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Water Works

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Showing 1-25 of 45 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 28, 2012 8:23:09 AM PST
Can you think of works inspired by large bodies of water or land masses within?

Off the top of my head, this is all I've got :

Debussy : La Mer
" : L'isle Joyeuse
" : Cathedrale Engloutie
Ravel : Jeux d'eau
Rubinstein : Ocean Symphony

Thanks in advance! Fulfilling a Xmas obligation to best friend's young daughter.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 8:30:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 8:33:41 AM PST
Ralph Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony (his symphony no 1).

Also: Richard Rogers: Victory at Sea (Soundtrack/tone poem to the documentary "Victory at Sea"). Music arranged by RR Bennett.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2012 8:48:37 AM PST
I think we have had this topic before maybe it would be worth the trouble trying to find the thread.

Ravel: "Une barque sur le ocean"
Handel : "Water Music"
Liszt : "Jeux d'eau de la Villa d'este"
Liszt: "Au lac Wallenstadt"
Debussy : last movement of the three Nocturnes for orchestra

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:03:42 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:12:05 AM PST]

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:05:17 AM PST
Vitezslav Novak - The Storm, Op.42

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:05:44 AM PST
John Spinks says:
Do rivers qualify? If so,

Smetana -- The Moldau (from Ma Vlast)

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:08:56 AM PST
Land masses within? How about Bruckner's Helgoland?

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:11:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 9:18:43 AM PST
Joe Anthony says:
"By the Brook" from Beethoven's 6th "Pastorale" Symphony

"Dawn On the Moscow River" from Mussorgsky's "Khovanstchina"

"Father of the Waters" from Grofe's "Mississippi Suite"

"We Shall Gather at the River" from "Old American Songs" by Aaron Copland

"Fountains of Rome" by Respighi

Now excuse me while I go to the bathroom.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:24:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 9:36:03 AM PST
John Spinks asks if rivers qualify.

How about a brook? Does a brook qualify? The brook in Schubert's "Die Schone Mullerin" plays a major role---and gets to sing the final song.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:34:54 AM PST
Joe mentions "We Shall Gather at the River"---which puts me in mind of:

"Ol' Man River" (Jerome Kern) (The Mississippi is a pretty big body of water.)
"Lazy River" (Hoagy Carmichael) (The lazy river is of unspecified size but is large enough to power a mill.)
"Auf dem Wasser zu singen" (Schubert) (It's by Schubert! Self-qualifying.)

And Delius's short tone poem:
"Summer Night on the River"

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:42:15 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2012 1:30:54 PM PST
Handel and Telemann both wrote suites entitled "Water Music."

Debussy isn't the only composer to use the water-related Sirens as subject matter, there is also an orchestral tone poem by Reinhold Gliere: Gličre: Symphony No. 1, Op. 8; The Sirens, Op. 33, and a single movement from Karol Szymanowski's Metopes for solo piano, entitled "The Isle of Sirens": Karol Szymanowski: Piano Sonata No. 3; Métopes; Masques, or Richter In Vienna - Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 2 / Hindemith: Suite '1922' / Stravinsky / Shostakovich,etc. or Richter The Master - 20th Century Piano Works. (I also vaguely recollect that Per Norgaard composed a work on the subject of sirens as well--it may have been entitled, "The Song of Sirens".)

There is British composer Robin Holloway's "Sea-Surface Full of Clouds", based on a poem by American poet Wallace Stevens: Sea Surface Full of Clouds. Sibelius composed incidental music to Shakespeare's The Tempest, which can be heard in its entirety: Tempest: Complete Incidental Music to Shakespeare, or in two suites: Jean Sibelius: The Tempest, Suites 1 & 2 / The Oceanides / Nightride and Sunrise - Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Leif Segerstam. Sibelius' tone poem The Oceanides also pertains to water, as does Carl Nielson's Pan and Syrinx.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:43:26 AM PST
Getting smaller and smaller....

Can we count heterolytic fission of the O-H bond in a water molecule, in which case we could include Varese's Ionisation.....;-)

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:44:12 AM PST
Thanks, all! Thinking lakes, seas, oceans, more than rivers. Think the girl's m.o. is the mythical creatures that live in these big bodies, though I don't see why there couldn't be a colony of them at the bottom of the Mississippi.

Seems weird to me there seems to be nothing inspired by Atlantis.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:49:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 9:54:07 AM PST
Virgil Thomson's orchestral suite "The River" (about the Mississippi): Thomson: The River/The Plow That Broke the Plains

Better, though, is to see Pare Lorentz's 1937 documentary film "The River" for which Thomson wrote the musical track. The Naxos DVD restoration of the film is available (and the DVD includes Lorentz's amazing 1936 documentary "The Plow that Broke the Plains", for which Thomson wrote the musical track): The Plow That Broke the Plains & The River / Gil-Ordonez, Post-Classical Ensemble

Actually, "The Plow that Broke the Plains" is about the Dust Bowl---which occurred in a land mass. And it's about the lack of water, among other things. So I'd say it qualifies as well.

MZ, granted, this is rather far afield from your young friend's assignment---but I hope that I may be forgiven for pushing those two Pare Lorentz documentaries once again.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:49:48 AM PST
John Spinks says:
A contingent of English composers on the subject:

Bax -- The Garden of Fand
Bridge -- Suite: the Sea
Britten -- Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes (with the best storm at sea I've heard since Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture.)

Pardon if someone already mentioned these.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 9:55:50 AM PST
Joe Anthony says:
Check this out: "Water Walk" by John Cage

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 10:03:20 AM PST
MacDoom says:
Both Beethoven's and Mendelssohn's Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt
Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture
Schubert's Gesang der Geister über den Wassern
Berwald's concert etude 'on the Swedish Coast'
Rachmaninov 'Isle of the Dead' and 'The Rock'
Röntgen's symphonic poem 'A Ditty of the Sea'
The third movement from Zweers' 3rd symphony (to my Fatherland): 'On the Beach and at sea'

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 10:03:32 AM PST
Hans Werner Henze's ballet Undine, or Ondine, about a water nymph (originally danced by Margot Fontaine): Henze: Undine.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2012 10:28:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2012 10:30:49 AM PST
Ahmad says:
Do lakes qualify? If so,
Tchaikovsky- Swan Lake :-)

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 10:42:33 AM PST
another work by Grofe
Niagra suite.

the section
'power of niagra' certainly sounds like it one thinks it should sound.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 10:52:09 AM PST
KenOC says:
The Fugs sang "Wide, Wide River," but they weren't singing about a river of water...

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 11:37:29 AM PST
Here are Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling singing "The Water" (words and music by Johnny Flynn):

The water sustains me without even trying,
The water can't drown me. I'm done
With my dying...

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 12:28:46 PM PST
Some prominent 20th and 21st Century composers seem to have been inspired by those land masses within large bodies of water, aka islands.

MacDoom mentioned Rachmaninov. A few others which come to mind:

Howard Hanson's Bold Island Suite
Takemitsu's Coral Island
William Alwyn's The Magic Island
Joan Tower's Island Prelude
Carl Nielsen's An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands
Britten's On This Island
Maxwell Davies' Runes From a Holy Island
Arne Nordheim's Tempest and Magic Island
Peter Boyer's Ellis Island: The Dream of America

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2012 1:23:59 PM PST
MacDoom says:
Your Nielsen suggestion in turn made me think of Alfvén and his Legend of the Skerries.

And I forgot Dvorak's water goblin. How could I.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 1:26:02 PM PST
KenOC says:
Takemitsu was a fan of water. Recordings I have include Waves (1976), Towards the Sea (1981), Waterways (1978), and an early electronic piece called Water Music. Also his Quotation of Dream is kind of a fantasia on La Mer, if that counts.

Lots of pieces involving rain as well...
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  45
Initial post:  Dec 28, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 31, 2012

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