Blog Comments

  1. Sid James's Avatar
    He's a favourite of mine of the ages. Such an innovator. I like a lot of his music, too many works to mention really.

    His anniversary was a bit overshadowed by Mahler's, I feel, at least here anyway.

    But this year, I did hear live performances of his At Wagner's Grave for piano & string quartet, a haunting almost minimalistic piece (review of that concert on my blog) & also two of his Hungarian Rhapsodies (I'm not a huge fan of these now, rarely listen to them now, but they were among my intro to his music in my days of youth).

    I'll try to get to the things on your Liszt "list" (had to make that timeworn "joke!"), some treasures of recordings there for sure...
    0 Likes
    Updated Dec-07-2011 at 04:53 by Sid James
  2. itywltmt's Avatar
    Notice I mention all three of the Mahler cycles you listed in the first few paragraphs of my blog...

    There was some malice behid my choices - I wanted to use three song cycles composed by three different people, with songs in different languages. I could have used the Wayfarer cycle (my favoiurite of the three) for German rather than the Strauss, but I am particular when it comes to that song cycle - only Maureen Forrester will do - whereas I got Lucia Popp right away without even looking too long...
    0 Likes
  3. flylooper's Avatar
    I'm surprised no one mentioned Gustav Mahler, who wrote three specular song cycles:

    Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen - Text by the composer
    Totenlieder - Text by Friedrich Rückert
    Rückerlieder -Text by Friedrich Rückert

    Written for mezzo or baritone voice.

    Though I think Strauss was a wonderful composer for the voice and his songs (including "Four Last Songs") are wonderful to listen to, I consider that Mahler was the far more interesting.
    0 Likes
  4. Sid James's Avatar
    I like the R. Strauss work. gundula janowitz's rendition is a favourite.

    I have listened to the Ravel one, I have it on disc with Dame Kiri, but I haven't listened to it very much, so it's as if I haven't really. It is more a wash of sound than about tunes, so it needs repeat listening, I guess.

    I like the Elgar but I find it too dark. It is quite depressing for me until the end where he gives you a bit of a boost. I have the seminal account under Maestro Barbirolli with Dame Janet Baker singing, but it's on tape and I need to upgrade to cd. but i do have it on cd with another singer, i forget.

    another seminal song-cycle of c20th is schoenberg's pierrot lunaire. heard it live this yr, incl. with lighting, dancing, dramatisation and it was great. his cabaret songs (brettl-lieder) are also worth checking out, more kind of tonal.

    others i like are -

    lutoslawski - paroles tisses, & espaces du sommeil

    barber - i heard a song-cycle by him in french earlier in the year, superb (for male voice & pno), forget the title

    copland - emily dickinson poems & also two sets of old american songs

    george crumb - he's done some things as well, quite dark

    britten - he did too many to mention, one is serenade for tenor, horn & strings

    de falla - 7 popular spanish songs - a favourite, there are many transcriptions of this, it's popularity is deserved imo...
    0 Likes
    Updated Nov-25-2011 at 12:53 by Sid James
  5. Art Rock's Avatar
    The Ravel and Strauss song cycles you picked are among my favourites of all time. Never got that much into the Elgar one though.
    0 Likes
  6. ooopera's Avatar
    Happy birthday!
    0 Likes
  7. Orange Soda King's Avatar
    Thank you for posting and giving me a mention! The Kertesz/Vienna recordings are great. I also put up the Bruno Walter/Columbia recordings on my channel if anyone is interested.
    0 Likes
  8. Sid James's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by itywltmt
    Thanks Sid for the observation. I own a version of the op. 25 piano quartet (actually, a compilation of all three) by one of those "all star" made-for-CD ensembles, featuring Emmanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, Jamie Laredo and Yo-Yo Ma. Ax is a fine Brahms interpreter, and he stands out among the four (as though he should, since it is a PIANO quartet)...
    I haven't heard that one with Mr. Ax and the others - very good line-up. BTW, the "wrong" way (comparing it to the "right" way, they played a short excerpt of each way) was demonstrated to me here by a group before they played schumann's piano quartet. Even I, a layman, could clearly hear the distinction between the "wrong" way to play these works - eg. as a piano concerto - and the "right" way, as a chamber work, or a piano quartet, as you rightly point out. it's there and my reading about the brahms 1st PQ & why schoenberg decided to orchestrate it - eg. because it was being badly played - also backs these facts up. i'm not against it being played vigorously but i'm against it being done like a concerto. if brahms would have wanted a concerto, he would have written one, he would have written his 1st PQ as a piano concerto, i mean.

    ...
    As for the Schoenberg orchestration, you will find it lacks the chamber character you discuss (clearly...) but the use of non-strings is interesting. When it comes to Schoenberg tinkering with repertoire, my favourite is his "reduction" of Mahler's 4th Symphony for a small ensemble, required for his "salon" gatherings in Vienna at the turn of the century. I heard it once on the radio and if you find a recording, it's worth a listen!
    i have heard about this arrangement, and seen it here on the ABC classics budget "discovery" label. seems like it has been done here down under. i did hear a performance of Mahler 4 live earlier this year. it is my favourite symphony of his, i like it's overall optimism. i will see if i can buy that schoenberg arrangement. i've already put in an order for the schoenberg brahms arrangement as well as the string orch. version of transfigured night, which i don't currently have on CD. they're on an emi 2 disc set with other things by arnie HERE...
    0 Likes
    Updated Oct-06-2011 at 07:32 by Sid James
  9. Polednice's Avatar
    Yaaaay! Thank you for the get well gift! :D

    I'm not in the mood for listening to any music at the moment, but I'll give your list a whirl when I'm a bit happier.
    0 Likes
  10. itywltmt's Avatar
    Thanks Sid for the observation. I own a version of the op. 25 piano quartet (actually, a compilation of all three) by one of those "all star" made-for-CD ensembles, featuring Emmanuel Ax, Isaac Stern, Jamie Laredo and Yo-Yo Ma. Ax is a fine Brahms interpreter, and he stands out among the four (as though he should, since it is a PIANO quartet).

    As for the Schoenberg orchestration, you will find it lacks the chamber character you discuss (clearly...) but the use of non-strings is interesting. When it comes to Schoenberg tinkering with repertoire, my favourite is his "reduction" of Mahler's 4th Symphony for a small ensemble, required for his "salon" gatherings in Vienna at the turn of the century. I heard it once on the radio and if you find a recording, it's worth a listen!
    0 Likes
    Updated Oct-05-2011 at 13:08 by itywltmt
  11. Sid James's Avatar
    Good list. Being more into the chamber, I've been listening to the original version of Brahms' Piano Quartet #1. I wrote about this on my blog amongst other places, eg. current listening. Love the ending where the piano imitates the cimbalom.

    This has to be played like a chamber piece, a piano quartet not as a defacto piano concerto, as some have played it in the bad old days (that's partly why Schoenberg did his arrangment). I was surprised that Martha Argerich and her Russian guests (Kremer, Bashmet, Maisky) did it totally on steroids in their 2002 DGG recording. Ok Brahms did write the piano part as quite dominant and beefy, but you don't have to do it on steroids, guys. I think that Ms Argerich's "take" is a good demonstration of the WRONG way, whereas another recording I've heard by the Quatour Kandinsky of France (now probably out of print) from the early 1990's on a French boutique label was perfect. I've also heard Artur Rubinstein's recording with Guarneri Quartet in 1960's and if anything he was a bit restrained and hesitant to play it as a concerto, which is better than going the other way and doing it on steroids. I've only read about Mr. Rubinstein's earlier mono recording of this work, the comments were that people thought it was done "right," but in matter of fact it was done quite "wrong."

    I haven't heard Schoenberg's arrangement for yonks so I'll definitely listen to the clip you posted when I get the chance. Beethoven & Brahms are my favourites of the "three B's," J.S. Bach is way way behind, but I do recognise his genius, it's just that he's not amongst my (current) favourites...
    0 Likes
    Updated Oct-05-2011 at 07:36 by Sid James
  12. itywltmt's Avatar
    Bernstein's vignette (his pre-concert briefing) on Beethoven's 4th - part of his Bernstein/Beethoven TV series from the late '70s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAVt299d6kY

    In that vignette, he talks of the "somber, almost ominous" start to the symphony, and how it magically turns into a "veritable funfest" of music. I find that to be a satisfactory explanation - and mindset - to "take in" the Fourth.
    0 Likes
    Updated Sep-22-2011 at 21:13 by itywltmt
  13. Sid James's Avatar
    i find it harder to grasp beethoven's 4th than any other of his symphonie i know well so far (only the first two syms are less known to me overall than the rest). even heard the 4th in concert. it comes across to me as more kind of "haydn-like" than the others, maybe? kind of more "classical era," but not exactly, as it comes after the groundbreaking "eroica." so what do i make of it? a hybrid between the classical & romantic? i'm not sure, i'll have to revisit it sometime soon, probably on disc (it's getting more of an airing live here than the case previously, which is good)...
    0 Likes
  14. itywltmt's Avatar
    As an addendum to this post, I want to acknowledge the Blogspot blog of a fellow TC'er, tahnak

    http://tahseennakavi.blogspot.com/2011/08/titan.html

    In this page, he provides a performance of Mahler's First played in a live concert by the Orchestra Del Maggio Musicale Fiorentina conducted by Zubin Mehta at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow on 5th April 2011. This performance includes the Blumine movement - which has surely become part of most modern performances of the Symphony. If you don't mind the (at times) distracting camera work, this is a worthwhile performance to listen to - and adds the dimension of Mehta conducting, thus removing a degree oif separation to today's post... The text commentary is very good.

    Thank you, Tahseen!
    0 Likes
  15. itywltmt's Avatar


    I wasn't sure about the accent on the "que" because I thought it was needed to distinguish different uses of the pronoun. As for the accent on Carmen, it depends - me thinks - if you want emphasis on the last syllable or not.

    Either way, I stand corrected.
    0 Likes
    Updated Sep-13-2011 at 23:28 by itywltmt
  16. Odnoposoff's Avatar
    "Que" and "Carmen" without "´".
  17. Sid James's Avatar
    some good stuff there. i disagree that schumann's psychological problems affected his composing, but anyway. i caught the mozart & weber clarinet quintets in recital last year. i've known the mozart for a while now, i've got it on supraphon coupled with the brahms CQ, played by vladimir riha. a classic. i also like arthur bliss' CQ, a bit nostalgic & sad, partly reflecting on the losses of WW1. the opening cantilena is very emotional...
    0 Likes
  18. Odnoposoff's Avatar
    About PIT sextet, I've an absolutely fantastic historical recording by Kogan, Elizabeth Gilels, Barshai, Talalian, Knushevitsky and Rostropovich. Just incredible.
  19. jurianbai's Avatar
    great, I am pleased to see somebody actually heard Rossini's Sonata quattro. It is perhaps very early concrete example of SQ formation in use.

    now... if autumn season can come in as well.....

    edit: oops, I think I mixed Rossini with Alessandro Scarlatti's Sonata for quartet in Dm. In fact, I think your Gioacchino Rossini is a new recommendation for me... thanks.
    0 Likes
    Updated Aug-09-2011 at 12:57 by jurianbai (explained)
  20. Sid James's Avatar
    The Schubert 15th SQ is a fav of mine. I think it tends to get overshadowed a bit by #13 & #14, as they both have well-known song tunes in them?

    Anyway, I always liked the dissonance in the SQ #15. He was definitely pushing the boundaries there. I think it may well be kind of hard to perform this. Bits of it are lyrical & song-like, others are pretty harsh for the time. A bit like bipolar disorder. It must be hard for performers to balance these wildly different elements out.

    I used to have the Brandis Quartet (Berlin) recording, but now I've got the Busch Quartet classic recordings (made before WW2, i think?). the Brandis pushed the dissonant/extreme elements more & the busch kind of make it more lyrical, imo.

    as for the tchaikovsky, a winner there. such a great piece. i've only heard the orch. version. it was esp. great live, but it would be interesting if i can hear the sextet version. love how he incorporates russian or russian sounding themes/ideas. as sunny as italy but as russian a tchaik probably ever got...
    0 Likes
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast