It’s Friday

And you know what that means?

Handel, most likely. I realized the other day that all the music I really like was written between 1700 and 1830. With a few earlier baroque and Romantic excursions. I was listening to some of Brahms’s piano quartets the other day and realized that while I really like Brahms’s chamber music, sometimes it feels as if it’s brushing up against that edge of “too much.” That edge is fairly well defined for me. Brahms is on the right side of it. Wagner is often on the other side. It looks a bit like this:


Having looked at it, I think that the “too much” line represents a kind of unironic emotional overkill. One of the reasons I don’t cotton to Wagner the same way as I do to, say, Mozart, is that I hear something playful and self-aware in Mozart’s music that I don’t hear in Wagner’s.

Not sure what the “not enough” line is, though. But I know it’s there. (Also, the up-down axis doesn’t mean anything. I certainly like Mozart more than Vivaldi, in the grand scheme of things. And I forgot Verdi. He would be about the same place as Brahms and Strauss. But notice that the right-left line isn’t simply historical – Shostakovich is in the middle.)