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If you had approached me with this list I would have been turned off to Classical music as soon as I heard The Planets. If I were to continue with Dvorak Symphony, "New World" - it would have sealed the deal that CM was not for me if these were the first two works offered. Beethoven's 3rd is OK, then a step backwards with The Firebird - but when you suggest the 1812 Overture - I'm out.

Which is why I have never thought these kinds of lists useful. Inevitably they offer up the most popular, famous, but trite and least interesting, examples of Classical music. At least to me.

I love Early music, Renaissance polyphony especially, but not Spem in Alium - which is famous, but utterly of no interest to me and not a work from this period I think deserves mentioning much less recommending.

I am so grateful that no one approached me with the instincts that are driving this thread and the Beginner's Guide thread. Otherwise I might have never gotten very far into Classical music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #184 ·
... I have never thought these kinds of lists useful. Inevitably they offer up the most popular, famous, but trite and least interesting, examples of Classical music. At least to me.....
I'm sorry you see no value in this thread. I think this is the fifth time you've taken the time to explain that, despite almost everything you've asked for (de Vitry, Obrecht, Ogkeghem, and others) being included here.

I'm sorry that you don't enjoy Spem in Alium. I enjoyed it very much.
 

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its why he had so many children <snare hit>
I've never studied counterpoint and so I've never read Fux.

However my understanding of Fux's work is just this: it is a set of rules. Some things are not allowed, some things are. So counterpoint becomes a bit like football. People who respected Fux's system would get no red cards - unless from time to time they had, to quote Boulez, local indiscipline: brief moments where they can decide to reject the overarching system.

Now, assuming that I'm not completely misunderstanding things, let me ask three specific question to help me see whether there's anything important going on this little discussion.

1. In Fuxian counterpoint, are there any "moves in the game" which were permitted in, say, Lassus or Gesualdo or Ockegham, which have become excluded?

2. Are there many examples of Bach's counterpoint which would have been disallowed in some way in the Fuxian system.

3. In Bach's major contrapuntal music, AoF etc, is there any counterpoint which Palestrina would have found surprising? And if yes, is there anything new in AoF? Or is it just a systematic presentation of concepts already well understood and accepted?
 

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I've never studied counterpoint and so I've never read Fux.

However my understanding of Fux's work is just this: it is a set of rules. Some things are not allowed, some things are. So counterpoint becomes a bit like football. People who respected Fux's system would get no red cards - unless from time to time they had, to quote Boulez, local indiscipline: brief moments where they can decide to reject the overarching system.

Now, assuming that I'm not completely misunderstanding things. let me ask two specific question to help me see whether there's anything important going on this little discussion.

1. In Fuxian counterpoint, are there any "moves in the game" which were permitted in, say, Lassus or Gesualdo or Ockegham, which have become excluded?

2. Are there many examples of Bach's counterpoint which would have been disallowed in some way in the Fuxian system.

3. In Bach's major contrapuntal music, AoF etc, is there any counterpoint which Palestrina would have found surprising? And if yes, is there anything new in AoF? Or is it just a systematic presentation of concepts already well understood and accepted?
I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of Fux's book. First, it is descriptive, i.e. he analyzed the music of Palestrina and constructed exercises for a student to solve in the manner of Palestrina. So the "rules" are really what Palestrina did, did not do, and in general guidelines on how to duplicate counterpoint in the style of Palestrina.

The primary purpose of the book is to teach beginners the discipline of writing 16th century counterpoint in the style of Palestrina. Bach wrote 18th century counterpoint, and there are books that teach this style which is different.
 

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I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of Fux's book. First, it is descriptive, i.e. he analyzed the music of Palestrina and constructed exercises for a student to solve in the manner of Palestrina. So the "rules" are really what Palestrina did, did not do, and in general guidelines on how to duplicate counterpoint in the style of Palestrina.

The primary purpose of the book is to teach beginners the discipline of writing 16th century counterpoint in the style of Palestrina. Bach wrote 18th century counterpoint, and there are books that teach this style which is different.
So when people say that Bach "held Fux in high esteem", are they just saying that he appreciated his book as a pedagogic tool? I thought they were they saying that Bach thought that Palestrina's way of writing counterpoint, as recorded by Fux, encapsulates the best principles for constructing counterpoint. Don't forget the context of this was my reaction to your claim that Palestrina (in some as yet undefined way) "perfected" counterpoint.

You know, you may give your student an exercise because it gets them thinking, but completely dispense with the ideas in the exercise yourself when making your own creative work.

(I have a friend who teaches a course on Fuxian counterpoint here in London, and he says the students love it -- it's like a fun puzzle for them!)
 

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So when people say that Bach "held Fux in high esteem", are they just saying that he appreciated his book as a pedagogic tool? I thought they were they saying that Bach thought that Palestrina's way of writing counterpoint, as recorded by Fux, encapsulates the best principles for constructing counterpoint. Don't forget the context of this was my reaction to your claim that Palestrina (in some as yet undefined way) "perfected" counterpoint.

You know, you may give your student an exercise because it gets them thinking, but completely dispense with the ideas in the exercise yourself when making your own creative work.

(I have a friend who teaches a course on Fuxian counterpoint here in London, and he says the students love it -- it's like a fun puzzle for them!)
Bach held Fux in high esteem as a composer, whose music exemplified the principles covered in his treatise on counterpoint. It is assumed that Bach thought highly of the book since he preserved a copy and had one of his students translate it, and probably used it for teaching although mostly he taught from existing compositions.

My comment about Palestrina bringing 16th century counterpoint to perfection was meant to say he brought that style to its highest manifestation. Which is why his style was used by Fux, i.e. it was the most disciplined, illustrative, and generally the best example of that kind of music for a pedagogical purpose.

The same can be said of Mozart, that he brought the Classical style to perfection.
 

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Really enjoying this track. I've only had the time to keep up with the higher level recommendations from this thread, and this recording is the first since the Missa Pange Lingua and the Dufay Missa L'homme Arme that will be keepers in my rotation.

Not sure if it has anything to do with the composers, the era of the music, or if I just like the voices and recording quality of the Tallis Scholars.

Also love that with this track I'm killing two birds with one stone going through this list and Pianozach's (where I'm still only on #4)!

(I've generally tried to find the recordings that Chilham has listed).
 

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Bach held Fux in high esteem as a composer, whose music exemplified the principles covered in his treatise on counterpoint. It is assumed that Bach thought highly of the book since he preserved a copy and had one of his students translate it, and probably used it for teaching although mostly he taught from existing compositions.

My comment about Palestrina bringing 16th century counterpoint to perfection was meant to say he brought that style to its highest manifestation. Which is why his style was used by Fux, i.e. it was the most disciplined, illustrative, and generally the best example of that kind of music for a pedagogical purpose.

The same can be said of Mozart, that he brought the Classical style to perfection.
Well I just report that so far I haven't found Palestrina's music very interesting to hear -- but I like many of the contrapuntal composers who preceded him. I guess I don't like perfection!
 

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Well I just report that so far I haven't found Palestrina's music very interesting to hear -- but I like many of the contrapuntal composers who preceded him. I guess I don't like perfection!
Maybe perfection is not the right word. I mean he brought the style to its logical fruition.

All of the composers leading up to Palestrina were exponents of some aspects of the 16th century style, maybe in a less succinct or economic manner. With Palestrina these stylistic strands coalesced into the quintessential example of polyphony from his time. Primarily textural transparency and setting of the text were the aspects Palestrina mastered. His music is very conservative, i.e. nothing sticks out, no odd intervalic leaps, everything is ordered and meant to convey the text, which is "holy" in a manner suitable for performance at the Vatican.

It could be be that you prefer earlier composers because their style is a bit rougher around the edges.
 

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So when people say that Bach "held Fux in high esteem", are they just saying that he appreciated his book as a pedagogic tool? I thought they were they saying that Bach thought that Palestrina's way of writing counterpoint, as recorded by Fux, encapsulates the best principles for constructing counterpoint. Don't forget the context of this was my reaction to your claim that Palestrina (in some as yet undefined way) "perfected" counterpoint.

You know, you may give your student an exercise because it gets them thinking, but completely dispense with the ideas in the exercise yourself when making your own creative work.

(I have a friend who teaches a course on Fuxian counterpoint here in London, and he says the students love it -- it's like a fun puzzle for them!)
Definitely find dissonances in Bach that are outside of Renaissance practice - you only began to hear the common dom 7 chord cadence in Baroque music, the Baroque is also where the dim 7 chord appears

Renaissance music did not really have the concept of chords, which appeared in the baroque
 

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Maybe perfection is not the right word. I mean he brought the style to its logical fruition.

All of the composers leading up to Palestrina were exponents of some aspects of the 16th century style, maybe in a less succinct or economic manner. With Palestrina these stylistic strands coalesced into the quintessential example of polyphony from his time. Primarily textural transparency and setting of the text were the aspects Palestrina mastered. His music is very conservative, i.e. nothing sticks out, no odd intervalic leaps, everything is ordered and meant to convey the text, which is "holy" in a manner suitable for performance at the Vatican.

It could be be that you prefer earlier composers because their style is a bit rougher around the edges.
Sure. This isn't the place to continue the discussion, which I find really interesting. If we were to continue, I'd want to understand what "logical" means in this context. But, let's not dominate Chilham's thread -- he's probably itching to move on in his list.
 

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Sure. This isn't the place to continue the discussion, which I find really interesting. If we were to continue, I'd want to understand what "logical" means in this context. But, let's not dominate Chilham's thread -- he's probably itching to move on in his list.
I, for one, find both of your posts and discussions like these in general to be quite illuminating and interesting. It certainly helps me contextualize what I'm hearing, put descriptive terms to things I can sense but don't fully grasp, to see their place in history, and to go beyond "that recording sounds pretty" which is where I often find myself.

It's why I came to TC -- to move beyond listening to this music in a vacuum.

Thumbs up from me!
 

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Discussion Starter · #195 ·
Sure. This isn't the place to continue the discussion, which I find really interesting. If we were to continue, I'd want to understand what "logical" means in this context. But, let's not dominate Chilham's thread -- he's probably itching to move on in his list.
If you're talking about the music, I have no problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #196 · (Edited)
Level 1
No works

Level 2
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Missa Papae Marcelli

Level 3
Tallis, Thomas: Spem in Alium

Level 4
No works

Level 5
Lassus, Orlande de: Lagrime di San Pietro
Tallis, Thomas: If Ye Love Me
Tallis, Thomas: Cantiones Ab Fual Argumento Sacrae Vocantur


My listening today:



Lassus: Lagrime di San Pietro

Bo Holten, Ara Nova



Tallis: Cantiones Sacrae

David Skinner, Alamire



Tallis: If Ye Love Me

Peter Phillips, Tallis Scholars

More Lassus options listed here.
 

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Peter Sellars did a dance based production to accompany Lassus's Lagrime. I saw it and really enjoyed it - it's my sort of thing! Anyway, I think his introduction is well worth hearing, whether or not you're turned on by movement.


J S Bach wrote a musical presentation of St Peter's tears in his passions. It's interesting to compare and contrast.

Lassus was making music at the same time as Palestrina. I wonder if you will enjoy one of them more than the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #198 ·
Peter Sellars did a dance based production to accompany Lassus's Lagrime. I saw it and really enjoyed it - it's my sort of thing! Anyway, I think his introduction is well worth hearing, whether or not you're turned on by movement.


J S Bach wrote a musical presentation of St Peter's tears in his passions. It's interesting to compare and contrast.

Lassus was making music at the same time as Palestrina. I wonder if you will enjoy one of them more than the other.
Fascinating. ....
 

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Oh man. Prior to the pandemic, I was very fortunate to be on the "Show Corp" of volunteers at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival. And I had no idea about classical music or anything, but this fireball of a man, Peter Sellars, gave all of us volunteers the most enervating welcome talk to the fest. He was the self-styled head cheerleader of the volunteers.

And he was around the entire weekend chatting it up with everyone, saying hello to everyone, giving out hugs (back when that was allowed!), and was just the biggest ball of energy. I think I had one such brief interaction with him, and it was a blast.

And I had no idea who he was --- I thought he was just one of the OG volunteers who'd known the founders 40 years prior and was just this goofy charismatic guy -- he just seemed to be having too much fun to be anyone "important". Only years later (actually, only just a few weeks ago) did I learn that he was a significant theater director! But first impressions last, and I'll always remember him as the single most entertaining person at that wonderful film festival.
 

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Discussion Starter · #200 · (Edited)
More Tallis, Palestrina and Lassus today, plus some new composers.

Level 1
No works

Level 2
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Missa Papae Marcelli

Level 3
Tallis, Thomas: Spem in Alium

Level 4
No works

Level 5
Lassus, Orlande de: Lagrime di San Pietro
Tallis, Thomas: If Ye Love Me
Tallis, Thomas: Cantiones Ab Fual Argumento Sacrae Vocantu

Level 6
Tallis, Thomas: Lamentations of Jeremiah
Lassus, Orlande de: Psalmi Davidis Poenitentiales
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Canticum Canticorum
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Stabat Mater
Taverner, John: Western Wynde Mass
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Missa Brevis
Janequin, Clément: Le Bataille de Marignan
Taverner, John: Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas
Arcadelt, Jacques: Primo libro de madrigali
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: O Magnum Mysterium
Janequin, Clément: Le Chant des Oyseux
Taverner, John: Dum Transisset Sabbatum
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Missa l'Homme Armé
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Missa Liber Primus
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da: Vestiva I Colli
Gabrieli, Andrea: Canzoni alla Francese per Sonar Sopra Stromenti da Tasti
Lassus, Orlande de: Il Primo Libro Dove si Contengono Madrigali Vilanesche Canzoni Francesi e Motetti a Quattro Voce
Lassus, Orlande de: Magnum Opus Musicum
Lassus, Orlande de: Matona, Mia Cara


A lot of new listening for me today, although I got a head start on some of it last night:



Janequin: Le Guerre

The Sixteen



Lassus: Psalmi Davidis Poenitentialis

Collegium Vocale Gent, Philippe Herreweghe



Palestrina: Stanze Sopra la Vergine Il primo Libro de Madrigali a Cinque Voci

Hilliard Ensemble



Palestrina: Missa Bravis

Peter Phillips, Tallis Scholars



Taverner: Western Wynde Mass

Andrew Parrott & Taverner Choir
 
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