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Topic: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”  (Read 1888 times)

Offline frodo3

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Quick instructions for this thread:
1) Determine if you are a "I hate Schumann club member" by following instructions in first question below shown in larger font
2) If you are a "club member", please answer each of the 5 questions and give explanation to each of the 5 answers
3) Anyone is welcome to post here about anything per forum rules.  My expectations - not much!  Maybe 1 more post by someone in next 6 months.  Oh well - we can't always hit a home run with our first new thread!  ;)
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Hello folks!   :)  Certain members have expressed hatred for the music of Robert Schumann or Robert Schumann the person in various threads including the recent "Piano Technique and Schumann" thread in the performance board.  ::)  :o

No problem if you hate Schumann – Let’s just try to figure out why.   :D

This will be my only post here.  Just a few questions for those members that care to explain their feelings.  I will be looking for answers with explanations to all applicable questions and evidence of intellectual honesty in the answers provided.   ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D   Now to my questions!  :D  8)

1) Which bucket do you fall under (A, B or C)?  If you fall under A, B or C as shown here, you ARE a club member.  Otherwise, you are NOT a club member.
A) I hate most or all of Schumann’s music  ::) and I also hate Schumann as a person.  ::)   :o
B) I hate most or all of Schumann’s music  ::) but I DON"T hate Schumann as a person  :D.
C) I DON"T hate most or all of Schumann’s music  :D but I do hate Schumann as a person.  ::)

Questions 2 and 3 are for those that fall in bucket A: I hate both Schumann’s music and Schumann as a person.   :o

2) Is it possible that your hatred of Schumann as a person has influenced your opinion of his music?   :-\

3) Is it possible that you are misunderstanding or misinterpreting the history of events or the motivation behind the events in Robert Schumann’s life?  :-\

Questions 4 and 5 are for those that hate his music – You are in either bucket A or bucket B.    :o  or  ::)

I hear a lot of Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn sounds in the music of Robert Schumann.  His works are far from being strange outliers that are distantly removed from his contemporaries.  It can be argued that his works are in fact very closely related to many of his contemporaries.  Please comment on this in your response.   8) 

4) Are there any compositions that you like (or don't hate) of Schumann?  If yes – please list them.  :D

5) If you hate every piece of music that Schumann wrote:  Is this hatred possible without hating Schumann as a person?    :-\

Club members: I look forward to reading your responses to each of the 5 questions.  Please do not shy from providing explanations to your answers.  For example, here might be your answers to each of the 5 numbered questions above:
1)   I fall under bucket A.  :-X
2)   No  :-X
3)   No  :-X
4)   No  :-X
5)   Yes  :-X

Okay fine – Now please explain EACH answer!  :D :D :D  Again, I am looking for evidence of intellectual honesty.  :)  :D  ;D

Checklist:
- Are you a club member?
- If yes, did you remember to answer each of the 5 questions and provide explanation?

Final edit 10:05 PM 2/4/23 EST!  ;)
Robert Schumann:
- Top pieces & piano scores to download
- Biography & quotes
- Related forum topics & articles

Offline brogers70

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #1 on: February 04, 2023, 10:22:55 PM
Some Schumann I like, some I don't. But since you don't want to discuss the answers to your questionnaire, I'll just leave it at that

Online lelle

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I don't hate Schumann's music and don't know enough about him as a person to know if I should dislike him. I do find a lot of his music a bit dull though, nothing really grabs me the way my favorite pieces/composers does. I would assume people who hate his music feel like that but more :D

Offline ranjit

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I would need to listen to a bunch of Schumann to answer that properly, but for now I'll say I find most of his output bland, and don't remember almost any of it. I've heard Windmung a bunch of times and never saw the appeal. That said, I like the theme to Kriesleriana.

Offline frodo3

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LOOKING FOR CLUB MEMBERS    :-X

Offline frodo3

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My edits to the original thread are now complete to include quick instructions at the top of this thread.  Sorry for not being more clear on what I was looking for.  I will understand if no "club members" choose to participate.  This will be my last post here  :-X, but I will keep my eye open  :D

Offline rachorascho

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Sorry, but I feel like many people who dislike Schumann wouldn't say they hate him and if you want to search for reasons of his unpopularity, finding only the truly members of the club is not the way.

If I really exaggerate my thoughts on him, I would have:
1B
Comment: I am not amazed by or neither even interested in his musical themes. I find them cheap and moreover, they are used in the pieces again and again without some bigger changes and after a short time I find it boring. I like your idea about he including styles of other composers - maybe that's the thing I do not like on him - when listening to Chopin, Liszt,... you often recognize their fingerprints. When listening to Schumann, I feel more like if someone took many of the romantic period composers, threw them in the mixer and the mash you get, that's it. As others were writing, I know only a snippet of his works, but that snippet did not convince me to listen to other pieces.
4 When I was small, I enjoyed playing his "Fürchtenmachen" (Kinderszenen). And I have some kind of special relationship to the 1st mvmnt of g minor Sonata.

Offline mrcreosote

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LOL, S has been a big problem for me.  I simply cannot find a piano piece that I like.  His music while classical just doesn't make "any sense" to me.  Schubert on the other hand... (!)

As far as your questions:
The Music:  I would answer Don't Like rather than Hate - Hate I save for Bartok String Quartets which literally will give me a headache.  (and the Saint Saens Organ Concerto which I find unbearable and have never made an effort to listen to as I did with Bartok - who knows maybe SS would also give me a headache)
The Man:  I would answer Couldn't Care Less about the man - my take is that the full range of my opinion about composers/artists personally ranges from (I don't care) to (love them).  ....although I might have to change that lower bound for some of these crazy modern guys which call noise/chaos music - you know, the ones that make Ligeti look like Mozart.

Offline thalbergmad

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1. A
2. NO. I would still hate his music even if I liked him as a person.
3. No. I have read several biographies and each time I dislike him even more.
4. The Widmung had a good theme, but Liszt turned it into music. Schumann didn't have the imagination.
5. Yes
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Online lelle

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1. A
2. NO. I would still hate his music even if I liked him as a person.
3. No. I have read several biographies and each time I dislike him even more.
4. The Widmung had a good theme, but Liszt turned it into music. Schumann didn't have the imagination.
5. Yes

;D what do you dislike about him as a person?

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #10 on: February 21, 2023, 08:58:56 PM
Him and his horrid wife had some pretty nasty things to say about Dreyschock and Thalberg.
He was just too far up his own arse.
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #11 on: February 21, 2023, 11:07:21 PM
I can't stand his music. Unimaginative, prolix, and with a tedious reliance on dotted rhythms. I don't consider him of enough relevance to bother having an opinion on him as a person. If it was up to me his music would almost without exception be excised from history: he is the Coldplay of classical music and his concerto is an abomination almost beyond comparison. If I wrote a concerto like that I'd set fire to it and the damn thing would probably be too soggy to ignite.

Him and his horrid wife had some pretty nasty things to say about Dreyschock and Thalberg.



Ironically she *did* play Thalberg prior to embarking on full-on professional dullardry and anti-virtuosoism, a particularly curious phenomenon when we bear in mind that she also gave the premiere of the Henselt concerto (a PROPER concerto, just one which happens to be bloody difficult).

His comments, in a critical capacity, about Alkan being "cultural fraud", don't speak to me of an open-minded nature. Alkan is unique amongst the virtuoso contingent of that era.
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Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #12 on: February 21, 2023, 11:47:46 PM
I can't stand his music. Unimaginative, prolix, and with a tedious reliance on dotted rhythms. I don't consider him of enough relevance to bother having an opinion on him as a person. If it was up to me his music would almost without exception be excised from history: he is the Coldplay of classical music and his concerto is an abomination almost beyond comparison. If I wrote a concerto like that I'd set fire to it and the damn thing would probably be too soggy to ignite.

Ironically she *did* play Thalberg prior to embarking on full-on professional dullardry and anti-virtuosoism, a particularly curious phenomenon when we bear in mind that she also gave the premiere of the Henselt concerto (a PROPER concerto, just one which happens to be bloody difficult).

His comments, in a critical capacity, about Alkan being "cultural fraud", don't speak to me of an open-minded nature. Alkan is unique amongst the virtuoso contingent of that era.

I'll get back to you shortly on this.  ???

Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #13 on: February 22, 2023, 01:58:45 AM
Ronde,

Being that you are an ambassador of music with your fine playing ability, I would have expected better from you here.  You caught me completely off guard with this post!  I’ll go through it point by point.  I apologize if any of my questions are offensive to you.

I can't stand his music.

Is there anything that he wrote that you like?  Or do you hate everything he wrote? 

Unimaginative, prolix, and with a tedious reliance on dotted rhythms.

He uses dotted rhythms on some works, as did other composers.  Schumann’s fantasie in C major op 17 is a GREAT work that was dedicated to Liszt.  (In return, Liszt dedicated his piano sonata to Schumann.  The Liszt sonata is perhaps in some ways THE greatest solo piano composition of the 19th century not including Beethoven.)  The wonderful second movement of Schumann’s fantasie in C op 17 uses dotted rhythms.  Perhaps at some earlier time in your life you had difficulty playing the dotted rhythms of the coda to this great work and this created your dislike of his dotted rhythms and music? ;)   Can you give examples where you feel Schumann was not successful with his dotted rhythms?

I don't consider him of enough relevance to bother having an opinion on him as a person.

Are you sure you don’t hate him as a person?  Perhaps it was Schumann’s comments about Alkan that set the stage for your hatred of him as a person?  Perhaps this hatred of him as a person led to your hating his music?  Is this possible?  Perhaps you can take time to ponder these questions and consult your heart to see if you are truly being intellectually honest with your answers.  Do you understand what is required to give an intellectually honest answer?

If it was up to me his music would almost without exception be excised from history

Really? Even though a large percentage of classical musicians and music lovers have a great love for his music?  If you had the power, you would not allow any performances of his music to be heard – sort of like what Stalin might impose?  If yes – what does this say about you as a person?  Do you want to try again and reword or clarify your statement here?

his concerto is an abomination almost beyond comparison.

Is this your opinion, or is this a fact?  How does history view his piano concerto?  (You are referring to his piano concerto I assume.)  Do you believe you have a superior opinion on Schumann’s piano concerto to that of all the great musicians in history that have determined this work to be a great work? 

If I wrote a concerto like that I'd set fire to it and the damn thing would probably be too soggy to ignite.

I feel a hatred here that goes WAY beyond the music of this concerto.  Do you feel an additional hatred to this work because you wrote a concerto yourself?  Maybe you believe (in your mind) that your concerto is superior to Schumann’s, yet his concerto gets all the attention?  Keep in mind:  You never orchestrated your concerto.  Also, when Schumann wrote his concerto, he was on the cutting edge of music – unlike your recreation of a past style.  I’m afraid you would not like my opinion of your concerto compared to Schumann’s piano concerto.  So, I will not give it.

Ironically she *did* play Thalberg prior to embarking on full-on professional dullardry and anti-virtuosoism, a particularly curious phenomenon when we bear in mind that she also gave the premiere of the Henselt concerto (a PROPER concerto, just one which happens to be bloody difficult).

You understand that Thalberg is a second rate composer as judged by history.  Did you and Thalbergmad ever consider the possibility that Clara Schumann may have stopped playing Thalberg’s music (as you say) because as Donald Grout writes in his “History of western music”, Thalberg was a “successful display pianists but, as a composer, decidedly of second rank”.  I believe both Robert and Clara Schumann gave rave reviews about Henselt’s piano concerto.  And history has shown Henselt’s concerto to be a fine work.  It is specifically mentioned in my Grove concise dictionary of music. It appears to me that Robert Schumann had good or even great judgement on what is worthy of praise.  He was a very important music critic in his day.

Now Clara Schumann and Brahms on Liszt – that’s another matter.  Do you hate Clara Schumann’s music?  How about Brahms’ music?  20 year old Brahms fell asleep while listening to the GREAT Liszt piano sonata performed by Liszt in mid 1853 BEFORE meeting the Schumanns.  Don't blame the Schumanns for Brahms' disliking of Liszt's music.  The things Brahms and Clara said about the great Liszt music was completely unfair and inaccurate.  So do you hate Brahms music?  Why not?

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #14 on: February 22, 2023, 02:18:51 PM
Ronde,

Being that you are an ambassador of music with your fine playing ability, I would have expected better from you here.  You caught me completely off guard with this post!   

Is there anything that he wrote that you like?  Or do you hate everything he wrote? 



Thanks and whoops!

There's an element of running forum joke here, which can't have passed everyone by who has been here for a long time, so I am slightly exaggerating for comic effect in my previous post, but nevertheless...

I don't dislike everything he wrote, but realistically I have very little time for his larger scale piano music, which I find somewhat less than optimal in terms of form, thematic material and dramatic sensibility.


He uses dotted rhythms on some works, as did other composers.  Schumann’s fantasie in C major op 17 is a GREAT work that was dedicated to Liszt.  (In return, Liszt dedicated his piano sonata to Schumann.  The Liszt sonata is perhaps in some ways THE greatest solo piano composition of the 19th century not including Beethoven.)  The wonderful second movement of Schumann’s fantasie in C op 17 uses dotted rhythms.  Perhaps at some earlier time in your life you had difficulty playing the dotted rhythms of the coda to this great work and this created your dislike of his dotted rhythms and music? ;)   Can you give examples where you feel Schumann was not successful with his dotted rhythms?



If the Fantasy was going to give me anxiety about anything, it would be jumps...



Are you sure you don’t hate him as a person?  Perhaps it was Schumann’s comments about Alkan that set the stage for your hatred of him as a person?  Perhaps this hatred of him as a person led to your hating his music?  Is this possible?  Perhaps you can take time to ponder these questions and consult your heart to see if you are truly being intellectually honest with your answers.  Do you understand what is required to give an intellectually honest answer?



I think this is a very weak argument and branches over into cod psychology. Wagner was without any doubt whatsoever a thoroughly obnoxious human being and imo, for what's that's worth, he is the second greatest composer of all time, after Beethoven. Schumann certainly did some bad things (by modern standards his relationship with Clara included statutory rape) but Wagner and Gesualdo probably have the edge here  ;)



Really? Even though a large percentage of classical musicians and music lovers have a great love for his music?  If you had the power, you would not allow any performances of his music to be heard – sort of like what Stalin might impose?  If yes – what does this say about you as a person?  Do you want to try again and reword or clarify your statement here?


If people want to listen to his musical sludge, that's their problem, not mine. I'm not motivated to become supreme dictator, so I don't see the admittedly tempting scenario of his excision from music history coming to fruition and I'll have to settle for excising him from my hard drive and other equivalents of blocking him on social media ;D


Is this your opinion, or is this a fact?  How does history view his piano concerto?  (You are referring to his piano concerto I assume.)  Do you believe you have a superior opinion on Schumann’s piano concerto to that of all the great musicians in history that have determined this work to be a great work? 

I feel a hatred here that goes WAY beyond the music of this concerto.  Do you feel an additional hatred to this work because you wrote a concerto yourself?  Maybe you believe (in your mind) that your concerto is superior to Schumann’s, yet his concerto gets all the attention?  Keep in mind:  You never orchestrated your concerto.  Also, when Schumann wrote his concerto, he was on the cutting edge of music – unlike your recreation of a past style.  I’m afraid you would not like my opinion of your concerto compared to Schumann’s piano concerto.  So, I will not give it.



It's fairly obvious that any such artistic commentary is always opinion and whether it is factual is the thing up for debate. I don't see how the merits or demerits of my concerto have anything *at all* to do with the standing of the Schumann one, a piece which I find contrary to all my aesthetic, formal and dramatical principles. And for the record, yes I do believe it (especially the third movement) superior to the Schumann, and I simultaneously am sure that I'll be in a 1% grouping with that belief - these two stances are not mutually exclusive, btw. I thought the Schumann concerto was awful long before I wrote mine, btw...


You understand that Thalberg is a second rate composer as judged by history.  Did you and Thalbergmad ever consider the possibility that Clara Schumann may have stopped playing Thalberg’s music (as you say) because as Donald Grout writes in his “History of western music”, Thalberg was a “successful display pianists but, as a composer, decidedly of second rank”.  I believe both Robert and Clara Schumann gave rave reviews about Henselt’s piano concerto.  And history has shown Henselt’s concerto to be a fine work.  It is specifically mentioned in my Grove concise dictionary of music. It appears to me that Robert Schumann had good or even great judgement on what is worthy of praise.  He was a very important music critic in his day.


It's fairly obvious that Thalberg was not a first rate composer (a first rate arranger and pianist, though). I don't even particularly rate his concerto. Again, though, that doesn't make Schumann's music any better.


Now Clara Schumann and Brahms on Liszt – that’s another matter.  Do you hate Clara Schumann’s music?  How about Brahms’ music?  20 year old Brahms fell asleep while listening to the GREAT Liszt piano sonata performed by Liszt in mid 1853 BEFORE meeting the Schumanns.  Don't blame the Schumanns for Brahms' disliking of Liszt's music.  The things Brahms and Clara said about the great Liszt music was completely unfair and inaccurate.  So do you hate Brahms music?  Why not?

I think Brahms is a much greater composer than Schumann, in fact I'm almost certainly on record somewhere stating that his piano concerti are top ten ones imo.
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #15 on: February 22, 2023, 02:30:56 PM
Ronde,

Being that you are an ambassador of music with your fine playing ability, I would have expected better from you here.  You caught me completely off guard with this post! 

To the extent that you've replied to a thread in which you said you had made your last post.

Tut tut  :P

Will Thal and I regret taking the bait? The plot thickens.
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Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #16 on: February 22, 2023, 06:13:06 PM
If the Fantasy was going to give me anxiety about anything, it would be jumps...

The Schumann Op 17 fantasie is a MASTERPIECE!  I post below a fine performance.  IMO, the 2nd movement opening has all the majesty found in the opening of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger overture, especially measures 8-16, with its walking diatonic bass line.
&t=1s

I think this is a very weak argument and branches over into cod psychology. Wagner was without any doubt whatsoever a thoroughly obnoxious human being and imo, for what's that's worth, he is the second greatest composer of all time, after Beethoven. Schumann certainly did some bad things (by modern standards his relationship with Clara included statutory rape) but Wagner and Gesualdo probably have the edge here  ;)

Yes – but did Wagner attack your heroes Alkan and Thalberg?  At an early age, I can guarantee that you did not hate all of Schumann’s music.  At some point, he started going south in your mind.  It is tough to do, but you may want to retrace the decline of Schumann as a composer in your mind as time passed.  Were you reading about Schumann during this decline?  If yes, an intellectually honest person would at least consider the possibility and even probability that this had a subconscious influence on your view of his music – especially if he is attacking your heroes!!!

You see how your friend Thalbergmad hates Schumann as a person because Schumann attacked his heroes Dreyschock and Thalberg.  I applaud Thalbergmad for this intellectually honest admission.  But Thalbernmad fails to realize that this hatred of Schumann as a person would undoubtedly play some role in his hating Schumann the composer.  The hatred of Schumann as a person becomes very clear when Thalbergmad says he hates EVERY composition of Schumann.  This is impossible unless you hate classical music in general or you hate Schumann the person.  For example, had Schumann hailed the greatness of Dreyschock and Thalberg throughout his life, I’ll bet Thalbergmad would have a different view of Schumann’s music.  As it turns out, Dreyschock and Thalberg were second rate composers – Schumann was correct in his negative view of these 2.  His nasty statements were probably in line with how music critics gave their opinions back in those days. 

If people want to listen to his musical sludge, that's their problem, not mine. I'm not motivated to become supreme dictator, so I don't see the admittedly tempting scenario of his excision from music history coming to fruition and I'll have to settle for excising him from my hard drive and other equivalents of blocking him on social media ;D

This is the problem – are you still slightly exaggerating for comic effect here when you say “admittedly tempting scenario”?  How can we tell if you are kidding or being serious?  Maybe put one of these  ;) next to the kidding statements.  I ask that you put your imagination hat on now:  If you were dictator today, would you be able to resist your temptation to ban any or all of Schumann’s music?

It's fairly obvious that any such artistic commentary is always opinion and whether it is factual is the thing up for debate. I don't see how the merits or demerits of my concerto have anything *at all* to do with the standing of the Schumann one, a piece which I find contrary to all my aesthetic, formal and dramatical principles. And for the record, yes I do believe it (especially the third movement) superior to the Schumann, and I simultaneously am sure that I'll be in a 1% grouping with that belief - these two stances are not mutually exclusive, btw. I thought the Schumann concerto was awful long before I wrote mine, btw...

Do you ever consider the possibility that you may have what I term as a “partial tin ear”?  What is a partial tin ear?  A person that has a “sensitive ear” to some music judged to be great by history, but has a “tin ear” to the remaining great music as judged by history.  I AM LOOKING FOR A YES OR NO ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION THAT YOU MISSED: Do you believe you have a superior opinion on Schumann’s piano concerto compared to the opinions of all the great musicians in history that have determined this work to be a great work? (Yes/No)

I think Brahms is a much greater composer than Schumann, in fact I'm almost certainly on record somewhere stating that his piano concerti are top ten ones imo.

Wonderful!  I view his 2nd concerto to be the true masterpiece of the 2.  His piano concerto #1 has some issues for me.  He starts off with an explosive B-flat major chord in first inversion accompanied by a thunderous timpani roll – one of the most powerful passages in all of music – inspired by Schumann’s leap into the Rhine River.  His inspiration was the D major first inversion chord in the recapitulation of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 9th symphony (not in the expected d-minor key) that was also accompanied by a thunderous timpani roll.  After this breathtaking start by Brahms – it would be impossible to maintain this greatness throughout the work at his very early age.  Still a fine work – I just personally have issues with it. 

Another perhaps equally powerful passage by Brahms that is a fully successful work – the point where the violin makes his entrance in the first movement of the D major violin concerto.........  After the first couple minutes - All of a sudden, the orchestra turns from D major to D minor with dotted rhythms  ;D then the violin comes in the key of D minor in such a terrifying, powerful way, I still am afraid when I hear it today!

Now I must continue my journey elsewhere.  Back in September.  I am prepared to read without comment some outrageous posts from Visitor, Rachmaninoffforever (or whatever his name is), Thalbergmad, Mjames, et al.  I just wasn’t prepared to hear such things from Ronde.  I’ll discuss when I return.  :D

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #17 on: February 22, 2023, 07:07:45 PM

  I AM LOOKING FOR A YES OR NO ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION THAT YOU MISSED: Do you believe you have a superior opinion on Schumann’s piano concerto compared to the opinions of all the great musicians in history that have determined this work to be a great work? (Yes/No)
I wager I have probably listened to more romantic piano concertos than most which gives me a superior position to compare it.
The Schumann is a safe work to play as it requires only an average mechanical facility. The average college grad could easily play it. So these great musicians you speak of, what are thy comparing the Schumann to? .
Have they heard the Gernsheim, Rufinatscha, Massenet, Litolff, Brull, Bortkiewicz, Rubinstein, Henselt, Nikisch, d'Erlanger, Bowen, Paderewski, Moszkowki, Sauer?.
These works simply piss all over Schumann’s feeble little effort.
So it's not a matter of superior opinion, it is a matter of superior listening experience.
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #18 on: February 22, 2023, 07:17:06 PM

Yes – but did Wagner attack your heroes Alkan and Thalberg?  At an early age, I can guarantee that you did not hate all of Schumann’s music.  At some point, he started going south in your mind.  It is tough to do, but you may want to retrace the decline of Schumann as a composer in your mind as time passed.  Were you reading about Schumann during this decline?  If yes, an intellectually honest person would at least consider the possibility and even probability that this had a subconscious influence on your view of his music – especially if he is attacking your heroes!!!

Do you ever consider the possibility that you may have what I term as a “partial tin ear”?  What is a partial tin ear?  A person that has a “sensitive ear” to some music judged to be great by history, but has a “tin ear” to the remaining great music as judged by history.  I AM LOOKING FOR A YES OR NO ANSWER TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION THAT YOU MISSED: Do you believe you have a superior opinion on Schumann’s piano concerto compared to the opinions of all the great musicians in history that have determined this work to be a great work? (Yes/No)


This is really silly.

It's as if you cannot believe anyone would have a rational explanation for disliking Schumann's music, so you're attempting to produce quasi-psychological explanations to excuse their apparent lack of taste. And, as before, my dislike of the Schumann piano concerto predates my attempts to proselytise for Thalberg's paraphrases, so they really are not connected and Schumann didn't attack Thalberg, in fact he wrote a highly laudatory description of the finale of the Moses Fantasy!

I'm also not saying that my opinion is greater than that of x and y, I'm saying that it is my opinion! And in any case the annals of musical criticism are full of opinions from all levels and of both sides of favour (Tchaikovsky "that giftless bastard" re Brahms) so what exactly is the point of invoking the appeal to authority fallacy? Busoni called Schumann's music petit bourgeois in letters to his wife, if we want to go down that path.
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #19 on: February 22, 2023, 07:23:11 PM
Quote from: frodo3


I ask that you put your imagination hat on now:  If you were dictator today, would you be able to resist your temptation to ban any or all of Schumann’s music?


Only just   ;D

Can someone write a browser plugin which mutes his concerto?  ;)


I wager I have probably listened to more romantic piano concertos than most which gives me a superior position to compare it.
The Schumann is a safe work to play as it requires only an average mechanical facility. The average college grad could easily play it. So these great musicians you speak of, what are thy comparing the Schumann to? .
Have they heard the Gernsheim, Rufinatscha, Massenet, Litolff, Brull, Bortkiewicz, Rubinstein, Henselt, Nikisch, d'Erlanger, Bowen, Paderewski, Moszkowki, Sauer?.
These works simply piss all over Schumann’s feeble little effort.
So it's not a matter of superior opinion, it is a matter of superior listening experience.

von Bronsart for the win  :)
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Offline tinear13

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #20 on: February 22, 2023, 08:47:46 PM
This is really silly.

It's as if you cannot believe anyone would have a rational explanation for disliking Schumann's music, so you're attempting to produce quasi-psychological explanations to excuse their apparent lack of taste. And, as before, my dislike of the Schumann piano concerto predates my attempts to proselytise for Thalberg's paraphrases, so they really are not connected and Schumann didn't attack Thalberg, in fact he wrote a highly laudatory description of the finale of the Moses Fantasy!

Yes.  But you hate everything that Schumann wrote.  Sounds like something is going on here beyond his music.  You hate Traumerei?  You hate all his lieder?  You hate is piano quintet?  Such a great work.  Did your mom make you practice Schumann when you wanted to go out and play?

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #21 on: February 22, 2023, 09:03:26 PM
lol.

You literally registered your account twenty minutes ago to make that observation?
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Offline tinear13

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #22 on: February 22, 2023, 09:13:12 PM
lol.

You literally registered your account twenty minutes ago to make that observation?

That's correct.  It's not only that you hate everything that he wrote, it's the extreme hatred that concerns me.  Are you sure there is not something else going on that you should be sharing?

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #23 on: February 22, 2023, 09:42:23 PM
So, just checking: I've stated, albeit firmly, that I have no time for Schumann’s music. This seems unacceptable to you, so you've responded by insinuating that my opinion cannot be genuine and must be a response to past trauma or something and then made a secondary account into the bargain... seriously?

I really don't have time for this. What's so difficult about accepting that someone's musical taste is at odds with someone else's?
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #24 on: February 23, 2023, 12:39:42 AM
But you hate everything that Schumann wrote. 

That's correct.  It's not only that you hate everything that he wrote, it's the extreme hatred that concerns me. 

I said, specifically and when clearly not exaggerating for comic effect:


I don't dislike everything he wrote, but realistically I have very little time for his larger scale piano music, which I find somewhat less than optimal in terms of form, thematic material and dramatic sensibility.


so, I'm not sure whether my communication skills are at fault, or something else...


Are you sure there is not something else going on that you should be sharing?

Did your mom make you practice Schumann when you wanted to go out and play?

That's somewhere between petulance and simply unworthy. This will be my last post in this thread, and I won't feel the need to make an alt to reply to any further developments either. Is it *really* so much to accept that a composer isn't to another person's taste? That's a rhetorical question, incidentally.
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Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #25 on: February 23, 2023, 02:19:17 AM
I said, specifically and when clearly not exaggerating for comic effect:

so, I'm not sure whether my communication skills are at fault, or something else...

That's somewhere between petulance and simply unworthy. This will be my last post in this thread, and I won't feel the need to make an alt to reply to any further developments either. Is it *really* so much to accept that a composer isn't to another person's taste? That's a rhetorical question, incidentally.

So, you saw through my alt!  I thought I had the perfect disguise!  I hope you will excuse my alts poor reading skills and lack of manners.  He’s a bit of an emotional guy that tends to blurt out his ideas.  He is now retired.   

I already broke my promise of not returning here, so I have little to lose now.  I’m sure you will allow me the last word since you will not be returning here.  But feel free to break your word!  There are no consequences for this!

I feel that you have been using your newly-described “exaggerating for comic effect” idea as an excuse to cover for your very harsh feelings about Schumann.  Your original post in now shown here. 
I can't stand his music. Unimaginative, prolix, and with a tedious reliance on dotted rhythms. I don't consider him of enough relevance to bother having an opinion on him as a person. If it was up to me his music would almost without exception be excised from history: he is the Coldplay of classical music and his concerto is an abomination almost beyond comparison. If I wrote a concerto like that I'd set fire to it and the damn thing would probably be too soggy to ignite.

Ironically she *did* play Thalberg prior to embarking on full-on professional dullardry and anti-virtuosoism, a particularly curious phenomenon when we bear in mind that she also gave the premiere of the Henselt concerto (a PROPER concerto, just one which happens to be bloody difficult).

His comments, in a critical capacity, about Alkan being "cultural fraud", don't speak to me of an open-minded nature. Alkan is unique amongst the virtuoso contingent of that era.

It does not look to me that you were going for any kind of comic effect.  Sorry.  I could be wrong.  I hear your words now. But it looks like you are just trying to cover your true feelings about Schumann.  Nice try!

You hate his music!  But this is not a problem!  If you look at my original post here, I say:
No problem if you hate Schumann – Let’s just try to figure out why.   :D

This will be my only post here. 

I guess I was looking for a chronological description of your experience with Schumann to better understand why you don’t like his music.  Here is a made-up example.  Keep in mind, this is 100% made-up and may share little with your actual experience.  It illustrates what I was looking for.

I started to play the piano at age 6.  The first Schumann pieces I learned were his Kinderszenen op 15 at the age of 11.  I liked his music at that time and was playing other music such as Chopin mazurkas and Bach 2 and 3-part inventions at that time.  Around the age of 13, I began to play concertos – first Mozart, then Beethoven piano concerto #3.  At this time, I became interested in the romantic composers – Liszt, Alkan, Thalberg, Henselt, etc.  I began to listen to lesser-known romantic composers and their piano concertos.  At age 15, I began to play the Chopin Concerto #2.  I also listened to the Schumann, Mendelssohn and Liszt concertos.  It was at age 15 that I concluded that the Schumann concerto was not to my liking.  His concerto does not challenge the performer in the way that Alkan, Henselt, Liszt, etc. does.  How could he write such an easy concerto when all the lesser-known pianists wrote in a much more challenging and substantial way?  I then began to question why the Schumann concerto is regarded so highly.  To be honest, I was starting to turn off to anything that Schumann wrote at that point.  I believed that all the great pianists that performed and loved Schumann’s concerto were simply being misled by some unknown force.  Do they not hear how great Alkan and Henselt are?  Are they crazy?  In my study at age 16 of the history of music, I began to read biographies of composers, including Schumann.  I was appalled by some of the things Schumann wrote.  I pretty much gave up on Schumann at that point and decided to boycott all of his works.  To be honest, I never really listened to or studied Schumann’s work such as his Fantasie Op. 17 or his Piano quintet or his Lieder.  Why would I?  I hate his music.

Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #26 on: February 23, 2023, 02:47:16 AM
If you decide to tell me about your chronological experience with Schumann, here is a short list of items to include:

1)  What pieces have you played by Schumann and at what age?  What were your feelings about these pieces AT THE TIME you played them?

2) What pieces have you listened to by Schumann and at what age?  What were your feelings about these pieces AT THE TIME you listened to them?  This includes chamber music, lieder, symphonic, choral, etc.  Did you study any in depth where you analyzed the structure, etc. ?

3)  What did you read about Schumann including biographies, etc.?  What age did you read these? Did anything here influence your view of Schumann as a person or composer?  If yes - what and how?

4)  What age did you reach the conclusion that you disliked or hated most of his music?  What led you to reach this conclusion?

5) What formal music education did you receive in college?  What degrees do you have?

Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #27 on: February 23, 2023, 03:21:51 AM
And for the record:

Ahinton is not a club member IMO.  He hates the piano concerto but he likes Fantasie op 17, Symphonic etudes and the piano quintet.  He is absolved.

Thalbergmad is a club member, but he at least identified why he hates Schumann as a person.  He is partially absolved.

Visitor should come pay us a visit.

Mjames is working hard on his Chopin Ballade #4 and will get that coda next time.  You are excused.

Rachmanforever (or whatever his name is) come visit here with visitor.

Ronde - I wonder if you are the ring leader of this group - perhaps you can clarify here in this thread or in another thread. My purpose is to understand why you guys hate Schumann so much - for decades you have been trashing the poor guy.  Did you expect to go on unchallenged?

Or - you all can just ignore me.  Easy to do

Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #28 on: February 23, 2023, 05:27:31 AM
I can't stand his music. Unimaginative, prolix, and with a tedious reliance on dotted rhythms. I don't consider him of enough relevance to bother having an opinion on him as a person. If it was up to me his music would almost without exception be excised from history: he is the Coldplay of classical music and his concerto is an abomination almost beyond comparison. If I wrote a concerto like that I'd set fire to it and the damn thing would probably be too soggy to ignite.

Ironically she *did* play Thalberg prior to embarking on full-on professional dullardry and anti-virtuosoism, a particularly curious phenomenon when we bear in mind that she also gave the premiere of the Henselt concerto (a PROPER concerto, just one which happens to be bloody difficult).

His comments, in a critical capacity, about Alkan being "cultural fraud", don't speak to me of an open-minded nature. Alkan is unique amongst the virtuoso contingent of that era.

Does anyone see a comic effect here?

Maybe I don't have a good sense of humor?  ???

Offline ahinton

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #29 on: February 23, 2023, 01:50:31 PM
And for the record:

Ahinton is not a club member IMO.  He hates the piano concerto but he likes Fantasie op 17, Symphonic etudes and the piano quintet.  He is absolved.
Well, in thanking you for the absolution I should perhaps point out that, just as Groucho Marx is credited with having written in a letter of resignation to the Friars' Club that he didn't want to belong to any club that would accept him as one of its members, I would not want to belong to one whose very existence is questionable.

For the record, incidentally I do not "hate" Schumann's piano concerto per se but do believe that, of his widely acclaimed and oft-performed works, it is by far the weakest and its outer movements are woefully lacking in imagination and engaging ideas.

Thalbergmad is a club member, but he at least identified why he hates Schumann as a person.
He is on record as loathing everything there ever was about Schumann.

The purpose and intent in this thread is mercifully far from obvious, for all that it has already generated so many words...
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Offline mjames

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #30 on: February 24, 2023, 03:21:43 PM
Thalbergmad has Thalberg and Henselt. Ronde has Thalberg, Henselt and Alkan. I don't care much for Thalberg but Henselt and Alkan are true "pianist" composers. Great work there.

Now my boy as many here already know is Chopin, and I honestly struggle to feel anything but vitriol whenever I read your comparisons between Chopin's and Schumann's music. The improvisational like freedom so ever present in Chopin's compositions is completely absent in Schumann's works. Anyone who compares the two shouldn't be taken seriously. Seriously, stop insulting Chopin's talent by even placing him in the same sentence as Robert.

I don't hate Schumann, I just prefer to play music that isn't solely consisted of dotted rhythms.

Funnily enough on that matter, i don't think I've ever heard a contemporary account of Schumann being known for his improvisations. Whereas for Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Thalberg, Alkan, Beethoven and co. were all well known for being great at improvising. I mean, you can just tell by listening and playing their works. Their music just naturally flows together. Whereas in comparison, as I've noted before, all you hear in Schumann's music is rigidness - as if he devised a formula for composition and stuck through it for the entirety of his career; completely and utterly devoid of spontaneity.

Offline ahinton

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #31 on: February 24, 2023, 04:38:19 PM
Thalbergmad has Thalberg and Henselt. Ronde has Thalberg, Henselt and Alkan. I don't care much for Thalberg but Henselt and Alkan are true "pianist" composers. Great work there.

Now my boy as many here already know is Chopin, and I honestly struggle to feel anything but vitriol whenever I read your comparisons between Chopin's and Schumann's music. The improvisational like freedom so ever present in Chopin's compositions is completely absent in Schumann's works. Anyone who compares the two shouldn't be taken seriously. Seriously, stop insulting Chopin's talent by even placing him in the same sentence as Robert.

I don't hate Schumann, I just prefer to play music that isn't solely consisted of dotted rhythms.

Funnily enough on that matter, i don't think I've ever heard a contemporary account of Schumann being known for his improvisations. Whereas for Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Thalberg, Alkan, Beethoven and co. were all well known for being great at improvising. I mean, you can just tell by listening and playing their works. Their music just naturally flows together. Whereas in comparison, as I've noted before, all you hear in Schumann's music is rigidness - as if he devised a formula for composition and stuck through it for the entirety of his career; completely and utterly devoid of spontaneity.
Yes, attempting to compare the two composers is about as edifying as trying to compare Buxtehude with Xenakis. That Schumann wrote a good deal of piano music and almost all of Chopin's music is for or includes that instrument offers no reason to try to compare their respective outputs given that their fundamental differences far outweight any perceived superficial resemblances. Schumann's enthusiasm for Chopin as famously expressed in "hats off, gentlemen - a genius!" was never obviously reflected in the opposite direction; Schumann's music seems lagely to have been someting of a closed book to Chopin and the one work that Chopin dedicated to Schumann - the Ballade No. 2 in F major - was incsribed very formally to him with the words "à Monsieur Robert Schumann" and, fine as undoubtedly it is, it contains some oddities not least of which is its conclusion not in F major but in A minor (and the work as a whole embraces quite violent contrasts of expression rather as does his earlier Scherzo No. 1 in B minor.

That said, Schumann's music does not consist solely of dotted rhythms; it would be not merely tiresome but quite unbearably boring if it did!
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Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #32 on: February 24, 2023, 05:03:17 PM
Duplicate post.

Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #33 on: February 24, 2023, 05:50:27 PM
Thalbergmad has Thalberg and Henselt. Ronde has Thalberg, Henselt and Alkan. I don't care much for Thalberg but Henselt and Alkan are true "pianist" composers. Great work there.

Now my boy as many here already know is Chopin, and I honestly struggle to feel anything but vitriol whenever I read your comparisons between Chopin's and Schumann's music. The improvisational like freedom so ever present in Chopin's compositions is completely absent in Schumann's works. Anyone who compares the two shouldn't be taken seriously. Seriously, stop insulting Chopin's talent by even placing him in the same sentence as Robert.

I don't hate Schumann, I just prefer to play music that isn't solely consisted of dotted rhythms.

Funnily enough on that matter, i don't think I've ever heard a contemporary account of Schumann being known for his improvisations. Whereas for Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Thalberg, Alkan, Beethoven and co. were all well known for being great at improvising. I mean, you can just tell by listening and playing their works. Their music just naturally flows together. Whereas in comparison, as I've noted before, all you hear in Schumann's music is rigidness - as if he devised a formula for composition and stuck through it for the entirety of his career; completely and utterly devoid of spontaneity.

Hello Mjames.  Thank you for this post.  I love Chopin also.  You would not believe the intense feelings I get when listening to his ballades, preludes, sonatas 2 and 3, Scherzos, etudes op 10 and 25, 2 piano concertos, polonaises, etc.  Schumann did in fact love to improvise and would do so for hours at a time before he hurt his hand at a very early age due to over practicing and improper practicing. 

As far as dotted rhythms, please list the compositions that have these outside of finale symphonic etudes and fantasie I list below!  Please – I will listen to them and possibly get back to you.

Before I go further, I ask that you tune your ear up to dotted rhythms by listening to the 2nd movement of the Beethoven Sonata # 28 in A major Op.101.  The A section is 3 minutes long and is nothing but perpetual dotted rhythms.  It starts at minute marker 4:18.  The A section ends at minute 7:17.


Now I ask for a commitment of 3 hours of your time.  Without this commitment, I’m afraid we will have little to discuss going forward.  I ask that you listen to the following link of Schumann’s op 17 Fantasie.  The piece is in 3 movements.  The 2nd movement has your dotted rhythms – and you will explain how this is not as successfully done as the Beethoven op 101.  The 2nd movement is a MASTERPIECE as is the entire 3 movement work.

I ask that you listen to the Schumann op 17 Fantasie with undivided attention from beginning to end while following the score for a total of 6 listens.  It is a 30 minute work. 30 minutes times 6 = 3 hours listening.  If you complete this, we will be able to discuss Schumann some more. If you are already familar with this work, I will still require 6 additional listens.  We go by the honor system here.  Please tell me if you completed your assignment when responding to this post.  :)

Offline frodo3

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Re: Five (5) questions for members of the “I hate Schumann club”
Reply #34 on: February 24, 2023, 08:05:02 PM
I guess I will just give the thoughts now that I would give to Schumann haters that listen to the Schumann Fantasie op 17 for a total of 3+ hours with an open mind and decide that they still hate the piece and Schumann's music.  They may have even taken time to analyze the structure of the piece and read thru it - for a total of 40 hours.  In the end they say - Sorry - still hate it!  So here is what I would say:

I am extremely lucky to be in good health with good hearing and ability to listen to all the music I like thanks to the age we live in.  I love music from Josquin des Pres all the way up to Schoenberg and beyond.

If I rate my enjoyment of music on a scale from 0 to 100 where 100 us my current score:  Here are the scores I would have if I removed various music from my listening:

My music enjoyment scores that range from 0 to 100:
100 - My current score
0 - If I become 100% deaf
99 - If I remove Handel from my listening for the rest of my life
99 - If I remove Schumann from my listening for the rest of my life
97 - If I remove Chopin from my listening for the rest of my life
85 - If I remove all music written before 1700 from my listening for the rest of my life
85 - If I remove all music written after 1900 from my listening for the rest of my life
70 - If I remove Bach, Beethoven and Brahms from my listening for the rest of my life
30 - If I only listen to music written from 1828 to 1899 for the rest of my life
etc, etc, etc

Scores are just rough ball park numbers.  Maybe if I remove Bach, Beethoven and Brahms my score would fall to a 70 but then grow up to a 90 when I start to listen to other music to fill its place.

It's not a big deal if you don't like Schumann! 
Enjoy what you like!


So why this thread?  I guess I was just trying to encourage the concept of intellectual honesty.  Unfortunately, it's not very fun to be intellectually honest most of the time.  Especially in this politically divided world we live in.
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