Friday, February 13, 2009

Great flops and rubbishing hits!

Its awards season in the film industry and for those of you who keep track of the nominees, awards night either confirms some of your own choices or throws up some surprises. How often have you shaken your head in mock disbelief as a poorly-made film went on to win the highest film industry accolades? Or how often have you wondered why a brilliantly-crafted film never made it past the nominations short list? For myself, I say “Quite often”.

But when you look at the history of all art, this seems to be one of the recurring themes: Great flops and rubbishing hits!

In classical music, examples of both types are many.

Weber, on listening to Beethoven’s masterful Seventh Symphony, proclaimed that the composer was now “ripe for the madhouse”.

On the flip side, Beethoven’s ‘Battle Symphony’, perhaps the weakest of all his orchestral works, was ironically his most successful work during his lifetime.

Do you have your very own examples of great flops and rubbishing hits?


  1. Not technically qualified to comment with any credibility on the 'quality' of a piece, but as far as my assessment goes one that immediately comes to mind is Brahms' Academic Festival Overture....can't really see the point there and why at all is features maing his famous works...especially coming from the great Master, this work cleraly lacks the fire of his usual orchestral works. I personally regard Brahms just one notch below the great 3 - Beethoven, Bach and Mozart in all of music history, so this comment muts not be seen as any lack of regard for Brahms. In my book, he is right up there!

    The Triple concerto of Beethoven is on eof the most under-rated pieces in the genre. Arguably a great favorite among listeners and performers, it never really got / gets the critical accaliam it derserves. Like the movie, The Ten Commandments one of the great artistic achievements of human kind mostly dismissed by critics as a 'masala mix' the Triple concerto is a work of breath-taking brilliance, beauty, technical mastery and melodic splendor, it is tragic it wallows at the bottom often called Beethoiven's most ineffective concerto. So much for missing the point !!!

    Over-rated and under rated composers is also an interesting topic. Tchaikowsky being, to my mind, one of the great under rated composers. His violin concerto is another example of a true master work less regarded than it deserves to be.

    I'll sign off with the most under-rated artistic creation in recent times...and one of the great injustices we are witness to - the latest Batman movie which didn't even feature of the nominee list - and yet movie goers loved it. It's cinematic sophistication has hardly been matched in hollywood and it's a shame ...but I don't want to go off the topic...we'll stick with music. Just couldn't resist, though.

  2. Agree with both examples - Brahms' Academic Festival Overture and Beethoven's Triple Concerto.

    Good plan - to look at over-rated and under rated composers as well. Will put this into the pipeline. Thanks Konrad.