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10 works or composers you never want to hear again

October 7, 2014 by norman lebrecht

188 comments.


The pianist Katya Apekisheva has started a social-media ball rolling with a list of the ten composers or works of music that irritate her the most.

Katya’s list*:

1. Vivaldi. Four seasons
2. Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals
3. ABBA
4. About 85% of music by Liszt
5. Berlioz
6. Ending of Tchaikovsky piano trio ( around 8 last pages)
7. Neapolitan song ‘O Sole Mio’
8. Beethoven Fur Elise
9. Virtuoso violin music, such as Sarasate and Weniawsky
10. Brindisi from Traviata

 

SONY DSC

*Actually the idea started withKatya’s friend, the violinist Roman Mints here. 

 

Now mine:

1 National music

2 Tchaikovsky (except last 3 syms and violin concerto)

3 Anything with Moon in the title – any language – lune, mondo &c.

4 Mahler’s Adagietto except when played within the fifth symphony

5 Vivaldi’s you-know-what

6 Messiaen

7 Bernstein’s Mass

8 Anything by Puccini after Bohème

9 Elgar’s oratorios

10 Barber’s Adagio

barber adagio

 

Now yours…?

First up, from harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani:

1. Pretty much everything by Phillip Glass;
2. Bernier, Monteclair, Boismortier, and those piddling French composers played by people who can’t handle Couperin or Rameau. 
3. The second set of Handel’s keyboard suites. Oy. 
4. The Vivaldi Gloria
5. Herbert Howells
6. The Mahler piano quartet.
7. Messiaen organ works; what a supreme waste of time.
8. Handel’s Dettingen Te Deum, after the first chorus
9. Anything involving the trumpet and organ in the sense of transcription
10. Beethoven’s Battle Symphony and Choral Fantasy – for a tie!


Comments (188)

  1. Richard says:

    1. The Jupiter Symphony
    2. The Magic Flute
    3. The Linz Symphony
    4. The Prague Symphony
    5. Elvira Madigan
    6. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
    7-10. Anything by Mozart…

    1. Kim Thompson says:

      I have played violin(very badly) and now I’m a singer. Pieces I hated playing or singing are: Pachelbel(Canon)
      Vivaldi (Gloria) singing and playing
      Beethoven (Choral section, 9th) so much starting and stopping, then cresc. then decrescendo. It’s like a teenage driver learning to use the brake pedal.
      .Many musical theatre(pops) pieces
      .Handel (Messiah-Halleluia)
      .Handel Oratorios, in general
      . Sibelius Valse Trieste – makes me want to take Xanax or jump off a bridge.

    2. You, sir, are a charlatan, a mountebank, and a fool. We can only hope that you will not reproduce before your time on God’s green earth is finished.

      1. Clayton says:

        Umm…trifle overboard compared to the kind tone of the other commenters. Perhaps you, dwarf-souled mammal (presumably), should not reproduce–or mommy should keep you away from things with keys on them.

    3. Duane Schulthess says:

      I’ll approach this from the perspective of my least favorite things to play in the orchestra, or things I’ve had to play in the orchestra that ultimately made me hate playing in orchestras.

      1) Carmina Burana – Awful. Two chords, horrible orchestration. BORING.
      2) Beethoven Choral Fantasy – In my mind the worst thing in the repertoire. Total crap.
      3) Tchaikovsky – HATE playing it. Woeful orchestration that would fail a 101 course
      4) Gounod Faust – Why? Really Why? Such a lame stink bomb.
      5) Philip Glass – ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz why all the love for Glass’ junk? Don’t get it….
      6) Beethoven Wellington’s Victory – Almost a parody of bad classical music
      7) Leonard Bernstein’s Mass – Total worthless bilge,100% crapola
      8) Bruckner Symphonies – hey, lets play the same theme for an hour… ZZZzzzzzzzz
      9) Milhoud la creation du monde – Jazz? Please. LAME-O. God awful. Burn it now.
      10) Rachmaninoff’s Piano concertos, but particularly the 3rd. Never again… ever.

    4. JJ Townley says:

      Bernstein wrote a Mass?

  2. Brian says:

    1. Beethoven’s Große Fuge
    2. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture
    3. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
    4. Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto
    5. Anything by Gubaidulina
    6. Anything by Wagner involving singing, and most of his other stuff
    7. Mozart’s “alla turca” march
    8. Klaus K. Hübler’s Sonata for Violin
    9. Bruckner’s First Symphony
    10. Anything played out of context (Adagietto!) and anything played in restaurants and bars, usually too loudly or too quietly.

    1. Ryan says:

      Lol, for me it’s:
      1. The First movement of Moonlight (insert swear word) Sonata
      2. Fur Elise
      3. Chopsticks (eradicate this one from the face of the earth)
      4. The Entertainer (just get people to play it less)
      5-7. Any Baroque piece that anyone attempts to play in a Romantic Style
      8. Almost anything by Mozart (Just the overplayed stuff including Eine Klein Nachtmusic, Rondo alla turka unless the full sonata is played, and twinkle twinkle little star)
      9. Claire de Lune (unless the whole suite is played)
      10. Canon in (swear word) D

  3. Paul Pellay says:

    Hm. Just goes to prove what I’ve long believed: much of what you detest I’m bound to rather enjoy! OK, levity aside, Here’s mine:

    1. Handel’s Messiah

    2. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (unless it’s done in the original jazz band scoring)

    3. Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons (the only one we seem to agree on – I’d rather have the Milhaud)

    4. Mahler 8

    5. Shostakovich 5 (I far prefer all the other 14)

    6. Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf

    7. Any Paganini

    8. Any Mozart (Haydn man, me!)

    9. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto 4

    10. Britten’s Noye’s Fludde (though the Simple Symphony or the Young Person’s You-know-what would qualify just as well!)

    1. Brian says:

      Ah blast, I forgot about Niccolò.

      Paul, do you honestly believe Shostakovich’s Symphonies no. 2 and 3 to be superior to the 5th?

      1. Paul Pellay says:

        At this point in my life, yes I do. Perverse, I know, but I’m too old to mind that so much anymore…………..!

        1. Paul Pellay says:

          In fact, if one tunes out the very banal choral epilogues, they’re both fascinating works. That way, they can be viewed as stepping stones to Lady Macbeth of Mtzensk and Symphony 4.

          1. Brian says:

            Very interesting point, thank you, I must listen to them again. I love Shostakovich’s music, but don’t particularly care for those two symphonies (nor for no. 12).

  4. Paul Pellay says:

    All right, I’ll play.

    1. Handel’s Messiah

    2. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (unless it’s in the original jazz band scoring)

    3. Vivaldi’s You-know-what (the only one we’d most likely agree on. I prefer the Milhaud)

    4. Any Mozart (Haydn man, me!)

    5. Any Paganini

    6. Shostakovich 5 (far prefer the other 14)

    7. Prokofiev Peter and the Wolf

    8. Mahler 8

    9. Beethoven Piano Concerto 4

    10. Britten’s You-also-know-what (though the Simple Symphony or Noye’s Fludde would also qualify)

    1. Paul Pellay says:

      Hadn’t intended to post this list twice. Sorry!

  5. Nat says:

    I’m surprised Pachelbel’s Canon in D hasn’t made it on any list!

    1. Paul Pellay says:

      Dang, I knew I was forgetting the Taco Bell Canon (as my wife refers to it)!

  6. John Mucci says:

    1. Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances
    2. Copland’s Rodeo
    3. 1812 Overture
    4. Granada
    5. The Rake’s Progress
    6. The Ring of the Nibelungen (except parts of Siegfried)
    7. Glass’s film scores
    8. Britten’s Albert Herring
    9. Night on Bald Mountain
    10. Bernstein’s Mass

    Most of the responses seem to simply say that some works are over-programmed; that is truly so, and obnoxiously so on most NPR stations. Elgar’s oratorios can be awful, but I think “Caractacus” is spectacular. Puccini is way over-programmed, but always has something to offer, I think.

  7. Joe says:

    In no specific order, as I find them all equally annoying:

    1. Bolero
    2. Rhapsody in Blue
    3. Messiah
    4. Four Seasons
    5. Pachelbel Canon
    6. Anything by Philip Glass
    7. Mozart
    8. Anything by Gorecki
    9. Anything by most other trendy composer du jour
    10. Anything on a CD such as “So-and So’s Greatest Hits” or “So-and-So for Dummies.”

  8. Erich says:

    What fun:

    Everything by Liszt
    Vivaldi Four Seasons
    Everything by Einaudi
    Rigoletto (Verdi’s most banal and greatest mistake)
    Ein kleine Nachtmusik
    Mendelssohn Wedding March
    Everything by Philip Glass
    Everything by John Adams

  9. Colin Reed says:

    1. 1 of 5 pieces written by Karl Jenkins

    2. 1 of 5 pieces sung by Katherine Jenkins

    3. 2 of 5 pieces written by Karl Jenkins

    4. 2 of 5 pieces sung by Katherine Jenkins

    5 – 10 repeat ad libitum, ad nauseum.

  10. Rock J says:

    1. Mahler 1
    2. Mahler 2
    3. Mahler 3
    4. Mahler 4
    5. Mahler 5
    6. Mahler 6
    7. Mahler 7
    8. Mahler 8 (though is fun first mvt)
    9. Mahler 9
    10. Mahler 10

    Lazy orchestral programming = over exposure = ENOUGH, PLEASE!

    1. avi kujman says:

      Absolutely right. More than that, and as you must know: given the length of his symphonies, little room is being left for other artistic expressions.

      Hear R.Muti about Mahler, and the tendency to overplay him:

      “Today, everybody conducts Mahler. Mahler pays well. Even if you do not conduct a good performance of a Mahler symphony, the success is still there because except for the Fourth Symphony, all the finales are very loud, very strong. The public generally doesn’t understand if it’s a good performance or not so good — or whether the conductor has gone deeply into the score.”

      And here:

      Moments of beauty

      Yet Muti has some history with Mahler. He recorded the First Symphony with the Philadelphia and the Fourth with the Vienna Philharmonic, both decades ago. He can also be seen in a YouTube video conducting Mahler and speaking admiringly of the composer. But respect is one thing, say Muti, conviction another.

      “I find certain of Mahler’s symphonies to be full of beautiful moments, but also full of moments that don’t take me – five or ten minutes of paradise, then ten or 20 minutes that sound artificial. But every time Mahler uses the voice, as in the ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ or ‘Das Lied von der Erde,’ the music rises to an incredible height. There you can see he was an opera conductor.

      (Totally agree, if I may say so).

      And…

      “In a world where everybody conducts Mahler, it is better that I leave others to do it. But my attitude toward Mahler can change. I’m not young, but it’s possible I will change my mind and become a Mahler fan. You never know.”

      http://www.chicagoontheaisle.com/2011/10/05/sidestepping-mahler-muti-points-toward-bruckner-and-seasons-that-will-stretch-the-cso/

      On the other hand, I just heard Muti’s first Mahler with the Chicago Symphony and found it very inspiring.

      http://csosoundsandstories.org/muti-conducts-mahler/

      Ivan Fisher’s Mahler is also something else. It is not Mahler out of laziness

      (Apropos laziness and the lack of rehearses and so on, could anyone believe for a true preparation for a symphony that takes the whole time of a program…?)

      Das Lied by Walter and Ferrier, now on Pristine Classical, though, is a must for me.

      Have a good day, Avi

      1. Hilary says:

        The general gist of what Muti says is fair enough if a little simplistic. However, he’s factually wrong when he says the 4th is the only symphony by Mahler without a rousing finish. Numbers 6,9 and 10(though the 10th doesn’t quite count for me, as it’s essentially a sketch) being other exceptions.

  11. token woman says:

    1) Puccini
    2) Anything half the current Deutsche Grammophon piano roster is producing at the keyboard
    3) Brass quintet arrangements
    4) Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings
    5) Mozart Rondo for Piano and Orchestra, K. 386
    6) Berlioz, Copland, Hagen: a hattrick of hokey
    7) John Adams and other pop “minimalist” opera
    8) Beethoven 9
    9) 1950s symphonic recordings of baroque music
    10) The Ring Cycle

  12. Holly Mulcahy says:

    And here’s my list*:

    1. Mendelssohn Violin Concerto
    2. Tchaikovsky 1812
    3. Beethoven 5th
    4. Pachelbel Canon
    5. Mozart eine kleine nachtmusik
    6. Mozart Musical Joke
    7. L. Mozart Toy Symphony
    8. Sorcerer’s Apprentice
    9. Brahms Violin Concerto
    10. Gounod’s Faust

    * I reserve the right to re-like these pieces if they are played with sincerity and commitment. But most need a time out, and the Toy Symphony and Musical Joke should just be shelved indefinitely.

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      Nice one, Holly. Check out Milstein’s Mendelssohn….

  13. iStrings says:

    Interesting subject; music disliked by all of us mostly, is loved by the “general audience” mostly, therefore played over and over again, making us the musicians some times really learn to hate them.
    Actually, e.g. Vivaldi Four Seasons I really can’t listen to, (especially at Japanese rail stations) but I just agreed to play it next season again because as performer I’m still OK with it.
    Many other works, the let’s say “most beloved works” for instance in Japan, I used to like very much, Grieg, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky Pno. concertos, or Dvorak 9th Symphony, (don’t even mention Beethoven’s Ninth) but unfortunately can’t stand those any more because we played them soooo many times there.
    I guess this “overkill” doesn’t help us musicians to have love affairs with all these (hated – sorry, irritating) music.

    1. Mr Oakmountain says:

      I could easily PLAY music and love it even I’d be loath to listen to the same piece on the radio or in a concert. Sometimes the fun is in the doing. I long ago stopped listening to Handel’s Fireworks, but I’d join any performance for free because it’s real fun to play.

    2. Sardis says:

      I would say everything played by Japanese orchestras particularly NHK. They haven’t really discovered the second half of the 20th century yet.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        Good for them! That half is better left alone.

        1. NewcomerK says:

          Nice toss!

  14. Peter Metrinko says:

    I agree with many of the sentiments here. I think some of the pieces suffer from being overplayed — such as the Beethoven 5th, and 9th. I’d add the 7th to the list. I recall reading that Ravel grew to dislike the Bolero. So much antipathy for Mozart, and I mostly agree. Has anyone else noticed that the Mostly Mozart festival in NYC plays mostly non-Mozart? Tchaikovsky easily becomes stale, but his music is a very nice introduction to classical music. Glass, and to that I would add John Adams. Bruckner. And while I love the piano parts of the Chopin piano concertos, the orchestrations! Actually, Katsaris does a version of the #2 with a string quartet which sounds much better.

  15. basia jaworski says:

    1. Canto Ostinato and more of that minimal music crap. Except John Adams. Like him
    2. Carmina Burana
    3. Vivaldi you know what. Actually anything by Vivaldi and Telemann
    4. Anything played on recorder and harpsichord.
    5. Anthing by Einaudi and other Muzak
    6. Stockhausen
    7. Pachelbel
    8. Messiah
    9. Most of Haendel
    10. Danced opera’s. When I go to the opera I want to hear singing! They are not singing opera during the ballet performance, do they?

  16. The Incredible Flutist says:

    I object to the inclusion of Boismortier on Mahan’s list. Boismortier is one of the 1st and only composers to write cool pieces for an ensemble of 5 flutes. Maybe not the greatest music, but really fun to play and always an excuse for flute players to get together and have a good time. Ask any flute player: we all LOVE Boismortier!

  17. Greg Hlatky says:

    1. Gershwin
    2. Debussy
    3. Bernstein
    4. Mahler (“Oh my God, I’m dying!!”)
    5. Bolero
    6. Also Sprach Zarathustra unless complete
    7. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
    8. Nessun dorma
    9. The Four Seasons
    10. The Ride of the Valkyries unless 1) part of the opera or 2) played on the organ

    1. The Incredible Flutist says:

      As a flute player I naturally also object to the inclusion of Debussy on this list. Apres-Midi, Syrinx, La Mer? Really?

      1. Greg Hlatky says:

        I tries and I tries but I just can’t stomach him, though it’s my fault and not his.

        And things change. 20 years ago I would have put Brahms’s choral music – and especially the German Requiem – on the list. No longer.

  18. Andrew Condon says:

    1. Monteverdi: Vespers
    2. Mendelssohn: Elijah
    3. Bach: St Matthew Passion
    4. Reger: Violin Concerto
    5. Dallapiccola: The Prisoner
    6. Anything by Percy Grainger
    7. Boulez: Piano Sonatas
    8. Schoenberg: Moses & Aaron
    9. Magnus Lindberg: “Kraft”
    10. Georg Haas: “in vain”

  19. OhGlorioso says:

    Gee, lots of people hating a lot of great music. Sad.

    1. Holly Mulcahy says:

      Wouldn’t call this a lot of people hating really good music so much as a lot of people are hearing greats played too many times. Time to branch out, bring in some good modern compositions, and perhaps resurrect some others. On the other hand, these over played pieces are many times what gets people through the door of classical music for the first time, and eventually branching out to other works and composes. Their “gateway drug”
      if you will.

  20. 1. Anything by Phillip Glass
    2. Pachelbel’s Canon
    3. Any composer associated with the Bang on a Can collective
    4. Most of the composers associated with the Kronos Quartet after 1994
    5. Saint Saen’s The Swan
    6. Anything by Havergal Brain
    7. Bruch’s Violin Concerto #1
    8. Haydn’s early string quartets
    9. Purple Haze (in any of it’s “classical” transcriptions)
    10. Wagner’s piano sonata in A flat.

    1. Barbara Wollman says:

      Haydn’s early string quartets aren’t (string quartets, that is). They ARE scored for two violins, viola and cello, but that’s about it.

  21. Fred Obelisk says:

    So it is overexposure to these works that causes irritation, rather than anything intrinsic to the pieces themselves?

    I recognize many of these from ‘music appreciation’ classes from my childhood. Why were they chosen? Was it because they were already well known, or because they were considered gateway pieces by the curriculum authors of the time? If another set of pieces were selected and enshrined in early music courses and young minds, would they now be the irritating ones? Methinks so.

    1. For the most part, that’s the case. Although one can make a case for hating Phillip Glass’ “music”……..

      1. Rosy Hall says:

        Except Vivaldi. He’s a hack.

  22. Fyodor says:

    In a world where classical music is increasingly pushed to the sidelines, it is unbelievably arrogant for musicians to cut ourselves from our audience by disdaining works that “non-professionals” enjoy. So, my list:

    1-10) Anything played by Katya Apekisheva

    1. OhGlorioso says:

      Agreed!

    2. Mikey says:

      Bravo!
      Agreed whole-heartedly.

      1. Peter Lovett says:

        Well said, but still:

        1 – 10 Wagner.

    3. Mikhail says:

      I agree. It is arrogant.

      1. Dean Carr says:

        Totally agree. I am not a musician, but a music lover with an interest in many diverse genres, including classical. The reason some pieces are overplayed is their own inherent brilliance. They have stood the test of time, the one true measure of artistic merit. I would be interested in knowing what compositions some of the contributors prefer to the masterpieces they scorn, and how many of those will still be performed centuries from now. This is largely an exercise in musical and intellectual snobbery.

  23. The Incredible Flutist says:

    How can anyone hate Stockhausen??? I hope that’s sarcasm! It’s not too hard after his comments about 9/11 just after it happened.

    http://nymag.com/news/9-11/10th-anniversary/karlheinz-stockhausen/

    1. I was referring to the man’s music, not the man’s comments which were horrifying.

      1. The Incredible Flutist says:

        OK. Understood. I am not a personal fan of Stockhausen’s music, but sometimes it’s hard to separate a composer’s idealogy from their craft. Wagner, for example, remains hard for me to stomach, for this reason. I know it shouldn’t be that way, it should be possible to consider the 2 separately, but it’s a gut reaction . . . That happens with Stockhausen for me.

        1. I know where you’re coming from. Have the same issues with composers many times. Wagner was a big block for me as well for some years, probably for the same reasons.

    2. Tom says:

      I happen to abhor Stockhausen as a person and his “music” in particular. And it’s not because of his 9/11 remarks, though they’re repugnant in and of themselves. The remarks just illustrate how his mind worked.

      The reason for my distaste is experiencing Stockhausen as a conductor when I was playing in an orchestra as a young person. We were – of course – performing a piece by Stockhausen and the man was insufferable. His arrogance and expressed contempt of musicians (I still remember his remark “I would prefer if I could avoid working with musicians; unfortunately, computer technology hasn’t come far enough yet to replace them”) were sickening to me. His 9/11 remarks are kind of understandable after that.

      After a week of him, I swore I wouldn’t play in an orchestra ever again, and I didn’t. How supposedly intelligent educators could expose music students to him is still beyond me.

      1. John Borstlap says:

        Stockhausen not only applauded the 9/11 ‘work of art’ but also said to Hans Werner Henze one time, looking over Vienna from a hill top: “You see, there below lies the see of light that’s Vienna. In a couple of years I will have got so far to be able to blow-up the whole city in one single electronic bang.”

  24. Frans Wentholt says:

    1. Minimalistic thingies
    2. New Age thingies
    3. All avant-garde-for-avant-garde’s-sake thingies (Prokofiev always okay, Cage is crap)
    3. Britten (bores me to death)
    4. Most of Liszt’s output, any virtuosity-for-vituosity’s-sake thingies (Paganini)
    5. Verdi thingies
    6. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben
    7. Hindemith
    8. Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1, opening makes me want to flee
    9. Vivaldi
    10. Orff

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hooray! Some one else who is sick of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 1. So agree. Good call, that!

  25. Olaugh Turchev says:

    Anything by Waldemar Polaruk

  26. joe salerno says:

    Well, this is revealing – quite a response! Don’t ask people for a desert island discography, ask what they don’t want to hear. My list is short: 1. Toccata by Aram Khachaturian. And although it isn’t horrible, I’m just rather tired of the Grieg Piano Concerto.

  27. Mr Oakmountain says:

    Holly Mulcahy made the definitive statement:

    “I reserve the right to re-like these pieces if they are played with sincerity and commitment.”

    That indeed is the heart of the matter. I think we get so annoyed by pieces we used to love or we feel we should be able to love, but they have been spoiled for us by over-exposure and inferior or insincere performances, and we’d love to love them again if somebody could make us listen to it with new insight.

  28. Francois says:

    1. Andrea Bocelli attempting opera.
    2. Music I cannot humm.
    3. Singers who don’t know when to quit.
    4. Hugo Wolf songs.
    5. Operas with too many Russian basses.
    6. Some of Bach’s “Dracula is in the house” organ pieces.
    7. Bach with whiny boy sopranos.
    8. Conductors which let music drag.
    9. Some of Bruckner’s symphonies – was he constipated ALL the time?
    10. Music which goes “plonk, plonk, ….. ………plonk” on piano

    1. Anonymous says:

      Heh heh – Bruckner IS constipated! Right you are!

      1. bratschegirl says:

        Bruckner just never really believed that he could change moods without bringing everything to a grinding halt and Grand Pause first. Occupational hazard of being an organist?

  29. Andreas Kaempf says:

    What a cool idea. Here’s my list:

    1. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto 1 (especially last movement)
    2. Bruckner’s masses
    3. A lot of Rossini
    4. Bach’s French Suites
    5. Most of Liszt, except for the Sonata in B minor and the Annees de Pelerinage
    6. Most of Telemann (except the flute fantasias)
    7. Francois Couperin (except a handful of the harpsichord pieces)
    8. Minimalist stuff like Glass
    9. Tchaikovsky’s piano music
    10. Medieval music

  30. Mr Oakmountain says:

    Could we agree to stop dissing composers? I have no problem if someone hates Bruckner, but wondering “if he was constipated all the time” says more about the author of the response than the composer.

  31. Tom Moore says:

    what a lack of imagination! nothing but the usual suspects. Let’s hate on someone different for a change, like Khrennikov or Shchedrin.

  32. Gil says:

    Debussy
    Stockhausen
    Boulez
    Bellini
    Walton
    Second Viennese School (except Wozzeck)
    Most Baroque music except Bach/Handel
    Madame Butterfly
    Tannhauser
    Daphnis and Chloe

    1. Boulez? Are you being sarcastic?

    2. The Incredible Flutist says:

      Daphnis? No way. Flute players of the world would rise up in rebellion if that ever happened!

  33. Michael Endres says:

    I have no negative list , what for ? Here the opposite approach :

    The 10 works or composers I like most ( in no specific order and with added favorite versions ):

    Mozart: Divertimento KV 563 ( with Heifetz ,Feuermann, Primrose )

    Gabriel Faure: ( nearly everything, particularly his piano music , performed by Albert Ferber or Germaine Thyssens Valentin )

    Beethoven: his string Quartets

    Mahler: 1 – 10

    Schubert ( everything, every single note.)

    Mendelssohn : Woe unto them from ‘Eliah’ ( with Ferrier ) and Songs without Words ( played by Ignaz Friedman ), plus a lot more ( Piano Trio Nr.1, Violinsonata F etc )

    English Folk songs ( performed by Ferrier ,eg ”Down by the Sally Gardens ”)

    Schumann ( piano solo music and song cycles )

    Ravel ( everything, every single note. )

    Chopin : Mazurkas ( performed by Maryla Jonas )

    1. Barbara Wollman says:

      You remind me of the people who write amazon.com reviews that complain about the vendor but say nothing about the item to be reviewed. You’ve missed the point (or have no sense of humor).

      1. Nik says:

        Haha right on Barbara!

  34. Andrea says:

    Andrew, I want to know what concerts you’re attending that you’re hearing too much Lindberg, Haas, and Boulez!

    1. Andrew Condon says:

      Andrea, the Lindberg and Haas pieces I refer to have both been broadcast recently on the Berlin Philharmonic’s excellent Digital Concert Hall. I try to be as open-mended as I can for new musical experiences and Alan Gilbert who conducted the Lindberg and Simon Rattle the Haas are obviously evangelical about a lot of this very modern repertoire but I’m afraid it doesn’t reach out to me, despite several attempts. Likewise with Boulez. As an adjunct to my list of pieces to avoid, to my shame there are 3 acknowledged masterpieces that I have always thought slightly over-rated: Berg Violin Concerto, Debussy Pelleas and the Britten War Requiem. Perhaps in years to come I’ll see the error of my ways. Perhaps I also need to listen to less Liszt as unlike several contributors above I seem to be the exception in enjoying his music, and have Leslie Howard’s complete recordings to prove it!

  35. Sergei says:

    Or better; Campoli-Boult.

  36. 10. Early Dvořák Symphonies (not enough time to figure them out)
    9. Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (in any form—there’s no there there, empty calories)
    8. Bizet’s Symphony in C. (see also #4)
    7. Prokofiev’s “Classical” Symphony (not more often than once in less than five years)
    6. Lecuona’s Malagueña (outside the suite—within it, okay I suppose)
    5. Chabrier’s España (the composer considered it an albatross pendant)
    4. Pachelbel Canon (once is enough for a lifetime)
    3. The commonly-played Tchaik 2 (the original version is much more interesting and challenging, and you get a full-length finale with more fireworks)
    2. Ferde Grofé’s Piano Concerto (played way too often on my local CRS, sorry)
    1. Wellington’s Victory (any more often than every 18 months or so—then embargo it)

    Can’t help noticing: not a shred of Rach in sight. спасибо!

    1. Jules says:

      Ed–If your CRS is my CRS (and I suspect it is), the Grofe is played once a year…which is plenty.

  37. Sergei says:

    I’ll try. But first I want signed immunity from persecution:
    1) any opera, by any composer of any time.
    2) any singed piece, whatever it be.
    3) any German-Austrian symphonic work.
    4) anything by Berlioz
    5) Anything between JB Bach and Haydn.
    6) in general, symphonic music except Russians, Czechs or Frenchs
    7) anything after Shostakovich

  38. Francois says:

    What I Like:
    1. Goldberg variations
    2. Mass in B Minor
    3. Norma
    4. Traviata
    5. Sibelius songs for orchestra
    6. Nacht und Traume and some of the other great hits
    7. Funeral marches (Eroica, Bruckner 8 Adagio, etc.)
    8. Vivaldi Cello concertos
    9. The whole Trever Pinnock set of Bach concertos
    10. Singers who push boundaries

  39. Sergei says:

    What I really like most is chamber music from XIX to half XX centuries, and works for string with orchestra or with piano from same period.

  40. Brian says:

    Anyone listing Mahler is simply ridiculous. It’s untouchable. And I’ve played every symphony 4 or 5 times… I hate seeing Tchaikovsky Symphonies on the schedule – but the audience reaction is undeniable – it BRINGS people into classical music, and listening to the applause is all worth it. He’s a crowd-pleaser. I should really list the “Nutcracker” – after 50 performances, at least… but it really could single-handedly turn someone into a classical music lover.
    Bruckner, I can do without. It’s long-winded, disconnected, masturbational nonsense.. And besides, brass players love it – so immediately one should be suspicious.
    Pachelbel… go to YouTube if you need to vomit on that of course.
    Glass – is he actually considered a composer ??!
    Vieuxtemps, and Paganini top my list.
    Anything religious. Star Wars is more plausible!
    Modern garbage that you wouldn’t recognize again, 5 minutes later. But enjoy your university teaching position. Bravo.
    Chopin piano concertos ( Violin section death. Absolutely the most useless orchestrator that ever lived.)
    (Can’t believe someone listed Carmina’s Banana !? – how often, seriously, does that get played?! It’s a wonderful piece. A one-hit wonder.)
    Bruckner. Did I mention Bruckner? oh right. twat.
    Almost every Canadian composer that ever lived. Sorry. I’m Canadian. You’re all totally useless and scared audiences away with total abstract BS ! Useless.
    Ok
    I’m done.
    🙂

    1. NewcomerK says:

      Totally my taste!

  41. Lendall says:

    These lists are actually quite reassuring for me. Until I perused them I thought that I was one of the most intolerant people alive. For starters I think it’s necessary to separate into three categories:
    I – Music that’s played so often (in concert, on the radio, or both) that you simply don’t want to hear it any more. This is not so much a matter of aesthetics as it is of over-exposure. The Four Seasons is a good example, and quite honestly, a fair amount of Mozart.
    II – Music that is from a specific period or genre that you recognize as perhaps having value but which is simply not to your taste. A fair amount of 19th century romantic music falls into that category for me, Tchaikovsky being a prime example (although the aesthetic value of much of his music is to me rather questionable. Same for Rachmaninoff, moving forward a bit in time).
    III – Music that simply sets your teeth on edge, makes your skin crawl, and makes you want to scream.
    So for purposes of this list I’ll confine myself to Category III, in ascending order of tolerability (meaning 1. is the least tolerable):
    1. Almost everything by Steve Reich
    2. Almost everything by Philip Glass
    3. Almost everything by Michael Nyman
    4. Almost everything by John Adams
    5. Everything ever recorded by Wendy Carlos
    I would add to my III category 95% (at least) of everything that goes under the names or rap and hip-hop, but I suppose those genres would be excluded from this analysis.

    1. Lendall says:

      Talking to myself here: How could I have left out Thomas Ades? Is he more or less tolerable than John Adams? Almost certainly less.

      1. Anonymous says:

        Adams vs. Ades? No contest there. Compare their operas: “Powder Her Wig by Ades with the musical highlight being a fellatio aria and any of Adams’ operas which at least have social relevance ie Nixon in China, Dr. Atomic.

        Thank god someone mentioned Nyman.

        1. Theodore McGuiver says:

          Powder Her Face

    2. Lendall says:

      Another Dishonorable Mention: I think one really needs to add most or all of the output of the Bang On A Can people and their entourage. I heard a performance last night of Michael Gordon’s “Timber” which was arguably the worst piece I have ever experienced.

  42. mikeinnyc says:

    1. Spohr
    2. Boccherini
    3. Any German opera before Wagner
    4. Mendelssohn’s St. Paul
    5. Massenet – all of ’em
    6. Any clarinet, bassoon, or oboe concerto.
    7. Steve Reich
    8. Any solo work featuring a counter-tenor
    9. H.K. Gruber. I mean, really?
    10. Hovhaness.

  43. Richard says:

    Interesting to look for the composers that make nobody’s negative list. I see Schubert, for one, is conspicuously absent.

  44. Tom says:

    What a completely silly exercise. I can’t believe how many people dislike Berlioz. Have they ever taken the time to listen to his music properly, I wonder? But maybe he’s an acquired taste. But whaddaheck….

    1. Any composer attending Darmstadt
    2. Any composer performed at Donaueschingen
    3. All minimalists
    4. All serial compositions
    5. All strictly atonal compositions
    6. All aleatory compositions
    7. All compositions with a Balinese gong
    9. All compositions with tone clusters in the score
    10. All Wagner operas

    =D

  45. Cardoso Peres says:

    – HIP Beethoven
    – Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 (enough already!)
    – Brahms German Requiem
    – Songs by Hugo Wolf
    – Carl Maria von Weber Piano Sonatas
    – 2nd rate baroque composers, such as Hasse, Telemann, Caldara
    – Boccherini minuet
    – Mahler Symphonies 2 & 8
    – Britten War Requiem
    – Stravinsky

  46. Halldor says:

    1. All organ music
    2. Liszt
    3. Rigoletto
    4. All Handel’s operas
    5. All Bach’s sacred music apart from the St Matthew Passion
    6. Arvo Part
    7. Philip Glass
    8. James Horner’s film scores
    9. Carmina Burina
    10. Twelve-tone Stravinsky

  47. Cello man says:

    1 everything by Glass
    2 everything by Adams
    3 Magic Flute
    4 la Sonnambula
    5 I Puritani
    6 Barber of Seville
    7 Idomaneo
    8 Gounod Romeo
    9 Norma
    10 Faust

  48. Henri Drost says:

    Reading the comments, with some of them I certainly agree, but mot of them fall into the catagory familiarity breeds contempt.
    Sure, I also can do without The four seasons, but hey, it really isn’t that bad piece of music. So instead I offer my main beefs with classical music today.
    1. Conductors who keep recording or even rerecording works because the recordcompany wants them t oor, even worse, they think they have to record a Beethoven-cycle to be taken seriously
    2. Female pianist posing as anything but pianists, just to get some attention
    3. Tenors recording repertoire that really does not suit their voice, but hey, it’s familiar, so let’s give it a try.
    4. Sopranos doing the same.
    5. The endless marketing of great recordings of the past without actually improving them. It’s just greedy
    6. Critics discribing any modern opera production as Regietheater. We get it. You don’t like it. Get over it.
    7. Apps that will save clasical music. No, they won’t. And they don’t have to.
    8. Orchestras that think by creating a dance event young audiences will race to buy tickets. They won’t. Nobody likes Holst’s Planets with a housebeat.
    9. A board of directors that likes to spent more time in court than in the concerthall.
    10. Anyting that is called crossovers music. Good crossover music does not need to be marketed as such.

  49. Sergei says:

    Brian; what about Sophie Eckhardt-Gramatte? She was almost Canadian. I like her solo violin works very much.

    1. iStrings says:

      agreed; (I play them all…)

  50. Matthew B. Tepper says:

    Vivaldi, I Quattro Stagioni.
    Pachelbel, Kanon.
    Any Baroque trumpet concerto apart from JS Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #2 (in which the trumpet is merely part of the concertato).
    Shostakovich, Festive Overture (which I sometimes refer to as the “Vegetable” Overture). His Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Themes is a far superior piece; we should hear that one instead!
    Boyce, Symphonies.
    Orff, “O Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana” except in the context of a complete performance.
    Any of those “Hooked On” things where perfectly good (usually) music is backed with a stupid and unnecessary backbeat.
    That despicable KIA commercial in which an opera performance is portrayed as boring, boring, boring, until it gets replaced by those verminout gophers who bring out a disco ball and the eponymous to replace the “boring” stuff. When I went car-shopping last year, I ruled out the KIA specifically because of this commercial.
    Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” in part for its original sentiment, but also because it has been used to celebrate the destruction of classical radio stations here in the US.

  51. Matthew B. Tepper says:

    Oops! That’s only nine! All right then….
    Albert Ketèlbey. (I might have concluded my list with Frederick Delius, but idiotic kitsch overpowers mere dreariness.)

  52. V. Lind says:

    Refuse to list except for Please-God-May-I-Never-Have-to-Sit-Through-This Again:

    1. Vivaldi Four Seasons.

    2. Tchaikovsky Nutcracker.

    3. Bizet Carmen.

    Nothing wrong with any of them, and a great deal right, at least in bits. But for the love of all that’s holy, I wish the orchestras, opera companies and ballet companies of my orbit would give them a, say, 50-year pass. That’ll see me out.

  53. Prewartreasure says:

    1. War Requiem
    2. Young persons’ guide to the orchestra
    3. Rape of Lucretia
    4. Noyes Fludde
    5. Peter Grimes
    6. Billy Budd
    7. Turn of the Screw
    8. Gloriana
    9. Albert Herring
    10. Most compositions of Benjamin Britten.

    1. Frederick West says:

      Excellent! All of his music gives me the creeps. Having once had to run through an A Level listening exercise based on The Lost Boys section from whatever dross that comes from the entire lesson descended into anarchy and derision. The poor pupils thought it was some sort of weird spoof. God only knows what would have happened if it had been a real exam…
      Let’s consign his entire oeuvre to the skip.

  54. Dutchoperasinger says:

    Here’s my list:
    1. Classical singers singing ‘jazz’
    2. Classical singers singing ‘musical’
    3. Musical or pop singers singing classical!!
    4. Carmina Burana
    5. Domine Deus from Rossini’s Petite Messe, what a drag!
    6. O mio babbino caro !!!! OMG
    7. Brindisi
    8. Anything by Stockhausen
    9. Early countertenor singing (Rene Jacobs sounds like a seagull being gutted alive)
    10. Dutch popular music (almost all of it is absolute rubbish)

  55. Plush says:

    These nattering nabobs of negativism need to get up off o their backsides and get to concerts that don’t require filling a 3000 seat auditorium. There are plenty of very well played and fascinating musics being offered in large cities as well as smaller towns. Big orchestras program these war horses for revenue. Go to where musics are played because of the art they represent. I’m saddened to see so many orchestra players and leaders making dull lists like they’re teaching us something. Desultory!

    1. Paul Pellay says:

      I have already been going to the type of concerts you’re talking about for the last 3 decades or more. My list was made simply from the point of view of a listener who wants to keep on learning music new and/or unfamiliar out there, and it consists of works that meant something to me in the past and that I’ve now outgrown. I guess the point is that there is far too much good stuff out there to stay stuck with the same 50 or60 pieces year in year out (and most orchestras get that, at least in Europe). Besides, 10 works is a short list, and I actually would have trouble making a list of 20. If started making a list of all the works I still want to keep listening to, I’d never stop, and I’d rather use that time to listen to music – nattering negativity is a useless pursuit for nabob or pauper alike. I believe it was Rachmaninoff (whose “warhorses” I haven’t grown tired of for the last 40 years) who said that music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime isn’t enough for music. True, that.

  56. David Coronel says:

    Can’t believe I’m being sucked into this Charybdis but here we go:

    TO BE AVOIDED
    1. Pretty much anything by Vivaldi, mostly due to his lazy habit of thinking he need write nothing more than a glorified bass line.

    2. Pretty much anything by Liszt, mostly due to his annoying habit of squeezing 20 unnecessary notes between each pair of necessary ones.

    3. Pretty much anything by Einaudi, mostly due to his misguided belief that using only the notes of the diatonic scale makes for entertaining music.

    4. Pretty much anything by Karl Jenkins, mostly due to his foolish belief that if it sounds good on one drum, it’ll sound great on six.

    5. Anything being performed by an artist who thinks that just because they’re good in their chosen field they must be good in someone else’s.

    6. Anything that is misdescribed as ‘classical music’ simply because it’s being played by an orchestra rather than a rock or jazz band.

    And four personal bêtes noir to complete the set…

    7. Stainer’s Crucifixion
    8. Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy
    9. Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien
    10. Rossini’s Cats’ Duet

    1. Paul Carlile says:

      1) Who is Einaudi?
      2) Who is Karl Jenkins?

  57. Grenville G says:

    I really don’t see what the problem is here.

    OK, so there are lots of orchestras playing The 4 Seasons.
    Well, if you don’t like the programme then don’t go to the concert.
    And if you don’t like what’s on the radio then switch the thing off and put on a CD of things you do like.
    Nobody is forcing you to listen.

    Then, here’s a novel idea – how about taking a moment to rejoice in the fact that, unlike most of the population, you are able to appreciate great music.

    Maybe then you can stop whinging.

  58. Ian says:

    The fact that this topic has galvanised so many into such enthusiastic, wide-ranging responses goes to show something I’ve long suspected: many musicians don’t really like music very much.

  59. Theodore McGuiver says:

    Schumann Piano Concerto. Good work, but I really don’t need to hear it ever again. It’s everywhere.

    Most contemporary bilge, either.

  60. MintCurry says:

    For me I have a long list of works that I would never want to hear again. But now I have to restrict it to 10.

    Let’s go backwards instead, shall we?

    10. Cage’s 4′ 3″
    9. Works that make more sound effect noises than proper music
    8. Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto (especially the opening of the concerto, still gets on my nerves)
    7. Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1
    6. J. Strauss II’s Blue Danube Waltz
    5. Just about any Andrew Lloyd Webber (enough to make me cringe)
    4. Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony (never felt excited about it for the last 5 years)
    3. Rachmaninov’s Prelude No. 5 in G minor (overly played back in faculty, nearly every morning class of each semester, there’s at least a student struggling the same passage as everyone else next door, and almost everyone played the same for a few years straight.)
    2. Hanon’s Piano Exercises (mainly by those who show off)
    1. Beethoven’s Fur Elise (too many overly sped up and somewhat simplified versions out there)

  61. Clarke Bustard says:

    I’ll avoid the usual suspects and limit my list to standard rep.

    1. Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Symphony – shut up and die, already
    2. Wagner’s “Siegfried” – Act 1 is why Hitler loved Wagner
    3. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 – if you really want to wreck that Steinway, try a maul; it’s quicker and quieter
    4. Schubert’s Piano Trio in B flat major, D. 898/Op. 99 – like shampoo: rinse and repeat
    5. Stravinsky’s “I can do 12-tone, too” works – bully for you
    6. Shostakovich’s Soviet celebratory music – yes, you had to write this stuff; no, I don’t have to listen to it
    7. Mahler’s Eighth Symphony – another failure to make a decent opera of “Faust”
    8. Bruch’s “Scottish Fantasy” – not even Ravel’s “Bolero” beats a tune quite so dead
    9. Richard Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra” after the opening fanfare – Strauss was not a philosopher; philosophy is not music
    10. Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” – setting the standard for Victorian Protestant oratorio; need I say more?

  62. William Safford says:

    Any opera whose staging has no relation to the music, libretto, or original staging instructions.

    (That’s really a performance issue, not a composer issue.)

  63. raykohn says:

    1. All Telemann
    2. Handel operas
    3. Lully
    4. Frescobaldi
    5. Rameau
    6. Buxtehude
    7. Froberger
    8. Locatelli
    9. Most Biber (although I like the scordatura in the Rosary Sonatas)
    10.Pachelbel (not again!)
    I even joined a Baroque ensemble as lead violin for a year to try to discover what I was not understanding about Baroque music. Conclusion: Bach was a genius and there was not much to discover about the rest.

  64. SVM says:

    The BBC’s stupid, gimmicky, reductive, history in ‘Ten Pieces’, which have been tediously dominating the airwaves on Radio 3 for the last couple of months. Please, the whole point of public-service broadcasting is that it should give far greater variety, and not mindlessly and continually advertise a simplistic list of ‘greatest hits’.

    1. Will Duffay says:

      It’s for children. The BBC are trying to do what successive governments have neglected to, and provide a focus for introducing music to children.

      1. SVM says:

        When I was a child (not that long ago), the great variety of proper music on R3, with pieces in full, old and new, famous and obscure, served me very well for an education and inspiration.

  65. Ellingtonia says:

    This woman needs serious psychotherapy if she doesnt like ABBA……………..!

  66. Michael Endres says:

    Monteverdi,Vivaldi,Bach,Haydn,Mozart,Beethoven,Schubert,Brahms,Schumann,Tschaikowsky,Wagner,Mahler,Debussy,Ravel,Stravinsky,Messiaen,most contemporary music….all in the bin.
    What an incredible pool of experts we have here in this blog.
    One should repeat the exercise with literature !!
    Isn’t it about time to whack Shakespeare,Goethe, Zola,Balzac,Dostojevsky,Tolstoj,Woolfe,Joyce,Kafka,Mann etc ??

  67. clarrieu says:

    Jesus, dissing so many great composers I couldn’t live without… here’s a much more reasonable list, can’t believe this work has been left out every list above:
    1. Rach 3, bars 1-99
    2. Rach 3, bars 100-199
    3. Rach 3, bars 200-299
    4. Rach 3, bars 300-399
    5. Rach 3, bars 400-499
    6. Rach 3, bars 500-599
    7. Rach 3, bars 600-699
    8. Rach 3, bars 700-799
    9. Rach 3, bars 800-899
    10. Rach 3, bars 900 to end.

    1. Will Duffay says:

      Symphony or piano conc?

      1. clarrieu says:

        CONCERTO OF COURSE !!!

        1. NewcomerK says:

          Why? I love it…

  68. Will Duffay says:

    1. Bruckner
    2. Reger
    3. 19th century Italian opera, with the possible exclusion of some Verdi
    4. Most organ music (such an unmusical instrument), especially the dreary farting junk people like Widor churned out
    5. Most Classical – i.e. later 18th century – music which isn’t Haydn or Mozart
    6. Haydn’s Seven Last Words
    7. Beethoven’s Archduke Trio [actually, I just need to listen to it more, but it strikes me as empty]
    8. Schubert Trout – such a mediocre work from one of the truly Great
    9. Obviously all serialist/atonal music from mid-Schoenberg onwards, especially total serialist
    10. Is it just me, or is much renaissance polyphony rather samey…?

  69. NewcomerK says:

    ‘Never’ is a strong word. I would never say ‘Never want to hear again’ to even Canon. But the original question was ‘What irritates the most’, and for that, yes, I can make a list.
    It was SO FUN reading through the comments. Surprised, in fact, that I was sharing thoughts with so many people out there. I thought I was the only one being too fussy…
    Anyway here’s my list.

    1. Tchaikovsky Sym5
    2. 85% of Liszt
    3. Mendelssohn, Brahms, Tchaikovsky violin concertos
    4. (constipated) Bruckner
    5. (overplayed) Mahler
    6. Anything after Shostakovich
    7. Vivaldi’s you-know-what
    8. J.Strauss Polka & Waltz
    9. Beethoven’s Piano sonata no.14 mvt1 played like “Moonlight” (which was never-meant-to-be)
    10. Unintented transcription to other instruments (e.g. violin concertos played by flutes)

  70. Jim P says:

    1: Einaudi, as a lot of people have already nominated.
    2: ditto Karl Jenkins.
    3: Petrushka (I love almost everything else by Stravinsky, but by god I hate that piece).
    4: Any of Mendelssohn’s choral music (Elijah and Paulus are bad enough, but all those Te Deums, Kyries, psalm settings and so on are flat out awful).
    5: a few exceptions notwithstanding, lieder.
    6: Bruch, 1st violin concerto.
    7: Brass band arrangements of orchestral standards.
    8: singers labelled as “opera singers” when they’re clearly nothing of the sort (Katherine Jenkins, I’m looking at you).
    9: Salieri, “Axur, Re d’Ormus”. It’s the only Salieri piece I’m aware of having heard, and I don’t want to dismiss an entire oeuvre on the back of a single work, but this might be the single worst piece of music in my CD collection. Certainly the worst opera I own, at the very least!
    and 10: not a composer, but, controversially, I’d happily dispense with continued misunderstanding of Stockhausen, some of which is repeated above. Dislike his music or his musicianship all you want, but he didn’t really think 9/11 was a great thing, you know, he actually said it was Lucifer’s greatest art work. Lucifer. You know. The Devil. See also, the “hilarious” (and probably apocryphal) Beecham quote (“no, but I once trod in some”) that people like to cite to try to sound like they’ve got a witty take on Stockhausen’s music all of their own – I think of it as some sort of musical version of Godwin’s Law (the longer any online discussion of Stockhausen’s music lasts, so the probability of someone quoting Beecham tends towards 1). It wasn’t that funny when Beecham (may have) said it, it’s not funny when you repeat it (and, by extension, I’d also happily dispense with the phrase “emperor’s new clothes” about anything modern – it’s lazy short-hand that simply tells me someone hasn’t tried to engage with something and wants to dismiss it without being able to articulate what it is they’re actually objecting to).

    1. Will Duffay says:

      One of my perpetual irritations with music, my Point 11 perhaps, would be the continued misunderstanding that proponents of new music have about the dislike of that music, or bewilderment felt about it, by others, namely that they’re not trying hard enough or in the right way. In most cases they are, and they still don’t understand what it is they’re supposed to be listening to or listening out for.

      It’s the tired tired old argument, but New Music has been with us for 60+ years, and it’s still no closer to getting an audience. And no, late Beethoven didn’t have to wait 60+ years to get an audience. No composer before Schoenberg had to.

      People don’t dislike Stockhausen because of the words he wrote. They dislike Stockhausen because of the music he wrote.

      1. Ellingtonia says:

        If it looks like crap, smells like crap and sounds like crap…………then it is a fair assumption that the drivel Stockhausen produced IS crap!
        Try putting on an all Stockhausen programme anywhere in the world and there will be tumbleweeds blowing through the auditorium.

      2. John Borstlap says:

        That old vacuous argument came (and still comes) from people who don’t know what music is, and confuse it with sonic art which is a very different genre. Where critique is merely seen as ignorance and conservatism and unwillingness to want to know new things, the only conclusion is that there doesn’t exist bad new music because, how could we know? The advantage for its producers is obvious…..

        1. Ellingtonia says:

          No matter how you dress it up in fancy words “crap is crap” and the general puiblic have the nouse to see when they are being offered the “emperors new clothes”.

      3. Tom says:

        Beethoven did have to wait 60 years and more for his late string quartets to enter the repertoire. There was a reason for why they earned the sobriquet “mad string quartets.”

        Bach’s music took 79 years after his death to become popular (yes, a few people knew about and appreciated his works, but they hardly count any more than academic composers today).

        Zelenka had to wait over 200 years to become noticed.

        Mahler wasn’t played for approx. 60 years after his death.

        Schreker has had to wait for some 60 years as well before his works were “rediscovered.”

        Szymanowski is arguably still waiting for his break-through even though most, if not all, of his works have been recorded. We get to hear his violin concertos live on rare occasions, but the rest of his oeuvre is mostly gathering dust. Undeserved for a composer who ranks up there with Janacek and Ives (those three composers generally outrank the troika of the 2nd Viennese School in my book, give or take a few of Schoen, Berg’s and Webern’s works).

        1. Judo Man says:

          “Zelenka had to wait over 200 years to become noticed.”

          Zelenka stayed at Bach’s home. Evidently, Bach had noticed him. 🙂

  71. William Burke says:

    1. Puccini (especially on the stage*)
    2. Richard Strauss after Electra (possible exemption for “Four Last Songs” if not phoned in)
    3. Mozart juvenalia
    4. Andrew Lloyd Webber
    5. Bach Goldberg Variations (I’ve tried, seriously, I’ve really tried…..)
    6. Vivaldi choral music
    7. Beethoven lieder
    8. Carmina Burana
    9. Opera singers trying to sing “Broadway” (Kern/Porter/Gershwin/etc.)
    10. Sarah Brightman singing opera

    * special mention of Madama Butterfly. If I am spotted in the audience of a performance of this opera, alert the authorities, for I am surely being held at gunpoint.

  72. James says:

    Sibelius 2nd Symphony – The exposition of the main theme of the finale. The brass fanfare is answered with a galumphing phase from the tuba and low brass! It sounds like some machine laboriously pumping bilge. Fortunately he abandons this accompaniment.

    Bruckner’s 7th symphony – The 2nd theme from the 1st movement. An impressive opening is followed by typical organist fare – “I will now play a 20 minute improvisation on a three note theme”. The musical equivalent of doodling.

    Liszt’s tone poems, etc. Long periods of dullness interrupted by banal outbursts. When I heard about a book titled “Fifty Shades of Grey” I thought it must be about Liszt’s music.

    Peter Maxwell Davies and Alfred Schnitke – any of their music.

    Haydn, et. al .“Sturm und Drang” – Main theme – any four notes in a minor key – repeat in different minor keys, secondary theme – how about a sustained note on the oboe or horn, add tinkles from harpsichord. 18th century sewing machine music.

    Any Mahler (probably others too) interpretation by Boulez. In an interview with some of the musicians from a noted orchestra – they were all a titter, one said “it’s like the orchestra is playing chamber music with him (Boulez)”. I though right you are – he has you play with constricted tone, dynamics, and lukewarm excitement. Please don’t disturb the professor in the midst of his analyzation.

  73. Andrew Eales says:

    Here is my eclectic list of composers etc that you will not catch me willingly listening to:

    1. Mahler
    2. Handel Operas
    3. Hindemith
    4. Les Six (with the exception of Poulenc)
    5. Hans Zimmer
    6. Gilbert & Sullivan
    7. Serialism
    8. Philip Glass… which reminds me of:
    9. C.V. Hanon
    10. Bruckner symphonies

  74. Tom says:

    Hmmm…. interesting lists and comments. This has been a good exercise in letting people rip about their dislikes and phobias as well as letting them demonstrate their ignorance about certain composers and styles of music.

    I can understand why some people want to scream when they hear an over-performed piece or a piece which – and yes, they do exist even in Bach’s, Beethoven’s and Brahms’ oeuvres – was written when the composer was having a bad day (or was offered a fat check/political directive that they just couldn’t refuse even if the hated the subject of the commission).

    It seems that every time I get tickets to one of the major opera houses around the world, it happens to for either Wagner’s Flying Dutchman or Strauss’ Salome. They make me want to scream. So does Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto, the Nutcracker and Messiah. Not that they’re bad works of music. Just continually beaten after the horse has been dead for decades. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

    Thanks to Mr. Lebrecht for getting this outpouring started!

  75. ZoeNYC says:

    1.anything composed by pop/rock star being passed off as “classical”(e.g., Liverpool Oratorio)
    2:. If Lang Lang plays it I don’t want t hear it
    3anything heard at a figure skating competition
    4. Anything by Phillip Glass or John Cage
    5. Bernstein’s Mass
    6. Classical Relaxation Compilations
    7. Carmen
    8. Most British composers
    9. The Nutcracker
    10. Chopin’s Nocturnes

  76. John Borstlap says:

    In the last century, contemporary composers whose work were rejected out of hand by performers and audiences alike because of being incompatible with the central performance culture, used this myth of progressive music that was not understood by contemporaries, as ideological propaganda. ‘Progressive composers’ like Stravinsky and Bartok and Prokofiev were played during their life time without problem because they accepted some basic cultural principles. Any delay of recognition before 1900 cannot be compared to 20C delays, when information availability and means of communication vastly increased. Some corrections:

    “Beethoven did have to wait 60 years and more for his late string quartets to enter the repertoire.” Not true, there always has been a considerable group of admirers of the late quartets. Because of being difficult to perform, they could not be heard often, and this in combination with the rather underdeveloped chamber music scene in the 19C (as in contrast with the 18C), the quartets took time to get noticed by a wider audience.

    “Bach’s music took 79 years after his death to become popular (yes, a few people knew about and appreciated his works, but they hardly count any more than academic composers today).” Bach shared with Zelenka the fate that he lived just before the great stilistic divide from baroque to classicism when people lost interest in ‘oldfashioned’ complexity. This is something different from conservative audiences not understanding progressive music.

    “Zelenka had to wait over 200 years to become noticed.” The reason it was Bach and not Zelenka who was kept ‘alive’is due to Baron van Swieten at the Viennese court who organized ‘academieen’ (concerts) with ‘old’ music of Handel and Bach, with the result that Mozart and Beethoven got influenced by this music and via Beethoven this influence spread wider later-on.

    “Mahler wasn’t played for approx. 60 years after his death.” Not true, there have been regular performances of his symphonies in the twenties; in Germany in the thirties this stopped of course, and after WW II it was the development of stereo recording that gave a boost to Mahler’s colourful, loud and stereophonic orchestral writing.

    “Schreker has had to wait for some 60 years as well before his works were ‘rediscovered.’ ” Schreker was next to Strauss ‘Weltberühmt’ in Germany and Austria before the Nazi era and played all over the place. His style was so Viennese that it did not caught-on outside German-speaking lands, so when his work got damned in the thirties he seemed to ‘disappear’. The reason that postwar music life did not notice him was that ‘progressive modernism’ was projected as the important movement from early 20C with Schoenberg et al, and Schreker seen as a decadent remnant of the fin-de-siecle.

    “Szymanowski is arguably still waiting for his break-through even though most, if not all, of his works have been recorded. We get to hear his violin concertos live on rare occasions, but the rest of his oeuvre is mostly gathering dust.” Szymanowski’s orchestral music is difficult to play – there is not much anyway – and thus quite expensive to rehearse: Symph III and Stabat Mater with soloists and chorus, etc. Szymanowski got ‘locked-up’behind the iron curtain after WW II but in the twenties and thirties he was played regularly and toured all through Europe. That he did not ‘break-through’ on a greater scale before the war was due to his adherence to romantic expression while the fashion around him was more for no-nonsense neo-classicism and folky stuff. His own folky stuff was also romantically treated, so out of step with ‘modern aesthetics’. He was a type from the fin-de-siècle like Schreker, so the reason that Schreker and Szymanowsky were ‘forgotten’ was partly due to being ‘oldfashioned’, not for being ‘too progressive’, and Szymanowki’s work had the bad luck of ending-up under communism.

  77. Paul Carlile says:

    I have relatively few dislikes but here goes:
    1)Mozt Mozart,(obviously with notable exceptions)
    2)Not so Igor for later Stravinsky,(“Rite” -on(wards) mann!)
    3)French Ballet, 19c,(Delibes & Lalo excupt).
    4)Satie
    5)Pastoral English (Warm-Villains, Butterworthless, Ire-land…)
    6)Elgar
    7)Prokofiev Filth (5) sinfunny
    8)Under-a Lload-a Blubber,(can’t remember his stuff anyway…. essayer d’Eviter Cats à l’Opera….?)
    9)Hair-is-on Burped-whistle,(suffered enuf at Proms, ugh)
    10): eerrrrhhhh……. zats eet!

    References to Shockhausen: his Klavierstuck IX was one of the most amusing experiences i ever had in concert, but it WAS plo by Shura Cherkassky. (Sure, a joke has key!)

    Beast rearguards.

  78. Ref 10 best/worst – I taught in quite a number of state primary schools in England – the total exclusion of Classical music in all of them, makes the BBC’s 10-pieces initiative welcome if not ideal. If as a young child, Classical is also entirely absent at home, how else will you get a foothold on the rep. and the experience? And from the other side, how else will a broader young audience grow for that rep. if they never hear any of the music at all, identifiably? Classical does itself no favours by living up to its reputation for snobbery and exclusivity – if that’s the score, then tough luck if the audience just ages, goes bald and dies – and we play only for each other, in a rarified future.

    Have a lot of sympathy for Katya’s notion tho – heard her play Schumann in Whitby, Yorks. recently to a warm, packed house, with more challenging stuff on the prog. too – yet nearly all of the crowd were well-over 50. Anecdotally, working in one school I met a head teacher who would allow *only* the Four Seasons to be played in school – or nothing 🙂 Soon put paid to the kids’ enjoying Mossolov, in my class 🙂 Classical musicians should invade state schools on a weekly basis with their drive, talent, enthusiasm, humour, intelligence and outrageous repertoire – help blow away the limits we place on kids, and demolish Classical’s forbidding demeanour.

    1. Ellingtonia says:

      By all means invade the schools and teach them about classical music but let us not forget that most kids will have never heard Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Howlin Wolf, Edith Piaf, Merceded Sosa and many other great musicians, so lets invade the schools and open up the “whole” realm of music.
      Can you imagine a class hearing Sibelius 2 followed by Smokestack Lightening……..what a mind blowing experience that would be!

  79. Greg La Traille says:

    My 10 worst – drawn from a career in classical radio, teaching college level music theory and classical music sales. I’ve bumped into many a masterwork and a few awful pieces. (Here are 10, not in any order of importance.)
    1. Rubinstein: Ocean Symphony (The Mendelssohn-like scherzo is not bad, but the overall symphony is still rather mediocre. It uses a tune from Mozart’s clarinet Quintet, but that doesn’t help it.)
    2. Any 19th Century virtuoso music for woodwind or brass solo, paraphrasing an opera aria.
    3. Avro Part’s music. Yes I know about the feeling of static contemplation but after a short while it just sounds dead.
    4. Salvador Bacarisse: Concertino for Guitar and Orchestra. The piece keeps ending on the tonic, with an occasional half-cadence on the dominant before reaching the end of the first movement. The earnest melody (that keeps ending on tonic,) becomes grating very quickly.
    5. 19th Century Romantic pipe organ music. Some of the organ pieces by Cesar Franck are pretty good, even better if orchestrated and the Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony is great. I’m talking about solo, overblown, all-stops pulled, massive sound-smeared Romantic pipe organ that never takes a breath.
    6. Any pretentious work, new or old, were the art of music is secondary to theatrics.
    7.There are some excellent concert suites from film scores. Works by Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold or Max Steiner to name a few, but mediocre to me are the many big blockbuster scores that mimic epic tunes often tinged with Scotch-Irish sounding melodies, over-scored and drenched with continuous French horn opulence. The end credits of: Lord of the Rings, Jack the Giant Slayer, Harry Potter movies, etc.
    8. Virtuoso flute pieces by Franz Doppler and others. In one ear and out the other.
    9. Huntingtower by Ottorino Respighi. Like everyone else, I love The Pines of Rome and The Fountains of Rome but this Respighi tone poem is virtually unknown. There’s a reason for that.
    10. William Henry Fry: Santa Claus Symphony. I haven’t heard this piece in years but I recall that it is just awful. You’ll notice, despite the title, it hasn’t earned a place in the repertoire next to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker in seasonal performances.

  80. Mike Music Maven says:

    I’m not a musician, merely an arm chair classical music enthusiast. I’m wondering what the point is in listing classical music pieces as “most annoying”, Granted, everyone has the right to like or dislike something, whether it be music, literature, art, etc. In looking at the above lists, I’ve found many musical works to my liking. I may prefer some composer’s work over another, but I don’t think I can actually say I hate anything. That’s a very strong word. Several of the works listed are pieces that have become so ubiquitous that familiarity breeds contempt for a lot of people. I remember a local TV add for a Medical Insurance group used Beethoven’s Fur Elise for its background soundtrack which nearly killed my enjoyment of that composition for a long time, but that wasn’t the fault of the music. Anyway, these lists seem rather mean spirited to me.

  81. Anonymous says:

    Christophe Beck. He is so boring. That is all.

  82. Ian says:

    These comments seem to be rather facile and most show a complete lack of comprehension of the compositions intent.
    Of course not all works appeal but as one of the bloggers stated ” hating” is a rather strong word.
    If you are exposed to some works repeatedly get up and play what you do like and not what has been programmed by the radio or TV station,and stay away from concert halls.

  83. Warren Cohen says:

    1. Most organ music
    2. Endless Bel Canto twittering, especially in the finales of these operas
    3. 19th century virtuoso instrumental variation sets
    4. John Field piano Concertos
    5. S Verdi
    6. Beethoven Violin Concerto
    7. Beethoven Emperor Concerto
    8. John Williams film scores
    9. Brahms Symphonies
    10. Baroque da capo arias

  84. Robert John says:

    As a 67-year old professional musician, I think it is not the works but the frequency of their performance which eventually irks. I never want to hear again:
    1: Mendelssohn Midsummer Night’s Dream (bits and Overture)
    2: Vivaldi 4 horrors
    3: Tschaikovsky Bleeding Hearts Symphonies
    4: Bruckner dreary long-winded ditto
    5: Ravel’s fake Blues Violin Sonata
    6: All Andrew Lloyd-Webern
    7: Boulez bilge
    8: Phillip Glass’s 2-chord 6/8 deceits
    9: 99% of Baroque music
    10: 100% of Renaissance music (They have had their 500 years of fame).

  85. bachslunch says:

    Can only come up with eight as of now:

    Charlemagne Palestine: The Golden Mean.
    Billy Joel: Fantasies and Delusions.
    Paul McCartney: Liverpool Oratorio.
    J. William Middendorf: “Holland” Symphony.
    Richard Addinsell: Warsaw Concerto.
    Leonard Bernstein: Mass.
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory.
    Richard Strauss. Japanese Festival Music, op. 84.

  86. Chris Daisley says:

    1. Barber’s adagio – I was told to expect something special and I swear my loathing was not a reaction to the expectation, but from the gut. He had no right to write it.
    2. Barak’s maudlin theme from Die Frau ohne Schatten and the Woolworths scene “O suesse Herrin’ from the same. Strauss’ anti-abortion opera and not his greatest.
    3. Korngold film scores. Utterly stifling and cheapens late romantic music. I blame the father for never letting him study with Berg. The boys’ choir at the end of Pierrot’s Lied turns my stomach. Someone should have taken his harps from him – especially during the resurrection scene in Das Wunder der Heliane.
    4. I sat through Mahler 7 once longing for the bloody thing to end. I was too polite to leave and disturb the others. People who like Mahler 2 and 3 are shallow.
    5. On the subject of Mahler, the adagietto is better played allegro. And Bruckner’s 9th and Schmidt’s 4th trounce any Mahler composition because they achieve the same thing by purely musical means and not by spilling their innards.
    6. I don’t really hate the ending of Suor Angelica because it is so funny. I just think someone should do a compilation of all the dying swoons of every wench who has sung it. An unending medley of fake orgasms. You have to be Catholic not to laugh.
    7. On another note, I am amazed at the dislike of Liszt. Especially the late piano works – and the absence of Rachmaninov who used far too many notes for the purpose and was not a patch on Medtner.
    8. Mahler makes me like Strauss. Stravinsky makes me like Strauss. They both also make me like Reger – for example the Hiller Variations and the Sinfonietta.
    9. Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein.
    10. Nessun dorma and O mio bambino caro sung by high-voiced men on talent shows.

  87. Brian M. says:

    I stopped reading a few comments of the way down because some individuals don’t have a good taste of music.

  88. Bruce K says:

    Hmm, quite the can of worms opened by this post! Antipathy much?

  89. Graham Eagland says:

    A truly pointless exercise.

  90. Marco Maia says:

    Is this really necessary? To evaluate art based on personal tastes?? This topic only shows the quality of criticism. Lists are a game for children…

  91. Svetlana Kotova says:

    I feel fortunate. After 40 years in the professional field I still can enjoy all and every piece on these lists. There’s a way to rediscover the freshness of the music, if you really love what your do. Too many musicians that should’ve been something else, in my opinion. Yes to all Mozart, to Wagner, to Mahler, Puccini, Debussy – glorious music. Even the Seasons and Pachelbel, if I must. All of them can be fun. And you, tired people – just turn the radio off.

  92. Hilary says:

    Avoiding works which are fundamentally wonderful, but have become hackneyed eg. Tchaikovsky 1812 overture, which I loved when I first encountered it.

    1. James Macmillan: 3rd Piano Concerto
    2. John Adams : Doctor Atomic
    3. Julian Anderson: Thebans
    4. Meyerbeer: Robert Diable
    5. Verdi : La Forza Destino
    6. Scharwenka : piano concerto no.1
    7. Anything by Einaudi
    8. Anything by Karl Jenkins
    9.Lindberg: clarinet concerto
    10. Anything by Locatelli

  93. David T. Brown says:

    Such ennui, such elitism – a veritable contest of esoteric snobbery. It’s just this sort of supercilious superiority that continues to marginalize serious music amongst the general populace, and intimidate listeners who might otherwise grow into genres other than commercial pop.

    There is merit – and occasional greatness – in virtually every one of the lists above.

    Do get over yourselves, folks.

    1. Hackneyed says:

      Well said.

  94. SergioM says:

    ANYTHING by Puccini and absolutely no Vaughan Williams even under punishment of death. No Carmen ever again and I can live quite well without hearing another note of Massenet or anything from any verismo operas That’s it for now. If anything should occur to me I’ll get back to you

  95. Dave M says:

    Somehow missed this thread before. Anyway, here’s my list:

    1. Anything by Stravinsky.
    2. Anything by Schönberg.
    3. Mahler’s Symphonies.
    4. John Adams especially “Nixon in China”
    5. Elgar’s March No. 1 in D. I had to play it for graduation. Never again do I want to hear that.
    6. Pachelbel’s Canon
    7. Chopsticks
    If we go beyond the realm of what is generally known as “classical” music, then I will add
    8.Lady Gaga.
    9. Kanye West
    10. Justin Bieber

    Now, to be fair, the top ten composers/acts I love:

    1. Wagner.
    2. Richard Strauss.
    3. Johann Strauss(Father and son) Plus the others in the family.
    4. Mozart.
    5. Rameau
    6. Lully
    7. Bruce Springsteen
    8. Van Morrison
    9. Abba
    10. As far as my one desert island disc it would be Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto preferably by Sabine Meyer. Her first recording of the piece.

  96. Amfortas von Hagen says:

    I have read these comments, and analysed the trends according to the most scientific statistical processes

    In doing so I was impelled to remove the comments of flute-players because of their conflict of interest (bias) and they should have recused themselves.

    The Stockhausen comment ‘crap is crap’ has been removed because of its lack of detailed explanation the (comment is self-determining; in fact it could be applied to anything).

    As a side-remark, it was most distressing to see that the prevailing reason for many (who declared themselves to be musicians) hating certain works/composers/genres because they had to play them often. That is your job. A baker or secretary who complains because they have to do the same thing often in their work would be in peril of being fired.

    So now: I hereby pronounce that the following will be banned from all future performances &/or recordings. In no particular order:

    1. Bernstein’s Mass
    2. Andrew Lloyd Webber
    3. Liszt
    3. Philip Glass and the Minimalists
    5. Tchaikovsky (at least his more popular works)
    6. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons
    7. The atonalists and general Avant-Gardists
    8. All Baroque composers apart from Bach ans some works of Handel
    9. Wagner
    10. Berlioz
    – Mahler has a temporary embargo of 50 years.
    – Late Mozart may be played, with caution

    Conversely, these MUST be played at every performance:
    1. Schubert
    2. Rachmaninoff (except for the Rack 3)
    3. Beethoven (except for his 5th Piano Concerto)
    4. Shostakovitch
    5. Prokofiev
    6. Einojuhani Rautavaara (we are however not sure if nobody’s mentioned him because nobody hates his music or simply because nobody’s heard of him)
    7.Rimsky Korsakoff
    8. Gershwin (original arrangements ONLY)
    9. Bartok (it is amazing that he is virtually unscathed)
    10. Poulenc.

  97. John H says:

    Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion but I suspect many posters here would do well to find new targets for their musical interests. Great works over-exposed are a problem, but the opprobrium cast at great creative works ranging from those of the Renaissance (Josquin and Gombert are luminous monuments) to the late nineteenth century (Liszt, Wagner, Bruckner, Wolf) strongly suggests an antipathy or inability to engage with serious music. Light classical music (I did not notice much criticism of Offenbach, Dvorak, Johann Strauss Jr) is quite apposite to this kind of taste. Listen hearty!

  98. RoHa says:

    Singing.

    It’s all horrible.

    The human voice is not a musical instrument and should not be used as such.

    1. Dean says:

      Of course it is, the very first musical instrument in fact, and the one that inspired the creation of all the others

    2. Euphonium Al says:

      Agreed. I avoid all opera, and the overwhelming majority of choral works.

  99. Funny. . . it’s precisely the Liszt B-minor I find so offensively boring, predictable and devoid of creativity. Yet you champion it!

    What a world.

  100. Paulus Olivierus says:

    My personnal list
    1 Stupid person not able to compose anything interesting
    2 Stupid person having time to loose by doing list (including me)
    3 Stupid person who adore to feel superior by esthetic opinion
    4 Stupid person thinking it’s so funny to spit on masterpieces
    5 Stupid person so proud to hate Vivaldi or Mozart
    6 Stupid person doing “academy of surestimated artists” like in W.A. movie
    7 Stupid person who prefer to share disgusts than passion
    8 Stupid person thinking that not to choice like a majority means to have a personnality
    9 Stupid person who is a musician but tells horrors about others musicians
    10 Stupid person happy when others are making mistakes

  101. WelshFarmer says:

    These I will through overboard before being washed up on the desert island:
    1 All 12-tone serialism.
    2 Film scores by Hans Zimmer (but do they qualify as music ?)
    3 All film scores by wannabe Hans Zimmer clones
    4 Vivaldi: The 4 cliches.
    5. All minimalist pieces (this stuff probably won’t even sink)
    6. LOTR film score.
    7. Holst Planets – thank you ClassicFM for ruining what used to be a very fine suite.
    8 All works by Boulez, Stockhausen and disciples of same.
    9 Orff´s Carmina After Shave
    10 RVW: The Lark Ascending (again with thanks to ClassicFM)

  102. MC says:

    Some pieces I genuinely hate
    1. Sibelius Violin Concerto
    Yes it starts interestingly, and the slow movement is quite good actually, but I find the last movement gut-wrenchingly awful. It’s like a contest of squawking chickens in a filthy old barn.
    2. Brahms Violin Concerto
    This piece is so dull. Definitely the worst large scale orchestral work by Brahms. I agree with Tchaikovsky, who called it ‘all pedestal and no statue’. It keeps making grand statements which lead absolutely nowhere. I always avoid listening to programs which contain this.

    which leads me, ironically, to
    3. Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto (awful lot of violin concertos now that I think of it). This is spectacularly awful, fake, icky music. I find the fakery and emotional kitsch of this syrupy infection quite repellant. There’s something a bit nasty about this music, which brings me to

    4. Mahler’s oeuvre. Mahler was a spiritually sick individual, and his music is correspondingly spiritually sick. This is music of the damned, and I hope to proclaim its damnatio memoriae. This is music that is so enamored of death and degradation that one can’t help but feel polluted by it

    5. Anything by Philip Glass. To be fair, I’ve heard some recent things by him which I thought were at least passable. I used to compare Mahler and Glass by saying, ‘one is a composer obsessed with death and the other makes you wish you were dead’. Guess which is which

    6. Anything of the serial Schoenberg or Webern

    7. Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, what a crappy piece

    8. Wagner- Siegfried
    Cursed tedium. I could have listed other Wagner works, but Siegfried is the most colossal of Wagnerian bores. The Valkyrie is redeemed by more interesting passages, but Siegfried lacks even good moments (except perhaps the Waldweben, and at a pinch, the Nothung aria, which is marred by silly lyrics). Tannhäuser is similarly marred by long arid stretches of nothing, but the good bits are at least highly enjoyable.
    Also Wagner was absolutely scheisse as a lyricist. He writes frank doggerel which could only induce laughter if recited without music. This reaches its nadir in Götterdämmerung in which uninteresting characters yell “heiho, heiho, heihe” (this is incredibly comical) at each other for what seems like hours.

    9. Carmina Burana by Get Orff. This is pretty primitive stuff with no real music in it. Apparently it’s his best piece, the rest must be utter scheisse.

    10. Saint Saens- Organ Symphony. Again a big build up for a huge let down, the let down being the introduction of Camille’s huge organ to a nothing tune, bombast without even the courage of its conviction. This isn’t Bach to Offenbach, this is more like Schubert to Korngold in one of his weaker moments. And there’s a lot more corn than gold here.

    Those criticizing Mozart’s Eine Kleine and Vivaldi’s 4 seasons miss the point entirely. Eine Kleine was not a work of any great pretensions. It is simple, and for its relative mediocrity, effective. The 4 seasons were hardly unoriginal by any stretch of the imagination, and represent a peak of Italian concerto writing. That which is hackneyed is not in itself bad, usually the opposite.

    1. MC says:

      Sorry I forgot to mention Shostakovitch’s Leningrad Symphony. What a pile of festering excrement that is. That makes 11 though. I must be excessively curmudgeonly.

  103. tomasz. says:

    whoever puts ABBA on such a list doesn’t really deserve ears.

  104. Mark says:

    Symphonie Fantastique
    Wolf Italian Serenade
    Mahler Symphonies and Song of the Earth
    Anything by Scriabin
    Anything by Orff
    Anything by Richard Strauss except maybe some of the short final works
    Schoenberg’s derangement of Brahms Piano Quartet
    Most Lully, Rameau, etc.
    Anything by Bernstein
    Dreadful choral works by Rutter, Whitacre etc.

    I agree with others about crossover

  105. Dana C says:

    The Sussmayr bits of the Mozart Requiem
    Everything by Glass except Facades
    Glass Facades
    The Rondo in Brahms 4
    Rodrigo Fantasia para un gentilhombre
    Sorabji after the promising first 30 seconds
    Student performances of Cage 4’33”
    The 1812
    Stravinsky ‘jazz’
    Segovia commissions except the Villa-Lobos ones

  106. Euphonium Al says:

    In no particular order:

    10. Opera and most choral symphonies. If I want to hear voices, I listen to Steely Dan or Bruce Springsteen.
    9. Mozart is elegant, beautiful, and often crushingly boring.
    8. Boulez had it backwards; Shostakovich is far more interesting than Mahler.
    7. Serialism
    6. Minimalism
    5. Wagner. His music is overwrought and his politics were disgusting.
    4. Most organ works.
    3. Chamber works for strings only.
    2. Prokofiev’s classical isn’t bad, but his later symphonies are far more interesting.
    1. Boroque music.

  107. Abe says:

    Sorry folks!, my list is too long so I have to lump them in groups. My rule is simple: I dislike the music that has no good melodies, is academic and predictable, lacks pathos or fails to arouse human emotions. That pretty much sums up the description for most of German composers but also applies to some Hungarian and other nationalities too.

    1. 98% of works by Beethoven, Bach, Liszt, Bruckner
    2. 99% of works by Telemann, Pachelbel, Handel and other German Baroque composers
    3. 95% of Italian operas by any Italian composer of 19th and 20th century
    4. 20% of works by Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Ricard Strauss
    5. 100% works of Mahler, Berg, Schoenberg, Phillip Glass
    6. 60% of works of Stravinsky, Shostakovich
    7. All works of serial, atonal and other modern composers of the 20th century with the exception of impressionist music of France
    8. 100% of works by Martinu, Bartok
    9. 100% of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music of any kind
    10. 90% of works of Richard Wagner

    1. Oblique Observer says:

      What unadulterated horseshit.

    2. Ppellay says:

      You may as well just admit that you don’t like music, period! Which rather begs the question as to why bother to be here in the first place……..

    3. Abe says:

      I love beautiful classical music and not the hackneyed mass-produced, cookie-cutter German turd. There are hundreds of composers with beautiful and meaningful music from Russia-Sweden-Denmark to England-France-Italy that you can choose from and you do not even have to reach out to Tchaikovskian or Chopinesque stratosphere. I feel sorry for those who cannot appreciate beautiful music.

      1. Terry says:

        For most of us, German-Austrian music is often the most beautiful classical music out there. Don’t think you have much to back up your sentiment, I’m afraid. Sorry you can’t appreciate all the beautiful music the world has to offer.

        1. Abe says:

          Mediocrity is a bliss to common people. After all, we need simple melodies and emotionally shallow music for background music while reading a book. Besides, juvenile virtuoso’s little fingers and tiny hands appreciate those half-octave melodies of Austro-German piano concertos.

  108. Euphonium Al says:

    A positive note: I just finished listening to the Cologne Radio Orchestra’s complete cycle of Shostakovitch symphonies 1-15, conducted by Rudolf Barshai. Great performances, including some real gems like the renditions of the 11th and the 15th. Even Shosty’s poorly received symphonies, like the 2nd, 3rd, and 12th, are intellectually engaging and worth hearing once, even if they shouldn’t be a fixture on concert programs. A great symphonist who deserves the acclaim he now receives in many quarters.

  109. Euphonium Al says:

    Some living compsers who I think deserve praise and frequent performances: Christopher Rouse ( trombone & guitar concerti), Jennifer Higdon (percussion concerto), and Kalevi Aho (contrbasson concerto), too highlight a few of their respective works. .

  110. Oblique Observer says:

    Thanks, Euphonium Al, for countering this torrent of negative nonsense with some positive perspectives. Of course we all have our musical preferences and prejudices, and engaging in a bit of tongue-in-cheek public grumbling can be an entertaining diversion. But the unsubstantiated, broad-brush dismissal of much of the world’s greatest classical repertoire by opinionated half-wits is a bit much to bear – especially when it is also based on offensive national stereotypes.
    I think this thread has run its course.

  111. GV82 says:

    Works I could listen to every day:
    1) Anything by Wagner.
    2) Anything by Richard Strauss, including his operas.
    3) Boheme, Gianni Schicchi, Traviata, Rigoletto, Barbiere.
    4) Luciano Berio Sinfonia for Eight Voices and Orchestra
    5) Brahms symphonies and chamber music
    6) All four Schumann symphonies (I don’t care what Mahler said about them)
    7) Elgar Falstaff and Symphony No.1
    8) Tchaikovsky 5 and 6, Violin Concerto.
    9) Beethoven symphonies, piano sonatas, piano concerti.
    10) Mozart symphonies, concerti
    10+) Stravinsky The Firebird, and the Rite of Spring

    Pieces I don’t want to hear ever again:
    1) All copland, particularly Appalachian Springs, and Barber’s adagio
    2) Dvorak Cello Concerto, and all symphonies.
    3) Pachelbel’s canon
    4) All the Wiener Philharmoniker’s New Year Concert repertoire except Die Fledermaus Ov.
    5) All P. Glass.
    6) Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
    7) West Side Story (and all Bernstein for that matter).
    8) All John William’s soundtracks played in concert.
    9) All integral serialism and controlled chance music and all John Cage.
    10) Carmina Burana

  112. Euphonium Al says:

    Since I last posted, I’ve been listening to a lot of Darius Milhaud. His jazzy neoclassicism is joyful but still intellectually engaging. La Creation du Monde, Scaramouche, the Harp Concerto, the Concertino D’hiver, and the Marimba/Vibes concerto are all well worth listening to. As are the little symphonies. Any composer this prolific has some duds, but Milhaud deserves far more programming than he receives. Anybody who taught the genius Dave Brubeck knew a thing or two. Maybe replace most Hindemith with more Milhaud.

    I’d like to see fewer average, overplayed piano and violin concerti. More wind concerti, from Mozart to Beethoven, through the Romance era and concerti by Rouse and Aho, for example. Plus Ernest Bloch’s symphony in C # Minor, an underrated gem.

    I hope this thread keeps going, with criticism and praise, constructive or otherwise.

  113. Norman Shekelberg says:

    “1 National music”

    Lol, of course! Naturally, national music -would- be kryptonite to a Jew, as would anything representing national pride (unless it’s -Jewish- national pride, of course).

    Undoubtedly why he also hates Herbert von Karajan and Christian Thielemann, proud patriots both.

    Hey (((Lebrecht))), I think you’d like this tune!

    https://youtu.be/iMnvj3RT-WQ?t=11s

    “OY VEY! I’M MELTING! I’M MELTING! OY, WHAT A WORLD!”

    1. Euphonium Al says:

      Can’t tell whether the comment above is a poor attempt at self-deprecating Jewish humor, or merely run if the mill anti-Semitism, but either way I suggest you confine your comments to Stormfront. Perhaps they have a forum on Romantic-era orchestral works you might enjoy (((wanker))).


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