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Interesting you should say that. The recommendation Das Rheingold received that the others didn't wasn't for the full opera, but specifically for, "Act II, Entry of the Gods into Valhalla". I should perhaps have annotated the entry in the listing.
Another problem is that even after they go into Valhalla you still have quite a chunk of opera to endure.
 

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Ah, I was enthralled by that Prelude/Vorspiel the very first moment I first saw the opera. Indeed, incredibly modern (or proto-modern), incredibly cinematic. Whether that's a great or terrible thing is in the ear of the beholder. It still remains something that draws me in each time i've come to The Ring. And I love how it tees up the Rhinemaidens -- their wailing/exalting of "Rhinegold Rhinegold" in the beginning and end of the opera are some of my favorite of all moments (maybe also because it's so easy to sing along? haha). I find it such evocative and exciting music, and just some of the best high fantasy/mythological music I've ever heard. nerd alert

And that ending, from Donner's creation of the rainbow bridge to Valhalla through the pleading cries of the Rhinemaidens includes so many of my favorite leitmotifs from the opera -- Valhalla, the Sword/Siegfried, Nature/Rhine -- I think it's a great ending. Not as wild as the ending of Gotterdammerung or as stunningly beautiful and disarming (and somewhat strange) as the ending of Siegfried, but still a great first night of four.

I am, to be sure, irredeemably biased and pre-disposed to love this music. So take all that with a heaping serving of salt.
 

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Another problem is that even after they go into Valhalla you still have quite a chunk of opera to endure.
Only a few operas can succeed to be riveting from start to finish, especially the long ones. I agree with you that the libretto is not great which causes the boredom in the middle. However i have a soft spot for this opera because of the opening, that is a harbinger of future music and the end which is just great.
 

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Only a few operas can succeed to be riveting from start to finish, especially the long ones. I agree with you that the libretto is not great which causes the boredom in the middle. However i have a soft spot for this opera because of the opening, that is a harbinger of future music and the end which is just great.
This is one reason I think that Pagliacci is a great great opera - not a dull moment in it.
But yes, I agree that the opening is astonishing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #708 ·
Well, I've enjoyed this week. Yes, I've resorted to highlights of many of Wagner's works, and yes, I found Gounod's Faust a haven of melody that I'd been missing earlier in the week - if only he'd composed more opera and fewer dreary masses. Verdi? The jury's out for me. I very much enjoy what I know and am familiar with, but I don't find the full works so appealing. Maybe I need more time.

We find ourselves at the half-way point of our journey. I've edited the first post to include links to the full listing for each week, and to provide a little signposting to what we'll cover each week in the coming six months.

Up tomorrow, Bruckner, Franck and Smetana, together with their contemporaries born before Brahms.
 

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Well, I've enjoyed this week. Yes, I've resorted to highlights of many of Wagner's works, and yes, I found Gounod's Faust a haven of melody that I'd been missing earlier in the week - if only he'd composed more opera and fewer dreary masses. Verdi? The jury's out for me. I very much enjoy what I know and am familiar with, but I don't find the full works so appealing. Maybe I need more time.

We find ourselves at the half-way point of our journey. I've edited the first post to include links to the full listing for each week, and to provide a little signposting to what we'll cover each week in the coming six months.

Up tomorrow, Bruckner, Franck and Smetana, together with their contemporaries born before Brahms.
Why no Otello or Falstaff?
 

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Gah! One week cannot contain all this music. haha. I'm racing through excerpts of Tannhauser* then Norma and Parsifal. So much less of them than I want to listen to. I'm hoping I can still manage to squeeze in some Tales of Hoffmann before we turn the page to the next stuff! (Indeed, sorry, Falstaff -- but I did get to Otello and Aida!)

*most of the recorded interpretations I can find on Apple Music of the Tannhauser overture to be less than stellar (maybe too fast?). I really love the Sinopoli/Philharmonia/Covent Garden one (the disc with Placido Domingo). Anyone else have other faves?

 

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that's awesome stuff! did this not make the earlier lists of troubadour music??

edit: found that record on Apple Music! thanks for the tip!

edit2: i managed to get thru half of level 3 (excerpts and highlights only), including some tracks from Tales of Hoffmann. Wow is Offenbach's music fun! I'd love to see that live!
 

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Discussion Starter · #713 · (Edited)
Some big old symphonies coming your way this week. I've enlisted the support of Simone Young and the Hamburg Philharmonic to help me through.

Level 1
No works

Level 2
Smetana, Bedřich: Má Vlast



Level 3

Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 8



Smetana, Bedrich: The Bartered Bride esp. Dance of the Comedians



Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 7



Franck, César: Violin Sonata in A major, FWV 8 esp. IV. Allegretto poco mosso



Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 4



Franck, César: Symphony in D minor



Level 4
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 9
Strauss, Johan II: An Der Schönen Blauen Donau
Franck, César: Piano Quintet in F Minor, M. 7, FWV 7 esp. I. Molto moderato quasilento



Smetana, Bedřich: String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life"



Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 6
Strauss, Johan II: Die Fledermaus
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 5
Franck, César: Variations Symphonique for Piano and Orchestra
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 3
Strauss, Johan II: Geschichten Aus Dem Wienerwald
Bruckner, Anton: Mass No. 2




Level 5
Bruckner, Anton: Te Deum
Strauss, Johan II: Kaiserwalzer
Bruckner, Anton: Mass No. 1



Bruckner, Anton: Motets esp. Locus Iste, Os Justi
Franck, César: Three Organ Chorals



Bruckner, Anton: Mass No. 3
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 1

Level 6
Franck, César: Prelude, Chorale and Fugue
Bruckner, Anton: String Quintet
Goldmark, Karl: Rustic Wedding Symphony
Strauss, Johan II: Frühlingsstimmen Walzer
Franck, César: Panis Angelicus
Strauss, Johan II: Der Zigeunerbaron Polka
Lalo, Éduard: Symphonie Espagnole
Franck, César: Le Chasseur Maudit
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony in D Minor "Die Nulle"
Vieuxtemps, Henri: Violin Concerto No. 5
Franck, César: Les Béatitudes

Level 7
Strauss, Johan II: Morgenblätter
Raff, Joachim: Symphony No. 5 "Lénor"
Goldmark, Karl: Violin Concerto No. 1
Franck, César: Aria und Finale
Reinecke, Carl: Flute Sonata in E minor, op. 167 "Undine"
Franck, César: String Quartet in D Major
Franck, César: Les Éolides
Reinecke, Carl: Flute Concerto in D Op. 283


Honourable mentions:
Gottschalk, Louis Moreau: La Bananier, The Last Hope, The Dying Poet, A Night in the Tropics, Pasquinade, Louisiana Quartet
Foster, Stephen: Oh! Sussanah, Beautiful Dreamer, My Old Kentucky Home, Camptown Races
Viardot, Pauline: Haï Luli, Le Dernier Sorcier
Strauss, Franz: Nocturno, Op. 7
Reyer, Ernest: Sigurd
Minkus, Ludwig: La Bayadère
Rubenstein, Anton: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphony No. 2 "Ocean"
 

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Initial impressions:

I really like Smetana. I think I just have a soft spot for nature/landscape/outdoors music, with that nostalgia for the pure and rustic. From Vivaldi to Beethoven's Pastoral to Dvorak. And Ma Vlast is right there in my wheelhouse. And I like his melodies, which can be quite catchy!

I'm part way through Bruckner's 7th. I've listened to his 8th. I think both are undoubtably good. I like Romantic era music. And these recordings by Young and Philharmoniker Hamburg are beautifully made. This is my first exposure to his work, but I'd long heard him described as the logical extension of the tradition from Beethoven thru Wagner, two composers whose works I love. And in bits and chunks (but not whole movements), it certainly sounds like Golden Age Hollywood film music, another soft spot of mine.

I guess I just wonder if Bruckner had taken it a bit too far into the "Romantic" that this music isn't as excellent as it might have been. Or maybe it's just unfair to compare anyone to Beethoven. While the symphonies 7 and 8 can meander and jump from emotion to emotion (unlike a tight Classical piece), it doesn't lose me like some of the works we covered in the Berlioz and Schumann weeks. But there aren't any moments that conjure up emotions of extreme excitement or beauty like in so many of the other works we've recently covered (Verdi, Wagner, Mendelssohn, and even Smetana). I'm "thinking aloud here" (in writing). But is it that Bruckner's ideas and emotions are a little too obvious, or too on-the-nose? I don't know why I felt the compulsion to write about all this. There's something in listening to this, again, undoubtably good music, that makes me wish it was a notch or two better.

Would love to know what folks who love or understand Bruckner would have to say to contextualize this music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #715 · (Edited)
There are myriad versions of Bruckner's symphonies. I don't pretend to know the ins-and-outs but I loved Young's version of his 7th. Your comment on 20th C. film music resonates with me too.

For reasons beyond my recollection, I find myself with five different conductors/orchestras' Bruckner 9th (Abbado, Giulini, Honeck, Rattle, and Young) so may dedicate a day to it later in the week and try a few movements from each.
 

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I’m listening to Klemperer play Bruckner 5/1 now, such spacious music - Bruckner is as original as Satie IMO, the music remains challenging and enigmatic today, much more so than Beethoven’s. I think that’s good.

I’d be interested in people’s thoughts about the connections between these Bruckner orchestral movements and Schubert’s more static music - the G minor quartet for example, and the D840 piano sonata.
 

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There are myriad versions of Bruckner's symphonies. I don't pretend to know the ins-and-outs but I loved Young's version of his 7th. Your comment on 20th C. film music resonates with me too.

For reasons beyond my recollection, I find myself with five different conductors/orchestras' Bruckner 9th (Abbado, Giulini, Honeck, Rattle, and Young) so may dedicate a day to it later in the week and try a few movements from each.
Bruckner is a special case in the history of music because of the great structural qualities of his work, which culminate in his 9th symphony, a symphony full of philosophical content. Other favourites are his symphonies 5, 7, 8. Harnoncourt did a great job with the fifth and Jansons with the marvellous BRSO would be my choice for the last three. Haitink's performance in the 9th is also worth a listen.
 

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Some big old symphonies coming your way this week. I've enlisted the support of Simone Young and the Hamburg Philharmonic to help me through.

Level 1
No works

Level 2
Smetana, Bedřich: Má Vlast



Level 3

Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 8



Smetana, Bedrich: The Bartered Bride esp. Dance of the Comedians



Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 7



Franck, César: Violin Sonata in A major, FWV 8 esp. IV. Allegretto poco mosso



Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 4



Franck, César: Symphony in D minor



Level 4
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 9
Strauss, Johan II: An Der Schönen Blauen Donau
Franck, César: Piano Quintet in F Minor, M. 7, FWV 7 esp. I. Molto moderato quasilento



Smetana, Bedřich: String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life"



Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 6
Strauss, Johan II: Die Fledermaus
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 5
Franck, César: Variations Symphonique for Piano and Orchestra
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 3
Strauss, Johan II: Geschichten Aus Dem Wienerwald
Bruckner, Anton: Mass No. 2




Level 5
Bruckner, Anton: Te Deum
Strauss, Johan II: Kaiserwalzer
Bruckner, Anton: Mass No. 1



Bruckner, Anton: Motets esp. Locus Iste, Os Justi
Franck, César: Three Organ Chorals



Bruckner, Anton: Mass No. 3
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony No. 1

Level 6
Franck, César: Prelude, Chorale and Fugue
Bruckner, Anton: String Quintet
Goldmark, Karl: Rustic Wedding Symphony
Strauss, Johan II: Frühlingsstimmen Walzer
Franck, César: Panis Angelicus
Strauss, Johan II: Der Zigeunerbaron Polka
Lalo, Éduard: Symphonie Espagnole
Franck, César: Le Chasseur Maudit
Bruckner, Anton: Symphony in D Minor "Die Nulle"
Vieuxtemps, Henri: Violin Concerto No. 5
Franck, César: Les Béatitudes

Level 7
Strauss, Johan II: Morgenblätter
Raff, Joachim: Symphony No. 5 "Lénor"
Goldmark, Karl: Violin Concerto No. 1
Franck, César: Aria und Finale
Reinecke, Carl: Flute Sonata in E minor, op. 167 "Undine"
Franck, César: String Quartet in D Major
Franck, César: Les Éolides
Reinecke, Carl: Flute Concerto in D Op. 283


Honourable mentions:
Gottschalk, Louis Moreau: La Bananier, The Last Hope, The Dying Poet, A Night in the Tropics, Pasquinade, Louisiana Quartet
Foster, Stephen: Oh! Sussanah, Beautiful Dreamer, My Old Kentucky Home, Camptown Races
Viardot, Pauline: Haï Luli, Le Dernier Sorcier
Strauss, Franz: Nocturno, Op. 7
Reyer, Ernest: Sigurd
Minkus, Ludwig: La Bayadère
Rubenstein, Anton: Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphony No. 2 "Ocean"
There are lots of great and joyful music in this week's picks.
Smetana is an outstanding composer with his masterful, melodic "Ma Vlast" which even bewitched Karajan who gave us a superb version. His two string quartets are very finely crafted works.
Lalo is an old favourite, a bridge between Berlioz's romantic symphonie fantastique and the impressionistic works from Debussy (Iberia) and Ravel (Rhapsodie espagnole). Dance rhythms abound in the symphony from the segeduillas to the malaguena in the final rondo. If you get the version with Repin on the violin you are in for a treat.
Franck's music can be miraculous. Prélude, chorale and fugue is one of those timeless pieces, like his violin sonata.
Reinecke is a remarkable composer but i would have opted for other pieces, like the cello sonatas, his piano quintet and his string trio.
 
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