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Thread: If you've just met Brahms...

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    Default If you've just met Brahms...

    My interest in romantic symphonies has soared over the past few weeks. My father, a real diehard, has boxed sets of Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, Vaughan Williams and what not. Most are recordings by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under Haitink or Chailly. While studying for my exams or writing my papers I always put on one of his CD's, as I'm one of those people who simply cannot concentrate if there is no music at all in the background.

    I'm sort of trying to get into these composers' music more deeply so I have a two-part question: are there any good general books that you know ofthat deal with the symphonies of these composers, or romantic symphonies in general? I've had some musical education so books containing analysis of the music would ahve my preference.
    Second, are there, besides these and maybe Sibelius, other symphonists whose work I should look into? Where do I start.

    I'm sorry, this must be one of many 'request'-type threads, but my more constructive posts will come later

    Regards,

    Silmarillion.

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    For the books: Here's a thread that was started a week ago
    Music Books - A Quick Reference
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silmarillion View Post
    Second, are there, besides these and maybe Sibelius, other symphonists whose work I should look into? Where do I start..
    I would also recommend early Romantic symphonists such as Schubert (for sure the 8th and 9th symphonies), Schumann and Mendelssohn. And definitely Dvorak for mid/late Romantic symphonies.

    I haven't heard Prokofiev's symphonies, but I believe some of them are highly regarded 20th Century symphonies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    I would also recommend early Romantic symphonists such as Schubert (for sure the 8th and 9th symphonies), Schumann and Mendelssohn. And definitely Dvorak for mid/late Romantic symphonies.

    I haven't heard Prokofiev's symphonies, but I believe some of them are highly regarded 20th Century symphonies.
    Thanks ChamberNut!

    I've tried the Unfinished 8th, though it didn't really do much for me. Maybe I'll try again. I do not know Schubert's ninth. Prokofiev....I've only heard his fifth and first symphonies and though both are interesting, especially the Classical, they did not leave a lasting impression. I wish Bizet had written more for orchestra than Symphony 1 and Roma, I really like his style a lot.

    On a sidenote: yesterday I listened to Brahms no. 1 for the first time in a few years, had completely forgotten about the nickname, and was startled by the resemblance to Beethoven. I was working on a paper, and some string passages were so 'Beethovian' that for a second I was confused about what music I'd put on. Just a second, but still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silmarillion View Post
    On a sidenote: yesterday I listened to Brahms no. 1 for the first time in a few years, had completely forgotten about the nickname, and was startled by the resemblance to Beethoven. I was working on a paper, and some string passages were so 'Beethovian' that for a second I was confused about what music I'd put on. Just a second, but still.
    Yep, he certainly utilised tunes from the final movement of Beethoven's 9th. It's so obvious that some people facetiously refer to it as Beethoven's 10th.


    And I've recently started really admiring Schubert's 8th. If I had the opportunity to change a few things in history, reminding Schubert about a certain incomplete symphony would be one of them. But still, ending abruptly, it leaves a lot for the listener's imagination, especially if this person is musically trained, which I'm not.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Senior Member ChamberNut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opus67 View Post
    Yep, he certainly utilised tunes from the final movement of Beethoven's 9th. It's so obvious that some people facetiously refer to it as Beethoven's 10th.


    And I've recently started really admiring Schubert's 8th. If I had the opportunity to change a few things in history, reminding Schubert about a certain incomplete symphony would be one of them. But still, ending abruptly, it leaves a lot for the listener's imagination, especially if this person is musically trained, which I'm not.
    I would let Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Chopin to live into their 50's or 60's at least

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    Senior Member opus67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChamberNut View Post
    I would let Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Chopin to live into their 50's or 60's at least
    Why? If Schubert weren't "aware" of his impending death, he would have probably never come up with his master works.(Or maybe not. At least, that's what I can say from reading articles on the 'net and message boards. I no music historian, you know.) We could speculate on what he would have produced had he lived into his 50's or 60's, but we now know what he was capable of, and I don't want to lose that.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

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    Good calls. Although, you never know what might've happened if Mozart had lived another 35 years. His works might've so crammed the repertoire that neither Beethoven nor Schubert, or Mendelssohn for that matter, could get a penny for their troubles. And if Beethoven didn't achieve fame, who would Brahms have had to look up to..

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    Maybe I can become a little more specific: I wonder if there are other symphonies out there that are comparable tot Bizet's in C Major. I really enjoy that music, although, with winter coming up, it doesn't seem very apt anymore. Still, maybe knows some other melodious, 'light' romantic symphonies that are akin to this one?

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    As ChamberNut suggested, try some Mendelssohn...his 4th in particular.
    Regards,
    Navneeth

    Want a piece of classical music identified? Post a link or upload a clip here. Someone might have an answer.


    A quick and gentle introduction to audio formats and compression

    2009: It's the International Year of Astronomy
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    which Bruckner Cycle is in there? Chailly or Haitink, regardless of which one you have, both cycles are good. You should start with Bruckner's 7th symphony, and depending upon your maturity, you might or might not like Bruckner's works.

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    It's Haitink's Cycle, and I'm enjoying the 7th so far (almost near the end of the Adagio now). It's good, but not very memorable. The powerful writing for strings and brass is very interesting, lyrical almost. I do enjoy it, although it's not easy going at some points. Bruckner takes no prisoners.

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    There are plenty of good books on this stuff, if you like reading scholarly texts. You mentioned Brahms 1st - I did an essay on this a while back, and its an interesting symphony in many ways (but I won't bore you with the details).

    Anyway here are some of the better books.

    Brodbeck, D. (1997). Brahms: Symphony no. 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Frisch, W. (1996). Brahms: The four symphonies. New York: Schirmer Books.

    Knapp, R. (1997). Brahms and the challenge of the symphony. New York: Pendragon Press.

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    Scholarly texts are fine with me, but since I'm reading this stuff as a hobby in my spare time, I do prefer texts that aren't too dry. I'll look up your suggestions.

    Thanks,

    Silmarillion

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    If you like Bizet's C major Student symphony, then you might like his "Roma" symphony as well. Here:

    Bizet's Symphony "Roma" in C major

    I. Andante Tranquillo
    II. Allegro Vivace
    III. Andante Molto
    IV. Allegro Vivacissimo

    note: you need internet connection + realplayer or Winamp to access.

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