Saturday, 5 April 2014

Initial Thoughts on New Classic 100

I’m back – well, sort of, I expect entries will be more sporadic than before – and so is the Classic 100. This year the theme is Baroque and Before, essentially covering everything written prior to 1750. Which is obviously very broad but I think there are some assumptions we can make.
Despite the huge array of music covered and number of composers, I think it fair to say JS Bach, Handel and Vivaldi will dominate (in that order I predict). The problem being, while other composers’ music is played it isn’t played a lot and it’s tricky to know which piece to vote for.

For example, Telemann is a brilliant composer and well loved. He will no doubt feature several times in the countdown; but I couldn’t tell you what pieces. I’d like to vote for him because I love his music but I have no idea what I’ll pick. I don’t even really know what my options are – besides vast. Or take Dowland, which of his motets or other songs will people vote for – and which piece of Gregorian chant is your favourite?

No doubt many people can answer those questions and they will help determine where some pieces feature but I suspect a lot of people will be in the same position as me and will resort to voting for what they know the names of, hence the likely domination of the big three.
I’m going to do my darndest not to vote for the same composer twice though; as always, I want to spread the love. For JS Bach my big question is which Brandenburg concerto to vote for so I’ll be listening to the Orchestra of the Antipodes recordings again soon. If I’m up to it I may blog about it, we’ll see. The problem with Handel is my favourites of his are movements from oratorios and I don’t want to vote for the whole of Solomon or Xerxes; but there’s always the Royal Fireworks.

Vivaldi is another matter altogether. Beyond his Gloria – which I predict will be in the top 10 – and his Four Seasons, which I predict will suffer from an assumption that everyone else will vote for it and from people wanting to appear ‘sophisticated’ and therefore not voting for such a ‘cliché’, his works suffer the same problem as Telemann’s. We’ve all heard a number of them but can we remember which ones were our favourites? I may just vote for The Four Seasons anyway.
There’s still lots of time to decide of course. Meanwhile I’ll try to do some composer surveys like I did for the French and Movie countdowns.

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