions
>> > round the world, ever since, Poulenc’s opera has lost nothing of the
>> power
>> > with which it came into this world.  I have seen this work a number of
>> > times in a various productions and it continues to wring tears from these
>> > eyes while also, as the greatest art can, connect the mind to the heart.
>> >
>> > p.
>> >
>> >
>> > * * * * *
>> >
>> >
>> > Anon blogger wrote:
>> >
>> > >Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites doesn't at all convince. The
>> unlikeable
>> > tacky religious kitsch (not even likeable in a camp "good because it's
>> bad"
>> > way) of the situation and music as well as the poverty of the actual
>> > musical material makes for a long evening. Though the characters are
>> > strongly drawn, they are hard to relate to - what are we to make of the
>> > eliptical and abnormal reasoning of the minds of the devout, whose
>> attitude
>> > to life and death is so different from our own? Only Soeur Constance is
>> > really likeable, but because she's so explicitly normal and seems to lack
>> > the strangeness of the order's religious sentiments (until the ending
>> that
>> > is). The music in Carmelites makes one almost suspect a confectionary
>> > misspelling -- sickly sweet and pleasurable in small quantities but
>> > actually of little nutritious value. There are a few scenes that stick
>> out
>> > but the lack of real musical invention makes it a dull overall listening
>> > experience.
>> >
>> > http://capricciomusic.blogspot.com/2011/03/dialogues-des-carmelites.html
>> >
>> > ------------
>> >
>> > Agree that the music is, if not over-sweet, not always very nutritious
>> > (like Poulenc generally).
>> >
>> > (My understanding is that Poulenc was digging for the real France beneath
>> > the official lies, and finding Catholicism, aristocracy, the small
>> > community and self-sacrifice where others see only the regimented terror
>> of
>> > the modern state)
>> >
>> > Of course it is not at the artistic level of 'Mathis der Maler', 'Doktor
>> > Faust' or 'From The House of The Dead' (Z mrtvého domu)..... but look wh
>> > what
>> > has come out of France since then!
>> >
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