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Thread: Hello, I'm new, please be gentle

  1. #1
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    Default Hello, I'm new, please be gentle

    Hello everyone

    My name's Lynne and I live in central England.

    I've always had a passion for classical music and I'm pleased that I've found somewhere where I can discuss my passion.

    I look forward to speaking with you all.

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    Hello

    What are your areas of interest in classical music, and who are your favourite composers?

    If you say contemporary that's me out!

    There are several, including myself, who are keen on the classical and romantic periods, especially solo piano.

    I trust you don't dislike romantic era symphonies, do you?



    Topaz

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    Hello Topaz.

    My true passion is Edward Elgar. I come from Elgar country and I regularly see the hills where he got his inspiration.

    His Crown of India suite is my favourite and the Dream of Gerontius is a work of genius.

    I love piano music and the two Chopin Piano Concertos are, in my opinion, the most melodic I've ever heard.

    You're right, I don't dislike romantic era symphonies but I do dislike the modern stuff.

    Lynne xx

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    Hello Lynne

    Yes indeed. I love Elgar too. I think I have most of his important works including the two you mention. My version of Dream of Gerontius is Adrian Boult/Janet Baker. I love in particular S1 and S2 and the Cello Concerto. There’s a good 5 Cd set by Andrew Davis/BBC Symph Orch which has a lot on it.

    What about RVW? Broadly similar and some people (dare I say it?) reckon the best English composer.

    I guess you like Holst too.

    I'm not keen so keen on any of the other English composers except possibly some works by Walton.

    Piano music. Well now, I can get positively boring on this, but I shall resist the temptation. Among Chopin's works my favourites are the Ballades, and some of the nocturnes and preludes, but I like it all actually. Are there there any 19th C composers with a good reputation in piano work you’d like to try but haven't got round to yet, e.g. Schubert or Schumann or Liszt or Brahms. Another poster here, Hexameron, is extremely knowledgeable in this area. If he spots your reply, between us we should have something to suggest. My favourites are Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms but there are several lesser known ones.

    Are you well versed in Romantic symphonies? Do you have any favourites, or again are there any composers you haven’t yet tried but would like to? I take it you know all the Beethoven and Brahms works. Again, Schumann's symphonies are excellent, and so too are several of Tchaikovsky's. A few Bruckner are good. I like Dvorak and Sibelius, and some Mahler.

    What about chamber works? The 19th C is unbeatable. Lots of gorgeous stuff by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann , Brahms.

    Like you, I don't care for modern or contemporary. I'm happy with Shosty but that's about it.



    Topaz

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Well, if you enjoy Chopin, I would encourage just getting everything from him. Practically every piano piece he wrote is worth hearing. It's kind of like Mozart, how you can just pick up any CD out of the store and have a great work in your hands.

    My own personal adventure into Chopin happened chronologically like this:

    Etudes
    Nocturnes
    Ballades
    Piano Sonatas
    Scherzi
    Polonaises

    Pick any or all of those you'll find music even MORE beautiful than his piano concertos.

    But before I make any more recommendations, I need to know whether you favor virtuosic fiery Romantic piano or more lyrical classical? And I guess it would be helpful if you also answered Topaz' questions. If you would like to try a certain composer but don't know where to start, we could probably help you.

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    Sorry I didn't reply yesterday, I was tired and needed my bed.

    I was weaned on Chopin, Hexameron, my mother was a concert pianist and her forte was Chopin. I must know the majority of his works note for note. She also favoured Schumann and Schubert.

    Would I be sent to the back of the class if I told you I was a lover of the Romantics? Even though he was a relatively modern composer, I still love the works of Rachmaninov. I appreciate melody and can't tolerate the new age cacophony. I also love the works of Gerald Finzi, I don't think he's given the recognition that he deserves.

    I need to get ready to go out now, but I'll be back later. I'm terrified of making myself look a green-horn, you're all so well read in your subject. I'm here to learn and I'll listen intently to any information you're willing to pass on to me. I appreciate your replies.

    Lynne xx

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    To answer Topaz's questions, I listen to Vaughan Williams and appreciate some of his works, i.e. the Thomas Tallis Variations, but others don't inspire me.

    William Walton? I love The Crown Imperial but feel that he was greatly influenced by Elgar. The Facade? This is one piece that I just don't 'get'. Not to my taste. I admit to not being familiar with all his works.

    I've already expressed my opinion of Chopin, the piano concertos being my favourites, but the etudes come second simply because of their beautifully melodic content.

    Yes, as I said in my last reply, I do enjoy the Romantics, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and the like, but also find some of Wagner's works extremely moving.

    Beethoven, Bach and Mozart? Everyone has works by these two composers in their library and I'm no exception.

    I appreciate the 'whole sound' of orchestral works but I'm naive when it comes to the mathmatics of how these pieces are constructed. I wish I were more knowledgeable but, sadly, I'm not. I just enjoy sitting back and drinking in the pleasure of listening to the work of geniuses.

    Dmitri Shostakovich? Much of what I've heard is just a disjointed mishmash and not what I appreciate at all. His Jazz Suite and the music used for the film The Gadfly are melodious enough but some of the concertos and symphonies leave me stone cold.

    I'd like the opinion of others as to whether Sir Paul McCartney's so called classical compositions can be called that. For me, they're simply pretty compositions, but computer generated. Do I need to open my mind a little more?

    Lynne xx

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    Senior Member Hexameron's Avatar
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    Sorry, Lynx, I didn't know you had already integrated Chopin so well and have much listening experience all around. I could list off some other stuff, but instead I invite you to check out two lists here that I made on Amazon. The first one is for piano lovers and may interest you. Then check out this one and maybe something there will tickle your fancy as well.

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    Lynne


    I think the views you have expressed above are very sensible indeed.

    As for RVW you might try S5 if you haven’t already done so, and Lark Ascending. They are nice.

    I like all Chopin: literally all! My favourites are the ballades, but its only hair-splitting.

    As for the "mathematics" of orchestral music, it’s quite easy to learn enough. Just go Wikepedia on the Net and type in “sonata form”. Spend an hour or so reading it and you’ll learn enough.

    I love Schumann’s solo piano works. There’s a recent great box set of 7 CDs by Ashkenazy. This contains most of it, and is technically excellent as you would expect. Look out for Fantasie Op 17. It’s great. Play that piece several times to get the Schumann "flavour", then start tackling the rest. It's very different from Chopin. You’ll be very impressed, and soon become "hooked". It would make a nice Xmas present to yourself!

    Don’t miss out on Schubert. His late Piano Sonatas D 894, D959, D960 are absolute delights. And the Impromptus are wonderful. Wanderer Fantasy (D 760) is a must too. Rubinstein is very good. You can get "drugged" on Schubert, so watch out!

    I know what you mean about Shostakovich. I have much the same perception. Some of it’s OK but there’s a lot of mediocre stuff bundled in with it. It’s not as good as the Romantics on the whole IMO.

    As for Paul McCartney's so called classical compositions, I’ve only heard odd bits on the radio. I wouldn’t buy it when there’s so much Romantic stuff that’s well ahead of that.



    Topaz

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    Elgar, yes I love his music too. And that of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Delius, Holst, and even the few works of George Butterworth. The music of Elgar really moves me. One of my favourite CD's is a legendary recording of the Elgar 1st Symphony - BBC Symphony Orchestra/Adrian Boult - Live at the 1976 Proms.

    I have (but have never yet listened to all of them) the complete symphonies of Vaughan Williams. They are surprisingly challenging works. I love them because they find space to give us his wonderful 'Serenade to Music' (a performance again with Adrian Boult that I just adore - words by Shakespeare).

    I had a great uncle who was one of the war poets, Edmund Blunden, and he always said that great music comes from the very earth we walk on. Which reminds me that I really must get out of London to the country before too much longer.

    Great that you love Elgar. His music plants us right, yes ? And this without nationalism. It's very fine.

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    I'm an American, but I love the music of English composers. For a time, I was addicted to The Dream of Gerontius by Elgar. Right now, one of my favorite composers is RVW. All of his symphonies are incredible, and my favorites are probably #2 and #6. He also wrote several operas, which also are good. His "Riders to the Sea" has some of the most haunting music he ever wrote, in my opinion.
    As for composers like Britten and Walton, I'm starting to "get into" them more often. The English musical idiom is poetic and idyllic, which is why I like it so much. Also, the folk-like tunes that come out of RVW's music have a unique character that I highly enjoy. I just can't get enough of that "English" sound.
    More cowbell!
    .....-Gustav Mahler

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