Originally Posted by BroncoBeavis
I've hit the Dvorak harder than most. Like I said, I really enjoy the 9th. Haven't been that captivated by much else. I can't get into the Slavic sounding stuff, if that makes sense. Really don't care much for Tchaikovsky, maybe for the same reason.
I tried out some Brahms since I read somewhere that was a natural progression from LVB. Nothing excited me too much. I think my biggest problem is how familiar I need to get with a piece before I feel like I really appreciate it.
I never really thought much of Pastoral, for instance, until there was a local performance of it. So I forced myself to listen to it quite a few times before going, which really helps me for some reason. Anyway now I love it. I'm not sure what that means about me, but it makes it really difficult to find new music.
It took me a long time to get into Brahm's as well. He took what Beethoven was doing and tweaked up the Romantic and Sturm and Drang aspects. The Classical composers (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven) came from a more pure/defined structure. As Beethoven grew out of the Classical limitations and added the Sturm and Drang and the severe dissonances (9th Symphony and Grosse Fuge) he forged new ground for the Romatic's to follow. I think the Romantic's would have developed with Beethoven but I don't think we would see the extension of harmony from the Vienese school with out him, or at least the Vienese School would have come later without him.
Anyway going back to Brahms, you have to pick a piece and study it. I choose the 2nd because I thought the 4th was too bombastic at the time and the 1st underdeveloped plus it has the lullaby in it. Listen to it over and over and you will start to hear the themes and their development more and more. I guess what I didn't like at 1st was that I couldn't pick out the themes as clearly as you can with other composers. Once you get the themes you can enjoy the development more and the blur of impressionism fades away. It is almost like standing in front of a Monet and seeing a blur, then the picture comes in focus as you take a couple steps backward.
Once you get Brahms you will love it, also check out his Quintet in F minor op34! One of my favorite works, I love chamber music and the density he gets out of a Quartet and pianist is epic.
Also after appreciating Brahms Debussy and Ravel will be easier to listen to.
It is sad that we don't teach music appreciation more in this country. If people listened, learned and talked about composers, compositions, and the periods they were written in I bet a lot more people would love and understand serious music.
Oh and if you want to skip ahead check out Ligeti's Melodien and Chamber concerto.