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Join me on a years journey through classical music from medieval to contemporary.

You may be a beginner who, like me a year ago, wants to discover and listen to music that is highly recommended in each period. You might be a fan of one composer, or a lover of one period, and be interested to discover more of other composers or other music. You might be an experienced listener who is interested to share your knowledge with others in an accessible way. Whatever your motivation, I hope you'll find this thread tio be of value.

We'll spend time:

• January - Medieval & Renaissance music
• February - Baroque
• March - Baroque
• April - Classical
• May - Classical
• June - Classical
• July - Early-Romantic
• August - Mid and Late Romantic
• September - Late and Post-Romantic
• October - Modern
• November - Modern
• December - Contemporary

For composers who are known for both standard works and opera, we'll cover their recommended operas as we go. For composers who are almost exlusively known for opera only, we'll group them into weeks 13, 26, 39 and 52.

The journey begins on 1st January 2022. Join me for the full journey or link in when it suits your listening. I hope there'll be plenty of discussion, and only ask that whatever you share remains positive and helpful to those with perhaps less experience and knowledge than you.
This is completely ridiculous. January covers at least 500 years. April, May and June covers probably less than 100 years.
 

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I'm sorry you feel that way. I can only share the music that's recommended listening in each period and the spread works pretty much evenly. As I shared, I even added recommendations for early and contemporary music beyond the standard sources. It might work out for the best, but I know it won't delight everyone. Let's, "Suck it and see".
It just can't be right. January covers music from chant to popular and art songs to dramatic settings to multiple part organum to polyphonic motets and mass cycles. Classical style is basically Mozart and Haydn and a handful of also rans like Boccherini. You're going to get nothing significant out of January and be bored to tears in from 1 April to 30 June.
 

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If he wants to do full operas he needs more space for later eras. In the almost three hours of one Mozart opera one can cover samples from all kinds of chant and early (Notre Dame) organum, almost 700 years from ~500-1200
Is this supposed to be some sort of argument? If it is, it's a very bad one. Look, I could say that if he wants to do, let's say, Carmina Burana (the medieval one, not Orff) he needs more space for early years. In the almost three hours of the recorded excerpts by Rene Clemencic one can cover samples from all kinds classical opera by Haydn, Mozart and no doubt others.
 

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This is roughly how they do it on a 6 disc Medieval set I have from harmonia mundi (I think they boosted it to 8 discs later on). Two discs of monodic chant and one with early polyphony; admittedly they all run to 75-77 min each, so closer to 4 hours.
It's very likely that you need to give more time to very early music because it's so strange. You need to develop the appreciation knack, and that takes time. The sort of tune based music which Haydn or Liszt wrote, that's all familiar from TV ads and such like.
 

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Crikey - its a personal journey that we are being invited to join and comment on. Why should any of us have a right to determine which route Chilham chooses to tread.

I will follow with interest.

To quote the OP.
'The journey begins on 1st January 2022. Join me for the full journey or link in when it suits your listening. I hope there'll be plenty of discussion, and only ask that whatever you share remains positive and helpful to those with perhaps less experience and knowledge than you.'
Nobody is determining anything, I was simply pointing out that his plan is ridiculous.
 

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Most of us here that listen to Classical Music generally listen from these three eras, .
Possibly. But there's possibly no good reason for that, other than that they've been led to the period 1750 to 1950 by their peers, by radio stations and record companies who have a financial interest in narrowing the tastes of the market. The music of that period isn't intrinsically better, or more central to anything other than various business plans.

In my opinion a good introduction to music should allow someone to judge the whole range, to let people make an informed judgement about what music excites their imagination. It may be Mozart, it may be Machaut, it may be Maxwell Davies.

A bad introduction just reinforces common prejudices, like a rite of passage to allow admission into Beckmesser's Maestersinger closed society.
 

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Viderunt Omnes is chock full of tritones, must be trying to summon the devil or something

(The Medieval tritone ban is a recent myth - they used it all the time, as a dissonance it created challenges but was not associated with Satan)
I must say, this is just a personal comment, not a reflection on the music, but I much prefer the Leonin to the Perotin. Though I can see that the Perotin is an amazing thing. I just like sparse music at the moment.

Does anyone know if there's a complete Perotin anywhere? It would be fun to have all his known music collected together so I could get a better feel for what he was about.

There is a complete Leonin, from Red Byrd, and it is one of my most cherished recordings.
 

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It is not music that appeals much to me, but interesting for historical reasons. I just have the Deller Consort/Collegium Aureum recording, which is coupled with Machaut's Messe de Nostre Dame, also mentioned already in the thread. I'd assume that the style in this recording is unusually committed to showing contrasts - there's a rather strong-voiced, staccato-like singing all the time, with strong 'hocket'-effects, and it includes prominent, accompanying wind instruments from those days. At least one reviewer thought that the overall sound picture was too muddled because of this. The result is complex and also certainly very far from say the typical recordings of later, choral renaissance religious music, and there's thus often a certain, earthly atmosphere to the CD overall, to modern ears, but less so in this graduale piece.

https://www.discogs.com/master/1171...ndon-Mitglieder-Des-Collegium-Aureum-Graduale

View attachment 162609
Deller takes the Perotin Viderunt extremely fast, and that makes it exciting. It also makes the hockets hiccup. Try Dominique Vellard for a very different approach, which personally I much prefer

 

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In Perotin, I listened to the whole of Vellard/Ensemble Gilles Binchois, and yes, at 17:09 versus Deller's 10:48 with no instruments, there's a big difference between the two versions, illustrating how the state of the sources of early music often also create an extremely wide playground for ideas from the performers.

I think both versions have qualities; Vellard obviously makes the musical ongoings much, much clearer, but the differences in tempi also create a wholly different mood in the piece, and make some of the contrasts more subtle, or even absent, depending on one's taste.
Well to be fair I could find equally wide divergences about tempo in 18th, 19th and 20th century music quite easily. Deller set a tradition about the right pulse for the piece I guess, because most people who've recorded it seem to be quite close to what he did. Vellard isn't chosing the tactus at random, or because of some sort of creative whim, he argues for it on the basis of some historical documentation. Deller, Hilliard and the rest were letting their imaginations run wild.
 

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Lastly: I think I align with mmsbls in his preference for the polyphony of Leonin over the monophony of Hildegard's harmony of the celestial. The evolution of style was a worthy one.
My own feeling is that it's hard to make extended periods of purely monophonic music work today unless the audience understands the words and the singers are good at delivering the words. Hildegard became popular partly because she's a strong woman - so there's a feminist element. But also because the wide ambitus in the melismas can give the impression of thrilling virtuosity, like in bel canto coloratura.

But note that not all monophony is pure - one singer. There is antiphonic music, music sung with a drone (a bourdon), and (what I call, maybe wrongly) heterophonic performance - two singers singing together with slightly different interpretations, not completely identical lines - at the very least each singer has a different timbre and that affects things. They need not blend seamlessly. All these things can be poetic, and there are examples on Hildegard interpretation on record.
 

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I've done a small amount of homework on Hildegard (including finding some podcasts about her). What I understand is that she is monophonic . . . Correct?
There's no reason to think that Ordo virtutum would have been performed like monophonic song as far as I know - rather than with instruments improvising. Here for example, with a drone and some bells


here a bit more elaborately

 

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Week Two so soon! This week we'll delve into the Ars Nova, other composers born 1300-1399, and the Burgundian School.

Our 'Work of the Week' is no surprise:

Level 1
No works

Level 2
No works

Level 3
Guillaume de Machaut: Messe de Notre Dame

My preferred version is the same as SanAntone:



While the mass is very good, it's not my favourite element of Machaut's music by a long chalk. That would have to be the motets or the songs
 
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