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Thread: Andre's music spot

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Default Andre's music spot

    For a couple of years now, a friend & I have had a regular get together to listen to eachother's recordings. We do this about once a week. Sometimes we listen to things that we'll hear live in concert, at other times just anything that takes our fancy. We have found that this makes for a pleasant evening.

    My friend is into Romantic and C20th music, I'm more into music of the last 100 years, but we're both pretty much all-rounders. He has more operas than I have. Most of my collection was acquired in the past two and a half years, he was a big collector in the 1980's & '90's. We find it interesting to listen to & discuss the different things in eachother's collection. Sometimes we compare different recordings of the same work. & occassionally we listen to non-classical stuff as well.

    I will be posting what we listen to each week here. Feel free to discuss these composers, works, performers, or other favourite performances, etc. To start, I'll post some of the things we have been getting into over the past 12-18 months. Usually, we listen to the sets over a number of weeks, we usually listen to a variety of recordings during each session. This is only a fraction of what we have listened to, but it gives you an idea of what we have listened to:

    From the friend's collection:

    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Ballet (complete)
    RPO/Ambrosian Singers/Previn
    (EMI) 2 discs



    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5
    Cleveland Orch./Maazel
    (Telarc)



    Wagner: Tannhauser
    Soloists/Chorus of Royal Opera House/Philharmonia Orch./Sinopoli
    (DGG) 3 discs



    Chopin: "Heroic" Polonaise; Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise; Variations Brilliantes on a Theme from Ludovic by Halevy; Mazurkas Op. 6; Contredanse; Tarantelle
    Malcolm Frager, piano
    (Telarc)



    Schubert: Lieder
    Battle/Levine
    (DGG)

    Last edited by Sid James; Dec-17-2010 at 03:15.
    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).

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Schubert: The Late Piano Sonatas & other works
    Maurizio Pollini, piano
    (DGG) 2 discs



    Handel: The Messiah
    Soloists/Monteverdi Ch./English Baroque Soloists/Gardiner
    (Philips) 3 discs



    Debussy & Ravel: Chamber Works
    Ensemble Wien-Berlin
    (DGG)




    From my collection:

    Schubert: Complete Piano Trios & Grand Duo
    Collard/Dumay/Lodeon
    (EMI - 2 discs)


    [B]
    Last edited by Sid James; Dec-17-2010 at 03:16.
    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).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieras 1 - 9
    Soloists/Nashville SO/Schermerhorn
    (Naxos - 3 discs)



    Carter: String Quartets 1 & 5
    Pacifica Quartet
    (Naxos)



    Part: Berliner Messe
    Elora Festival Singers/Edison
    (Naxos)



    Granados: Piano Trio; Piano Quintet
    LOM Piano Trio & guests
    (Naxos)



    Mozart: Great Mass in C; Ave Verum Corpus
    Soloists/LSO & Chorus/Davis
    (Eloquence)



    Mahler: Lieder
    Christa Ludwig, mezzo soprano/various orchs. & conductors
    (EMI)

    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 Sid James's Avatar
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    Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Webern, Boulez - piano works
    Maurizio Pollini, piano
    (DGG)



    Schoenberg, Sibelius - Violin Concertos
    Hahn/Swedish RSO/Salonen
    (DGG)

    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).

  5. #5
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    Interesting range of CDs. What's the Granados piano trio and piano quintet like?

    Good to see there are muscial soirees in our city. It's exactly what folks used to do in centuries before us, when music was their only major form of entertainment.

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    Senior Member Romantic Geek's Avatar
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    I almost picked up that Tchaikovsky album...but opted to get a box set of Karajan conducting the 6 symphonies when I was at the record store. I'm not regretting the choice atm.
    B.M. Music Theory - University of Connecticut
    M.M. Music Theory - College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati (in process)
    My Soundclick Page - feel free to browse my compositions I post up there

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarpsichordConcerto View Post
    Interesting range of CDs. What's the Granados piano trio and piano quintet like?...
    I thought you'd be interested in that one. This is a good disc if you want to get into Granados' chamber music. It also includes as a bonus track a piano trio arrangement of the famous Intermezzo from his opera Goyescas. In these works, salon music is not far away, and there are also strong hints of Spanish gypsy melodies and even Moorish harmonies. The style is typcially late c19th/early c20th. If you know some of the chamber works of Debussy & Ravel, Granados can sit comfortably amongst those (no wonder, as he spent a long spell in Paris as a student and performer). The only downside with this disc is that (unusually for Naxos) the time is rather short at about 45 minutes. I guess they couldn't find anything else suitable to couple it with. The reason I got this disc was to be able to hear the piano trio before I went to a recital of it in the middle of the year, with pianist Kathryn Selby & her "Trioz" here in Sydney...
    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 Ravellian's Avatar
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    I love that Pollini album where he plays the late Schubert sonatas. He has such a controlled, refined touch that is very suitable to these works. Sometimes I think his playing is a little too 'clean' and formal, but it works well with these sonatas.

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    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravellian View Post
    I love that Pollini album where he plays the late Schubert sonatas. He has such a controlled, refined touch that is very suitable to these works. Sometimes I think his playing is a little too 'clean' and formal, but it works well with these sonatas.
    Yes, it's a great set, & the friend & I have listened to each work twice over the past two or so months. It really warrants repeated listening. I also like Pollini's "no frills" playing. He's only interested in conveying what the composer seems to have intended, nothing more and nothing less. I don't own any of Schubert's piano works, & I might get this set. I liked the Three Piano Pieces D. 946 the most. It has this feeling of the old Vienna of Schubert's youth. He was reminiscing of better days when he wrote this, which was late in his short life, when he was not very well (I think all but one of the works on the set are posthumous). I also want to hear some other "takes" on these works, eg. Bolet and Richter. The Impromptus would be great to hear again, I haven't heard them for many years...
    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).

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Saturday 18.12.10

    This week we again listened to Schubert's Piano Sonata D. 960 played by Maurizio Pollini. Then we listened to highlights from Handel's The Messiah on the Naxos disc below. My friend & I were to go to a live performance of the work the next day, but unfortunately he was unable to make it due to not feeling well. I wasn't feeling too crash hot either, but I was able to go. To finish up, we heard Beethoven's String Quartet No. 10 ("Razumovsky No. 3") played by the Hungarian String Quartet on an old Columbia LP.



    Schubert: friend's collection
    Handel & Beethoven: my collection
    Last edited by Sid James; Dec-22-2010 at 02:40.
    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 Sid James's Avatar
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    Saturday 08.01.11

    To kick off the new year, we decided we'd delve into Liszt on our music nights this month. So it was Brendel & Horowitz playing the seminal Sonata in B minor & other works to get us started. Then we discussed & read poems from Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, and listened to that to finish up. We will see this work in April here in Sydney at an Australia Ensemble concert at the University of New South Wales. It's been more than 10 years since I last heard this work (I've never owned it on disc before) & probably the first time my friend heard it. He tapped in to the darkness & grotesquerie of the work straight away.

    Liszt:
    Sonata in B minor
    Legends I & II
    La Lugubre Gondola I & II
    Alfred Brendel, piano
    Philips
    (Friend's disc)



    Liszt:
    Sonata in B minor
    Funerailles
    Vladimir Horowitz, piano (recorded 1930's)
    EMI
    (My disc)



    Schoenberg:
    Pierrot lunaire, melodrama for voice & chamber ensemble, Op. 21
    Herzgewächse (Heart's Foliage), song for soprano, celesta, harp & harmonium, Op. 20
    Christine Schafer, voice/soprano
    Members of the Ensemble InterContemporain
    Pierre Boulez, direction
    DGG
    (My disc)

    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).

  12. #12
    Senior Member HarpsichordConcerto's Avatar
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    I have the Ode to Napoleon on CD. It's interesting how Schoenberg wrote for a reciter/narrator with instruments. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that the instrumental music is obviously atonal, and that writing atonally for the human voice "would not work" when combined with atonal music for instruments.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    Thanks for replying, HC. One must remember to distinguish serial works like Schoenberg's Ode to Napoleon with his earlier freely atonal ones like Pierrot Lunaire & Herzgewächse. In a way, by working out the serial system in the early 1920's, Schoenberg had figured out a way to "tame the beast" of atonality. In a way, with serialism, Schoenberg and the others gained a sense of more structural solidity/integrity, but they probably had to trade that off for that sense of floating tonality and freedom/ambiguity in their earlier freely atonal works. I think that the Ode is a bit harder for me to grasp than freely atonal pieces like Herzgewächse (Heart's Foliage), the song for soprano, celesta, harp & harmonium on the same disc. That is a freely atonal work, with the soprano singing normally, & it makes me think of the vague tonality in some of Debussy's music especially. But I'd say that the best place to start with atonal or serial vocal works are Berg's operas (especially) Wozzeck & Lulu. I don't know if they're on youtube, but look for Marie's arias in Wozzeck, and you will probably hear a similar lusciousness as in Herzgewächse. In many ways, these composers were carrying on techniques that Wagner had started to explore in his operas. So I think that writing atonally or serially can "work" in the hands of these masters, it just takes a bit of time and patience maybe to tap in to what they were trying to do...
    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 MrTortoise's Avatar
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    What a terrific idea Andre. Setting aside time to listen to music sounds like fun and I bet it provides a more focused listening session. So much of my music listening is interrupted by distractions around the house. And what a group of recordings, so many 20th century works. Keep up the reports. I want to check out some of the Pollini recordings you mention, especially the Schubert late works.

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    Senior Member Webernite's Avatar
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    I agree about the Ode to Napoleon being hard to grasp, and it doesn't help that Schoenberg's understanding of spoken English idiom is not perfect.

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