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Thread: Tchaikovsky's heterosexuality

  1. #31
    Commodore con Forza Sybarite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Roussak View Post
    ... Cole Porter - actually I must admit I know him only as an author of the numerous jazz-standarts ( Night & Day, I've Got a Kick Out Of You... ), although I am aware these were actually the themes from the musicals he composed - the way many would play Macky Knife of Kurt Weill without having any idea about Die Dreigroschenopera from which the tune actually is.
    So to your question - these are just the good old jazz-standarts for me - as well as many others...
    Hi Andrew, the point that I was trying to raise was whether, if one can hear something such as sexuality in the music of one composer, then perhaps one can hear it in the music of another composer. Surely it wouldn't make any difference whether any of the composers in question were composers of classical music or easy listening, pop, jazz or rock?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Roussak View Post
    ... Wagner - rather interesting, never heard he was antisemitic. I always thought he was a favourite composer of Hitler because his music just fitted the Hitler's "image" of how the Third Reich should look like - that momumentalistic and preussisch ( Prussian ) .If you have ever been in Berlin and have stood near the Reichstag building ( and not only seen it on a picture ), then you surely know what I mean. Well, the fact that Wagner was antisemitic makes the whole subject even more clear.
    I have no idea how should the "antisemitic" music sound like - if anybody can explain it to me , maybe I will be able to hear it too...
    I wasn't suggesting that one could hear anti-semitism in Wagner's music – merely trying to raise the issue of whether, if one can hear sexuality in music, then can one not hear other aspects of an individual in an artist's work? It was rhetorical, as much as anything – I'm sure that nobody would actually be able to do that.

    My understanding is that Wagner was anti-semitic, but that the Nazis' main interest in his music was in its use of Germanic myths and legends – particularly, of course, those of the Niebelungenlied. The Nazis were extremely clever at picking up bits and pieces of culture and history and pressing them to their unpleasant agenda. One could look at the work of the philosopher Nietzsche as another example – he was actually quite pro-semitic, and his ideas of Übermensch have nothing to do with racism in any way, but that wasn't about to stop the Nazis. As an aside, it's interesting to contemplate what Richard Strauss did with Nietzsche's Thus Sprake Zarathustra – particularly in light of Strauss's early infatuation with the Nazis.

    It's an interesting point that you raise in terms of Wagner and Prussian culture; I'd suggest – and this is merely my personal opinon – that Wagner had more in common with the paintings of Casper David Friedrich: romantic in the truest sense of the 19th century meaning of the word; a rejection of Classicism and, to an extent, the Enlightenment. For me, the great days of Prussia were very much part of the Classical tradition (although this, of course, is a simplification).

    You mention Berlin – and speak to what my best friend (a German, himself) refers to as my "Prussian heart". He was in the capital a few days ago and tells me that he's brought me a present from the private chambers of Frederick the Great. And yes, I've been to the Riechstag myself; I walked around in a state of excitement, telling myself that this was where Bismarck had thrown teacups around when he was staging a tantrum in order to get his way with the Kaiser. Perhaps it's not surprising that my personal literary icon is Thomas Mann.

  2. #32
    Commodore con Forza Andrew Roussak's Avatar
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    Dear Sybarite,

    may I at first thank you for your wonderful posts which I sometimes use to improve my poor English! Seriously - no kidding.

    Back to the thread-

    sorry I failed to find the direct link on the following book in the Internet, but I believe you may have read it before, as it was really popular that time ( 2000 ) and was widely discussed in the Net -


    Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps by Alan & Barbara Pease ... Alan & Barbara Pease on. 27th March 2000. at. Steve & Katherine's. Alias Grace. by ...
    website.lineone.net/~ourbookclub

    The book is somewhat similar to the article you posted here about a week ago

    http://www.magle.dk/music-forums/336...-up-baton.html

    ( about the female conductors ), but it is more general - why the behavior of the men and women is not similar in the same situation . Well , I strongly hope you have read it.

    May I suppose that ( basing on the proven fact that the female and male brains are differently organised and differently function - please see there, fail to describe it ) , as the composing is a kind of a mental activity - that the pieces composed by the female and male composers may differently sound as well?

    To the topic of Tchaikovsky - I am aware of the fact that the composing in the past centuries ( up to the 20 C. ) was totally a man's world just because of the social reasons. Therefore one can not speak about any "female" music of the romantic period in order to compare, but the works of some gay composers could be regarded in this context, though they would shift from one pole to another ( sorry for my awful English one more time, hope you know what I mean -

    wasn't suggesting that one could hear anti-semitism in Wagner's music – merely trying to raise the issue of whether, if one can hear sexuality in music, then can one not hear other aspects of an individual in an artist's work? It was rhetorical, as much as anything – I'm sure that nobody would actually be able to do that.
    maybe you can agree nevertheless, that somebody would be able to hear such things as the chord progressions and even sometimes name them, or see the difference between the key and modal change, or hear the nuances of the melodic lines and analyse them. Basing on the sources named above , and on my own ( rather modest ) experience, I would say that:

    -the female ( or gay , depending on the fact to which "pole" they are closer )
    composers would more often use the plagal cadence of the harmonic major as the male composers, or they would prefer it in general cases to the
    authentic one, as the progression xxx-IV-IVm-I sounds smoother and not that resolute and definite as xxx-IV-V-I;

    - the female ( or gay ) composers would use the dissonant chords or such chord structures more seldom as their male colleagues as the said chords make the music more rough and disharmonic;

    - the female ( or gay )composers would pay much more attention as their male colleagues to the nuancing and working out the melodic lines, which makes music generally more beautiful, the male composers in the similar cases may prefer to use the key changes, richer chords, rhythmic changes - in other words, the means making music more complex and sometimes rather not beautiful;

    - the female ( or gay ) composers would rather prefer to use the smooth voicings and melodic lines - they would likely avoid the "sharp ankles".

    This is a very general approach , there can be for sure a lot of exceptions. Say, the essence about the melodic lines can not be applied to the music of the baroque period, as the rich nuancing was just an inalienable part of that music. I cannot say anything about whether or how it could be relevant to non-diatonic ( atonal ) music.

    If you want a short example - here we go.

    You asked about Cole Porter - the very first piece of him I mentioned was NIGHT AND DAY, which is actually one of my favourite jazz-standarts.

    Let's see -

    the main theme of it ( part A ) based on the commonly used in jazz II-V-I progression. In the original of the piece, this transition is softened by the following means: II5b7-V7b9-Imaj7, sometimes as well played as IVm6-V7b9-..., so that you must go the major harmonic scale as you improvise it ( or necessary add the VIIIb tone ) . Futher, the bridge is an absolutely fine nuanced piece of work - #IVb5,7 - IVm7 - IIIm - IIIbdim - Imaj7. This is actually none of the mentioned cadences ( jazz is rather a modal music as a Dur-moll system ). But nevertheless, this transition ( complemented by the chromatically descending bass line ) is that smooth that you can glide on it - no trace of any "sharp ankles". As mentioned, I just love this piece - namely for this wonderful feeling here.

    Back to Tchaikovsky - you can try to analyse in this way any of his works - as you see it is much more boring as just to listen to them. I myself did that some time ago ( the piano cycle Seasons Of The Year ), came to the certain conclusions and will stand on them. Herewith I want to say good bye to this thread, and let one of the greatest Russian composers rest in peace at last.

    If you want to argue on that matter , may I please ask you from now on to be a bit more specific and use the common musical terms, so that I could understand you. From my side, I can not add anything more to this thread.

    ROJO- I hope I answered your question herewith. As you see, there is no uncanny talent here, and not a sign of any sexual discrimination in it. This is just my opinion and I don't think I will ever change it.

    Now - to conclude and to finish disputes - one more question to anybody still interested-

    ....of one composer, then perhaps one can hear it in the music of another composer. Surely it wouldn't make any difference whether any of the composers in question were composers of classical music or easy listening, pop, jazz or rock?....
    I like it that we can discuss the related genre here. The rock music was born in the western world in the present times, so I can't imagine any kind of the sexual discrimination in this sphere . Nevertheless-

    can you name me a few heavy metal gay or female bands? Well, rather difficult. Ok,what about the blues bands? Or just rock bands?
    Please be specific in this case as well ( don't name jazz or pop artists and vocalists/ pure vocal acts ).

    Please don't name any at all if you doubt about it ,or if you see you are talking about the exceptions. Rock is almost exclusively a man's world now ,as well as 30 years ago - why????

    Best regards
    Andrew
    Last edited by Andrew Roussak; Apr-30-2007 at 21:44.

  3. #33
    Commander, Assistant Conductor zlya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Roussak View Post
    Dear Sybarite,
    Therefore one can not speak about any "female" music of the romantic period in order to compare, but the works of some gay composers could be regarded in this context, though they would shift from one pole to another
    Clara Schumann? Fanny Mendelssohn? I realize that you are trying to say that there are not MANY female composers, and those that exist are exceptions to the rule. However, there are enough examples of romantic works by women to allow comparative gender-based analysis.

    There is a school of analysis which deals with homosexuality in music, and your ideas are pretty much square with theirs. The subdominant is generally considered feminine, the dominant masculine. Keys such as C major and D minor are considered manly, while C-sharp minor is womanly.

    I find it very interesting to read about, but I don't actually believe it relates to compositional tendencies. These associations are based on listeners perceptions and theoreticians ideas rather than actual compositional practice. Just because the subdominant is considered a feminine tonality--an association that goes back centuries to the time when female composers were extremely rare--does not necessarily mean that women, or gays for that matter, use it more in composition.

    I have not found any actual evidence that there are definite differences between the composition styles of women and men. As you said, women and men think differently, so I am not opposed to the idea that there are differences, but I don't think these differences have been in any way demonstrated. Therefore basing an analysis on such presumed differences is sloppy, at best, and ignores the fact that the variation in style between individual composers is so great as to dwarf any gender based trends. So perhaps Cole Porter composed without sharp angles because he was Cole Porter, not because of gender or sexual orientation.

    I would like to see a large scale gender based study, to see whether women in fact do compose differently from men. I think it would be fascinating.

  4. #34
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    I can't see why everone is so passionate about if Tchaikovsky was gay or not ... it makes NO difference to his music, his inspired genius was musically driven, not testosterone (or lack of it) driven ... this thread is becoming very, very tedious.

  5. #35
    Commodore con Forza Andrew Roussak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contratrombone64 View Post
    I can't see why everone is so passionate about if Tchaikovsky was gay or not ... it makes NO difference to his music, his inspired genius was musically driven, not testosterone (or lack of it) driven ... this thread is becoming very, very tedious.
    Absolutely . Just because I said goodbye to it. I just tried to answer the questions , posted to me, as good as I could do it, and had no idea to push my opinion to anyone. Sorry if I offended anybody - I don't believe you can find anything negative said about Tchaikovsky's, Portrer's or any other music in any of my posts. All right then, let us stop with that.

  6. #36
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    I just wonder if bilbo47 has been following this thread he or she started...
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson


  7. #37
    Midshipman, Forte
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    What is it that drives some people to inquire into his favorite musician's life?

    I agree such discussion is totally tedious. But in music fields or literary fields, such inquiries often take place.
    I think the love for his favorite musican's works is the initial push. First music, then who's the composer, and then what about his life and last special features that makes him write these pieces.
    Your ideas?

  8. #38
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojo View Post
    I just wonder if bilbo47 has been following this thread he or she started...
    Yah ... one would think ... (Doh)

    Quote Originally Posted by wtwt5237 View Post
    . . . . .
    I think the love for his favorite musican's works is the initial push. First music, then who's the composer, and then what about his life and last special features that makes him write these pieces.
    Your ideas?
    Bingo!! I've followed this thread for awhile ... can't understand what difference it means to some to know what the sexual preferences were of a composer ... What difference does it make, and what is to be gained upon knowing? Certainly the music still flows the same way ... just my 2 kroners worth ... Long live Tchaikovsky!!
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    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


  9. #39
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    You know that is an interesting thought: is there any hint of homo/heterosexuality in the music itself? Not to get off track, but when I hear Mussorsky's night on bald mountain, it gives me the creeps, like there is some sort of internal strife going on.
    Jan

  10. #40
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    I LOVE Tchaikovsky's music too. I actually have quite a bit of it downloaded! I think his personal life is a bit sad, regardless of his sexuality.
    Jan

  11. #41
    Commodore con Forza Sybarite's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janny108 View Post
    You know that is an interesting thought: is there any hint of homo/heterosexuality in the music itself? Not to get off track, but when I hear Mussorsky's night on bald mountain, it gives me the creeps, like there is some sort of internal strife going on.
    Jan
    Night on a Bare Mountain is meant to be creepy, since it's about a witches' sabbath. You're not suggesting that Mussorgsky was a witch, are you?

    But I think that, over the centuries, a lot of artists of all disciplines have been tormented or borderline mad or dark and complex beings or have simply lived outside of social convention. Perhaps that's to do with the intrinsic nature of art, of creating things – of being gods, in a way – and of the turmoil that does that.

  12. #42
    Commodore con Forza Andrew Roussak's Avatar
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    Hi Sybarite,

    now I thought about our discussion which took place here for about a month ago, and I have to admit my opinion on the matter seems to shift slowly to yours. I would not be that categoric now anyway. Sorry about that one more time.

    You know that in the modern - pop, rock, whatever - music it works in a different way as it would be in classical. That is, an artist have to find or create himself his own niche in the show biz; create an image corresponding to it; and then follow this image, if he only wants to get a steady fan base and to be sold. And his music must of course correspond to this image as well.

    In the classical music, which is and was never that show-dependent, all you have on your hands to judge about the composer's music is actually his music itself - the scores or recordings. Then, to make the conclusions one have to consider not only his/her gender/orientation, but also the actual tendencies in his contemporary arts, all his/her influences, the collaboration with colleague-composers etc. So I believe nevertheless that the conclusions ( of the kind gay - not gay ) still can be made, as it all comes out somehow processed and reflected in "his own way", but then there would be a really large-scale analysis needed. I am not sure if it worth it, generally, though it would be rather interesting to read to the one.

    Well then, one can state also, that this thread had gathered ( to the present hour ) 40 posts and 958 views!!!! Which is absolutely unbeatable , if you take a look through this or other MMIF forums. Only games and polls attract more attention ( I wonder if Tchaikovsky alone, without SEXUALITY could get more than 10 posts ). So , it is what people really want to chat about, don't they?

    My best regards to London ( and in all other directions ),
    Andrew

  13. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybarite View Post

    My understanding is that Wagner was anti-semitic,
    Wagner indeed was anti-semitic.He used to put the gloves he wore into dustbin after conducting Mendelssohn.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sybarite View Post
    Night on a Bare Mountain is meant to be creepy, since it's about a witches' sabbath. You're not suggesting that Mussorgsky was a witch, are you?

    But I think that, over the centuries, a lot of artists of all disciplines have been tormented or borderline mad or dark and complex beings or have simply lived outside of social convention. Perhaps that's to do with the intrinsic nature of art, of creating things – of being gods, in a way – and of the turmoil that does that.
    No I'm not suggesting anything about Mussorgsky.
    I'm just saying I got bad vibes listening to it, although I enjoy Kovanschina, an opera which he wrote.
    Jan

  15. #45
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    I am also generally of the opinion, that the sexuality of others is no business of mine. I hate gossip about wheather or not a coworker is gay, about what political opinion that-person-over-there has, etc.

    But finding out if Tchaikovsky was gay, or if Einstein was left handed, if one composer is jewish and an other is antisemite --- this is not motivated by wanting to snoop around peoples private life. We want to understand the physiology of genious. We want to know: How come these people were so great at what they did? In what ways were they different from or similar to average?

    And combined with other studies (made mostly by gay researchers wanting to prove they were born gay), the information that a genious composer or artist was gay gives us knowledge about the structure of his brain; the frame within which his thoughts were to move.

    Just like the information that a scientist was left-handed tells us, that his brain was structured differently from most right-handed brains.

    Btw: I'm not suggesting, that gay/straight is like black/white with no grays in between. I guess it's a lot more continous, and more multidimensional than that.

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