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Thread: Romantic Orchestral Works

  1. #1
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    Default Romantic Orchestral Works

    Hi,

    I love the Romantic period (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Balakirev...........), although I find their symphonies, and orchestral works in general to be really boring.

    I am not saying they are not good, but it just sounds like random notes put together.

    Like symphonoies by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Liszt, Shumann........... I cannot see the musical ingenuity in them.

    Anyone have similar thoughts about this?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    Well, Symphonies can sometimes be tricky to grow attached to, precisely because they do not draw on anything none musical, and they often go through different forms to bring a unified whole to the structure of the composition. Brahms I think was an exceptional symphonist, as far as finding his music lacking in ingenuity, I'd prabably say it is for the above reason, as well as his dense orchestration sometimes obscured the end result. Try listening several times to the opening of the first movement of the 3rd symphony, Brahms intention to start rather 'remarkably' is easily understood. But it takes memorization of the whole peice to appreciate it fully. Some people simply prefer a particular form over another, I suppose you don't care for the symphony to greatly.

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    The first poster says he likes the Romantic period but finds all the symphonies and other orchestral works "just sound like random notes put together".

    Are you sure you aren't taking the ****?

    The Romantic period is by far the richest period in classical music for symphonies and other orchestral works. If anyone says they like Romantic period music but can't find something of interest in the orchestral works of Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Brahms, Mahler, Dvorak, or Sibelus I find this very strange.

    I've come across people with an interest in the Romantic period who don't like opera, or chamber or solo piano, but never symphonies and other orchestral works. This situation is wholly unique in my experience. Are you really saying you don't like anything at all among these works? I can't believe it.

    Topaz

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    Beethoven.................??? Of course I like his symphonoies. He is not a romanticist.

    And no, I am not taking the ****, as you say. In my case I actually love the solo piano works, chamber works, and everything else. Although I simlpy cannot draw much pleasure from their symphonies. I do not know why. They always struck me as being more ambient than musical.

    I may find the intros of some of them somewhat enchanting (e.g. Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov) although then it tends to drift off into obscurity (as far as I see it).

    Although my main interest is in their solo piano and chamber works. I guess that's why I consider Balakirev one of the greats, yet nobody understand why

    Okay, thanks for your opinions!

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Well, it honestly seems like you're just not a fan of orchestral works in general. If that's the case, then you just might enjoy them on the piano. What may shock you is that there are many CD's out there of piano transcriptions and four-hand arrangements of those orchestral works. Listen to the Naxos label's Four-Hand Arrangement series of Brahms and you'll get ALL of his symphonies, his German Requiem, his String Quartets and so much more on the medium of piano. Don't approach them as "mere arrangements" either. They hold their own as superior piano compositions.

    There is a fine disc of Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony transcribed for solo piano, along with Tchaikovsky's 4th and 5th for four hands. Also available are Mendelssohn's 3rd, Dvorak's 9th, Mahler's 1st, 6th and 7th, Bruckner's 3rd, all of Beethoven's symphonies; these are just the beginning. I encourage you to check my Amazon list of four-hand arrangements. If you're more into piano, these will be enjoyable and help you discover the amazing wealth of Romantic orchestral music. And hey, you'll be doing it in style, the 19th century style (piano arrangements were all they had )

    Oh and I definitely understand why Balakirev was great. Have you heard his Eight hand arrangement of his Tamara symphonic poem? Not to mention his piano transcriptions of Glinka, Berlioz, and certain movements from Beethoven's Op. 130 and Op. 59 No. 2 String Quartets?

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    Beethoven not a Romantic composer!

    What are you talking about? That's complete nonsense. It's a well-known and completely undisputed fact that Beethoven and Schubert were the first two great classical/romantic composers. They spanned both musical eras. Go and check it out on Wikipedia. There are dozens of other references. Beethoven's 3rd (Eroica) symphony is considered to be the first great Romantic work. This is elementary knowledge. That was written in 1804 and Beethoven died in 1827!

    To say that some Romantic symphonies are "nice" but all basically "sound like random notes put together" is breathtakingly naive. If you said that in your opinion some such works appear to you that way, well fine, but you are specifically asking whether other Romantic music lovers agree with you that all Romantic symphonies appear that way. I shouldn't think you'll find many supporters. The question is so daft it's not worth asking in my view.


    Topaz

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Beethoven cannot be classified as purely Classical or Romantic; he was in his own realm that perfected the classical forms and squeezed as much expression out of them. But you also have to consider that both the Classical and Romantic period are divided into sub-eras. There are early, middle, and late periods in both Classical and Romantic. I agree with Topaz that he was the first classical/romantic composer, ubiquitously referred to as a "bridge" between both periods. His Op. 2 No. 1 and his Op. 111 are polar opposites. The former is undeniably classical, and the latter is proto-Romantic. However, many would argue that Beethoven was just in his own world and incapable of being categorized. No one has ever created anything that sounds remotely similar to Beethoven's last three piano sonatas, at least, not that I've heard.

    The Eroica Symphony, as Topaz suggests, is certainly the milestone and birthgiver of Romanticism. Compare the Eroica to Mozart's 40th or Haydn's 104th. I think Beethoven provided the real springboard for late Classical/early Romanticism with his Op. 13, the "Pathetique" piano sonata. No one had ever heard anything like that before and it paved the way for Romanticism. I think the true "first" Romantic, though, is Carl Maria von Weber. But that's another discussion for another time

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    I fully agree with all of Hexameron's observations.

    Weber was indeed the first notable Romantic. He was extremely well regarded in his day, and during much of the 19th C and beyond, but has since fallen out of favour apart from a few high quality works.

    I did preface my reference to Beethoven and Schubert as the first great romantics, by which I meant as seen from today. While it's perfectly well known that Beethoven spanned classical and romantic eras, he spent a long time in the romantic era post 1804.

    There can't be any argument that the best known of Beethoven symphonies are romantic, starting with S 3. They are mostly absolutely splendid. So too are dozens of others from later romantic composers all the way through to Sibelius and possibly beyond.


    Topaz

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    Newbies LouDem's Avatar
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    Guys, guys!! Lets get one thing strait, Beethoven started in the Classical period ( Mozart being the archetypical composer of the period. Or if you wish Haydn was ). But even in his 1st and 2nd symphonies he just put the last nail in that coffin. Beethoven was the first real "romantic" ( being the period where composers "expressed" there emotions, moods,temper, humor, temperament, spirits, disposition, inclination, caprice, whim, fancy, vein, spirit, feeling, climate, pleasure, vagary, crotchet, freak, wish, desire, attitude, mind-set, bent, propensity, tendency ).

    Now, to say that one loves Romanticism and not love their symphonies is oxymorinic. It just can't be. And to put a label such as "boring" or "ambient" on them is incomprehensible
    if not down right ludicrous. Nobody can put these labels on Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, Beethoven's 5th or 3rd or 9th, Brahms's 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th, Prokofiev 1st or 2nd piano concertos. Anyone stating this needs to get back to the drawing board and ask himself if he likes music. You may not "understand" a piece of music ( Romantic, classical, baroque or modern ) but don't say it's boring. You need to hear it again and again sometime to at last "begin" to comprehend what the composer had in mind. This is the best part of "serious" music. You learn more as you go along. Sometime the more difficult ( boring ) a piece may seems, the more satisfaction you will reap when the "light" finally strikes you. And then again you will always find something new that you didn't hear. I still listen to to Beethoven's 9th with new ears everytime. And every time it bowls me over. Boring? I think not.

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    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    You absolutely, without a doubt, hit the nail on the head, lumbogue!

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    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    I truely had the intention of saying 'loudem', hit the nail on the head, so to speak?

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    Well Loudem and Linz you are just confirming what I said at the beginning. There can't be any other response.



    Topaz

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