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Discussion Starter · #301 · (Edited)
#148
String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20
Felix Mendelssohn
1825/1832


Written in 1825, when Mendelssohn was 16 years old.

This is not actually Mendelssohn's first mention on this list. That distinction goes to #49, the Miserere mei, Deus from Gregorio Allegri, written in 1638; and the mention that Mendelssohn making his own transcription of the work, which was already now famous because a 14-year-old Mozart had made a transcript of the "secret" music in 1770.

Mendelssohn's first actual entry on the list was at #102: The 1842 "Scottish" Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56, followed by his 1845 Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 at #110, and the 1834 "Italian" Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90.

#102: "Scottish" Symphony No. 3 in A minor (1842)
#110: Violin Concert in E Minor (1845)
#119: "Italian" Symphony No. 4 in A Major (1834)
#148: String Octet in Eb Major (1825/1832)


He made some revisions in 1832, and it received its first public performance in 1836.

The work comprises four movements:

I. Allegro moderato ma con fuoco (E-flat major)
II. Andante (C minor)
III. Scherzo: Allegro leggierissimo (G minor)
IV. Presto (E-flat major)


A typical performance of the work lasts around thirty minutes, with the first movement usually comprising roughly half of this.

The original score is for a double string quartet with 4 violins and pairs of violas and cellos.

Apart from the composer being in his teens, this octet is remarkable for the fluidity of its melodies and for the delicate balance of its various parts, as well exhibiting a personal and mature musical language throughout the work.

From the almost minimalist unison textures of the work's Scherzo, to the eight-part fugato of its Finale, Mendelssohn created a masterwork. WHEN HE WAS ONLY 16 YEARS OLD.

Here's Liza Ferschtman, Itamar Zorman, Elina Vahala, Corina Belcea, violin, Mark Desmons, Krzysztof Chorzelski, viola and Sebastian Klinger, Antoine Lederlin, cello at the Delft Chambermusic Festival in 2016.


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Discussion Starter · #302 · (Edited)
3
Symphony No. 3 "Eroica"
Ludwig van Beethoven
1803


It has been over 200 years since Beethoven's 3rd Symphony was written and is testament to his absolute genius.

There is just so much to it, there is so much happening.

This symphony is about humans - our struggles, challenges and victories. You come away having experienced the power and joy of being alive.

The Eroica, written in 1803, was originally destined to be called "The Bonaparte", a celebration of Napoleon and all he stood for. Beethoven changed his mind when he heard that Napoleon had declared himself emperor. Beethoven denounced him as a tyrant and scrubbed out his name so hard there is a hole in the original manuscript.

The way Beethoven works out all the motifs, melodies and themes in such detail, while at the same time maintaining a completely organic development of the emotional message, is extraordinary.

This is where it starts to get interesting. And by 'get interesting', I mean 'the rulebook gets incinerated in a political and revolutionary rage by a deaf genius'. The third symphony is the one that, everyone generally agrees, changed everything and kick-started the Romantic period in music.

So . . . here's a live version (the BEST way to experience classical music), conducted by a modern genius, Leonard Bernstein leading the Wiener Philharmoniker.

1ST MOVEMENT: Allegro con brio
2ND MOVEMENT: Marcia funebre: Adagio assai
3RD MOVEMENT: Scherzo: Allegro vivace
4TH MOVEMENT: Allegro molto-Poco andante-Presto

BEETHOVEN - Symphony no. 3 in E flat Major, Op. 55 - Leonard Bernstein

Naturally, as expected, Youtube videos and Youtube channels come and go. That's one reason I include the video's title most of the time.

Here's a new active link.

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 (Leonard Bernstein)

 

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Discussion Starter · #303 ·
#149
Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor Op. 90 "Dumky".
Antonin Dvorak
1891


This six movement Trio for piano, violin, and cello is one of Dvorak's best known works. The first three movements are connected together without interruption in harmonically complementary keys, giving the impression of one long first movement.

In Ukrainian folk music, the name dumka was given to a certain type of song with a nostalgic, elegiac character, a ballad, or perhaps a lament.

The word "dumka" is the diminutive of the Ukrainian word "duma" (meaning "thought", "idea", "reflection", "contemplation") which will be found in various mutations in other Slav languages (the Czech "dumat" means "to ponder" or "to contemplate"). In musical terms, the word originally refers to a specific type of Ukrainian (Little Russian) song form which is typical for its leisurely tempo and meditative, melancholic character. During the course of the 19th century, the dumka was transferred to higher artistic genres by composers - largely Slavs themselves - who drew inspiration from it: Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Chopin, Janacek and, most notably, Antonin Dvorak.

I. Lento maestoso - Allegro vivace - Allegro molto
II. Poco adagio - Vivace
III. Andante - Vivace non troppo
IV. Andante moderato - Allegretto scherzando - Allegro
V. Allegro
VI. Lento maestoso - Vivace


Trio Jade performing at the 2014 Seoul Spring Chamber Music Festival

 

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Discussion Starter · #304 · (Edited)
#150
Finlandia
Jean Sibelius
1899


#150. This had better be good.

It is.

This tone poem for orchestra is one of Sibelius' best known works (the other being the Karelia Suite), yet it originated in political protest.

It was written for the Finnish Press Pension Celebration of 1899, a thinly veiled rally in support of freedom of the Finnish press, then largely controlled by tsarist Russia.

Sibelius's contribution to the three-day pageant was a set of nationalistic musical tableaux. Several of these pieces he later recycled into the suite Historic Scenes No. 1, but the grand finale, originally called "Finland Awakes," became what is now known as Finlandia. Its first performances under that title were given by the Helsinki Philharmonic at the Paris World Exhibition of 1900.

A few years ago I accompanied the silent film The General (a film by Buster Keaton about the kidnapping of a train during the Civll War), and used a lengthy edit from Finlandia for the finale of the film, which made it the most expensive film yet made.

The lush video:
Created by
Wild Scandinavia / Wildes Skandinavien / (2011)
Directors: Oliver Goetzl
Writers: Oliver Goetzl
Cinematography: Ivo Nurenberg, Jan Henriksson and Rolf Steinmann
Gulo Film Productions

"This film shows animal behaviour that has never been filmed before: Oliver Goetzl and Ivo Nurenberg got the first ever made shots of a wild lynx in the finish wilderness, they did highspeed shots of Goldeneye chicks jumping out of their tree nest, they filmed exciting encounters of bears and wolves. The documentary was shot with more than 650 shooting days."

Here's Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic recorded sometime between Sep 1976 and Jan 1981.

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Discussion Starter · #305 ·
The Top 150

#1 -50

Holst - The Planets, Op. 32 [1918]
Dvorak - "New World" Symphony No.9 in E minor "From the New World", Op 95 [1893]
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in Eb Major, Op. 55 "Eroica" [1804]
Stravinsky - The Firebird [1910]
Tchaikovsky - 1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49 [1882]
Vivaldi - Summer, The Four Seasons [1723]
JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto #6, In B Flat, BWV 1051 [1721]
WA Mozart - Symphony 41 in C "Jupiter", K. 551. [1788]
Borodin - In the Steppes of Central Asia. 1880.
WA Mozart - Overture from The Marriage of Figaro, K492 [1786]

Grieg - Peer Gynt: Suite No. 1, Op. 46, and Suite No. 2, Op. 55. (Original score, Op. 23) [1876]
Frederic Chopin - Polonaise in Ab Major, Op. 53 [1842]
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (Ravel orchestration). [1874/1922]
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue [1924]
Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring [1913]
Beethoven - Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op. 67. [1808]
JS Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007 [1720]
Carl Orff - O Fortuna from Carmina Burana [1937]
Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain (Rimsky-Korsokov arrangement). [1867/1886]
Johann Sebastian Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier 2, Prelude F Sharp minor [1742]

Claude Debussy - The Sunken Cathedral, from Préludes [1910]
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Prelude Op. 23 No. 5 [1901]
Franz Liszt - Consolation No. 3 [1850]
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra [1896]
Ravel - Bolero [1928]
George Martin - Pepperland [1968]
Chopin - Prelude in Db "Raindrop" [1838]
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor ("Moonlight Sonata") [1801]
Antonio Vivaldi - The Four Seasons [1720]
Rossini - Overture to "The Barber of Seville" [1816]

Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries, Die Walküre, Der Ring des Nibelungen [1856]
Mozart - Symphony No.40 in G minor [1788]
Vivaldi - The Four Seasons "Spring" [1720]
Beethoven's "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 [1808]
Mozart - Requiem in D minor [1792]
Johann Strauss II - The Blue Danube, Op.314 [1866]
Tchaikovsky - Capriccio Italien [1880]
Paul Dukas - The Sorcerer's Apprentice [1897]
Beethoven - "Choral" Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 [1824]
Schubert - Ave Maria from Liederzyklus vom Fräulein vom See, Op. 52 [1825]

Ottorino Respighi - The Pines of Rome [1924]
Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 [1812]
Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op.58 [1806]
Tallis - Spem in Alium (40-voice motet) [1570]
Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.21 in C Major Op.53 (The Waldstein) [1804]
Dvorak - Slavonic Dance No. 7, Op. 46 [1878]
Josquin des Prez - Missa L'Homme armé super voces musicales [1495]
Palestrina - Missa Aeterna Christi munera [1590]
Allegri - Miserere [1638]
Beethoven's String Quartet in F Major Op.59, no.1 [1806]

#51-100

Beethoven - "Razumovsky" String Quartets, Op. 59 [1806]
Monteverdi - The Vespers [1610]
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 [1785]
Tchaikovsky - Sixth Symphony in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathetique" [1893]
Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13 "Pathetique" [1798]
William Byrd - Mass for 4 & 5 voices [1593 / 1595]
Bach - Brandenburg Concertos [1721]
Brahms - Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8 "Eroica" [1854]
Schubert -String Quartet No. 14 in D minor "Death and the Maiden" [1824]
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, Andante ("Elvira Madigan") [1785]

Haydn - Mass No. 11 in D minor "Lord Nelson Mass" [1798]
Bizet - Carmen [1875]
Schubert - Symphony No. 8 "Unfinished" [1822]
Monteverdi - Madrigals, book 5 [1605]
Bach - Goldberg Variations [1741]
Dvorak's Carnival Overture, Op. 92 [1891]
Handel - Messiah [1741]
Mozart - Symphony 35 [1782]
Strauss - Salomé - "Dance of the Seven Veils" [1905]
Shostokovich - Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor [1944]

Debussy - String Quartet in G , Op. 10 [1893]
Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring, [1944]
Ravel - Miroirs, No. 5 "La vallee des cloches" [1905]
Ravel - String Quartet in F [1903]
JS Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier [1722]
Beethoven - Sonata no. 28 in A major, Op. 101 [1816]
Schubert - String Quartet in C major [1828]
Smetana - Vltava from Ma Vlast [1874]
Verdi - Requiem [1874]
Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians [1976]

Stockhausen - Gesang der Jünglinge [1956]
Mahler - Symphony No 2 "Resurrection" [1894]
Mozart - Symphony 36 in C major, K425 "Linz" [1783]
Legeti - Requiem [1965]
Elgar - Enigma Variations [1899]
Krzysztof Penderecki - Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima [1960]
Machaut - Messe de Nostre Dame [1365]
Perotin - Viderunt omnes [1198]
Palestrina - Missa Papae Marcelli [1562]
Bach - Toccata and Fugue in D Minor [1708]

Handel - Water Music [1717]
Vivaldi - Gloria [1715]
Haydn - Symphony No. 104 "London" [1795]
Haydn - String Quartet Op.76, No.3 "Emperor" [1797]
Mozart - Overture from The Magic Flute [1791]
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 5 in Eb major, Op. 73 [1811]
Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 [1830]
Chopin - Nocturne in Eb, Op.9 No.2 [1832]
Chopin - Revolutionary Etude, Op. 10, No. 12 [1831]
Aaron Copland - Fanfare for the Common Man [1943]

#101-150

Brahms - Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 [1885]
Mendelssohn - Symphony No. 3 "Scottish" [1842]
Rossini - Thieving Magpie: Overture [1817]
Rossini - William Tell: Overture [1829]
Schubert - Piano Quintet (Trout) in A major, D. 667. [1819]
Mozart* (*Michael Haydn) - Symphony 37 in G Major [1783]
Schubert - Symphony No. 5 in Bb major [1816]
Schumann - Kinderszenen, Op. 15 [1838]
Strauss - Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche, Op. 28 [1895]
Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 [1845]

Strauss - Don Juan, Op. 20 [1888]
Vaughan Williams - The Lark Ascending[1914/1921]
Bach - The Well Tempered Klavier, Book 2 [1742]
Britten - Cello Symphony, Op. 68 [1963]
Debussy - Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune [1894]
Brahms- Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 / Tragic Overture, Op. 81 [1880]
Dvořák - Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 [1895]
Grieg - Piano Concerto [1868]
Mendelssohn - Symphony No 4 in A major, Op. 90 "Italian" [1833]
Dvořák - String Quartet No.12 in F, Op. 96 - The "American Quartet"[1893]

Copland - Billy the Kid [1938]
Britten - A Boy was Born, Op. 3 [1934]
Johann Strauss II - Die Fledermaus: Overture [1874]
Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 [1878]
Liszt - Totentanz [1849]
Saint-Saens - Danse Macabre, Op. 40 [1874]
Bruckner - Symphony No.4 in E-flat major ("Romantic")[1880]
Tchaikovsky - Piano Concerto No. 1 [1888]
Mozart - Symphony 38 in D Major [1787]
Schubert - Piano Sonata in Bb [1828]

Brahms - Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 [1883]
Liszt - Les Preludes [1854]
Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake, Op. 20 [1876]
Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade , Op. 35 [1888]
Saint-Saens - The Carnival of the Animals [1886]
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker, Op. 71 [1892]
Sibelius - Karelia Suite, Op. 11 - [1893]
Rachmaninoff - Symphony No. 2, Op. 27 [1907]
Mahler - Symphony No. 1 in D [1888]
Elgar - Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85 [1919]

Sibelius - Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43 [1902/1903]
Fauré - Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 [1890]
Mahler - Symphony No 4 in G Major [1900]
Beethoven - Große Fuge, Op. 133 [1825]
Messiaen - Quatuor pour la fin du temps [1941]
Sibelius - Symphony No. 5 in E-flat Major, Op. 82 [1919]
Copland - Rodeo [1942]
Mendelssohn - String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 [1832]
Dvorak - Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor Op. 90 "Dumky" [1891]
Sibelius - Finlandia [1899]
 

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Discussion Starter · #306 ·
#151
The Unanswered Question
Charles Ives
1908, rev. 1935


The Unanswered Question is a single movement musical work by American composer Charles Ives. Originally paired with Central Park in the Dark as Two Contemplations in 1908, The Unanswered Question was revived by Ives in 1930-1935. As with many of Ives' works, it was largely unknown until much later in his life, and was not performed until 1946.

Against a background of slow, quiet strings meant to represent "The Silence of the Druids", a solo trumpet supposedly poses "The Perennial Question of Existence", to which a woodwind quartet of "Fighting Answerers" tries vainly to provide an answer, growing more frustrated and dissonant until they give up. The three groups of instruments perform in independent tempos and are placed separately on the stage-the strings offstage.

Ives provided a short text by which to interpret the work, giving it a narrative as in program music. Throughout the piece the strings sustain slow tonal triads that, according to Ives, represent "The Silence of the Druids-who Know, See and Hear Nothing". Against this background, the trumpet poses a phrase seven times-"The Perennial Question of Existence"-to which the woodwinds "answer" the first six times in an increasingly erratic way. Ives wrote that the woodwinds' answers represented "Fighting Answerers" who, after a time, "realize a futility and begin to mock 'The Question'" before finally disappearing, leaving "The Question" to be asked once more before "The Silences" are left to their "Undisturbed Solitude".

Premil Petrovic / No Borders Orchestra. 11.10.2012. Sava Centar - Belgrade

 

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Discussion Starter · #307 · (Edited)
#152
Concierto De Aranjuez
Joaquin Rodrigo
1939


Something from the mid-20th Century. I'm jazzed when I can included something post-1899, or even post 1929.
I'm not as much a fan of "modern, post-modern, avant-garde, atonal, experimental or 12-tone music as I ought to be, and it's rare when I find 20th Century works I think are both noteworthy AND likeable. This is one of 'em.

Probably Rodrigo's best known work, this guitar concerto was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century and rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century by Ferdinand VI. The work attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the evocation of the sounds of nature.

According to the composer, the first movement is "animated by a rhythmic spirit and vigour without either of the two themes... interrupting its relentless pace";
the second movement "represents a dialogue between guitar and solo instruments (cor anglais, bassoon, oboe, horn etc.)";
and the last movement "recalls a courtly dance in which the combination of double and triple time maintains a taut tempo right to the closing bar." Rodrigo described the concerto itself as capturing "the fragrance of magnolias, the singing of birds, and the gushing of fountains" in the gardens of Aranjuez.

For a piece that you may never have even heard of, it has received an astonishing number of reinterpretations, usually the second movement, perhaps most famously by jazz musician Miles Davis.

Other artists include Deep Purple, Buster Williams, Chick Corea, Spencer Davis Group, Tom Scott, The Shadows, Led Zeppelin (keyboardist/bassist John Paul Jones incorporated parts of the music during an improvisation section of their song "No Quarter" on their 1977 tour), Andre Rieu, Tomita, Herb Alpert, and Carlos Santana.

Pepe Romero


00:59 1 Allegro con spirito
07:21 2 Adagio
19:05 3 Allegro gentile

And just 'cause I loves me some Herb Alpert, here's his dance version from his 1979 album Rise. It was the closing track on the album.

.

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For comparison's sake, here's what Miles Davis did with it in 1960 on his album Sketches of Spain. Following the faithful introduction of the concerto's guitar melody on flugelhorn, Evans' arrangement turns into a "quasi-symphonic, quasi-jazz world of sound".

For Sketches of Spain, Evans and Davis won the 1961 Grammy Award for Best Original Jazz Composition. The album was ranked number 358 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

 

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Discussion Starter · #309 · (Edited)
#153
Symphony No.5
Dmitri Shostakovich
1937


Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47, by Dmitri Shostakovich premiered in Leningrad in 1937 to an ovation that lasted a half hour.

Why? Aside from the subjective opinion that the Symphony is BRILLIANT, the public viewed it as an expression of the suffering to which it had been subjected by Stalin, when millions of Soviet citizens were forcibly relocated, exiled and/or killed outright. During the first performance of the symphony, people were reported to have wept during the Largo movement.

Some context is needed here. Every article written about the piece invariably starts with Stalin's condemnation of Shostakovich's wildly succesful 1936 opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk through the official Communist newspaper Pravda, which amounted to "a warning". Stalin had decided personally to attend the long-running production. He left before the final act began. For reasons that remain a matter of debate, the dictator took offense.

On the bright side, Shostakovich wasn't "disappeared", but the fall from grace affected his output. He ended his opera career and focused on instrumental music. He quietly withdrew his probing and highly experimental 1936 4th Symphony while still in rehearsals, delaying its premiere for 25 years. The newspaper Soviet Art (Sovetskoe iskusstvo) published a notice that Shostakovich had asked for the symphony's premiere to be cancelled "on the grounds that it in no way corresponds to his current creative convictions and represents for him a long-outdated creative phase", that it suffered from "grandiosomania" and he planned to revise it. Actually, party officials exerted pressure on Renzin, the Philharmonic's director, to cancel the scheduled performance, and Renzin reluctant to take responsibility for the programming decision himself, instead privately persuaded Shostakovich to withdraw the symphony.

Instead of revising his 4th symphony, Shostakovich started work on a more 'conventional' symphony in April 1937, completing it in three months. In her fascinating memoirs, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya observes that the composer had to have the piece vetted by a Party committee before the public premiere: "A few dozen nincompoops got together to judge a genius."

Fearing arrest, torture and even death, the composer, brilliantly found a way to compose music which appeared to adhere to Stalin's directives while subtly weaving a deeper and sardonic musical truth, bearing testimony to the despair and terror that reigned over the nation.

From the symphony's opening battle between the lower and the upper strings and its soaring melodies, to the sounds of hopeless oppression and finally to the triumph of the human spirit, Shostakovich brilliantly captures the conflicting moods of a time, place and people.

To please the party officials, Shostakovich knew that he had to produce an upbeat ending. The fourth movement strikes a celebratory mood, although it might come across as being a forced happiness. There are happy marches and swirling melodies and flourishes . . . but the genius of Shostakovich has it come crashing to a dead end . . . supplanted by a dead slow march, clearly an allusion to Mussorgsky's opera Boris Gudunov, in which crowds are forced to praise the Tsar. Unlike Boris Gudunov, which ends in a minor key, the movement ends in a major key, in which audiences heard condemnation of the government through inflections of despair, while Stalin undoubtedly heard the contrition of a wayward composer, and a pro-nationalistic work.

Although I'd like to be able to suggest a single movement to listen to, this is a work that really does seem to develop through the four movements.

This badass symphony is on Classic fM Digital Radio's 10 Greatest Symphonies Of All Time list (at #7).

As far as Shostakovich goes, he's previously appeared on this list at #70 with the Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor (1944)

In this video Philippe Jordan conducts Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester in London at the Royal Albert Hall in 2013.

00:00 __ 1. Moderato-Allegro non troppo
15:42 __ 2. Allegretto
21:32 __ 3. Largo
34:13 __ 4. Allegro non troppo

 

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Discussion Starter · #310 · (Edited)
#154
Atmosphères
György Ligeti
1961


Ah. Something modern. Well, only 60 years old or so. But in terms of Classical Music, that's actually pretty new.

This piece's largest claim to fame is that it was used in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968.

It is devoid of conventional melody and meter in favor of dense sound textures, in what the composer terms as "micropolyphonic texture". Think of it as "sound masses", with sliding and merging orchestral clusters that suggest timbre being the central focus of the piece. It exemplifies Ligeti's notion of "static, self-contained music without either development or traditional rhythmic configurations." Atmospheres has been called music that collapses foreground and background elements of musical structure into a "magma of evolving sound".

As Ligeti described it, "Tone colour, usually a vehicle of musical form, is liberated from form to become an independent entity."

Here's the RTVE Symphony Orchestra (Orquesta Sinfonica de RTVE) conducted by Carlos Kalmar.


:wave:

If you love this piece, I recommend further exploration by listening to Penderecki's Anaklasis and Xenakis's Metastasis, also of the "Sound Mass" genre.

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Oh yes, the „Atmosphères“ … I like them very much.

Where premiered in Donaueschingen 1961, it had to be repeated on the spot. After many scandals in the 1950s, resulting from the refusal of serial or aleatoric music, this was quite surprising.

Ligeti didn’t takt the bait to try a follow.up-piece. In an interview he even called it a dead end, but one oft hat kind that shows a hidden path to liberty. – Next compositions were „Poème symphonique“ for 100 metronomes and the „Volumina“ for organ.

Pieces like the prelude to Rheingold, the prelude to Lohengrin, Schönberg‘s „Colours“ piece (from „Five Pieces for Orchestra“ op. 16) and the beginning of Bartók’s „Wooden Prince“ have been identified as vague predecessors of „Atmosphères“ and have been rejected afterwards. If you’re looking for some characteristic feature oft he pieces, you could name it being outwardly static but simultaneously internally lively.

(The timestamps belong to Abbado‘s recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, live October 1988, DG)

The piece starts with an unprecedented sound: all 74 involved instruments (4 fl., 4 cl., 3 bn., 1 cbn., 6 french horns, 28 vln., 10 vla., 10 vlc., 8 db) are playing a chromatic cluster spanning almost five octaves. There it is – pianissimo, dolcissimo, then he is disappearing little by little, until there is a rest of about one and half an octave in the medium range. – Now couples of violas and cellos have crescenos and decrecendos independently from each other, however, the total sound level is increaenosing. At 1:43, a new cluster starts. Then crescendo and decrescendo apply to the notes of a C-Major-scale and a F-sharp-based pentatonic; so, they white keys of a piano against the black ones, if you want.

The volume game then changes into changes in pitch. Whilst all instruments stayed on their individual tone all the time so far, the strings now (about 2:33) start moving within a minor third, the woodwinds are playing tremolos. The movement gets closer meshed, at 3:19 it is quiet again. The total sound is rising, the instruments stop playing one after the other, until four piccolos are remaining on a small cluster in altissimo.

Now (at 4:24) the event of the piece occurs: From the piccolos‘ cluster there is a fall in the most cavernous regions of the orchestra – eight double basses have a cluster. Brutal. Shocking.

It is easy to perceive that now a second major section of the piece starts (by the way: almost exact in the middle). Above the basses‘ cluster, the other 48 strings are playing 48-part polyphonic music. . The basses leave, the other strings are approaching each other with crecendo until they all reach a 4-tone cluster between b and c‘ sharp.

Now there ist he second major event: Clarinets and flutes take over this cluster and make it stil more narrow to c‘/d‘ flat. Then expansion again. At 5:58 the brass is joining with kind of foghorn sounds. Starting at about 6:30 a flageolet-sound of all strings is crystallizing, starting as chromatic cluster and reducing to a diatonic one – the tones of a c-major-scale. The effect from chromatic to diatonic is almost the same as the effect of a cadence in tonal music. This cluster is then narrowing too.

The last section starts at about 7:17, almost insubstantially. The brass players are blowing into their instruments without generating a tone, the percussionists are scrubbing the strings of a grand piano with brushes. The strings are playing „gettato“, the flutes are joining with clusters. Coda feeling. In the end, trombones and tuba appear de profundis. A great piece is over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #312 ·
Oh yes, the „Atmosphères" … I like them very much.

Where premiered in Donaueschingen 1961, it had to be repeated on the spot. After many scandals in the 1950s, resulting from the refusal of serial or aleatoric music, this was quite surprising.

Ligeti didn't takt the bait to try a follow.up-piece. In an interview he even called it a dead end, but one oft hat kind that shows a hidden path to liberty. - Next compositions were „Poème symphonique" for 100 metronomes and the „Volumina" for organ.

Pieces like the prelude to Rheingold, the prelude to Lohengrin, Schönberg's „Colours" piece (from „Five Pieces for Orchestra" op. 16) and the beginning of Bartók's „Wooden Prince" have been identified as vague predecessors of „Atmosphères" and have been rejected afterwards. If you're looking for some characteristic feature oft he pieces, you could name it being outwardly static but simultaneously internally lively.

(The timestamps belong to Abbado's recording with the Vienna Philharmonic, live October 1988, DG)

The piece starts with an unprecedented sound: all 74 involved instruments (4 fl., 4 cl., 3 bn., 1 cbn., 6 french horns, 28 vln., 10 vla., 10 vlc., 8 db) are playing a chromatic cluster spanning almost five octaves. There it is - pianissimo, dolcissimo, then he is disappearing little by little, until there is a rest of about one and half an octave in the medium range. - Now couples of violas and cellos have crescenos and decrecendos independently from each other, however, the total sound level is increaenosing. At 1:43, a new cluster starts. Then crescendo and decrescendo apply to the notes of a C-Major-scale and a F-sharp-based pentatonic; so, they white keys of a piano against the black ones, if you want.

The volume game then changes into changes in pitch. Whilst all instruments stayed on their individual tone all the time so far, the strings now (about 2:33) start moving within a minor third, the woodwinds are playing tremolos. The movement gets closer meshed, at 3:19 it is quiet again. The total sound is rising, the instruments stop playing one after the other, until four piccolos are remaining on a small cluster in altissimo.

Now (at 4:24) the event of the piece occurs: From the piccolos' cluster there is a fall in the most cavernous regions of the orchestra - eight double basses have a cluster. Brutal. Shocking.

It is easy to perceive that now a second major section of the piece starts (by the way: almost exact in the middle). Above the basses' cluster, the other 48 strings are playing 48-part polyphonic music. . The basses leave, the other strings are approaching each other with crecendo until they all reach a 4-tone cluster between b and c' sharp.

Now there ist he second major event: Clarinets and flutes take over this cluster and make it stil more narrow to c'/d' flat. Then expansion again. At 5:58 the brass is joining with kind of foghorn sounds. Starting at about 6:30 a flageolet-sound of all strings is crystallizing, starting as chromatic cluster and reducing to a diatonic one - the tones of a c-major-scale. The effect from chromatic to diatonic is almost the same as the effect of a cadence in tonal music. This cluster is then narrowing too.

The last section starts at about 7:17, almost insubstantially. The brass players are blowing into their instruments without generating a tone, the percussionists are scrubbing the strings of a grand piano with brushes. The strings are playing „gettato", the flutes are joining with clusters. Coda feeling. In the end, trombones and tuba appear de profundis. A great piece is over.
Excellent technical summation.

For all practical purposes the work is quite a "sound wash", seemingly dissolving from one fuzzy cluster to the next. I find that calling it "Polyphonic" is somewhat misleading: Yes, it is, with the voicings and tones changing independently (polytonal) in a non-traditional sense, while the different sections of the orchestra move at different speeds (making it polyrhthmic as well).

A sound wash. Sort of like a 1/4 mile car wash; you move from these clusters of sounds to the next cluster of sounds, and occasionally the machinery kicks in or stops, and we hear that as well.

But it's not our traditional understanding of polyphony. From my understanding it also cannot be conducted in the "traditional sense" as cueing every musical entrance would be practically impossible.
 

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Thank you for your answer.

Yes, it is not polyphony in the Palestrina way. I am not sure whether the word "micropolyphony" was introduced by Ligeti himself or by others, but I remember that this is the terminus technicus is use for this way of composing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #314 ·
#155
Symphony 39 in E-Flat Major, K. 543
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1788


Well, it may seem like Mozart is overrepresented on my list, but such is the genius of "Wolfy", that he gets and deserves multiple spots.

8. Symphony 41 in C "Jupiter", K. 551. 1788
10. Overture from The Marriage of Figaro. 1786
32. Symphony No. 40 in G minor
35. Requiem in D minor
53. Piano Concerto No. 20
60. Piano Concerto No. 21, Andante ("Elvira Madigan")
68. Symphony No. 35
95. Overture from The Magic Flute
106. Symphony No. 37
129. Symphony No 38

And now, #155, Symphony No. 39 in E-Flat Major, K. 543. It's the first of a set of three symphonies (39, 40, and 41) that Mozart composed in rapid succession during the summer of 1788. Sadly, they would be his last. He passed away in 1791 at the young age of 35.

Predictably, there are four movements:

I. Adagio - Allegro
II. Andante con moto
III. Menuetto - Trio
IV. Allegro


Symphony No. 39 is the only one of Mozart's mature symphonies not to use oboes. The resulting reliance on the clarinet (a new member of the orchestra at the time) within the winds gives the work a sound distinct from his other symphonies. This symphony is often characterized as being "warm and autumnal", a description that (as so often with Mozart) tells only part of the story.

But you'll probably enjoy the solo clarinet in the 3rd movement, a very interesting minuet and trio. The trio is an Austrian folk dance called a "Landler" and features a clarinet solo. The forceful Menuetto is set off by the trio's unusual tint of the second clarinet playing arpeggios in its low ("chalumeau") register. The melody for this particular folk dance derived from local drinking songs which were popular in Vienna during the late 18th century.

:eek:

Although there are videos available of two of my favorite conductors available (Leonard Bernstein and Sir Neville Mariner), here's someone virtually unknown in this country: Dima Slobodeniouk conducting the Sinfonica de Galicia.

Unlike many orchestral conductors he chooses to lead without the baton (more like a choir conductor), and given the very slow tempo at the beginning of the first movement conducts in 4/8 rather than in common time (4/4).


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞
 

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Discussion Starter · #315 · (Edited)
1/2

#156
Kontakte
Karlheinz Stockhausen
1960


. . . And . . . this one may or may not be your 'cup of tea'.

Kontakte ("Contacts") is an electronic music work by Karlheinz Stockhausen, realized in 1958-60 at the Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) electronic-music studio in Cologne with the assistance of Gottfried Michael Koenig.

The score is divided into sixteen sections with many subsections, and there are two versions of the piece; one for electronic sounds alone, and another for electronic sounds, piano, and percussion.

The piece is astonishingly complex, but it can be encapsulated by simply calling it an encounter between electronic sounds and instrumental music, with an emphasis on their similarities of timbre.

But Kontakte actually refers to three kinds of 'contacts':

1. Contact between specific acoustic and electronic "Sound Families" (Metal, Wood, and Skin)
2. Contact between "Space Shapes", that is, the spatial movement around the listener, and
3. Contact between "Moments", in this case the sequence of independent sections

Those "sections" can be understood as the different movements, although there are many:

Font Number Circle Paper Document


In essence, Stockhausen is attempting to take the listener to a new level of perception, a completely different way of hearing sound.

By removing the traditional sense of directional form, melodic focus, and harmonic stability, the interrelations between the timbres of percussion, piano, and electronic tape moving in time become the object of focus.

When listening (which for many will require a great deal of patience, like slogging through Revolution No. 9 by The Beatles) one should become centered around the focus on each passing sound in the moment, accomplished through the use of space and layering of interesting timbres.

With no sense of direction, the piece can be experienced at any given point in time, having no real beginning or end. In Stockhausen's words "They are a form in a state of always having already commenced, which could go on as they are for an eternity….an eternity which does not begin at the end of time, but which is present in every moment."

So, here's two videos (which some may say is two too many).

The first is the audio accompanied by the score, so one can follow along to the written manuscript. Full screen mode is far better for viewing.

The second is a stunning live performance (well, live in conjunction with pre-recorded electronic tape) by Mike Truesdell (percussion) & Renate Rohlfing(piano).


So . . . Stockhausen, on the surface, doesn't really seem all that "accessible". How does one "enjoy" something like this?

Well, it's not strictly necessary to actually "enjoy" the music.

Some explanations from London Contemporary School of Piano Coach Siwan Rhys and George Barton:

In the 1950s, in the aftermath of the horrors the world had seen during the Second World War, Stockhausen was concerned with finding a new musical language that would be something like a clean break with the past. That's a familiar story about the post-war avant-garde, but for Stockhausen this was far from being a coolly intellectual exercise about his own artistic relevance.

It was a deeply personal quest. Stockhausen's father died fighting in the war . . .

. . . Stockhausen's quest for a music that would not be in thrall to the same culture that had allowed these horrors led him to examine the basic building blocks of the experience of listening to music. He developed a fundamentally radical musical approach through the use of new technology and what it could bring, not just in terms of new sounds but in terms of structuring his music.
STOCKHAUSEN WAS EXAMINING FUNDAMENTAL CONNECTIONS BETWEEN PITCH, RHYTHM, AND TIMBRE

Initially this work was predominantly focused on electronic music. But in KONTAKTE Nr 12½ he took the step of combining electronic sounds with live instruments, making connections (the 'contacts' of the title) between the instrumental sounds and the synthesised electronic sounds, as well as between the different building blocks of music, pitch, rhythm and timbre.

To get a bit more detailed, he was examining fundamental connections between pitch, rhythm, and timbre. He then used these insights as the subject matter of his music, as the key element in creating what you might call musical narrative.

Understanding all this is not a requirement for enjoying the music, though. Perhaps a mistake many make when coming to some post-war classical music is trying to understand it formally in the same way that one might the music of, for example, Brahms or Beethoven. Their music is in some ways immediately comprehensible on a structural level. For example, one can instinctively feel 'this is a climax, this is a return, this is a build-up', etc.
LISTENERS ARE INVITED TO ENJOY AND EXPERIENCE THE SOUND COMBINATIONS, THE MUSICAL NARRATIVES, AND THE INTENSITY OF THE MUSICAL EXPERIENCE.

By contrast, the structural subtleties and the details of the construction of Stockhausen's music are for the most part hidden so deeply that they are entirely inaudible. It's not the intention that listeners be looking for clues and engaging with deciphering structural complexities. They are simply invited to enjoy and experience the sound combinations, the musical narratives, and the intensity of the musical experience.

In that sense one 'understands' this music best when not trying to follow a structure or expected trajectory, or indeed when not considering its role in music history. If you experience the music and attend to the detail of the sounds and the ordering of the sounds in time, then you are understanding it.
Ø
 

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Discussion Starter · #316 · (Edited)
2/2

Hymnen
Stockhausen


And, of course, my mention of The Beatles is not coincidental, as both Paul McCartney (with his Kontac-inspired The Liverpool Sound Collage in 1965), then John Lennon (with Revolution No. 9 in 1968, embracing the freedom of musical breadth suggested by a later work by Stockhausen, Hymnen), were both aficionados of Stockhausen. The Beatles were at the forefront of many trends (not all strictly musical ones, either), and Stockhausen inspired them to think outside of the normal ways of writing and playing music.

Now, Stockhausen's Hymnen is NOT an entry on The Beginner's Guide to Classical Music. It's long. It's inaccessible. It requires a great deal of time to listen to it. But even then, as an inspiration to rock icons Paul McCartney and John Lennon, it would be remiss to NOT allow the opportunity to "go deep" into this work of electronic and concrete music that's considered.

Hymnen (which translates as "Anthems") consists of four "regions" (by the composer). These are mostly analogous to the term "movements" used in most Classical Music.

Each region uses certain anthems as centres:

Region I (dedicated to Pierre Boulez) has two: "The Internationale" and "La Marseillaise"

Region II (dedicated to Henri Pousseur) has four:
(1) the German anthem,
(2) a group of African anthems,
(3) the opening of the Russian anthem, and
(4) a "subjective centre" which contains a fragment of the "Horst-Wessel-Lied", consisting of the recording of a moment during the studio work, "in which the present, the past and the pluperfect become simultaneous".

Region III (dedicated to John Cage) has three:
(1) the continuation of the Russian anthem (the only one made entirely from electronic sounds),
(2) the American anthem, and
(3) the Spanish anthem.

Region IV (dedicated to Luciano Berio) has just one, but it is a "double centre": the Swiss anthem, whose final chord turns into an imaginary anthem of the utopian realm of "Hymunion in Harmondie under Pluramon".


Both John and Paul were also quite taken with John Cage, and some of The Beatles' dabbling in experimental music actually made it onto their self-titled 1968 double-LP as Revolution No. 9, a self contained track. While they'd utilized tape loops and sound effects before (notably in their 1966 track Tomorrow Never Knows), this was positively a game changer for popular music.


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Discussion Starter · #317 ·
MUSIC THERAPY intermezzo

There's more and more research indicating that listening to Classical music can help patients manage all kinds of pain--from clinical depression to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to Parkinson's Disease.

Recently, researchers in Mexico published new findings that classical music, specifically Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Arcangelo Corelli and Johann Sebastian Bach, helped a group of patients control their clinical depression.

So here's some suggestions . . .

Bach's Italian Concerto, the Brandenburg Concertos, the Major key Preludes and Fugues from Well Tempered Clavier (Books I & II)
Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos.
Actually, almost any Mozart symphony will do . . . and he wrote over 3 dozen of them.
Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 5 in D
Twelve concerti grossi, Op. 6, by Arcangelo Corelli.
Vivaldi . . . The Four Seasons (except, maybe, Summer . . . )
Holst - Jupiter from The Planets
Schubert's Symphony No. 9 in C major
Grieg's Holberg Suite
Respighi's Pines of Rome

and more Mozart:
Overture from the Marriage of Figaro
Overture from the Barber of Seville

You could also try some choral music:
Seal Lullaby by Eric Whitacre
Sicut Cervus by Palestrina
Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo

Oh, and Aaron Copland - Appalachian Spring and Rodeo

Interesting, but makes some sense as the orderly construction of complex compositions would lead the brain to experience a sense of relief, releasing beneficial sensory material. Maybe some choice Chopin would represent the keys in that regard.

Here's a fairly short edit of a Paul Simon interview, where he discusses the relationship of serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline. Only somewhat related, but Paul is always an interesting, thoughtful interview.

••••••••••••••••
 

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Discussion Starter · #319 · (Edited)
Overture from the Barber of Seville is from Rossini, not Mozart. Can I instead recommend Overture from Don Giovanni, a great overture
Right you are. Thank you. That was actually the one I meant. I got the operas mixed up, not the composer. I'll fix.

However, some of Rossini's opera Overtures are pretty anti-depressive as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #320 · (Edited)
#157
Glassworks
Philip Glass
1981


Glassworks is a chamber music work of six movements.

"Glassworks was intended to introduce my music to a more general audience than had been familiar with it up to then." - Philip Glass

Indeed. One could say that it's a bizarre but successful attempt to combine classical and pop... for the Walkman.

Says the composer, "The Glassworks record begins with a solo piano piece, 'Opening', written for Michael Reisman, that was meant to create an intimate atmosphere from the very start."

I. "Opening" (piano, with horn at end) 6:24
II. "Floe" (2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones, 2 horns, synthesizer) 5:59
III. "Island" (2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, 2 horns, viola, violoncello, synthesizer) 7:39
IV. "Rubric" (2 flutes, 2 soprano saxophones, 2 tenor saxophones, 2 horns, synthesizer) 6:04
V. "Facades" (2 soprano saxophones, synthesizer, viola, violoncello) 7:20
This movement has its origins in the film score Koyaanisqatsi, but was ultimately not used in the film; it is often performed as a work in its own right (ISWC T-010.461.089-0).[5]
VI. "Closing (flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, horn, viola, violoncello, piano) 6:03
A reprise of "Opening".



.

Like it or don't like it.

:devil:

Sometimes I enjoy it, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes the reasons for liking it and not liking it are the same.

It may relax you, or make you tense.

It could make you cry.

According to Philip Glass, people were so angry at his music when it first premiered that they would throw things. Wrap your mind around what it is about this that music could possibly drive people to that reaction. It makes no sense.


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞:sleep:∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞​
 
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