Western (Classical) Music You Do Not Enjoy

After observing threads about how people hate rap music, terrible movies and games, it’s about time to admit what classical music we just can’t stand. IMHO, all music deserves a great deal of respect, and so does the composer. But once in awhile, there’s a song so boring and unexciting that I just plain don’t enjoy.

To name a few:

Monteverdi’s operas. All of them. The same goes for any operas written by any composer up until Mozart and the Classical age. In fact, Monteverdi in general isn’t to high on my list of favoured composers.

Though ancient music, middle age music and renaissance stuff is interesting to listen to, it usually consists of boring chansons, monotonous Gregorian chant and those melismatic, imitative and jumbled up motets where you can’t even distinguish the melody (if there is one). Masses aren’t as bad. By the time DePrez and Palestrina show up, things get better.

Orff: Carmina Burana. Sure the “O Fortuna” is great, but have you ever actually listened to the whole thing? Orff’s strange version of neo-classism, or whatever the heck it is, is not for me.

I like Monteverdi quite a bit and enjoy Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas, but am totally with you on early music composers like Dufay, where the music just never seems to go anywhere.

I’ve never been a fan of Beethoven’s symphonic works. I would gladly trade all nine symphonies for, say, four more late piano sonatas. Heretical, I know, but that’s just how I feel. Same goes for Brahms really.

Never liked Mozart’s 24th through 26th Piano Concertos either. All the other mature ones I love, but those three just don’t do it for me.

And has anybody even heard, much less liked, most of the work Stravinsky composed during the last fifteen or so years of his life?

Berg and Schoenberg come to mind. I studied quite a bit of 12 tone and atonal stuff in school (I was a Jazz Comp major) and some of it is just dreadful.


Although it’s very neat theoretically, I find it quite grating to listen to.

And the funny thing is, I find a lot of “atonal” pop and jazz quite palatable - from out there Phish to Ornette Coleman’s “Harmolodic” work. Not sure where the difference is between the classical and modern/pop, but it’s most definitely there…


I find myself as one of those people who enjoys much of the music which many people find… sounds wrong. For instance, I’m a big fan of Berg and Schoenberg with the 12-tone scale and atonal/dissonant music in general. I also love minimalism (yay Philip Glass! :D) and moodtobestewed, I find almost anything by Stravinsky to be just plain awesome. Another composer who comes to mind is Micheal Daugherty (sp?) and his Metropolis Symphony.

But anyhow, this is getting OT to a certain extent. On with the show!

I will dissent and say that I love Beethoven’s symphonies and almost all of Carmina Burana.

What I don’t care for is anything passionless. Particular Vivaldi-esque chamber music.

Bartok. Need I say more?

I generally don’t like most modern/atonal music. Early 20th century, like Holst, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev are good, but I don’t like the stuff that seems to be more noise and show than anything else.

I also don’t care much for the Impressionist school of music, primarily Debussy and Ravel. Debussy is a little too abstract, and haven’t yet put my finger on what I don’t like about Ravel. Alborada del Grazioso is pretty neat, though.

I can’t say I care for either Schubert or Vivaldi.

I don’t like hardly any opera, especially the “golden year”-mid 1800-to early 1900s.

Don’t particularly like modern piano.

But I do, on the other hand, like Gregorian chant and early music.

I love Schoenberg and Berg and Webern. And Bartok, too.

Where I draw the line is Tchaikovsky. I’m big on the Late Romantics…Wagner, and his offspring Bruckner and Mahler…and I like Tchaikovsky’s Russian contemporaries, but there’s just something about Pytor Ilyich that I find overdone and cheesy.

I don’t like Brahms’ symphonic works, either. I used to not like Brahms at ALL, being a Wagnerite, but over the past ten years I’ve learned to love his piano pieces and other chamber music, especially the late, autumnal stuff. But I don’t have his symphonies and concertos in the house.

No, wait. I like the Double Concerto for violin and cello.

I’ve never been crazy about Rachmaninov or Puccini. Just too overly romantic for my tastes. Debussy I don’t care for much, but Ravel is one of my favorites.

Ooh, this is fun. I never really liked Verdi, with his simplistic melodies, unimaginative harmonies, and “boom, chuck” accompaniment, with the exception of his Requiem.

Most of Beethoven doesn’t do much for me - it sounds stodgy, like he’s clubbing you over the head with every overdone idea.

Philip Glass - booooring.

Webern - it’s so picayune, the way he micromanaged every little nuance of every note, but the overall effect being bland and tiresome.

I put Prokofiev and Ravel in the same category. I admire their abilities as composers, and they both wrote some things that I like, but overall, I just get weary of all the fake “jazzy” sounding harmonies. It’s kind of like, “Congratulations, you know how to use a 9th chord - what else ya’ got?” But then again, I like some of Gershwin’s stuff, so go figure. Maybe I just like catchy tunes. I can hear Ravel’s Abble Gabble del Grabble Babble and go, “huh”; but I defy anyone to listen to American in Paris and go home without humming one of the tunes.

Rachmaninov - too sappy.

Berlioz - too many “tricks”; not enough substance.

Grofe (wrote the “Grand Canyon” suite) - a talented orchestrator, but a second-rate composer.

Grieg - it gets played a lot because he lucked on to a few catchy melodies that people like, but for the most part it’s just not very good writing.

Shostakovich - that stuff’s too long, drawn-out, dark, and depressing for my taste.

Sibelius - just seems to meander around and never goes anywhere; just doesn’t excite me.

Johann Strauss - ugh.

I find most of the music written for orchestra after, oh, say, 1900, to be utter crap. I can’t STAND atonal, minimalist, or 12 tone. Sure, it may look brilliant on paper, but once it becomes actual sounds…I’d rather listen to recordings of auto accidents. Matter of fact, the last time I listened to Schoenberg, that’s what I thought I was hearing.

If I can go with something slightly different:


Andrew Lloyd Webber

Yes, I have! And it kicks ass. So there. :wink:

I’m also a big fan of early music, although I know of nobody else who is.

OTOH, I don’t much like Vivaldi, though I sang in the Gloria some years back and really enjoyed it. Also, and I blush to admit it, Bach doesn’t do that much for me. Though I always feel like I ought to like Bach…

I’m an instrumentalist myself (trombone, some percussion), so maybe that has something to do with why I can’t stand Orff’s Carmina Burana. It does have instrumental accompaniment, but the a cappella stuff just isn’t my thing. That goes for almost any music.

Sparking up a new question: as a vocalist, do you tend to dislike more instrumental music, or vice versa??

I’m going to have to agree with you on that one. I do think that he has some just plain BEAUTIFUL melodies and harmonies, but if you listen to a lot of his work, you start to notice the “endlessness” as you mention (just try taking in all of his symphonies at once :o).

Getting more specific with Gregorian chant… Do you mean to say you like it all or is it the later stuff (i.e. organum style, polyphony and rhythmic modes) which you enjoy? I can’t really understand how anyone can put up with the almost monotonous stuff with only one voice, one rhythm and a very boring melody. Explain!

It sure is fun disgracing this art form of which I will associate my future with. :smiley:

a) I agree. But it’s hard to argue with “in the Hall of the Mounatin King.”

b) How is his stuff different from Mahler, IYO? ALSO long, drawn-out, dark and depressng. (PS: I like Shostakovich)

c) Awwwww, c’mon! White people like to dance, too!

Wow, i like everything! I’m Pollyanna!!!

OK, not everything, but i like something of every composer I’ve heard enough of to judge. I save my dislike for specific pieces. Even the generally execrable Andrew Lloyd Webber - didn’t he co-write JC Superstar?

A higher percentage of 20th century stuff is crap, I agree. I attibute this fact to Sturgeon’s law and a lack of time to filter out the crap. But i love Schoenberg’s cabaret songs.

And in general I’m not big on the 19th century, but there are exceptions all over the shop. Hojotoho!


I don’t know why, but I just can’t appreciate The Planets by Holst. I don’t know why. I listen to a lot of classical music, and I love many of the different ages and schools. But for some reason, this work just leaves me flat.