Morning Sickness & Mahler

Expression • Fluency • Understanding
Written by Andrew Eales

Why are there some composers that we just don’t really like?

That’s a question that has reappeared in my thinking at regular intervals since I read a blog post on Norman Lebrecht’s site Slipped Disc way back in 2014 entitled 10 Works of Composers you never want to hear again. 

All this time later, the comments section of that post is still receiving periodic additions as more music lovers choose to name and shame the music that particularly irritates them.

A Facebook group for classical music lovers has recently had popular threads asking such questions as:

  • Which is your least favorite, most cringe evoking piece of classical music?
  • Name your three least favorite composers.
  • Which instrument most offends your ears?????

And in all three cases, these have attracted several hundred replies. Some of course protest that it is unthinkable that a proper music lover could lower themselves to answering such questions, as if somehow those who do are traitors to the cause, or maybe just a little bit uncouth. But it’s interesting to note that some world-class performers have been among those quick to share their dislikes!

What we need to remember, though, is that our answers to such questions are entirely subjective. Thankfully most people get this, and make little effort to justify their dislikes in objective terms. It is possible to objectively recognise a composer is great while not subjectively enjoying their music. It is when people forget this that they end up having pointless arguments with strangers online!

Continue reading Morning Sickness & Mahler