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Discussion Starter · #281 ·
#132
Les Preludes
Franz Liszt
1854


Les preludes (d'apres Lamartine) is one of the earliest examples of an orchestral work entitled "symphonic poem", even though it's Liszt's third of thirteen. In fact, it may be the first orchestral work to have been described as such.

Unfortunately, the closing fanfare was used by the Nazis for their news bulletins as an introduction to the announcer to say "Das Oberkommando der Wehrmacht gibt bekannt..." ("The supreme command of the armed forces announces...") before relating the Nazi's latest victory.

Germans were so conditioned by the militaristic usage of Les preludes that there was a de facto ban on the piece after the war.

Here in the states, that same fanfare is far more well known as the heroic them for the 1940 film serials Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe starring Buster Crabbe.

The work is divided into five main sections:

Question (Introduction and Andante maestoso)
Love
Storm
Bucolic calm
Battle and victory


It starts off slowly and quietly, but soon overwhelms you, washes over you and pulls you into its wake.

Here's the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a youth orchestra based in Seville, Spain, consisting of musicians from countries in the Middle East, of Egyptian, Iranian, Israeli, Jordanian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Spanish background. Orchestra founder Daniel Barenboim conducts.

Les préludes (Liszt) / ~ Conductor: Daniel Barenboim ~ West Eastern Divan Orchestra

 

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Discussion Starter · #282 · (Edited)
#133
Swan Lake, Op. 20
Tchaikovsky
1876


Composed as a ballet in 4 acts, it was initially a failure, although it's now one of the most popular of all ballets. Tchaikovsky wrote three ballets: Swan Lake (1876), Sleeping Beauty (1889), and The Nutcracker (1892).

The concert suite was published in 1900 as "Op. 20a", after Tchaikovsky's death in 1893, contains six numbers, lasting around 20 to 35 minutes in performance (the full ballet runs up to three hours):

Scene [Act II, No. 10 from the ballet]
Valse [Act I, No. 2]
Danse des cygnes [Act II, No. 13, part IV]
Scene [Act II, No. 13, part V]
Czardas: Danse hongroise [Act III, No. 20]
Scene [Act IV, No. 29].

The suite is quite good, and encapsulates the best of the full ballet music.

Swan Lake is a timeless love story that mixes magic, tragedy, and romance. It tells the tale of Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of an evil sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form.

Here's the Berliner Philharmoniker led by Herbert Von Karajan with the Swan Lake Suite. No live version this time, as the sound on this audio-only version is far superior to all the live versions available on YouTube.


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However, there is really nothing quite like the full immersive experience.

Here's three very different versions.

First a very traditional version from the Kirov Ballet with the 'happy ending' version.

Second, the Vienna State Ballet in 2014, choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev in 1964.

And finally, the American Ballet Theatre from 2005 in a compelling and emotional version.

These are all live versions, although they all have introductions of some sort or another. The Kirov and Vienna versions both use the 3 minute Tchaikovsky introduction to roll the credits. The American Ballet video has a short intro by one of the Kennedys, and the Introduction stars at about 2:30 with a danced prologue.

 

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Discussion Starter · #283 ·
#134
Scheherazade , Op. 35
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
1888


Scheherazade, a symphonic suite composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888 based on One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, is considered his most popular work.

Rimsky-Korsakov wrote a brief introduction that he intended for use with the score as well as the program for the premiere:

The Sultan Schariar, convinced that all women are false and faithless, vowed to put to death each of his wives after the first nuptial night. But the Sultana Scheherazade saved her life by entertaining her lord with fascinating tales, told seriatim, for a thousand and one nights. The Sultan, consumed with curiosity, postponed from day to day the execution of his wife, and finally repudiated his bloody vow entirely.

Here's Leif Segerstam and the Sinfonica de Galicia

 

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Discussion Starter · #284 ·
#135
The Carnival of the Animals
Camille Saint-Saens
1886


The Carnival of the Animals (Le carnaval des animaux) is a humorous musical suite of fourteen movements by the French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saens.

So humorous, in fact, that composer Camille Saint-Saens feared it would ruin his image. Though he banned most of it from public performance until after its death, it is among his biggest hits today. The French composer was supposed to be working on his third symphony when he took a break to compose Carnival in a small Austrian village in 1886. Though he had a great time writing it, he worried the humorous piece would harm his reputation as a serious musician. Insisting the work be performed in private, he allowed only the iconic cello movement The Swan to be published during his lifetime.


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So iconic is the Finale that Walt Disney used it as a section of its Fantasia 2000.


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The Suite is scored for two pianos, two violins, viola, cello, double bass, flute (and piccolo), clarinet (C and B♭), glass harmonica, and xylophone.

I "Introduction et marche royale du lion" (Introduction and Royal March of the Lion)
II "Poules et coqs" (Hens and Roosters)
III "Hemiones (animaux v?loces)" (Wild Donkeys Swift Animals)
IV "Tortues" (Tortoises)
V "L'Elephant" (The Elephant)
VI "Kangourous"
VII "Aquarium"
VIII "Personnages a longues oreilles" (Characters with Long Ears)
IX "Le Coucou au fond des bois" (The Cuckoo in the Depths of the Woods)
X "Voliere" (Aviary)
XI "Pianistes" (Pianists)
XII "Fossiles" (Fossils)
XIII "Le cygne" (The Swan)
XIV Final (Finale)


The entire suite lasts approximately 25 minutes, but In 1976, Warner Brothers broadcast Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals on CBS, with a full orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and featuring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as the duo pianists. This is an abridged version of the work, omitting the "Tortoise", "Characters with Long Ears", "Cuckoo" and "Swan" movements and using the "Pianists" music over the ending credits.

Here's THAT version, in 2 parts.


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Discussion Starter · #285 ·
The Carnival of the Animals
Saint-Saens

But wait. In all seriousness.

The 14-movement suite:

Symphony Orchestra of The Stanisław Moniuszko Music School in Wałbrzych, Poland Małgorzata Sapiecha - conductor. Yes, performed by students. Appropriate.

 

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Discussion Starter · #286 ·
#136
The Nutcracker, Op. 71
Pyotr Tchaikovsky
1892


The Nutcracker is the last of three ballets by Tchaikovsky, and although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. However, the complete Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity since the late 1960s and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in North America.

Major American ballet companies generate around 40% of their annual ticket revenues from performances of The Nutcracker.

The story of The Nutcracker is loosely based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann fantasy story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, about a girl who befriends a nutcracker that comes to life on Christmas Eve and wages a battle against the evil Mouse King.

This is noteworthy for the use of a brand new instrument, the celeste, which he used effectively here as the "voice" of his Sugar Plum Fairy.

And as it's become quite the popular piece, its influence in popular culture still resonates.

In 1940 the Disney animated film Fantasia features a segment using The Nutcracker Suite. Selections from the ballet suite underscore scenes depicting the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn to winter. A variety of dances are presented with fairies, fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves, including "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy", "Chinese Dance", "Arabian Dance", "Russian Dance", "Dance of the Flutes" and "Waltz of the Flowers".

Here's a playlist of all six of those segments.


The entire ballet, however, runs closer to 90 minutes though.

Here's the New York City Ballet's film version from 1993, immodestly titled "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker" (he's the choreographer for this version). And while I'm completely unfamiliar with famous ballet dancers, you WILL notice a 13-year-old Macaulay Culkin as Drosselmeier's Nephew. The New York city Ballet Orchestra is conducted David Zinman.


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Discussion Starter · #287 ·
#137
Karelia Suite, Op. 11
Jean Sibelius
1893


Originally conceived under the title Karelia Music consisting of an Overture, 8 tableaux, and 2 Intermezzi lasting around 44 minutes (parts of which were considered lost, but later reconstructed), became a three movement Suite (Intermezzo, Ballade (based on Tableau 4) and Alla Marcia (from Tableaux 5-1/2, retitled Intermezzo II). The Overture was released separately under its own Opus number (Op. 10).

Here's the now defunct Radio Kamer Filharmonie (2005-2013) conducted by Michael Schonwandt

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. . . And in case it gets yanked by Youtube, here's a backup video.

Here's the Scottsdale Philharmonic

 

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Discussion Starter · #288 ·
Karelia Suite, Op. 11
Jean Sibelius


The rock group The Nice (with Keith Emerson at the helm) recorded an arrangement of the Intermezzo which appeared on their 1968 album Ars Longa Vita Brevis, a video live version from 1969, and later a live version with the Sinfonia of London, released on the LP Five Bridges in 1970.

Here's those reworkings:



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Karelia was also used as the theme music to the UK commercial TV channel ITV current affairs programme This Week throughout the 1960s.

 

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Discussion Starter · #289 ·
#138
Symphony No. 2, Op. 27
Sergei Rachmaninoff
1907


This Glinka prize-winning Symphony was well received at its premiere in 1908, restoring the confidence of the fledgling composer after the disastrous debut of his first in 1895 (It didn't help that the orchestra was underrehearsed and the conductor was drunk for that one).

Rachmaninoff's 2nd Symphony is hauntingly beautiful. You don't need to think and analyze to appreciate its beauty. But it seems to evoke hope and redemption; it's like some sort of musical ascent from utter failure to renewed triumph.

The entire symphony, in its original form, lasts about an hour, although over the years there have been many edited versions performed, one even trimming it down to 35 minutes.

The 3rd movement may very well be one of the most beautiful pieces of music you'll ever hear. Parts of the third movement were used for pop singer Eric Carmen's 1976 song, "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again", which borrowed the introduction and main melody of the third movement as the song's chorus and bridge, respectively. As Rachmaninoff's music was still in copyright at the time (it has since expired in most countries), Carmen was made to pay royalties to the Rachmaninoff estate for the use of the composer's music.

Symphony No. 2 Op. 27 III. Adagio: Adagio: -- London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gennadi Rozhdestvensky


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Here's the whole thing, with Valery Gergiev conducting the Mariinsky Orchestra in 1992.

 

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Discussion Starter · #290 · (Edited)
#139
Symphony No. 1 in D
Gustav Mahler
1888


Gustav Mahler is one of classical music's most introspective composers and divides opinion more than most. Approaching Mahler's music is daunting, as he's written some of history's most incredible and bombastic symphonies and staggeringly poignant vocal works.

Thus, Mahler has only had, so far, one entry (#82) on this list, his Resurrection Symphony, complete with orchestral death shrieks. The other symphonies, from the all-encompassing ninth and the 'Titan' first to the lengthy third and the 'Symphony of a Thousand' eighth (it used more than 1,000 performers when Mahler first conducted it in Munich in 1910), have so much to explore that you could spend weeks getting to the bottom of each of them.

So, let's visit the appalling racket of his First Symphony. It goes from static and then suddenly to violence, to tragic and then becomes sentimental. It was originally called The Titan (loosely based on a novel by the popular writer Jean Paul), when Mahler had premiered it as a Symphonic Poem in Two Parts (actually five movements), but after some revisions it turned into a four movement symphony and the name was dropped in 1896.

Listen for the folk dance in the 2nd movement, and for "Frere Jacques" in the spooky funeral march of the 3rd movement.

Here's Leonard Bernstein conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Leonard Bernstein is still Gustav Mahler's most famous and, controversially, most significant interpreter.

It is the conductor's restless energy that is immediately apparent; right through the First Symphony's spellbinding opening you are on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next. This gives way to a wonderfully exuberant allegro where minor imprecisions of ensemble and a little extraneous noise don't even matter in the context of what is going on. There is a real sense of build towards the joyous eruption of the coda.

It is entirely typical of Bernstein that he wallows in the vulgarity of the second movement, including ridiculous glissandi and over-the-top winds.

He also revels in the contrasts of the funeral march where the brief consolation of the Wayfaring song clashes with the vulgarity of the klezmer music.

There is an astonishing explosion at the outset of the finale and the utmost desolation of the opening leads to utmost exaltation at the end. The white-hot blaze of the final bars could have come from the baton of no-one else.

Again, Mahler demands some patience and focus, which is richly rewarded. Downbeat is at 0:50.

 

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Discussion Starter · #291 ·
#140
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
Sir Edward Elgar
1919


Elgar: Yeah, you've already heard something from Elgar: The Pomp and Circumstance march, the most popular graduation music ever.

But THIS concerto is now a cornerstone of the solo cello repertoire, and his last notable work. However, it didn't really gain wide popularity until the 1960s when one of the most famous cellists of the time, Jacqueline du Pre recorded and released her performance of it.

Elgar composed it in the aftermath of the First World War, when his music had already gone out of fashion with the concert-going public.

It's an intimate, highly-concentrated somber work, reflecting the sorrows faced by the composer's native land in the closing months of "The Great War" (World War I). Appalled and disillusioned by the suffering caused by the war, he realized that life in Europe would never be the same after such destruction. In spite of fleeting moments of idyllic release, it's dominated by disillusionment, by a sense of suffering that at times cries out against life, yet more often speaks in quiet anguish.

It's four movements are actually fairly short. They unfold from one another as if forming a single, rhapsodic thought - which, in view of Elgar's masterful use of his thematic material, they actually do. After the almost funereal beginning of the first movement, the clarinets introduce a lyric second theme, which is treated in the graceful manner of a siciliana. The second movement is prefaced by a pizzicato version of the cello's opening recitative; the main body of this movement is a scherzo-like moto perpetuo. A meditative adagio of great beauty reduces the orchestra to chamber size, and the cello sings through all but a single measure.

In the concerto's rondo finale, something of the pre-WWI Elgarian swagger can be detected, but only fleetingly. Fragments of melody from the concerto's earlier movements are hinted at before a climax of anguish and resignation.

Here's Jacqueline du Pre performing it live in 1970 with Daniel Barenboim conducting. We are all so lucky that this exists.

Turn it up. Let that opening grab you straight away.


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Discussion Starter · #292 · (Edited)
#141
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43
Jean Sibelius
1902/1903


This is only Sibelius' second entry on this list (the first being the Karelia Suite), but there are several coming up quickly.

Finnish composer and violinist Jean Sibelius was born in 1865, the year Lincoln was assassinated, and lived until September 1957 (the month that That'll Be the Day (That I'll Die) by Buddy Holly and the Crickets reaches #1).

He's noted for his set of seven symphonies, which, like his other major works, are regularly performed and recorded in his home country and internationally. His other best-known compositions are Finlandia, the Karelia Suite, Valse Triste, the Violin Concerto, the choral symphony Kullervo, and The Swan of Tuonela (from the Lemminkainen Suite). Other works include pieces inspired by nature, Nordic mythology, and the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala, over a hundred songs for voice and piano, incidental music for numerous plays, the opera Jungfrun i tornet (The Maiden in the Tower), chamber music, piano music, Masonic ritual music, and 21 publications of choral music.

During a trip with his family to Rapallo, Italy in 1901, Sibelius began to write his Second Symphony, partly inspired by the fate of Don Juan in Mozart's Don Giovanni. It was completed in early 1902 with its premiere in Helsinki on 8 March. The work was received with tremendous enthusiasm by the Finns. Merikanto felt it exceeded "even the boldest expectations," while Evert Katila qualified it as "an absolute masterpiece". Flodin, too, wrote of a symphonic composition "the likes of which we have never had occasion to listen to before".

Again, the best sounding live version available comes from the baton of Leonard Bernstein conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker.

Why? Here's a comment about it from a fan:

"So majestic. Bernstein Masters the sound of silence. The excitement of tension that builds up as we await the next cord for resolution. Newer heard a more romantic interpretation of Sibelius. You hear the darkness, frost and snow. Northern lights and pinewood forests amongst the thousands of Finnish lakes. Listen how he avoids any vibrato especially in the brass where it's cold and crisp sound stings and gives you the chills. This must have been difficult to achieve for the warm sounding Wiener Musikern and might explain the stunned and exhausted audience in the end of this masterpiece?

Listen to the dynamics!

So relaxing and exciting at the same time. Marvelous. By far my favorite interpretation of this symphony."


In 2 parts.
The 3rd and 4th movements are connected, with the 4th movement starting around the 6:20 mark in the video

 

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Discussion Starter · #293 ·
#142
Requiem in D minor, Op. 48
Gabriel Fauré
1888 / expanded, revised and reworked for full orchestra 1890


The choral-orchestral setting of the shortened Catholic Mass for the Dead in Latin is the best-known of his large works.

This thing is packed with beautiful melodies.

The composition is structured in seven movements:

Introit et Kyrie
Offertory
Sanctus
Pie Jesu
Agnus Dei
Libera me
In Paradisum


There is something about this work that simultaneously sounds both "Ahead of its Time" and "Stuck In Time". It's also quite different from many Requiems in that it's far more serene, restful, and contemplative. I don't know, but it's almost happy.

Of course, Fauré was not one that embraced the bombastic and aurally impressive tricks of his predecessors, instead relying on nuance, subtlety, and melody. But that's exactly why we are still in love with this work; there's an ethereal beauty that sets it apart.

Victor Pablo Perez conducting the Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia

 

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Discussion Starter · #294 · (Edited)
#143
Symphony No 4 in G Major
Gustav Mahler
1900


Symphony No. 4 is the last of the four "Wunderhorn" symphonies (those with themes based on earlier Mahler songs), with this one based on his 1892 song "Das himmlesche Leben", which presents a child's view of heaven.

At an hour, it's one of Mahler's shorter symphonies.

I. Bedachtig, nicht eilen (Moderately, not rushed) 00:31
II. In gemachlicher Bewegung, ohne Hast (Leisurely moving, without haste) 17:28
III. Ruhevoll, poco adagio (Peacefully, somewhat slowly) 27:56
IV. Sehr behaglich (Very comfortably) 49:09


To convey the journey toward innocence, Mahler's first three movements gradually diminish in complexity as they approach the pure and serene threshold of the finale.

Mahler described the Fourth Symphony's unique atmosphere this way:

"Imagine the uniform blue of the sky
…Occasionally…
it darkens and becomes phantasmagorical and terrifying:
but it is not that it becomes overcast,
for the sun continues to shine in its eternal blue,
only to us it suddenly seems horrific,
just as,
on the most beautiful day in a sunlit forest,
one can be seized with panic and terror."

Yeah, actually, that pretty much sums up 2021. A great symphony to end an "interesting" year.

Leonard Bernstein conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker. The soprano soloist in the 4th movement is Edith Mathis.

 

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Discussion Starter · #295 ·
. . . And may 2022 be a better year than the last

#144
Große Fuge, Op. 133
Beethoven
1825


How could I pass up the opportunity to use #144 as an excuse to put Beethoven's Grosse Fugue on the list? (Get it? 144 = a gross).

This poor single movement string quartet is actually an immense double fugue, and was roundly condemned by critics at the time. Critics referred to it as incomprehensible, inaccessible, eccentric, and "Armegeddon".

It's now considered among Beethoven's greatest achievements.

It originally served as the final movement of his Quartet No. 13 in B♭ major (Op. 130), written in 1825. But Beethoven's publisher, who was concerned about the dismal commercial prospects of the piece, urged Beethoven to replace the fugue with a new finale. Beethoven complied, and the Große Fuge was published separately in 1827 as Op. 133. It was composed when Beethoven was almost completely deaf.

The work has been described as an expansion of the formal Baroque grand fugue, as a multi-movement work rolled into a single piece, and even as a symphonic poem in sonata form.

It opens with a 24-bar overture, which also serves to introduce the main fugal subject, the building blocks for all that is to come.

Here's the Alban Berg Quartett.

 

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Discussion Starter · #296 · (Edited)
#145
Quatuor pour la fin du temps
(Quartet for the End of Time)
Olivier Messiaen
1941


Alrighty then. Ready for something even more adventurous than Beethoven's Grosse Fugue? Of course you are.

Here's something that shouldn't work, but does; a chamber piece written for clarinet, violin, cello and piano.

Messiaen wrote the piece while a prisoner of war in German captivity and it was first performed by his fellow prisoners in Stalag VIII A January 15, 1941 (as a French soldier he'd been captured in May 1940) to fellow prisoners and guards. He played the piano part himself. The clarinetist, violinist and cellist were fellow prisoners.

The result is one of the most heart-breaking, gripping and concise (the whole piece is around 50 minutes) explorations of what it means to be alive ever attempted. What more can you possibly ask of a piece of music?

The quartet opens with Messiaen's imitation of a blackbird's song. Here's what the composer himself said about the opening:

"Between three and four in the morning, the awakening of birds: a solo blackbird or nightingale improvises, surrounded by a shimmer of sound, by a halo of trills lost very high in the trees. Transpose this onto a religious plane and you have the harmonious silence of Heaven."

Messiaen wrote in the Preface to the score that the work was inspired by text from the Book of Revelation (Rev 10:1-2, 5-7, King James Version):

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire ... and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth .... And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever ... that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished ...

The work is in eight movements. Only four of the eight movements involve all four players.

I. "Crystal liturgy", for the full quartet
II. "Vocalise, for the Angel who announces the end of time", for the full quartet.
III. "Abyss of birds", for solo clarinet. "The birds are the opposite to Time; they are our desire for light, for stars, for rainbows, and for jubilant songs."
IV. "Interlude", for violin, cello, and clarinet
V. "Praise to the eternity of Jesus", for cello and piano
VI. "Dance of fury, for the seven trumpets", for the full quartet.
VII. "Tangle of rainbows, for the Angel who announces the end of time", for the full quartet.
VIII. "Praise to the immortality of Jesus", for violin and piano.


Unlike most of the previous linked videos for other works, this link is a studio recording of the Cameo Trio with a guest cellist (although there IS a live version of them performing the work available on YouTube).

Of course, the sound is better than on all of the live versions. This version also gives additional visuals and notes from Messiaen himself. It's around 50 minutes long.


Mvt I - 0:48
Mvt II - 3:41
Mvt III - 8:33
Mvt IV - 15:13
Mvt V - 17:04
Mvt VI - 26:11
Mvt VII - 33:09
Mvt VIII - 40:48

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Discussion Starter · #297 ·
#146
Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82
Jean Sibelius
1915, rev. 1916, rev. 1919


And suddenly, several works from Jean Sibelius on the list: The Karelia Suite at #137, his Symphony #2 at #141, and now his three movement Fifth Symphony, with perhaps the greatest finale of all time: There are swans, there are horns, there is unbridled orchestral ecstasy.

But first, the chaotic swirly opening eventually ending in swans. Yes, it's basically about swans. Sibelius wanted to convey the majestic call of the Whooper Swan for one of his main themes. Here's what a whooper swan sounds like:

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. . . which Sibelius turned into this swaying, triple-time motif for the horns:


In the symphony's breathless moto perpetuo finale, Sibelius introduces one of his most memorable ideas: a bell-like tolling of chords among the four horns that is said to have come to him after he watched a flock of swans pass overhead. This "swan theme," which emerges from the giddy rush of the tremolo strings, is the soul of the movement, and it's accompanied by a poignant, singing subject given out in octaves by the woodwinds and cellos.

Sibelius brings the finale to climax by means of a grand slow-down, the reverse of the method he used in the first movement. The last pages of the symphony offer a mighty apotheosis of the "swan theme," capped by six isolated, powerful chords. The world that has been summoned out of the ether ends as a succession of huge, monolithic shouts of "Amen."

I. Tempo molto moderato
II. Andante mosso, quasi allegretto
III. Allegro molto


And again, no one does it like Leonard Bernstein. Here he is, again conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker.

I. 0:53
II. 16:10
III. 26:31

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Discussion Starter · #298 ·
#147
Rodeo
Aaron Copland
1942


This is Copland's 4th entry on this list, preceded by

#72 Appalachian Spring
#100 Fanfare for the Common Man
#121 Billy the Kid

Rodeo: The Courting at Burnt Ranch is a ballet composed by Aaron Copland and commissioned and choreographed by Agnes de Mille, which premiered in 1942.

It's in five sections:

Buckaroo Holiday,
Corral Nocturne,
Ranch House Party
Saturday Night Waltz, and
***-Down


. . . although the symphonic version (Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo) omits the Ranch House Party, making it more like a 4-movement symphony. It debuted in 1943.

Of course, we Prog Rock fans will instantly recognize the 4th movement, which was covered by Emerson, Lake & Palmer on it's 1972 album Trilogy, as well as a 1974 live version on Welcome Back My Friends . . . .

Others may recognize the ***-Down as the music from the "Beef: It's What's For Dinner" advertising campaign.

Rodeo is distinguished by an effusive exuberance, an evocative sense of orchestral color, distinctive harmonic language, and singular expressivity.

There are a few live videos of the orchestral version, but many, many versions of just the 4th movement.

So here's a youth orchestra joyously performing ***-Down. You'll have to ignore the applause between movements - the audience evidently doesn't know any better. If you want to skip to the popular 4th movement, it starts at 18:02.


They're pretty good, but if you'd like to hear a far better performed and conducted 4th movement, here again is Leonard Bernstein, this time with the New York Philharmonic.

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Discussion Starter · #299 ·
Rodeo
Aaron Copland


Here's a nice professional performance of the Four Dance Episodes from Rodeo symphonic suite, which is the popular version.

All University Orchestra - Carnegie Mellon University


:)

But here's the slightly longer ballet version that includes the Ranch House Party sandwiched in the middle, as it's played for the ballet version. Presented in conductor's score format. With commercials between each movement, unless you pay for Youtube Premium.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta. 2011.


.

And here's Emerson, Lake and Palmer in their prime, live in 1973 from their Brain Salad Surgery tour. The tempo is considerably faster than their original studio recording.

 

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Discussion Starter · #300 · (Edited)
I'm rather amused that the language protection on this site has decided that the spelling of the original title of the movement from Rodeo,

"***-Down",​

is not fit for public consumption, although

"Hoedown"​

is just fine.

Heaven forbid we talk about gardening, and the use of a *** to turn the soil.
 
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