Talk:European classical music

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Is Semper's opera any good?[edit]

Frankly I am as ignorant when it comes to classical music as it gets, but Semper's opera is quite well known in Germany if only for the fact that it features prominently in the commercials of a bland beer that I advise you not to buy. So should Dresden be mentioned here or is it just a delusion of grandeur Dresdners have (of which, trust me there are many) to think it actually plays in the first league with the best of the world in terms of music? Also Bayreuth likes to wax and wane about Wagner, whom I dislike in terms of music as well as others... Edited to add: Well Bayreuth is already mentioned. Though interestingly they actually have two opera houses, one for Wagner and the other a World Heritage site that has next to nothing to do with Wagner Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:15, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with Semper's opera, so I couldn't say. Dresden has a very significant music history, though. There are multiple issues with this article (mainly that it gives no context), but it gives the reader a general idea of how many important composers have been associated with the city. Leipzig needs a listing, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:29, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Here's a link to the opera itself. Apparently it does have quite some things besides impressive architecture and beer commercials. And as for Leipzig... Weren't both Bach and Wagner associated with the city at some point of their career? Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:33, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, and also Mendelssohn and Schumann. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:33, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Maybe you have forgot Weimar - the town of Goethe and Schiller (Weimar Classicism)? -- Feuermond16 (talk) 19:28, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Goethe and Schiller, of course, were poets. If you'd like to focus on the music history and current music scene in Weimar, please add a listing. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:32, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Focus of this article[edit]

Does this article attempt to cover European classical music around the world or only classical music as performed in Europe? If I am not mistaken there are now many opera houses around the world that perform European classical music. Europe still has the highest density (in part because every petty state in the 1700s needed "their" composer and opera and in part because modern states subsidize it because they say it's a part of "culture" that has to be affordable to everybody), but the Sidney Opera House looks impressive (I don't know if their music is any good) and German television does mention Israeli orchestras quite a lot (again, I don't know the reasons, as I am not a classical music expert - quite the opposite). Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:39, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

We could also cover the US, Latin America, Japan, etc. We really could make this worldwide. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:32, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, we could. But I think the focus should still be on music that is European in style (even if in more modern times not actually made or written by Europeans). The musical traditions of other places have their place in other articles and those articles can obviously also cover the global spread of those traditions. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:34, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm talking about "Western" classical music as performed throughout the world. There's a significant opera company in Buenos Aires, a symphony orchestra of some note in Cape Town, the NHK Symphony in Japan, etc., etc. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:38, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I think we are in agreement. However, currently the article only mentions things that are geographically in Europe. Maybe it should be expanded accordingly with a mention of its global focus in the lede. Hobbitschuster (talk) 19:53, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
I'd support that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:00, 6 February 2016 (UTC)

Country labels on the map[edit]

When I view the map, I see that all the country names are in national languages, e.g., "Suomi" for Finland. Is that caused by something in my Preferences? Also, at the default zoom level, the entire British Isles are labeled "Isle of Man". Peter Chastain (talk) 13:43, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Such are the problems of dynamic maps. Until the technology improves, the only solution is to create a static map. Powers (talk) 01:07, 19 February 2016 (UTC)

More places to list[edit]

Amsterdam is obvious. The Concertgebouw is normally considered in the top 3 or so of the world's symphony orchestras, but do any of you know the classical music scene there well enough to make a start at covering it? I have heard that there's a lot of performance of new classical music there, and there certainly are great "original instruments" players, too.

Where else? And do we want to expand this article's scope beyond Europe, as discussed above? If so, should we rename the article "Western classical music", despite the problems with the term "Western"? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:39, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

I actually wouldn't mind that. I would say that New York, Chicago and San Francisco may warrant a place. New York has Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Opera, which are definitely world class venues for classical music. Of course, Chicago has the Civic Opera House, and the Lyric Opera that it houses, and San Francisco has a well-known opera house as well. And even Sydney might be worth listing, since the Sydney Opera House is definitely a world-renowned venue for classical music. And there's also Cairo, where Giuseppe Verdi's Aida premiered. The dog2 (talk) 05:12, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Los Angeles has a great symphony orchestra and has attracted various important classical composers who wrote movie music (or in Schoenberg's case, were asked to do so but asked for too much money). Philadelphia has a great symphony orchestra and a great conservatory, Curtis. The Cleveland orchestra is also storied. Boston is famous for their symphony orchestra and also for the Handel and Haydn Society, the longest-standing performing organization in the U.S. I'd include those cities, too. And in Canada, Toronto and Montreal would have the best claims on listings.
In Asia, Tokyo is obvious, with the NHK Symphony. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:35, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
And I forgot to mention, in Australia Melbourne would be worth listing, since Melbourne has such a thriving arts scene, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is the oldest in Australia. The dog2 (talk) 15:17, 24 August 2016 (UTC)


I was thinking of how to expand the article, so I tried adding a list of composers. Of course, the list can never be complete, and it's hard to define a standard on who should be in the list and who shouldn't. But at the same time, festivals are often held in the hometown of prominent composers, and many people visit specific cities because that is where their favourite composers were born or grew up. What do you think about a list of composers, or is there a better way to do this? The dog2 (talk) 05:16, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

I don't think we should include any list of composers. Mentioning that Wagner's operas ("music dramas") are featured at Bayreuth is great, and in that context, some basic things about Wagner should be mentioned. However, lists are for Wikipedia and I don't buy the suggestion that they are travel-relevant. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:30, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
That's fine with me. I was just trying to expand the article, so to be honest, I am quite ambivalent about including a list of composers so I'm happy to leave it at that. But on that note, since you're a classical musician, do you think maybe we could include maybe an expanded introduction? For instance, maybe a little on the history of classical music, and maybe the defining characteristics of music of each period. The dog2 (talk) 15:12, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
I would give a very cautious "yes" to that, but we need to be careful to avoid the twin dangers of encyclopedic scope and misleading general remarks. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:22, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

"Western classical music"[edit]

Any objections to renaming this article as discussed in the #More places to list thread above, and listing important cities for classical performance in continents other than Europe? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:06, 27 August 2016 (UTC)

"European" refers to the place that the genre developed, not necessarily the place where it's being played today. I think it's fine and less problematic than "Western". Powers (talk) 14:53, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
One problem is that nowadays, there's quite a lot of classical music that's not European but a fusion of European and non-European traditions and sounds. What would you call the music of Toru Takemitsu, to take one of many examples that could be given? What, for that matter, would you call the music of Charles Ives 100 years ago? Japanese and American people don't suddenly become European, nor does their music become European, just because it's classical. By analogy, in a topic on jazz, Django Reinhardt wouldn't be called American or African-American, though jazz certainly is an African-American genre.
But I certainly take your point. "Western" is a very problematic designation. However, in a travel guide, "European" is a geographic designation, with the descendants of European colonists and immigrants being given geographic/national names like Australian, American, Canadian, Argentinian and not "European diaspora", and "Euro-Americans" and suchlike are uncommon expressions on non-racist sites.
Having said all that, I guess if we're going to keep the title but eliminate the geographic limits, we can address the seeming contradiction effectively in the lede and/or an "Understand" section. Is that the direction you'd suggest? Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:07, 27 August 2016 (UTC)
I don't see a contradiction. The music is European, not the musicians. Classical music is European just as klezmer is Jewish music and jazz is American. Even if it's being played by someone in Japan, jazz is still an American form. Fusion music is just that -- fusion, or "world music". Powers (talk) 01:39, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Takemitsu's music is classical. It's not called fusion music nor "world music". He's a Japanese classical composer, but he composed music that was in fact a fusion of Japanese and Western classical styles.
But anyway, do you agree with the idea of a lede or "Understand" section that indicates that European classical music is generally considered to have arisen in the Middle Ages, with the first notated music in the tradition we're discussing (i.e., not ancient Greek music) being 9th-century plain chant, and that it eventually integrated many influences from non-European musical styles, both in the hands of European composers and through a spread around the world? (Of course this statement would be divided more normally into several sentences.) Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:15, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
I think it is best to keep the current title. This genre of music originated in Europe, no matter where it is played and by whom. "Western classical music" would not be an improvement because it still excludes e.g. Japan which is not part of the "West" but European classical music is quite popular, highly valued and excellently performed in Japan and by Japanese. By the way, Russia is not usually considered part of the "West" either, but has produced several of the most outstanding composers and interprets of (European) classical music. --RJFF (talk) 09:50, 28 August 2016 (UTC)
Japan isn't part of the West but has its own separate traditions of classical music, in addition to the composition and performance of music that is not or not strictly part of those traditions.
But having conceded the point on the very problematic word, "Western", do you find my ideas about a lede or "Understand" section sensible? Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:00, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Well, I gave it a first attempt, but please look over my edit. As a Doctor of Music and former long-time Professor of Music, I could easily be overdoing the information for Wikivoyage's purposes. See what you think. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:28, 29 August 2016 (UTC)
Yeah, I think it's a little lacking in context and gets overly specific. The only composers specifically listed in the lede, for instance, are three who are said to have incorporated African rhythms and drums. That implies a much greater prominence for those three than perhaps is merited. The text also lists a bunch of locations from which composers drew ideas: Turkey, the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, the Americas, and East and Southeast Asia. So -- everything except India, Australia, and Antarctica. (And the absence of India seems like an oversight.) Why not just say the ideas came from all over the world? Powers (talk) 01:01, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
All over the world, yes, but if you consider the Impressionists, especially East and Southeast Asia, and for many composers, African-American music. I'll edit a bit and you can see what you think. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:32, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
New edit. And yes, India has influenced classical composers, too. Among Impressionists, Albert Roussel is notable in that regard, but he's not among the most famous 20th-century composers (just below that level of fame). Otherwise, there are people like John Cage who loved "Eastern philosophy", but I don't know how much Indian sound got into his music. Anyway, not to digress too much: Are you OK with my latest edits? Impressionism is quite popular and should be addressed at least a bit. And it can't be, without naming Debussy and Ravel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:46, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
And let's not forget, the US, which is outside Europe, produced George Gershwin. While Americans may know him better as a composer of popular tunes made famous by Hollywood, his legacy was also being able to fuse classical European styles with American styles such as Jazz, so he definitely counts as one of the great classical composers as well. And he also composed an opera, Porgy and Bess, which definitely belongs in the genre of classical music, though the influence from jazz is apparent. The dog2 (talk) 02:15, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes indeed. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:32, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
The latest edit is pretty good. I don't know if calling out Ravel and Debussy as the only composers mentioned in the lede grants them too much weight, but it seems a little out of place. And the middle clause of the second sentence (regarding jazz and blues) is a little bland compared to the first and third clauses. But these are minor nitpicks. Powers (talk) 23:10, 1 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback. It's very hard to summarize all this stuff. If you have any ideas of how to improve it, please go ahead and try your hand at it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:24, 2 September 2016 (UTC)

How to expand the article[edit]

How do you all think it would be best to divide the article, now that we will add listings for places outside of Europe? Should we divide the "Destinations" section by continent (with Europe first, obviously), then country? Or just by continent at this point? What do you think would be most user-friendly? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:48, 3 September 2016 (UTC)

For now, I think we should divide it into "Europe" and "outside Europe", then we can list places like New York, Chicago and Sydney.
And I think we can expand a bit on the background. I'm not sure what is the best way to do this, but perhaps we can briefly mention medieval plainchant and Renaissance polyphonic chanting as the origins of European classical music, and how secular music began to develop towards the end of the Renaissance. And of course, mention in some form the history of opera, since that is also an important part of classical music. At the very least, I think we should mention Jacopo Peri's Dafne and Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo. And I don't know how to weave it in, but I think we should mention the emergence of the castrati in sacred music and opera, as well as the haute-couture in the French tradition since the French never took a liking to the castrati. In fact, I'd even say the movie "Farinelli, il castrato" (1994) warrants a mention when describing the castrati. The dog2 (talk) 20:14, 12 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for your thoughts on organization.
On your other points: I'm reluctant to delve too far into music history in this article, because in order to do a really good job, we'd need to condense the best scholarship into some kind of non-encyclopedic yet accurate summary, and isn't that what Wikipedia is for? That said, if we do decide to enlarge more on music history, I would point out that "polyphonic chanting" is a term I didn't encounter in all my years of musical study, but that it would seem to best describe organum, a practice that goes back quite a long ways (all the way to the 9th century, it is believed, as an unwritten tradition) and flourished in the beautiful and sophisticated counterpoint of Perotinus in the 12th century. As for the development of secular music in Christian Europe, to be accurate, we'd need to discuss its prevalence in the 14th century, in the hands of composers like Guillaume de Machaut and Francesco Landini. I'm not sure what you mean by "how secular music began to develop towards the end of the Renaissance". There were many interesting developments in secular music at that time, including the beginnings of opera as we know it, as you mention, but also the madrigal, which really should be beyond the scope of a travel guide to discuss, and the increasing prominence of music written for instruments. But if you meant that secular music didn't begin to develop in Christian Europe until the end of the 16th century, you are unfortunately way off. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:39, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Point taken. Of course, I know that secular music has always existed, but at least the most popular classical pieces that are performed today mostly date from Monteverdi and later. Of course, I'm also familar with El Grillo by Josquin des Prez so yes, it's true that secular music was already around by the Renaissance. I do understand that we need to draw a distinction between Wikipedia and Wikivoyage, but my opinion is that this article should also be able to serve as an introduction to someone who wishes to travel to listen to classical music for the first time. So while we should not go into detail, perhaps we can just briefly mention some of the key events. For me, a key event is the invention of opera by Jacopo Peri, as well as the opening of the first public opera house in Venice. And maybe a brief mention can go to Jean-Baptiste Lully for his invention of French opera, and perhaps Mozart for raising the status of German opera to the forefront with "Die Zauberflöte". I think the castrati are a key part of both opera and liturgical music history, so they should be mentioned somewhere, as dark as this chapter of classical music history may be. And perhaps the transiton between eras can be briefly mentioned. Gluck was definitely a key figure in the transition from the Baroque to Classical period, while I would say key figures in the Classical-Romantic transition would include people like Beethoven and Rossini. The dog2 (talk) 02:03, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Secular music was hugely important throughout the Renaissance, but it also existed in the Middle Ages in a big way. For a while, little of it was written down, but that was certainly no longer the case in the 14th century. The rise of humanistic thought that was expressed in the work of Giotto and Petrarch had its counterpart in the secular poetry and music of Landini and his contemporaries, whose musical style is considered Medieval but who are part of the same movement of artists catering to the rising mercantile class in Florence and other cities.
But how much of this is travel-related? The castrati are interesting as a matter of history, but thank goodness no-one will be able to hear one sing live, nowadays.
As I said, I would very cautiously approve of a bit more context. However, I think this topic is mainly for people who already have some concept of what classical music is and are interested in visiting places where they can hear great concerts, go to great concert halls or opera houses, and/or visit museums related to classical music. We really need to be careful not to reinvent the wheel when Wikipedia — not to mention the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and a slew of music history textbooks — have already done this.
To sum up, while a bit more that's brief but accurate can be added in the way of background, I really think our time could be better spent adding or editing travel-related content. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:04, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
I also have another reaction, on rereading some of the entries: Quite a lot of historical background is mentioned in some of the listings. That might be the best way to give it travel-related context, because, for example, if someone is interested in Giovanni Gabrieli, knowing some details about how he wrote music that used the acoustics and space of San Marco in Venice could give added interest to their trip. I added them there. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:33, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

So, what would you say about mentioning the castrati under the Rome listing. That's where they would have been especially prominent since women were not allowed to sing in public back then, so all the female roles had to be played by castrati. Off course, we know that elsewhere female roles were played by women, but the castrati always took the heroic roles. Of course, it would be unthinkable to train more castrati today, but countertenors are probably the best replacement we have. The dog2 (talk) 04:14, 13 September 2016 (UTC)

I think it's debatable whether countertenors sound more similar to castrati than tenors or women do. Have you heard the recordings of Moreschi, the last surviving castrato? Anyway, I think castrati could be mentioned in passing in the Rome listing, but let's please remember that while a lucky visitor might have the chance to hear a work by one of the Gabrielis at San Marco, no-one will hear any castrati performing. So what would be the hook to mentioning castrati in the Rome listing? Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:15, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I have heard the recordings but from my understanding, Moreschi was past his prime when the recordings were made, and he was never in the league of the likes of Farinelli, Senesino, Caffarelli or Cusanino to begin with. But anyway, while it's true that we will not hear a castrato perform, I would say that places associated with the practice would be of interest to those engaging in historical travel. It is, after all, a significant part of music history. People still visit Mozart's house even though Mozart is long dead. And although that voice type is dead, people are still performing works originally written for the castrati today. Handel's Giulio Cesare and Monteverdi's L'Orfeo are good examples of opera originally with castrato roles that are still performed today, albeit with countertenors or women talking the castrato roles. And if you are interested, an Austrian company has produced a DVD recording of Leonardo Vinci's Artaserse, and made use of an all-male cast (4 countertenors and a tenor) since the opera debuted in Rome where women were banned from singing in public, forcing the composer to hire castrati to fill the female roles. While castrati no longer sing those parts, I think it is of historical interest that those arias being performed were originally written for castrati. The dog2 (talk) 15:20, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
You've convinced me on how the history of the castrati can be travel-related. On the tangential point, though, I have to ask you what role in L'Orfeo was written for a castrato. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:52, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
According to wikipedia, all the high vocal parts that women take in modern performances were originally taken by castrati in L'Orfeo. I understand that wikipedia can be unreliable, but in a BBC documentary about the castrati, it was said that Monteverdi wrote the role of La Musica for a castrato, and not for a woman. So at the very least that role would originally have been a castrato role. The dog2 (talk) 21:26, 13 September 2016 (UTC)
That's interesting. I used to teach an Intro to Opera course and hadn't read that La Musica or the other female roles in L'Orfeo were written for castrati. I used a wonderful DVD of a performance in Barcelona directed by Jordi Savall, and the only high roles sung by men in it were two countertenor shepherds. Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:34, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
I made a few edits to the mini-history of the castrati, but I remain concerned that it lacks sufficient travel-relevance. Is there any way you can more clearly connect it up with travel? Ikan Kekek (talk) 01:47, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
I understand your concern. Perhaps we can try connecting it more to the sistine chapel, since that is a tourist attraction, and where the castrati first rose to prominence. The dog2 (talk) 03:55, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
And going off on a tangent here, on a more personal note, if you are interested in Baroque opera, I would recommend you check out the versions of Artaserse by Leonardo Vinci and Johann Adolph Hasse. They're both available on DVD and make for an interesting comparison musically. And if you do like historically-informed performances, check out Dove e amore e gelosia by Giuseppe Scarlatti. It is out on DVD now and filmed entirely in candlelight with manually-operated stage machinery in Cesky Krumlov Castle (as mentioned in the article). The dog2 (talk) 04:01, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
That Scarlatti opera performance sounds great! I didn't know there was a Giuseppe Scarlatti. I do agree with connecting the castrati more to the Sistine Chapel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:52, 14 September 2016 (UTC)
I've tried to make the changes so the castrati are now tied in more with the Sistine Chapel. I don't know if we could also mention about the fact that Baroque concerts often feature works originally written for the castrati, but sung by women or countertenors in modern performances. Of course, the issue with that is that it's not unique to Rome, and you can easily attend a baroque concert in London, New York, Sydney or anywhere in the world, and they will feature castrato arias.
And on Giuseppe Scarlatti, he's part of the same clan but not as famous as Alessandro or Domenico, and according to some sources was the third most important composer in his clan after those two. Otherwise, information on him is fragmentary, and the work I mentioned is the only work of his available on recording. No portrait of him survives, and it is not even clear whether he was Alessandro's nephew (b. 1723) or Domenico's nephew (b.1718), although historians say that it's more likely that he is Domenico's nephew. The dog2 (talk) 16:01, 14 September 2016 (UTC)

And I was just wondering, what about a "Learn" section where we can list some of the world's top classical music conservatories? The dog2 (talk) 14:50, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

That seems like it's out of scope, unless a particular conservatory caters to travelers somehow. Powers (talk) 20:11, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
That's if you define travellers as only short-term tourists. While it's true that you probably won't be able to take a 1-day course at a conservatory while visiting as a tourist, people do travel abroad to study full-time at a conservatory as an international student. I'm pretty sure institutions like Juillard and the Royal College of Music attract many international students who wish to hone their skills. The dog2 (talk) 21:22, 19 September 2016 (UTC)
Yes, but long-term immigration for school or retirement is considered out of our scope, with the sole exception of travel topic articles devoted specifically to that type of travel. Powers (talk) 00:54, 20 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't think we're going to redefine what a traveler is in this thread. The most famous conservatories should be mentioned in entries for cities, though, both on grounds of pure notability and because all conservatories require students to perform, and many such concerts are free and open to the public. We could also have listings for the places where the most famous classical summer music festivals such as Tanglewood (in Lenox, Massachusetts) take place, again because not only are there summer institutes (and, importantly, the Boston Symphony and professional chamber music concerts), but their concerts are open to the public. I don't think we should go crazy, listing every Brevard and Interlaken (Michigan) out there, but perhaps in time, the article might be divided up in a such a way that that could make sense to do. But no, I don't think a "Learn" section for classical music is really more appropriate than one for medicine. If you haven't been studying classical music for years with a private teacher, you aren't going to go onstage and perform a professional concert for a crowd. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:59, 20 September 2016 (UTC)

Destinations outside Europe[edit]

Would anyone like to create a good listing for Tokyo? I know the NHK Symphony is quite distinguished. I also know that the Toho Gakuen School of Music has a high reputation. I don't know much else about the Western classical music in Tokyo, but I'm sure there are loads of good recitals there. Where do most of them take place?

Similarly, should there be a listing for Seoul or Taipei? I know there are quite a lot of high-level classical musicians from Korea and Taiwan. If these cities merit listings and you know much about the (Western) classical performance scenes there, please create listings for them.

What about South Africa? Does Cape Town merit a listing? Does Tel Aviv? Mexico City? Buenos Aires? Caracas, with La Sistema?

In the U.S., the city that feels glaringly missing to me is Cleveland, but does it merit a listing just for its very famous and storied symphony orchestra? What about Washington, D.C., with the National Symphony and Kennedy Center and concerts at the White House and sometimes outdoors on the Mall? Atlanta, perhaps? San Francisco probably merits a listing because it has both one of the best-known opera companies in the U.S. outside of New York and also an excellent symphony orchestra, and the San Francisco Conservatory could be mentioned (or not). But what about Houston, for the Houston Grand Opera plus the Symphony? The Atlanta Symphony may be one of the best in the country right now, so perhaps Atlanta should be listed. What about Canada? Toronto? Montreal? Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:34, 18 September 2016 (UTC)

And I would probably add Melbourne in Australia. There is no real famous opera house like in Sydney, but it definitely has a very happening arts scene. And in Brazil, I'd say Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have some nice opera houses. And maybe Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. While they may lack famous composers, both cities have very nice opera houses built by the French during the colonial period. The dog2 (talk) 16:31, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
Is there much European-style classical music being performed in Vietnam, nowadays? Ikan Kekek (talk) 21:11, 18 September 2016 (UTC)
It depends on how you define it. Yes, both cities have orchestras that perform classical music, and do make use of the opera houses, but I wouldn't exactly call the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra or the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera world famous. Frankly speaking, I've never heard them perform, but the opera houses are definitely the finest among what I've seen in Southeast Asia. The dog2 (talk) 14:49, 19 September 2016 (UTC)

Orchestra Composition[edit]

Although I know that this it does vary from orchestra to orchestra, I was wondering if we should mention the instruments that are typically featured in the "standard" symphonic orchestra. To my knowledge, you typically have violins, violas, cellos, double basses and harps in the string section, flutes, oboes, clarinets and bassoons in the woodwind section, horns, trumpets, tubas and trombones in the brass section, and various types of drums, and possibly a piano in the percussion section. Also I wonder if we should at least explain the difference between woodwind and brass instruments, as that can be confusing for casual listeners. Although I know that these instruments are typically not featured in a symphonic orchestra, as an example, a saxophone is usually made of brass, but is a woodwind and not a brass instrument, while a didgeridoo is usually made of wood, but is a brass and not a woodwind instrument. The dog2 (talk) 15:03, 29 June 2018 (UTC)

IMO, no, because we avoid long lists, and the list of instruments in a symphony orchestra is long. I think explaining the difference between woodwind and brass instruments is also unnecessary - why does someone need to know that to enjoy the music? We are not going to substitute for an Intro to Western Classical Music course here. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:09, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
I thought of this as a basic introduction, since those are the four main families of instruments in an orchestra. And well, if you are reading a review about a symphonic concert, you will need to understand what "strings" or "brass" refers to. The dog2 (talk) 05:50, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
Right now, the explanation of the difference between woodwind and brass instruments is so brief that I'm fine with it. But no way do we want to list all the orchestral instruments. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:59, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

"Films" section[edit]

I don't agree with including this section. It has nothing to do with travel. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:10, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

I was just thinking about how to expand the section, and we do have lists of books and films in our country articles. That said, I'm actually quite ambivalent about having such a section in this specific case. The dog2 (talk) 05:47, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
Please stop thinking about how to expand extraneous sections. Every classic epic movie contains what could be called classical music, and there are loads and loads of movies about classical composers and musicians, etc., etc. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:00, 23 February 2019 (UTC)

Auckland and Wellington[edit]

Are these really significant hotbeds of classical music, or only within the country? I'm also unsure on Hong Kong. Who goes there for classical music, other than locals? Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:27, 10 November 2019 (UTC)

I'm not sure. I just added them to improve the geographic scope since realistically, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries in Oceania to have any sort of classical music scene at all.
@Lcmortensen: How would you describe New Zealand's classical music scene? The dog2 (talk) 21:24, 10 December 2019 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 05:06, 5 December 2019 (UTC)

It looks like this will be deleted from Commons. The reason: "No freedom of panorama in Iceland, only non-commercial use is allowed." If we consider it important enough to claim fair use, we should upload it here, but it would obviously be problematic. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:49, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
I think there is no special need to use an image from Iceland. I changed the image to one of Grighallen ("the Grieg hall") in Norway, which is probably as good an example of Nordic concert hall architecture. --LPfi (talk) 12:47, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for doing that. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:17, 5 December 2019 (UTC)
Works for me. I used the image of Harpa simply because I have been to Iceland but not Norway, and I have seen Harpa in person. The dog2 (talk) 21:28, 10 December 2019 (UTC)

Liturgical music[edit]

Just wondering, should vespers and anthems also be mentioned under liturgical music? Handel's anthems are certainly famous (think Zadok the Priest), while Monteverdi's setting of the vespers is definitely a significant work. The dog2 (talk) 21:27, 10 December 2019 (UTC)

Uh, yes.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 21:46, 10 December 2019 (UTC)
Agreed. Good addition. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:45, 11 December 2019 (UTC)

Classical music today[edit]

The section on classical music today understates its independent importance, I think. It is said to be "somewhat a niche area", with still "such music often used" in films, advertisements etc.

Nothing is said about classical church concerts regularly also in the smallest of towns, any larger town with self respect having its philharmonic orchestra, many national radio channels having several programmes weekly devoted to classical music, and so on. It may be "somewhat of a niche", but not a niche in that you'd have any difficulty finding concerts or have to go to specific destinations to find them.

I think the article is incomplete in that it does not tell about the many possibilities to enjoy classical music in nearly any town in some regions – e.g. for visitors interested in the genre themselves coming from a region where European classical music is more difficult to find.

But where does classical music have this position? In most (all?) of Europe, but what about the rest of the world? In cities anywhere you do find venues, I'd suppose, but how lively is the tradition outside the main establishments?

--LPfi (talk) 06:11, 16 April 2020 (UTC)

Please edit at will. As an American, I'd say that classical music is much more present in European countries I've spent some time in (e.g., Italy, France, Germany) and definitely various others (Russia certainly comes to mind, but the standard of performance seemed very high in Hungary when I was there) and is considered a type of traditional national music. I think classical music as a niche art is more true in a country like the U.S. where there are plenty of composers who have made a major impact on classical music, but it is nevertheless often regarded as elitist and non-native. I think Canada has a much more positive attitude toward Canadian classical music because there's an overall desire to nurture and protect Canadian culture of all kinds. I haven't been to Australia, but I get the impression that things may be somewhat similar there, in that respect. American society tends to overvalue whatever sells and undervalue anything that needs governmental support. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:15, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
Classical music is indeed seen as somewhat elitist also here, and receives a lot of tax financed support. That does not give any negative feelings, though, in my experience, but instead knowing and enjoying classical music is a signal you want to give, as you might want to belong to that elite. Here in Finland, people interested in singing and playing music very often get formal music education (often at municipal institutes), where classical music dominates. Composers like Sibelius, Kuula, Madetoja and Merikanto have been important in building the Finnish identity and national proud, so the non-native impression is absent, although we haven't had the courts where the music originally developed.
What you say about your experience of Europe supports my own experiences and prejudice. I'll make a try, but I hope somebody who knows the global scene better corrects any overgeneralisations.
--LPfi (talk) 09:29, 16 April 2020 (UTC)
In Australia, the music culture is very much similar to the U.S. Sure, Sydney and Melbourne have decent classical music scenes, but by and large, it is the older people who enjoy classical music, while younger people tend to stick exclusively to pop music. I'd say in Singapore, the average young adult can probably appreciate classical music better than the average Australian or American young adult, but it's still very much a niche area. That said, in Singapore, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra does provide a series of free concerts at the Singapore Botanic Gardens every year. Likewise, I remember going to a free performance of Handel's Hallelujah Chorus in Elder Park when I was in Adelaide. I've yet to go to anything like that in the U.S. The dog2 (talk) 20:42, 25 April 2020 (UTC)
The New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera and other organizations have regular series of free concerts in parks every summer. Don't performing organizations in Chicago do the same thing? Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:36, 25 April 2020 (UTC)
The do have free jazz and blues festivals in the summer where you can listen to these types of music for free in Millennium Park. As for classical music, there's the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, though I'm not sure if they give free concerts. It's possible that they might given that there's a nice modern bandshell in Millennium Park.
As for classical music, I'm not sure about the American or Australian K-12 curriculum, but in Singapore we have to learn about Western classical music during music lessons in school, as well as traditional Chinese, Malay (broadly, since we also learn about gamelan, which is Indonesian) and Indian music. The dog2 (talk) 00:07, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
Music education is the weak link in the U.S. I feel sure the CSO gives free concerts, maybe in Grant Park, every summer. You should check out whether Chicago Lyric Opera does, too. I'll bet they do. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:12, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

Singapore's Esplanade.[edit]

I'm wondering if this deserves a listing. It's certainly an iconic building, and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and T'ang Quartet regularly perform in it, but I'm not sure if it meets the notability requirement to warrant a listing. For colonial-era venues, we have the Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall, which are right next to each other in the same building complex. Let me know what you think, as I want to make sure I'm not blinded by my personal biases as a Singaporean before adding the listing. The dog2 (talk) 20:10, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

List it. There's nothing for Singapore as of yet.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 20:13, 26 April 2020 (UTC)


A French cable TV channel was added, as it is dedicated to classical music. Here in Finland, the main Finnish public service radio channel has programmes on classical music at least an hour daily, plus classical music from midnight to early morning, the main Swedish one a couple of programmes a week, plus the nights. And then there is a commercial nationwide radio channel dedicated to classical music. If that's the norm all over the continent, I wonder whether an individual channel is worth mentioning. --LPfi (talk) 10:46, 26 May 2020 (UTC)

@LPfi: If there's more, I guess we can give a more general overview instead then. That just happens to be the only TV channel I know of that is dedicated to classical music. I'm quite ambivalent about whether or not we should mention specific channels as long as something is mentioned about such channels, because there is no such channel where you can watch opera performances on cable TV in the US. The dog2 (talk) 16:20, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
On the radio there are operas regularly, but I think opera on TV is quite unusual also here. In Hetta – with a population of a few hundred – you could watch ballet and opera regularly in the auditorium of the nature centre, used as cinema. A not so small step up from watching it on TV, and an interesting solution for somewhere with hundreds of kilometres to the nearest real scene. --LPfi (talk) 20:35, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

Entry for Tbilisi[edit]

Here it is:

Birthplace of Aram Khachaturian, a Georgian-born Armenian composer who is best known for the Sabre Dance from his ballet Gayane. Andria Balanchivadze Georgian composer born in St. Petersburg, Russia, he graduated from the Tbilisi State Conservatory in 1927 and Leningrad Conservatory in 1931, where he studied with Pyotr Ryazanov. Upon his return to Georgia, he became the musical director of several theatres from 1931 to 1934.. He was the son of Meliton Balanchivadze, the composer, and brother of George Balanchine, the famous Georgian-American ballet choreographer.

The first sentence makes perfect sense. The second sentence is a non-sequitur and also not a sentence, and along with the rest of the paragraph, it's overly detailed and biographical, with exactly what travel relevance? Actually, what's the travel relevance of any of it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:29, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

By the way, the entry for Kutaisi is even worse, including a useless copypasted endnote number from Wikipedia. Is there any reason not to delete that entry? Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:31, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
I have no problem deleting them given that they don't appear to be that notable, but I've gone in and made some copyedits. The only one I added was the first sentence in the Tbilisi entry. Before I made the copyedits, they were basically copied and pasted from those composers' articles on Wikipedia. The dog2 (talk) 16:12, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
I'm going to delete the Kutaisi entry. Is there a way to make the Tbilisi entry travel-relevant? Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:40, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
I don't know enough of Balanchivadze to contribute more. If you want to delete the part about him, go ahead. I think the part about Aram Khachaturian can stay because he is actually a notable composer, perhaps the most famous one of the Soviet era. That said, he's usually regarded as an Armenian composer, and there's virtually nothing commemorating him in Tbilisi as far as I can tell, even though he was born there. If you're a fan of Khachaturian, most of the sites commemorating him are in Armenia. The dog2 (talk) 21:56, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
If there's nothing relevant to visit in a place, the entry is not a travel entry, is it? Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:36, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: True. I don't mind removing everything then. But I remember you mentioned something about Georgian choral singing. Why don't you write about that if you know of any churches in Tbilisi where people can go to listen to that? That would be travel-relevant information. The dog2 (talk) 23:45, 2 June 2020 (UTC)
Unfortunately, I don't know anything about performance venues in Tbilisi. It's probably a worthwhile city to have an entry about, but unless someone can make it relevant, it's not worthwhile to include now. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:57, 2 June 2020 (UTC)

Latin America[edit]

@Ibaman: If I'm not wrong, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro have beautiful opera houses. And outside Brazil, I think San Jose, Mexico City, Buenos Aires and Santiago all have beautiful classical opera houses too. Do you know if there are still classical music performances in them? If so, I think they should perhaps be listed. The dog2 (talk) 18:36, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

I agree, with the caveat that I don't know about San Jose. I'm wondering if there's a travel angle to a discussion of La Sistema in Venezuela. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:28, 14 November 2020 (UTC)
yeah, I'm friends with a cellist of Rio's Symphonic Orchestra, and can testify that Rio, SP, Curitiba, Manaus, Belém and Brasília have beautiful, mention-worthy classical music venues. I'm less up-to-date about their current activities. Ibaman (talk) 21:18, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

Cities in North America still needing entries[edit]

I figured it would be neatest to start a new thread about this. I should say that since performance is still shut down for COVID-19, I'm not feeling highly motivated to create these listings, but here are some important cities for classical music performance in the U.S. that don't have entries yet:

Atlanta has what's probably one of the best orchestras in the country at this point.

We might list Charleston, SC for the Spoleto Festival, but that opens up a whole can of worms of whether we should list a bunch of cities and towns just for summer festivals (I think we should, but we should consider creating a separate subcategory for them so that Lenox, Massachusetts isn't in the same list with New York City).

Denver has a fine symphony orchestra and probably merits a mention.

Houston should be listed for the Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony.

Milwaukee has a very reputable symphony orchestra that's made a lot of good recordings, so it probably merits a listing.

Minneapolis/St. Paul definitely should be listed for the Minnesota Symphony and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Salt Lake City is home to the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir, named this year as one of the 10 best choirs in the world, and the Utah Symphony also has an interesting history.

Seattle probably merits inclusion for its symphony.

Washington, DC should be listed for the National Symphony, whichever excellent military ensembles are headquartered there and the Kennedy Center Opera.

Arguments could be made for listing Baltimore (in spite of the sad decrease in the orchestra's season recently, before COVID was on the horizon), Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Phoenix and St. Louis. In Canada, I think I'd list Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

I'm likely to have forgotten a worthy city to list, so feel free to add to or dispute this list. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:12, 16 November 2020 (UTC)

Baroque opera endings[edit]

@Ikan Kekek: One thing to ask here. As you know, in Baroque and Rococo operas (and if I'm not wrong, Classical period operas too like those by Mozart, Haydn, Salieri, Mysliveček, etc.) there is usually a lieto fine at the end where all the characters come out and sing the final musical number together. And this usually includes characters who died during the course of the opera too (like in Handel's Giulio Cesare, or Leonardo Vinci's Artaserse). Would you consider this to be an ensemble or a chorus? What I've noticed is that on the score, it's usually marked with the term coro. The dog2 (talk) 06:22, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

I didn't know that, and it's interesting. If I didn't look at the score, I'd consider it an ensemble, because it uses singers hired to play a role, rather than the opera chorus, but I'll ask my girlfriend (professional operatic mezzo and also choral singer) tomorrow. Ikan Kekek (talk) 08:08, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
Yeah, let's see what she says. One caveat though is that the scores I've looked at are 18th-century scores, so there might have been differences in terminology from modern-day scores. Have a look at this for an example. I'm no expert so take this with a pinch of salt, but what I've noticed is that Baroque and Rococo operas generally do not feature choruses like the one you described; these only became common around the time of Mozart. The dog2 (talk) 18:41, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I asked my girlfriend for her views on this. They were the same as mine - namely, that if the number is being performed only by principals (singers who sang a specific role) and orchestra, it's an ensemble, and if it includes a chorus of non-principals, it's a chorus. However, she said she's not dead sure about the terminology for Baroque operas. But she specifically said the end of Don Giovanni is an ensemble, and we talked about the end of Handel's Agrippina, which as we recall is a chorus (but maybe that was just principals, too - I don't remember it as well as the final number in Don Giovanni). Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:56, 20 November 2020 (UTC)


I have to disagree that these edits to the listings for Boston and Chicago make the text livelier or more elegant. I think they make it more pedestrian, and I'd like to change them back to the previous structure and wording. The point is that there is parallelism between when the Handel and Haydn Society started and what they're doing today, and that point is made more clearly in one sentence. In the listing for Chicago, the point is "The Chicago Symphony Orchestra [interpolation] has often been considered the best or one of the top two orchestras in the United States", but the interpolation is important and highly relevant to how they got to be one of the best and why they're so considered. This isn't Simple English Wikivoyage, and I don't think we need to chop up every sentence into grade school-level brief, colorless sentences. Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:46, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

Change them back then. I don't agree that complicated sentences are more elegant. I think they are clumsy. This isn't Simple Wikivoyage, but as English Wikivoyage is the most comprehensive of the Wikivoyages, we have a lot of readers (and contributors) whose first language is not English. If the traveller comes first, we should write in a more readable way. You don't have to put concepts into one sentence in order to make linkages between them. Ground Zero (talk) 12:53, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
I often edit passages for brevity and simplicity, but there are situations that call for longer, non-"Run, Spot, run" sentences sometimes. I'd like a 3rd opinion. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:45, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
"Run, Spot, run sentences" is not a reasonable characterization of these sentences. I've taken a look at the two passages again to see about strengthening the linkages between concepts. (Additions in italics.)
"Best known for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which plays in beautiful Symphony Hall, Boston is also the home of the oldest performing organization never to miss a season in the U.S.: the Handel and Haydn Society. It was founded in 1815, soon after Haydn's death, when premieres of some of Handel's works were still a living memory. This ensemble continues to dedicate itself to performing Baroque music, and is a highly respected original instruments group and chorus."
"The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is based in the Symphony Center along Michigan Avenue. Its great history of touring and recording started under Fritz Reiner and accelerated under Sir Georg Solti. Since Reiner's time, it has often been considered the best or one of the top two orchestras in the United States."
Ground Zero (talk) 19:53, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
I'm liking these ideas better than the initial changes I objected to. About the Handel and Haydn Society, though, it's more like they've come full circle. If you read w:Handel and Haydn Society, you'll see that they performed plenty of modern music of their day but shifted gears to "historically informed performance" in the mid 20th century. So let's very briefly encapsulate that history, something like this:
It was founded in 1815, soon after Haydn's death, when premieres of some of Handel's works were still a living memory, and returned to its roots in the mid 20th century, dedicating itself since to historically informed performances of Baroque music.
If you prefer dividing that into 2 sentences, we can start the second sentence: "In the mid 20th century, it returned to its roots..." Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:10, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
Yes, better. It's a pleasure working with you. Ground Zero (talk) 01:35, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
Thanks for working with me. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:49, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

Boston pops[edit]

I wonder if they qualify for a mention in this article, or is their musical repertoire too modern? I think Leroy Anderson composed several pieces for them that kind of straddle the boundaries between classical and pop music (eg. The Syncopated Clock, Sleigh Ride). The dog2 (talk) 01:44, 20 December 2020 (UTC)

I would include them, but attitudes might be different in Europe, so I'd like some comments by European members. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:43, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: Would you count Leroy Anderson as a classical composer then? The dog2 (talk) 05:01, 20 December 2020 (UTC)
Iffy. I've performed both the works you mention. They're kind of written-out pop music of their time, but intended for a pops orchestra of symphonic though hopefully hip players to perform. They're really core pops orchestra repertoire. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:59, 20 December 2020 (UTC)