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Thread: Sharing obscure favourites 2 (READ FIRST POST)

  1. #31
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Leo Ornstein - Cello Sonata No. 2

    New? Completely, I had heard of the composer, but never got to listen to any of his works. Here we go. A late romantic piece from the 1920s, early in Ornstein's career. I'm a sucker for beautiful cello sounds, and there's plenty to enjoy here in that respect. I'm less convinced about the piano part though, at times (certainly the first minutes) it feels like the two performers are just doing their own thing, rather than really playing together to create something special. There's some variation in tempo and mood throughout the work, but not enough to keep my attention focused for 15 minutes - especially since some of the variations result in less interesting lines (thinking in particular about the part around 10 minutes). It was interesting to hear this piece, but it did not make me want to hear it again, or explore this composer further.

    Artrockometer: "Not required" - Reserved for works that I would prefer not to have in my CD collection should I have to start over.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Art Rock View Post
    I've received a belated entry - is everybody OK with adding one more piece this round?
    Actually, let's keep it simple. I'll add it, and anyone who disagrees is not obliged to listen.


    These are the submitted works with links (alphabetical by submitter):

    Allegro Con Brio: Leo Ornstein - Cello Sonata No. 2 (link)
    Art Rock: Peteris Vasks - Cor Anglais Concerto (links per movement: 1 2 3 4)
    Kjetil Heggelund: Aaron Jay Kernis - 100 Greatest Dance Hits (link)
    MusicSybarite: Joseph Jongen - Concert à cinq, for flute, harp and string trio (links: 1 2 3)
    Nereffid: Jean Mouton - Nesciens mater (link)
    Simon Moon: Narong Prangcharoen - Illuminations (link)
    Strange Magic: Silvestre Revueltas - Cuauhnáhuac (link)
    Tchaikov6: Witold Lutoslawski - Little Suite (link)

    You have until 25 February to complete your listens and reactions - I'd advice to start early though.

    Enjoy!
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

  4. #33
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Even with the addition of Simon Moon's piece (which brings the required number of listens/posts from 49 to 64), we're at 33% completion after two days. Nice work!
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

  5. #34
    Senior Member Nereffid's Avatar
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    Starting with the pieces I already know:

    Peteris Vasks - Cor Anglais Concerto
    Vasks doesn't quite rank as a favourite composer, but I really like some of his works (the String quartet no.4 stands out), and enjoy his style generally. With the Cor anglais concerto, the obvious comparison for me, at least to begin with, is Sibelius's Swan of Tuonela. And while there were other bits that reminded me of Vaughan Williams-ish pastoralism, and a climax in the third movement not unlike something out of Shostakovich, these are all positives in my book. (If I'm enjoying something, then playing "spot the bit that reminds me of someone else's bit" is a fun bonus!). I agree with Art Rock's suggestion that this concerto may be too modern for some, and too old-fashioned for others, but for me Vasks gets the balance just right.


    Aaron Jay Kernis - 100 Greatest Dance Hits
    I've heard somewhat less of Kernis's music, and he's not as high on my personal list as Vasks, but again I get along well with his style. This is a fun, light piece which presumably on at least one occasion in its life has been programmed with Boccherini's Fandango quintet and not suffered by comparison. The recording I listened to was by David Tanenbaum and the Kashii String Quartet, on an album on Black Box; the next track on the album is his 1981 violin/piano work Meditation (in memoriam for John Lennon), which is a gorgeous minimalist exploration of Imagine.


    Jean Mouton - Nesciens mater
    My own selection is (unless I've egregiously forgotten something) my favourite piece of Renaissance music. There's something about the layering of the lines that is just right. But I will say that it's Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir's performance that sells it for me. The delicacy of the voices compared with other performances, and the stretching out (the recording is 3 minutes longer than another I have!) - it's like travelling beneath an endless vista of cumulus clouds in a deep blue sky...
    Mahler, Glass, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Wolfe, Liszt, Reich, Bach, Nyman, Schubert

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Silvestre Revueltas - Cuauhnáhuac

    I might not have heard Revueltas before, but always knew his name. I guessed he was Mexican, but had to google...I really like this, but right now I'm a bit tired and not really in the mood. I had to check out if he wrote something for guitar and have probably done so before. Answer is no, unfortunately. I'll save some money. It is kind of ritualistic in a way that appeals to the metal-head in me Ah, wikipedia has a nice article on the piece!

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  9. #36
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Jean Mouton - Nesciens mater

    Ah! Angel song! I have periods that I only listen to renaissance vocal music. Haven't heard Mouton before. I'm not so good at telling the difference between the styles of the renaissance, they all sound good in my ears. Very contemplative and relaxing. I guess it's a psalm and I like psalms! I also guess that it's written 1520...ok it's a motet (of course) and he died 1522.

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Joseph Jongen - Concert à cinq

    This sounds French! Haven't heard of the composer before. A little googling...I'm glad he lived when he did and composed in a pretty modern fashion for his time. There are many recordings on spotify. I'm listening to Ensemble Apræ and unfortunately think they sound a bit muddy and not fantastically intonated...Even though I never heard it before, I think they play too fast in the 2nd mvt. Haha. Sorry! I like the piece It's written in 1923, if you wondered.
    Last edited by Kjetil Heggelund; Feb-13-2020 at 22:27.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Revueltas- Cuauhnáhuac

    Now we come to a composer I have never heard of. Generally, I like Spanish classical music quite a bit, and this is a very Spanish-sounding piece! It's actually the first thing I've ever heard from a Mexican composer. It starts out with a quick build-up to a belligerent climax, which serves as a great introductory hook. Revueltas then goes on to essentially create a collage of different musical moods within the Spanish idiom, from folk dances to lyrical reverie and everything in between. I detect some influences of other Spanish composers (Falla, Rodrigo, etc.) but there are also some Stravinsky and Ravel-esque passages that betray inspiration from the global music scene. The orchestration is very complex and colorful, convincingly portraying an impressionistic atmosphere. Overall I enjoyed listening to it, but don't think it's necessarily put together very well- it sounded like a series of disjointed episodes rather than an integrated symphonic poem (which is what I expected it to be). Nonetheless it was a lot of fun to hear. I was unaware until after hearing it that there is a good Wikipedia article about it. I believe the performance linked is the shorter, 11-minute version rather than the original 15-minute one.

    Rating: 4/5

    Kernis- 100 Greatest Dance Hits

    Well, this was interesting! I was very intrigued by the title, which made it sound like he was going to try and summarize the 100 most popular dance songs of the century into one work. Well, that definitely wasn't the case. In fact, I don't understand the logic behind the title. Instead, this comes off as a perfect crossover between classical and popular music, effortlessly shifting between different styles of popular dance music like salsa, flamenco, disco, and others. Strange to say, but the concept reminds me of the second movement of Mahler 9 in that it's a very overhauled compilation of dances. The use of a "guitar quintet" (string quartet + guitar) is very interesting and quite effective. That being said, there are several extended techniques (such as tapping the instruments to create beats), and towards the end the performers use other percussion instruments. The dominance and use of rhythm throughout is indeed very creative. I suppose it's an event like Black Angels that is meant to be experienced live as the performers are asked to do all sorts of crazy things. The ending is absolutely hilarious (I won't spoil it for those who haven't heard it). Would I listen to it again? Meh. This seems like the kind of thing written solely to show off an entertaining idea and to try and make classical music accessible to the masses. It is not the kind of "serious" music that appeals to me.

    Rating: 2/5
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; Feb-13-2020 at 23:57.

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    Joseph Jongen - Concert à cinq, for flute, harp and string trio

    My chosen work. I fell in love with it instantly when I heard it a few years ago. It's unquestionably LOVELY!! The melodies, the perfect blend amongst the five instruments, the delicacy conveyed, even the exotic suggestions that appear in some passages, all is gorgeous for me. I'm a sucker for this specific combination of instruments. I call it 'the French Quintet' par excellence, like a counterpart to the German template (piano + string quartet). The performance I posted is quite frankly the one that does do justice to the piece. All in all, sheer magic, one of my favorite chamber works ever.

    Rating: 5/5

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Revueltas- Cuauhnáhuac

    There are quite a few bellicose passages that I found very unappealing. However, the more serene music is enjoyable and reminds me of Copland's Appalachian Spring. On balance, I doubt I will returning to this work unless it's included in a game that I or Art Rock might run.

    Rating: 2/5

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    Senior Member Tchaikov6's Avatar
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    Aaron Jay Kernis: 100 Greatest Dance Hits

    Was looking forward to this one but ended up kind of being disappointed. The percussive elements were interested but got me bored quickly. While there was plenty of variety in the sixteen minutes that also somehow ended up both dragging and rushing at the same time. A fine piece, however, and I can understand the love.

    5/10
    Quote Originally Posted by CypressWillow View Post
    There are those who don't like chocolate.

    There are those who don't see anything in the eyes of a dog.

    There are those who don't like the scent of a rose.

    There are those who don't enjoy waking up to the first snowfall of the year.

    And there are those who simply don't get Chopin.

    Pity.

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    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Peteris Vasks: Concerto for Cor Anglais

    I found this piece to be a mixed bag. The opening Elegy was an effective use of the cor anglais and recalled something of The Swan of Tuonela perhaps on an English lake rather than the darker waters of Finland. The second movement, Folk Music, also English-sounding, was less successful as a setting for the instrument, as its character there was a bit too subdued to reinforce the dancelike quality of the orchestration and rhythm, and the cadenza had little to connect or relate it to the preceding passages. The third movement, Elegy II, began quietly but became a bit more dramatic in nature. However I again began to wonder if another instrument with a more dominant voice would have been a better choice. The last movement, Postlude, was where the cor anglais came into its own, fitting in well with the quasi-oriental nature of the music, finishing with mysterious, ophidian murmurings of the cor anglais against a spare and equally murmuring background. My greatest enjoyment of the cor anglais has always been where it is used to suggest an element of a mysterious orientalism, or otherness, real or contrived; anyone who has heard a been, the classic Indian "snake charmer" instrument, or the Scottish pipes, will be aware of the potential power of the cor anglais, given the proper vehicle within which to sound.

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  22. #43
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Aaron Jay Kernis - 100 Greatest Dance Hits

    New? Not the composer (I have a few CD's), but the piece, yes. I listened while watching the players, and after it was finished, I listened again without watching. The title is intriguing, but eventually a misnomer. What we have here is a postmodern guitar quintet unlike any other I've heard. There are avant-garde parts (in particular the first movement where the instruments are mainly used as percussion), but also nostalgic melodic passages (I quite liked the third movement), and an energetic finale, with a final two minutes that put a smile on my face. It's obvious that the players enjoyed themselves, that's why I replayed it with sound only to judge how it works without visuals. It turned out to work the same for me. The Kronos Quartet CD's of the eighties and nineties were my gateway to contemporary chamber music as the time, and I think this piece would have fit in perfectly with their repertoire. I loved listening to it, and I will undoubtedly come back to it occasionally.

    Artrockometer: "Important" - Reserved for works that I would really like to have in my CD collection should I have to start over.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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  24. #44
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Silvestre Revueltas - Cuauhnáhuac

    New? Not the composer (I have a few CD's), but the piece, yes. It is a colourful piece as I would expect from this Mexican composer, and an intriguing mix of more rhythmic and more melodic passages. A bit like a tone poem but without specific program (other than that it is named after a Mexican city with a long history). Even though it lasts only 10 minutes with a rather sudden end, I come away with a sense of over-fragmentation of the ideas, although that might well be what the composer was going for. In the end, an interesting curiosity that I did not mind hearing, but not a work I have any desire to go back to.

    Artrockometer: "Not required" - Reserved for works that I would prefer not to have in my CD collection should I have to start over.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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  26. #45
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    That brings us at 53% completion including the Simon Moon submission (69% without it). Three of us have completed all 7 originally submitted works.

    I will wait for Simon Moon to show up in the thread before I listen to his work.
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen! Ewig ... ewig ...

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