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Thread: Which forgotten composers, do you believe worth rediscovering?

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    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    Default Which forgotten composers, do you believe worth rediscovering?

    www.Draeseke.org

    Felix Draseke: High-Late Romantic composer

    Ludwig Spohr: Early Romantic composer

    Max Bruch: High-Late Romantic composer

    Hans Rott: Late Romantic composer

    Felix Weingartner: Late-Post Romantic composer and conductor

    Wilhelm Furtwangler: Post-Modern composer and comdcutor

    Richard Wetz: Late-Post romantic composer

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    Of the list above, I have heard of Ludwig Spohr, and Max Bruch as composers. I've not come across Hans Rott or Richard Wetz, or Felix Weingartner. I thought Wilhelm Furtwangler was only a composer. (Rott and Wetz have rather unfortunate names, don't they?)

    Why should these composers be worth re-discovering? I'm not clear what the argument is. I thought Max Bruch wrote one decent work, his Violin Concerto No 1, and that was it, the rest being second/third rate.

    Are these guys - with the exception of Bruch - not just further examples of the lost and forgotten? Every music forum website seems to have its burgeoning lists of "under-rated" composers. Some of the candidates I've seen, both here and not a million miles away, look decidely sub-marginal. Also, its' not clear how we are supposed to absorb yet more composers into our listening spectrum without displacing others. Quarts and pint pots etc. No-one seems to give any consideration to this, unless they think we can just extend our overall listening time. If say "Rott's" in, who's out?

    Isn't the reality that these so-called under-rated composrs are merely personal favourites of the few, and thus only satisfying niche markets? I think so. I'm afraid that I can't think much else especially if I haven't been given any information at all about these characters on which to form any re-assessment.

    One very strange argument sometimes associated with niche composers is that the champions of their work (i.e. the musical artists themselves who perform them) are somehow considered "technically better "than those musical artists who steer clear and confine their attention to the well-proven and generally preferred composers. This argument pops up occasionally, but it has no logic at all. The simple truth is that a lot of non-core music is non-core simply because it's not as good. There is absolutely no basis for arguing that better artists perform such niche market works. On the contrary, generall weaker artists will tend to gravitate to these works, and this fact is normally supported empirically by proper informed opinion.


    Topaz
    Last edited by Topaz; Dec-31-2006 at 00:22.

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    Linz is completely right on Hans Rott. His symphony is amazing. He was a colleague of Mahler in Vienna and it was Rott who (more than anyone else) influenced Mahler' career. That symphony deserves to be known by everyone. Rott died young in total obscurity.

    Some of the compositions of the phenomenal Romanian pianist Dinu Lipatti are remarkable.

    And from the 18th century several (including of course Andrea Luchesi) but also the phenomenally gifted JH Knecht (1752-1817). In my honest opinion JH Knecht is one of the truly greatest composers of the 18th century still largely unappreciated. He wrote wonderful music and was the author of several keyboard and theoretical works which were famous during his lifetime. Knecht was totally devoted to his music and with the exception of an unhappy period of 2 years he spent his entire life in the area of Biberach writing church music and keyboard works. Knecht also wrote a pastoral symphony whose movements are named virtually the same as those later used by Beethoven. Any piece by him is excellent.

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    Senior Member Saturnus's Avatar
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    Jan Dismas Zelenka - Late baroque composer and double-bass player

    Why? "The trio sonatas but the great masses, too, demonstrate such masterful command of even the most intricate, abstruse polyphonic techniques that a comparison with Bach would surely not be out of place" - Dr. Uwe Schweikert. The trio sonatas refered in this quote are the Six trio sonatas (1721/22) (2 for two oboes and basso continuo, 1 for violin, oboe & basso continuo and 3 for for two oboes, bassoon and basso continuo) and the great masses are the "Missa Ultimae" (Missa Dei Patris, Missa dei Filii & Missa omnium sanctorum) he wrote later (1740/41).
    In contrast to other baroque composers Zelenka wrote rather few pieces, about 150 (Bach wrote 150 cantatas, in comparison). Late in his career he destroyed his earlier works he considered contrapunctally unadeqate, so his complete ouvre does not consists of a few high-quality works and tons of mediocore and even bad (as is the case especially with Telemann).

    I think Zelenka was also highly original, most the time I use listening to music goes to the baroque era and I haven't yet heard anything a bit like the fifth trio sonata or the Gloria from 'Missa dei Filii'. And all-over his music is extraordinary.
    So, in quality Zelenka is comparable with great masters such as Bach, and he represents a reasonable number of highly original music. That is why I believe he is worth rediscovering.
    Last edited by Saturnus; Dec-31-2006 at 01:42.

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    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    Felix Draeseke was a greatly admired composer in his day, and considered one of the true followers of Wagner and Liszt. His music is becoming more appreciated all the time. His mastery of counterpoint is well known. Franz Liszt called one of his piano sonatas one of the best after Beethoven. Hans von Bulow and Karl Bohm were fond of his compositions. Franz Liszt also called him a 'true giant'.

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    Aside from the violin concerto, Bruch also wrote Kol Nidrei for Cello and Orchestra and the Scottish Fantasy for violin and orchestra.

    Kol Nidrei is sort of a sister-piece to Bloch's Schelomo, and although cellists prefer the showier Schelomo, I think Kol Nidrei is a more honest work.

    The Scottish Fantasy is probably performed even more than the Violin concerto, given its programmatic nature and obvious pairing with other "Scottish" symphonic music.

    All in all, I like these 3 pieces, but the problem is decadence. At best his works are a hommage to Mendelssohn and perhaps a little bit of Schumann, but it's all 20-30 years too late and too much schlock permeates the works, given their intentions as serious classical forms.

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    Senior Member oisfetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linz View Post


    Felix Draeseke was a greatly admired composer in his day, and considered one of the true followers of Wagner and Liszt. His music is becoming more appreciated all the time. His mastery of counterpoint is well known. Franz Liszt called one of his piano sonatas one of the best after Beethoven. Hans von Bulow and Karl Bohm were fond of his compositions. Franz Liszt also called him a 'true giant'.
    Agree. And he was the only one to write a quintet with violotta (I've it)

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    How about Berwald and Bantock. They both wrote some fantastic stuff, but most people have never heard of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by linz View Post
    www.Draeseke.org
    Max Bruch: High-Late Romantic composer
    I don't really think he should even be in this list. He had such a personal style that as listeners we can recognize his works whenever we hear them. His most recorded works are the first violin concerto and Schelomo; but there are many more, and all of them very good (or at least interesting), he composed a second violin concerto, his Scottish Fantasy (for violin and orchestra), a double concerto for clarinet and viola (there's a violina/viola recording by Sitkovetsky), pieces for piano, clarinet and viola, many symphonies (from which I suggest the third, most of all). Besides, almost every concert violinist has played and recorded his first violin concerto, so we should be fair to him and remove his name from the list.

    Quote Originally Posted by linz View Post
    www.Draeseke.org
    Hans Rott: Late Romantic composer
    Not a hard work discovering him. He left only one symphony.


    Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari. Composer of many interesting operas (L'amor medico, Gioiella della Madonna, etc), a concerto for a wind instrument, a serenade for chamber orchestra (I don't really remember the work, it's somewhere there in my collection), and a very good violin concerto, recorded by the astounding violinist Guila Bustabo.

    Tikhon Khrennikov. He composed very much in the russian traditional style, so his concertos sound a bit like Kabalevsky, but they're interesting too. There's an explosive version of the first vc by Kogan. His orchestral works, like A Hussar Ballad, may deserve more attention.


    More to come. But I should go to study piano.

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    Senior Member robert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
    Of the list above, I have heard of Ludwig Spohr, and Max Bruch as composers. I've not come across Hans Rott or Richard Wetz, or Felix Weingartner. I thought Wilhelm Furtwangler was only a composer. (Rott and Wetz have rather unfortunate names, don't they?)

    Why should these composers be worth re-discovering? I'm not clear what the argument is. I thought Max Bruch wrote one decent work, his Violin Concerto No 1, and that was it, the rest being second/third rate.

    Are these guys - with the exception of Bruch - not just further examples of the lost and forgotten? Every music forum website seems to have its burgeoning lists of "under-rated" composers. Some of the candidates I've seen, both here and not a million miles away, look decidely sub-marginal. Also, its' not clear how we are supposed to absorb yet more composers into our listening spectrum without displacing others. Quarts and pint pots etc. No-one seems to give any consideration to this, unless they think we can just extend our overall listening time. If say "Rott's" in, who's out?

    Isn't the reality that these so-called under-rated composrs are merely personal favourites of the few, and thus only satisfying niche markets? I think so. I'm afraid that I can't think much else especially if I haven't been given any information at all about these characters on which to form any re-assessment.

    One very strange argument sometimes associated with niche composers is that the champions of their work (i.e. the musical artists themselves who perform them) are somehow considered "technically better "than those musical artists who steer clear and confine their attention to the well-proven and generally preferred composers. This argument pops up occasionally, but it has no logic at all. The simple truth is that a lot of non-core music is non-core simply because it's not as good. There is absolutely no basis for arguing that better artists perform such niche market works. On the contrary, generall weaker artists will tend to gravitate to these works, and this fact is normally supported empirically by proper informed opinion.


    Topaz
    Rott wrote one great symphony, Gerhard Samuel on Hyperion

    Wetz wrote five symphonies on CPO and Sterling.....worth investigating....

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    I thought Wilhelm Furtwangler was only a composer
    LOL.

    He is widely known as a conductor actually (Toscanini's great enemy :-)). His composer side is mostly a rare thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robert View Post
    Rott wrote one great symphony, Gerhard Samuel on Hyperion

    Wetz wrote five symphonies on CPO and Sterling.....worth investigating....
    Hi Robert, I am afraid to tell you that Wetz only wrote three, not five symphonies. (Of course, one only wishes that he wrote five).

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    I don't think Zelenka is "forgotten". Certainly not to aficionados of the Baroque. He ranks among the finest (beyond Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel) including Rameau, Lully, Buxtehude, Telemann, Biber, and Corelli.

    Among the more unjustly "forgotten" of the Baroque era I would include Alessandro Scarlatti (Domenico's daddy), Jean-Fery Rebel, Johann Schmeltzer, Johann Westhoff, Johann Joseph Fux (now THAT'S an "unfortunate" name), Pietro Locatelli, Giuseppe Valentini, J.C. Bach, etc...
    Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

    Art is never chaste. It ought to be forbidden to ignorant innocents, never allowed into contact with
    those not sufficiently prepared. Yes, art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art.

    Pablo Picasso

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    I would add Francesco Maria Veracini, Francesco Durante, Johann Stamitz, Johann Pisendel (Vivaldi's pupil for some time), Antonio Caldara, and Giovanni Battista Sammartini to the list as well!

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    Suppose we re-name the thread: "Works worth a listen by forgotten or otherwise forgettable composers"?

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