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Thread: Some Great Lesser Known Symphonies You Should Hear

  1. #31
    Senior Member Comus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgtr0660 View Post
    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".
    I second Sessions. Music like that is too often restricted to conservative orchestration.

    Carl Nielsen wrote some fantastic symphonies. He demonstrated progressive tonality around the same time as Mahler, but his music wasn't known outside Denmark for some time. I read he's on some piece of Danish currency. He outlived Mahler and thus developed influence from the modern innovations hapening at the time. I like his 3rd best, but his 5th is interesting historically as it calls for an improvisatory snare drum foreshadowing aleatory procedures.

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  3. #32
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    ah...Rangstrom? The first time that I was prompted for a screen name on a BB Rangtrom's 3rd was playing on my stereo. Hence my name here (and other boards), but his 4 symphonies are well worth exploring.

    Lately I've been listening to the symphonies of Draeseke; very good in a post Brahms/late romantic style, especially the 3rd. I have the CPO recordings, but the MDG series is getting better reviews.

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  5. #33
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    While we're at it, let me add Balakirev's First Symphony. I just had a chance to hear it on our local classical radio station the other day, and Good Lord, that piece is just a ZINGER! Especially the third movement, which is just jaw-droppingly beautifull.

    It's next on my 'gotta get' list.

    And Comus, let me definitely agree with you on Neilsen. I love his 3rd, the Sinfonia Espansiva--and his Fourth isn't too shabby either, he does the same thing with tympani that he does with the snare drum in his Fifth. Fine composer, IMO.

    Tom

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  7. #34
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    TWhite - I'd say both Balakirev's symphonies are worth hearing - equally good as Borodin's (if not better) and far more interesting than both of Rimsky Korsakov's early 'running before walking' efforts.

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  9. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgar's ghost View Post
    TWhite - I'd say both Balakirev's symphonies are worth hearing - equally good as Borodin's (if not better) and far more interesting than both of Rimsky Korsakov's early 'running before walking' efforts.
    Elgar:

    Thank you. If #2 is even HALF as good as #1, then I think I have a real treat in store for me! I like Balakirev quite a bit, anyway, at least what I've heard, which is mainly his piano music (Sonata/Islamey). Quite the composer, I think.

    Tom

  10. #36
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWhite View Post
    Elgar:

    Thank you. If #2 is even HALF as good as #1, then I think I have a real treat in store for me! I like Balakirev quite a bit, anyway, at least what I've heard, which is mainly his piano music (Sonata/Islamey). Quite the composer, I think.

    Tom

    If you haven't heard it the orchestral version of Islamey (orchestrated by Liapunov) is worth listening to as well, as are his symphonic poems Tamara and Russia.

  11. #37
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    elgar:

    Odd you should mention Liapunov's orchestration of "Islamey", since Liapunov also wrote a piano work "Lezghinka" that is almost as fiendishly difficult as Balakirev's. I never quite had the courage to tackle "Islamey" (though a friend of mine did and did a very respectable job of it) but about fifteen years ago I 'girded my loins' and tackled "Lezghinka." I actually conquered it enough to perform it several times--delicious stuff--hard as Hell, but enormous fun once the considerable technical demands were conquered. A friend of mine mentioned that it sounded like the Borodin "Polovstian Dances", only all at ONCE!

    But I got off track. I've heard Liapunov's orchestration of "Islamey", and it's tremendously exciting and colorful. I'll have to be on the look-out for both Tamara and Russia. Frankly, I think Balakirev needs a LOT more exposure than he seems to get!
    Thanks.

    Tom

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  13. #38
    Senior Member Jeff N's Avatar
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    Not sure if anyone's mentioned it yet, but Amy Beach's Gaelic Symphony. Lots of Brahms in her music.

  14. #39
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TWhite View Post
    elgar:

    Odd you should mention Liapunov's orchestration of "Islamey", since Liapunov also wrote a piano work "Lezghinka" that is almost as fiendishly difficult as Balakirev's. I never quite had the courage to tackle "Islamey" (though a friend of mine did and did a very respectable job of it) but about fifteen years ago I 'girded my loins' and tackled "Lezghinka." I actually conquered it enough to perform it several times--delicious stuff--hard as Hell, but enormous fun once the considerable technical demands were conquered. A friend of mine mentioned that it sounded like the Borodin "Polovstian Dances", only all at ONCE!

    But I got off track. I've heard Liapunov's orchestration of "Islamey", and it's tremendously exciting and colorful. I'll have to be on the look-out for both Tamara and Russia. Frankly, I think Balakirev needs a LOT more exposure than he seems to get!
    Thanks.

    Tom
    Circumnavigating a piece like that must be rewarding, Tom. By the way, both symphonies and the three other pieces mentioned are all included on 2 Naxos discs (probably for next to nothing) on A****n.

    Regards, SCH

  15. #40
    Senior Member norman bates's Avatar
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    i don't know if it's really unkwnown, but the second of Matthijs Vermeulen is great. Some people called it the dutch sacre du printemps.

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  17. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comus View Post
    .

    Carl Nielsen wrote some fantastic symphonies. . I like his 3rd best, but his 5th is interesting historically as it calls for an improvisatory snare drum foreshadowing aleatory procedures.
    Yes I have heard his third symphony for the first time last month and I liked it. I will be listening to the Inextinguishable IV soon.

  18. #42
    Senior Member Jeff N's Avatar
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    I just discovered Joly Braga Santos. Listen to his early symphonies (1-4, I think). His music has a Vaughan Williams-ish folksiness, with modal melodies and very romantic harmonies.

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    Senior Member Falstaft's Avatar
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    I know the title of this thread is "lesser" known, but J.G. Kastner's Grande symphonie humoristique vocale et instrumentale Les Cris de Paris (1857) qualifies perhaps for "least" known. Check out our new blog entry to learn more about this oddity!

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  21. #44
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    This topic has been very affirming. I always thought there was something wrong with me because I liked Glazunov's symphonies. So I'm not the only one! And David Diamond needs to be better known.

    There's lots of recommendations I heartily agree with and many I need to check into. I also appreciate it when the poster says why a piece stands out so I'll know what to listen for.

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    Moderator Huilunsoittaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manxfeeder View Post
    This topic has been very affirming. I always thought there was something wrong with me because I liked Glazunov's symphonies. So I'm not the only one!
    Be my friend! We fans must stick together! I know exactly how you feel.
    "Music is an art, and art is forever. Music should not succumb to fashion, which is passing and forgotten."
    Glazunov


    Join TC's Official Russian Composer Fanclub!

    Oh, and, here's my professional website!

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