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Thread: Irving Fine

  1. #1
    Senior Member Torkelburger's Avatar
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    Default Irving Fine

    One of the greats in the early 20th century American scene. Often overlooked/overshadowed, but deserves more recognition. One of my favorites of the period.

    Irving Fine

    Three pieces to get you interested:

    This whole thing is wonderful, especially third movement:


    Great piece:

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Thanks, I had prepped the following in early April of this year, but the vanity of wanting the presentation to have slick links embedded so one could click on a word or title had me tuck it away.

    ADD: Yes, a wonderful composer whose works I think should be more often performed, and it is music so well made and pleasant to listen to I think many would find a lot to like there -- if they knew of it.

    But to hell with that, because his music is so very excellent, and like you, I'm happy to turn anyone on to it:

    Irving Fine was one of the "Boston School" composers from the mid 20th century; the group associated with that name are: Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss, and Harold Shapero.

    Fine is, along with Arthur Berger and Harold Shapero, one of the three known for a music which is neoclassical yet in a way cleary 'American' sounding: as these composers developed, they still strongly adhered to the more 'classicist' side of neoclassical as they later delved into serialism, etc.

    The Wiki Article on Fine is[here]
    (This well enough shows the reason there is a moderate to small overall output; a teaching job, and an early death, mainly. The article also lists his works more fully.)
    Another good article,,+Irving[here]

    The impulse to want to say this composer's works are all very fine music aside -- it is all remarkably fine writing. His contemporary Aaron Copland said "he was the best of us." And another of that group said Fine was true genius. -- all, I believe in the Wiki article.

    As well as your above links, here are most of the remaining Fine works I found up and available on youtube, listed in chronological order of composition
    (Fine's formidable choral song cycles are listed below the following instrumental works.)

    Violin Sonata (1946)

    Music for piano (1947) [link in above post]

    Toccata Concertante (1947) [link in above post]

    Partita for Woodwind Quintet (1948) ~ The work almost instantly gained high regard and quickly entered as a staple of the Woodwind Quintet repertoire. [link in above post]

    Notturno for Strings and Harp (1951) [I think a really great piece, elegant, lyric, taut... more than that, I listen to it often enough for the pleasure.]

    Serious Song, Lament for String Orchestra (1955)

    String Quartet (1956) an excursion into serial manner, while tonal "Very much in C," says the composer.

    Diversions for Orchestra (1960)

    Symphony (1962)

    Choral music:

    The Choral New Yorker (1944) for chorus and piano
    The Hour Glass for a capella chorus
    .....These works, in the above order, in a Playlist:
    Last edited by PetrB; Jul-24-2014 at 18:42. Reason: punct.

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    I listened to Music for Piano, very, very clever music.

    I'm very surprised with his phrases and contrasts: he makes gestures and then the responses are incredibly effective, often exploiting both the harmony and the rhythm in particular for making the contrast. The momentum and the way in which the music seems to flow naturally. The result of all this being a very "alive" kind of music, alive in some kind of organic sense, an actual living thing rather than an artificial construct.

    I would say he has that special ability that it's often also atributed to Beethoven (by Bernstein, for example): an innate ability to make a narrative of gestures that is both effective and full of contrasts but at the same time maintains a sense of constant global flow and forward momentum in the music.

    Really amazing, you don't hear that done in such an impressive way everyday!

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  7. #4
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Loved him with Moe and Curly.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

    "Life's a long song, but the tune ends too soon for us all." Ian Anderson lyric

    "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Hamlet

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