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Thread: Composers famous for one piece - do you know more by them?

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Default Composers famous for one piece - do you know more by them?

    There are a number of composers who are only known by the general classical listening audience for one piece. From some, it is deservedly the only piece that is known or regularly played by performers today, for others it unfairly casts into a shadow over other equally good (if not perhaps more significant) works by them.

    Here I have listed examples that I can think of, as well as whether I have heard any other pieces by these composers. I am interested in whether other people know more & have heard more works by such composers?

    Albinoni - Adagio (arr. Giazotto)

    Who hasn't heard this, quite honestly. Albinoni provided the basis for this famous melody, which C20th scholar & composer Giazotto elaborated into a piece of music. I don't remember hearing anything else from either composer. I do have something by Albinoni on a Baroque album, but I can't say that it's equally memorable as "his" greatest hit (nothing wrong, of course, if a tune is not memorable though).

    Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1

    This is definitely one of the most famous works in this genre, but outside of this Bruch is very much a nonentity to most classical listeners. I recently heard his youthful Piano Trio live in concert, as well as the Double Piano Concerto on radio. Both perhaps sounded too Brahmsian for their own good.

    Clarke - Trumpet Voluntary

    Outside of weddings, is this guy's music (any other pieces) actually played?

    Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice

    Used in Disney's film Fantasia, this is one of the most famous pieces in the repertoire. It is pretty spectacular, and perhaps eclipses another work I know by him, a ballet called La Peri (which sounds a bit like a combination of the then current Russian & French styles). Very lush. Dukas was an absolute perfectionist, who destroyed much of his music, which is a pity judging from these two fine works.

    Leoncavallo - "On with the Motley" (Vesti La Giubba) from I Pagliacci
    Mascagni - Mama, quel vino e generoso from Cavarellia Rusticana

    These are two of the most famous arias in all opera, but they eclipse all of the other operas these two very similar guys (in terms of style, anyway) wrote. I haven't heard anything else by Mascagni, but I have heard arias from Leoncavallo's La Boheme (apparently Leoncavallo gave Puccini the idea to write his own opera based on that story)

    Litolff - Scherzo from Concerto Symphonique No. 4

    It's been years since I heard this virtuosic piece on radio, but I have heard absolutely none of this guy's other music.

    Orff - Carmina Burana

    I have seen this live & it was pretty repetitive but spectacular nonetheless. I have read about some of his other cantatas and operas, but never heard any of them.

    Reznicek - Donna Diana overture

    This guy is very obscure, apart from this famous piece.

    Rodrigo - Concerto de Aranjuez

    One of the most famous concertos of the C20th, not least for being popularised by the likes of Miles Davis. I haven't heard anything else by him, have you?

    Sinding - The Rustle of Spring

    This is a very pretty, picture postcard or chocolate box piece. I wonder who has heard anything else by this guy, because I don't remember doing so.

    Villa - Lobos - Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 for soprano & 8 cellos

    This is the one composer on the list whose other works I know the most about & I think they are quite good. He not only put Brazil, but the whole of South America on the musical map. He was a prolific composer in all genres, but not many people known him outside of this greatest hit. A pity, for he wrote some great music - apart from the other 8 Bachianas, the 12 or so Choros are excellent as well...

    Warlock - Capriol Suite for strings

    I love this piece, very bouncy & energetic, but haven't heard anything else by Warlock.

    Widor - Toccata from Organ Symphony No. 5

    This is a very popular organ work, which has been used in many weddings. But I do have more of this guy's works, and I think that he was a very fine composer (he wrote 10 organ symphonies in total). Another famous piece is his Marche Pontificale from the first symphony.
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

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    Ponchielli: La Giocanda is an amzing work. Have never heard his wind quartet. Suspect most people haven't.

    Pfiztner: Palestrina. Another intriguing work. Also have his almost-never-heard cantata, 'Of The German Soul.'

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    Junior Member PicklePepperPiper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1

    This is definitely one of the most famous works in this genre, but outside of this Bruch is very much a nonentity to most classical listeners. I recently heard his youthful Piano Trio live in concert, as well as the Double Piano Concerto on radio. Both perhaps sounded too Brahmsian for their own good.
    Bruch's Kol Nidrei for cello an orchestra is quite famous, and an outstanding piece of music. If you haven't had the chance to listen to it, I highly recommend. Outside of this and what you mentioned, haven't heard much Bruch.

    Rodrigo - Concerto de Aranjuez

    One of the most famous concertos of the C20th, not least for being popularised by the likes of Miles Davis. I haven't heard anything else by him, have you?
    His Cello Sonata, (for some reason I'm thinking in A Minor, but I'm probably wrong) is a good piece of music. But haven't heard much else.

    Warlock - Capriol Suite for strings

    I love this piece, very bouncy & energetic, but haven't heard anything else by Warlock.
    Most probably due to the fact his real name was actually Philip Arnold Heseltine. Although, come to think of it, he used Warlock for his compositions so I have no idea what point I was trying to make. His compositions are mainly solo voice + piano work.

    The obvious one is Pachalbel - I actually haven't heard anything other than Canon, although I have heard he wrote a Gigue sometime in his life.

    Samuel Barber is, all too unfortunately, known best for his Adagio for Strings. I actually have never heard anything else by him, but would love recommendations.

    There's plenty more out there, but I can't think of any more.
    -PPP

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Bruch - Violin Concerto No. 1
    I have his Symphony No. 3 in my collection, but can't say I remember it. I haven't even heard the violin concerto, but then I don't generally like the violin as a solo instrument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice
    La Peri (as you indicate) has that great memorable fanfare that I'd bet a lot of people have heard in documentaries and might recognize without knowing who wrote it. Bizet, whom I somehow confuse with Dukas, similarly has L'Arlesienne with a well known documentary-type theme, though he is mostly known for Carmen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Rodrigo - Concerto de Aranjuez
    One of the most famous concertos of the C20th, not least for being popularised by the likes of Miles Davis. I haven't heard anything else by him, have you?
    Oh yes! There are several equally good Rodrigo works. Concierto para una fiesta, Fantasia para un gentilehombre, and Music para un jardin among others. He is very popular here in the US - well, Tennessee anyway.

    For Albinoni, Orff, and Villa-Lobos, I agree completely.

    The rest I'm not sure I even know.

    One might add Holst to the list for The Planets. Though I have many more of his pieces, I don't remember them quite as well due to lack of exposure.

    Also there's Pachelbel and his infernal Canon. Everything else I've heard by him is far more interesting, but never gets mentioned. [Edit:PicklePepperPiper beat me to this while I was in the spasms of creation.]

    Would you put Charles Gounod in that category? I only know him for Funeral March of a Marionette and for setting Ave Maria to one of Bach's Preludes from the WTC. I hear one of his operas is still being played, but I am not familiar with it.
    Last edited by Weston; Aug-23-2010 at 07:55.

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    Senior Member Jeff N's Avatar
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    Perhaps Roy Harris? I think the only piece of his that is well-known is the 3rd Symphony. I own his 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 9th symphonies, as well as some other various works. He is becoming one of my favorite composers.

    I completely agree that Samuel Barber should get way more playing time, aside from Adagio for Strings. As for recommendations, PicklePepperPiper, definitely get the Violin, Cello, and Piano Concertos, the First and Second Essays for Orchestra, and the Piano Sonata. His Violin Concerto is especially beautiful.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Yes, I remember hearing Bruch's Kol Nidrei, now that you mention it. I wouldn't put Barber in the same category as these, because his Violin Concerto & even Knoxville Summer of 1915 are quite famous. As for Pachelbel, yes - another composer definitely in this category.

    Two others I can think of:

    Boccherini - Minuet

    This is the only piece I have heard from him in recent memory, though I have read good things about (& intend to purchase once I get around to it) his guitar quintets.

    Dohnanyi - Variations on a Nursery Song

    This work contains the biggest leg-pull in the whole repertoire - a grand Brahmsian introduction, followed by Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! I have heard some other solo piano, chamber works and his Konzertstuck for cello & orchestra. He definitely had his own style, even though some may say he was too much in the shadow of Brahms. But he was a humble man, more keen to promote (& play as a pianist) the works of his countrymen Bartok & Kodaly, rather than promoting his own works...
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Boccherini - Minuet

    This is the only piece I have heard from him in recent memory, though I have read good things about (& intend to purchase once I get around to it) his guitar quintets.
    ... the Cello Concerto (one of 12)? Or the String Quintet (one of more than a hundred)?

    Others:

    Gorecki - 3rd Symphony
    Gluck - Orfeo ed Euridice
    Tartini - "Devil's Trill" Sonata
    "Summit or death, either way, I win" ~R. Schumann

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Yes, now you mention it, have heard Boccherini's Cello Concerto No. 8 (used to own it once, as a matter of fact). It was apparently cobbled together by another composer from some of Boccherini's cello concertos. I think it is comparable to the ones by Haydn.

    & yes, have heard a number of Gorecki's other works on radio. Especially remember some of his a cappella choral works, which were folksy & (of course) minimalistic.

    Some others I have thought of:

    O. Nicolai - Overture to The Merry Wives of Windsor
    A. Adam - Giselle
    J. Canteloube - Songs of the Auvergne (not many have heard much apart from the famous "Bailero," but I have heard the first book complete)
    E. Chabrier - Espana - don't remember hearing anything other than this famous lollipop
    M. Glinka - Overture to Ruslan & Lyudmila
    Ponchielli - Dance of the hours from La Gioconda
    Contrasts and Connections in Music

    "Oh! It is absurd to have a hard and fast rule about what one should read and what one shouldn't. More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn't read."
    - Algernon Moncrieff (in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest).

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    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post

    Here I have listed examples that I can think of, as well as whether I have heard any other pieces by these composers. I am interested in whether other people know more & have heard more works by such composers?

    Albinoni - Adagio (arr. Giazotto)
    Yes, I have many of Tomaso Albinoni's concertos, often for the baroque oboe (with its distinct vocal quality). Collegium Musicum 90 under Simon Standage (Chandos label) have many excellent recordings (on period instruments).

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    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre View Post
    Boccherini - Minuet

    This is the only piece I have heard from him in recent memory, though I have read good things about (& intend to purchase once I get around to it) his guitar quintets.
    Some of Boccherini's guitar quintets were rearrangements of his piano quintets, while others simply have the guitar as a supporting line, not as a stand alone virtuosic line compared with his piano quintets. I have on recording the complete piano quintets and guitar quintets (separate recordings), both on the Brilliant Classic label. If I were to choose which one, unreservedly it would be the piano quintets, which I posted a few days ago in the "Current Listening" thread (where I offended member Aramis by describing this music as "utterly civilised" ). All performed on period instruments. I would recommend you go for the piano quintets.

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    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    About Luigi Boccherini. I thought I shall extend a little bit more by saying he was one of the most original mid to late 18th century composers amongst the greats of that period. Definitely well worth exploring.

    I have all his cello concertos, making progress on his string quintets, guitar and piano quintets, several of his symphonies and a Stabat Mater, plus other miscellaneous sonatas for solo instruments.

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    Senior Member Edward Elgar's Avatar
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    Ravel - Bolero

    Beethoven - 5th Symphony

    Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

    Peter Maxwell Davis - Farewell to Stromness

    Elgar - Land of Hope and Glory

    Sibelius - Be Still my Soul
    When all the paint has been dried, when all the stone has been carved, music shall remain, and we shall work with what remains.

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    Ciprian Porumbescu - Ballade for Violin and Orchestra

    George Enescu - Romanian Rhapsody no. 1

    Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody no.2

    Mahler - Adagietto from the 5th symphony

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    I've made a point of seeking out more works by most of the composers mentioned, and indeed it is a rewarding pursuit. Carl Orff in particular has revealed a wealth of treasures for me.

    I can't really agree that the likes of Mahler, Liszt, Ravel, Beethoven, Elgar, Sibelius and Mozart are generally known for only one work though!

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    Senior Member JAKE WYB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Elgar View Post
    Ravel - Bolero

    Beethoven - 5th Symphony

    Mozart - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

    Peter Maxwell Davis - Farewell to Stromness

    Elgar - Land of Hope and Glory

    Sibelius - Be Still my Soul
    Every one of these composers is famous for a substantial and unique output and have many works in the standard repertoire - The point wasnt to pick the most hackneyed and overexposed popularlised hits of the great composers that might be the only sound bite familiar to the pleblic

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