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Thread: Forgotten Melodies - Episode Two

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Default Forgotten Melodies - Episode Two



    Episode Two of The Forgotten Melodies Podcast is now online at www.forgottenmelodiespodcast.com.

    This week, Danny Grimwood traces a path from the green fields of Ireland to the icy steppes of Russia, as he discusses how two western composers played a significant part in the development of Russian piano music.

    To demonstrate this, Danny plays pieces by John Field, Adolf von Heselt, Mily Balakirev and Nikolai Medtner.

    We appreciate all feedback, so please feel free to email mike@forgottenmelodiespodcast.com or to call our Audio Comment line on 020 7193 1295 (from the UK) or +44 20 7193 1295 (from outside the UK). Or you can leave a comment on the Forgotten Melodies website!

    Track Listing:

    Nocturne by John Field
    Ave Marie by Adolf von Henselt
    Reverie by Mily Balakirev
    Canzona Serenata by Nikolai Medtner

    Listen/Download Now:

    FM002.mp3

    Visit the Website:

    www.forgottenmelodiespodcast.com

    Subscribe to RSS Feed:

    feeds.feedburner.com/ForgottenMelodies

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Congratulations, Mike, on a fantastic second episode. I just finished listening to it and my enjoyment of your podcast has more than doubled with this episode. Your choice of composers was excellent. Field, Henselt, Balakirev, and Medtner are definitely worth investigating and I'm glad you have an interest in exposing them. The show seemed more compact and to the point, more informative, and I specifically found the actual musical comparisons of Henselt and Balakirev well-done. The Balakirev piece, the Reverie, was outstanding. I hadn't heard it before and I was very pleased with it. Thanks for bringing these to our attention.

    Constructive Criticism:

    There tended to be a lack of differentials in the mood of each piece. Most of your selections were mellow and graceful. Collectively the pieces lack much contrast, even though each composer's individual style is apparent. Don't get me wrong, the selection by Field was a great choice and a wonderful nocturne. But the subsequent tender etude by Henselt, although it was indeed beautiful, did not showcase Henselt's monumental etudes, in my opinion. I was honestly hoping for a more virtuosic one. And Grimwood can clearly play the more barnstorming etudes. Afterall, he was playing the first few bars of some of them! And I thought these brief excerpts were actually given to the better of Henselt's etudes, which are still considered unknown. Furthermore, I think one of these more tempestuous etudes would have created more excitement after the melancholy Field. It might have helped to provide a plethora of pieces that explore anger, sadness, joy, passion etc. Most of the selections lacked this diversity.

    I also think your titles of the pieces need to be more specific, at least on the webpage. For those interested in the Field nocturne, it might have been helpful to know that it was the Nocturne No. 2 in C minor. Same with the Henselt. Grimwood did say that the "Ave Maria" came from the second set of etudes, but the website only listed the piece as "Ave Marie."

    Despite my minor gripes here, I applaud your efforts and am looking forward to the next episode.

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Hexameron

    Thank you for listening to the podcast and for providing such a detailed critique. I'm very glad we're moving in the right direction!

    I hope you'll bear with us as the podcast series develops. Rather than try to cover too much diversity in a single episode, we hope to explore everything you mention as we progress.

    You make a very valid suggestion regarding the titles of the pieces on the website. Going forward, I will make a point to update the show notes with the full titles.

    Thank you once again for some very valuable and very constructive criticism, it is much appreciated.

    Best regards

    Mike

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    Mike

    The sound quality is excellent. Podcast 2 is better than podcast 1 in materal content. A better script is required, and there is no need to make apologies for things the audience won't be aware of (like the need for a retake). Edit out "erms" and "ahs". The major problem is still content. I don't think it's been sufficiently demanding. If it's soft melodious material, there's been nothing to match the exquisite delights of Chopin so far. If it's more drama, change of pace, complexity and skill, sorry but there's been nothing that remotely matches Schumann (e.g. Symphonic Etudes Op. 13).


    Topaz

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Script? what script?

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Topaz does make some good points. With the exception of the Field and Balakirev pieces, I don't think Henselt and Medtner were representated very well by the choice of pieces. The Henselt etude, in particular, was peculiar. I have a recording of both the Op. 2 and 5 etudes and I thought the "Ave Maria" mediocre next to his more powerful and virtuosic ones like No. 1 and No. 3 of Op. 2 or No. 1 (Grimwood was playing this) and No. 2 of Op. 2. I hope I don't sound snobby here, it's just that it seems like you picked the least interesting of all of Henselt's etudes. But even if the goal was for the mellow, romantic and tender works, surely Grimwood can see the superiority in No. 11 Op. 2 and No. 8 and 10 of Op. 5? Topaz, these easily rival Chopin.

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    Hexameron. Thanks for your further helpful input here. Because of your interest in these lesser known composers (and the better known ones too) you are well placed to suggest alternative works of these lesser known composers that might show-case their best works. I haven't a clue as I have never bothered with any of them. I merely suggested, however, that if what we have in these podcasts is their best work there's no chance of them coming up to match the best. There's a huge gap between what I have heard so far and any of the masterpieces of the likes of Chopin and Schumann, especially when played by the likes of Rubinstein or Richter.

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hexameron View Post
    I also think your titles of the pieces need to be more specific, at least on the webpage. For those interested in the Field nocturne, it might have been helpful to know that it was the Nocturne No. 2 in C minor. Same with the Henselt. Grimwood did say that the "Ave Maria" came from the second set of etudes, but the website only listed the piece as "Ave Marie."
    OK, track listings have now been updated on the website

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    Hi Mike,

    I like John Field's music. It's pleasant, pastel sort of music. Medtner I persoanlly rate as the greatest composer for the piano since Beethoven. (Yes, greater than Chopin, Alkan, Rachmaninov and others). I realise my opinion is not really shared by others. But Medtner deserves far more exposure. Much of his music is simply unknown still in the west and it ranges from simple to tremendously complex. His music has astounded me. I very much doubt if piano music has much new to say. Medtner is that important. To me anyway.

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Robert

    I agree with you that Medtner is vastly underrated. I've never understood why his piano music receives so little exposure compared to other composers.

    We will have to do what we can to redress the balance. You haven't heard the last of Medtner in this podcast series....

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    Mike

    Are we not due for episode 3 about now?

    When you and Danny are not thinking about forgotten melodies, I wonder which of the more popular ones you like. I'd be particularly interested to hear what each of you thinks about Schubert's shorter piano pieces such as the Impromptus. There are a couple of videos on the Schubert Article thread in case you did not spot them. I thought that Zimerman did a good job. He makes it look so easy.

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Hi Topaz

    Indeed, Episode Three will be out later today.

    Regarding Schubert, you'll be interested to hear that Schubert is actually Danny's number one favourite composer and he regards the Impromptus as sparkling diamonds.

    Later on in the Forgotten Melodies series, we will in fact be featuring some of Schubert's lesser-known pieces.

    By the way, Danny has been trying desperately to get hold of the Complete Schubert Sonatas played by Ingrid Haebler (Philips 456 367-2), but it seems to be impossible to find a copy of this recording. If you have any ideas of where might be a good place to look, please let me know..

    Cheers
    Last edited by Mike_OHara; Jan-30-2007 at 12:25.

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    Mike

    Very interesting that Danny's favourite is Schubert. He clearly knows a thing or two!

    I doubt that anyone can fail to be other than highly impressed with the Impromptus. I wouldn't mind betting that quite a few classical fans have probably heard them but may not have associated them with Schubert. It's easy to get carried away with Schubert once smitten. I certainly look forward to some lesser known works in later podcasts.

    Tell me, does Danny get dressed up like Zimerman in the Schubert Impromptu videos, for the purpose of the podcasts?

    I'm afraid I can't find the CD set you refer to on ArkivMusic, which is usually complete. Have a look:

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/main.jsp

    Given that you have the Philips code, can you not simply order it from any decent music retailer?

    Regards


    Topaz

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    Junior Member Mike_OHara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
    Tell me, does Danny get dressed up like Zimerman in the Schubert Impromptu videos, for the purpose of the podcasts?
    Not yet, but I do have a wig and a false beard he could borrow for when we start doing video podcasts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
    I'm afraid I can't find the CD set you refer to on ArkivMusic, which is usually complete. Have a look:

    http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/main.jsp
    I think we already tried looking there without success, but I'll have another look, maybe I missed it

    Quote Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
    Given that you have the Philips code, can you not simply order it from any decent music retailer?
    Unfortunately, it seems to be discontinued.

    Thanks

    Mike

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