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Des
Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2003 - 11:42 am:   

Ranging from Bach's cello suites, via, Beethoven's Late Quartets, to the muscular dyncopations of 20th century classical music (with many byways between, which I would like to explore, given the interest), I feel that the only true fiction is non-vocal 'classical' ( a misnomer?) music, injected straight into the vein.

My own definition of classical music below(something about which I am more passionate than writing editing reading...), though I am musically illiterate as far as its technicalities are concerned:-

An inchoate area (defaulting towards an aspirationally cultural & predominantly exact art form) within the universal, uncompartmentalised, wholly accessible language of sound commonly known as music: encouraging spirituality and/or various permutations of all human emotions -- centring on and radiating from the serious deployment of an ostensibly organised pattern of acoustic sounds as produced by orchestral instruments and voices (performed normally by established or qualified interpreters/musicians, from one to very many). The question of taste and the unknowable relativities of disharmony and harmony are no part of this description, because such affective considerations differ from individual to individual. I shall tailgate any preconceptions...
Des
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DF Lewis
Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2003 - 10:58 am:   

Although a couple of years out of date now, I hope the article below sparks some responses on this subject:
http://www.dowse.com/classical-music.html
Des
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Des
Posted on Saturday, February 22, 2003 - 02:13 pm:   

For me a piece of music, once I've heard it, is set in stone and taken for granted, even if it were originally created in an improvisatory fashion. Speculating on the infinite number of 'alternate worlds' the music's direction might have taken is quite another exercise. I have just re-listened to Sur Incises by Pierre Boulez - and it was perfect for me, just as I remembered it, 'Pli Selon Pli' with linearity ... and the unusual combination of instruments --(so quirkily natural and mellow, one wonders why they have never been used before - three pianos, three harps and three darksome xylophones(?))-- gave breath to this music to its optimum.
It could not be otherwise!
Des
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Des
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 08:38 am:   

I'm listening, throughout today, to the complete works on CD of Anton Webern. Very restful. BBC Radio 3 did a Webern weekend a number of years ago, when a friend of mine (visting during that weekend) took serious disfavour to the music ...
Serious point - can art divide folk?
Des
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2003 - 02:40 am:   

I'm too spiflicated at the moment to address such a momentous question, but I can ask you more straightforward ones to wit - what do you think of Schnittke? Penderecki? Satie?
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des
Posted on Tuesday, March 04, 2003 - 09:55 am:   

THRENODY FOR HIROSHIMA VICTIMS by Penderecki is one of my favourite works. His symphonies, once acclimatised to your nature, are probably second to none, or to not many! I love, Schnittke, too, with his mixture of old and new, a variegated nemonymity of styles, collaborations with sounds. Erik Satie -- amazing, I love Satie's quirky, surreal piano music, for two hands and four...
How can anyone do justice to the wide panoplies of 'classical' music ... where do you start, where do you end? The only hot-beat template for fiction that truly exists. I'd better stop now, before I go off half-cock.
Des
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Des
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 12:27 am:   

March 16.
For today:

Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (4 January 1710-16 March 1736)
Sessions, Roger Huntington (28 December 1896-16 March 1985)
Bacon, Ernst (26 May 1898-16 March 1990)
Del Tredici, David (16 March 1937- )

Any thoughts on these? Never heard of Ernst Bacon.
I have Pergolesi's Stabat Mater somewhere on CD and recall it being very beautiful. Didn't he compose it when he was very young? A one hit wonder?
I haven't any Sessions on CD, but I wish I did. I have heard some of his symphonies - Schoenberg-like?
Del Tredici I recall has composed some music about *Alice in Wonderland* (on topic for these Boards, so I wonder if anyone has heard it and what they think of non-vocal music in general being the ultimate, wordless fantasy!).

Des
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, March 25, 2003 - 08:45 am:   

Bela Bartok was born on today's date in 1881. Anyone like Bartok's music? I often listen to his six string quartets. Too astringent for folk here?
Des


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Des
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 08:19 am:   

March 26
van Beethoven, Ludwig (16 December 1770 - 26 March 1827)
Boulez, Pierre (26 March 1925- )


I love the former's late string quartets and his Hammerklavier piano sonata.
I love the latter's 'pli selon pli' and 'sur incises'.
Des


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Des
Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2003 - 08:18 am:   

Sir Arthur Bliss died on today's date in 1975. An essentially British composer with an accessible touch. He wrote the exciting music for the HG Wellsian film 'Things To Come'. And I have a CD of his Colour Symphony (as well as much piano and chamber music by him).
Music is colour as well as an imaginary text of words, I feel. The ultimate fantasy fiction. Des
PS: Alexander Scriabin composed some music at the turn of the century for a Colour Organ!
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2003 - 05:51 am:   

I'm really only just getting into classical music. For years, I've been listening to film scores, so I know all the film composers really well. When it comes to classical, I'm a big fan of Beethoven, Dvorak, Mendelsson, Mussorgsky, but beyond them I'm just not yet well-versed in classical music. I'm working on it, though, because I really love listening to it, even though I really don't know the first thing about it. I guess that's one of the beauties of music, though.
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Des
Posted on Friday, March 28, 2003 - 10:27 am:   

Hi, Mastadge, Thanks for comments; There is so much in this field that just scratching the surface is like digging down to the one's own personal antipodes.
If anyone wants to discuss this further join:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/musiclassical/
where I've been having arguments for three years now!
Des
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Des
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 09:15 am:   

Dabbling with Diabelli.
Diabelli, Anton (6 September 1781-7 April 1858)
He died on today's date.


Beethoven was once found dabbling with Diabelli.

And in turn, recently, the jazz pianist Uri Caine has been found dabbling with those very dabblings!

Des


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Des
Posted on Sunday, April 27, 2003 - 12:26 am:   

Scriabin, Alexander (6 January 1872-27 April 1915)

A major figure in my music listening life died today in 1915.

Ranging from the intriguing, inscrutable Poems of Fire and Ecstasy (like trumpet and piano concertos) to the haunting midpoint piano sonatas (with sounds that stay with you, both tuneful and constructively awkward) and the truly evil late piano sonatas ... and his colour organ ... and his mystical symphonies ...
Des
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 08:43 am:   

Trying to do a survey. Do you like, dislike or are indifferent to Classical Music? And why?
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 09:05 am:   

I wouldn't say "Classical" music. Orchestral, yes, I love. I like almost any music - and I've heard a fair share of it, because my parents and siblings have pretty varied and eclectic tastes. I buy and listen mostly to classical music, and to movie scores. As to why -- I'll get into that later when I'm not so busy.
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 09:15 am:   

Does 'Orchestral' include Chamber Music (e.g. String Quartets)??
Many say to me that they can't get on with Chamber Music, but I find it provides both the most spiritual and lateral sounds that any conversation can ever possess -- paradoxically intimate and cosmic at the same time. The interaction between the players (who often seem to play the music off each other in a trance -- which I have seen for myself when I attend live Chamber concerts) evokes pure words and plot without the intervention of too much distracting articulation of thought. Perhaps this is our type of storytelling straining towards its optimum of meaning and non-meaning.
Des
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 10:07 am:   

Definitely prefer Chamber to Orchestral - with the larger groupings you start to lose the sounds of individual instruments. It also gets worse over time: the orchestra grows from the baroque through the classical until it's this mammoth corporate body in the late romantic period. But then again, I do like a bit of Mahler or Wagner - so I'm being completely inconsistent here.

As I've said before: definitely prefer baroque and earlier or late romantic and beyond. Classical itself is a bit of a stumbling block for me.
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 11:08 am:   

I'm indifferent to classical. There are a handful of composers I like, and a lot more I'm indifferent too. In that way, it's much like any other style - a few good musicians and a lot more that aren't interesting.

Based on my meagre knowledge of classical, I prefer chamber to orchestral, I'm not very big on the Romantic era. I'm still looking for composers I would enjoy. Currently, the only "classical" I have in my CD collection is Mozart, George Crumb & Arvo Part. I do want to get some Penderecki, as several people have recommended THRENODY FOR HIROSHIMA VICTIMS.

I'd love to hear more stuff that blends Eastern & Western music (Part being an example I like, Rimsky-Korsakov being one that I'm indifferent to).
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iotar
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 12:21 pm:   

>>I'd love to hear more stuff that blends Eastern & Western music

Robert: Get Passages by Phillip Glass and Ravi Shankar. It's good!
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 01:26 pm:   

re: chamber music. Yes, it does.

I'll be honest: I know next to nothing about Classical Music. One of my many projects over the summer (most of which are way behind schedule due to my grandfather's unfortunate situation) is to actually learn about it. I don't know about the various eras. I don't know any of the technical stuff, or many composers, or really anything about music at all (that's another of the summer's project: beginning to learn to play piano). Basically I divide music into what I care to listen to again, and everything else. So when I get a recommendation, I go and listen. If I like it, I check out other stuff by that composer, and try to learn a bit about that composer. And I guess my tastes are getting more refined. I used to be mostly in huge orchestral noises, accompanied by massive choirs, but now a lot of that sounds more to me like noise than music. I don't really know how to describe what it is I like now, because I just don't have the terminology. But I know it when I hear it. And I've been getting to know a lot of musicians lately, which has certainly helped - the woman I like is a cellist, and one of my best friends plays the violin in her quartet; my school roommate's ex-girlfriend plays the clarinet, and I know about a bazillion pianists - and I've met most of these people within the last year or so, so I've had a sudden exposure to much more music. I think it's done me good. I certainly love it. And I think I've gotten off topic.
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2003 - 01:52 pm:   

No, that's exactly on topic. I know nothing about music *technically*; I am just an avid listener of classical music and that's the way, I reckon, to love and to *know* it: expose your ears to as much as possible both eclectically and catholically and serendipitously ... and simply enjoy it; be made happy by it, sad by it, spiritual by it, quirky by it, insane by it, peaceful by it....
The survey again: do you like or dislike or are indifferent to classical music? And why?
des
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 01:55 am:   

Another aspect of Classical Music which also might bear discussion - it is generally more easily to assimilate uncluttered by ephemerality.
Pop music -- (although I enjoy some, but usually from a personal or nostalgic reason - like the first dance with my then girl friend (now wife) in 1967 (?) to Whiter Shade of Pale) -- seems cluttered with the artist's personality and other such concerns. Needs jabbering DJ's to present. And is hyped and so forth.
Music, for me, should be a pure experience, evoking different timeless emotions socket-to-socket rather than between the ears of a world that may (at the time) be not quite the world one might wish. Des
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Rhys
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 05:03 am:   

I started learning the piano at age 8, so I was exposed to classical music quite young. I progressed through the grades but once I discovered ragtime (and then jazz) I abandoned classical music for many years.

I've sort of 'come back' to classical music, to a certain extent at least. Somebody above mentioned Erik Satie. Absolutely one of my favourite composers. The first (and only) time I ever played the paino in public was in a theatre almost exactly one year ago and I calmed myself before the performance by playing lots of Satie.

Some of my favourite classical composers:

Erik Satie
Louis-Moreau Gottschalk
Heitor Villa-Lobos (my absolute favourite)
Ludovico da Viadana
Conlon Nancarrow

My only reservation about throwing myself wholeheartedly into the world of classical music is its lack of funk... It doesn't taste of coffee, chillies and sex. What I mean is that it's not danceable enough... Sure I know that lots and lots of classical music is dance oriented but... Well maybe you know what I mean!
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 05:07 am:   

darius Milhaud - Roberto Gerhard - Arthur Honegger - Jacques Ibert - you may like in view of the coffee, chillies, sex and the style of your own writing is concerned, Rhys.

Beethoven, Mahler, even (or especially) Schubert have their quirky sexy moments. And Shostakovich String Quartets literally ooze what you're after, I'd say!
Des
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 08:36 am:   

Villa-Lobos's string quartets are spectacular.

And speaking of classical and jazz, Wayne Shorter plays a version of Bachanas Brasileiras on his new album.
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 07:47 pm:   

Hm. Resounding yes to the earlier chamber music question. Just got back from the Delaware Chamber Music Festival!
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 14, 2003 - 12:38 am:   

Hey, what did you hear(see)?
Rhys, another composer I should have mentioned for you, in fact the most obvious: Igor Stravinsky.
Des
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Rhys
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 06:30 am:   

All music, whatever its category, should be subjected to this single question:

Does it spank the psycho-monkey?
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Des
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 09:40 am:   

Spank the psycho-monkey? Well Penderecki does for a start. And Schnittke, certainly. Des
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fliptop
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 07:42 pm:   

OH, I hate Schnittke, but Dutilleux rocks!
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Des
Posted on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 11:31 pm:   

Wonderful! Yes, Henri Dutilleux is indeed one of my favourite composers. Mystical and/or dreamy without being wishy-washy, atonal and tuneful almsot concurrently, very special yet accessible to most tastes: -- his two symphonies, L'arbre des songes (Violin Concerto), Mystere de l'Instant, Metaboles, Timbres, Espace, Mouvement, 3 Strophes Sur Le Nom Sacher, Ainsi La Nuit (String Quartet) etc.
He beats Olivier Messiaen into a cocked hat.
But whether he 'spanks the psycho-monkey' (a la Rhys), the jury is still out.
Des
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:33 am:   

Thought I'd drop in, Des. Most of your fans are for 12-tone & such. My favorite moderns are Hindemith, Shostakowitsch, Prokofiev, Copland and Piston. But my taste is primarily for the "Big Seven" (Handel, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Wagner and Brahms). Good listening! --Jack
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des
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 01:22 am:   

Thanks, Jack. But your Big Seven, so called, does not include the compsoer who I possibly consider the greatest of them all: Schubert!
e.g. his Octet, String Quintet and various string quartets and piano trios, over 20 piano sonatas, der winterreise etc. I've argued the case for his top position in Classical Music many times.

Most people who talk to me outside Classical Music fandom are still feeling their way (if they've got the impetus to do so at all). I myself see no demarcation between atonal/dincopated (which you shorthand as Twelve Tone) and Tonal. I have no experience of music technicalities, but just an avid listener. Below, again, is my tentative description of Classical Music.
Des

A shapeless area (defaulting towards an aspirationally cultural & predominantly exact art form) within the universal, uncompartmentalised, wholly accessible language of sound commonly known as music: encouraging spirituality and/or various permutations of all human emotions -- centring on and radiating from the serious-intended deployment of an ostensibly organised pattern of acoustic sounds as produced by orchestral instruments and voices (performed normally by established or qualified interpreters/musicians, from one to very many). [The question of taste and the unknowable relativities of disharmony and harmony are no part of this description, because such affective considerations differ from individual to individual.]
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Rhys
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 06:54 am:   

Villa-Lobos is still my favourite classical composer.

But I'm willing to give Schubert a proper listen (I've only really heard snatches so far).

Atonal music can be very cool. Varese wrote some outstanding music. Is Milhaud 'atonal'? I always thought of him as jazzy-tinged. I've never heard a Milhaud piece I didn't like.

Bax is a composer I need to investigate more thoroughly too...
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 08:16 am:   

Rhys, Milhaud is not atonal, to my mind, but quirky and, yes, often jazzy. Try his Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit -- and L'Homme et Son Desir for both chillies, sex etc. *and* 'spanking the psycho-monkey'.

If you investigate Arnold Bax, there are many other Britsih composers who desrve it, too, like George Dyson, Gerald Finzi, Arthur Bliss, Edmund Rubbra, Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Gustav Holst, Malcolm Arnold etc. ... all very accessible and mellifluous in the main, with quirky and dincopated passages, too. A treasure that life shouldn't be without. Des
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jim chapman
Posted on Tuesday, June 17, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   

des, i agree about schubert. the quartets are up there with beethoven's, and so are the piano sonatas, trios, etc etc.

there's some story about mendelssohn trying to conduct the schubert 9th, and the orchestra kept bursting into laughter...it didn't sound like music at all to them...too formless. that one piece gave bruckner enough to think about his whole life...

my A-list (chronological) goes
bach
beethoven
schubert
wagner
bruckner
mahler
schoenberg
stockhausen

hmm, they're all germans & austrians...
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jack kelso
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 12:58 am:   

Since we all like lists, here's my "A-list":

Schumann, Beethoven, Handel, Mozart, Bach, Bruckner, Haydn, Brahms, Wagner, Schubert...in that order. Interestingly, Handel and Schumann are the two great masters most often missing from lists of less experienced listeners...hmm...

Jack

P.S.: There you see, Des? Schubert makes my "top-ten"!
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Des
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 08:13 am:   

Well, here's my A list:
Schubert, Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovich, Malcolm Arnold, Ligeti, Edmund Rubbra, Scriabin, Dutilleux, Brahms... closely followed by thousands of others!

Des
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Des
Posted on Wednesday, June 18, 2003 - 08:15 am:   

Damn! I forgot Philip Glass. Please replace Maw with Glass. Des
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 01:35 am:   

In the other group, most comments to Schumann's music have been of the "damnation by faint praise" kind. He is a musician's composer; his 4th Symphony is the first truly "cyclic" work (not Franck's d-minor Symphony!). In it he also anticipated the mature Wagner (yep, the "Tristan-chord" is there, between the 3rd & 4th mvts). Schumann, NOT Mahler, is the inventor of "progressive harmony" and influenced Raff, Grieg, Wagner, Tschaikowsky, Gounod, Lalo, Pfitzner, Debussy, etc. Composers Milhaud, Pfitzner, Copland and others saw him as the most important post-Beethoven composer. Along with Brahms, he is universally regarded as the greatest polyphonic composer since Handel and Bach (no, sorry--not Mendelssohn). He was the favorite Romantic Period composer of L. Bernstein, G. Szell, W. Sawallisch, M. Venzago (former cond. of the Heidelberg Symphony) and many other conductors and pianists.
WARNING: A follow-up may appear....

--Jack
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 10:29 am:   

Hi, Jack, Robert Schumann has always been an inscrutable composer for me, and I value your deeper knowledge of him and his influences (I just listen, but don't contextualise, I'm afraid). He is someone I enjoy but never thought to put him in my top ten (see above). I love his Piano Quintet particularly (up with Brahms' Piano Quintet) and his piano sequences, which I enjoy for their sheer non-formality, i.e. Papillons, Theme and Variations on the name 'Abegg',Carnaval (scenes mignonnes), Davidsbundler-Tanze, Kinderscenen, Kriesleriana,, Albumblatter... and he composed both a Phantasie and a Fantasy! Des
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Monday, June 30, 2003 - 03:47 am:   

Hi, Des--well, Schumann himself said, "Nicht jeder wird mich verstehen" (not everyone will understand me). Maybe it's a temperment thing. At any rate, some musicologists aren't doing their homework! They're the ones who should give credit where credit is due. But you DO know quite a lot of Schumann works for the piano---and, yes, the Quintet--also the 1st Trio d-minor is superb. Tovey (English critic of yore) said it "goes higher and farther than the Quintet". How do you like the symphonies? And those goosebump-giving oratorios, especially the "Szenen aus Goethes 'Faust'"!? -Jack
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Des
Posted on Wednesday, July 02, 2003 - 09:29 am:   

Hi, Jack. I enjoy Schumann's Spring Symphony, but prefer it in the orchestration of it by Mahler.
Anyone got any Classical Music thoughts? (including Jack, of course)?
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Des
Posted on Thursday, July 03, 2003 - 09:27 am:   

Leos Janacek was born today in 1854, a wonderful composer, IMHO. Heard these frissonbaking works below?

Glagolitic Mass
From The House of the Dead (opera)
Intimate Letters (String Quartet)
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 12:17 am:   

Of 20th century American composers, I find Alan Hovhaness very interesting. His Mt. St. Helen Symphony can tell you how good your stereo is!
Jack
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 01:47 am:   

Hi, Des
I used to own the "Spring" and "Rhenish" Symphonies in the Mahler "edition". No go! It's impossible for me to comprehend how Mahler could "get it so wrong" (in the words of a critic). The problem with many conductors is that they don't peruse Schumann's orchestral scores properly. Schumann was sometimes careless in his markings, so if they're not properly doctored up--they won't "sound". By re-orchestrating these works one just destroys the "Schumann-sound". I correspond with English conductor William Boughton. These are his thoughts, too. He believes this is a problem, one he wishes to correct. Get the Sawallisch recordings (orig. orchestration) and let these performances "nail you to the wall" (as the reviewer said).
Best, Jack
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Des
Posted on Monday, July 07, 2003 - 08:06 am:   

Hi, Jack I've got Hovhaness's music for orchestra and live whale noises! Other than that, I find his music too much of the transcendental/meditative school like Part and Taverner for my taste. By the way, John Taverner had a piece performed recently in London that lasted seven hours!
I'll take your advice on Schumann.
Des
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Des
Posted on Tuesday, July 08, 2003 - 08:05 am:   

A Happening!! Two grand pianos to be destroyed (a la The Who?). Actually, this is central to the debate whether Classical Music is stuffy or not. See:
http://www.andante.com/article/article.cfm?id=21464
Any thoughts?
Des
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Des
Posted on Wednesday, August 06, 2003 - 12:27 pm:   

Did anyone just hear the first performance of Sally Beamish's Trumpet Concerto at the London Proms? Great stuff. The radio announcer said it was inspired by 'Invisible Cities' by Italo Calvino.
Des
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Des
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 05:56 am:   

For fans of British Light Music, such as Albert Ketelby's In A Monastery Garden, Eric Coates' Dam Busters March, Robert Farnon, old wireless/radio theme music such as Mrs Dale's Diary, Desert Island Discs and In Town Tonight etc etc.---
BBC Radio 3 have a programme dedicated to this style every Sunday afternoon at 4pm.
Makes a change from Penderecki, Ligeti etc (which I also love)...
Des
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Des
Posted on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 01:53 pm:   

Holst's Planet Suite has just this minute been performed at the London Proms - a most exciting performance heard on BBC Radio 3. Prefigures John Williams film music, so it is hard to imagine how revolutionary it was when it was first composed.
Audience clapped between movements. Anyone against this?
Also, this music is based more on the astrology of the planets rather than their astronomy...

(My first classical music record when a child was Mars from this Suite, split on both sides of a 45 Single!)
Des
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Jamie Rosen
Posted on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 03:48 pm:   

I think it was inevitable, at the time of its writing, that it be based more on the astrology than the astronomy.

I adore Holst's Planets. Unfortunately, it's been so long since I heard it, I only remember the Mars piece much. In grade school, we had an exercise where we had to pick one of the pieces from The Planets, and then write a story to accompany it (and, in some cases, then perform that story.) That was the piece I chose.

I'm not sure how I feel about clapping between movements. In one sense, they are distinct pieces...
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Des
Posted on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 08:21 am:   

But what about clapping between movements of, say, symphonies or concertos? Apparently, it was always the case that one could do what one liked between movements (coughing, fidgetting, breaking wind *and* clapping). It is only in recent times, the tradition has grown up where you only show appreciation at the end. I think a performance of a piece of music is a one-off each time (in fact a unique piece of music quite distinct from the composer who once set the train in motion) - dependent on the musicians' individual and collective moods and skills, the conductor's interpretation of the score and rapport with orchestra, the ambience of the venue, the audience's mood both individually and as a gestalt (how did they get there, are they good listeners, are the seats comfortable, variable acoustics according to seat etc etc.)....

I think it is elitist to insist that all clapping is reserved for the end of the piece.
Des
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 12:14 pm:   

Well, since they're supposed to function as a whole, it would usually be better not to disrupt the transitions with clapping, I'd think.
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 12:41 am:   

I agree with the idea of not applauding between movements, as it can distract the conductor as well as the orchestra members. Also, some symphonies and concerti have connected movements (Beethoven's 6th, Schumann's 4th, Mendelssohn's 3rd ("Scottish"), etc.) and "clapping" would REALLY destroy the performance.

Why shouldn't we applaud between movements today? Another reason is that the live performance just might be being recorded. Also, by holding back on showing appreciation for a performance until the end, an audience can erupt in applause so much stronger when the coda of the last movement concludes the work.

Jack
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 02:13 am:   

My girlfriend Heidi and I just recently returned from a train trip to Zwickau, the Saxon town where Schumann was born in 1810. It's a nice place, cobblestoned "altstadt" (old town), completely made car-free for just pedestrians and bicyclists. The Schumann-Haus is a museum, filled with original paintings, manuscripts, and other documents of the great Romantic Period Master. Even the room in which he was born is in tact.

There's also a "Cafe Schumann", a "Schumann-Platz", a Schumann-Strasse and large marble monument to him in the center of Markt-Platz. We were able to buy some local recordings, too--the "Rhenish" Symphony (about my 15th recording!) and the piano/choral version of the "Pilgrimage of the Rose" oratorio. It was a great trip!

Jack
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nemo
Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 10:30 am:   

Thanks, Jack. Sounds great.
I won't ask you whether you know Schumann's Konzertstück in F Major for Four Horns and Orchestra -- because I'm sure you do -- but do you think it is one of his greatest works, as I do?


"The artist vocation is to send light into the human heart." Robert Schumann
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 11:54 pm:   

Hi, Nemo--

Yes, I do consider it one of his greatest...and I'm not alone! Most horn players and conductors see this work as the most important brass concerto between Haydn and Richard Strauss. Schumann wrote this masterpiece when most composers were still fumbling around with the valveless horn. Unlike some composers (Brahms?!), Schumann enjoyed taking chances writing for unusual combinations of instruments. So while Mozart has 4 concerti for one horn, Schumann has one concerto for 4 horns! What other works of his do you especially like?
Jack
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nemo
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 05:46 am:   

I find Schumann's Piano Quintet very exhilirating - and enjoy most of his solo piano music.

Re Brahms' and unusual combinations - guess his Double Concerto for cello and violin is relatively unusual as a form.
I don't know if this will be sacrilege to your ears, but I generally prefer Brahms to Schumann -- Brahms has an unique oblique richness (from which I hope you'll know what I mean as there are really no words to describe this feeling), particularly noticeable in the symphonies, clarinet quintet and German Requiem.
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 07:20 am:   

Yes, and that 'Brahmsian' sound was "appropriated" (not my word) from Schumann. I have no problem with Brahms except from some of his overly zealous fans. I know many fans of both composers, and interestingly enough, the ones who prefer Brahms are almost invariably largely ignorant of Schumann's works--but those who prefer Schumann know Brahms very well. They share many of the same qualities, but are quite different. For me, Schumann is the more emotionally intense, more dramatic and original. I admire Brahms for his variation technique, his thoroughness in development sections and classical form, as well as his ability to express "loneliness". You seem to be familiar with both, but since soooo many of Schumann's great masterpieces are still ignored, it takes a real effort to learn the works of both--equally well. Good hunting--and good listening!
Jack
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nemo
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 08:49 am:   

"Re Brahms' and unusual combinations - guess his Double Concerto for cello and violin is relatively unusual as a form."
*************
Hi, Jack, just recalled that Delius did a Double Concerto in this form!
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 10:36 pm:   

True, but Delius wrote his AFTER Brahms. And Beethoven has a "Triple Concerto". But I think for "unusual combinations" Brahms' "Horn Trio" is probably his best example, at least in the chamber music realm. Even then, Schumann's "3 Romanzen for Oboe & Piano", op. 94 are the ONLY ones (and excellent works!) for that combination that I'm aware of; he also used clarinette, viola and piano in at least 3 works; horn and piano in the op. 70. Also in the 20th century Hindemith, Schostakowitsch and others wrote double concerti, so maybe Brahms set a trend.
Jack
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nemo
Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2003 - 10:41 pm:   

Hi, Jack, I've got the Brahms Horn Trio on the same CD as Ligeti's Horn Trio (which the former overtly inspired but is so vastly different, if even in the same form). This is one of my favourite CDs as the contrasts work perfectly.
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 06:25 am:   

Hi, Nemo...what's this craze everyone seems to be having with Ligeti? His works are performed occasionally here in Germany, but not nearly as often as Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Schostakowitsch or Hindemith. Sure, he's pretty atonal/12-tonish, but so are Hans-Werner Henze and Penderezki---two I prefer to Legeti. Everyone on MUSICLASSICAL discussion group at Yahoo has Legeti, Schubert and Brahms on their top seven or ten lists. Am I missing something? Schubert and Brahms are fine (and I know them well!)...but--Ligeti?! Clue me in.
Jack
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nemo
Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 07:53 am:   

Well, Ligeti music was in the film '2001'!
Never got on with Henze much, but I do *love* Penderecki! My other favourite din-copated composers are Boulez, Varese, Per Norgord, Thomas Ades, Jamwes McMillan, Anthony Turnage, Hugh Wood...

re Ligeti, last Saturday, did anyone see Tasmin Little's performance of Ligeti's Violin
Concerto on BBC2 (recorded from the Proms)? A life-changing event. I already have this music on CD, but this is a completely different piece of music to that performance (now complete with awe-inspiring Tasmin Little cadenza). Which fact sort of goes along with my feeling that each performance of a piece of music is a quite different piece of music, a unique collaboration between composer, orchestra (including soloist and conductor, if any), venue and audience (as a whole and individually).
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Jack Kelso
Posted on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 03:03 am:   

Hi, Nemo--that's an interesting point of view. A stageplay offers the same. But on the subject of interpretation (of, say, symphonies) I've noticed that many conductors treat the four Brahms symphonies with undue caution and over-respect. This is a turn-off for me! Yet there are SOOO many excellent versions of his symphonies, I really don't know why more and more recordings just keep surfacing season after season. AND they're expensive! I'm glad I've got my "desert-island" versions of them. 'Wish I could say the same for some of Beethoven's, Schumann's or Bruckner's symphonies! There's no one conductor who interprets ALL of them well.
What do you think? Anyone out there with a comment on good/bad conductors?
Jack
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 09:44 am:   

After reading an article on Vaclav Halek, I'm interested in hearing some of his work. I've only been able to find one listing for his work, on Chamber Music from Central Europe. Anybody heard this?

BTW, the article is http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/30/1064819933075.html

Besides him, can you recommend a particular recording of THRENODY FOR HIROSHIMA VICTIMS by Penderecki? In my CD buying experience, different performances of peices can be quite different, so I'm not sure how different Threnody is on different CDs.

Or maybe what work by Takemtisu might be good to start with?

I want to get more familiar with 20th Century composers, but finding a starting point is hard (especially since few CD stores near me carry classical).
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nemo
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 08:12 am:   

Hi, Robert. I get a lot of my 20th/21st century 'classical' music on Naxos CDs. These are very cheap in UK. I don't know whether you can get them in USA. They usually have obscure orchestras (from Eastern Europe) but, in my book, wonderful, enthusiastic (sometimes raw-edged) performances. In any event, I'm not a one for the 'snobbery' of recordings, performances, conductors etc. I just lap up the music itself.
My copy of Penderecki's 'Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima for 52 stringed instruments' is on Naxos played by the National Polish Radio Symphony orchetsra (Katowice) cobducted by Antoni Wit. See what I mean. It's wonderful.
Des
PS: I've not encountered Vaclav Halek before. Thabnks for the tip off.
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nemo
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 08:30 am:   

Have you told JV, btw, Robert, about that Halek link above on mushroom music?!
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 08:58 am:   

We can get Naxos discs here pretty cheaply too. Thanks.

I have told JV about Halek.
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Des
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 10:13 am:   

Chandos (see their website at http://www.chandos.net/ ) is based a few miles from where I live in Essex, UK - which is a coincidence really, as I am one of their best customers. Great modern classical music (and a lot of British stuff of which I am a fan) - more expensive than Naxos, Nemo, but delightfully packaged and honestly well worth exploring.
Des
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des
Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2003 - 02:55 pm:   

2 tv programmes...

Dracula...
Last night, there was a ballet on BBC TV based on Bram Stoker's Dracula - in a sepia-tinted silent-film style, with Mahler music as backing (mainly Symphony No 1 but with other Symphonies, too). I *love* Mahler music. I love the way Mahler was used in a way I always thought he should be used. Death In Venice ... now Dracula. Wonderful.


Tonight ... There was a drama on BBC depicting the very first performance of the Eroica symphony where Beethoven attended - and Haydn - and other historical figures ... but it was a fascinating presentation of the whole music performed perhaps as it was intended to be, with people walking around, talking, smiling, eating in the middle, children coming in towards the end amid the players ... and all this activity tended to enhance the music.
A beautiful drama, well acted and memorable.
Not sure how good the history was, though!
Des

"I had realised before now that it is only a clumsy and erroneous form of perception which places everything in the object, when really everything is in the mind." Marcel Proust
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des
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 05:41 am:   

Eight soundbites:
With classical music it is difficult to give one’s best 8 for Desert island Discs, because I, for one, think in large works like symphonies, operas, whole string quartets etc. Anyway for what it’s worth, here are my top 8 soundbites:

Mars from the Planets Suite (Holst)
Threnody for Hiroshima Victims (Penderecki)
Mahler’s Adagio from Symphony No 5 (this ousted Barber’s adagio for Strings)
The Hurdy Gurdy Man – a song from Schubert’s Der Winterreise
Toccata & Fugue for Organ (Bach)
Grosse Fugue from one of his late SQs (Beethoven)
The Moto Perpetuo from Shostakovichs’ Symphony No 8
Three Screaming Popes – Turnage (one of them!)

If I were choosing 8 from my pop music era:
Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever double-sided single _ Beatles
Poetry In Motion – Johnny Tillotson
Runaway – Del Shannon
Walking Back To Happiness - Helen Shapiro
Wild Thing – Troggs
Hoots Mon – Lord Rockingham’s XI
Nut Rocker – B Bumble & The Stingers
They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha – Haaaa – Napoleon XIV

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