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Very nice, and not ridiculous. Actually, I think your time schedules for the various periods are good. One can easily spend a month exploring diversities in Medieval & Renaissance music only, and get the big picture, for example - but even if including both the music and performance-wise, differences will be bigger later. The 20th-21st centuries have seen more stylistic diversity than anything else. Also, the earliest music is really tied up with, and dependent upon, the performers and their chosen performance style. You could then explore the various ages and performers in depth later too.
Agreed. As one also championing a thread covering music for beginners, I early on discovered that TIME is irrelevant in terms of music history (or just plain old history for that matter).

Medieval music is simply not as plentiful as music from later eras, especially Baroque, Classical, and Romantic. Most of us here that listen to Classical Music generally listen from these three eras, although there certainly exceptions (those who listen to lots of pre-Baroque or post-Romantic instead).

Chilham's set up makes a great deal of sense, especially from a teaching perspective: two months for Baroque, and three each for Classical and Romantic eras.

And, as with my Beginner's Guide thread, I am discovering along the way.
 

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I remember studying American History in school, and how disjointed it was. There was some awkward historical moments that were completely ignored, but overall I generally break it all down into several logical (to me) sections.

Pre-Columbus
Colonization
The Road to Independence
War with Britain and establishing a new government
Westward expansion
Civil War
Reconstruction
Gilded Age
The Great War
The Roaring Twenties
The Great Depression and The New Deal
WWII
Postwar America
Decades of Change
Toward the 21st Century
The 21st Century: The Loss of Innocence (WTC attacks, Boston Marathon bombing, and gun massacres), the Decline of Prosperity, Class Wars, Systemic Racism, Conspiracy Culture, Bully Culture

Of course, there is some very dark subtext to each of these eras, including slavery, suppression of women, imperialism, military/police worship and other even darker threads that involve politics, capitalism, and religion.

Did I sum it up OK?
 

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There isn't a problem. I've never positioned this as an extensive list of all composers worth listening to. What I'm listing is the most recommended listening. Any composers missing are simply not recommended by any source I've identified. If there's any further listening you'd recommend, please share your suggestions once the full list for the period is posted.
Yes.

As with my own thread, the purpose is to give some recommendations, partly in hopes that if the listener likes a particular recommendation, that they'll explore a composer's works further due to that inspiration. My latest post is Mendelssohn's early String Octet. Should someone find it delightful, they may wish to seek out other works from Mendolssohn, or maybe simply search on Youtube for other Octets.

I've been somewhat quiet in THIS thread so far, as I don't have a lot of expertise in pre-Baroque. I imagine I'll stick my foot in more often when the thread advances past that.

As it is, I've saved several of the shorter works for later listening. It seems that there will never be a shortage of music, new and familiar, to listen to.
 

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I've very much enjoyed the madrigals by both Gibbons and Wilbye over recent weeks.

This is uplifting.



Falconieri: Chaconne in G Major

Daniel Hope, Lorenza Borrani, Jonathan Cohen, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Stefan Maass, Stefan Rath, Hans-Kristian Kjos Sorensen
I have only one track from Daniel Hope in my digital music library, and this is the one, although it's from his "Air: A Baroque Journey" album.

I don't have a clue where I got it from.
 

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Glad I finally have the prompt to listen to the Four Seasons recording* I added to my collection a couple months ago. And timed perfectly, as I was at #6 on Pianozach's list, which is the Summer Concerto. Killed a few birds with one stone! The accompanying sonnets made for a wonderful pairing (thanks Wikipedia!).

*Apple Music was recommending the Janine Jansen (Decca) recording, which I quite liked.

I found Summer and Autumn to be the most engaging. Spring my least fave of the four, but only by a small margin. Good stuff all around!

I also picked up that same Europa Galante** collection for the other 8 concertos. Making my way through it now. I can see that the Four Seasons are really stand outs. But I did still really like the first movement of No. 5 'La tempesta di mare' and found Nos 8 & 9 to be particularly good. With Vivaldi I'm gravitating to the quick loud and dramatic stuff.

Before this listen, I guess I was only really familiar with the first movement of Spring, which solidified in my mind this stereotype of a quiet, courtly, prim sound. Background music for fancy socials. Glad to be disabused of that notion. Lots of fireworks abound!

** Is it unusual or noteworthy that the compilation orders the concertos not 1-12, but 1-5, 7, 11, 10, 8, 9, 6, 12?
No, not really, although it's nice they kept 1-4 in sequence. They could have done this for a a few different reasons:

1. Sometimes they'll do this so they'll fit better in the time allotted.

2. Sometimes they'll subjectively pair a stronger work with a weaker work. (My 5-CD Beethoven Symphonies Collection has some odd match-ups)

3. Sometimes the compilation might be placed in the order in which they were written.

But who knows? Maybe they went by the RV #s.
 

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JS Bach's "Liepzig" works this week, together with other composers born 1696-1699 who aren't specifically identified as being part of the Galant or Empfindsamkeit styles. We'll spend some time with those composers next week.

First up, the "Must-listen" piece for the week:

Level 1
Bach, Johann Sebastian: Clavier-Übung IV: Goldberg Variations BWV 988

For me today:



Bach: Goldberg Variations 1981

Glenn Gould

The listing in pianozach's Beginner's Guide to Classical Music is linked above and here, and there's an ongoing discussion on the work and the various recordings here.
Gould is funny. Not "ha ha" funny, but strange funny.

If you want a more traditional approach to Bach, you should probably turn elsewhere. For instance, Grigory Sokolov.


:cool:

If you prefer the more non-anachronistic harpsichord, I really love THIS guy (Jean Rondeau) (I also included him in by post about the Goldberg Variations, but reposting the link is certainly called for):


:eek:

Gould tends to put his own "spin" on Bach. His interpretations are valid, but often not inside the normal box that you'll typically hear it played.

Now, I do love his interpretations, but would never compete using his templates. I don't have that kind of cred, and that is not what is expected. Then again, now and then, Gould will play supertraditional, probably just to shake things up a bit. So . . . while his interpretations and skill may be universally acclaimed, it is also likely NOT the interpretation Bach intended. :devil: That said, I doubt that Bach would have minded at all. Bach didn't really care HOW his music was performed or even on which instruments were performing it.
 

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Pianozach, thanks for the enlightening discussion of the piece. I had picked up the Gould disc of 1955 and 1981 recordings and found the '55 version very pleasant. I'll listen to the '81 side at some point. (I've only just finished the Ma disc of Cello suites and am still making my way through the Sonatas and Partitas; the 4+ hours of WTC are gonna take me a long time to get through also, but I will!)

On the whole, listening to this set of variations as a single unit (my first time listening to any set of variations, I think) is very enjoyable. Though I don't think I have the concentration nor the training to really hear the specific continuity between pieces -- maybe because Bach is so inventive? I imagine that's a very safe assumption on my part. I also assume that, as great as this is to listen to (in my case while reading the news or doing my web things), this would be even more fun to play and noodle around with. Between this and Well Tempered Clavier (which I also understand is somewhat an instructional/practice set) is the first time in my three decades of existence that I've ever had any interest in possibly learning to play an instrument. (Every time my parents put me in music lessons as a kid I found them incredibly boring! They should have made me listen to the great classics first, give me something to want to learn, rather than make me only hear my lousy self play the notes on the sheet)

Back to your post: I looked up Rondeau and found that he has a new release from the past few months on Erato. I will check it out next. FWIW, Apple Music includes this description/advertisement of it:

French harpsichordist Jean Rondeau's interpretation of Bach's Goldberg Variations is conceived on an epic scale, lasting 107 minutes as opposed to a usual 73-80. But this isn't a case of Rondeau just playing everything slowly. Instead, he takes every repeat-including one in the closing reprise of the aria-and adds numerous embellishments (not to mention a huge gap between Variations XV and XVI). Everything here speaks of deep consideration and concert experience before he went into the studio. There is, too, impressive playing: "Variation XIII" unfurls like an operatic aria, "Variation XX" sparkles as dialogue, and the so-called "Black Pearl" ("Variation XXV") is spun out to great effect.
This is fun.

I think it's easier to pick out Gould's quirkiness listening to the WTC. There's several reasons for this: Notably all the pieces can be thought of as "stand-alone" works, and for many of them, there are numerous interpretive choices that can be made. And Gould often chooses the unexpected.

I like that. For many of the pieces, it's easy to take their complexity and cleverness for granted, and Gould shines light on them from different angles so that we can hear them differently.

As for Rameau, every choice he makes is "by the book". Taking repeats is perfectly acceptable. Extra ornamentation would have certainly been acceptable at the time the works were composed, just kind of forgotten over the centuries.

As for both of them, you can tell they LOVE the music they are playing.
 

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Our high school "Advanced Treble Choir" just competed with one of Bach's Domine Deus' and walked off with a "Superior" rating (the highest rating) from a local Choir Festival.

I'm actually don't know which Mass it's from, but our version is in A minor. It's this one, although we sing it far better than this choir of young men, although I'd wager if this choir had competed in a Middle School Festival, they, too, would likely get a Superior, as it's probably considered an "advanced" piece well being what would normally be expected of Middle School boys.


Anyone recognize which particular Mass it's from?
 

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Enjoying this week, thus far. Today's Scarlatti sonatas were lovely (though I stuck to your reduced list of recommended excerpts). And, like the Devil's Trill, the Cat's Fugue comes with yet another delightful anecdote. I grew up repeatedly watching a VHS of the Aristocats, so the anecdote was easy to picture.

Before this journey, I only ever really listened to large orchestral works and operas. So this has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of concertos, quartets, solo pieces, etc.

Off to CPE Bach next.
I've played some Scarlatti and CPE Bach back in the day. One of the CPE things was actually written partially in figured bass, the only time I've ever had that opportunity to use that knowledge.
 

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I was clear on which music period we were covering this week. You even quoted me.

16-22 April will be Michael Haydn week.
Actively managing a thread tasks your threshold for patience. People do not follow instructions, even if they did read them in the first place.

Frankly, I don't really understand your format in detail, but it doesn't really matter. There are plenty of things I don't understand (like making a quiche, bitcoin, why hoverboards don't hover, or how to call the cable company without losing it), and it's not really a problem. Overall I get your concept, and how you're traveling chronologically, so that's good enough for me.

When the pandemic first hit, and all theatre was cancelled, I decided to make a virtual video. I recruited volunteers to sing, and gave out very specific instructions, most of which were ignored. One volunteer didn't understand the concept of singing along with the backing track on headphones, so her contribution was unusable, as she sang our song to the tempo of her own inner drummer.

Here: Enjoy this short little operatic excerpt from 1879.

My wife and I are two of the people here

 

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As a pianist I'm distressed by the complete lack of J. Haydn piano sonatas. There's over 60 of them.

I used to perform the Sonata in D Major. It's great fun to play.

Piano Sonata in D, No.50, Hob.XVI/37

 
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