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Michael Finnissy: Mars & Venus CD


Price: £13.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£13.36 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Amazon.com: 1 review
Academic insider's music 16 Dec. 2014
By Son of Some Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I cannot figure out Finnissy. His is winding seemingly disheveled and dissonant music with little obvious structure. Certainly his music is more intended as impression rather than developmental progression. This is supported by there being no format: no sonata, no quartet, no concerto, no symphony, etc. Simply pieces that do not connect with any other movements.

There are bases of logic to the works, however clouded and non-relatable to the layman as they are. Traum des Sangers is based upon a sketch by Caspar David Friedrich depicting a sleeping muse and angels above him. The notes say that the work represents this as two sound worlds, one of the real dreamer, the other of the surreal/unreal celestial element, oddly with the latter musical unit being more clearly structured (more real) than the former. The notes ask "Who is dreaming who?". The piece entitled WAM, which are the initials of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, reportedly works fragments of several of Mozart's works which are distorted, though they are so distorted that I can hear none of it. The liner notes refer to several quotes of Mozart: "In order to be a success one would write stuff that is so inane a carthorse could sing it, or so unintelligible no sensible person could be bothered to work it out", etc. These quotes represent existential struggles that Finnissy grappled with, whether Mozart was always great, the end-all-be-all one who intimidates composers who follow. This all suggests that Finnissy was grappling with the accessibility of his own music. But all this results in a piece that is lethargic and aimless music. Mars + Venus considers a Reubens painting of the same name, featuring a man and woman. Finnissy apparently then considers the Mars and the Venus (apparently because of the male-female dichotomy) within us, which are not separable but interact and add. So the piece warps feelings of war and love, again as some non-forward moving, non-developing cloud.

There are numerous discs available with Finnissy's music. So somebody in the academic music community likes him. But you have to ask the age-old question of music: who is it for? Intellectual insiders, or the greater world? Or does an artist create out of what he/she needs to say, without regard to anything else? Certainly the latter is a given. But then don't expect the public to come along. As a layman, I found this disc unsatisfying with nothing that was said understood.
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