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Thread: Reflections On Music You Love

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    Member st Omer's Avatar
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    Default Reflections On Music You Love

    I am one of the refugees from the Amazon Classical Music Forums. Amazon shut down their discussion forums last week and a number of us have migrated here. At Amazon I started a discussion titled "Daily Reflections on a Musical Composition". The idea was that I would post something daily about music I heard that day that evoked a memory from the past, a feeling, an impression, or an idea. It could be music of any genre but it was typically classical. It wouldn't necessarily be a comment on a large work. It could be a popular song, a movement, a short piano piece, or a large work. I am sure everybody here has the experience of hearing something that evoked nostalgia, strong emotions, or impressions. I found that posting something daily was very daunting and after a strong start the thread bogged down and disappeared until I would periodically revive it. This forum is much larger than the Amazon forum so I am hoping this may catch on and that many will participate. I am going to copy one of my posts that I save from the old discussion that may serve as a general example of the spirit of this thread.

    When I thought about starting this discussion on Sunday I listened to Schumann's "Ich Grolle Nicht" performed by the tenor Fritz Wunderlich. Ideally I think this is a song for baritone so I listened to 4 versions of it on Youtube this evening, performed by Souzay, Fischer-Deskau & Prey, all baritones. I also listened to a performance by Anna Moffo. I was first intrigued by this song when enrolled in a music appreciation class in college in the winter quarter of 1969 at a place called Snow College. It was an outpost for outcasts not quite up to attending the big universities in the state. All of the students in the class were given the assignment to listen to Schumann's "Dichterliebe" on reel to reel tapes in the basement of the main building at the small college campus where I attended school for two years. We were tested on our knowledge of the songs. The professor would play about 10 seconds of the song and we had to identify it reminiscent of the old TV quiz show "Name That Tune". It is almost chilling to think that failing that test could have gotten me shipped to Vietnam. In those days I was a serious student. I wasn't a serious student in high school but I got serious in college. One couldn't take school lightly in the late 60s.

    I never forgot Ich Grolle Nicht. I play it frequently and it takes me back to simpler times. The college I enrolled at in 1968 had about 1000 students and was located in the high desert of central Utah. There wasn't anything there but a college and a lot of turkey ranches. Desert, mountains, jack rabbits, and turkeys that's about all there was. In fact turkeys were so important to the local economy that the County Sheriff was asked to talk to all incoming freshman at our orientation about the serious crime of turkey rustling. We were told turkey rustling could land us in jail. I am not kidding about this. Stuck in a basement listening to strange German music seemed oddly appropriate at the time. One could bask in the melancholia of Schumann and forget about the turkeys. Ich Grolle Nicht was a gem among a bunch of turkeys that was "Dichterliebe" as far as I was concerned at the age of 18. I was into Dylan at the time. Listen to Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street" sometime and you might find the message similar to "Ich Grolle Nicht". I am still not much into lieder but Ich Grolle Nicht cements Schumann's place among my favorite composers.

    "Ich Grolle Nicht"

    I bear no grudge, even when my heart is breaking!
    Love lost forever! I bear no grudge.
    Although you shine in diamond splendor,
    No beam falls into the night of your heart.
    I will know that for a long time.

    I bear no grudge, and when my heart is breaking!
    I truly saw you in my dreams
    And saw the night in the room of your heart,
    And saw the snake that bites your heart;
    I saw, my dear, how truly miserable you are.

    "Positively 4th Street" (the last verse)

    I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
    And just for that one moment I could be you
    Yes, I wish that for just one time you could stand inside my shoes
    You'd know what a drag it is to see you.
    Last edited by st Omer; Oct-11-2017 at 05:32.

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    Senior Member CypressWillow's Avatar
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    What a charming idea for a thread, and a great post to start it off.
    "If I follow the dictates of my government, I will be violating the dictates of my god."
    -Chiune Sugihara

    "Were my Maker to grant me but a single glance through these sightless eyes of mine, I would, without question or recall, choose to see first a child, then a dog."
    -Helen Keller, quoted by Dr. Andy Mathis

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    Senior Member CypressWillow's Avatar
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    The Barcarolle of Chopin is tearing my heart asunder as I type this.

    Not simply because every second of Chopin is, for me, the music I was born to hear. Also because Trifonov is here playing it during the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 2010. Although normally I prefer a rather expressionless pianist, so as not to be distracted (think Arthur Rubinstein, my first hero of the piano) I see Trifonov "getting" the music in the most sensitive, vulnerable way. He is so owned by the music that it almost feels like an invasion of his privacy to be watching him feel it so deeply.

    Written late in Chopin's life, it seems to express a longing for the beauty of this world, along with a struggle not to leave it, a struggle which resolves into peaceful acceptance at the end. I'm always moved by this piece, and marvel at the richness and clarity that Trifonov is bringing to it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crLa...=RDSQcZR8EasM0
    "If I follow the dictates of my government, I will be violating the dictates of my god."
    -Chiune Sugihara

    "Were my Maker to grant me but a single glance through these sightless eyes of mine, I would, without question or recall, choose to see first a child, then a dog."
    -Helen Keller, quoted by Dr. Andy Mathis

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    CountenanceAnglaise
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    I loved these comments, and "Ich Grolle Nicht" is a superb piece!! Such a tender, lyrical and heartbreaking piece about lost love. "I saw the snake that bites your heart...I saw how truly miserable you are". Apposite!!

    Schumann was just the ultimate poet and I adore his music.
    Last edited by CountenanceAnglaise; Oct-11-2017 at 12:44.

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    For me Schumann ranks as one of the two greatest composers when it comes to hitting me right in the heart with emotion, the other being Bach.

    For anyone deeply moved by Schumann's songs, I would suggest listening to his solo piano "suite", Kreisleriana, written while under Clara's spell, if you haven't already. One of the greatest of all masterpieces for piano. So achingly beautiful, it can make you cry.

    Yes. Nobody wrote more poetic and moving music than Schumann.
    Last edited by hpowders; Oct-11-2017 at 13:43.

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    CountenanceAnglaise
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpowders View Post
    For me Schumann ranks as one of the two greatest composers when it comes to hitting me right in the heart with emotion, the other being Bach.

    For anyone deeply moved by Schumann's songs, I would suggest listening to his solo piano "suite", Kreisleriana, written while under Clara's spell, if you haven't already. One of the greatest of all masterpieces for piano.

    Yes. Nobody wrote more poetic and moving music than Schumann.
    I particularly adore this from a very wonderful singer, recently retired after battling the odds:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnbLTCbGV6k

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    There is also of course Schumann's great and incredibly moving song cycle for female voice, Frauenliebe und-leben. I don't expect Harvey Weinstein collects many recordings of it.

    Feminists these days would most likely be revulsed, but in Schumann's time, a woman's place was in the home. Ironically, Clara was destined to break the stereotype and travel throughout Europe as a great pianist.
    Last edited by hpowders; Oct-11-2017 at 13:56.

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    CountenanceAnglaise
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    Quote Originally Posted by hpowders View Post
    There is also of course Schumann's great and incredibly moving song cycle for female voice, Frauenliebe und-leben.

    I don't expect Harvey Weinstein collects many recordings of it.
    I just found this!!! Rather sad, really:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMQIZpwnwV8

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    Quote Originally Posted by CountenanceAnglaise View Post
    I just found this!!! Rather sad, really:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMQIZpwnwV8
    I never realized this great singer is physically handicapped, a victim of the hideous thalidomide scandal of the 1950's-1960's. Thankfully, this horrible poison didn't affect his vocal cords.
    Last edited by hpowders; Oct-11-2017 at 14:17.

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    Senior Member Omicron9's Avatar
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    Interesting idea for a thread; thanks for starting it.
    "Signature line-free since 2016!"

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    Senior Member JeffD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountenanceAnglaise View Post
    I just found this!!! Rather sad, really:
    The sad part is he is retiring. And also some folks say he is having health problems.
    How did I become a senior member? I only recently figured out where the restrooms are.

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    Senior Member CypressWillow's Avatar
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    "The idea was that I would post something daily about music I heard that day that evoked a memory from the past, a feeling, an impression, or an idea. It could be music of any genre but it was typically classical. It wouldn't necessarily be a comment on a large work. It could be a popular song, a movement, a short piano piece, or a large work. I am sure everybody here has the experience of hearing something that evoked nostalgia, strong emotions, or impressions."

    To return this thread to the OPs vision, here is an evocation of the past that is inextricably bound up with loss and longing for me. It was my beloved father who introduced me to Music. He loved the voice of Jussi Bjorling. I adore it, too. And this aria from Faust is not only gorgeous on its own, but also idealizes the unattainable vision of beauty and love that draws us into its circle.

    I can't resist the tender, melancholic power that Bjorling brings, can't resist the beauty of just the sound of the French language, his phrasing, the unearthly wonder of that high C - can such sound emanate from a human throat?

    What greater gift can a parent give than to instill a love of music into the heart of a child? I can see him today, though his life was cut tragically short at just 45. His smile as he opened the beauty of the world, his world, to my eyes, ears and heart.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFzNByH0Di0
    "If I follow the dictates of my government, I will be violating the dictates of my god."
    -Chiune Sugihara

    "Were my Maker to grant me but a single glance through these sightless eyes of mine, I would, without question or recall, choose to see first a child, then a dog."
    -Helen Keller, quoted by Dr. Andy Mathis

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    Default Love the thread

    st Omer - great post, Amazon's loss is our gain! Snow College and turkeys and Dichterliebe are priceless. And what's with Dripping Springs, Texas? Here in Canada, improbable places often are where classical music gets the love. I second the musical choices posted on this thread. One work I love is Gabriel Faure's Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major. It opens with optimism and charm -- the melody is said to be the actual "little phrase by Vinteuil" in Proust's A la recherche de temps perdu. The yearning quality of the melody is subtly reinforced by his imaginative harmonization. But -- when it comes to love, too much analysis can get in the way . . .

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Every time I hear Erik Satie's 'Gymnopedie No.1' I think of my eldest son being born. It was the first piece of music I played when I got back from the hospital.

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    Member st Omer's Avatar
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    CypressWillow,

    I think you have grasped exactly what I was trying to capture with this thread. Of course discussions have a tendency to go where they will go and I would encourage anybody posting to express whatever they are comfortable expressing and to respond as they see fit. Discussion forums are as much a place to interact socially as they are a place to exchange information.

    I am not musically knowledgeable in a technical sense. My contributions will be that of a listener and how certain things connect emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes intellectually.
    Last edited by st Omer; Oct-11-2017 at 18:57.

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