Hi! I know we’re due for a match this week, but I’ve pushed it to next week; let’s talk shop, shall we?
Let’s talk Composer Cagematch! Philosophy. What is a Composer Cagematch!, exactly? Is it a fight between equals in popularity? In style? In country and time period? Is it a fight between equals at all?
I ask — and hope to elicit some healthy discussion and maybe even dig up a shred of clarity — because of this excellent comment from Classical Music Broadcast on the most recent match:
Jenn, I know you think all I do is whine about bad matchmaking…
This is like putting a middleweight in a super heavyweight match, where Gustav is wearing 4 oz, and Rick-ard is wearing eights.
Wagner wrote operas, so that automatically gives him a weight and reach advantage.
RW wrote the Ring cycle – so Mahler loses points on his ground game, but gains on his standup (6th Symphony and a BIG freaking hammer, anyone?)
Cara Fleck – great point regarding the harps – Wagner buried his and Gustav let his shimmer elegantly.
From round one, this match will go to the cards. Gustav got my vote, because I think Wagner should go mano-a-mano against another opera composer.
I would have liked to see a Mahler/Beethoven matchup.
Jenn, I don’t think Beethoven/Wolfie is a solid, because early Beethoven *is* a lot of Mozart recycled. The 1st & 2nd are flat-out tributes. Even the 4th has a lot of Mozart in it.
and I love both of those guys, so thats no insult to Ludwig.
Points well taken (except of course that Beethoven is clearly > Mozart, natch). Perhaps I have not always been the finest matchmaker. My own mother was horrified by my Dvorak-Copland fight — and even more dismayed when Copland took it by a point. But isn’t that interesting? That Copland bested Dvorak? They aren’t from the same time period or even the same country. So why did I match them? Because Dvorak tried to tell Americans how to compose, and Copland was an American who composed. To me it was a good hook. How did the voters choose between them, then?
Well, what sort of contest are we running here? Is it a question of popularity? Is Copland more popular than Dvorak? Is Mahler more popular than Wagner? Have you all been choosing based on artistic merit? One person commented that he had voted for Prokofiev over Stravinsky ultimately because the former appeared more often on his iPod. The reason I think Beethoven/Mozart is a valid match has less to do with music and more to do with musicology — as a general rule, the top 3 composers on virtually every ranking list ever come down to Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart — but the order changes. I want to know less “Who’s the better composer?” and more “Who do you love?” I don’t believe the one necessarily implies the other.
So that’s how I’ve been approaching it. Now I want to open the forum up to you, the voters. Tell me about your voting philosophies. What works for you about the Cagematch!es? What doesn’t? Who should fight next? And can someone please start Claymationing these for me?