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  1. #31
    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    There's a reason why I picked a full month to listen to these pieces... too much at a time can be distracting.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Duruflé - Prélude, Récitatif, et Variations for Flute, Viola, and Piano

    About two and a half years ago, I attended a chamber music concert at my local university. The program started with Schnittke's dark, modernist Piano Quintet - a work that I have now come to like but, at the time I was not accustomed to. Nonetheless, it received surprisingly generous applause for such a difficult piece of music. This was followed by a pair of rather cloying, saccharine pieces by Shostakovich and Prokofiev for two solo violins. With my interest slowly flagging, I was immediately captured by the first impressionist chords on the piano, playing a piece by a composer who I had not heard of up to that point. From there, my musical Francophile mind was captivated by lush, gorgeous sounds of the three instruments weaving magical, glittering lines around each other. I was hooked on Duruflé, and once I heard his Requiem and his Motets on Gregorian Themes shortly thereafter I knew he was one of my favorite lesser-known composers. Shortly thereafter, I found out he was my organ teacher's - a fond musical mentor for me - favorite composer of all time, and that he considered his Prelude and Fugue on the Name ALAIN to be the greatest non-Bach organ composition. He was envious that I had the chance to hear his music live since it is so rarely heard. Obvious influences of Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré abound in one of the only chamber works from this über-perfectionist composer who published fewer than 30 compositions; but I still find the piece to have a voice of its own. And every time I revisit this perfect miniature work, I'm reminded of the first time that I really experienced the captivating power of live music.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

  3. #33
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Duruflé - Prélude, Récitatif, et Variations for Flute, Viola, and Piano

    About two and a half years ago, I attended a chamber music concert at my local university. The program started with Schnittke's dark, modernist Piano Quintet - a work that I have now come to like but, at the time I was not accustomed to. Nonetheless, it received surprisingly generous applause for such a difficult piece of music. This was followed by a pair of rather cloying, saccharine pieces by Shostakovich and Prokofiev for two solo violins. With my interest slowly flagging, I was immediately captured by the first impressionist chords on the piano, playing a piece by a composer who I had not heard of up to that point. From there, my musical Francophile mind was captivated by lush, gorgeous sounds of the three instruments weaving magical, glittering lines around each other. I was hooked on Duruflé, and once I heard his Requiem and his Motets on Gregorian Themes shortly thereafter I knew he was one of my favorite lesser-known composers. Shortly thereafter, I found out he was my organ teacher's - a fond musical mentor for me - favorite composer of all time, and that he considered his Prelude and Fugue on the Name ALAIN to be the greatest non-Bach organ composition. He was envious that I had the chance to hear his music live since it is so rarely heard. Obvious influences of Debussy, Ravel, and Fauré abound in one of the only chamber works from this über-perfectionist composer who published fewer than 30 compositions; but I still find the piece to have a voice of its own. And every time I revisit this perfect miniature work, I'm reminded of the first time that I really experienced the captivating power of live music.
    I was happy to see a Duruflé work included among the selections since he is also among my favorite composers despite him having only 14 opus numbers. Also, I had not heard this work so I am looking forward to it with great anticipation.

    I enjoyed reading your post very much.

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  5. #34
    Senior Member thejewk's Avatar
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    Kassiani - Hymn of Kassiani (around 850)

    I've never heard this before, or anything quite like it, and I love it. The rich and sonorous male voices of the opening prepare for the stunning female voices which suspend above a series of ethereal held drones. I will definitely be investigating more Byzantine hymns in the future, so thanks for this one.

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  7. #35
    Senior Member thejewk's Avatar
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    Telemann - Fantasia for Flute (or alto recorder) no. 10 (1732)

    This one's my choice, so thought I'd share why I picked it. Due to health issues, I have found myself less and less able to play the instruments that I have played over the years, particularly my guitars and saxophone. Having rather diverse tastes, I ended up exploring desktop synthesizers and going down a rabbit hole. Then, on a whim, I asked for a plastic alto recorder for Christmas. From the day I got my first recorder, I was hooked, and soon went on to sell my synthesizers, and now I am the proud player of a good wooden baroque alto, and a transitional soprano. As I started developing my site reading skills, I started searching for good quality repertoire and quickly found Telemann's Fantasias for flute.

    These challenging pieces, a total of twelve pieces, display Telemann's skill at writing improvisational feeling suites that cover all of the main styles of baroque writing of the day. Some of the movements are elaborate French style overtures, others sweet dances, followed by severe and serious contrapuntal movements where one instruments plays two lines of melody alternately.

    Number 10 is the one I'm working on at the moment. I love the thorough first movement, covering the entire range of the instrument, with the main theme being based around a few simple arpeggios. The second is a challenging and brisk, hopping dance that seems to fracture and split, constantly returning to the opening phrase played in many registers and turned inside out. The final movement is a sweet dance that reminds me of something that might be found in the Anna Magdalena Notebooks.

    I hope you enjoy it.

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  9. #36
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Duruflé - Op. 3 Prélude, Récitatif et Variations

    I really enjoyed this work by one of my favorite composers; a work I had not heard before, which blows my mind.

    One thing about Duruflé I've always enjoyed was his treatment of rhythm, usually in a fluid manner almost without meter or pulse. This work features a very improvisatory style of writing. The instrument combination has a nice blend, and he has given each voice its own role.

    This is an early work, but Duruflé was very self-critical and only published 14 works, this one Op. 3 was still a mature work. It is unique among his oeuvre since most of his works are choral or for organ.

    Very French sounding and it shows an influence from Debussy.

    I am very glad to have heard it.

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  11. #37
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    George Martin - Pepperland

    Light and bubbly; not very much to say about this one. Ive always felt that George Martin's best work was what he added to a Beatles song, not these instrument originals.

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  13. #38
    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Telemann - Fantasie no. 10
    Stefan Temmingh (recorder)

    Completely bowled me over since I have never been a fan of Telemann's music, but this was fantastic. I was not expecting a solo recorder work, and Temmingh gets such a rich full sound it sounded like an organ. (Not sure if that is a compliment or not, but it is supposed to be.)

    Funny, just the other day I was thinking about a composer who wrote a lot of music , mostly unimpressive, and Telemann's name came to my mind. But I can't sustain that judgment after hearing this work.

    Truly an eye-opening, or ear-opening, experience.

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  15. #39
    Senior Member thejewk's Avatar
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    Duruflé - Op. 3 Prélude, Récitatif et Variations

    I really like this one, and I've not heard any of Durufle's work before. I find it odd to read that he was considered very conservative and reacted badly to jazz, considering the fact that I find much of this piece to have early jazz inflections. I suppose the conservative comment would be very appropriate when he is considered as a successor to Ravel and Debussy, both of whom I hear loud and clear in the sparkling and ambiguous harmonies and skipping rhythms. It definitely brings to my mind Ravel's magnificent string quartet in F.

    What a shame his list of published works is so slight. I will be listening to the lot soon enough.

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  17. #40
    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    Britten - Nocturnal after John Dowland for guitar (1963)

    Not new to me, I actually have two renditions on CD (Bonell on EMI and Fernandez on Decca). Solo guitar works are rather uncommon in classical music, especially outside Spain and South America. Britten really explores the possibilities of the instrument in a work that juxtaposes calmer and more excited passages. I still remember when I played it for the first time about 30 years ago, I expected it to sound something like Chopin's nocturnes - it does not. Although not among my absolute favourites from this composer (whom I love), this is a work well worth hearing. I'm glad I got to enjoy it once more.

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  19. #41
    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Telemann - Fantasia for Flute (or alto recorder) no. 10 (1732)

    For such a prolific composer, I'm afraid I have to admit I know very little of Telemann's music. I've not really spent much time with him. This flute fantasia is a gem though and it does make me want to explore more. I've listened to it twice now, once with a score and once without and it held my attention all the way through even without the score.

    As I was listening with the score I kept thinking how difficult it must be to write interesting solo music for an instrument with somewhat of a limited range (relatively speaking) and that is only capable of playing a single not at a time. Despite those limitations Telemann is able to create a sense of harmonic progression and even counterpoint at times that helps propel the piece forward and hold my interest.

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  21. #42
    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Huang Ruo - Chamber Concerto No. 1 "Yueh Fei" (2000)

    This was my nomination for this project. What I love most about this piece is the orchestration. The way he is able to blend the timbres of the different instruments into a seamless sound is fascinating to me. I think it points to a real mastery of orchestration. Two of my favorite moments in the piece both involve the tam-tam, once earlier in the piece and again at the beginning of the final movement. In both case there is a very loud tam-tam crash that is allowed to decay, and as it decays instrumental harmonies kind of bloom out of the texture almost seamlessly. I get chills every time I hear it.

    I also really like the unexpected juxtapositions that he uses occasionally throughout the piece to keep things interesting. Like sudden declamations during lyrical passages or unexpected changes in timber, rhythm or harmony. You never know what is going to happen next.

    This chamber concerto is the first in a cycle of four. The Naxos recording that is used in the Youtube link I provided includes the entire cycle. I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in exploring this composer further.

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  23. #43
    Moderator Art Rock's Avatar
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    Telemann - Fantasia for Flute (or alto recorder) no. 10 (1732)

    The name Telemann is of course not new to me. I have a few CDs, collected in my first few years of listening to classical music (around 1986), but he is not a composer I have found a longer term interest in. Combine that with an alto recorder (not my favourite instrument by far), and I was not keen to listen to this. Well, I was wrong. This is a pleasant composition, and I particularly like the tempo switch after about 3 minutes. I don't think it will inspire me to check out more Telemann, but I'm glad I heard this.

  24. #44
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Huang Ruo - Chamber Concerto No. 1 "Yueh Feh"
    First of all, the YouTube link in the initial post didn't work for me, so here are two videos I found:


    I generally enjoy different world music styles and I like the sub-genre of chamber concerti, so off to a good start there. Right off the bat I like the colorful, "exotic" sonic combinations punctuated with judicious use of percussion. However, the piece quickly morphs into somewhat of a stereotypical "chaotic" modern work which didn't really sustain my attention. Lots of great and memorable moments throughout, though, especially in the instrumental combinations employed; though the ending with the added vocals was a bit gimmicky. I mostly liked the parts where it sounded more Chinese rather than Western. Overall a very creative choice and one I've glad to have heard though it does not inspire me to revisit it.

    Telemann - Fantasia for Flute/AltoRecorder, Op. 10
    Telemann's music, like lots of music from the Baroque (at least for me) never offends but rarely entices either. I usually find his music nice enough but nothing to write home about. That description applies here as well. In all fairness, Telemann is quite successful in crafting a miniature collage of events with his small package, both scale and duration-wise. He exploits darned near every possibility that the recorder can offer and elevates it far above that annoying whistle that you had to learn to play in third grade, with passages that test the skill of the performer and showcase sparkling wit and lyricism. A worthwhile little listen.

    Hymn of Kassiani
    Wow, what an extraordinary find! Even though I am currently taking a college course on Middle Ages and Renaissance Music, I know virtually nothing about Eastern Orthodox church music, and I was blown away by this. Yes, Gregorian Chant was the main influence on the subsequent development of European music, but there is a lot of richness and fascination to be found here as well. Stylistically, it is totally different than the chants we usually hear, with some striking dissonances and phrasings that the Romans would never have allowed. I find it hypnotic and moving - my favorite of this bunch.

    Pepperland
    Well, it's a fun little pops-orchestra/light music/film music piece (I wouldn't call it classical). At least it is cleverly orchestrated.

    Britten - Nocturnal After John Dowland
    Britten is a real conundrum for me. His operas, song cycles, and choral works are among my favorite works in those genres of the 20th century; but his instrumental music almost universally leaves me cold, sounding meandering, pedantic, and jagged. Nonetheless he was an exceptionally important and original composer and this is undoubtedly a masterpiece for solo guitar, wending its way through a variety of fleeting moods in its stream-of-consciousness variations on the Dowland tune. Unfortunately, solo guitar/lute music isn't really my jam for focused listening, though I love it for background/concentration music. Thus, I couldn't really stay focused on the piece, especially as it didn't seem to be terribly structured. If I made a more concerted effort to take it in, I might have more success with it, but overall Britten's instrumental music has mostly left me so flustered that I'm about ready to accept it as a blind spot and move on.

    An interesting selection of pieces for sure. I do like the activity and would like to see it continued - it is a fun ear-opening exercise that exposes me to things I would probably never have heard otherwise.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

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  26. #45
    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    It's a shame that Naxos recording of the Huang Ruo piece got taken down from Youtube. I really like that recording.

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