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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
#18
O Fortuna from Carmina Burana
Carl Orff
1937


Talk about dropping a [classical] beat . . .

This may actually be the most prequently performed and recorded choral work of the 21st Century.

The collection of original texts was first published in Germany in 1847, but it wasn't until 1934 that Orff came across the texts; a selection had been translated into English and formed part of a publication called Wine, Women And Song.

With the help of Michael Hofmann, a law student and Latin scholar, Orff chose 24 songs and set them to music in what he termed a "scenic cantata".

It was first heard on June 8, 1937, in Frankfurt, under its full title Carmina Burana: Cantiones Profanae Cantoribus Et Choris Cantandae Comitantibus Instrumentis Atque Imaginibus Magicis (Songs Of Beuren: Secular Songs For Singers And Choruses To Be Sung Together With Instruments And Magic Images).

So, you may not recognize the name, but you will certainly recognize it.

This piece is #1 on the Parker Symphony Orchestra's List of 10 BADASS PIECES OF CLASSICAL MUSIC. it's a little over 8 minutes long.

O Fortuna - Carl Orff Carmina Burana


:devil:

And here's a shorter edit (under 4 minutes) of the piece from Andre Rieu.

André Rieu - O Fortuna (Carl Orff - Carmina Burana)

 

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Discussion Starter · #62 ·
When creating a list of A Beginner's Guide to Classical Music I encountered a few problems.

The first was differentiating Greatest Classical Music from classical music I considered to be works that would encourage those unfamiliar with it to appreciate, even fall in love with it. Works considered to be "Great", or or merely wildly influential aren't necessarily works that can be appreciated, or even enjoyed, by those unfamiliar with classical forms.

The first of these problems concern the length of many classical works. Many of the greatest classical works are the symphonies and operas of the great composers, which can run anywhere from 20 to 120 minutes (yes there are exceptions). Often it's just one movement of a larger work that is really worthy, creating the age-old problem of the appropriateness of slicing up works to make them appetizing to the masses.

This is a problem in popular music as well, especially progressive rock, where the musicians may write/record epic pieces, or suites that are intended as a large-scale work. Does one consider "Soon" from "The Gates of Delirium" to be a separate work, or is it inherently tied to its epic?

Even the band Chicago balked at letting their producer slice up their suites to get them radio air time.

Opera has an additional roadblock in that it's almost always in a foreign language. And it's long.

And that brings me to the issue of

Film Scores & Film Soundtracks.

Music in a film is often rooted in a classical music tradition, at least traditionally from 1935 up until the mid 1950s; a symphony orchestra playing music as background. Many, many film scores are considered to be great classical music in their own right.

Does one simply "disqualify" the music from Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Psycho, Doctor Zhivago, Gone With the Wind, or Ben Hur because it was composed for film?

And film scores come in all shapes and sizes. Films like 2001: A Space Odyssey can credit their popularity in part due to the using of the great music of Richard Strauss, Johann Strauss, and Gyorgy Ligeti. Or Fantasia, which is simply animation set to classics. Or how about Walter Carlos' synthesizer score for A Clockwork Orange, with it's use of Beethoven's 9th Symphony as a plot point?

In fact, many films mix new music with old. And even old time musical films have background music. And what of scores for film "musicals"? Film musicals themselves fall into many different sorts of categories, from adaptations of stage musicals such as South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound Of Music, Mary Poppins, Porgy and Bess, Camelot, Oklahoma! or Sweeney Todd, or were musicals written specifically for the screen, such as The Wizard of Oz, State Fair, or The Nightmare Before Christmas.

What of the many Disney animated musicals: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Yeah, they're technically "musicals", but the scores are firmly rooted in a classical tradition.

Many other musicals are based on record albums (The Wall, Tommy, Quadrophenia), or the music of a musician/band (Mama Mia, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Jazz Singer, Lady Sings the Blues). How then does one categorize Guardians of the Galaxy, which is basically a collection of great rock and pop oldies? Or A Hard Day's Night? Or Woodstock? How about Coal Miner's Daughter? Easy Rider?

And films are mostly all unique. Take the great score by Thomas Newman from Wall-E for example - it incorporates songs from Hello, Dolly!, a song from Louis Armstrong, and a Peter Gabriel song that plays over the ending credits.

Many film scores also incorporate ethnic or folk instrumentations, and jazz. Where do you draw a line? Or should you?

When jazz veteran Dave Grusin creates a score, is that fair game? How about the score for The Graduate, where Grusin is credited with "Additional Music" on the soundtrack album, because Paul Simon's "Mrs. Robinson" became a smash hit?

Where does one even start with the score from Apocalyse Now? Between Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries and The Doors' The End there is no middle ground . . . oh, wait, there is . . . The backing music was scored by Carmine and Francis Coppola, although Isao Tomita was originally scheduled to provide an original score.

Should I disqualify the score from Star Wars because of the Cantina Band? The American Film Institute lists is as it's #1 on its 100 Years of Film Scores. Notable in its top 25 is Jaws, The Magnificent Seven, King Kong, The Pink Panther, Vertigo, High Noon, and Chinatown.

Other lists include other memorable scores: Ranker lists The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, Back to the Future, Rocky, Superman, The Lion King, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Titanic, and The Last of the Mohicans in its Top 25. Discovermusic includes Conan The Barbarian, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire, The Pink Panther, Lord of the Rings, and Casablanca in its Top 25.

The Observer has its own take on the 25 best movie scores: It awards its #1 spot to The Wizard of Oz, and its #4 spot to Ravi Shankar's score for Pather Panchali. It also includes Vangelis' Blade Runner, and the compilation of early rock 'n' roll songs for American Graffiti.

When a composer writes his music for film, does that lessen its importance or impact? When does the music stop being "classical? When Vangelis or Carlos or Wakeman chooses to synthesize a score? When it's more than 50% songs by the Sherman Brothers?

▁ ▂ ▃ ▄ ▅ ▆ █

Should one whittle it down to Original Film Scores to un-muddy the waters.....perhaps to make the waters as clear as an azure sky of deepest summer.

▁ ▂ ▃ ▄ ▅ ▆ █

Well, that would still leave Purple Rain, Let It Be and State Fair, but exclude Kismet, Barry Lyndon and 2001.

Not that there's a good answer, mind you . . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #63 · (Edited)
#19
Night On Bald Mountain (Rimsky-Korsokov arrangement).
Modest Mussorgsky
1886


Many are familiar with the version from Disney's Fantasia, which is actually a different version, for which Leopold Stokowsky was specially commissioned, although he based his version on the Rimsky-Korsokov arrangement.

Night on Bald Mountain is actually a series of compositions written in 1867, but was never performed during the composer's lifetime, in spite of many efforts.

A Night On The Bare Mountain is based on Russian folklore and literary works in which St John sees a witches' Sabbath on the Bald Mountain near Kiev. It's a wild and terrifying party with lots of dancing but when the church bell chimes 6am and the sun comes up the witches vanish.

But perhaps we should reflect on Mussorgsky's own description, as told in a letter to Vladimir Nikolsky, a professor of Russian history and language.

So far as my memory doesn't deceive me, the witches used to gather on this mountain, ... gossip, play tricks and await their chief-Satan.

On his arrival they, i.e. the witches, formed a circle round the throne on which he sat, in the form of a kid, and sang his praise.

When Satan was worked up into a sufficient passion by the witches' praises, he gave the command for the sabbath, in which he chose for himself the witches who caught his fancy. So this is what I've done. At the head of my score I've put its content:

1. Assembly of the witches, their talk and gossip;
2. Satan's journey;
3. Obscene praises of Satan; and
4. Sabbath

... The form and character of the composition are Russian and original ... I wrote St. John's Eve quickly, straight away in full score, I wrote it in about twelve days, glory to God ... While at work on St. John's Eve I didn't sleep at night and actually finished the work on the eve of St. John's Day, it seethed within me so, and I simply didn't know what was happening within me ... I see in my wicked prank an independent Russian product, free from German profundity and routine, and, like Savishna, grown on our native fields and nurtured on Russian bread.

It remained unperformed until Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov published an arrangement of the work, described as a "fantasy for orchestra."

Here's the version from Fantasia.

Night On Bald Mountain - Fantasia (1941) (Theatrical Cut)


:eek:

Mussorgsky : Night on Bald Mountain (arr. Rimsky Korsakov)

 

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#16
Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op. 67.
Ludwig van Beethoven
1808


.......
One of the things that I found valuable early in my CM journey, was to listen to rehearsals. It's a great way to learn what to listen out for. As an example, here's Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe rehearsing Beethoven's 5th. There is a shorter version somewhere on Youtube but I can't find it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #65 · (Edited)
INTERMISSION:

The Metronome

A device that produces an audible click or other sound at a regular interval that can be set by the user, typically in beats per minute (BPM). Generally drives beginning musicians stark, raving mad.

#16
Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op. 67
Beethoven
1808


No one complained that both video versions I posted treat the Symphony like a runaway locomotive though, making it reminiscent of Bugs Bunny in "What's Opera, Doc"?

The whole idea of Beethoven's Fifth in the modern era seems to have been to cram it on one side of an LP.

But it brings up a great side topic - The Question of Tempo

The metronome was an invention of Beethoven's day; he didn't have access to it when he was writing his early symphonies. But later, he came into contact with it and loved the device.

"He immediately buys one and sits down and starts going back over all his old scores and putting in metronome markings. And he picked a tempo for the Fifth Symphony that even today sounds really, astonishingly fast."

[The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth And The Human Imagination by Matthew Guerrieri, 2012]

The setting he chose was 108 beats per minute - so fast, so hard to play, Guerrieri says, that people have been theorizing for centuries about if and why Beethoven might have mis-marked his own symphony. A broken metronome? Advancing deafness? Nobody knows.

You might well wonder that it makes it sound like the metronome was some radical, completely new sort of device requiring some kind of knowledge to operate: Isn't a metronome really just a simple, mechanical *conductor*, and would have been thought of as such by composers of the day? Meaning, though he "didn't have access to it", we always have access to something akin to it, in our heads, that thought-tapping to keep an even tempo, no? Am I missing something?

Oh, yes the tempos were pretty damned brisk, and so much so that many modern scholars have theorized that Beethoven's metronome was not working properly.

But the introduction of the metronome was actually controversial:

Here's a FUN FACT associated with his markings: When the Kolisch Quartet performed Beethoven's Op. 95 quartet in Paris according to the indicated metronome markings a fistfight ensued.

A couple of years ago the Eybler Quartet from Canada released their recording of three of Beethoven's string quartets (and performed them live as well) played at Beethoven's metronome markings (some movements faster, some slower than the accepted norm). The reactions have been quite mixed.

But Beethoven loved the metronome, and wrote, in 1817: "I have long been thinking of abandoning these nonsensical terms allegro, andante, adagio, presto, and Malzel's metronome gives us the best opportunity to do so. I give you my word here and now that I will never use them again in any of my new compositions."

And well, yes, they had tempo markings.

Before the metronome it was customary to describe the tempo of a piece by one or more words (usually in Italian).

You see, it was difficult to specify the tempo and mood of a composition; even though attempts were made using pendulums or the human pulse. And conventions that governed musical composition were so strong that composers didn't need to indicate tempo: For example, the first movement of Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 has no tempo or mood indication whatsoever. Often in Baroque and Renaissance music the musical form or genre implied a rough tempo: Minuets were stately, slower than a Viennese waltz.

So tempos were "understood" to be approximate speeds based on commonly accepted tempo markings:

Andante would be at "a walking pace"
Allegro is fast, quick, and bright
Allegretto is moderately fast
and so on . .

These were quite helpful, especially when a piece (based on the observations and experience or the musician) might be assumed to be played at a considerably faster or slower pace. Musicians instinctively knew how fast or slow Adagio or Presto would be.

Certainly some composers of the late romantic era are reported to have been free with tempi, and regarded the metronome markings mostly as a recommendation or a "starting tempo".

Many folks, amateurs and experts alike, will often complain about the tempos in a piece when critiquing them. But recordings and performances we grew up with and the interpretive choices the artists made have become an integral part of our outlook on any of the masterworks.

But to answer the question: Yes! The metronome actually was "some radical, completely new sort of device".

:eek:

:eek:

Some folks contend that we're used to hearing Beethoven's symphonies at a slower tempo than he intended them simply because no orchestra could manage it so they had to slow it down.

So, here is Beethoven's "Moonlight" Sonata 3rd movement played in the original "intended" tempo. Simply amazing.

Surprisingly to some, this is almost how fast it is usually performed. (BTW, I've attempted this piece, and although it's a bit tough, I can manage to play all of it; the real problem is that it's such a marathon to perform . . . it's exhausting to keep up this level of virtuosity for six minutes - and, surprisingly, I was actually attempting it very close to this tempo).

Beethoven "Moonlight" Sonata, III "Presto Agitato" Valentina Lisitsa


:angel:

So . . . I think all the controversy around Beethoven's metronome being broken is hogwash. Beethoven was a revolutionary in many ways, and was a pretty meticulous composer. I doubt that he would have been so very mistaken about something as basic as his own tempos of his own works.

Yeah, sure, the symphonies are very difficult at those tempos . . . .

Beethoven's Fifth at 160 BPM


That's some crazy virtuosic performances there. Seeing someone physically play like that boggles the mind. The finger strength alone, not to mention the dexterity. Good Gawd.
 

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I've thought about doing something like this for a long time, but pianozach has already put more work into it than I probably ever will. Were I to do it, I would:

- A very basic introductory chapter on the main eras of classical music and their most famous composers

- A chapter about how and where to listen to classical music

- A chapter introducing some of the common attitudes about classical music, perhaps along the lines of "The Twelve People Who Want to Talk about Classical Music with You." I.e. something like (very highly subject to revision):
  • the "Only high art music from Monteverdi to Mahler is true art" guy
  • the "Why do we even bother listening to dead composers" guy
  • the "Unless it's truly HIPPI it's garbage and honestly Gardiner isn't truly HIPPI" guy
  • the "Chopin is light music" guy
  • the "classical music is racist and the Nazis liked it" guy
  • the "classical music demonstrates the inarguable superiority of the Aryan race and Yuja Wang is the only woman I'll ever truly love" guy
  • the "the only truly great performance of this work was recorded on a wax cylinder in 1922 and nobody else knows it because they don't pay attention to the actual music" guy
  • the "my speakers cost twenty-three gajillion dollars because I am a true audiophile" guy
  • the Beethoven guy / the Bach guy
  • the guy who is too good for the canon
  • the guy who needs you to know how much he knows about everything
  • the actual musician who has to tolerate all those guys

- A chapter on the instruments, including their historical development

- A chapter about the works that are so famous that it's not cool to like them

- A chapter about the most common genres and structures (i.e. motet, symphony, concerto, sonata form, theme and variation, counterpoint, etc.) and their historical development

- Something like one hundred famous works analyzed somewhat deeply to put all the preceding stuff together

- Then finally something like the TC project list as a guide for their own exploration

Or something like that....

PZ is doing better than I would ever do, but maybe he can take some inspiration from these ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #67 ·
I like it.

It seems a bit more advanced, and the rolling-out of works to listen to might be difficult to integrate with, say, introductions to Classical instruments. And when I say "advanced", I understand you do mean for beginners . . . I seem to be aiming a bit lower - like remedial.

I'm probably not even the best qualified here to be doing what I'm doing, and I'm certainly not prepared to give a rundown of instruments, except for humor purposes.

But the "Instruments" idea would be a great thread, where people who actually PLAY those instruments could give short dissertations on them.

Your suggestion for a very basic introductory chapter on the main eras of classical music and their most famous composers could certainly be inserted here, and I encourage you to contribute that entry here. :) One entry for each period perhaps?

I once directed an amateur production of Little Mary Sunshine, a parody operetta by Rick Besoyan in the style of Gilbert & Sullivan.

There was a great deal of dancing needed, and I was finding it difficult to find a choreographer willing to do so much work on a volunteer basis. I eventually split it up between three different choreographers, which gave each of them far less to worry about. I choreographed one number, a simple waltz.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
#20
Prelude and Fugue 14 in F# minor; Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2
Johann Sebastian Bach
1744


Alrighty then, The Well-Tempered Clavier, BWV 846 through 893, is a collection of two sets of preludes and fugues in all 24 major and minor keys, composed for solo keyboard by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Each set has 24 pairs of preludes and fugues in every major and minor key, in ascending order. The first set dates around 1722, the second from 1742.

In Bach's time "Clavier" (keyboard) was a generic name indicating a variety of keyboard instruments, most typically a harpsichord or clavichord - but not excluding an organ either.

The collection is generally regarded as being among the most important works in the history of classical music.

NERD ALERT: So, I guess it's important to note the significance of the phrase "Well-Tempered". Bach's title suggests that he had written for a (12-note) well-tempered tuning system in which all keys sounded in tune, as opposed to a "meantone" temperament where some keys sound out of tune. Of course, "Well-Tempered" doesn't necessarily mean "equal temperament" either, as it's also possible it referred to a form of well temperament.

NERD ALERT, part 2: I'll also have to explain what a fugue is as well: It's a contrapuntal composition (a piece of music with two or more independent melodic lines) in which a short melody or phrase (the "subject") is introduced by one part (or one "voice") and successively taken up by others and developed by interweaving the parts. The subject will likely be repeated in other keys, and in more complex fugues possibly inverted (upside down).

So, again here's a large-scale work that would take well over four hours to listen to. I'm actually quite familiar with a dozen or more of the Prelude & Fugues, and have performed perhaps a half dozen of them from Book I.

But to pick just one? I actually pulled up more than a dozen websites and blogs where pretentious and elite folk debate which of the Preludes & Fugues is the greatest, favorite, and most difficult.

Very likely the best known of the lot is the Book 1 Prelude #1 in C Major: It's the basis for Charles Gounoud's Ave Maria (the other "Ave Maria").

I also love the 2nd Prelude and Fugue in C minor. . . . and the 3rd . . and several other . . . .

So sorry, but this pick is somewhat arbitrary. But it's likely one of the P&Fs you haven't heard.

Anyway, here's Pianist Angela Hewit performing the Prelude and Fugue #14 in F# minor,

Bach - WTC II (Angela Hewitt) - Prelude & Fugue No. 14 in F-Sharp Minor BWV 883



;)

and

Glenn Gould perform the Fugue #14 in F# minor on harpsichord. Gould is considered to be a genius virtuoso, and perhaps the only virtuoso who hums and scats while he plays.

Glenn Gould - Bach, Prelude & Fugue XIV in F-sharp minor: Fuga (OFFICIAL)


 

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Discussion Starter · #69 · (Edited)
Well-Tempered Clavier
Encore edition

With 48 Preludes and Fugues to choose from, I cannot simply "drop" one and skeedaddle. Bach's fugal works are a testament to Bach's musical genius, and to listen to "just one" does a disservice.

Prelude and Fugue in C-sharp minor, WTC 1
Sviatoslav Richter


This five-voice fugue is one of Bach's longest and most densely-crafted fugues. It is remarkable that the complex fugue has the shortest theme in the whole collection. The five notes also contain one of the tensest intervals - a diminished 4th.

The five voices are heard at the beginning of the fugue in ascending order, starting with the bass.


:eek:

Prelude and Fugue in G minor, BWV 861
András Schiff
1986

A rather short P&F.


:angel:

Prelude and Fugue in F minor, BWV 881
András Schiff


This one's from Book 2 of the WTC. As soon as the Prelude starts you'll realize you've heard this on the radio. This would be a live version from Schiff, from later in his career.


. . . And here's Welsh singer Jem, with "They" from her 2004 debut album, Finally Woken, which includes a sample of the Swingle Singers' 1963 adaptation of the F minor Prelude.

 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
#21
The Sunken [Submerged] Cathedral (La Cathedrale engloutie)
Claude Debussy
1910

. . . And . . . in a complete contrast to Bach's keyboard works, and diversion with Beethoven's Piano Sonata tempo, here's something completely different: Debussey's 10th prelude in his first of two volumes of twelve piano preludes each.

Again, it's part of a larger collection (think "album") of wonderful preludes.

The first book of 12 Préludes for solo piano features novel effects and ingenious textural interplay, with the individual titles being given at the end of each piece. The second book of Préludes continues the exploration of the modern piano already familiar from Book 1, most notably in 'Brouillards' ('Mists'), which takes us to the brink of polytonality.

But not quite. Debussey was firmly rooted in "Impressionism", a subgenre of Modernism, a label he despised:

" . . . "imbeciles call [what I am trying to write in Images] 'impressionism', a term employed with the utmost inaccuracy. . . "

Impressionism, if you had to give it a time frame, would probably fall within 1890-1930, overlapping Romanticism by quite a bit, not to mention several other sub-genres. The music of Impressionism generally focuses on mood and atmosphere, "conveying the moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than a detailed tone‐picture" [Michael Kennedy].

And "Impressionism" is a philosophical and aesthetic term borrowed from late 19th-century French painting after Monet's Impression, Sunrise.

Hélène Grimaud - Debussy: La cathédrale engloutie


:)

BONUS ROUND:

Also included in the the set is The Girl with the Flaxen Hair ("La Fille aux cheveux de lin"), the 8th piece in Debussey's first book of Preludes.

Canadian pianist Marnie Laird

 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
#22
Prelude No. 5 in G minor, from Ten Preludes, Op. 23
Sergei Rachmaninoff
1901, premiered in 1903


The 5th in a set of 10 preludes. Probably the most recognizable of the bunch. Like Bach's Preludes and Fugues and Chopin's Preludes, it's part of a full suite of 24 preludes in all the major and minor keys (together with the Prelude in C# minor, Op. 3 No. 2 and the 13 Preludes, Op. 32).

Rachmaninoff premiered the piece himself.

Here's Russian concert pianist and composer Evgeny Kissin playing it as an encore in 2000 at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Rachmaninov: Prelude in G minor - Evgeny Kissin at the Proms


:eek:

That's some crazy virtuosic performance there. Seeing someone physically play like can be mind bogglling. The finger strength alone, not to mention the dexterity. And this was his ENCORE piece.

Frankly, I decided early on that being able to watch the performance adds to the enjoyment somehow. So most of these videos are live, even though there are often "better" (subjectively) recordings. "Better" sometimes just means that the studio recording has better production value, and no audience coughing during the quiet sections. This video exemplifies that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #72 · (Edited)
#23
Consolation No. 3, S. 172 ( Lento placido)
Franz Liszt
1850


From the second set of Consolations (essentially nocturnes)

Liszt Consolation D flat major No.3 (S.172) Valentina Lisitsa
November 2012; medieval church in Blumenstein, Switzerland


:cool:

BONUS LISZT:

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2

The piano went outside and smoked a cigarette after this.

 

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Discussion Starter · #73 · (Edited)
#24
Sunrise, from Also Sprach Zarathustra ("Thus Spoke Zarathustra")
Richard Strauss
1896


. . . And you knew it was coming . . . .


That was the Vienna Philharmonic and conducted by Herbert von Karajan

:D

Most folks know it as the theme from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, but (predictably) it's actually only the beginning of a larger work: A nine section orchestral "tone poem".

I turn to Leonard Bernstein to present the entire piece: Do not be misled by this episode of Young People's Concerts - Bernstein brilliantly explains the entire piece, although in doing so, you do not hear the piece in it's uninterrupted 30 glory.

But if you have the time it takes to watch a TV show, this is far more interesting musically than an episode of Law & Order. If you can find the whole episode.

I immediately learned something new about the excerpt used in 2001 by watching Bernstein conduct . . . the timpani hits are NOT in 2/4 ("Boom-Bom, Boom-Bom, Boom-Bom, Boom-bom, Boom-Bom, Boom-Bom, Boom"), they're triplets ("Boom-bom-boom, bom-boom-bom, Boom-bom-boom, bom-boom-bom, boom").

Leonard Bernstein: Young People's Concerts Vol. 2 | Thus Spake Richard Strauss
- excerpts:


.

Strauss was inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche's iconoclastic philosophical treatise of the same title (1883-85). Zarathustra, of course, refers to Zoroaster, the Persian prophet and religious poet of antiquity (traditionally, 6th century BC), on whom Nietzsche based the principal character of his book.

:rolleyes:

Here's the piece without Bernstein's interruptions. I wanted to use a version with noted conductor Gustavo Dudamel conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Vienna in 2014. The sound reproduction is considerably better. BUT, that version, with 2 million views is also "gone" from Youtube.

So instead, here is Antoni Wit

Strauss - Also sprach Zarathustra


"Einleitung, oder Sonnenaufgang" (Introduction, or Sunrise)
"Von den Hinterweltlern" (Of the Backworldsmen)[5]
"Von der großen Sehnsucht" (Of the Great Longing)
"Von den Freuden und Leidenschaften" (Of Joys and Passions)
"Das Grablied" (The Song of the Grave)
"Von der Wissenschaft" (Of Science and Learning)
"Der Genesende" (The Convalescent)
"Das Tanzlied" (The Dance Song)
"Nachtwandlerlied" (Song of the Night Wanderer)
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 · (Edited)
Bonus Round

Deodato's version of "Also sprach Zarathustra" won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.

It is arguably the world's most renowned Latin jazz opus ever. It was also used in the 1979 film Being There starring Peter Sellers, as his character leaves home for the very first time.


.

Eumir Deodato - piano, electric piano
Ron Carter - electric bass, double bass
Stanley Clarke - electric bass
Billy Cobham - drums
John Tropea - electric guitar
Jay Berliner - guitar
Airto Moreira - percussion
Ray Barretto - congas

:tiphat:

American band Phish has performed this song over 200 times since its live debut July 16, 1993

 

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Discussion Starter · #75 ·
RE: Also Sprach Zarathustra ("Thus Spoke Zarathustra")

This title had always been translated from German to English as Thus Spake Zarathustra until it appeared with "Spoke" in the credits of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But I'm told that it's not an issue as either way it means pretty much the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #76 ·
Up to #25, and I'm going with a rather controversial choice. Some hate it, other love it.

The composer came to hate it, as it was not really representative of his work, and, indeed, overshadowed his great catalog of music.

#25
Bolero
Maurice Ravel
1928


It was originally conceived as a ballet, although it's rarely performed that way.

The work has been featured in many films since its creation, but it was an integral part of the plot in Blake Edwards's film 10 (1979), starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek.

And, surprisingly, Ravel was inspired by the mechanized aspects of industry; a factory, to be precise.

The first recording of the piece was made in Paris on 8 January 1930, and Ravel attended. The next day Ravel conducted the Lamoureux Orchestra in his own recording.

It's the orchestra that makes it work. It's the colors in the orchestra. He keeps adding instruments, he keeps changing the orchestration. But he doesn't change the tune, he doesn't change the harmony, he doesn't change the rhythm. Nothing changes except the orchestration -- and the volume.

Bolero is a set of 18 variations on an original two-part theme-or perhaps, more properly speaking, 18 orchestrations of those themes, for the themes themselves do not change, though the instruments do. In fact, there is little else to listen for other than the mesmerizing effects created by the constant shifts among solo instruments and increasingly inventive combinations.

Anyway, here's my favorite version, from the 1976 film Allegro Non Troppo. I think that they dropped one of the repetitions, as it's a bit short time-wise, but doesn't seem to be rushed.

The film is a parody of Walt Disney's 1940 feature film, Fantasia.

Bolero from Allegro Non Troppo - Bruno Bozzetto (1977)



:devil:

Brahms' 4th Symphony is #109 on my list.

So much great music, so it may seem like that's far back on the list, but as you can see by just the first 25, the competition for a high slot is quite tight.

But Brahms, arguably one of the giants of Classical Music, makes his first appearance on my list at #58, with his Piano Trio No. 1 ("Eroica Trio"), still somewhat beaten out by other works.

Why so far back? Well, here's the first 25:

Holst - The Planets, Op. 32. 1918
Dvorak - Symphony No.9 in E minor "From the New World", Op 95. 1893
Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 "Eroica"
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. 1786

Grieg - Peer Gynt: Suite No. 1, Op. 46, and Suite No. 2, Op. 55. (Original score, Op. 23). 1876
Frederic Chopin - Polonaise Op. 53
Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (Ravel orchestration). 1922
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring

Beethoven - Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op. 67. 1808
JS Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G major, BWV 1007
Carl Orff - O Fortuna from Carmina Burana
Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain (Rimsky-Korsokov arrangement). 1886
Johann Sebastian Bach - Well-Tempered Clavier 2, Prelude F Sharp minor

Claude Debussy - The Sunken Cathedral
Sergei Rachmaninoff - Prelude Op. 23 No. 5
Franz Liszt - Consolation No. 3
Richard Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra
Ravel - Bolero

While there's certainly room to quibble about some of these, one cannot deny that these are all arguably great works.

And when I peruse the next 50, I'm astonished at what didn't make the Top 50: Chopin's Raindrop Prelude, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata and Pastoral Symphony (6th) and 9th Symphony, Strauss' Blue Danube.

So much great music, so little time.
 

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Much as Alwyn's Lyra Angelica gain some popularity after Michele Kwan ice skated to it in Nagano in 1998, Bolero holds a place in the hearts of a generation of Brits. It was used for Torvill and Dean's 1984 gold medal winning ice dance performance in Sarajevo.

 

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I'm just looking at the list and thinking my daughter would have given up convinced that classical music isn't for her almost immediately. She followed a very different path in which chamber by Debussy and Ravel played a role along with some 20th century piano concertos (Ravel, Bartok and Prokofiev) and then some Brahms chamber music. She tried lots of other things but those were her early loves. She still dislikes symphonies and Baroque music and only likes a few of Beethoven's pieces - the Kreutzer Sonata and a couple of other.

I'm not suggesting that others should follow her path. My point is that everyone's different and probably has to follow their own paths. My earlier attempts to introduce her to classical music - using lists like the one we are compiling here - probably set her back years!
 

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You're right in that everyone is different. I read last month of someone who first came to classical via Phillip Glass' Mishima String Quartet. For me it was years of listening to, "Popular Classics", and the occasional opera for corporate hospitality, then got serious about it. I'm on week 28 of a self-guided, 104-week journey through classical music. I'm doing it chronologically. I started with a month of Early Music, travelled through Baroque and Renaissance, and am currently in a month of Mozart. Along the way, unlike your daughter, I've discovered that I love Baroque opera!

There's no one size fits all but it doesn't mean shouldn't try. I think pianozach's doing a great job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #80 · (Edited)
Much as Alwyn's Lyra Angelica gain some popularity after Michele Kwan ice skated to it in Nagano in 1998, Bolero holds a place in the hearts of a generation of Brits. It was used for Torvill and Dean's 1984 gold medal winning ice dance performance in Sarajevo.

Perhaps Bolero does work better as accompaniment to something visual. It WAS originally composed as ballet music, so it's no wonder that it works so well in both the setting as in Allegro non troppo, and as the music for Torville & Dean's 1984 Olympics ice skating routine. Obviously, it worked well in 10 as well.

In THAT spirit, here's some other visual representations by artists that were inspired by Bolero:

Here's one that uses animated musical notes


.

And something a bit more artistic from Russian film director Vitaliy Shushko

 
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