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The nod:


The nonchalant stare:


The side-eye of disappointment:


The ‘so you didn’t practise’:


The ‘I’m quite enjoying this’ dance:


The guilt-inducing sigh:


The pre-audition/exam:


The Best Ever:


OMG, loved this post with al my heart, seriously, but it made me feel kind of sad because… I don’t remember when was the last timeI had a serious teacher :(

5 Classical Flops

Even as we post this, we’re nuking some popcorn, readying ourselves for the outrage this list might provoke. Normally at Classic 2 we like to celebrate the greatest music ever composed: beautiful, moving, enjoyable, blah blah blah… But maybe just once (or twice if you like), it would be fun to point and laugh at some really bad music.

Mozart: A Musical Joke (Ein musikalischer Spaß) (1787, K. 522)
Given its title and the fact that this piece is so bad, it’s usually assumed to be a deliberate parody of incompetent composers by a rather good one. It’s repetitive, banal, simplistic and too long. If it didn’t go for 20 unbearable minutes, it might get played more often, just for its novelty value.

Karl Jenkins: The Peacemakers (2012)

<claws out>Yeah, we know. People like Karl Jenkins. He uses the pastoral sound-world of Holst, Vaughan Williams, etc without any of the structural grunt (or talent) of those composers. This is a symphony about famous people he calls “peacemakers”. If the idea wasn’t naff enough, consider that one of his so-called peacemakers is Mother Teresa (well known for her campaigns against contraception). The music is sugary to the extreme. Even Mahatma Ghandi’s words “I offer you peace, I offer you love, I offer you friendship” are stripped of their dignity by being set to a schmalzy pseudo-celtic tune *shudder*. </claws retracted>

Léo Delibes: Coppélia (1870)
Coppélia is typical of the frivolous ballet music that Tchaikovsky trounced with his vastly superior works Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. We know people like Coppélia, but it’s probably more for the dancing than the music. Can you imagine being a second violinist in the pit, playing these waltzes? In this excerpt, ignore the tune and listen to the banal accompaniment: rest, cha cha, rest cha cha, rest cha cha… Rinse, repeat.

Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory (1813)

This rarely-performed novelty work was commissioned by Beethoven’s friend, Johann Nepomuk Maelzel, who invented not only the metronome, but a mechanical monstrosity called a Panharmonicon (capable of imitating most orchestral instruments). The piece was originally composed for said Panharmonicon and was intended to commemorate the Duke of Wellington’s victory over Joseph Bonaparte at the Battle of Vitoria. Beethoven knew that this wasn’t a masterpiece, and responded to the work’s critics: “What I shit is better than anything you could ever think up!”

Anthony Philip Heinrich: Ornithological Combat of Kings (1847)

Yes, that’s what it’s called. This guy might be thought of as more of an eccentric than a “bad” composer, but there’s still plenty to cringe at in this music. Heinrich is sometimes considered as America’s first full-time composer, and even as the ‘Beethoven of America’. (Eek, that might be a little charitable!) This music has so much random material coming and going that – aside from the title – it’s hard to know what to laugh at first.

Something tells us that after all hell breaks loose, we may need to either a) issue an apology to a living composer, or b) write 5 Classical Flops: Part Two.


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