Comparison of Quizbowl Writers to Composers

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Comparison of Quizbowl Writers to Composers

Postby Eduard Hanslick » Fri May 27, 2016 2:42 am

I, Eduard Hanslick, have crawled out of my grave (and read a lot of internet articles) in order to make a comparison of the most prolific writers in today's quizbowl game, and of recent years in general, to some of the great composers. The analogy I use shall be the following: writers who adopt a "core-oriented" approach shall be compared to those of the Classical era, those who emphasize more off-the-beaten-path topics to the Romantics, and those who are more experimental to the era during which I was interred. I shall compare none to Brahms - whom I adore - and to Wagner, who has deigned so low to parody me in some of his work. As for the others (in no particular order):

John Lawrence - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. John's questions are the absolute definition of back to basics - they demand deep knowledge of core works and plot details, and one cannot help but admire his utter rigor in their creation. What John's questions sometimes lack in "excitement" compared to many of the other names on this list, they make up for in technical superbness of execution.

Ted Gioia and Evan Adams - Franz Joseph Haydn. Both of these writers can be thought of similarly as masters of the "classical" style in the analogy I have set forth, drawing deep on core material in innovative ways, as Haydn mastered the formal classical style and made slight innovations to create the memorable pieces which we most adore. While they're not around as much anymore, their influence lingers in today's questions.

Ike Jose - Ludwig van Beethoven. Ike's mature work manages to infuse personal expression, the vague notion of "excitement" and even humor and whimsy into superb questions on a wide variety of topics - basic and experimental alike. His consistent production of masterworks in his recent years cannot be understated.

Rob Carson - Jean Sibelius. One does not truly need more reason other than Rob's username to associate him with the Finnish master, but his constant ability to produce superb innovative material in literature and the arts draws comparison to Sibelius' talent to create gorgeous orchestral pieces from the native material of his country. We shall pray that Rob stays prolific and that there will be no seasons-long Silence of Minneapolis.

Billy Busse - Frederic Chopin. The analogy here is not as much about style as about substance - Chopin is not known for much besides his piano music, but his productions in that genre are nothing short of excellence. Billy Busse is much the same with science - outside this category he is not much known, but within it he demonstrates nothing short of mastery of all aspects of composition.

Eric Mukherjee - Franz Liszt. If Billy Busse is Frederic Chopin and piano music is analogized to science questions, then Eric Mukherjee must be Franz Liszt. Not only is Eric a superb science writer, but he demonstrates great ability in writing other categories, much as Liszt invented the symphonic poem. Also, much like Liszt, Eric is unmatched in his technical skill at playing as well as being superb at writing.

Jacob Reed - Igor Stravinsky. Jacob's questions can often receive confused reactions to their premieres, since in many ways they are unlike anything quizbowl has seen previously - striking at a raw, curricular vein. They're unabashedly different and experimental, and among them number a great many brilliant ideas well worth imitating.

Will Alston - Felix Mendelssohn. While perhaps Will's early ventures are not quite comparable in quality to the child prodigy's masterpieces, the two share a bent for conservative writing with an occasional twist off the beaten path, as with the ventures into Romanticism of the E minor violin concerto's haunting theme. Thankfully, unlike Mendelssohn, Will seems to have avoided an early death and will continue producing questions.

Andrew Hart - Arnold Schoenberg. Andrew's style of composing questions, particularly those oriented around themes, often seems violently at odds with what may be thought of as quizbowl norms - as in MUT 2016. Nonetheless, his style has much to teach us about the possibilities of quizbowl questions, including many great ones, as Schoenberg does about what one can do with sound.

Jordan Brownstein - Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. In my analogy, Jordan in his writing seeks to emulate some of the old masters and take a "classical" approach to question writing (particularly at regular difficulty), but he infuses his own twists and original material much as Tchaikovsky infuses beautiful original melodies into his Classically inspired style. Perhaps some of SUBMIT stank to the ear, but this cannot be attributed to Jordan himself.

Auroni Gupta - Gustav Mahler. Here, the analogy is not as much to the material/writing style but to the compositions. Like Mahler, Auroni has slowly gained acceptance and made his name known with his grandiose compositions - such as ACF Nationals 2014 and George Oppen - which make bold expressions of his views as to how questions should be written.

Will Nediger - Sergei Prokofiev. A lot of Will's writing breaks with the mold and takes some weird turns, which may not always work out perfectly when communicated from page to ear. Nonetheless, his writing is full of innovative, brilliant and wonderful material.

Stephen Liu - Bedrich Smetana. Smetana's output is among the superbest of Romantic and nationalist composition; Stephen's is among the most impressive in its ability to dig up out-of-the-way, real-world important material. The true magesty of Ma vlast bears comparison to CO Arts 2015.

There are many great names I have left unmentioned - some of which I cannot find an appropriate enough analogy to do justice. My decision to leave a name off this list is not necessarily due to lack of appreciation, but rather lack of ingenuity.
Eduard Hanslick
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Re: Comparison of Quizbowl Writers to Composers

Postby Sigurd » Fri May 27, 2016 11:19 pm

If there was a "Most Pretentious Post of the Year Award" this post would win it unanimously even though it's only May, and I even get the Meistersinger joke here
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Re: Comparison of Quizbowl Writers to Composers

Postby Mewto55555 » Mon May 30, 2016 8:02 pm

Matt Weiner = Schubert
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Re: Comparison of Quizbowl Writers to Composers

Postby Muriel Axon » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:30 pm

Perhaps Jake Sundberg is Richard Strauss, for writing 'the most sickening packet in all quizbowl.'
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