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Brahms Pico 2, along with Bartok Pico 3 and The Mozart Requiem, were my favourite pieces when I was 18! My father used to have this old recording by Elly Ney and Max Fiedler. Ney is amazing really in this, tremendous sense of rhythm, swing -- listen to the second movement, there's tremendous life there.

Elly Ney plays Brahms Concerto No. 2 in B flat Op. 83 - YouTube
 

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Discussion Starter · #742 ·
A short interlude from Brahms for me today. Off to Glyndebourne for The Marriage of Figaro; a birthday treat for Mrs. Chilham. Good job I tried on my dinner jacket and trousers first thing this morning. My Covid-waistline had me scurrying into town to acquire a new pair of trousers!
 

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Sounds lovely! I'm dying to see Figaro!

I won't quite get a full opera this summer. But I'm very excited to next week be attending a concert version of Die Walküre Act 3 at the Hollywood Bowl with Dudamel/LA Phil. Intrigued to see what Yuval Sharon will be creating for the show.

PS: I started this weekend quite down on Brahms. I probably was just stressed out and distracted. But I've made the effort to do a repeat listen of the two symphonies. Certainly much better this time around! In the spirit of perseverance, I'll also try to revisit the Bruckner symphonies I was bored by during the last go-around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #746 ·
Getting relatively little time to listen this week as moving house on Friday, so packing obviously takes priority. What I have listened to, the top-three levels, has been very enjoyable. Perhaps Piano Concerto No. 2 was the only disappointment, given the high number of recommendations. I preferred Piano Concerto No. 1, the Piano Quintet and Piano Trio No. 1.
 

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what a coincidence! I was packing all of last week and got all of my stuff into a small moving container less than 48 hours ago. Probably explains my grousing about Bruckner and Brahms. As expected, in the hours since completing the move, all this music has sounds much better, even though my preferred speakers are packed away and I'm sleeping on a crummy air mattress.

I've revisited the same recordings of Bruckner's 4th and 8th. I liked them much better!

As for Brahms, I also preferred Piano Concerto 1 over 2. I really enjoyed his Clarinet Concerto and his Symphony 1 (esp 1st movement). Up next, the Violin Concerto and Piano Quintet.

Best of luck with the move!
 

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Discussion Starter · #748 · (Edited)
On my personal appreciation 'meter', Brahms strolls past the other composers in the group where I've listened to between 25 and 50 pieces (Haydn, Handel and Schubert).

Next-up, the rest of the mid-Romantic composers born 1834-1839 to include all of, "The Mighty Handful". I know I'm going to have a lot more time this week for listening and there's some beautiful music heading our way.

Level 1
Bizet, Georges: Carmen

Level 2
Mussorgsky, Modest: Pictures at an Exhibition
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Schéhérazade, Op. 35
Bruch, Max: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Carnaval of Animals

Level 3
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Symphony No. 3 in C minor "Organ"
Delibes, Léo: Lakmé esp. Flower Duet
Mussorgsky, Modest: Night on the Bald Mountain
Mussorgsky, Modest: Boris Godunov
Borodin, Alexander: Prinz Igor esp. Polovtsian Dances
Delibes, Léo: Coppéllia

Level 4
Borodin, Alexander: String Quartet No.2 in D major esp. Notturno: Andante
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Danse Macabre
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Capriccio Espagnole
Bizet, Georges: L'Arlésienne Suite Nos. 1 & 2
Borodin, Alexander: Symphony No. 2
Bruch, Max: Kol Nidrei
Borodin, Alexander: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Samson and Delilah esp. Mon Couer S'Ouvre a Ta Voix
Bizet, Georges: Les Pecheurs de Perles esp. Au Fond du Temple Saint
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso
Mussorgsky, Modest: Songs and Dances of Death
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: The Tale of Tsar Saltan esp. The Flight Of The Bumble Bee

Level 5
Bruch, Max: Scottish Fantasy
Bizet, Georges: Symphony in C
Delibes, Léo: Sylvia esp. Pizzicati
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Russian Easter Festival Chorus
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Cello Concerto No. 1
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Violin Concerto No. 3
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Piano Concerto No. 4
Bruch, Max: Symphony No. 3
Mussorgsky, Modest: Khovanshchina
Mussorgsky, Modest: Sunless

Level 6
Borodin, Alexander: Symphony No. 1
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Violin Sonata No. 1
Bizet, Georges: Jeux d'Enfants Suite
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Sadko
Wieniawski, Henryk: Violin Concerto No. 2 Op. 22
Balakirev, Mily: Islamey
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Symphony No. 2 "Antar"
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Havanaise
Waldteufel, Émile: "The Skaters' Waltz"
Balakirev, Mily : Tamara
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Symphony No. 1
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Septet
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: The Invisible City of Kitezh Suite

Level 7
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Piano Concerto No. 5 "Egyptian"
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Clarinet Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 167 esp. I. Allegretto
Balakirev, Mily : Symphony No. 1
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Phaéton Op. 39
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Africa Fantasy
Paine, John Knowles: Symphony No. 1
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Le Rouet d'Omphale Op. 31
Smith, Alice Mary: Symphony in C minor esp. IV. Allegro Maestoso
Delibes, Léo: Les Filles de Cadix
Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai: Overture to May Night
Balakirev, Mily : Grande Fantaisie on Russian Folksongs
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Marche Héroique
Saint-Saëns, Camille: Basoon Sonata Op. 168
Reubke, Julius: Piano Sonata in B-Flat
Saint-Saëns, Camille: La Jeunesse d'Hercule Op.50

Honourable mentions:
Cui, César: Kaleidoscope esp. No. 9 Orientale
White Lafitte, José Silvestre: Violin Concerto in F-sharp Minor esp. ii. Adagio Ma Non Troppo
Goetz, Herman: Piano Concerto No. 1, No. 2 & Symphony in F Major
Rheinberger, Josef: Abendlied - Evening Song
 

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Discussion Starter · #749 ·
I watched Elīna Garanča's Carmen not so long ago, so it was just the suite for me today.


Bizet: Carmen
François Leleux, Scottish Chamber Orchestra

After the rugby, I'll give these a spin.


Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Behzod Abduraimov


Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Jos van Immerseel, Anima Eterna Brugge


Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
Vasily Petrenko, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra


Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1
Andrew Litton, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Vadim Gluzman
 

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Well that prompted me to listen to Boris Christoff singing some Mussorgsky songs. I haven’t listened to this stuff since maybe 1990. Or maybe 1985. His voice made me jump out of my seat! They don’t sing ‘em like that any more.

The songs are very highly thought of, and probably rightly so.

I did see the Tarkovsky production of Boris more recently than that, at Covent Garden - if there’s a video it’s probably a good one to catch - conservative realism but rather beautiful, not very challenging in terms of conceptual regietheatre.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Carmen the opera, I remember checking some other things by Bizet - The Pearl Fishers. But it seemed very repetitive music. The symphony is perfectly OK, a lollipop à la Beecham really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #751 ·
Well that prompted me to listen to Boris Christoff singing some Mussorgsky songs. I haven’t listened to this stuff since maybe 1990. Or maybe 1985. His voice made me jump out of my seat! They don’t sing ‘em like that any more.

The songs are very highly thought of, and probably rightly so.

I did see the Tarkovsky production of Boris more recently than that, at Covent Garden - if there’s a video it’s probably a good one to catch - conservative realism but rather beautiful, not very challenging in terms of conceptual regietheatre.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Carmen the opera, I remember checking some other things by Bizet - The Pearl Fishers. But it seemed very repetitive music. The symphony is perfectly OK, a lollipop à la Beecham really.
Cool. I listened to some of this earlier. I love 4 Songs, Op. 40: No. 1 "When the Golden Cornfield Waves". So evocative.

 

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I recently saw my friend's sister perform as Carmen in an abridged small local outdoor theater production. It was cute and she sang it well. Such awesome tunes! Always happy to revisit this music. And I expect I will one day catch a properly grand staging of it one day.

Pictures at an Exhibition is something I'd explored prior -- some really good "pictures" but a little uneven, I think.

But man, I wasn't quite prepared for Sheherazade. I'd certainly heard bits of the 1st movement, probably on the radio. This music is excellent!

skipping ahead, I've definitely listened all too many times to the ridiculously pretty Flower Duet from Lakme. I hope I'll have time to dig into other excerpts from that opera this week.

After quite a few weeks that were each dominated by a select few bigger-than-life generation-defining forces, it's exciting to be back in a week with a wider selection of composers
 

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Carmen
Pictures
Sheherazade


All top notch, I think.

Pictures is a bit unusual, as they were composed as a Suite for Piano, but really gained their sea legs as an suite orchestrated by Ravel. I used to have the piano score, and made a half-hearted effort to learn the whole thing. I got pretty close, but, man, there are some real handfuls of note clusters in it. I eventually became disenchanted with learning. No one really wants to hear someone play the original version - they want one of the orchestrated versions.

I just listened to the Overture from Carmen Jones (a Oscar Hammerstein III reworking of Carmen). Pretty much an edited version of the original Overture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #756 · (Edited)
A few short pieces for me this morning.


Saint-Saëns: Danse Macabre
Luben Yordanoff, Orchestre De Paris, Daniel Barenboim


Delibes: Coppélia
Neeme Järvi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra


Bruch: Kol Nidrei
Ilan Volkov, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Natalie Clein


Borodin: In the Steppes of Central Asia
Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra


Mussorgsky: Night on the Bald Mountain
Kirill Karabits, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

And I'll listen to the Overture, Polovtsian Dances and final acts of Prinz Igor later. I loved the first acts earlier in the year but it's too much to do the whole opera in a single 'sitting'.


Borodin (comp. Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov): Prinz Igor
Valery Gergiev, St. Petersburg Orchestra of the Kirov Opera
 

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I've seen some of these things. I saw Copelia in the Caracalla Baths in Rome -- appalling acoustics! I remember that right in the middle of the ballet someone walked through the isles selling drinks and ices. And I saw Prince Igor in London, I thought the Polovtsian Dances were probably the only interesting bit.

That Kirill Karabits CD has The Little Russian symphony -- it's quite fun. Little Russia = Ukraine. It's full of catchy Ukrainian folk tunes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #758 ·
I've seen some of these things. I saw Copelia in the Caracalla Baths in Rome -- appalling acoustics! I remember that right in the middle of the ballet someone walked through the isles selling drinks and ices....
😮

... I saw Prince Igor in London, I thought the Polovtsian Dances were probably the only interesting bit....
I read there was a long, boring bit in Prinz Igor (Act 3?) which Gergiev removed, broke-up, and spread throughout the other acts to improve the experience. Not sure how accurate that is.

... That Kirill Karabits CD has The Little Russian symphony -- it's quite fun. Little Russia = Ukraine. It's full of catchy Ukrainian folk tunes.
Looking forward to that next week. (y)
 

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I would be down to catch some Matthew Bourne! Funny I was just hanging with an ex ballerina and it was fun to pick her brain about Bourne and ballet in general. (It’s funny to note that when I asked her what her fave ballet was she knew the piece and the choreographer but not the composer — certainly a different focus than music fans).

Just now leaving an interesting green screen-ed live VFX-video staging of Act 3 of Die Walkure at the Hollywood Bowl. All set in a post-destoryed world where everything has been uploaded into a Tron-like sci fi world. The valkyries rode tron bikes. The performers were in costumes, but slightly were metal rather than traditional, and singing and acting in front of a giant green screen. And with video they could do impossible things like make Wotan gigantic or have them flying in those sci-fi bikes through impossible Tron-like skies. Otherwise, the music was straight from the opera. Pretty fun for an outdoor evening, post-picnic, where everything is amplified anyway. And it beats a non-acted concert. At least my non-opera friends could somewhat follow the story. I wouldn't do it for a full opera, and certainly not a full cycle. But great for an excerpt. I just wish the audio folks turned up the speakers to 11 so I could get fully swallowed into that music.

One day I hope to see a proper Ring in an opera house. Til then, this'll do!
 
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