View Poll Results: Non-symphony symphonies: Choose up to 3.

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  • Bartok: Music for Strings, Percussion & Celesta

    28 42.42%
  • Britten: Four Sea Interludes

    8 12.12%
  • Debussy: La Mer

    35 53.03%
  • Dvorak: Czech Suite

    5 7.58%
  • Janacek: Sinfonietta

    17 25.76%
  • Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances

    22 33.33%
  • Respighi: Church Windows

    6 9.09%
  • Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade

    28 42.42%
  • Sibelius: Four Legends from the Kalevala

    18 27.27%
  • Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings

    14 21.21%
  • Other -- name please!

    6 9.09%
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Thread: Symphonies that aren't symphonies

  1. #1
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default Symphonies that aren't symphonies

    Some works we might happily accept as symphonies if their composers had called them that. Here's a list suggested by others. I have some problem with a couple of the entries, but what the heck.

    Anyway, pick your faves!


  2. #2
    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    There is no way I can choose just three. Everyone of these works are among my favorites.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    Senior Member GreenMamba's Avatar
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    Is Das Lied von Erde a non-symphony symphony, or just a symphony?

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Although some may baulk at a transcription (and not even a contemporaneous one at that) I'm quite fond of Joachim's orchestral version of Schubert's Grand Duo Sonata D812 for piano duet, even if he does frogmarch it somewhat unceremoniously into mid-19th century Brahms territory. Abbado recorded it as part of his Schubert cycle with the COE on DG.

    Elsewhere, I'm also partial to Reger's heavy-duty Sinfonietta op.90 and the lean-but-cocksure Sinfonietta op.1 by Britten.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

    ὃν οἱ θεοὶ φιλοῦσιν ἀποθνῄσκει νέος [Those whom the gods love die young] - Menander

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    Senior Member dsphipps100's Avatar
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    I'll second Das Lied von der Erde, of course, and I would also mention Rachmaninov's "The Bells".
    Don't bother looking at the mountains, I have already composed them into my symphony - Gustav Mahler, speaking to Bruno Walter

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    I like all of them except the Tchaikovsky and wouldn't willingly pick just three. But since I have to, it will be Bartok, Britten and Rachmaninoff. Oh wait, the Debussy and Janacek and R-K are really good too. No, guess I was right the first time. Can't just pick three.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Feb-21-2016 at 01:31.

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  12. #7
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    I went with Bartok, Debussy, and Rimsky-Korsakov, but I hated to leave off Janacek and Tchaikovsky.

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    Junior Member Martyn Harper's Avatar
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    So many great works here, but you asked us to choose just three. So, here goes.....
    3. Rachmaninov - Symphonic Dances
    2. Janacek - Sinfonietta
    1. Rimsky Korsakov - Scheherazade

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  16. #9
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMamba View Post
    Is Das Lied von Erde a non-symphony symphony, or just a symphony?
    Das Lied von der Erde: Mahler headed the score “a symphony for tenor and contralto (or baritone) and orchestra.”


  17. #10
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    Although some may baulk at a transcription (and not even a contemporaneous one at that) I'm quite fond of Joachim's orchestral version of Schubert's Grand Duo Sonata D812 for piano duet, even if he does frogmarch it somewhat unceremoniously into mid-19th century Brahms territory.
    I very much like that transcription as well -- except the last movement, which seems a bit trivial to me. Of course instead of a "symphony that's not a symphony", that's sort of a "not a symphony that's a symphony"!


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  19. #11
    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    I went with Respighi, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Other

    The Other is Leonard Bernstein's transcription for string orchestra of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 16 op. 135. It may as well be a symphony, sounding very much in the vein of Symphony No. 6.
    Last edited by Weston; Feb-21-2016 at 03:49.

  20. #12
    Senior Member dsphipps100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMamba View Post
    Is Das Lied von Erde a non-symphony symphony, or just a symphony?
    Das Lied von der Erde: Mahler headed the score “a symphony for tenor and contralto (or baritone) and orchestra.”
    Unfortunately, I don't remember where I heard/read this so I probably can't provide a source, but I seem to recall that, after Mahler completed his "Sym # 9", he remarked to sombody (perhaps Bruno Walter?) that "now the danger is past (of the so-called "Curse of the 9th"), because Das Lied von der Erde is really my Ninth", or something along those lines, the idea being that he had "outwitted fate".
    Don't bother looking at the mountains, I have already composed them into my symphony - Gustav Mahler, speaking to Bruno Walter

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  22. #13
    Junior Member jcofer's Avatar
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    Brahms Serenades Nos. 1 and 2. His way of writing a symphony while avoiding writing a symphony (dread of being compared to Beethoven).

  23. #14
    Senior Member dsphipps100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcofer View Post
    Brahms Serenades Nos. 1 and 2. His way of writing a symphony while avoiding writing a symphony (dread of being compared to Beethoven).
    There are those who would make a similar comparison with his 1st Piano Concerto as well.

    "You have no idea how it feels to hear behind you the tramp of a giant like Beethoven." - Johannes Brahms
    Don't bother looking at the mountains, I have already composed them into my symphony - Gustav Mahler, speaking to Bruno Walter

  24. #15
    Junior Member jcofer's Avatar
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    The conductor Hans von Bülow referred to Brahms First Symphony as "Beethoven's Tenth"; Brahms was not amused.

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