23 December 2005

Music and style

I walked by someone's cubicle and heard Rachmaninoff. I wanted to stop and comment but then I thought: I don't even like Rachmaninoff that much.

Ignoring the issue of The Secret Club that people who listen to classical music are in and that places in them a desire to acknowledge one another, I wondered about my dislike (not strong, but there) of Rachmaninov. To me, his music feels 20-years out of place: a Romantic composer witnessing the modern world. Even if his music was out of place it's not now--at least, not any more than other older music--so what does it mean for me to define it like that? Can you feel in the work its style's stuggle with the different style that surrounded it? His densely voiced 9th chords sound a bit archaic when set alongside Stravinsky's stacks of thirds (similar but different), and even more so when they both feel so Russian, but is there anything internal to Rachmaninoff's music that illustrates the external changes where Chopin's music does not?

[ posted by sstrader on 23 December 2005 at 3:45:35 PM in Music ]