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Thread: Some Great Lesser Known Symphonies You Should Hear

  1. #16
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    Dvorak's Sixth, in D Major has fast become my favorite of the Dvorak symphonies, even eclipsing No. Eight, which I thought would NEVER happen, LOL! I have heard that Dvorak wrote it as a 'thank you' to Brahms, for being instrumental in getting Dvorak a contract with Brahms' own publisher Simrock.

    At any rate, there are some Brahmsian influences in the work, but all in all, it's just pure Dvorak. And as another poster mentioned: the Furiant by itself is worth the price of admission to this delightful work.

    Several others: Kalinnikov's First Symphony--very Russian, very fascinating.

    Glazunov: Fifth Symphony. It has a very spectacular 'drums and trumpets' finale.

    Walton's First Symphony: Not as often heard as it used to be, but a monumental work from one of my very favorite British composers.

    Tom

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  3. #17
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Hi all.

    This is a blatant plug for Soviet composer Mikhail Nosyrev. He wrote 4 symphonies between 1965 and 1980 (fine works with pungent traces of moderns like DSCH and Prokofiev as well as more traditional elements) AFTER he spent 10 years in a Gulag on trumped-up charges while he was a young violinist in an ad-hoc Leningrad orchestra during the WWII siege - the sentence was originally death by firing squad. After release in 1953 he spent many years as a provincial conductor and part-time composer in what amounted to internal exile. He was only totally rehabilitated in 1989, 8 years after his death aged 57. He may not have been a composer from the absolute top-drawer but his long ordeal certainly infused his works with Shostakovichian elements of irony and tragedy and deserve to be heard. It was Shostakovich who in 1967 actually endorsed Nosyrev's joining the Soviet Composers Union after he was initially rejected. His son remarked that if DSCH's music represented what it was like to experience the THREAT of arrest then his father's works depicted what it was like AFTER being arrested. These and other works were originally available on 5 Olympia discs - I imagine more of his works would have been recorded had Olympia
    Last edited by elgars ghost; Aug-10-2010 at 03:21.

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    Senior Member bassClef's Avatar
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    I second the nominations for the symphonies of Albert Roussel, Josef Suk and Mily Balakirev

    Some more :
    Lars Erik Larsson - Symphony # 3 in C minor
    Carl Vine - his 6 symphonies are all terrific but my favourite is symphony 4.2 (yes 4.2)
    Dag Wiren - Symphony # 4
    Zdenek Fibich - Symphony # 3
    Pavel Vranicky - Symphony in C minor
    Last edited by bassClef; Aug-15-2010 at 11:06.

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  7. #19
    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    This seems like as opportune a place as any to plug a blog my colleague and I just started: Unsung Symphonies: http://unsungsymphonies.blogspot.com/

    Inspired in large part by threads like this which show how much repertoire is out there but underexposed, we're trying to give some much needed attention to the world of symphonies outside the main candidates. The focus right now is on 20th century works, but we'll likely expand once (or if!) the blog gets on its feet. Right now we've talked about Walter Piston's 3rd and Per Norgard's 2nd. And we keep the tone light, as you'll probably find out immediately!

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  9. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falstaft View Post
    This seems like as opportune a place as any to plug a blog my colleague and I just started: Unsung Symphonies: http://unsungsymphonies.blogspot.com/

    Inspired in large part by threads like this which show how much repertoire is out there but underexposed, we're trying to give some much needed attention to the world of symphonies outside the main candidates. The focus right now is on 20th century works, but we'll likely expand once (or if!) the blog gets on its feet. Right now we've talked about Walter Piston's 3rd and Per Norgard's 2nd. And we keep the tone light, as you'll probably find out immediately!
    I added this site to my faves and I shall follow updates.

  10. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falstaft View Post
    This seems like as opportune a place as any to plug a blog my colleague and I just started: Unsung Symphonies: http://unsungsymphonies.blogspot.com/
    Got it bookmarked. thank you.

  11. #22
    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. And rest assured Aramis, Langgaard will get his due!

  12. #23
    Senior Member Bix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falstaft View Post
    This seems like as opportune a place as any to plug a blog my colleague and I just started: Unsung Symphonies: http://unsungsymphonies.blogspot.com/
    thanks for this Falstaft

  13. #24
    Senior Member Jeff N's Avatar
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    I just discovered Roussel and I'm completely stunned that he isn't performed more. His symphonies, especially no. 3, are absolutely fantastic (as are those of one of his more famous students, Martinu).

    Other guys whose symphonies should be heard are: Roy Harris (you must check out his 3rd!), Douglas Lilburn, Karol Szymanowksi, William Schuman (not to be confused with Robert), William Grant Still, Alan Hovhaness (Mysterious Mountain is excellent), David Diamond, Arthur Honegger (the opening to his 5th will knock you out of your socks), Randall Thompson (not many recordings of his unjustly neglected 3 symphonies), Eduard Tubin (particularly no. 4), and George Dyson (only did one, but if you like Sibelius then check it out).

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    Louise Farrenc
    Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov

  16. #26
    Junior Member MattTheTubaGuy's Avatar
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    Lilburn. he wrote 3 symphonies. He is a cross between Sibelius and Vaughan Williams.
    (I am a New Zealander myself)
    "Never memorize what you can look up in books" Albert Einstein
    "It's kind of fun to do the impossible." Walt Disney

    "I, for one, welcome our tubist overlords!" (Spoons from BAUT)

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    A few Nordic & Baltic suggestions I made on another forum...

    Stenhammar: indeed! No. 2 - outwardly more traditional than either Sibelius or Nielsen, who were his friends, but with boundless depth, dozens of repeated hearings cannot exhaust this score. Wonderful slow part in the footsteps of Beethoven's 7th.

    Rosenberg: No. 4 - more of an oratorio but with intensely symphonic writing. Miraculous oboe solo. Written in 1940, a real work of love and light amidst darkness.

    Valen: No. 3 - melancholy, solitary music, demands concentration but the rewards are there, fervent music, perfect melodic lines, counterpoint with a beating heart.

    Tubin: No. 8 - one feels more of the craftsman here than in Holmboe, and what beautiful craft that is. No. 8 is less striking than No. 6 but reaches the apex of mystery, nightly sparks, formal elegance. Tubin was a master of endings and this has one of the most magical of all.

    Holmboe: No. 11 - less spectacular than No. 8 but maybe even more perfect: mesmerizing beauty blending melody, harmony and timbres, smotth and penetrating light, with the author's ever impressive formal mastery.

    Pettersson: No. 13 - as another poster said, one could hesitate with Dante-like No. 9, another giant one-movement symphony. I shall go for the 13th because of its wonderful lyrical islands, the vibrant, almost childlike emotion which can also be found in the 2nd violin concerto.

    Kenins: No. 6 - also one of the best Canadian symphonies, a pristine example of Kenins's recreation of the old patterns, here a Bach fugue. The veiled, ghostly textures of the central part are heartbreaking.

    Nørgård: No. 3 - demonstrates how triads and harmonic infinity series can actually generate the most complex structures. A scintillating work which really makes you "touch" the celestial spheres, marvellous without being simplistic or even comfortable.

    Balakauskas: No. 5 - best synthesis to date of his orchestral universe, a sensual blend of the vivid, daring colours of his more modernist years (e.g. Symphony No. 2) and the more expansive, serene lyricism of his more recent works.

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    Ottorino Respighi, I love his Sinfonia Drammatica.

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  21. #29
    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    I discovered a recording of Gloria Coates's Second and 9th Symphonies while browsing the music library the other day and was very impressed by what I've heard. Her 2nd is subtitled "Illuminatio in Tenebris" and presents some very ominous impressions of the northern lights, like another piece I love Tviett's 4nd Piano Concerto. As for the ninth, aka "Homage to Van Gogh," might I suggest you check out my blog Unsung Symphonies to discover some of its strange secrets. (tooting own horn)

    http://unsungsymphonies.blogspot.com/

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    Senior Member tgtr0660's Avatar
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    You are really missing the world by not exploring American symphonists the like of Schuman, Diamond, Roger Sessions, Piston, Harris. Everything is not just minimalism in the States! Also, though famous composers, their symphonies haven't achieved the same fame (though in the second case that's starting to change): Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein. The great conductor's three symphonies are little masterpieces on their own right, specially his second "Age of Anxiety" and his third "Kaddish".

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