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‘These are 200 pieces the world doesn’t need’

May 27, 2015 by norman lebrecht

17 comments.


The International Chamber Choir Competition has just ended at Marktoberdorf. Choirs from all over the world shared in the prizes, many with new works written specially for the occasion.

Imagine their dismay when the jury president, Georg Grün, declared: ‘These are 200 pieces that the world doesn’t need.’

Glad you got that off your chest, Georg.

The organisers are running around like crazy trying to stop his remarks going to press, but a participant quickly leaked to Slipped Disc. Sorry about that.

chamber choir


Comments (17)

  1. Brian says:

    Refreshing honesty. But nobody likes the kid who points out the Emperor’s a mite underdressed.

    1. Susie says:

      Unless she is pointing out the underdressedness of Bruckner.

  2. Homs Santos says:

    Can you put the list of 200 pieces the world doesn’t need according to Georg Grün? Thanks!

    1. Chrisse says:

      Please notice that the Grün’s comment in original was told in a turned way, i.e., “I DON’T need to tell you that you were bad, I DON’T have to tell you that these are the 200 songs that the world doesn’t need” etc. The list was very long and it all started with “I don’t need to tell you…”. People near me laughed a lot at this hilarious speech!

  3. Jim says:

    What a turd!

  4. Glenn Hardy says:

    Mein Königreich für eine Ligeti! I’d be guessing that the pieces probably weren’t “abstract” or academic enough for this guy. After all, choral music is often performed by and for real everyday people, and not just sophisticated concert goers who have bought what the corporate “classical” industry has been selling for decades. Maybe also the word God occurred in some of these pieces? Ach du lieber himmel!

    1. Mikey says:

      I doubt this guy is a “modernist” of any sort. The only recording I could find of his music was a mildly “jazzy” (almost Swingle Singers styled) piece, VERY tonal, very traditional – other than the syncopation (which had a bit of a pop tune feel to it).

  5. william osborne says:

    I think it would be necessary to see the context of the statement before drawing firm conclusions.

  6. Ray Richardson says:

    Why not open up a new topic N.L., asking for nominations for other pieces the world doesnt need? I can name a few!

  7. Roy Lisker says:

    The music world is filled with opinionated intolerance of that sort. Between insufferable trash and the great composers there is a very wide range of legitimate music, but one always finds a pathological snob who knows, for example, that the peasant melodies that Haydn put into his symphonies and string quartets, or even Bach’s immortal quodlibet, must be “rubbish”.

  8. Jon H says:

    If it sounds like it should be for piano, and is textbook four part harmony – then he’s kinda right.

  9. Theodore McGuiver says:

    Marktoberdorf is a lovely little town I pass through every year on my way to Austria. I’ve sometimes wondered if it had a claim to fame and now I know.

  10. musician says:

    Guys, listen to Gruen’s compositions … this is stuff “the world doesn’t need!” He’s a poor creature trying to imitate his role model Frieder Bernius. His success is more than limited. That’s why he’s bashing colleagues.

  11. harold braun says:

    Oh my,and does the world really need Georg Grün?

  12. Max Grimm says:

    While Herr Grün is correct in that the world probably doesn’t need these 200 pieces, some of us may still want them around nonetheless.

  13. Pianofortissimo says:

    Real art works are useless.

  14. Helmut Steger says:

    Dear friends of choral music, as a german conductor (and very small parttime composing man – to avoid the word composer…), as regular visitor of Marktoberdorf Competition, relatively experienced in the choral world, for not to say more, I agree with William Osborne saying, that it would be necessary – and fair – to know the context of Georg Grüns words.
    Marktoberdorf is a small town – and hosted for the 14th time one ot the worlds important competitons. Those saying something else have not been guest there…
    And sure this is right: many, no: most of us are not regularly doing world premiers, are not doing many new written pieces – why not??? Because we don’t think that they are really good, not worth to perform (by us), too difficult (for a good result of our choir-s…), not “meeting” our taste” and out of other reasons. Am I right, partly right?
    What I have heard in MOD Competition this year, really partly was “not necessary” – in my opinion, in my taste. Does anyone of uns has real, only musically-based, not at all personally influenced criteria for “good” and “good sounding” choral music???
    Excuse my german-based english, please!


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