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The Dusty Bronzo Classical Music Thread


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Showing 1-25 of 36 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 19, 2011, 11:57:14 AM PST
ronzo says:
A place for film lovers to chat about, and share their experiences of classical music.

Posted on Dec 20, 2011, 4:30:35 AM PST
dustman says:
Hooray! Found it. In honor of my favorite composer here's what I've been listening to: Debussy: 12 Etudes. Mitsuko Uchida, pianist.

Posted on Dec 20, 2011, 9:30:02 AM PST
I think this is going to be a difficult chain to draw people into. Music -- especially classical music -- is a difficult thing for a person to verbalize without being a musicologist. I can say I love Mahler's or Debussy's or Sibelius's music and I do. But I can't put into words why I do. The other day I tuned into a classical music station in Mass. There are no longer any AM or FM stations in Connecticut devoted to classical music. I like to come in in the middle of a piece because I immediately take up the challenge to identify the composer. I listened to the piece partly in the car and came in the house and turned it on. At first it sounded faintly modern but had aspects about it that seemed more traditional. I finally picked up a theme and said I know what that is; It's the ballet music of The Fairy's Kiss (Le Baiser de la Fee) by Stravinsky. In it he makes reference to the Tchaikovsky style. I hadn't heard that thing in 20 or 30 years but it was still buried in there. But if I had been pressed to say why it sounded like Stravinsky, I couldn't have.

Posted on Dec 20, 2011, 9:34:47 AM PST
Omnireader says:
I love Michael Praetorius 1571-1621, http://youtu.be/6Y3NFOPSCN4
BTW in the late 1960s this was used as a background song for an Alka-Seltzer commercial.
O tempora o mores!

The perfection of Glenn Gould is wonderful. Each note a crystalline drop.
Sadly, his eccentricities cut his career short, but his recordings are a brilliant window into the purity of Bach.
Imagine having the music of Bach infuse your whole mind, body and brain. Incredible, wonderful.

http://youtu.be/E49E1VEmOhM

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 12:03:20 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2011, 12:05:05 PM PST
Omnireader:

That is one of the pieces in Praetorious' Terpsichore (Instrumental Dances) (1612). There's a wonderful complete performance conducted by Philip Pickett and The New London Consort on a L'Oiseau-Lyre CD which may still be in circulation.

There were two half-hour films made by the Canadian Film Board about Glenn Gould titled "Off the Record" and "On the Record," the latter being a documentary of his recording of the Bach Italian Concerto at Columbia Records in New York and are or were available on DVD. I don't know if his eccentricities cut his career short. A stroke cut his life short.

Speaking of the Canadian Film Board, I have a DVD that is a documentary about Igor Stravinsky in Canada recording his Symphony of Psalms with the CBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. He and his wife Vera and Robert Craft and others are interviewed. It is a priceless document with Stravinsky rehearsing the orchestra and getting into a small tiff with Columbia recording director John McClure. There's a film included of his old friend Nicholas Nabokov visiting Stravinsky in his hotel room and tipping a few Scotches together with Stravinsky becoming just a little bit tipsy but enjoying himself nonetheless. Alas this DVD is no longer shown as being available.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 4:03:02 PM PST
dustman says:
Bruce,
re: classical music is a difficult thing to verbalize.

Yes, because it strikes so many individual chords (no pun intended) within the individual. Perhaps Omnireader has the right idea about posting links to a particular performance and in such a way sharing the music, along with why the artist or work should be appreciated.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 6:16:30 PM PST
ronzo says:
dustman,

Heavens, I thought, those etudes sound difficult!!! lol. And then I found out, on wiki, that they were designed to be so; in fact, Debussy attached a warning to budding pianists concerning them! lol. I think I would have liked him. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 6:32:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2011, 6:35:06 PM PST
dustman says:
Yeah, quite an exercise for the fingers! I read somewhere that Debussy claimed that he was always interested in a life at sea and had he not pursued his music he would have been gone a'sailing. That may have something to do with one of his more famous compositions: La Mer.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 6:42:50 PM PST
ronzo says:
Bruce,

Re: "I think this is going to be a difficult chain to draw people into."

Let's just be glad we aren't having to live off selling memberships.... LOL! ; )

Re: "I can say I love Mahler's or Debussy's or Sibelius's music and I do. But I can't put into words why I do."

Well, let's make that a goal then, shall we? (I think I share this goal with you. Another one of mine is to isolate the pieces I like the most). I'm no musicologist either (obviously), but I believe we do have the necessary vocabulary. And being able to bounce ideas off others is, IMO, going to be a boon.

I love Plato's dictum ... "Know Thyself." This is another great avenue to pursue that, IMO. In fact, I'd say it is one of the best, seeing as the corpus of classical music is so wide-ranging and multi-variate.

Not to mention, I've just spent a night listening to Debussy's Etudes. ; )

I spent the day leafing through my Oxford Composer's Companion to Bach:

Oxford Composer Companion: J.S. Bach

and listening to The Magnificat in D Major, BMV 243. I have to say, I thought Suscepit Israel

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QK0k-QkpGI

was the best part. But nothing of the Top 100 'classical pieces' sort of calibre.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 6:47:14 PM PST
ronzo says:
Omnireader,

Thank you for mentioning Praetorius. I checked out the youtube clip and loved it. I'm going to get that CD from the library, and listen to the whole thing. Lots of bounce. : )

Do you prefer Gould's earlier or later stab at Bach?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 6:48:45 PM PST
ronzo says:
Bruce,

Re: "There's a wonderful complete performance conducted by Philip Pickett and The New London Consort on a L'Oiseau-Lyre CD which may still be in circulation."

Right you are! In fact, they recently remastered it!!
Can't wait.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 7:04:42 PM PST
ronzo says:
dustman,

Re: "Perhaps Omnireader has the right idea about posting links to a particular performance and in such a way sharing the music, along with why the artist or work should be appreciated."

I think so too. A specific performance can make such a difference. And, after all, that's what we're sharing ... specific recordings that have moved us.

Tonight, I'd like to post this version of Pachelbel's Canon in D. So many people screw this one up! lol. Apparently, the worst ones appear on New Age discs.... lol. But I prefer versions like this one, with the violin prominent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2GRHPM4hCI

Posted on Dec 20, 2011, 9:41:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 20, 2011, 9:44:33 PM PST
The next time you listen to the Mahler Eighth Symphony (The Symphony of a Thousand), listen to the astonishingly difficult and beautiful passage work the first violinist (Concert Master) is playing, often as supportive to the solo singing. This may be the only Mahler symphony that conductor Claudio Abbado won't be likely to record. Also pay attention to degree to which Mahler uses the harp in much of his music. In the orchestration of the newly recorded video of Mahler's eighth conducted by Riccardo Chailly, four harps (the "preferred" number) are used. The work was first performed in America in 1918 conducted by Leopold Stokowski. It was reported that many members of the audience wept openly during the performance.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 20, 2011, 9:52:27 PM PST
Omnireader says:
ronzo

Gould was brilliant both in his early and later works.
The early Goldberg Variations were those of a young man. Simplified and rather plain, somewhat faster tempo versus his later work.

Gould had a bad habit of "singing" while he played. It made it difficult to record his works without quite a lot of filtering and studio work.

He recognized that and regretted his earlier live work.
However, I enjoy his work from the early spare versions to the more complete later versions.

Before Gould, Wanda Landowska was famous for her recordings of the Goldberg Variations. She played them on a harpsichord, which or course was more authentic to the time, but didn't allow the expression of the organ, also of Bach's time.

Landowska http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFhQToK5Rr0

Organ http://youtu.be/iBamlHQbDB0

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2011, 7:31:37 PM PST
ronzo says:
Bruce,

Super!

I hope we explore Mahler quite a bit; especially that Eighth Symphony!!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2011, 7:36:19 PM PST
ronzo says:
Omnireader,

I'm likin' the organ version better myself!!! lol. Thanks for posting; I enjoyed it, a lot.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2011, 7:44:19 PM PST
ronzo says:
I'd like to post two songs ...:

Palestrina's Stabat Mater

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPnufDDPXFY

and

Allegri's Miserere

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36Y_ztEW1NE&feature=related

I'm skipping Gregorian Chant, and the shift from mono to polyphony, which obviously is used to maximum effect in these two songs. But, before I indulge in much Bach, I wanted to post these two songs ... desert island ones for me. I love the way they are performed here. These songs are so often ruined by other, lesser renditions, IMO.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 21, 2011, 11:56:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 22, 2011, 12:01:31 AM PST
Omnireader says:
ronzo

Excellent choices!

Have you seen this Youtube of Allegri's Miserere?
Please open up the "Show more" feature to get the entire story.
http://youtu.be/egp7AIL2tOI

Here is Psalm 51 to compare with the words of the Miserere.

[3. Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your kindness; according to Your great mercies, erase my transgressions.
4. Wash me thoroughly of my iniquity, and purify me of my sin.
5. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
6. Against You alone have I sinned, and I have done what is evil in Your sight, in order that You be justified in Your conduct, and right in Your judgment.
7. Behold, with iniquity I was formed, and with sin my mother conceived me.
8. Behold, You desired that truth be in the hidden places, and in the concealed part You teach me wisdom.
9. Purify me with a hyssop, and I will become pure; wash me, and I will become whiter than snow.
10. Make me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that You crushed exult.
11. Hide Your countenance from my sins, and erase all my iniquities.
12. Create for me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
13. Do not cast me away from before You, and do not take Your holy spirit from me.
14. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and let a noble spirit support me.
15. I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You.
16. Save me from blood, O God, the God of my salvation; let my tongue sing praises of Your charity.
17. O Lord, You shall open my lips, and my mouth will recite Your praise.
18. For You do not wish a sacrifice, or I should give it; You do not desire a burnt offering.
19. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; O God, You will not despise a broken and crushed heart.
20. With Your will, do good to Zion; build the walls of Jerusalem.
21. Then You will desire sacrifices of righteousness, a burnt offering and a whole offering; then they will offer up bulls on Your altar.]
http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16272/jewish/Chapter-51.htm

See also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stabat_Mater

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2011, 12:21:40 AM PST
Omnireader says:
ronzo

Count me in as a Vivaldi fan. Magnificent!

Here is winter from the Four Seasons, in honor of the Solstice, and the beginning of a new year astronomically.
http://youtu.be/uC-USAB530A

Actually I prefer "Autumn" to "Winter" of his works.

When we take over the Biltmore, it's library and environs, let there be Vivaldi, Bach, and Mozart!

Earl Grey Tea and Scottish Biscuits, optional but suggested.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2011, 11:02:14 AM PST
ronzo:

I remember when the CD first appeared in the early 1980s, The Four Seasons was the most over-recorded classical piece of anything in the catalog. There must have been twenty different performances available and that's all you got which amounted to 30 to 35 minutes, a real rip-off on a CD capable of containing at least 74 minutes. A lot of people grumbled and the industry quickly learned to "fill up" classical CDs.

One of my favorite pieces by Vivaldi is his Concerti for Diverse Instruments, R.558 employing a rather large orchestra for its time, including lute and mandolin.

Posted on Dec 22, 2011, 11:08:01 AM PST
Is the compact disc destined for oblivion with all the downloading going on? Are people aware that downloaded audio is severely data-compressed and generally provides second-rate audio? There is no data compression necessary for a CD. I don't think it makes much difference to the pop music crowd who are in the process of losing their hearing at a young age anyway.

Posted on Dec 22, 2011, 12:53:31 PM PST
For the Holiday Season: Two pieces that I particularly like, composed in relatively recent times:

Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Hodie" (1954), a Christmas cantata for solo singers, chorus, boys' choir and orchestra.
Available on an EMI CD, Richard Hickox, conductor. The London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus and St. Paul's Cathedral Choristers. Absolutely beautiful.

Benjamin Britten's "Ceremony of Carols," Op. 28 (1942). I have it on an Argo LP performed by St. John's College Choir, Cambridge. I'm sure it's available on CD as well.

Happy Christmas, all.

Posted on Dec 22, 2011, 2:06:38 PM PST
Grant says:
I've always enjoyed this one by Saint-Saens

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ulra--HtfMs

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2011, 6:53:01 PM PST
Omnireader says:
BGT

I enjoy the older version of "Hodie Christus natus est" from the 1500s.
I used to sing it in the stairwell of the university I attended. Great acoustics, and a nice echo effect.

Of course, the 3 floors closest to where I was singing had the benefit of it as well. ;-D

http://youtu.be/gxyqDRV_h50

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 22, 2011, 6:54:04 PM PST
ronzo says:
Grant,

I enjoyed that! : )
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