Thursday, July 07, 2005

Which Classical Composer Are You? (Quiz)

  • My #1 result for the SelectSmart.com selector, Which Classical Composer Are You?, is JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH - German "A Titan in the History of Art"
  • #2 ANTONIN DVORAK - Czech - "Founder of the Czech national school"

    #3 SERGEI RACHMANINOFF - Russian American - "The Voice of Slavic Pessimism"

    #4 MUZIO CLEMENTI - Italian -"The Father of the Pianoforte"

    #5 GEORGE GERSHWIN - American - "Rhapsody in Blue"

    6 Haydn

    7 Schumann

    8 Mozart

    9 Liszt

    10 Chopin

    11 Brahms

    12 Schubert

    13 Mendelssohn

    14 Tchaikovsky

    15 Debussy

    16 Beethoven

    Here is some trivia about my results:

    My guess for my match was Bach, but he is actually not among my very favorite composers. He's great, of course (I particularly love Switched-On Bach, which was for many years, if not still, the biggest-selling classical album), but my favorite classical genre is German Romantic and Post-Romantic (Wagner, Beethoven, Mahler) -- having played trombone in a very good high school orchestra, and being a lover of brass. Wagner and Mahler weren't even among the choices, and Beethoven came in last on my list.

    The other funny thing is that my second guess as to whom I might be like was Dvorak. So I guessed my first two closest matches. I wanna see if anyone else can do that! I figured that I would be like them inasmuch as my temperament is easy-going and not the "moody, bombastic, unpredictable artistic temperament" quintessentially exemplified by Beethoven. Not many composers seemed to be very happy people (Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Schubert immediately come to mind on that score), and I consider myself fairly happy and happily married (as Bach and Dvorak were: and both were committed Christians).

    Also notable is that I least resemble in personality the composers I like the best. I suppose this might be a variation of the old "opposites attract" thing. I've often thought that if I knew the musicians I admire most (both classical and rock), that I probably wouldn't care for them much in person. Wagner was a scoundrel, womanizer, and insufferably arrogant. Beethoven was, well, Beethoven: lovable and adorable from afar and 180 years after his life, but quite the eccentric, Kierkegaard-like tormented character during his lifetime. If I had been a deaf composer, I'm sure I would have been just as irascible. What tremendous suffering this poor man went through . . .

    Rock musicians often offer the same scenario: my favorite singer is Van Morrison, who is notoriously irascible and unapproachable (though one might argue -- as Van certainly would -- that avoiding so-called "music critics" is entirely justifiable and warranted). I'm a Beatles nut but I doubt that I would have got on well with John Lennon or George Harrison (Ringo and Paul would be different). Brian Wilson? Hah! I love Bob Dylan. Nope; we would clash for sure. Same for Bono of U2. Some exceptions seem to be Neil Young, who seems like a very nice guy, and local Detroit heroes Bob Seger and Stevie Wonder, who are known as great, friendly guys. Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix? You see what I mean. Hendrix was a really nice man but always seemed to be in a "purple haze." Fascinating subject to ponder . . .

    I love Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, and Brahms. They're all in my top ten or close to it, but low on my list above. Stravinsky, Ives, Bruckner, and Sibelius aren't on the quiz list, either. As I said, I like Bach, but he might not even make my Top Ten, if I sat down and made a list. Nor would Dvorak (despite his New World Symphony, which I've always loved, and which I played in high school). #3-10 on the list above aren't among my favorites, either, though I love certain of their works (particularly Chopin -- Military Polonaise, etc.; I used to play his Minute Waltz at 11 years old: the height of my piano accomplishments -- and Liszt's symphonic poems).

    So the list above is almost exactly inversely proportionate to my tastes in classical music. Only Mendelssohn fits in about where he should be. :-) As a last note of trivia: I played his Reformation Symphony in high school also, back when I was a nominal Protestant at best. Less than a year out of high school I converted to evangelical Protestantism. Playing that piece would have had a great deal more meaning by the mid-80s, after I had read some Church history and Bainton's famous biography of Luther.

    But the high, vaguely-Christian (in parts) Romanticism of Wagner led me in a roundabout way to Christianity, somewhat like C.S. Lewis was led to Christianity via his love of Romanticism (as I've written about elsewhere). God uses anything in our life. He knew I loved music and the outdoors. So he utilized that Romanticism and what might be called a "nature mysticism" (which Lewis, Kreeft and others have developed into an "argument from longing / for heaven") to draw me to Himself.

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