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Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms (actually, their followers fought more than they did)
Feuds and protests of ideology aren’t limited to politics. In the 1880s there was a feud between followers of Brahms and Wagner over directions in music. This "The War of the Romantics" was a battle between modern programmatic music that tells some kind of story (Wagner), and traditional absolute music that needn't be "about" anything (Brahms), to put it very simply. Neither composer really participated in the feud and were mostly just amused by it. But the sentiments were so strong that there were protests by Wagnerians at the premiere of the Brahms 3rd Symphony. Perhaps stoking the fires, a Brahmsian critic declared it his most perfect music to date. Have a listen and decide if we even need to take sides. “Can’t we all just get along?” The Brahms Symphony #3 is today’s Midday Masterpiece at 2:00 pm.
Now, imagine a Brahms opera or a Wagner piano concerto!
George Friederich Handel
Concerto Grosso No. 7 in Bb major Opus 6/7 HWV 325
Handel & Haydn Society; Christopher Hogwood, conductor