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Truly Bizarre behavior at Unsung Composers


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Author Topic: Truly Bizarre behavior at Unsung Composers  (Read 2384 times)
Balapoel
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« on: April 13, 2015, 10:55:45 pm »

hi all,
Just a note to let you know that I've officially broken any ties to Unsung Composers (UC). We've all had our share of problems, particularly with one moderator: Alan. I thought I'd share my experiences.

This morning, after researching new information on Gernsheim's chamber music, I made a post, with new content (i.e., a more comprehensive list of his chamber music than UC had at the time). Alan, in his usual ridiculous fashion, immediately jumped and said "do a search for previous threads". Of course, no previous threads have this information, and of course, in a few hours, there were already 151 views and several replies.

I mentioned that I have started a new thread at this site, only to find Alan had precipitously removed my entire post (without asking me), even though it broke no rules.

I responded positively to another poster on the thread, again linking to the thread on this site if they want to find out more, with the hope that that post wouldn't be deleted like the last one. Apparently that's the one thing that Alan hates more than anything: to let anyone else in on the fact that he's got a minor Napoleon complex.

I was treated to a nasty email from Alan that I thought I'd post. Keep in mind, he banned me (unilaterally) for the offense of posting new information and letting folks know where they could get it. Truly childish behavior.

I'm sorry, but I'm not prepared to put up with your behaviour, which is quite uncalled for. Since you have once again defied a moderator's ruling, I am cancelling your membership of UC.
Alan Howe

----
If one feels any need to respond to Mr. Alan Howe (since I don't think I'm the only one who's had this experience), you can at mark@raff.org

-----
in sum, we have learned that
1. UC moderators have impunity to take down any post they want, even if it merely hurts their ego (or whatever thing got Alan in a huffy).
2. UC is not really interested in fostering an atmosphere of collegiality
3. UC will not get anything from me ever again - and I only wish I could remove all the content I've posted there over the years. Hopefully someone got something out of it.

Cheers,
Balapoel
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dhibbard
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 11:14:32 pm »

well.. my experience there hasn't been any better..
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tapiola
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 12:12:12 am »

I found the website absolutely horrible. I was quickly banned for telling Alan what I thought of him. . . . Sad the wonderful music is so poorly represented by this person.  But, it's his own little world.
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shamus
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 01:50:00 am »

I "lurk" there on the wildly improbable notion that there might be an interesting download someday (there hasn't been for months), and I avoid all "monitor" comments. Any time I have contributed anything it is either completely ignored or criticized. Who are those people?
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 04:46:33 am »

Many members of this site will probably be familiar with my own experiences at UC.

I certainly have no intention of rehearsing the circumstances which lay behind the decision of the two owners of UC to ban me.

What caused me such genuine pain was the gratuitously insulting and abusive message I received at that time. Given that I had devoted so much time and energy to compiling catalogues of the orchestral music of around 600 composers and posted these on that site in the hope that they might be of some use to others I cannot recall feeling so bitterly upset.

The Art-Music Forum restored my faith in the essential decency of fellow music-lovers and remains a splendid example of how we can share our knowledge, our enthusiasms and our commitment to civilised discourse.
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Balapoel
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 05:03:38 am »

I too, remember what happened when you left. I couldn't believe after all I've done for them (for FREE), that they would be so insulting...
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Balapoel
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 05:06:33 am »

Also, now that I'm here, I can share some of my research on composer catalogues (not just orchestra) for about 1,871 (current total) with everyone here.
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ahinton
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« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2015, 07:39:32 am »

Well, I've not been banned from there, although I suppose I might as well have been since I've not even visited the place for longer than I can remember with certainty.

I fell foul of its then unwritten agenda before Alan posted this


Should I post here? How does Unsung Composers define "romantic music"?
« on: Monday 13 August 2012, 17:48 »
Unsung Composers is "for the open-minded lover of music from the romantic era". Our members are interested in the music and lives of nowadays less well known composers writing in the "romantic" style and also in the unsung works of the great romantic composers.

A necessarily loose definition of romantic music:
The new Grove Dictionary takes 5200 words to describe Romanticism in music without being able to define it and yet, generally speaking, we know it when we hear it: it's music written by the likes of Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Mahler and Bruckner to name some of its most famous exponents.  Traditional time frames for music's "romantic era" have it beginning with Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony (1808) and ending with Stravinsky's Sacre du printemps (1913) or, alternatively, lasting from the end of the Napoleonic wars to the end of the First World War (1815-1918). But it's not a simple as that: some composers who are arguably "romantic" flourished outside those time frames: Beethoven and Schubert before the start and Elgar and Rachmaninov after its close for example. Some composers did not actively compose until well after the traditional period and yet wrote, and still write, in a recognisably romantic idiom: examples being Marx, Korngold, Atterberg, Furtwängler, many composers of film music and today's Schmidt-Kowalski. The romantic idiom itself changed hugely from the early post-classical romanticism of Mendelssohn, say, to the very late-romanticism of Mahler, via the revolutionary innovations of Wagner and Liszt. Overall, though, music of the romantic era still shares recognisable attributes: the restrained employment (if at all) of dissonance, a reliance on 19th century models of harmony and construction and the fundamental importance of melody. Mere tonality, without strong elements of these other characteristics, does not qualify music as being romantic in style.

The focus of UC has now shifted to being solely about romantic music but previous posts about music in later styles have not been deleted, so do not rely on the fact that a composer or piece of music has been discussed previously as an indication of eligibility now.  Please do not post about composers or compositions which clearly fall outside our definition of "romantic". Your post will not be approved. If you are in any doubt, and in any event if the music was written after 1918, please email or PM a moderator before posting.

To preserve the knowledge which they contain, the forum's Archive boards have many posts about 20th century composers and music in particular which would not now fall within the focus of Unsung Composers.


So Alan takes almost 250 words to tell us that the true definition of "romantic" music is his and no one else's and that, henceforward, should any member have been in doubt, only music that meets with his approval may be mentioned on his forum; not unnaturally, as a composer active today, my place is not there. So "Unsung Composers", which has its own definition not dependent upon or influenced by Alan, is not what that forum is after all about; it's about what Alan deems to be acceptable for discussionon his forum.

Its value therefore speaks for itself and, frankly, I cannot feign surprise at the oddity of certain behaviour in that neck of the woods.
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2015, 10:39:42 am »

I found the website absolutely horrible. I was quickly banned for telling Alan what I thought of him. . . . Sad the wonderful music is so poorly represented by this person.  But, it's his own little world.
A pity,indeed! I do like allot of the music they discuss there. I even like Raff. At best a very accomplished and talented composer. Also,one of those interesting puzzles. What happened? Why the decline in his reputation? Is it deserved? I can understand why some people would find him interesting. Spohr is another example. I find his music very satisfying. Draeseke,who I have yet to hear,is often discussed there. He sounds intriguing. The recently released boxed set from Cpo is tempting. His third symphony was widely performed. Some people seem to think he's a neglected master. Some don't!! And then there is Rubinstein. I eventually collected all six symphonies and spent allot of time mulling over them. A great pianist,a mediocre composer? Intriguing,yes? Unfortunately,I eventually came to the conclusion that while he obviously had a facility for colourful,engaging scoring,he didn't really have allot to say! I still quite like his Second and Fourth symphonies,though. And the symphonies I collected are all on my hard drive,for the purpose of future reference. If a label like Cpo ever give a Rubinstein symphony the kind of recording that Raff and Spohr have been treated to recently,I may even have another go?!! The recordings on Russian Disc and Marco are pretty awful. I seem to recall that a long deleted recording of the 'Ocean' symphony on the Turnabout label (never released on cd) was preferable to anything currently available! Look at the Spohr symphonies,for example. I collected all the Marco Polo recordings. They have been superseded by the cycles on Hyperion and Cpo. I personally found the Cpo recordings a revelation.....but in all fairness,the Marco Polo performances were competent. In fact,if the recording quality was better I would actually prefer them to the Hyperion cycle! Likewise Raff was represented by some decent recordings,prior to the superb Tudor cycle. And while the Raff Tudor cycle hasn't been the revelation that the Cpo Spohr cycle was......the quality of the performances has finally convinced me that Raff 1 is actually (although a little uneven) one of his most worthwhile and interesting symphonies,and Raff 2 and 6 are actually worth my attention.
I still don't think he's as good as the UC Forum say he is,though!! Grin
They also discuss other intriguing figures like Franz Lachner. His Fifth symphony is massive and has been described by some as a sort of 'missing link'! But I seem to recall reading that George Lloyd was outside their 'remit'?!! Wow!! Huh
So,lot's of interesting music being discussed there and food for thought for people who are interested in that kind of repertoire. But I'd rather post here or at the GMG!! Maybe I should start a 'Romantic Composers Forum?!! Everyone would know what sort of music they were supposed to discuss!

That said,I have recently been absolutely and completely 'blown away' (as they say) by the music of Roussel and Honneger!!
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violinconcerto
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« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2015, 01:24:07 pm »

Just one question - and I don't have a side in this whole story -: Is Alan the owner of the website and the forum? And if that is so, I think it is his good right to say his opinion on romantic and ban whoever he wants. Its like a shop: If you like it go there and show good behaviour. If you spoil the party, the owner kicks you out. And if you don't like the shop you go shopping elsewhere. So where is the problem?

Best,
Tobias
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ahinton
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« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 02:45:42 pm »

Just one question - and I don't have a side in this whole story -: Is Alan the owner of the website and the forum? And if that is so, I think it is his good right to say his opinion on romantic and ban whoever he wants. Its like a shop: If you like it go there and show good behaviour. If you spoil the party, the owner kicks you out. And if you don't like the shop you go shopping elsewhere. So where is the problem?
The problem - at least insofar as I understand it - is that being as dictatorial and restrictive as his particular one appears to be (while still calling the forum "Unsung Composers", which could be interpreted as being general rather than restrictive) does it no favours and, speaking from my own experience, I fell foul of this before he made it clearer what his agenda and parameters actually were/are, in that I would never have joined it in the first place had I known at the outset what isn't welcome there. I suppose that I could be said nevertheless to have "shown good behaviour" there, which is probably why I've not been banned but, in fact, I've not behaved there at all since it was made clear to me what's not to be discussed there because that discouraged me from making further contribution to it since 2012, other than a small number of probably risky posts about Szymanowski...
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dhibbard
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2015, 03:37:08 pm »

I had that same argument with the moderator of UC....   (what's 'romantic era' music and not romantic era)... anyway, after he deleted my post there, I haven't been back.
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Balapoel
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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2015, 03:46:25 pm »

The problem, from my perspective, isn't the overly restrictive nature of the forum, it's the vehemence with which one (of the three) moderators went after posters who didn't break any rules. Ultimately, it created a hostile atmosphere, which is why I posted there less and less. And no, he isn't the only owner, Mark is, who is much more reasonable, and has apologized for Alan's behavior before.
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2015, 04:00:32 pm »

Just one question - and I don't have a side in this whole story -: Is Alan the owner of the website and the forum? And if that is so, I think it is his good right to say his opinion on romantic and ban whoever he wants. Its like a shop: If you like it go there and show good behaviour. If you spoil the party, the owner kicks you out. And if you don't like the shop you go shopping elsewhere. So where is the problem?

Best,
Tobias

Yes, I understand that he is one of the two co-owners of the site and, again, yes he has the right therefore to define the parameters for what may be included and what may be excluded from discussion. The issue-one of many-was that those parameters were changed after several members, including myself, had given so much of our time and of the fruits of our research to the site. We were then-essentially-informed that our commitment and our contributions were henceforward of no value.

"....show good behaviour....."    "....spoil the party...."  Huh Huh

These are perhaps somewhat emotive phrases to describe the "conduct" of the members so unceremoniously "kicked out".

I was banned because I had the temerity to contact a few other members and to inform them that I had been told by email that I was both "obsessional" and "unable to work with others".

It is a moot point whether an "obsession" is in fact a "bad thing" Grin I freely confess to being obsessional about my desire to communicate my enthusiasms about a lot of 20th century orchestral music to others, Is that "wrong" Huh If you don't like my posts then don't read them Grin  And "unable to work with others" Huh Huh

.....However...this has unfortunately reopened very real wounds which I would have much preferred to have forgotten and it is entirely my own fault that I have allowed myself to write this response.

There is really nothing more I should or will add. I have better things now to do with my time.....and contributing to this site is-hopefully-one of them Smiley
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shamus
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« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2015, 05:07:30 pm »

Yeah, I should have kept my own peace, too, but let's not let this site go bad, also, by concentrating on something that went wrong in someone else's constricted world.
 This site is way too much better and it is such a consolation to have a place to go. And fortunately there is no reason why we can't discuss romantic composers (whom many of us love) here as much as we want.
 I often think of Ernest Hemingway's story "A Clean Well-Lighted Place", and how it suggests how just knowing there's a place you can go and not be ill-treated is so important. I like talking about how the music makes me feel, more than focusing on musicological intricacies. I appreciate that I hear less about whose music I "should" like or not here--I will make that decision myself.
Sydney did a wonderful thing by giving us this place to come to. If someone wants to have their "own" forum, indeed, they can do what they want with it, and as Tobias says no one is required to go there. The word "forum" has always suggested an exchange of ideas from many viewpoints, rather than a place for someone to control the content, perhaps a blog would be the best place for that.
I am sorry so many people have been hurt, including myself in small ways, and I hope that people who can so easily strike out at others and cause pain can come to terms with what is hurting themselves enough to make them do that. It is hard to be forgiving when people I have come to regard as "friends"  are attacked, but fighting meanness with the same is a black hole I can no longer afford.
Perhaps we all can contribute more to this forum, more uploads, more genuine expressions of delight with this massive field of classical music, from any era with a clearer feeling of safety. Sometimes, even here, I am ignored or picked at but there is more than enough good and hopeful stough to keep me coming back, anyway.
So be warned, I am here. I don't feel being open to many sides or many opinions makes me wishy-washy, though I do consider most serious music to have a spiritual sense to it and responses to nebulous things such as spirituality, while very personal may still have some value when one attempts to share them with others.
Oh well. Jim
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