In a previous post, I expressed my dislike of Rachmaninoff’s music, especially the Second and Third Piano Concertos. Tonight, I was reminded of another piece I can’t bear, César Franck’s Symphony. In grad school, in fact, I came to refer to Franck as the “Schlockmeister” (and I still do)–although I’m aware that the schlockiness of this symphony is most likely a reception phenomenon. Almost involuntarily, I associate the music of this symphony, rightly or wrongly, with 1930s, 40s, and 50s Hollywood imitators who seemed to have fallen under the spell of the symphony’s finale.
Is mine a mere personal dislike, one that I may, perhaps, share with others? I’m not so sure, because personal taste is formed socially, even if not exclusively so. And I’ve long maintained that there are truths to be mined from our musical likes and dislikes.
To return, then, to my earlier post, might my aversion to Rach 2 and 3 reflect a deeper aversion to, say, the sort of virtuosic display that turns at least some audience members into voyeurs? Why does this bother me, but, say, the overtly sexual character of Robert Plant’s live performances with Led Zeppelin is fine with me?
Is there a deeper truth lying within my distaste for the Franck Symphony and so much by Rachmaninoff?
Finally, I admit that I envy Jonathan’s dislike of Wagner. I wish I didn’t like Wagner. Alas, I cannot keep from surrendering to the Dark Side.