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Thread: Shostakovich is the last great symphonist

  1. #76
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    janne
    no, it`s not me, it`s Kurkikohtaus, a Sibelius expert.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma-Goh View Post
    Opal,

    Why would I? What in my post does indicate I would?
    It just seems odd to me that a new member (you) should make his first post a critique of views expressed in December 2006 concerning Shostakovich by a member (Kurkikohtaus) who hasn't been active for over a year, and at the same time make disparaging remarks about that member's favoured composer, Sibelius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma-Goh View Post
    janne
    no, it`s not me, it`s Kurkikohtaus, a Sibelius expert.
    Ok...

    Why did you post that link ?

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    Sibelius will always be my #1; that's another story. Back to Shosta. Here are two versions of Fifth's finale:

    1. Again, Mravinsky (same link I posted prior)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7gqXLiYZ9k

    and 2. Bernstein
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogJFXqYEYd8

    I like the hearing slower ending just as much as watching Lenny in his glory. Here Bernstein slows it down quite a bit from his own 1959 recording, which is super fast.

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    I've recently discovered the joys of the 4th. It's much more experimental than the 5th.
    I've recently attended a cocnert with Wladimir Jurowski an RNO. They were perfoming the 4th. Yes, it is much more experimental than the 5th. The perfomance of it has been banned.

    ***
    I have double thoughts about his 11th symphony. Sometimes I love it,vsometimes in seems to me to be long and boring and sometimes bombastic. Still, it impress me.

    I am not so sure about the 13th. I do not find this symphony-cantata form to be very good. The music is more abstract art than the poetry. And I am not a big fan of Yevtushenko. My favorite Russian poet is Mandelstamm. Compare him and Yevtushenko - and you'll see the big difference. BTW, Mandelstamm was an only artist who rejects getting a free flat from Soviet government and wrote an epigramme on Stalin. He was a real hero.

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    I have been trying to find that 1959 recording of Bernstein with NYPhil - can you send me the exact bar code information? I would be so grateful. I have three Bernstein recordings (2 w NYP) but none (in my memory) match that barely post-soviet tour recording. Shostakovich, from all accounts, loved Bernstein's tempos!


    Quote Originally Posted by angusdegraosta View Post
    Sibelius will always be my #1; that's another story. Back to Shosta. Here are two versions of Fifth's finale:

    1. Again, Mravinsky (same link I posted prior)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7gqXLiYZ9k

    and 2. Bernstein
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogJFXqYEYd8

    I like the hearing slower ending just as much as watching Lenny in his glory. Here Bernstein slows it down quite a bit from his own 1959 recording, which is super fast.

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    Senior Member NightHawk's Avatar
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    Barely a month ago I would likely have agreed that Shostakovich was the last great symphonist, but that was before I was introduced to the music of Alfred Schnittke (1934 -1998) on TC. Schnittke's musical 'references', 'quotes', and 'paraphrases' within numerous of his works may not sit well with all, but I have been completely won over by this surreal quality, and really just the beauty of his music. Though raised in Russia, and influenced significantly by Shostakovich...

    It was in Vienna, Schnittke's biographer Alexander Ivashkin writes, where "he fell in love with music which is part of life, part of history and culture, part of the past which is still alive." "I felt every moment there," the composer wrote, "to be a link of the historical chain: all was multi-dimensional; the past represented a world of ever-present ghosts, and I was not a barbarian without any connections, but the conscious bearer of the task in my life."[3] Schnittke's experience in Vienna "gave him a certain spiritual experience and discipline for his future professional activities. It was Mozart and Schubert, not Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff, whom he kept in mind as a reference point in terms of taste, manner and style. This reference point was essentially Classical ... but never too blatant." Wikipedia.com

    It seems so strange that I should not have known this man's music while he was living. It is even stranger than I mourn his passing 13 years later in these days of heavy listening to his work.
    Last edited by NightHawk; Dec-07-2011 at 03:54.

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    [QUOTE=NightHawk;241622]Barely a month ago I would likely have agreed that Shostakovich was the last great symphonist, but that was before I was introduced to the music of Alfred Schnittke (1934 -1998) on TC. Schnittke's musical 'references', 'quotes', and 'paraphrases' within numerous of his works may not sit well with all, but I have been completely won over by this surreal quality, and really just the beauty of his music. Though raised in Russia, and influenced significantly by Shostakovich...

    Indeed Alfred Schnittke is a great musician and also a symphonist. Yet, his symphonies will not replace the weight and impressions of Dmitri Shostakovich.
    I have thought about this much and I tend to endorse that Shostakovich is indeed the last great symphonist before the decadence set in.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Considering his output, I haven't listened to a whole lot of Shostakovich. However, I do own a bunch of CDs. He may be universally acclaimed as a great symphonist, but I prefer the chamber music I've listened to over the symphonies. They're a bit over the top for my taste.

    Like Nighthawk, I like Schnittke a lot, he has a sense of humor. And I also listen to William Schuman's and Lutoslawski's symphonies more than Shostakovich.

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    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    I could agree that Shosty was the last great symphonist. I enjoy his works tremendously, though I have a hard time sitting through some of them due to the length.

    We can mention Schnittke or Petterrsson or any of these other "contemporary" symphonists all we want, but do they REALLY hold up to the likes of Shostakovich? I think not. It's not to put them down, but they (and others) simply cannot match the popularity and influence Shostakovich had and still has.

    Will there be another symphonist of his caliber? Anything is possible, but we may need to wait a long time.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    I could agree that Shosty was the last great symphonist. I enjoy his works tremendously, though I have a hard time sitting through some of them due to the length.

    We can mention Schnittke or Petterrsson or any of these other "contemporary" symphonists all we want, but do they REALLY hold up to the likes of Shostakovich? I think not. It's not to put them down, but they (and others) simply cannot match the popularity and influence Shostakovich had and still has.

    Will there be another symphonist of his caliber? Anything is possible, but we may need to wait a long time.
    I think that is over-rating Shostakovich quite a bit. It seems you think he is the last great symphonist because he is the last symphonist that wrote in a style you like.

    Also, may I ask who they influenced exactly? As great as Shostakovich's symphonies are they are also quite conservative for the time and unless I am wrong the range of influence is rather smallish relatively speaking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by violadude View Post
    I think that is over-rating Shostakovich quite a bit. It seems you think he is the last great symphonist because he is the last symphonist that wrote in a style you like.

    Also, may I ask who they influenced exactly? As great as Shostakovich's symphonies are they are also quite conservative for the time and unless I am wrong the range of influence is rather smallish relatively speaking.
    I think people throw the word "great" around quite a bit. If Beethoven is great, and Mahler is great, and Shostakovich is great, does someone like Schnittke, who is popular and at least good, really fit into that league?

    And I doubt that i would tend to overrate Shostakovich. I like him but I am not a fanatic. But I can and do accept him for his stature and influence as a symphonist.

    And when I say "influence," I do not necessarily mean that other composers somehow sound like him because they have lifted his music writing techniques. I mean influence in the greater sense. In the same way Mozart has been very influential in the world of music, though composers who consider him influential do not sound like him and simply copy his style.
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tapkaara View Post
    I think people throw the word "great" around quite a bit. If Beethoven is great, and Mahler is great, and Shostakovich is great, does someone like Schnittke, who is popular and at least good, really fit into that league?

    And I doubt that i would tend to overrate Shostakovich. I like him but I am not a fanatic. But I can and do accept him for his stature and influence as a symphonist.

    And when I say "influence," I do not necessarily mean that other composers somehow sound like him because they have lifted his music writing techniques. I mean influence in the greater sense. In the same way Mozart has been very influential in the world of music, though composers who consider him influential do not sound like him and simply copy his style.
    Yes! I would definitely put Schnittke's symphonies on the same pedestal of those other composers. They are incredible. Why are people so quick to claim that there cannot be a composer in more recent years incapable of writing symphonies at the same level?

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    Senior Member Tapkaara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violadude View Post
    Yes! I would definitely put Schnittke's symphonies on the same pedestal of those other composers. They are incredible. Why are people so quick to claim that there cannot be a composer in more recent years incapable of writing symphonies at the same level?
    Perhaps the quality of his work has yet to enter into the public's consciousness. But even in classical circles, Schnittke's work is of limited appeal; only the intelligentia REALLY know his work. This is not a reflection on the quality of his work; I know of several composers who should be better known but don't even have the recogntion of Schnittke. Despite his qualities, he just isn't there yet.

    What it comes down to for me is the use of the term "great." Again, I feel it is thrown around fairly carelessly, as is the word "genius." I think when we start calling good and better-than-good composers "great," it actually does a gross disservice to the term.

    I am not against any modern/contemporary composers entering into the pantheon of "great" composers, and it very well could happen. Perhaps it could happen to Schnittke if his output if properly and fairly appraised by the general concert-going public and others who study and care about such things. But I feel PERSONALLY that the era of great, epoch-defining composers probably did die around the time of Shostakovich. I think with the onset of the musical avant-garde, classical music lost its way as an art form worthy of a wider public appreciation and became something of a "secret handshake" for self-serving intellectuals. Music is now scattering and trying to find its way again and maybe when it does, another "great" composer will come to the fore. Is the current and wide-spread idiom of minimalism a reaction to the avant-garde, just as the classical period was a reaction to the "excesses" of the baroque?

    Of course, all of that is simply my opinion. I don't need lectures on how wonderful avant-garde music is. Don't try to convince me because you will not. We should all be allowed our theories.

    Thanks!
    "Music is not philosophy." --Akira Ifukube

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    No use in forcing yourself to listen to music that you have no taste for. As far as the avant garde is concerned, Schnittke may be a modernist, but he is not like Boulez. He has a deep sense of tradition running through his works which he obviously loved a respected. But he is also relevant to his own time and thoroughly contemporary. It's quite obvious when you listen to his music.

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