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Thread: For love of the Baroque...

  1. #106
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    What I meant is that apart from the fact that Sweelinck was responsible for some groundbreaking music he was also a teacher and the people he taught, amongst them Scheidt and Scheidermann, were directly responsible for the so called North German Organ School of which JS Bach was a major figure. I don't know if Bach was ever exposed to, or had in his collection, any music by Sweelinck but I personally think he deserves to be better known. There aren't that many cd's out there of Sweelinck and that seems a pity.
    Yes, it is. There is so much baroque music that is really good but that doesn't get played or recorded as much as it deserves. I don't know enough about classical music to say whether that applies to other eras too.

    Certainly in English Literature, as you recede from the age, only one or two of the Giants seem to go on being read. There were lots of Victorian novelists, for example, who were very highly rated in their day, but I haven't actually read - writers like Meredith and Mrs Humphrey Ward. I suppose one can only do so much, so I choose not to make up for my deficiencies. And in music, though I will continue to follow up links to modern or romantic music where it interests me, I am going to 'major' in Early Music, Renaissance and Baroque.

    So many tunes - so little time!

    I have seen other giants of the Baroque Era dismissed as stolid or boring too, according to other posts on TC. e.g. Telemann. From the little I've listened to by him, that's completely unjust. He's number 31 on the List, and with so many other fabulous composers en route, not to mention exploring a few byways, I can wait to get on to him.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Baroque_composers

    I'll continue hunting up Sweelinck's organ music, and then take a break before tackling the Monteverdi Peaks, desporting myself first in the delightful foothills - all the links posted in this thread so far.

    Thank you, everyone, for contributing - not only the links, but all the insightful comments.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Oct-31-2017 at 13:11.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  3. #107
    CountenanceAnglaise
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    It's 500 years today since Bach nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. And we got THIS!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgyz0XqDEEA

    The Germans want to make it a permanent public holiday.
    Last edited by CountenanceAnglaise; Oct-31-2017 at 23:03. Reason: Plural!!

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  5. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountenanceAnglaise View Post
    It's 500 years today since Bach nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. .
    Are you sure??????

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  7. #109
    Senior Member Mowgli's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by premont View Post
    Are you sure??????
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reformation_Day

    Khatia was there too.

    Last edited by Mowgli; Nov-01-2017 at 01:59.

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  9. #110
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    Scarlatti - 5 piano sonatas - Michelangeli Helsinki 1969
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2pe4CJQsHU

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  11. #111
    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Rameau's Dardanus at Snape English Touring Opera (ETO) and the Old Street Band - 3 November 2017

    Dardanus is generally acclaimed as some of Rameau's best music. Musically, it represents a distinct change from the operas of Lully. However, the opera has a chequered history. The original 1739 production had Venus in her flying chariot in the best Lully tradition and other supernatural effects. It was not well received. Rameau and his librettist, Leclerc de La Bruère, reworked the opera for a 1744 revival which removed most of the deus ex machina effects and gave a more rounded form to the second half. The trouble is that there is so much good music split between the versions that modern directors have often conflated versions to get the best effects.

    The basic story with the love triangle set amid the horrors of war carries us through and the singing and music brought out the struggles of the lovers and the evils of war.

    ETO decided on a modern dress performance - this generally worked, although the sight of Anténor in full battle dress weeping for Iphise was a little less than realistic. The main problem was the staging. The action took place in a gravel pit - a shallow box covering the stage and filled with fine sand and pebbles. This meant that crossing the stage for the female characters in heels had to be done somewhat gingerly. Although the opera should have had a number of dance interludes these had to be cut otherwise it could have looked like a Wilson and Keppel sand dance. Some dance movements were cut entirely others were used as scene change entractes and what remained (including the long concluding divertissements) used as back drop for hi-jinks and ceremony from the chorus. This jarred with the solemnity of the closing scene with the appearance of Venus excellently sung by Eleanor Penfold whose simple brilliant white dress formed a fine contrast to the drabness of the other costumes. Interestingly, the concluding divertissements are from the 1739 version and used because of their beauty - shame to waste it then! Another element from the 1739 production was the aria Monstre affreux, monstre redoutable which seemed out of place (and confusing - Ingélou wondered who the monster was - death?) although movingly sung by Timothy Nelson as Anténor.

    Galina Averina was excellent as Iphise and Anthony Gregory made a fine Dardanus coping well with Rameaus's haut-contre style especially in the fourth act aria Lieux funestes. Grant Doyle played Iphise's father Teucer, but like many bass singers failed to bring out the melody almost seeming to have a grumbly recitiative style rather than projecting the notes. Frederick Long as Ismenor, in full Catweazle style, made the most of a part which is not fully dramatically integrated. The accompanied recitative Suspends ta brillante carrière was well done with fine lighting effects. Alessandro Fisher made a fine Arcas encouraging Anténor to kill Dardanus. The chorus - Eleanor Penfold, Katy Thomson, Edward Jowle, Mikel Uskola Cobos - worked well and Eleanor Penfold was excellent as Venus.

    The music was provided by the Old Street Band. I felt that the music was played beautifully, with an exquisite balance and poise. Rameau's music has a lyrical elegance and they brought out the underlying harmonies well. A shame that their music was not left to speak for itself without distraction or that the producers had not gone for dance over silly staging effects.

    All in all, an excellent evening's entertainment.

    A link to our previous visit to ETO

    Choice of Baroque Operas
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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  13. #112
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    It was a fab evening. Here's my own twopenn'orth:



    We had good seats just over a third of the way back. I was a bit worried, because I'm not a person who likes modern dress performances, but the point about Dardanus is the poignancy and irony of the situation, with the daughter of one warring ruler secretly in love with her father's enemy, while being betrothed to her father's ally. So it didn't matter - the plot was a series of 'changes in the situation', rather than a story, and the background of bare wooden boards and people dressed in black or in military uniforms was very appropriate to the situation. As well as meditations on love, the songs dealt with the cruelty of war and all the emotions of hate and revenge stirred up by it.

    At the end the appearance of Venus in a white robe with shining mask was dazzling and moving - rather a pity that they threw the effect away with some comic horseplay while the orchestra, The Old Street Band, was playing the postlude. A quiet stage with some lights playing around would have been better, in my opinion.

    As Jim my Fiddle Guru was playing viola in The Old Street Band I listened very carefully to the music, and especially to the cello and violas, trying to distinguish them. So I can say, hand on heart, that the music was played with a delightful balance and lyricism.

    Rameau's music has a beyond-time chic to it, though it isn't cram full of melodies like my true French Baroque favourite, Lully. Every song seems to have the same typical French-Baroque languishing phrase - but who cares. Sometimes I find Rameau's music to be merely 'elegant', but here the lyrics added poignancy and tenderness - especially as sung by these voices. I thought the acting and characterisation was excellent and loved all the voices, except for Teucer's bass, which sometimes seemed a bit talky-growly, rather than tuneful. (But that might be me - I have some age-associated problems with hearing the lower register.)

    The second half, once Dardanus is in prison, dragged a little for me, though the twist of the plot is interesting. (One feels more could be made of it.) And it does seem a pity that Rameau couldn't bear to cut his end music, as I think it would always be a bit anticlimactic even without the daft staging ideas.

    But still, it was a lovely and very enjoyable evening. We even discovered a new sort of lemonade at the bar - Rose Lemonade, which tastes like iced melted-down Turkish delight and is delicious.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Nov-04-2017 at 14:08.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  15. #113
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    I listened to the opening cycle of Biber's Mystery Sonatas yesterday and, to be honest, I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. They really are something else, aren't they! Such amazing, confounding and difficult music. I know the epithet genius is bandied around a lot in classical circles but I truly believe that Biber's music deserves to called genius and inspired.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq-SrUZUluU

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  17. #114
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    I listened to the opening cycle of Biber's Mystery Sonatas yesterday and, to be honest, I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. They really are something else, aren't they! Such amazing, confounding and difficult music. I know the epithet genius is bandied around a lot in classical circles but I truly believe that Biber's music deserves to called genius and inspired.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq-SrUZUluU


    I so agree.
    The Mystery Sonatas are probably my absolutely favourite piece of music. What I like also is the way the music quite often fits the particular decade of the rosary - e.g. The Crowning with Thorns sounds jagged. As a violinist (actually a fiddler) myself, too, I appreciate some of the technical aspects, such as use of scordatura and cross-stringing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary_Sonatas

    We have two cds - Andrew Manze's and Riccardo Minasi & Bizzarrie Armoniche - and we listen to them both, though I slightly prefer the latter as it always seems a bit more heartfelt, somehow. There was a German version on YouTube a few years ago which was how I got to know the work, but it was a bit out of our price range. However, if I ever win the Lottery, I will get every version out there.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  19. #115
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    I like Rameau, but I love Lully, and I was pondering why. For me, this is the answer - though I appreciate that I'm grossly oversimplifying and anyway there are loads of exceptions!

    Lully has spirit & Rameau has style;
    The one has panache and the other has chic;
    Lully's a sprinter and Rameau's a miler;
    The former's a showman - the latter's oblique.


    Thus I show that I have the heart of a peasant.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Nov-05-2017 at 16:06.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  21. #116
    Senior Member Joe B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by classical yorkist View Post
    I listened to the opening cycle of Biber's Mystery Sonatas yesterday and, to be honest, I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. They really are something else, aren't they! Such amazing, confounding and difficult music. I know the epithet genius is bandied around a lot in classical circles but I truly believe that Biber's music deserves to called genius and inspired.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq-SrUZUluU
    Quote Originally Posted by Ingélou View Post


    I so agree.
    The Mystery Sonatas are probably my absolutely favourite piece of music. What I like also is the way the music quite often fits the particular decade of the rosary - e.g. The Crowning with Thorns sounds jagged. As a violinist (actually a fiddler) myself, too, I appreciate some of the technical aspects, such as use of scordatura and cross-stringing.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosary_Sonatas

    We have two cds - Andrew Manze's and Riccardo Minasi & Bizzarrie Armoniche - and we listen to them both, though I slightly prefer the latter as it always seems a bit more heartfelt, somehow. There was a German version on YouTube a few years ago which was how I got to know the work, but it was a bit out of our price range. However, if I ever win the Lottery, I will get every version out there.
    I read these posts this morning. Thanks for the inspiration/direction! I haven't listened to my "Mystery Sonatas" in a while:

    Attachment 98960(click to view...had to scan inserts as unavailable online anywhere I looked)
    Last edited by Joe B; Nov-05-2017 at 16:55.
    I love music. I want music. I need music.

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  23. #117
    Senior Member Mowgli's Avatar
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    TYA -> Bruckner #2 -> Rameau

    The Dardanus Suite's flute tweeting, fiddle sawing & drum bashing is surprisingly rowdy and charming
    Hippolyte et Arieie is just as rowdy. My first Rameau listen is a win.

    Last edited by Mowgli; Nov-05-2017 at 20:49.

  24. #118
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    I'm feeling a bit daunted, but it's time for me to start my sampling of Monteverdi, as he's the next on the Wiki list in the OP.

    He is so big and so influential - and yet I know nothing of his work!!!!

    I thought I'd start with the Composer Guestbook on Talk Classical.
    Monteverdi, Claudio (1567-1643)

    Unfortunately an attachment in the OP which seems to be a list of where to start has winked out over the years - the Composer Guestbook dates from 2010.

    However, PetrB of famous memory posts (#3) to recommend a film 'The Full Monteverdi' so Taggart is looking into the possibility of getting it. The film is based on six modern couples breaking up in a restaurant, Monteverdi's madrigals illustrating their relationships and difficulties, so it may turn out to be a bit 'modern' for us (we're a sad trad pair ) but it has had good critical reception and might be a place to start.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Full_Monteverdi


    I shall be reading this article carefully over the next day or two - you wouldn't believe how ignorant I am.
    I think in all truth the name Monteverdi has scared me off!
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudio_Monteverdi

    I'd be very grateful if any of you can suggest either a starting place or a strategy for Tackling Monteverdi.
    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Nov-06-2017 at 11:03.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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  26. #119
    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Here is a Monteverdi piece that is a favorite of mine, if you enjoy this you may want to explore some of his madrigals, Book VIII is a great place to start.



    For large scale works I would suggest starting with the opera L'Orfeo. This version with Savall conducting is the one I have and I find it excellent:

    L'Orfeo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mD16EVxNOM
    Last edited by tdc; Nov-06-2017 at 11:33.

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  28. #120
    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Thank you so much, tdc - this is lovely.

    So lovely that I'm going to nick it for my Psalms to Music thread in the Religious Music forum, with due acknowledgement to you.

    PS - And thank you for the link to Orfeo. We will certainly be watching this together.
    Last edited by Ingélou; Nov-06-2017 at 12:01.
    ~ Mollie ~
    My fiddle my joy.

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