Saturday, January 26, 2008

If Beethoven Was the Springsteen of His Time...

A college friend once said he'd tried to get some of his peers excited about classical music by pointing out that in his opinion Beethoven was the Bruce Springsteen of his time: a powerful new voice who built on existing forms and then transformed them to create a whole new sound. The analogy popped into my head this afternoon, and I posed the question to myself, in the format of those analogy questions on standardized tests: Beethoven is to Springsteen as Mozart is to ... whom?

Delighted by the concept, I jumped right in. My rules were to go with my initial impressions, not to think too deeply about it, and not to do any googling at all to see if anyone else had come up with similar analogies. My choices are naturally colored by the fact that I came of age in the 70s. Here's what I came up with:

Beethoven... Bruce Springsteen (power, whole new sound)
Mozart... The Beatles (genius of melody and harmony, prodigious output)
Palestrina... Simon & Garfunkel (pure sound, brilliant counterpoint)
Brahms... U2 (rich darkness, power, religious elements)
Telemann... The Eagles (tuneful, cheerful, not too complicated)
Vivaldi... The early Doobie Brothers (joyfully, drivingly rhythmic)

Anyone else want to expand the list for other composers and modern musical eras? Suggest alternatives? Take it in new directions? Dive right in!

1 comment:

Rob Hardy said...

Eric Satie: They Might Be Giants. Eccentric. Satie wrote pieces with names like Embryons déssechés ("Dried-Up Embryos"), TMBG has songs with titles like "Boat of Car" and "Shoehorn with Teeth."