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647821 Posts in 25914 Topics by 3699 Members - Latest Member: BigRed June 25, 2019, 01:02:58 PM
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Author Topic: I Hear A Symphony: A "classical" music topic?  (Read 26840 times)
gruelingpace
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« Reply #200 on: January 24, 2019, 11:42:24 PM »

Sibelius: Symphony No.5 - Vänskä/LPO(2010Live)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RwOxQBpVyg

I'm trying this.
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gruelingpace
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« Reply #201 on: January 24, 2019, 11:56:00 PM »

Nope.
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JK
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« Reply #202 on: January 27, 2019, 03:59:28 AM »

Nope.

You can't win 'em all, gh. Try this instead:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjyLWoJvtME

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Swan_of_Tuonela
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gruelingpace
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« Reply #203 on: February 01, 2019, 09:41:27 AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS8pVaQVJuY


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JK
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« Reply #204 on: February 01, 2019, 10:09:29 AM »


Wow, Erich Kleiber! Great choice there, gh. Better than Sibelius, eh? LOL

Listening to it now. Thanks for sharing! Wink
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 10:27:59 AM by JK » Logged

gruelingpace
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« Reply #205 on: February 01, 2019, 06:45:26 PM »


Wow, Erich Kleiber! Great choice there, gh. Better than Sibelius, eh? LOL


My preferences tend towards perfection of the warhorse .
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JK
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« Reply #206 on: February 02, 2019, 05:19:21 AM »


Wow, Erich Kleiber! Great choice there, gh. Better than Sibelius, eh? LOL


My preferences tend towards perfection of the warhorse .

Aha. Are you familiar with the nine Beethoven symphonies under René Leibowitz? Fantastic!

You'll find them here: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=leibowitz+beethoven
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JK
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« Reply #207 on: February 11, 2019, 01:07:05 PM »

Heard this today as the background music to a scene from Mr. Robot. Holst's The Planets suite has always afforded rich pickings for makers of films and TV programmes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-G272M77N0

https://songsfromsodeep.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/space-music-holsts-neptune-the-mystic/
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JK
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« Reply #208 on: February 17, 2019, 11:56:59 AM »

The soprano whom I used to help with her parts (she sings in a semi-professional choir) has resumed singing again after a bout of illness. One of the pieces I helped her with today was this incredibly moving Requiem by Herbert Howells:

Another work on that programme is Domenico Scarlatti's Stabat Mater. (Not to be confused with the one written by his father Allessandro.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmmM-sgvXQk

https://www.stabatmater.info/componist/scarlatti-2/
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JK
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« Reply #209 on: March 22, 2019, 03:42:58 PM »

This spectacular sequence is from part two of Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible. Prokofiev supplies the equally spectacular music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tcPBx3O_H4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_the_Terrible_(1944_film)#Part_2
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JK
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« Reply #210 on: March 27, 2019, 02:12:32 PM »

Michael Nyman's Music After a While narrowly avoided being unceremoniously dumped in the ambient thread. It was the association with Henry Purcell's Music For a While that saved the day (see details in link):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiQFJhvukVs

https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/products/8546907--if-michael-nyman-henry-purcell
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JK
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« Reply #211 on: April 05, 2019, 05:20:01 AM »

This is for you, zosobird. You know why.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cd3Mt2SDCw
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JK
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« Reply #212 on: April 10, 2019, 05:21:15 AM »

My last major project at the Endless Harmony forum was a seven-post rundown of Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets.

That mini-series was prompted by the unexpected inclusion of the final movement, "Neptune, the Mystic", as background music in a TV show, where it represented alienation rather than the hush of concentration Holst intended. You'll need to crank up the volume considerably as I believe the loudest it gets is mezzo-piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26tYwaTFOzA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Planets
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JK
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« Reply #213 on: April 19, 2019, 10:35:30 AM »

It's that day again. This rendition of Wagner's "Good Friday Music" is for halblaineisgood aka Treatzapiza, who I hope is doing well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9sx5G3YZw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pb9sx5G3YZw
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JK
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« Reply #214 on: April 21, 2019, 01:16:48 AM »

It's that other day again, folks...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQoGMgA3wR0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Easter_Festival_Overture
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JK
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« Reply #215 on: May 15, 2019, 03:08:35 AM »

Last week we attended a concert for string quartet. Normally I'm not a chamber music fan at all but this programme was special. Aside from Steve Reich's Different Trains for string quartet and tape (see today's ambient topic), what attracted us was a work by John Luther Adams, The Wind in High Places. We'd been bowled over by Adams's recent orchestral masterpiece Becoming Desert a while back and this older work didn't disappoint (read the linked wiki page for essential details). Here's part two:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxYnROT9QUI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_in_High_Places
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« Reply #216 on: June 16, 2019, 09:24:05 AM »

I'm no fan of Bach (unless Glenn Gould is playing it) but this motet I heard at the funeral service of a local choral conductor was very moving indeed. Maybe the occasion had something to do with it. That said, the deceased was only the most fleeting of acquaintances. (The music starts about half a minute in.) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFbTZ9T7ogc

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Jesu_Christ,_meins_Lebens_Licht,_BWV_118
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JK
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« Reply #217 on: June 20, 2019, 04:15:12 AM »

It was the use of music from The Planets (part of "Neptune" and a snippet from "Mars") in an episode, posted elsewhere by my blogger friend, of Mr. Robot that gave me the idea of tackling each of the seven movements of Holst's orchestral suite chronologically, accompanied by a potted description off the top of my head (this will explain any errors). This Smiley version has been slightly abridged and reduced to a single post. With thanks to CB for unwittingly instigating it! Smiley 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Planets

The work opens with "Mars, the Bringer of War". Begun, I believe, before WWI broke out, it is prophetic of the mechanized warfare to come. The 5/4 rhythm batters its way inexorably through the movement, with a brief lull about halfway and a cry of pain towards the end.

"Mars" has been used in a modified form by King Crimson in "The Devil's Triangle" from their second album In the Wake of Poseidon.

The version of The Planets I'll be linking is by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis. A brief anecdote (while I'm on a roll): Davis and I actually attended the same grammar school, although he was my senior by two or three years. When I was fourteen I took him a piece of music I'd written--just some derivative fluff. He played through it with all the care and attention worthy of a masterpiece, and then played (and sang) a big chunk of a cantata he had been working on. And now he's a world-famous conductor.

You should turn the volume up reasonably high to catch the hushed opening rhythm on the strings but you may find yourself turning it down later on! Tongue

Mars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuG8qxkcsdw

The second movement, "Venus, the Bringer of Peace", is the one that contrasts most with its predecessor in the suite. That rising horn figure, answered by cool flutes, ushers in a picture of serenity. Later a solo oboe rises to the occasion. After a gentle climax, a rippling celesta brings the movement to a close. Holst was a troubled man but nothing of it shows in these almost nine minutes of bliss.

Venus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fs1zKUUNjOA

"Mercury, the Winged Messenger" is mercurial in both name and nature. This last-named is expressed musically in two ways:

First, the key furthest away from C is F#, positioned midway between one C and the C an octave above (or below). This interval is called the tritone and it can be made great use of in the hands of a capable composer, as here. (I could probably do better to describe it as a sophisticated use of bitonality.)

Second, the rhythm alternates between bars of 3/4 and 6/8; these are sometimes heard simultaneously.

The effect of these two devices makes "Mercury" feel as light as air. It's also the shortest of the seven movements--indeed, it's more like an interlude or perhaps a scherzo.

Mercury: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ucD-sGXUhY

"Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity" (lovely word, that) is the one you're most likely to hear on the radio. It simply brims over with great tunes.

Understandably in this light, it is the most plundered movement of the seven. Manfred Mann's Earthband even took one of the tunes (first heard at 1:05) into the charts as "Joybringer". And Frank Zappa introduced his "Ritual Dance Of The Giant Pumpkin" on Absolutely Free with another (first heard at 1:46).

The big tune at 3:15 was given lyrics and sung as a patriotic hymn ("I Vow to Thee, My Country") during WWI. I can't remember whether Holst sanctioned this move but it's totally out of keeping with the carefree nature of "Jupiter". (Regrettably, the video makes mention of this misuse in the title.) My favourite passage is the swirling, almost psychedelic treatment of this very tune just before the coda.

Jupiter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0GHYeAJ5LM

When I first heard "Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age" I was in my mid teens. More than half a century later, it is still one of my favourite Holst pieces. (The title is somewhat more telling now, of course.)

It begins with two alternating chords representing the inexorable march of the years. Later, we get one of Holst's "sad processions"--he was haunted by these all his life--in the brass at first. Four flutes introduce a new, more urgent element that builds until the bells clang out an alarm. Panic briefly ensues before acceptance takes over and the movement ends in serene, widely spaced chords underpinned by low notes on the organ pedals.

Saturn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQoQ7bVHjrc

"Uranus, the Magician" has much in common with Dukas' Sorceror's Apprentice, except that this sorceror is in control from the get-go. The opening four-note incantation on the brass recurs throughout the movement, which builds until a shattering glissando on the organ transports us to a serene realm devoid of all hocus-pocus.

Uranus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzTk2ut6Ef0

"Neptune, the Mystic" is one of the quietest pieces ever written. (I don't believe it rises above mezzo-piano.) I remember the LP liner notes going on to describe this low volume as "the hush of concentration" rather than of despair or anything negative. The high G (here at 3:51) takes a while to impress itself on the senses. It is sung by female voices located in a room offstage. Dividing into six (?) parts, they carry the work to its conclusion. To sneakily quote an old Smiley post of mine, the door of the room closes slowly on the female choir with the final bar "repeated until the sound is lost in the distance".

Neptune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26tYwaTFOzA

PS: Anyone bold enough to investigate the full score can find it here. I remember gawping at its graphic qualities as a young child. Before then I'd heard The Planets only once on the radio, at night, drifting up the stairs to my bedroom where it conjured up multi-coloured visions of outer space.

EGDON HEATH

The CD that I've used to illustrate each planet concludes with my favourite among Holst's compositions, the orchestral miniature Egdon Heath. Written in 1927, the composer considered it his most perfectly realized work. (Not being a part of the series, I took the liberty of looking some things up at this point!)

The version linked here (recorded in 1961 by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Adrian Boult) is the one I've always known and loved. The YouTube blurb is pretty well complete in itself, with the wiki page providing some additional background information:

"A place perfectly accordant with man's nature--neither ghastly, hateful nor ugly; neither commonplace, unmeaning nor tame; but like man, slighted and enduring; and withal singularly colossal and mysterious in its swarthy monotony." This quotation from Thomas Hardy's 1878 novel The Return of the Native appears on the score of Gustav Holst's tone poem Egdon Heath, dedicated to Hardy (who, at age 87, had one more year of life remaining), and long regarded by the composer as his finest work. It was commissioned by the New York Symphony Orchestra, which premiered it under the direction of Walter Damrosch at New York's Mecca Auditorium on 12 February 1928. The next day Holst led the City of Birmingham Symphony in the British premiere at Cheltenham, where the first major festival of Holst's music had taken place the previous year. Those initial performances went well, but another in London a few days later was greeted poorly by a noisy and unreceptive audience. This seems to have made Holst a bit anxious about the work, and may have led to his desire that the above Hardy quotation should always appear in any explanatory programme notes.

In her book on her father's music, Holst's daughter Imogen evokes the Hardy quotation in referring to the "mysterious monotony" of the tone poem, which begins with a sombre melody heard first in the double basses, then taken up by the rest of the strings. A nostalgic theme in the brass and woodwinds, and a scurrying theme in the strings and oboe, work their way into the texture as well, leading to moody, twilit music and what has been described as a "strange, ghostly dance". This dark, evocative work finishes the same way it started: quietly, and somewhat mysteriously. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msIL7eavgk4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egdon_Heath



Gustav Holst (21 September 1874--25 May 1934)
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JK
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« Reply #218 on: June 21, 2019, 02:40:56 AM »

Some of the streets in my area are named after composers, most of them big international names but also a few Dutch men and women, many of whom have slipped into obscurity. One street is named after the Dutchman Willem Landré (1874-1948). I remember a late composer friend not being particularly impressed with him (I must look it up). This "romantic piano concerto" from 1936 is pleasant enough. His son Guillaume (1905-1968) was also a composer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0ZIJwrVQG4
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