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Classical music - what makes you listen?

Helen 31 Mar 06 - 05:09 PM
Wesley S 31 Mar 06 - 05:32 PM
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Subject: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 05:09 PM

Yes, I know, this is a folk/blues music site, but I'm interested to know what other people's favourite classical pieces are, if any. I have always loved Vivaldi, and JS Bach, because of the complexity, the way the parts weave in and out synergistically (is that a word?) to make a beautifully crafted whole experience.

My current favourite, which I am now listening to, is specifically the Rondo (Part III) of Paganini's Violin Concerto No. 2 in B Minor, Op 7, called "La Campanella". My CD is by Ruggiero Ricci.   You may have heard it and not known the name of it.

It stops me in my tracks when I hear it. I can't do anything else but listen.

Another one I discovered while driving and listening to the classical radio station is Bruch's Adagio appassionato, Op 57. Still gives me tingles down my spine when I hear it.

So, what are your classical favourites?

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Wesley S
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 05:32 PM

A lot of my favorites tend toward the "bombastic" side. Copelands "Fanfare for the Common Man" and the second movement of Beethovan's 9th. I remember first hearing that one as the credits rolled at the end of NBC's Nightly News with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Kaleea
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 06:32 PM

Sometimes my favorite works are my favorites because of the memories associated with what I was doing once while listening (or whom I was with!), or because I used a recording of the work for some odd reason, such as when some idiot decided to go ahead & make my day:

Back in collete, when exhausted from yet another of many sleepless nights due to people in the apartment downstairs throwing ridiculously rowdy parties, I waited until it was all quiet & they had been asleep for about an hour.
I dragged my stereo speakers into my bedroom & placed them face down on the floor over the spot where their bed was. Then I played The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky--& I cranked it with the bass up all the way.
   

    Don't mess with this Choctaw woman.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 06:54 PM

I grew up in a household that was filled with music, mostly classical. In fact, my folks met through their love of opera. just mention the name, Sam Ramy, and she'll go on and on ....:)

My first love was Tschaikovsky (age 4), but the first time I heard the Toscanni recording of the Pastorale ( Symphony #6) it was head over heels for Ludwig (ripe old age of 11). Did you know that Beethoven incorporated a number of folk tunes in his works? Especially in the Pastorale. And this goes for many other classical composers.

Both classical and traditional music have stood the test of time. Be interesting to see what comtemporary pieces will be around in the next century.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Sorcha
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 07:02 PM

Mozart Violin Concerto in Am.....Rachmaninoff, Tch, Bach, Vivaldi...I pretty much like it all.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Benjamin
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 08:07 PM

The orchrestral version of Maurice Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Alexandre Tansman's Concerto for Cello and Orchestra are two of my favortes.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: cool hand Tom
Date: 31 Mar 06 - 08:29 PM

The thing that amazes me Eg Mozart is the ability to write a whole piece from scratch,tunings,instruments,vocals and make it work.If you gave me paper etc,i could not do it.It is pure Genius,not my fav music but some classical peices totally blow me away.

   Regards Tom


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 12:25 AM

Oh boy, I could be on this for hours. I love a lot of Vivaldi, especially in winter--it's such warm cozy music--especially like the mandolin concerti. I'm swept away (appropriately enough) by the Vaughn Williams Sea Symphony--the surging and falling is so evocative. It seems so English to me--hard to realize the poetry is by Walt Whitman. Also really love Vaughn Williams Fantasia on Greensleeves and the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. Got a chance to sing the 40-voice motet that's based on--a great experience.

I passionately love all 4 of Brahms' symphonies--particularly the rich string sound of the 4th movement theme of the Brahms First. Always have to listen to the Beethoven Pastoral all the way through--can't do much of anything else while it's playing--especially love the very start of it and the cuckoo towards the end. Always think it's funny the storm is so well-mannered.

Really like some bombast too--though mostly instrumental bombast--love Wagner overtures--especially Tannhaueser and Meistersinger. Some Verdi--lots from Aida, mostly the greatest hits--which the chorus mostly gets--having been in big choral groups for over 20 years, I've had a chance to sing them several times--makes it even better to hear it.

Love Russian choral music--which is of course great for any bass-- especially the Rachmaninoff Vespers--above all the "Ave Maria" (in Russian). Very evocative of huge Russian churches and of deep faith--though Rachmaninoff himself was not at all religious.

Always like to hear the famous Rodrigo guitar pieces--Concierto de Aranjuez and Fantasia Para un Gentilhombre. Again it conjures up scenes.

Never get tired of the Mozart Requiem--going to sing it again in 2 weeks. Ever since Amadeus I find it summons up scenes from the movie--especially the Lachrymosa, which I believe is played while Mozart's body is carried to the paupers' mass grave, thrown in, and then more lime. Also in the movie was an excerpt from the Serenade, with a wonderfully flowing clarinet line.

My all-time favorite piece is probably the Brahms Requiem (auf Deutsch) which speaks of hope and consolation, rather than hellfire, is much more inclusive than other Requiems, and is wonderfully rich both to sing and to listen to.

From the moment I get in the door, I have music on, and it's often classical, especially if I'm reading, working at the computer or going to bed.

It would actually be a lot easier to say the classical music I don't listen to--which is mostly modern music, where the idea seems to be to break as many rules as possible and/or depict the chaos of modern life. So Respighi, especially the Birds, Ancient Airs and Dances etc, is fine; Gershwin is fine--but after Gershwin that's about it, except some Bernstein.

By the way, is Bruch's Adagio appassionata a whole piece or just a movement? I love his Violin Concerto and Scottish Fantasy.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 01:06 AM

Baroque Music is my favorite but there are so many composers and so many pieces that it would take forever to describe them. My favourite orchestras are The Academy Of St Martins In The Fields (conducted by Sir Neville Marriner of course :), English Chamber Orchestra, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, I Musici, Birmingham Symphony, Cleveland Symphony.

Favorite pianist Rudolph Serkin and Sergai Prokofiev
         Violin Itzhak Perlman, Neville Marriner and Nigel Kennedy
         Cello   Yo Yo Ma and Ofra Harnoy
         Guitar Segovia and John Williams
         Viola   (my brother Peter who is not famous) LOL

Classical music played a big part in my life, one of the first pieces I remember hearing as a child was Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven. It is probably my favorite piece.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: MBSLynne
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 04:12 AM

I generally go for baroque too and Mozart is just wonderful, but I also love "Big" music like Bach's tocata and fugue, Part of Brahm's requiem, Ride of the Valkyrie, Tchaikovsky's piano concerto no 1. I like a lot of Tchaikovsky in fact. I love "Danse Macabre" and bits of "The Planet suite". Grieg is fairly high on my list and I like some Mahler...in fact is just as difficult to say what classical stuff I like as it is to say what pop, folk, rock etc. Oh, and I also love Einaudi.

Love Lynne


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke (anyone seen my cookie?)
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 04:26 AM

What I call orgasmic music- the slow movement from a Corette organ concerto, some quirky CPE Bach pieces that I can't remember the name of offhand, that Giuliani guitar concerto, almost anything except opera by Mozart, Geminiani's Scottish arrangements....

Early music through to early classical. I rather think that typhus or Salieri killed the genre in 1791, and that the rot set in with Schubert and Beethoven. No opera, sod lieder, ballet in tiny doses. I think it's the classical voice training that turns me off, the plum in the mouth style.

I find Romantic stuff a big turn off. Mahler sounds like a big Irishman to me ("I'll mahl ye!"), and our Rafe just makes me giggle. And as for that Geordie stuff Schoenberg wrote, you know, the Toon Row stuff....


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 07:31 AM

Ron Davies,

Rachmaninoff Vespers - I had never heard these but in the last week I have heard two of the pieces on the radio.   Amazingly beautiful.

I agree about Concierto de Aranjuez, too. A perennial favourite of mine.

And I have a cassette of Mandolin orchestra music called Virtuoso Mandolins, which is not available on CD. Brilliant! Some Vivaldi, some Bach, and others.   I bought a cheap but excellent CD of Renaissance vocal music. That's one of my favourite CD's now, too.

Bruch's Adagio appassionata is listed as a separate track under its own heading as if it is a self contained piece. It is very self contained, in my opinion, it goes through the whole range of a totally tragic experience.

And Paul Burke, have you heard those totally dreadful renditions of folk music sung by singers with "the classical voice training that turns me off, the plum in the mouth style"? It's indescribably bad.

A couple of decades ago I looked forward to hearing a radio show of singers performing Elizabethan songs from a book I have, which was compiled by WH Auden and Noah Greenberg. Some stunningly simple melodies, but when sung with that overblown classical style it was a killer. I was so disappointed because I had never heard any of the tunes sung, only played them myself from the book and I really wanted to hear them being performed, but then afterwards I wished I hadn't.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Micca
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 08:12 AM

Like Ron Davies, how long have you got?
The set of Scarlatti harpsichord concerti transcribed for guitar played by John Williams
Mahler, esp the final movt of the 3rd symphony, (one of the most thrilling uplifting pieces of music ever IMNHO)
a LOt of Wagner
Overtures
Lohengrin
The Ring ( which I am lucky enough to have seen LIVE twice)

a LOt of Mozart esp
Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik, 2nd mvt
The Magic Flute
Cosi Fan Tutti
Figaro
Requiem
The Piano Sonata in F (because it formed the soundtrack for one of the (for me) most PERFECT musical experiences ever)
Donizetti, Lucia di Lammermuir( the Carreras/Cabelle recording,absolutely Ravishing music)
Handel, including Messiah
Hayden, The Seasons and Creation

Like Ron, I tend to have "Classicfm" radio on when I am at home,
my Mother was a great Opera buff, but leaned towards Puccini and Verdi
I am a throw back to her Father ,he preferred Wagner and Mozart and so do I,


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: RangerSteve
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 08:15 AM

Anything based on folk music, especially Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, Grieg's Norwegian Dances, etc.

Anything else by Dvorak. Anything by Louis Gottschalk. Obscure American composers from the 19th century. The "Caucasian Sketches" by someone whose name I'll probably spell wrong - Ipolitov-Ivanov (I think), Viennese-style waltzes, Coppelia - I think that's the spelling, it's a ballet by someone who I can't think of right now. The piece that Disney used in Fantasia with the hippos. Rossini overtures. Most ballet music (yeah, I'm a cop and I like ballet music. Wanna make something of it?). Baroque mandolin and guitar music. Aaron Copeland. Virgil Thompson. Gilbert and Sullivan.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Flash Company
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 08:18 AM

i suppose the first classical piece I was really aware of was 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' which our music teacher, Andy Horrocks, played as an organ voluntary on the first Founder's Day service which I went to at Sir John Deane's Grammar School in Cheshire.
I was already in the retentive mode for music which came in very handy later for remembering folk songs, and went straight home and played it on a harmonica. It was some time before I found out what it was, so it was referred to in our house as 'Andy's Tune'.
Now, for relaxing, Mozart or Haydn, or as Helen says above, Rachmaninov's Vespers. If I want waking up, Smetana 'Ma Vlast' or Sibelius 'Finlandia'.
FC


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 08:44 AM

I find I'm mostly listening to late 1800's and 20th century music from Delius (...First Cookoo in Spring, Florida Suite) lots of Vaughn Williams (the ones Ron mentions above plus Lark Ascending, Pastoral Symphony etc.) Faure, Ravel, Debussy, Bartok abd Stravinsky.
Also some of the older stuff by Schubert (Rosamunde Overture) Beethoven, and Chopin (the Barcarolle is one of my favorites).
I mostly listen to this stuff nowadays to relax with and don't really get into anything too intense except for maybe Bartok or Mahler occasionally.vl


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 09:09 AM

'Un Bel Di' (sp?) from Madam Butterfly has to be the most beautiful tune ever written. But to answer the question that was asked, I listen because of the beauty of the sound and the intellectual satisfaction of the structure. Lists are rather a waste of time. Most will more or less agree with each other. Differences are idiosyncratic and relatively minor.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 10:11 AM

I'll mention only my two most favorites.
Number one, Beethoven's violin concerto in "D" as played by Jascha Heifitz.

Fer Elise Beethoven.
I like Beethoven because his music has melodies, and he builds bridges between movements. Plus his music is cyclical.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 05:38 PM

mack/misophist, although I'm not fond of other lists I do like lists of books, movies and music which other people enjoy, because it opens up a whole new set of experiences for me to explore.

I tried to name the thread "Classical music - what stops you in your tracks?" (meaning which music do you hear where you find yourself stopping everything else you are doing so that you can devote your full attention to it) but the thread title was too long. The Paganini "La Campanella" does it for me every time, and also the Bruch Adagio Appassionata. They are total experiences for me, so I was wondering what stops other people in their tracks, in the classical music field. I would like to know why it is such an integrated experience as well, for other people.

For me I just have to sit down and close my eyes and devote my entire concentration to some pieces of music and feel the emotions, marvel at the technical aspects, the complexity of it all and the way that it integrates into a total experience.

I think part of what I am referring to is that we tend to be bombarded with music everywhere we go, some better than others. We start to just experience it as "musical wallpaper", something in the background of our experience which does not take much of our attention. So when I hear a piece of music which makes me suddenly focus on it intently, then I start to realise how special well-crafted music is - and I am definitely not just referring to classical music here. My taste in music is very wide ranging. But totally crafted musical experiences aren't really done in popular music, except in music for movies, perhaps. It's especially obvious in the current popular music *market* (that's what it is all about, making a quick buck and the quality of the music and the true creative process is suffering, in my opinion - but that is another rant for a different thread perhaps.)

So, a list of classical favourites is good, but also any discussions about what classical music does for you is fine, too. I'm interested in all of it.

And I don't think that this is unrelated to a folk/blues site because I know that what we say about why we listen to one sort of music will be relevant to why we listen to other sorts of music.

As for music for certain moods, I always know if I am feeling very down because I find my self playing all 5 CD's of my Vivaldi Complete Sacred Choral Works, over and over. Usually my black mood lifts very quickly after listening to the interweavings of those lovely voices.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 11:34 PM

Well, I said I could be on this for hours. I seem to like any classical piece that has good melodies--(just like any other piece that has a good melody). If it evokes scenes or a story, that's even better.   And if it has really colorful orchestration, that's the hat trick. One that has it all is Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherezade. Another great one by him that meets all 3 criteria is Russian Easter Overture.

I really like the Mahler First Symphony for several reasons--first it's just one glorious melody after another, with great orchestration. Secondly the second movement has a very ponderous minor-key version of Frere Jacques. It really sounds absurd---and I always imagine Mahler was showing an impish sense of humor by doing that--not something you'd expect from Mahler.

With very very few exceptions, I really like virtually every piece I've ever sung in a large group--and having done that for over 20 years, that's quite a few. By the time we actually perform a piece, it's an old friend--even some of the modern pieces. Too bad the audience only gets one chance at most pieces-- often the modern pieces take some getting accustomed to. But then I probably have more conservative taste in classical music than some--certainly some in my group like modern pieces a lot more.

And I was in a madrigal group for over 10 years--so I also love a whole bunch of madrigals--especially the more chromatically challenging ones and the ones that have over 4 voices--they seem so much richer-- e.g. Weelkes, Gibbons, and Gesualdo--though I haven't done much Gesualdo--would like to do more.

And I also like virtually every piece I've ever played--though I haven't been in an orchestra in over 20 years. But back then I've played lots of Handel, Corelli, lots of Baroque in general, some Beethoven symphonies, country dances, Mozart, Dvorak etc.

In my experience, familiarity does not breed contempt-- it's exactly the opposite.

Helen, thanks for your info on the Bruch--I'll definitely look for it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 01 Apr 06 - 11:59 PM

Ron,

The violin soloist on the Bruch is Salvatore Accardo, with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. It's a Philips 2 CD set 289 462 164-2.

Accardo is worth listening to anyway, playing anything. I can imagine that some soloists make this piece into something overdone and melodramatic, but this rendition is brilliant - although I have never heard anyone else's version of it.   

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 05:40 AM

The 'Queen of the night' aria from 'Magic Flute'... just hearing that vicious diatribe in song.... makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck - and that's a lot of hair!

Also the 'Requiem'. I sang it 2 years ago at St Martin in the Fields with the East London Chorus but I wasn't all that well and didn't enjoy it. We're doing it again this year and this time I am going to relish every minute of it... especially the Dies Irae.

When I was a child, I didn't have much access to classical stuff except through school, where we were forcefed the 'romantic classics' - Mendelsson, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Never did like them. Doing 'Jesu, joy of mans desiring' three times in one day for various weddings killed any lasting affection I might have had for Bach.

I have a fondness for Scarlatti and the earlier composers but I do mainly put Mozart on if I'm in the mood. Trouble is, being a singer, I prefer to perform in it, rather than listen to it. Hence joining the chorus. Performing the Coronation Mass in a concert is fantastic, but to sing it as it was meant to be sung, as an act of worship in the Eucharist, is mind-blowingly, indescribably, totally out of this world!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 05:30 PM

Lark ascending,
Pagannini's caprices( all)
Spartacus.
All no good in the car 'cos I have to stop.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 05:40 PM

Yes, Ned, I know exactly what you mean about driving and listening. You can't focus all your energies on two important things at once.

I haven't listened enough to the Paganini caprices, yet, but they are on the 5 CD set I bought of Ruggiero Ricci, so I will be working my way through the set and finding out what I like the most, as well as "La Campanella", that is.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 06:53 PM

The player makes so much difference. Perlman is stunning, but Kennedy does nothing for me...I know others find him amazing but I can only speak for myself.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 02 Apr 06 - 11:52 PM

I agree about Kennedy--even though Jan considers this heresy--she adores him. His tempos are sometimes so distorted (for me) that the piece suffers. Different strokes...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Padre
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 12:46 AM

I 'discovered' J. S. Bach while I was stationed in Germany - began to acquire as much of his music as I could get. I think I now have the complete keyboard music, the B Minor Mass, the St. Matthew and St. John Passions, the complete cantatas, and most of the other orchestral music. His precision and grace (in its religious as well as musical senses) is what has held my interest over those 40 years or so.

Branching out from the music of Bach, I have become entranced by 16th, 17th and 18th century English choral music - Byrd, Tallis, Purcell, Gibbons, etc.

Finally (for this message at any rate) I appreciate the English composers who collected folk tunes and used them in their music - Holst, Vaughan Williams, Grainger (I know he's Australian) etc.

Padre


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: alison
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 01:44 AM

Dvorak - especially "New World" takes me right back to a glorious teenage holiday in Minorca very time.

Smetana - Ma Vlast
Vaughan williams - Lark Ascending, dives and Lazarus
Rodrigo - Concerto d'Aranjuez
Rimsky Korsakoff - Russian Easter Overture
Carl Orff - O fortuna (AKA the Omen, Old Spice ads)
Hamish McCunn - Land of the mountain and the flood

and many many more

I love the Bohemian / Russian stuff
never could see the attraction with Mozart & Beethoven

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 07:33 AM

Padre--

You're certainly right about Byrd and Tallis--some of choral singers consider them the absolute best composers ever in vocal music. And I have to say, having sung a fair amount of their music, that it is in fact wonderfully unearthly--probably the most incredible music to sing a cappella. Interesting that they both were Catholic--in Elizabeth's England. I've read, for instance, that in Tallis' Lamentations, his exhortation to return to Jerusalem was meant as code to return to Catholicism.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 07:41 AM

I misstated the Lamentations' message. It's not "return to Jerusalem" it's "Jerusalem, return to your God".


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 03 Apr 06 - 07:46 AM

"Au fond du Temple Sant" from Bizet's "The Pearl Fishers" -- can make every hair on my body stand up and take notice.

Vivaldi, Mozart (especially his "Requiem"), Telemann, "Sheherezade" by Rimski-Korsakoff,
Wagner ("Die Meistersinger"), Richard Strauss.

There's a Scarlatti harpsichord LP I bought back in the '60s that I would LOVE to find a CD of -- that particular recording, not just the material, of course.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 09:03 AM

I can no longer listen to classical music on the radio as none of the public radio stations that I can pick up at home, at work or in the car carry a classical program anymore.

New Hampshire's WEVO is almost entirely talk.

I miss Robert J. Lurtzema!

Linn


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 09:22 AM

Why does Classic FM practically deafen me whenever I (usually accidentally) tune to it?

And why are they always playing one of The Four Season, Le Quattro Stagioni, Les Quatre Saisons, or Die Vier Jahreszeiten?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 12:10 PM

When I'm working (I'm a graphic designer doing publications work right now), I prefer to listen to classical music.

With trad, I "have" to listen -- so it's usually a distraction.

I'm also too distracted by jazz.

For driving I prefer either blues or morris dance music -- but, of course, usually end up listening to the trad I can't fit into my schedule any other place.

To get housework done, it's Louis Prima all the way!

I try to tailor my "soundtrack" to whatever I'm doing.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 02:07 PM

For people in need of a good classical station who can listen online, this one is my current favorite. I'm listening to it right now...

http://theclassicalstation.org/internet.shtml

I can listen to baroque music all day long. It puts me in just the right frame of mind and the right mood for most things. If I want a change of pace, and if I want my heartstrings pulled, Vaughan Williams is a good choice, but there are several others. Bach is probably my favorite for just about everything, if I have to pick a favorite (but I'd rather not). I like several of the dark and moody composers like Prokofiev and Leos Janacek (his Sinfonietta) when I'm in the mood for something dark and moody. I like a lot of early music, but I'm not entirely thrilled with some of the ways people have been interpreting that music in recent years. I miss the New York Pro Musica.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 03:12 PM

I used to work as an announcer for a local classical music station. What a job! Other than some pre-programming by the program director (who had pretty good taste and was knowledgeable), I got to play pretty much what I wanted within reasonable limits. I read some news and a few commercials, announced the records, then sat there with a cup of coffee in my hands and my feet propped up and listen to the kind of music (one of the kinds of music) that I love, got the ego-boo of my name being recognized by local classical music buffs, and got paid to do this!!

I knew a fair amount about classical music before I went to work there (otherwise, I wouldn't have got the job), but the station had a massive music library and I made a lot of discoveries while I was there. It would really be hard to say that I had (have) favorites. Among other things, I first heard a Luciano Pavarotti record while working there. This was awhile back and not all that many people had heard him. I was playing Rossini's Stabat Mater (oratorio) in which Pavarotti sang the "Cujus animam gementem" aria. Pavarotti was younger at the time, and although his voice is still holding up well, it was even clearer and more ringing when he made this recording. I sat there with my ears bent forward and my mouth open. I was used to hearing great operatic tenors, but this was phenomenal! About ten seconds after the aria was over, all the buttons on the phone lit up, and everybody had the same question:   "My God, who was that!???"

I first head a Christopher Parkening recording there (Parkening Plays Bach). One of the salesmen walked in and said, "You play the guitar, don't you?" I allowed as how I did, so he gave me a pair of free tickets to an up-coming Parkening concert at the Seattle Opera House. I knew a girl who liked classic guitar. I took her to the concert. First date. Married her a year and a half later.

It would really be hard to say that I have favorite pieces. I listen to a lot of Early Music. We have a bunch of Baltimore Consort CDs, along with one of Custer La Rue, one of the vocalist with the group singing folk ballads. We saw them in concert a couple of years ago and I had a chance to chat for a few minutes with Ronn McFarlane, the lutenist. Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, others, anytime. Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherezade has some of the lushest orchestration ever written, Tchaikowsky is no slouch in that area either, and Rachmaninoff's piano concerti are also very rich.

Barbara and I held season tickets to Seattle Opera for several years and took in one of SO's Ring festivals (all four of Wagners' Ring of the Niebelung operas in one week—man, was that a lot of sitting!). Wagner is an acquired taste for many, but I think I've acquired it. Favorite excerpts:   Wotan's Farewell sung by a really good bass-baritone (e.g., the late George London) with segue into the Magic Fire Music. Once, when driving down a country road at a good clip, the radio was playing an orchestral arrangement of the Ride of the Valkyries. When it hit the part where the whole orchestra dives in full-blast on the main theme, it was like flying! Wow!

Opera in general. Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Bellini, Puccini, Bizet, lots of others. Speaking of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, I have an old recording of tenor-baritone duets from opera with Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill. They do several, including the duet from The Pearl Fischers and Verdi's Don Carlo, both of which are real goose-bumpers.

Vaughn Williams' Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, definitely on the list.

More. Between Barbara and me, we have LPs, tapes, and CDs up the ziggy, and we keep getting more. Great stacks of stuff, including heaps of classic guitar, not to mention all the folk music. HELP!! Is there a 12-step program for this sort of thing?

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 03:38 PM

Classical music usually lacks the immediacy of folk and blues but, on the other hand, given the greater range of voices and instruments there is a greater opportunity for beauty in serious music. Also, the greater length - usually - of classical compositions gives more scope for elaboration and invention, development and contrast. Add to that the fact that classical composers steal from folk whenever they like and you have what should be a sure winner. Sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: autolycus
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 04:24 PM

I'm another who could go on endlessly about c.m.

Most could stop me in my tracks in the right circumstances.

I remember, at the secondhand bookstall I ran here at Uni.East Anglia (1985 - 1992) turning on a portable radio for the news, to fing them finishing THE symphony (Beethoven 5). An aquaintance and I had to stop to hear that marvellous ending.

I'm always thrilled when I'm watching a film, and some great piece comes on. Educating Rita is special for me because of the use of my favourite piece, Mahler's Sixth (which will have the centenary of its first performance next month.

I had great fun a few years ago compiling my list of favourite composers = 6th Mozart; 5th Dvorak; 4th Schubert; 3rd Bruckner; 2nd Beethoven; Mahler the tops (the 'Frere Jacques' is the 3rd movement of Mahler 1).

If my neighbours are annoyingly noisy, it's the speakers on the floor (hadn't thought of face down, thanks), and we all get the 5th or 10th movement of Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony. Wild.

As for beautiful tunes, try Barber's Violin Concerto, opening of Bruckner 7, slow movement of Mahler 6 (that'd get in every hit parade if it weren't a0 hidden in a vast,dark symphony, and b) lasted less than 15 minutes.); the slow one of Malcolm Arnold's English Dances; the last movement of Nielsen 3; the last dance of Stravinsky's Firebird; slow movement of 2nd Piano Concerto of Shostakovich; Overture to The Wasps by Vaughan Williams ( beautiful and so, so English); lots by the Russian Kabalevsky (tremendously tuneful); just about the only thing Puccini wrote for string quartet, called Chrysanthemums; Le Festin d'Esope for piano by the reclusive Alkan, about 25 variations in under 9 minutes on a perky tune; Borodin's 2nd string quartet (you;ll know much of it if you've heard the musical Kismet - Strangers in Paradise - Baubles , bangles and Beads);and looooooooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaads more.

Heartstopping performances - Tchaikovsky 6 with Fricsay; Beethoven 5 under Erich Kleiber; Schubert Unfinished - Furtwangler; Mitropoulos conducting Mahler 6; Toscanini's William Tell overture by the Lone Rang.... I mean, Rossini; Reiner conducting Richard not Johann Strauss's Don Juan.

Favourite performers.

Conductors. Horenstein, Furtwangler, Cantelli,Oscar Fried, Toscanini,Klemperer.

Pianists.   Cherkassky, Josef Hoffman(nearly unbelievable),Horowitz, Richter.

Cellists.   Casals, du Pre


Favourite critics. Hans Keller, Deryck Cooke, Michael Oliver (the most comulsive to listen to music broadcaster IMO), (the other Anthony Hopkins.

Ivor
Horn.       Dennis Brain


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Chris Green
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 05:31 PM

My all-time favourite piece is the three suites of Ancient Airs and Dances by Ottorino Respighi. It was always our 'going-on-holiday' music when I was a kid - Dad would stick it on as we pootled off down the M6 - and even now it still sends goosepimples up on the back of my neck. It available on Amazon here (the same recording from when I was a kid!)


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 05:33 PM

Great thread Helen, been reminded of some great pieces here that I've forgotten about.
More favorites:
Le Tombeau du Couperin by Ravel (especially the Orchestral version)
Afro-Cuban Lullaby by Leo Brouwer (Christopher Parkening's version is quite beautiful.)
Resphigi's Pines of Rome and Fountains of Rome.
Orchestral Dance Suite from West Side Story (Joshua Bell recently did a fine version for violin with Orchestra.)
The Julian Bream and John Williams Live album. Don't know if it's on CD but it contains some unbelievable duet playing of Spanish and Impressionist music.
Segovia in Central Park.
Mahler 4th
Mysterious Barricade by Couperin.
Concerto for Orchesta, Music for Strings,Percussion and Celesta,    Miraculous Mandarin Suite Bartok. and on and on.vl


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 05:49 PM

I was just listening to the soundtrack of Master and Commander on my CD player, and that wonderful piece of music by Boccherini La Musica Notturna Delle Strade Di Madrid N0 6 Op 30 absolutely joyfull music made me think of this thread.
Mozart's Violin Concerto No 3 3 rd movement and Corelli's Adagio from Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 8 in G Minor moved me to post to post to this thread. Great music and an even greater movie... ;-)

Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 06:44 PM

In addition to the "modern" composers working with 12-tone scales and other experimental approaches, there are some darn fine recent composers out there who might be considered as following the mainstream of classical music, or whatever we're calling "serious" music these days. The ones I have in mind are mostly famous for writing movie music.

John Williams for "Star Wars, " "Superman," and others, for example. And he's written whole batches of other music.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold. He did scores for several Errol Flynn swashbucklers like "The Sea Hawk," "Captain Blood," and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (all fairly stirring stuff), but he has also written a lot of symphonies, violin concerti, piano sonatas, lotsa good things.

And then there's Alan Hovhaness. He's written a number of things, including his Symphony No. 50 (That's 50. Gives you an idea of how much he's written!), the "Mount St. Helens." It has this lovely pastoral sound, most of the way very evocative of a quiet, sunny, early summer Sunday morning. And then, when the mountain blows—the sound of the orchestra—you know it! Talk about goose-bumps!

By the way:

Knock knock.
Who's there?
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Philip Glass!

(You really have to be familiar with Philip Glass's music to get the humor of that).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 11:01 PM

Don--

Yes, Hovhaness is great. I remember a classical station used to start it's midnight program with I think it's "Magic Mountain"--did he write a piece on that?--and it was so peaceful, mysterious, and ethereal-- but still not "New Age" --used to think it was a perfect choice.

What do you get when you play Phillip Glass backwards? Phillip Glass . (I'm sure you've heard that one)

Parkening is wonderful, isn't he? Wasn't he a student of Segovia? Sounds like a great first date, all right! And that was a dream job--as classical DJ. I've thought about that too.



Bat Goddess-

It's true an annoying number of formerly classical stations have gone to all-talk format--whether or not it makes economic sense, they must think it does. But WETA locally (DC area) which has done that, has cut itself off from any contribution from me--and a lot of
others.

But Mudcat has stepped in. Carol's suggestion is a great idea--it is in fact 24 hours classical--and no ads--although, of course, appeals for support--they now get from me more than WETA used to.

Charlie Baum had another one--VPR (Vermont Public Radio)--which is also heavily classical.

In fact, there are classical stations all over the world which you can get on the Net. If anybody has interest I can list a few more.

I've also put virtually my entire classical CD collection on the computer-- about 48 hours worth--in case the radio stations don't appeal.

So there are options--I hope they work for you.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 11:21 PM

Well, Jan is watching Animal Planet, so no Jon Stewart for me tonight.

By the way,

Helen--


If you like the Pagannini violin concerto, you might well like Saint-Saens' Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso--another violin tour de force--just stunning. The version I remember is by Zino Francescatti--but I haven't found it on CD. But Itzhak Perlman has it also.



Mack/Misophist--

Classical composers "steal" from folk? They even "steal" from each other--but it wasn't considered stealing for centuries. Also, we sometimes see folk origins where there are none. Case in point--"Going Home" from the New World Symphony. The Dvorak melody came first--the words came from one his students--it was not a spiritual Dvorak borrowed or "stole". I also believe a lot of the Slavonic Dances were in fact written by Dvorak--not folk melodies. Influence yes, wholesale borrowing or stealing, no. After all, "I Wonder as I Wander" was written by John Jacob Niles--not a folk tune he heard--though possibly based on a kernel of a traditional music fragment--or maybe not.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Apr 06 - 11:32 PM

Kendall, you and me, both: Number one, Beethoven's violin concerto in "D" as played by Jascha Heifitz. It almost makes me swoon and I have had that exact recording for over 35 years; just got it on CD.

Don, thanks for the plug for some modern composers. One who springs to mind is Douglas Moore, who wrote The Ballad of Baby Doe. My brother, Delton Lorenzo Hudson, is a tonal classical composer whose symphonic tone poem, "The Ode to the Rockies" has been performed and recorded. He has written several symphonies and piano concertos as well as solo piano pieces. All have beautiful melodies and impressive counter-point, etc. He is able to compose it all in one draft, by hand, just as they showed Mozart doing in Amadeus. (BTW, seems, contrary to the movie, Mozart did revise sometimes.:-)

Anyway, I used to be my brother's manager. We also recorded a live all-Hudson concert in RI at one point. He studied, privately, with Roy Harris, whose music I love, esp. a piano suite (can't remember the name of it right now) which uses several old trad tunes, including "Black is the Colour."

We grew up with tons of classical, on all of the time at our house, plus we all took piano lessons and some other isntrument (violin, for me.) My brother would put on some new favourite and teach me how to pick out each instrument, then explain the interweavings, etc. It was great and fun ear-training.

I love Mozart most of all, esp. the Magic Flute. Love Tch., Rimskey-Korsakov (whom my brother considers the best orchestrator of them all,)some Beethoven, Bach, Haydn and Brahms, as well as many of the others mentioned.

As to what makes me listen? Tonality, contrasts, a picture painted in my mind and a stirring in my heart. An elusive "something" which grabs me and lifts me up out of the mundane world.

For anyone who might be interested, my brother is working on his first opera and has just started a blog about it at Daily Process-composing an opera. His website has a couple of analog recordings of pieces from his live performance in RI, at metacomposer.com.

Thanks, this is a great thread!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 03:26 AM

If you want to hear an excellent classical music station via the 'Net you can go to
Australia's ABC Classic-FM and listen online for free.

You have a choice of either listening to the current programme, playing now, or you can choose recent programmes via the 2 links near the top of the page.

I have to warn you that it is an expensive process, though, because you will want to buy more CD's.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Daithi
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 04:20 AM

Just a quickmquestiuon whilst we have the attention of so many classical music fans...

Any body heard of a recording of a piece by Domenico Scarletti called "Il Contese id Stagioni" (The Battle of the Seasons)? It's a "semi-opera" which hw wrote when he was young and before he got into the harpsichord etc stuff he is now most famous for. It's similar to what his father Alessandro was writing at the time.

I've been through many a catalogue since I first heard it twenty odd years ago, in live concert broadcast by the EBU from somewhere in Geermany I think - all to no avail.

Other passions - 17th Century Italian Violin music - Marini, Farini, Gabrielli et al - any one heard the Devil's Trill?

Best - Dáithí


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 02:10 PM

Yes, Christopher Parkening did study with Segovia. His cousin, Jack Marshall was a studio musician and staff guitarist with MGM. Parkening says that when he was eleven years old, he loved the way his cousin played and wanted to learn to play like he did. Marshall told him that the best thing for him to do was learn some classic guitar, and then he would be well prepared to play any style of music. When he heard his first Segovia recording, he knew for sure what he wanted to do. The music store where he bought his first guitar recommended that he take lessons from the Romero family (Pepe, Angel, Celine, and father Celedonio), who had recently moved to Los Angeles. He took lessons with them until their concert schedule kept taking them out of town, then he continued on his own. He'd been playing for all of five years (age 16) when he submitted an audition tape for one of Segovia's master classes and was accepted. Segovia was very impressed and took him under his wing. The rest is history.

Parkening put a guitar manual together back in 1972. Good, but very rudimentary. He has since revised and expanded it into two volumes, entitled "The Christopher Parkening Guitar Method, Vols. I and II : The Art and Technique of the Classical Guitar" (published 1999). It's excellent, full of photographs of hand positions and drawings of finger action and such, with thorough explanations. It moves along pretty fast, but many of the melodies he uses for exercises are familiar, which is fun, and they contain a lot of really nice guitar solos:   Dowland, Bach, Sor, Tàrrega, others, from very easy to some real finger-busters.

For teaching classic guitar, I've used the Aaron Shearer books ("Classic Guitar Technique, Vols I and II," plus some of the supplements) for years, but I'm now incorporating the Parkening books as well. They make a good combination. In fact, after a long period of general laziness, I'm trying to get my chops back a bit, so I'm diligently playing through both methods myself. Maybe, if I live long enough, I'll learn how to play this bloody thing!

As Azizi would say   "—snip—"

The story is told about several different conductors, but usually laid at Toscanini's door. The musician who originally told the story said that he was sitting in on a rehearsal of a piece of modern music, and the conductor in question, who had not worked all that much with music by modern composers, was having trouble getting a section of the piece that was in 5/4 time to hang together. Finally, he seemed to get it, the orchestra picked it up, and things started going okay. But the musician noticed that the conductor was mumbling something to himself. He moved up close behind the conductor to see if he could hear what he was mumbling, It turned out to be "Rim-sky-Kor-sa-kov- Rim-sky-Kor-sa-kov- Rim-sky-Kor-sa-kov. . . ." Yup. 5/4.

"Chris-to-pher-Par-ken-ing" is 6/8.   

Don Firth (2/4)


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: autolycus
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 05:37 PM

Daithi (sorry for misspelling)

Contact your nearest Classical CD retailer to see if the Scarlatti is available.

You could try emailing Rob Cowan at thecowancollection@bbc.co.uk to see if it's ever been recorded. Failing that,Westminster Central LIbrary (bound to be on the web). They specialise in collecting on music.

As for what makes me listen, where poetry has been defined as the right words in the right order, the finest music is ....(need I go on?).

I get beauty, the sense that the composer has made something solid, with every note counting, so there is no slack, that sounds full of the unanticipated and the surprising, yet the work sounds inevitable. I get flights of imagination, fresh takes on what can be done with sound that is attention-grabbing. Perhaps above all, a direct communication of feelings and of the otherwise-inexpressible in languages where 'I've heard that before' thoughts tend not to happen.
Oh, 'n' joy, beauty,expressions of exuberance,power, delicacy and all the rest. The best composers were/are deep/powerful musical thinkers/people. If you like that sort of thing.

Ivor

Ivor


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,mack/misophist
Date: 05 Apr 06 - 08:32 PM

A minor but lovely piece that ought to be included is Reynaldo Hahn's 'Bal de Beatrice d'Este" (I may have left out an article or adjective.)

Anecdote: When Ottarino Resphigi was starting his career, he was torn between the priesthood, composing, or being a concert violinist. As a result his first major work was 'Concerto Gregoriano', a violin suite based on gregorian themes. It's worth a listen.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 12:02 AM

3 favorites

Lalo--Symphonie Espagnole--do you know this one, Helen?--you'd probably really like it
Bizet--Carmen--either the 2 suites or the whole opera
Chabrier--Espana

How is it that the French can write such stirring music about Spain--as well as the Spanish do?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Al
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 12:54 AM

To answer the question honestly, nothing. There is nothing about it that I like, and I don't listen to it. I find it tedious, the product of over-active minds with no soul whatsoever. Since you asked.
Al


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 04:43 AM

Ron,

I like very few operas, only because I haven't listened to many all the way through. Carmen, and The Magic Flute, however are 2 of my favourites and there are songs here and there which will make me stop and listen, such as the Flower Duet from Lakme by Delibes.

I don't know the Lalo Symphonie Espagnole but I'll try to find it. I really only started seriously listening, on a regular basis, to classical music in the last couple of years but now I feel like I have so much to catch up on.

Now that I have started this thread and so many people have made so many suggestions I can see that my immediate future is going to be taken up looking for all these pieces of music I haven't heard yet.

And, Al, thank you for sharing your opinion. I know that classical music is a love-hate thing.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Essex Girl
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:48 AM

I love Faure's Requiem, most of the oratorios. Carmina Burana, Vaughn Williams, Elgar,Aaron Copeland. Lots of other pieces (mainly choral) which I have on CD in the car


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: sciencegeek
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:28 AM

"More. Between Barbara and me, we have LPs, tapes, and CDs up the ziggy, and we keep getting more. Great stacks of stuff, including heaps of classic guitar, not to mention all the folk music. HELP!! Is there a 12-step program for this sort of thing?

Don Firth "

Musical AA? Heck, just call me an enabler...LOL. I'm at least trying to consolidate the LPs, tapes & CDs onto my computer. But the originals will just go into storage... :) Can anyone say "packrat"?

When I kick the bucket, my body is going to science... but I'm still deciding who gets my collections...

Put in your dibbs now, guys....


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Penguin Egg
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 10:32 AM

I quite like classical music, and I love the classical guitar. Julian Bream and Andres Sergovia are the equals of Skip James and Son House, in my view - and praise does not come much higher.

I like the popular classics - Holst's planets' suite, Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez, Vaughan Williams' Greensleves and Thomas Tallis, Beethoven's 6th, Mozart's 21st, Elgars Nimrod and certain parts of that Cello Concerto, and many others. A lot of good stuff, although like all other types of music, a lot of it is rubbish and over rated.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 02:12 PM

". . . tedious, the product of over-active minds with no soul whatsoever."

I'm currently listening to Beethoven's Symphony No.6, Op.68 (the "Pastoral"), and I'm having a hard time reconciling that comment with what I'm hearing. Perhaps that says more about the person making the comment than it does about the music. . . .

In the category of "a prophet is without honor in his own land," we should not forget George Gershwin. Most of his compositions are very "American idiom," derived mostly for jazz, which is one of the reasons that many Americans tend to overlook him or underrate him.

The story is told that after the fairly spectacular critical and popular success of his Rhapsody in Blue, he had something of a crisis of confidence. He felt that now things would be expected of him that he just wasn't up to. He decided to go to France and study composition with Maurice Ravel.

When he and Ravel met, it turned out that not only was Ravel familiar with his work, but that he was a great admirer of Gershwin's. "But why would you want to study with me?" Ravel asked. "All I could do for you is turn you into second-rate Ravel. You are already first-rate Gershwin!"   

Ravel's little pep-talk bucked him up. He proceeded to write An American in Paris, which was another big success. The later movie with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, in which all the music was Gershwin's, didn't hurt. Incidentally, Gene Kelly's choreography for the long dance sequence in the movie (and Kelly was the one who did the choreography) is considered by many knowledgeable dance aficionados to be as great a piece of work as any classic ballet to ever hit the stage.

But Ravel was apparently unaware that Gershwin did have some reasons for his feelings of inadequacy as a composer. A quote from a brief biography of Gershwin:
His larger-scale works, melodically remarkable as might be expected, suffer from his haphazard musical education and lack of grounding in counterpoint, theory, etc. (Rhapsody in Blue was orchestrated by Ferde Grofé, but Gershwin himself scored the later works.) He went for lessons to Henry Cowell and Joseph Schillinger, and there can be little doubt that had he lived longer he would have progressed to considerable symphonic achievement. As it is, his mixture of the primitive and the sophisticated gives his music individuality and an appeal which shows no sign of diminishing.
But then, Mussorgski (Pictures at an Exhibition, A Night on Bald Mountain, and the opera, Boris Godunov) suffered from the same deficiencies. Mussorgski was a good pianist, but an inept orchestrator, much moreso than Gershwin. Both Rimsky-Korsakov and Ravel reorchestrated many of Mussorgski's works.

Gershwin's opera (and it is a genuine opera), Porgy and Bess, falls into the category of opera verismo, or opera about true life—people who could actually exist (such as Puccini's La Bohème, Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci, or Bizet's Carmen)—rather than "grand opera," which is generally about kings, nobles, and gods (Verdi's Aida, The Masked Ball, and Rigoletto or Wagner's Ring of the Niebelungs ). Many of Gershwins songs are so familiar that most people don't realize that it's Gershwin. The songs from Porgy and Bess ("Summertime," "It Ain't Necessarily So," etc.) are very familiar to most Americans. But their familiarity doesn't lessen their quality as music. Most Italians are as familiar with the words and melodies of Verdi arias as Americans are with songs by Gershwin.

Admired in Europe, often greatly underrated here.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 05:16 PM

Don,

One of the reasons I like our Australian radio station, Classic-FM is that they do play Gershwin, and other types of music including jazz and folk fairly regularly. The other day I heard: Trad (Québecois) Valse Frontenac - Chris Norman, flute; Alasdair Fraser, fiddle; Billy McComiskey, acc; Robin Bullock, guitar; Paul Wheaton, double bass.

They also have a play list, which is searchable by composer, and also comes up in Google, which has the composer, performer, track and CD details, including CD number because there are a lot of times that I will hear something and either know it but have to turn off before I get the name of it or I want to buy it.

I posted the link to their website where you can listen online.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,van lingle
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 05:35 PM

Nice story about Ravel and Gershwin, Don. Interestingly, you can hear a bit or Gershwin influence in Ravel's Concerto in G (circa 1930).
"Love Walked In", "But Not For Me", "Our Love is Here to Stay" some of the greatest melodies ever written, IMO.

Al, if you find "serious" music without soul take a listen to Puccini's "Vissi D'arte" or "O Mio Babbino Caro" or maybe Schubert's "Ave Maria" and you might change your mind. Not everybody's cup of tea though, I guess.vl


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 08:57 PM

Thanks, Helen. Found it!

There's a similar station in Seattle (KING-FM) where they post their playlists, frequently with a link to where one can get information on the relevant CD, and if one wishes, buy it on-line. Most useful!

KING-FM

Actually, vl, it was just a couple of days ago that KING-FM played Gershwin's An American in Paris, and the announcer told the story about Gershwin and Ravel. That's where I heard it.

A few years back, the piano duo of Katia And Marielle Labèque toured the United States, playing great gobs of Gershwin in their concerts. They seem to have sparked a resurgence of interest in Gershwin, along with an awareness that musicians and audiences elsewhere take him far more seriously than most Americans do. Thanks, ladies!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 06 Apr 06 - 11:59 PM

I wouldn't want to be hard on Al--though I totally disagree that classical music has "no soul whatsoever"--especially the Romantic literature-- Tschaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherezade, Brahms symphonies, Schumann piano concerto in a minor--and on and on.

But I suspect Al did not grow up with classical music. It would be fascinating to know how many of us who love it grew up with it at home-I suspect a large percentage. It would also be of interest to know how many have played or sung it in a good group. Somebody who fits none of the the above (and they are of course linked) would be unlikely to love it, I think.

It's the old stereotype of classical lovers being stuck up--and unable to appreciate real gutsy music--of "the people"--both "folk music" and popular music--esp R & B and/or country. And of course there are some classical fans who are total musical snobs--think that all pop music--at least since the start of the rock era-- is trash. They're missing a lot too--just like the people who cut themselves off to classical music.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 01:16 AM

I grew up with classical music and hated it as a child. My father listened to it all the time. I didn't and still don't share his particular tastes in classical music. Except for Hall of the Mountain King. We loved that one as kids. But I didn't really start to like classical music until I encountered early music while in high school.

I've played with some good enough people and groups (certainly better than I am or ever will be). I found the experience of playing early music with others as pleasing as playing "folk" with others. Except that "folk" is a lot easier to learn and play.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: CarolC
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 01:21 AM

...and J.S. Bach most definitely has "soul" although he's not particularly visceral. Maybe visceral is the idea Al really had in mind.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Bert
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 01:39 AM

Generally speaking, I don't like classical music. It seems to me to be a pompous load of noise.

And I, as a dancer, especially hate those composers who take dance music and fuck it about so that you can't dance to it.


I do like Katchaturian though, but he is more modern than classical.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Grab
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 02:07 PM

It's got to be something *without* warbling singers. IMO, if you can't sustain a pure note and make it worth listening to, then you can forget calling yourself a top-flight classical singer. That rules out pretty much everything my wife listens to (Sutherland, Horne, et al). None of them has even the slightest trace of emotional content in the music - they're too busy vocalising to give a shit about what the music *means*. As a technical exercise it's wonderful, but as music it's crap. I wouldn't consider any of them to be even third-rate musicians, even if they're first-rate singers.

That said, I've also yet to hear anything as beautiful as a really good soprano voice done straight, with vibrato used for emphasis and tone, instead of slathered on with a dump truck like every opera singer does.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 03:06 PM

Sutherland is not my favorites by any means. She ccasionally sings flat and tends to swoop form note to note. If she hasn't by now, she should have retired years ago. I'm reminded of what Beverly Sills said when she announced her retirement. Her voice still sounded great, but she said that it was not as easy as it used to be, and that, she felt was a sign. She said, "I would rather have people ask, 'why did she retire?' than have them say, 'Why doesn't she retire.'"

But Marilyn Horne!?? Somehow, Graham, you're missing something! She, and Cecilia Bartoli, who has a similar voice, sing a lot of stuff with technical razzle-dazzle largely because they can, and people want to hear them do it because they do it so well. But have you ever heard Marilyn Horne sing Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix from Samson and Delilah?" Full of emotion. She's one of the richest, smoothest sounding mezzo-sopranos to ever sing a note! Or Cecilia Bartoli singing Mozart's Exultate Jubilate? Full of rapid scales, jumps, trills, general fireworks. But it, too, is full of emotion.

And, yes, their voices have vibrato. Almost all good voices have at least a touch of it. Kiri Te Kanawa, for example, has a fairly evident vibrato, but it's hardly intrusive. A touch of vibrato lends a kind of "life" to a voice that would otherwise sound sort of flat—even though it might be right on pitch. Vibrato is a natural phenomenon, not usually something that someone has to work to develop. It just happens. It's rare to find a singer who doesn't have at least some vibrato, and that includes folk singers. Ewan MacColl, for example, had a fairly fast, wide vibrato.

Opera and oratorio singers are often called upon, not just to sing words, but to use their voices like musical instruments. All those fast scales and ornaments are very much like the sort of thing that jazz singers do when they're "scat singing." Think Ella Fitzgerald.

No lack of emotion when it's called for. Try listening again with unprejudiced ears.

—snip—

Re:   Family background. My family was not particularly musical in the active sense (my mother had a few piano lessons when she was a kid, but we didn't have a piano early on, so. . . .), but we listened to the radio a lot. There were lots of music programs in the evening, such as "Manhatten Merry-Go-Round," "The Grand Ole Opry," and "The Longines Symphonette." Pretty eclectic.

My two sisters and I listened to the usual run of kid's programs that came on at 5:00 every weekday afternoon. This was adventure stuff like "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy" and "Captain Midnight," and comic strip characters like "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" and "Superman" (radio actor Bud Collier suddenly changing his voice when he would say {as Clark Kent, a light baritone}, "This is a job for" {suddenly, he's a bass} "Superman!" The theme songs of these programs were often classical music excerpts. Then, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:30 p.m., "The Lone Ranger" came on. The program started, of course, with the fanfare section of The William Tell Overture by Rossini (indelibly associated with the Lone Ranger now), and later in the program, as the announcer was narrating parts of the story, the background music was Liszt's Les Preludes. Very dramatic stuff! Most of those programs used classical excerpts in a similar manner. "I Love a Mystery," for example, opened with Danse Macabre.

In high school, like most kids, I did my homework with the radio on, but I found music on the pop music stations, along with the perpetual DJ babble, to be distracting, so I switched on programs like "The Frederick and Nelson Concert Hour" (F. & N. was a big department store in Seattle). Both of my sisters, Mary and Patricia, were heavily involved in figure skating (both went on to win National Figure Skating Championships, and my younger sister, Pat, competed in the World Championships in Vienna in 1955—placed 7th), and they spent a lot of time listening to classical music records trying to find music suitable for skating programs. Lots of ballet and such. Also, by then, we had a piano, and Pat was taking piano lessons.

In high school, I tended to run with the music and drama crowd—the kids who acted in the Senior Play and sang in the yearly operettas. They did some pretty ambitious stuff, such as "Show Boat" and "The Fortune Teller," and brought them off in an amazingly professional manner for a bunch of teen-agers. There was one girl (huge soprano voice) who went on to become a professional concert singer and sang often with Seattle Opera and with other opera companies. One of the guys had a rich baritone (he was a movie buff and his idol was Nelson Eddy). Shortly after he graduated, he got a bit part singing in a movie with Bing Crosby, and later went on to Broadway. In his first Broadway part, he understudied the lead in "Damn Yankees."

When I was about eighteen, a friend of mine who was interested in opera discovered that he had a halfway decent tenor voice, and started taking singing lessons. Just for kicks, I decided to take a few singing lessons. The teacher was Edna Bianchi, a retired Metropolitan Opera soprano and a marvelous teacher. She pegged me as a bass-baritone. Without a clue as to what I would ever do with my voice other than sing for fun, I took lessons from her for a couple of years.

At the University of Washington, I was led astray when I started going with a girl who was eagerly learning folk songs and teaching herself to play the guitar. I bought a cheap guitar to mess around with, and she showed me my first chords. She and I went to a concert by a local folk singer named Walt Robertson, and I was thoroughly hooked! Other than a few chords learned from Claire, Walt taught me my first tricky licks on the guitar, I went on to take classic guitar lessons, went back to Mrs. Bianchi for more voice lessons, and changed my major to music.

But that's a whole nother story.

I tend to wince a bit at hard rock and rap, but other than that, I love all kinds of music.

Actually, I find more folk music aficionados "stuck up" and "snobbish" when confronted by classical music than the other way around. Many self-taught musicians seem to think that they have some kind of wild, creative freedom that people with formal musical training don't have. It's just the other way around. Music theory is not just a big list of "Thou Shalt Nots," it's the accumulated knowledge of all of the musicians who have gone before, and it consists of a menu of possibilities that, more often than not, untrained musicians never even think of.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Al
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 03:18 PM

Yes, a technical exercise. That's exactly what classical sounds like to me. A vehicle for exhibiting virtuosity. Of the mind and ego. Not of the heart.

No worries about other opinions "being hard" on me. I have my feelings, others have theirs. This is a place to share them. Now, if others think there is some reason why I shouldn't feel the way I do, because they feel otherwise, then perhaps they need to reflect on the nature of individual feelings. It's much more interesting to find out how things are than how they "should" be.

For those who like classical, chaque à son goût.

Regarding my early exposure to classical, just what was on the radio now and again. Musical training was school band with clarinet and saxophone. Followed by 36 years of guitar, banjo, and fiddle.

Love,
Al


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 03:48 PM

As you say, "chaque à son goût." But merely "a vehicle for exhibiting virtuosity. Of the mind and ego. Not of the heart?"

Well, that's not what I hear when I listen to classical music. True, there is the occasional musician who is all technique and no soul, but they generally don't get very far or last every long.

There are folks who get so distracted by a good musician's virtuosity that they don't get around to hearing the actual content of the music. But that's not the fault of the musician. Or of the music. You have to open your ears. And your mind.

I'm not putting you down, Al. I think you're just not hearing what's really there.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: autolycus
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 04:01 PM

Al - you said you don't listen to it and you don't like it. I presume you did once listen a bit to know you don't like it.

Well as the conductor and composer might say, "Ah, not your cup of tea."

I got into c.m.,(which in my book includes Khatchaturian), whenI was 14. Previously, I had dismissed it as all sounding the same - not having heard much. Picked up bits in various places despite myself - galop from William Tell overture introducing The Lone Ranger, bits in all those Tom and Jerry cartoons. There used to be record request programmes which ever ended with a bit of pop classical here on the BBC. Some of that registered. Otherwise, when I was growing up there was music on the radio but it wasn't central.

Then a friend of my brother's bought me an American popular introduction to c.m. A year later, a foisted friend introduced me to "Your Hundred Best Tunes" on the old BBC Light Programme. An hour's worth of the most popular classical music bits. (It's still going - different presenter.) First thing I discovered was that c.m. had loads of great tunes. Amazement.


ivor


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 04:17 PM

Musing on technical perfection. I prefer someone who plays with their heart and soul, to technical perfection. Nigel Kennedy loves the music and has a unique style which appeals to me. There are some people who should never play Beethoven because they lack that feeling.

One of the reasons I do not like most US orchestra renditions, is they tend to play pieces too fast (throw back to the days when it was done to get everything recorded on one record) Rudolph Serkin made very few recordings for that reason. Not everyones cup of tea but it does make a difference to me when I listen.

Yours, Aye. Dave


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 05:21 PM

"... Andres Segovia literally created the genre of classical guitar, which hadn't existed before around 1910. There was flamenco, which he borrowed from, but he actually arranged the works of Mozart and other classical composers for guitar, something that had never been done before ... Segovias' style is not slick or contrived, but it's still very clean and his timing is impeccable ... it's got a feeling of casual elegance, as if he's sitting around the house in Spain with a jug of wine, just playing from the heart." - Roger McGuinn / Byrds


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 06:04 PM

Al,

There is a lot of classical music I don't like, including the overblown singers, but also I could never get into the romantic (schmaltzy") stuff (didn't like the romantic poets much when I studied literature either) or some of the pompous dramatic stuff.   I never really have liked Mozart, except for The Magic Flute and a couple of other pieces. I get caught out listening to the radio sometimes. I hear a piece and think that it is probably Mozart, and then I think, maybe he's not so bad after all, and then they say "that was a piece by Handel" and I think "Ah, that was why I liked it!". Mozart was clever, but in my opinion he was tricksy-clever, and I can't hear the heart in his music.

Sometimes I turn the radio down because it's "not my cup of tea" but that's why I like classical music, because there is such a broad range to listen to and discover, and then you get someone else's interpretation of a piece and it totally changes it, and you can change your mind about liking it.

Early music is probably one of my favourite types of c.m. such as the Renaissance CD I have, and it is closer to folk music because it was often love songs, love-gone-wrong songs etc, and also dances.

And, my early exposure to c.m. was not strong, but we listened to the radio a lot, and then we bought a secondhand radiogram with a few boxes of 78 rpm records, mostly swing music, and then my sister and I started learning to play music and by then our taste in music was very eclectic. I got into the folk music scene in my late teens but still retained a love of all kinds of music. I used to say "all kinds of music except country & western, and opera" but now I appreciate some music in those styles too.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 09:37 PM

I came home this afternoon from running some errands and turned on my marvelous Tom Swift electric radio (Sony, actually), and what should I hear emanating from Classic KING-FM but a series of Chopin nocturnes and waltzes. Many of these are not too technically difficult for a competent pianist, and—well, to say that Chopin's works lack emotion is rather like saying the Pacific Ocean lacks moisture.

This got me to thinking. Opera. All that spectacular vocalization:   bellowing tenors and screeching sopranos you hear about who some folks are convinced are hung up on technical virtuosity and whose singing is devoid of any emotional content. Well. . . .

Aida, by Verdi. Aida is an Ethiopian princess, captured by the Egyptians and now the slave of Amneris, the Pharoah's daughter. Aida has fallen in love with Rhadames, the general of the Egyptian army—and he with her, much to the annoyance of Amneris. Into the opera a bit, the Egyptian army, led by Rhadames, is about to march into battle. The priests bless the army and Pharoah and the crowd see the army off with a chorus of "ritorna vincitor!" Return victorious! Aida, caught up in the moment and fearing for the man she loves, joins in the cries of "ritorna vincitor!" Then she suddenly realizes what she's saying. Rhadames is marching off to war against Amnonasro, the Ethiopian king—her father! What follows is one of the great soprano arias, in which Aida agonizes over her predicament, loving two men who are hell-bent on killing each other. The aria ends with Aida falling to her knees and singing "Numi pieta, numi pieta. . . ." "May the gods have pity!"

Not much emotion there, I guess.

Cavalleria Rusticana, by Mascagne. In a small Sicilian village, Turiddu seduces a young girl, Santuzza, and because of their illicit affair, she is excommunicated. Whether or not she's pregnant is not made clear in the opera. Then Turiddu runs off with Lola, the wife of Alfio, the local teamster. The story is told through a singing conversation (duet)between Santuzza and Mama Lucia, Turiddu's mother. Then follows a scene in which Santuzza confronts Turiddu in the town square (the whole opera takes place there, with Mama Lucia's tavena on one side of the stage and the entrance to the church on the other). The argument grows heated, then violent. Turiddu hurls Santuzza to the ground and stalks into the church. As he mounts the stairs, Santuzza lays a curse on him. All disappear from the stage and all you see is the town square, devoid of people. The Intermezzo begins slowly and softly, then breaks into a sweeping, pastoral melody that reminds the audience, after all this wild passion, that these events are taking place on a pleasant Easter morning while, in the church, the Easter service is being conducted. Then everybody comes out of the church, and— The opera ends with a woman rushing into the town square, screaming that Alfio, Lola's husband, has just stabbed Turiddu to death.

Pretty lame in the emotions department, one might say

I Pagliacci, by Leoncavallo. Canio, the head of a troupe of traveling clowns finds out that his wife, Nedda, is cheating on him. The first act ends with the impassioned "Ridi, Pagliacci!." "Laugh, clown, laugh. Your love is gone, your heart is breaking, but the audience wants their comedy! Get on with it!" At the end of the "comedy" within the opera, Nedda and her lover Silvio lie at Canio's feet, stabbed to death. Canio drops the bloody dagger, turns to the horrified audience and intones, "La commedia e finite!" "The comedy is finished!"

Yup. Pretty bland stuff.

I could go on like this with about fifty different operas I'm familiar with, but—well, I guess all that screeching gets on some people's nerves. . . .

Actually though, folks, opera singers used to just stand there and sing, and as actors, were pretty stiff. Not so anymore. More and more, they cast for looks as well as voice, and people like Renée Fleming (soprano, and cuter 'n' a bug's ear), Jerry Hadley (tenor), Thomas Hampson (baritone), and other regulars at the Met generally look the part they are portraying, and are all good actors as well as top-rate singers.

The fat soprano with an iron bra and wings on her helmet who just stands there and screeches like a steam whistle is yesterday's cartoon stereotype. I find that most people who turn pea-green at the thought of opera have never seen one, and if they've heard any at all, it's generally a few recordings of someone singing in a language they don't understand.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Al
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 09:56 PM

Need I say more about the mind stuff? I think not. Don said it far better than I.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 07 Apr 06 - 11:12 PM

Hunh??

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 12:42 AM

Al--

"Musical training was school band with clarinet and saxaphone" I would guess that means only band, no orchestra. If you had played clarinet in an orchestra, I suspect you'd like classical more than you do--just a guess. There are some great orchestral parts for clarinet (not so many for saxaphone)

I played viola--which (famously) does not have many good orchestra parts--but I loved just being part of the musical texture. And in Baroque music there are even good parts for a young violist-and I did play in a quartet from time to time--a few eons ago.



Daith--

I don't know the Scarlatti piece Il Contese di Stagioni--but I know the Devil's Trill--isn't it a sonata--or is there more than one? I have it on tape, I think.


Bert--

There is a LOT of great classical dance music. It just depends on what kind of dance you like to do. If you like Khachaturian, you might well like modern classical dance music--some Bernstein, for instance.







I certainly agree with everybody who criticizes vibrato you can drive a Mack truck through. With few exceptions, the only parts of opera I like are overtures and choruses. (Zauberfloete is an exception--it's actually very funny--auf Deutsch.) But why vibrato seems to be a requirement for a "trained voice" is beyond me. And in a chorus, the director usually wants straight tone--so he (or she) can create the musical color himself.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 03:00 PM

Vibrato is not really a requirement for a trained voice, it generally occurs naturally, and it's produced by a combination of forces at work when a person sings—or speaks, for that matter. But when one is speaking, the duration of a single tone is usually so short that the vibrato present is not noticeable. I've taken lessons from three different voice teachers, and none of them tried to get me to develop a vibrato. I never even thought about vibrato, but when I listen to tapes, I notice that I do have a bit of it. It just happens. I could suppress it, but when I do, it feels unnatural. Why bother? No one has ever mentioned it to me, and I don't notice it unless I'm specifically listening for it. And most of the singers—not classically trained—that I know, or hear on records, also have at least a touch of vibrato.

With some singers, the periodicity and the width of variation can get out of hand ("wobble") and it becomes very conspicuous. This is not good. A natural vibrato, other than giving the voice "life," should hardly be noticeable. But—if you listen specifically for vibrato, you're bound to hear it in all but a very few singers. And I guess that sometimes that can spoil the experience. It's sort of like "Whatever you do, don't think of an elephant!" When someone, a classical singer for example, opens his or her mouth to sing, you expect to hear vibrato and, son-of-a-gun, that's all you hear.

It's not that opera singers necessarily have more vibrato than other singers, but often they are trying to sing over a whole symphony orchestra, and because they are so bloody loud (not everyone has a big enough voice for this kind of singing), it may become more noticeable. I heard Dennis Bailey, a tenor with Seattle Opera a few years back, sing in a relatively small meeting room, and I was astounded at how loud his voice was. And I've heard that in similar venues, Renée Fleming (not a big woman) can practically blow the walls out if she's a mind to.

As a matter of fact, I'm listening to Renée Fleming right now, on the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of Manon. Her vibrato is there—if I focus on it. But I can't trying to imagine her voice without it. It would sound flat and lifeless. Ah! Here comes the tenor. Him, too.

Vibrato seems to be regarded by most musicians—and audiences—as a desirable thing. Almost all instrumentalists try for vibrato. Watch a violinist. Notes will be emphasized by undulating the left-hand to give the fingered note an up-and-down variation in pitch, with very good effect. Violinists use it almost all the time. Or classic guitarists. Hard to do on steel strings, but on nylon strings it works. Some electric guitars come equipped with a vibrato arm. Popular singers often come at a note "straight" (no vibrato) and a little under the correct pitch, come up to the correct pitch, and add vibrato. Also a very good effect.

Unless it develops into a wobble, it doesn't pay to try to suppress a natural vibrato. Trying to prevent one's voice from doing its natural thing develops undue tension that can result in nodes on the vocal folds. On the other hand, I recall a fairly promising coloratura soprano who lived around here some years back. Her voice teacher—who was also her mother (bad combination, especially since she was a stage mother!)—thought to give Leone a unique voice by getting her to develop a strong vibrato. The ultimate result was that Leone wound up sounding like a bleating goat when she sang. Nice voice to begin with, but it became downright irritating to listen to, and she went nowhere fast.

There is a pretty good rundown on vibrato here:    Clicky #1. Note where the writer points out that, although some choir directors want their singers to sing with a "straight tone" (no vibrato), singing that way can be damaging to the voice. And Wikipedia has a good article on vibrato in both instrumental and vocal music here:    Clicky #2.

If you listen for vibrato in the voices of various folk singers (including traditional singers, not just Joan Baez), you'll notice that a lot of them have at least some. As I mentioned above, Ewan MacColl has a very strong vibrato. Doesn't bother me. That's just part of his natural sound, and it wouldn't sound like Ewan MacColl without it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Al
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 05:57 PM

Yes, violinists use vibrato nearly all the time. Fiddlers not coming from a violin background do not. I put vibrato in the same category as using reverb on a sound system. A little bit adds enhancement. More than that becomes burdensome to my ear. A friend of mine calls the reverb knob on a sound system the talent knob. Think you need to sound better? Just turn up the talent knob. To me, vibrato is just like that.
Al


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 06:11 PM

But Don, the problem, I think is that in opera, even in English, you're really lucky to be able to understand the words--and I think a lot of it is due to too much vibrato. Joan Baez has vibrato, sure enough, but you can understand her. It's hard to believe that vibrato is necessary to cut through thick orchestration--in fact I would think it would--and does-- muddy the sound. What I've heard in choruses I've been in--and it seems to be true--is that spitting out consonants is what really makes words cut through--and it also obviates the need to blow your lungs out on every note at high volume--even if the requested dynamic is loud. If the consonants are strong, the words come out.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 06:18 PM

Scott Joplin's "Treemonisha."


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 06:23 PM

AR--

Have you had a chance to see it live? How was it? Just about the only thing I know from it is "A Real Slow Drag".


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 07:30 PM

I've never seen it live but I have the Deutsche Grammophon 2-CD set by the Houston Grand Opera--as far as I know it is the only version commercially available.

"A Real Slow Drag" is the finale (and supposedly stolen from Joplin by Irving Berlin who then made "Alexander's Ragtime Band" out of it which infuriated Joplin). But the overture is quite dynamic. "We're Goin Around" is a ringshout used by Joplin to show that square dancing has more in common with the ringshout than English country dancing that we always assume it was derived from.

I love the Aria "The Sacred Tree" sung by Treemonisha's mother. Wagner (whom Joplin idolized) never wrote anything lovelier. It's beautiful and in 3/4 time without breaking into a waltz groove. It somehow remains freeflowing.

As theatre the opera is not strong. Joplin was very ill at the time he was trying to get it down in final form and the plot is sketchy but the music more than makes up for it. It is truly glorious and distinctly black-American. For example, there is a sermon called "Good Advice" which is a typical black call & response church number. It is indescribably lovely despite the fact that Joplin obviously disdained Christianity and stripped the sermon of all religious content. But he recognized how important the music is to American culture and "Good Advice" was his tribute to it and it is about as lovely a piece as i have ever heard.

"We Will Rest Awhile" is sung by field hands but is done in barbershop quartet harmonies because that is the genesis of the barbershop quartet (I saw barbershop quartet competition on PBS once and all the acts were older white people and one blue-haired old lady with a beautiful voice recited the history of barbershop quarteting and the first thing she said was that it is an "African-American musical form").

"Prelude to Act III" is a lovely instrumental with a delicate interplay of violin and cello at the end that I think is just chillingly beautiful--like two autumn leaves swirling around each other as they gently drop into a stream to be carried off to parts unknown.

"Frolic of the Bears" is another instrumental that accompanies dancers in bear costumes frolicking in the Ozark forests. While the music was certainly influenced by Mozart, the frolicking bears harks back to the Uncle Remus-type stories that came over from Africa. In fact, the bears' dance is timeless and yet ancient. Something mythological rather than historical.

There is little ragtime in "Treemonisha" other than "We're Goin Around," "A Real slow Drag" and "Aunt Dinah Has Blowed the Horn." I guess you could throw "We Will Rest Awhile" in there too. But it is obvious that the genesis "Treemonisha" evolved from the ragtime opera form (of which Joplin had written at least one called "A Guest of Honor" although it is now lost) and may have had its earliest genesis in Joplin's 1902 piece "The Ragtime Dance" (the piece is played at the very end of "The Sting" as the credits roll).

Joplin's opera was unusual for having a female heroine who spends a great deal of her time battling superstition against a thinly-disguised Christianity. Even the parson who sings "Good Advice" is seen by Joplin as a windbag and he appropriately names him Parson Alltalk. Parson Bullshitter basically. Remember that religious blacks loathed Joplin and believed ragtime was evil music. Joplin, in turn, hated them and refused to do any religious music.

The thrust of the opera is a message to black America: throw away religion and embrace education, to learn from whites without bowing down to them so that they might someday teach one another and become educated and self-sufficient. And prophetically enough, Joplin predicted it would be black women who would lead that charge and that seems to be what is happening.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 07:38 PM

That's fascinating. The only thing I would say is that in fact throwing away religion has not been considered necessary--or even a good idea. It's hard to imagine Martin Luther King without his strong faith.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 08:26 PM

I don't think Joplin had the eradication of religion in mind. Rather it was the dogmatic, superstitious aspect of it that he hated. For him, the ultimate message of religion should be along the lines of "be nice and fair to other folks and most of them will be nice and fair to you in return." Shouting scripture while condemning ragtime and doing their best to keep it from their communities was just inexplicable to someone like Joplin who lived and loved his music and just wanted to spread it around for other people to enjoy. He never held a job that wasn't related to playing and/or writing music. It was what he was and what he did and he obviously resented being called immoral for it.

But it's fairly clear that Joplin was not going to waste his time flirting with religion. He had no use for it and no use for religious fanatics attacking him. But I think as long as a religious community had the idea of education being the key to success, Joplin would have no quarrel with them. IOW, I don't think he was anti-religion in the sense of challenging their doctrines. He showed no indications that he cared in the slightest what they believed just so long as they behaved themselves.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 09:52 PM

Thank you, AR282. I'd heard of Treemonisha, but not from someone who has actually heard it, completely. You have certainly piqued my interest in it, now.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: CarolC
Date: 08 Apr 06 - 10:49 PM

Al, I can certainly understand that you don't like classical music. Everyone has different tastes in music, and everyone has a right to their own tastes. What I don't understand is, why you feel a need to come on a thread that is clearly stated as being for people who do like classical music to talk about why they like it, and trash classical music.

You don't have to like it, but why do you need to disrupt a discussion between people who do like it? We have just as much right to our own personal tastes in music as you do.

Why not just talk about the kinds of music you like on threads that are about those kinds of music?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 06:07 AM

Carol--

It's worthwhile to get anybody's perspective. And possibly to speculate on why somebody would feel that way. I still think that if Al had been able to play clarinet in an orchestra, he might well be more positively inclined towards classical music. I'm just sorry for anybody who doesn't appreciate its richness. They're missing a lot--and I think classical fans realize that it does definitely in fact have unlimited "soul". We don't need to prove anything.

And, as I said, people who only appreciate classical are also missing a lot. We should count ourselves lucky that we appreciate such a wide variety of music--and have the chance to hear it--and make it.

Let's hear it for music addicts of all kinds--(leaving aside the hot topic of whether rap is in fact music).


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 06:21 AM

AR--

Joplin's relations with his community are intriguing---thanks for that background. It definitely sounds like the Houston Opera recording is worth getting--and it's too bad some more of the pieces from the opera don't get wider exposure--maybe they will later.

It's interesting to note that Thomas Dorsey--of "Precious Lord" and other gospel music-- also had rocky relations with his community. They didn't like his persona of Georgia Tom, under which he did some real risque stuff (for the era).

But I'm creeping away from the thread.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: autolycus
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 12:22 PM

Incidentally, can anyone direct me to where I can discover who play the wild version of the William Tell galop on the Lone Ranger soundtrack?

Al and others - I must tell the story of the composer Vaughan Williams, who, on putting down his baton at the end of a rehearsal of his own most violent work,his 4th Symphony, aparently remarked "Well, if that's your modern music, you can keep it."


   Ivor


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 01:35 PM

Maybe, Ron. But it looks to me like it just puts everyone on the defensive without changing anybody's mind about anything.

I don't need to feel any better or more fortunate than people who don't share my tastes in music. But I like to be able to enjoy the kinds of music I like without being attacked for it. It's a two way street... for all of us.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 01:58 PM

Carol, it happens all of the time on Mudcat. We've never been able to have an "I like astrology/spirituality, etc." thread without someone coming in and denigrating the thread and its posters.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 02:07 PM

I agree, katlaughing. But my understanding is that the above the line music section has a different etiquette than the BS section.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 03:17 PM

>>Thank you, AR282. I'd heard of Treemonisha, but not from someone who has actually heard it, completely. You have certainly piqued my interest in it, now.<<

Great! That's why I write about "Treemonisha" every chance I get. I like seeing classical music posts in any forum because I'll always work in Joplin's opera. I just want people to hear it. The music is amazing, beautiful, stirring. He had such a way of putting notes together. It can actually bring me to tears. I listen to it and keep asking, "How the hell did he come up with that? How did he pull that off? How could anyone capture something that way??"

It saddens me greatly when I think of his other opera being lost. It would have been THE example of a ragtime opera. He did perform it live with his brothers and it was fairly succesful for them and got raves and write-ups. Now, it's just gone. There are a few titles for Joplin rags that have no music to go with them. We have discovered Joplin pieces here and there. His Silver Swan Rag piano roll was found by a collector in 1971 in the bottom of a pianola he had bought 15 years before and it sat in his garage. We never heard of this piece before and, naturally, it is beautiful. A solitary 1901 article mentions a Joplin piece not seen or mentioned anywhere else called A Blizzard. If not for this sole article, we'd never know there was such a piece. During his dementia the year before his death, Joplin was caught burning his manuscripts and had to be restrained. He appears to have burned about half of them if not more so god knows what was lost forever.

Recently, ragtimer Reginald Robinson of Chicago was studying a Joplin exhibit photo from the 40s. A former Joplin student wanted his master to be remembered so he got Joplin's wife to set up some of her husband's remaining manuscripts on his piano and have someone photograph it so he could use it in the exhibit. She did and this was the photo Reginald was studying when he noticed one of the manuscripts on the piano was the 2nd page of something never published or seen. The photo was housed at Fisk University in Memphis, so Reginald and ragtime enthusiast Chris Ware went to Memphis and studied the original photo with a magnifying glass. It had lyrics--something Joplin never did other than with his opera. Was this something from "Treemonisha" that he cut out or forgot to add? Was it from another possible opera he might have been working on? Reginald recorded it and it certainly has that amazing Joplin note combination and seems very full, dynamic and symphonic and I would say it was definitely something of the operatic nature. Reginald puts the manuscript at about 1910. Whatever happened to it?

So, really, we can conclude that what survives of Joplin today is only a small portion of his work. I estimate that we only have at best perhaps a quarter of Joplin's true output. Only a tiny portion of that is ever likely to be recovered in the future. Believe it or not, we really know very little about our country at the time ragtime was popular. We really know very little about the early 1900s and 1910s. The vast majority of the music from that period is lost. We haven't heard anywhere near the true amount of ragtime that was around at that period. And considering the racial attitude of America at that period, it is remarkable that much of anything survives of a black musical genius of rare brilliance. And if he had lived longer, what would he have accomplished? I guess we're lucky to have anything of Joplin's at all. Thank god we have Treemonisha. We're really, really lucky we have it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: katlaughing
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 04:55 PM

Carol, depends on the subject of the music thread. We've had some pretty heated music discussions, too.

AR282, thanks, again. Loss of one's compositions is my brother's nightmare. My children have pledged to him, as have I, that his manuscripts, tapes, etc. will be preserved no matter what, but I think he's heard so many horror stories it's difficult for him to believe we will do so. One thing's for sure, I know none of us would ever, ever wrap up sandwiches in it!

I think self-doubt is a plague to him and others such as have been mentioned in this thread. I've known him to throw out early compositions and my mother to go dig them out of the trash. Part of that self-doubt comes from old professors who told him his stuff was terrible because it tonal when everything was supposed to be avant-garde/atonal. It has taken a lot of years to get those voices of authority out of the mix.

He rants and raves about "why should I even write this, who is going to hear/play/pay for it?" I always tell him, "Because no one else can write it as you would. AND, because we have the internet and a lot of other resources we didn't have when we first started out on producing and promoting his music." I remind him, they are like his children and it is not fair to compare them, i.e. he'll want to toss one compo because it doesn't sound as good as a completely different one.

The life of a classical composer is tortured and sublime, just like the book title about Mozart, "The Sacred and Profane."

kat


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 05:41 PM

Carol,

Al wasn't attacking any of the posters but only stating an opinion. Opinions are welcome, even if they disagree with the majority of posters in the thread.

I have heard classically trained musicians play without heart and soul, only concerned with technical excellence, and I used to get annoyed by "classical music" as a whole and then as I heard more (and more - there is so much of it, I'm afraid I'll never hear enough of it in my life) I started to realise that what I thought about Wordsworth as a poet (schmaltzy) applies to some styles or compositions of classical music. There are some other styles or composers that don't appeal to me like the pompous and overdramatic, and the screechy female voices, and the chamber music type which is more like background music, but there are others that do.

And the ones that do appeal to me can get to my heart and soul like nothing else.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Ron Davies
Date: 09 Apr 06 - 08:45 PM

Then there was Beecham's possibly apocryphal answer to the question "Have you ever conducted any Stockhausen?"

"No, but I think I once trod on some."


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 03:40 PM

Yesterday on the Oz classical station, as I was driving home, I heard Alison Krauss singing Simple Gifts with just a cello accompaniment, played by Yo Yo Ma. Perfect bell-like voice, perfect accompaniment! What an experience to hear that!

Just before that was Alice Giles playing My Old Kentucky Home on the concert harp.

ABC-FM plays a wide variety of music, including folk, jazz & world music, which would not come under the "classical" label, but which fits in completely with much of the classical music they play. They play crossover music as well: music which is a fusion of different styles.

And, about Joplin's Treemonisha. I have an idea - you talented people in the US - why don't you stage it yourselves? (Serious question - not a joke.)

In Oz a folkie called Chris Kempster (now deceased), back in the early 60's, was the driving force behind a musical stage play called Reedy River based on Oz (colonial - not Aboriginal) folk songs. Out of that he then was involved in the national children's radio music broadcasts for schools. My sister & I were in primary school at that stage and we had singing sessions based on those broadcasts. I still have a couple of the books with the songs in them.

Out of those broadcasts I am sure that a love of folk music was inspired in many people and that it heavily influenced the folk scene across Australia.

So, my question is a serious one: why don't you talented people stage Treemonisha? (And make a DVD to sell so I don't miss out. :-)   )

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 26 Apr 06 - 08:54 PM

Al, I feel the same way about rock and rap. Noise.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Al
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 01:00 AM

Me too, Kendall. Except for the Beatles. For those who say exposure to orchestral music early in life might have caused an appreciation for classical, certainly that could be true. My apologies to those I seem to have offended by my remarks. Please understand that I'm not judging classical as good or bad. I am simply sharing my personal feelings about it. Others' feelings may reasonably differ. I am not attached to any need to post here on this thread though, and if you would prefer, I would be willing to bug off.
Blessings,
Al


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Raggytash
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 05:54 AM

100 hiya Ted & Terry


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 06:10 AM

Raggy,
       You swine!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 08:00 AM

Al, you don't need to bug off at all. Your opinions are welcome. I was trying to say in my post of 09 Apr 06 - 05:41 PM that there is some classical music I don't like listening to, but there are other pieces that I could listen to over and over. There are a myriad of styles of music within the "classical" label, and there are also a myriad of interpretations of pieces which can change my opinion of the piece, from love to hate, or vice versa, or from love or hate to indifference.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Grab
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 12:38 PM

Don, I'm not denying that there's emotion in the storyline of operas.

We could also say that Jean-Claude Van Damme films have emotional content. Let's take "Kickboxer" for an example. His brother is a champion kickboxer, Van Damme isn't nearly as good. Then his brother gets paralysed by the bad guy hitting him when he's down, and Van Damme finds someone to train him up to get revenge. His brother gets kidnapped before the fight, so Van Damme basically stands there and gets beat up. Meantime his trainer raids the bad guy's place and frees Van Damme's brother, and Van Damme then fights back and demolishes the bad guy. Lots of emotion in that storyline, for sure.

Now take a guess at how much emotion you see Jean-Claude Van Damme (or pretty much any of the cast) putting in... ;-)

As far as I can see, the majority of operatic singers are hired on the basis of maintaining a decent tone at high volumes (which as you say is a rare ability in itself), and not on their ability to portray a character (which is also a rare ability). So this is rather like hiring people for a martial arts film based on whether they can do a jumping spinning back kick, rather than on acting ability. There will be some who can do both, but simple statistics tells you that they're going to be the minority.

I'm not saying that opera can't be performed by people with the ability to inject emotional content and acting into their performance - or for that matter that martial arts films can't be well-acted. I'm just saying that the vast majority of both aren't. Done well, they can be things of beauty. Done as most of them are, they're interesting for the technical ability of the participants, and nothing more.

All opera singers can do huge volume levels, wide vibrato, amazing range, etc. That doesn't mean that they *should*. That's the problem as I see it - an excess of technical ability and an insufficient amount of emotional involvement in the character to know when to use it.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 01:08 PM

No need to bug off, Al. What prompts my remarks here is that there is a great deal of enjoyment to be found in the whole run of classical music, and I think it's a pity that, for some reason, you're missing it. Perhaps these things are a matter of early exposure, but I have met people who've told me that they hate classical music, but when learned something about it, wound up real fans.

I'm thinking particularly of a woman I know who thought that my wife and I were some kind of culture-snobs because we had season tickets to Seattle Opera. "Nobody could really like opera!" she used to say. "All that screeching. . . ."   I asked her a few questions, learned that she had heard a few opera singers on the radio (one or two cuts from a "highlights" record), and that was it. It was a style of singing that she was not familiar with, and they were singing in a foreign lamguage so she had no idea of what they were singing about. So I challenged her, she winced a bit, and accepted the challenge.

I picked a full-length recording of a fairly short, well-known opera:   I Pagliacci (The Clowns). This is the one that contains the famous "Laugh, clown, laugh" tenor aria. I gave her the libretto (little booklet with the Italian lyrics in the left column and the English translation in the right column) so she could read the words they were singing, and if she got lost, I could explain what was going on in the plot. Anyway, we listened to the whole thing.

The opera ends tragically (I did a very brief synopsis in one of my posts above), and she was deeply move, practically teary-eyed when it ended. Her response to the opera when she knew what was going on? "That was beautiful! I had no idea!"

She's a real opera fan now. Never misses the Saturday afternoon Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. Has a book on opera plots and reads up on whatever opera is coming up.

I think it's a real pity when people don't like classical music, because there is so much there, not just to enjoy, but to be inspired by. I just wish there were some way I could show you the way I did her.

Okay, I don't enjoy it all, but the field is so broad that there is a huge amount that I really love. As Helen says, there are many styles and many interpretations. But the whole smorgasbord of classical music is so broad and varied that it doesn't seem reasonable to issue a blanket dismissal of the whole thing.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Don Firth
Date: 27 Apr 06 - 02:23 PM

Graham, as I mention above, these days two of the casting decisions made when putting an opera production together, in addition to a particular singer's vocal ability, are: do they look the part? And can they act?

The soprano with the big, powerful voice, but who is built like a pouter pigeon, is not going to be cast as an ingénue these days. The late Maria Callas lost a lot of parts when she bloated into a tub. She just wasn't being cast for the kind of parts she used to sing, so she went on a diet, slimmed down, and started getting the parts back. Lesson learned.

Just a point: some decades back, Mario Lanza was cast as the lead in the movie version of "The Student Prince" (1954). He cut the voice tracks for the movie, but was told by the studio execs that he had to loose weight. He had ballooned up to about 300 pounds. They weren't about to have this 300 pound globule of suet appearing as the handsome young prince, no matter how beautifully he sang. Lanza refused. So they dropped him and cast the slim, good-looking Edmund Purdom in the role. Purdom lip-synced to Lanza's voice tracks. This incident pretty much ended Lanza's movie career.

Granted, this was a Hollywood movie, but the same kind of casting decisions are being made by opera companies these days. Singers like Luciano Pavarotti (who, when he sings the young hippie poet, Rodolpho, in La Bohème tends to stretch credibility a bit, even if he does sing magnificently) are being "grandfathered" out. These days, you are more likely to see someone like Jerry Hadley singing roles like that.

In the Wagner Ring Cycle (four very long operas about—what!??—a stolen "ring of power" with a curse on it. Different story, similar maguffin), the Valkyrie, Brunhilde is usually depicted in cartoons as a very large woman carrying a spear and a shield, wearing wings on her helmet and a iron brassiere. There used to be some basis for this stereotype. But the last production I saw of it on television (Live from the Met, I think), the role of Brunhilde was sung by a tall, slender, very good-looking red-head. In addition to having the big voice required for the role, she looked very convincing as a warrior maiden.

These days opera singers have to have a) the voice, b) the looks, and c) the ability to act if they want to get the roles. If they have the voice, but not the looks or the ability to act, they have to be content with a recital career rather than opera. But even in recitals, being able to act with their voices—sing with emotion—is essential.

The times they are a-changin'.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 May 07 - 06:05 PM

My new project is getting my brother's classical works up on youtube with video or slide shows. Eventually, we will have live concert footage. In the meantime, I have done a "down and dirty" simple slide of the first page of his Rondo in C with live concert audio. If you'd like to check it out, please go to youtube. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 May 07 - 06:27 PM

All Mozart. Bach too. The late string quartets by Beethoven and the Diabelli Variations. And the late piano sonatas. Schubert's Quintet in C, the Great C Major Symphony and the last three piano sonatas. Schumann's piano works, especially Kreisleriana if Martha Argerich is playing it. "Rach Two" of course, because my teenage son played the clarinet in it once. Absolutely anything by Ravel and Vaughan Williams. Absolutely nothing by Vivaldi, Chopin, Tippett, Britten or Wagner (fascist pig!) and very little by Brahms and Elgar (both lugubrious) or Stravinsky (irritating), though I have exceptions apropos of the last three.   Thanks for asking.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 31 May 07 - 10:40 PM

Steve--

Curious as to what Vivaldi, Chopin, Tippett, and Britten have in common (you explained Wagner) Does every piece by each composer sound like everything else he has written to you?

Also curious as to whether you've sung or played classical music.

I suspect you have more adventurous taste than I do--you like the late Beethoven quartets. But you don't like Stravinsky--is Firebird an exception?

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: elfcape
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 12:52 AM

This is really hard to describe but I'll give it a try.

What makes me listen to "classical" music?

First, it's my home place. I grew up in a place where it was ever present and constantly being made. By the time I was 2 I was participating in making it. My father played and taught the piano for a living and our whole life was centered around that. He lived in a very interesting and diverse musical world, but it began with Bach and more or less ended with Debussy who was still composing when my father started seriously being a musician.

But I think the thing that keeps me with it is the variety in the content.

First It has ideas and works them. Even when there's a movement of variations, the best composers play with the basic material in such a way as to spin it out for 8 or 10 minutes. So one gets to be with the music for a long time, compared to pop or folk or rock where everything starts, runs 3 minutes and ends. And the time is extended further when you have a multi-movement work. So the emotional effects are sustained longer and have variety within them.

Another form of content is harmony. There's very little to no sense of harmonic possibilities in any other genre except jazz. In modern rock and pop there's no harmony at all, no sense of being in a key and creating tension by moving away from and into another key. No return to the original key at the conclusion. Even Schubert's Lieder, which are little vignettes, explore harmonic relationships to create emotional effects. Contemporary singer-songwriters seem generally to be harmonically illiterate - they know nothing about how chords are related so chord progressions are nonsensical because they've been raised on pop music which has no understanding of harmony. Even the dance suites of Rameau and Couperin take advantage of the harmonic tension inherent in the relationships of chords by modulating temporarily into distant places instead of just to the dominant and back.

Still another form of content is imitation, which is widely used by the best composers of every period. Even Monteverdi, who was rebelling against the counterpoint of the late medieval church masses, and thus tried to write very vertical music, eventually realized that he could use contrapuntal and imitative writing to heighten tension and that bashing his listeners with chords wasn't going to work as a steady diet. This is where improvisers like the Dead ultimately fell down. They depended on the beat just heavily enough that they couldn't get loose, despite their basically contrapuntal improvisational style. And, of course, the Dead also suffered from very limited harmonic skills, as well as basing their improvs on music with a narrow harmonic premise to begin with.

Then there are all the colors - like flutes and bassoons, horns and 'cellos, solo passages and massed sections. Variety. High voices and low. True, some music is more limited - string quartets are not a colorful as a small orchestra. A single singer with piano may not have the colors of a small chorus with orchestra. But the entire genre does have that variety in aural color. And someone like Beethoven didn't allow himself to depend on the small range of colors in a string quartet when he could use harmonic color, modulation, counterpoint and structure to compensate for the bareness of the quartet. Brahms seems to have felt so limited by the palette of the string quartet that he had to add a piano or clarinet to hold his own interest.

Still another form of content is rhythm. First there's the meter - 2 beats or 3. Not much non-classical music has more than 2 beats. True there's a maverick tradition of waltzes in celtic dance music, and after a few hundred years of 2 beats some irish musicians discovered the irregular meters from eastern Europe. But, of course, Bartok did that back in 1910 before he fled the Nazis, and he transformed his collecting by composing his own really scary works using what he absorbed. But aside from the occasional waltz, non-classical music seems to be bound by 2s whereas "classical" music has had units of 3 since the 13th century and certainly triple time is normative from the beginning of the Renaissance.

In addition, the beat is often played with so it shifts, or conflicts with the harmonic rhythm (the rate at which chords change) - the other kind of rhythm.

And then there's enormous variety in tempo - the speed the music moves along at. Everything from frantic to somnolent somewhere in the repertoire.

Now I admit the comfort factor is really strong for me. I've been immersed in "classical" music for just shy of 65 years now and it's undeniably my home place as I said. And it is interesting to try to figure out why I continue to find it so satisfying.

And it's not the only music I listen to, I've passed through the folk scene seriously at least twice since college and done a lot of various kinds of folky dancing too. But the American singer-songwriter scene has pretty much lost me, and there's no way I want the pop and rock racket that people mistakenly call music in my ecosystem. I really don't like being beat over the head with that rhythm, nor do I find any sort of sheets of screaming reverb attractive. And if I want to listen to poetry being declaimed with an undercurrent of music I'd like to be able to hear the words, too, above the beat.

My quite a bit more than 2 bits for you!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 07:28 AM

I was not exposed to classicaL music at home, with the exception of the Lone Ranger on radio.
My first real taste of it came in grammar school, then in...wait for it...cartoons!

I can't say I like all classical music, in fact, much of it bores me, and I can not abide sopranos, and worst of all,the coloratura. They remind me of the old Mainers description of the bagpipes. He said "They sound like someone gathered up a dog fight, and threw it into a pig pen."
Like Al, I'm not trashing someone elses opinion of this music, I'm only saying I don't like it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 07:31 AM

Batgodess, do you know about WBACH? it's a local radio station that plays only classical music. You can get it on your computer, and there is one station in Kennebunk that you might be able to get on your radio.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Woods
Date: 01 Jun 07 - 06:02 PM

I started out with music playing the piano, when I was 10 or 11 years old. It wasn't long before I latched on to Baroque (which usually gets lumped into Classical music, just as the Romantic and later periods do). Later when Bluegrass caught my ear, I wondered at what made it seem 'similar' to Baroque to me. I finally decided that it was: moto perpetuo. I still jump back and forth easily between listening to Baroque and Bluegrass. I love the intertwined melodies of polyphony of the one, and the sometimes complex chord progressions of the other. Anyway, that's my tastes.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 02 Jun 07 - 07:24 AM

Well said, Woods. I agree.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: keberoxu
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 03:46 PM

I'm posting here because, in Breeze Shooting land below the line, somebody caught a steelhead trout and it reminded me of "Die Forelle" by Franz Schubert. I thought I ought to continue above the line, in the music section, without starting a new thread, so here we are.

No, I'm not going to answer the question, I'm just going to shamelessly continue the Forelle digression, totally exploitative of me.

You know what I think about Schubert, after years as an accompanist at the piano for voice teachers and their students? I think Schubert had some kind of a THING for running water. Not just water:
has to be flowing, running water. The pianists who have to play those accompaniments know what I am talking about: Die Schöne Müllerin, a whole cycle that takes place next to a millstream with all these running-water noises. I don't know that Schubert was so concerned with the Pro-Fish, Anti-Angler viewpoint of the poet, whose name I mercifully forget, in "Die Forelle." No, I think Schubert just took one look at the first line of the poem:

In einem Bächlein helle...

In a clear little stream...

and said the Viennese equivalent of: HOT DAMN, running water! And he's off and running himself.

Yes, Steve (Shaw), I have played those variations with a string quartet. My problem is that I have sat through too many Disney feature-length animated films like "Fantasia." When we get to the variation, I forget which numbered one, where the double-bass viol takes the melody and the piano goes absolutely frantic, I forget about the trout and the stream completely: I imagine a big old whale, sporting in the ocean, breaching and blowing and flapping his flukes, with maybe some dolphins and/or sea otters going all frisky. Whew!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 04:36 PM

If you want Schubert and running water, listen to the A flat Impromptu, D. 899 no 4.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 04:50 PM

Or Ravel, Ondine from Gaspard de la Nuit. Very shimmery-watery.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 06:06 PM

Then, in contrast to shimmery rivery music, there's big wave music such as La Mer, Fingal's Cave and Sinbad the Sailor in Scheherazade. Vltava is sort of rivery, but it's big-rivery. And Blue Danube. You've got me started now! I'm only counting watery-sounding music, so Handel doesn't get a look-in. 😉


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 06:34 PM

I have just been listening to a CD of music by Toru Takemitsu, mostly music about rain. Drips, splatters, trickles, whooshes - wonderfully atmospheric.

But for me, the most intense music about water is the prelude to Schoenberg's Gurrelieder, depicting a sunset over the sea. Nobody else ever created orchestral sounds like it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 07:02 PM

To answer Paul's complaint from 10 years ago about Classic FM, their music sounds so tiresomely loud and in-your-face because they use crude compression. At times it's hardly listenable-to at all. You even hear digital clipping due to overmodulation. When I hear a symphony I don't want the solo flute to sound louder than the whole flippin' orchestra. Radio 3 is far from perfect at times but at least they use far less compression. I understand that some of their broadcasts are at near-CD quality with regard to compression and bit rates and all that other stuff I don't understand. And, after all the hype and all this time, DAB sound quality is a disgrace. We live in the era of mass MP3!

I see I posted about nine years ago to this thread. I've changed my mind about Stravinsky, who I admire, and I've also come to admire Sibelius. But those late Beethoven piano and string quartet works remain the pinnacle for me. I can live with absolutely everything that Mozart ever composed too. I sometimes think that The Magic Flute is a most perfect work of art.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 07:17 PM

Oops, that was Paul Burke. I know he's still around!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 10:02 PM

Peace, Flow, Harmony.

Another lifetime ago...a local radio station gave out free tickets to classical events if you sent in a postcard with the correct answer to a radio question.   While reading and taking notes for graduate studies the gifted 1941 Music Dictionary was close by.

At least twice a month, and sometimes twice a week tickets arrived for theatre, ballet, and classical. If you dressed "to the nines," you were frequently bumped to "the golden circle." Ahhh...the highball perqs of being a well mannered graduate student.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Escorts are still in demand...you just need to listen in a ratio of five to one.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Apr 16 - 10:05 PM

I'd like to see that, gargoyle! You, dressed to the nines, that is.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Mr Red
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 03:09 AM

Classic FM here in the UK had a phase of playing Oshokan Farewell.
Who could tire of that?
But then what about Salut d'Amour & Chanson de Matin?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 04:50 AM

Gosh, I tired of that dirge years ago. We must have played the damn thing five hundred times at our session, not through any choice of mine. Pauline Cato and Tom McConville made a good fist of it in the 90s. Bloody Cnat, nightmare on a diatonic harmonica. Had to get my chromatic out.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 06:39 AM

Wow. What a thread! I started it 10 years ago and it flourished then, died down for a while and sprouted again. I'm halfway through re-reading it.

So much music, so little time!

I'm surprised I wasn't evicted from Mudcat for inciting such an enthusiastic discussion about "boring old classical music". LOL

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 09:02 AM

This thread belongs here, good and proper. The great composers were influenced by traditional music big-time. Mozart wrote several sets of German country dances, and I could show you at least three places in Beethoven's late quartets that pay homage to country dance, and they're not remote references either. Then there's the Pastoral Symphony, as was mentioned above, where he has a village band getting its rhythms tied up in knots (who among us hasn't been there!). The trio of the seventh symphony is a tune from an old pilgrims' hymn and he made valiant attempts to set a number of Scottish folk songs. Brahms spent many a night boozing on his own in a local tavern, intensely interested in the resident pub band, and there's his big set of Hungarian dances. Then there's Vaughan Williams. What more can you say! (Plenty!)


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: keberoxu
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 12:53 PM

And then there's Mozart, for string quartet and two French horns: "Ein Musikalischer Spass," A Musical Joke.

This is actually a multi-layered, complicated thing. As I recall it has four movements, and you need some twenty minutes of time to get through it.

The wrong notes written in are obvious, and so are some of the rhythmic mistakes, also written in. All to depict incompetent players. But Mozart also gets some things out of his system about incompetent COMPOSERS, who write things that he cannot bear to hear performed -- so of course Mozart has his hapless sextet executing some groaners, but they are bad jokes on the COMPOSER's level. People who sit through a performance, and giggle at the big WHOOPEE funny spots, can barely appreciate how much rehearsal Mozart requires to execute all the gaffes...correctly. I do hope Mozart felt better after getting that off his chest.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 01:31 PM

I bet Les Dawson had to practise like mad to play the piano so accurately badly!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 08:51 PM

I need to rephrase that, don't I?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 19 Apr 16 - 10:22 PM

There is a very funny comedy series on Amazon Prime called "Mozart in the Jungle" starring Gael Garcia Bernal and it follows the travails of a young oboist (Lola Kirke) who's trying to catch on with a big time orchestra (think New York Philharmonic). In addition to all the yuks I'm picking up on some interesting pieces that I was unfamiliar with like Danzon #2 by Arturo Marquez.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Stanron
Date: 22 Jan 17 - 09:14 PM

Lovely thread. Nice to read postings from some of those who are no longer with us too.

I like early music, Renaissance music and Baroque. After that I am less enthused. For me Beethoven summons more respect than affection. I like Mozart, all the Bachs, both Scarlattis and Handel. Heading backwards in time Purcell, Dowland Byrd and Tallis. Out of England just about all of polyphony is, of course, heavenly.

Sunday afternoons on Radio 3 there is an hour of Early music followed by Choral evensong. Now I'm not in agreement with the doctrine but the music makes it more than worth it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 01:57 AM

Prokofiev "Chout"
Beethoven early dance music
Shostakovich 5th
Verdi ballet music
Faure "Requiem"
Purcell
Mussorgsky "Pictures" piano
Scriabin


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: treewind
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 03:28 AM

I'll happily listen to almost anything on BBC Radio 3, from Susato to Stravinsky and including some jazz, but not Choral Evensong, even for the music.

The Early music show is a particular favourite, also the Saturday morning record review programme which is a great education in listening to classical music and understanding the subtleties of different performances.

Also R3 is the only national radio station where you hear proper folk music! Especially on Late Junction when Verity Sharp is in charge.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 04:22 AM

Max Bruch ; "Kol Nidrei"
Brahms: First Piano Concerto


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 05:53 AM

I gave up on Radio 3 after Donald Macleod turned it into a soapbox for reactionary propaganda, using Shostakovich at every opportunity to refight the Cold War. I don't find a medium scripted by MI6 any fun to listen to, and almost entirely stopped listening to the radio years ago.
(As far as I know Donald Macleod hasn't died of sclerotic bigotry yet, and when he does MI6 will just appoint another ventriloquist's dummy in his place).

Fortunately I have an enormous collection of ex-charity-shop CDs. Two composers I've been listening to a lot lately are Monteverdi and Messiaen. And the darkest music of the early Baroque, like Schutz at his most elegiac. The Thirty Years War is what we're living in now.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 12:51 PM

Monteverdi! My favorite music history professor, Dr. Sheveloff, gave a memorable metaphor for Monteverdi: a colossus with one foot in the Renaissance and the other foot in the Baroque. One unique thing about Monteverdi, is that even though his scorings for instruments and ensembles repay close attention, every surviving composition of his (entire compositions, not excerpts) has the human voice in it, and words to be sung. "Primo la parola, doppo la musica."

Have you heard "Con che soavitá"? brief, bold, and beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 02:00 PM

I just re=read this whole thread yesterday. I'm happy that I asked that original question over 10 years ago and that so many people have contributed to it and listed your favourite music.

So much music, so little time.

Here are a few more of my faves:

Jordi Savall's early music CD's, e.g. Hesperion XX! Estampies & Danses Royales. I especially the Estampies.

A Vivaldi choral piece called Domine Deus, Rex Coelestus - which I want played at my funeral. In my opinion, it is a perfect piece of music, especially that version.

5 CD set

Just in case the long link doesn;t work:
https://www.amazon.com/Sacred-Choral-Music-Vol-Introduzione/dp/B00000E3KJ/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1485196963&sr=1-3

Then there is Bobby McFerrin's version of Vivaldi - Concerto for two cellos in g minor, RV 531, especially the Largo part starting at 4 mins 20 into the track.

And someone mentioned Bach, St Matthew's Passion. I first heard this piece on a tinny tiny little transistor radio about the size of a cigarette packet. I was sitting in the doorway of my teeny-tiny student one room flat in the sun and it came on the radio. I couldn't afford a record player but I went out and bought the vinyl record as soon as I could and waited years before I could actually play the record.

Thijs Van Leer -
Erbarme Dich from 'ST Matthew Passion' BWV 244

Thijs Van Leer was in the fusion group called Focus, way back when.


There's more, but I'll have to gather my resources for another posting.

Thanks for keeping this thread alive. What a joy!

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 02:26 PM

Oops. Spelling error: Coelestis not Coelestus.

Domine Deus, Rex Coelestis


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 03:05 PM

I'm also glad it's Bach, Helen. Where's it been Haydn?

I'll get my cape.

I've been seeking out works by English composers, here's my Lizst (sorry):

Sospiri by Elgar

Gerald Finzi: Lo, the full, final sacrifice, Op.26 - Amen (Instrumental)

Romance for String Orchestra - Finzi

Nocturne Op.7 (New Year's Music)- Finzi

And I agree, Jordi Savalli rocks!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 04:52 PM

Well, Mr g, about time you showed up again, wisecracks and all.

Way back on 01 Apr 06 - 04:12 AM MBSLynne mentioned one of your favourites: Einaudi.


Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 05:25 PM

I hadn't noticed that, Helen. I'll have to read back through this thread though I've fallen out of love with Einaudi (not really) since I heard his music in a T.V. commercial recently.

BTW, Savalli wasn't a typo on my part, I just think of him in the plural as he means so much to me.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 06:00 PM

And someone mentioned Bach, St Matthew's Passion. I first heard this piece on a tinny tiny little transistor radio about the size of a cigarette packet.

I first heard Messiaen's "Turangalila" around 1965 on the next size up from that, a 1960s portable tranny the size of Bible. My father had won it on a quiz show. The classical radio station (1YC Auckland) was 80 miles away, low powered and AM - reception was terrible. I'd found I could boost it by holding on the tip of the aerial. But a lot of Messiaen's sounds came through just fine.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 07:53 PM

Jack Campin,

Re the transistor stories, my hubby once asked me how I could stand my stereo system not being top of the range in terms of quality of sound when I love music so much. I told him I hear it in my head, and the sound is just a reminder of how wonderful it sounds in my head. Like a mnemonic, helping me to remember.

He's an electronics engineer with a passion for sound systems. He probably doesn't get what I was saying, but even hearing a piece of music on a tinny little transistor radio can still be a revelatory experience.

gillymor, that just sounds like post-implementation justification for a wetware failure/operator error, i.e. your typo. But funny!

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 08:03 PM

The very first classical music I ever listened to was Schubert's four Impromptus, D899. I was 22 and living in the teachers' hostel in Chelsea, the old MaJon's site. I had a Ferguson radio cassette recorder and I taped the music from the radio. The wow and flutter was legendary. I couldn't get my head around the transcendent beauty of that music. Not long after that I taped Beethoven's Seventh too. I picked precisely the right music to get a chap hooked for life. I first met Mrs Steve in that hostel and we got married two years later. I had a wonderful friend called Steve Rose (not the Guardian one) who lent me his records of Beethoven's late string quartets. I knew hardly any other classical music at all but those "complicated" works drew me in straight away and have been my companions for over forty years. I have five versions of them on CD, including the CD versions of those LPs he lent me, played by the Smetana Quartet. You can still buy them today, as you can the 1930s versions played by the Busch Quartet. The only barriers to letting this wonderful music into your life are the barriers you yourself might put up. There's no "hard" music. Beethoven, Mozart and Bach all jump straight out of the record player, grab you by the lapels and shout "Oi, you, listen to this! I wrote this for YOU!" Even Messiaen!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 08:22 PM

This video of a performance of Turangalila shows why a simple little tranny and a bit of auditory imagination is all you need:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PjyCpRKDrk

It's a big complicated orchestra, but most of the time there are only a few things happening. The videographer does a very good job of zooming in on the constantly changing small groups of players who are the focus of attention at any moment.

What my little tranny couldn't do (and my computer speakers can't do it either) is convey the sheer chest-slamming impact of all those brass instruments hammering out that Statue Theme (think Easter Island megaliths) near the start. But if you've ever heard massed brass you can imagine it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 09:33 PM

I find it a bit overblown for my taste, Jack, though a mate of mine puts up fierce advocacy. I must admit that it's impressive if nowt else. Same bloke browbeat me into loving Stravinsky and Sibelius. He's tried to get me going on the Second Viennese School. No bloody danger.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 23 Jan 17 - 10:01 PM

In a less classical vein, I don't swoon, but I feel like it when I hear HEIFITZ PLAY Scottish FANTASY. I'm A DOON FOR lack of JOHNNIE WOULD BRING TEARS TO A GLASS EYE.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 01:38 AM

Charles Ives' 4th Symphony.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 04:31 AM

If I were forced by some malevolent power to choose a single piece of 20th century music as my very favourite I'd choose Rhapsody In Blue.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 02:25 PM

Steve, I am at a loss to work out why a malevolent power would be forcing you to choose your fave cm piece. Surely that malevolent power's priority to-do list would be a little more universal than putting you on the spot over your cm preferences. LOL

However, Rhapsody in Blue is definitely a good top choice, in my opinion.

After re-reading this thread a couple of days ago, I hunted out the Music of the Renaissance CD early in the thread. I am blessed with a job which requires repetitive processing work on a computer. The blessing is that I can sit and listen to my mp3 player all day at work. My original mp3 died a few years ago and I had to set up the music on a new one through different software, and I forgot to put the Renaissance CD on the new one. I listened to it again yesterday.

It is beautiful. Some of the music is a bit gloomy, but still beautiful.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 02:50 PM

If I were forced by some malevolent power to choose a single piece of 20th century music as my very favourite I'd choose Rhapsody In Blue

Probably Bartok's Dance Suite for me.

He's tried to get me going on the Second Viennese School. No bloody danger

A lot of their stuff is intensely emotional if you let yourself hear it - the dignified farewell to life in Schoenberg's String Trio (one of the last things he wrote, after nearly dying of a heart attack), the wacky ragtime-ish-ness of Webern's Piano Variations and Concerto for Nine Instruments, the nature poetry in a lot of Webern's music (it's not so far from Schubert).

Something got me listening to Ingram Marshall again yesterday - something like America's Arvo Part but without the heavy-handed religiosity. And I can see myself listening to more of Giya Kancheli. That sort of seriousness is what we need right now.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 03:59 PM

I'd probably wind up with my brains splattered on the wall because I'd find it hard to pick between Vaughn William's Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Ravel's Le Tombeau De Couperin (the orchestral arrangement).

Helen, are they hiring at your place of business?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 04:29 PM

Good picks, though the "Tallis" has been done to death by Classic FM. I love everything Ravel did. Tombeau and Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, his string quartet, the G piano concerto... he was a mate of Gershwin, by the way! Love Samuel Barber and Bernstein too. Copland leaves me cold for some reason. Won't go on!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: keberoxu
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 05:29 PM

As for Aaron Copland, I am partial -- I would be, with my training -- to his settings of Emily Dickinson for voice and piano. Easy, mostly, on the ear; really bleeping difficult to sing, even the mighty Phyllis Curtin (recently deceased) was afraid of what they would do to her voice.

Although it isn't my favorite from the Dickinson cycle, some people, like composer Ned Rorem, adore Copland's setting of:

The world feels dusty when we stop to die
We want the dew then honors taste dry
Flags vex a dying face but the least fan
Stirred by a friend's hand cools like the rain

Mine be the ministry when thy thirst comes
Dews of thyself to fetch and holy balms


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 06:02 PM

gillymor, they are currently hiring if you are thinking of taking a sea-change and moving to the beautiful Hunter Valley NSW (or Central Coast in in a couple of years).

You may not like the work so much but you'd get paid to listen to music.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 06:29 PM

One favorite would be impossible to name, because what I want to listen to is usually dictated by my mood or circumstances at the moment. Rodrigo, Soler, Faure, Satie, Ravel, Bernstein, Beethoven, Chopin, Saint Saens, so many more names to post, bringing a memory of something wonderful with each name. I'm glad I don't have to choose.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 08:13 PM

"G piano concerto... he was a mate of Gershwin, by the way!" Right Steve and Ravel's Concerto does sound Gershwinesque in places.
Also in the running for me would be Ravel's "Daphnis et Chloe Suite #2".

Helen, considering the results of our recent presidential election I might just load up my kayak and shove off.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 24 Jan 17 - 08:52 PM

Just get the whole ballet, gillymor! Gorgeous. And Mother Goose while you're at it.

I like Renaissance too, Helen. Go back a bit further still and try Hildegarde of Bingen, or any of the medieval composers who evolved music away from plainchant. Years ago I bought a treasurable CD of Spanish medieval music called Cantigas de Amigo, performed by Ensemble Alcatraz with the Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble. The Cantigas are seven songs by Martin Codax but there's lots more on the album besides. The arrangements and harmonies are very much the products of modern imagination but it's all so beautifully done.

I have a bit of a blind spot about quite a lot of baroque music. It's just me but I've never grasped what Vivaldi's all about and much of Handel passes me by. The glorious exception is Bach. In fact I listened to the B minor Mass this afternoon. I love his concertos and cantatas and treasure the Goldberg Variations. The Passions are a bit too stop-start for me in spite of their glories and I have to wait until Mrs Steve's out of the house before I can put on anything with organ or harpsichord. One thing I can't countenance is Glenn Gould and those Goldbergs. The whole world may disagree with me but I think he just completely gets in the way of the music. Shoot!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 04:53 AM

Steve,

Somewhere, tucked away in a nice safe place, is my Hildegarde von Bingen 2 CD set.

(Rule #1: never pack up your whole household of stuff in a hurry and throw it into boxes without making proper labels for the boxes or ensuring that like goes with like, e.g. CD's all together instead of tossed in with unrelated stuff. I used to know ezactly where that CD set was, but not any more.)

The main problem with the CD was that it was so beautiful, peaceful, meditative, soothing, and half way through one of the CD's a man suddenly starts yelling loudly. Probably to wake the nuns up from their meditative state during the church services. It used to almost give me a heart attack every time.

gillymor, just admit it. Your kayak wouldn't last the journey from the Yew-Ess-of-Ay to the lovely Oz.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: JennieG
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 05:34 AM

Fifteen years or so ago I was working on the front desk of a small company and one day had reason to listen to their "on hold" music. To my surprise it was all music by baroque composers and it wasn't played Muzak style, thank goodness. When I mentioned how much I enjoyed it to the technical bloke responsible he told me that several studies had shown if people put "on hold" listened to baroque music, they were less likely to be annoyed and stressed when their call went through.

I enjoy many different forms of classical music, love early music.....lute music is gorgeous.....Hildegard von Bingen is beautifully ethereal. A current favourite is Ozzie guitarist Slava Grigoryan playing the first three Bach cello suites on baritone guitar. Those low notes, ooohhhh.....


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Thompson
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 07:12 AM

Something just plucks at my heart - the playing, like Dinu Lipatti's feather-gentle Chopin waltzes; the melody, like the hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck darkness of Prokofiev's Knights' March from Romeo and Juliet; the scent of spring or summer or snow or autumn, like the Maytime Pastorale by Beethoven with its cuckoo echoes…


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 07:55 AM

Dinu Lipatti definitely had a way with Chopin, I have an all-Chopin LP of his which includes the loveliest playing of the Barcarolle I've heard.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 08:46 AM

Helen mentioned that she's not exactly an audiophile, well I used to be but I've gotten over it. Nowadays I've got a 10 buck a month Spotify subscription (I used to spend 10X that on a monthly basis for CD's ) which has a musical library that's a million times the size of mine in all styles, genres and traditions, several blue tooth speakers situated around our place that put out surprisingly good audio and I and carry the controller (a smartphone) in my pocket which also interfaces with the stereo in my truck so my massive music collection is highly portable. I've loaded up my own playlists so I'm not constantly pounded with the 1812 Overture or Bolero (not bad pieces if you don't have to listen to them several times a week) or Sunshine of Your Love. Considering all the other crap that's going down in the world right now it's good to have this.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 03:20 PM

I'll have what JennieG's having.

"Those low notes, ooohhhh..... "

Settle, petal, settle! :-)


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: JennieG
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 05:13 PM

I wish that post had a "like" button, Helen!

Have you heard it? Here's a sample.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 06:58 PM

Ok, I get it now!

"Those low notes, ooohhhh..... "

:-D


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 07:02 PM

What a fat, gorgeous sound!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 07:10 PM

The function of music is to free the mind from the tyranny of conscious thought.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 17 - 09:00 PM

I prefer Nobuko Imai on the viola to Grigoryan's guitar. It's an octave higher but to me it has a richer and more expressive sound.

For sexy low notes I rather fancy a sehrud:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v57V2gj8plw

It's an Ottoman instrument of he 18th century recently revived by the early music group Bezmara. No Bach on it yet, but I bet somebody's thinking about it.

Some way outside "classical" music as generally understood, the ultimate low booming beast is Mark Deutsch's "bazantar" - I think there is only one in the world. Google for it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 02:26 AM

This pianist is BLIND...doing an encore performance. ABSOLUTELY worth listening and WATCHING!!

Liszt - La Campanella performed by Nobuyuki Tsujii as an encore piece at his BBC

Here's another SUPERB performance by him....

Nobuyuki Tsujii - Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18

ENJOY!!!

GfS


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 02:30 AM

This pianist is BLIND...doing an encore performance. ABSOLUTELY worth listening and WATCHING!!

Liszt - La Campanella performed by Nobuyuki Tsujii as an encore piece at his BBC

Here's another SUPERB performance by him....


Nobuyuki Tsujii - Rachmaninoff - Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 18

ENJOY!!!

GfS

P.S. Sorry, I posted and forgot to sign in....


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 05:43 AM

Is Spotify a good deal for musicians? Is it better to sell records/CDs or Spotify listens?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 09:45 AM

Thompson, I've been purposefully avoiding investigating the ethics of patronizing Spotify because I love it so much (I'm currently listening to Vol. One of the Bach Cello Suites played on baritone guitar by Slava Grigoryan mentioned below on it) but here's an article from NPR that might provide some information.Click here.
I can tell you though that I donate to and buy products from a young duo based in New England that play traditional tunes from all over. They tell me that after they put their one CD on Spotify they got a noticeable bump in interest on their website.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 02:57 PM

Thank you so much, Guest, for the link to Nobuyuki Tsujii playing Liszt's La Campanella based on Paganini's work. The Liszt piano version has been one of my absolute favourite pieces of music for some decades. I first heard the violin Paganini version and loved it and then later heard the Liszt version and loved it even more.

Watching Nobuyuki Tsujii playing it just made me cry - literally. Seriously.

It's beautiful.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 03:16 PM

Helen: "Watching Nobuyuki Tsujii playing it just made me cry - literally. Seriously."

You are not alone...I've showed that video to several REAL musicians, who all had the same re-actions. He is truly a consummate musician...by the way, here is Tsujii playing a piece that he composed, for the victims of the Fukishima nuclear disaster in Japan....you will notice that as he is playing, he is also crying....

Pianist in tears!!!. Most moving piano performance.

Enjoy and Highest Regards,

Guest from Sanity


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: kendall
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 03:43 PM

If everyone liked the same thing, we would run out of chocolate ice cream in a day.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Guest from Sanity
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 04:03 PM

Sorta like politics, eh?

GfS


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 07:21 PM

I like all sorts, from very early up to some contemporary, assuming we're not talking about the more closely defined "classical period". As an ex-timpanist/percussionist, I like music that features these instruments and complex time signatures to best advantage, e.g. "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra", Stravinksy's "Rite of Spring".
I also have a penchant for beautiful brass, e.g. the Nocturne in Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream Suite, "The Trumpet Shall Sound" from Handel's Messiah, and THAT bit in Sibelius's 5th Symphony.
Oboe also does it for me, e.g. the slow bit in Rossini's "William Tell Overture", oh, and yes, the various cello concerti (Elgar's, Dvorak's, Rachmaninov's) or "The Swan" in Saint-Saens' "Carnival of Animals".
I also love Berlioz's "Symphonie Fantastique", especially the "March to the Scaffold" - which was used as the theme tune for BBC TV's "Rugby Special" for a a few seasons back in the late 1960s. I would have had it as our wedding march, but might not have looked too good in the order of service!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 26 Jan 17 - 08:32 PM

My this week's listenings so far have been Beethoven's Quartet in E flat Op. 127, his second-last piano sonata, the one in A flat Op. 110, Bach's B minor Mass and his amazing Magnificat which I caught by accident on Radio 3 this morning. Think I'll have a Wolfgang week next week!

I don't get on at all with Elgar's Cello Concerto. I find it choppy, whiny and lugubrious. Over-exposure on Classic FM probably hasn't helped. On the other hand, piano concertos by Mozart and Beethoven apart, I think that the Dvorak Cello Concerto is one of the greatest of all concertos, up there with Beethoven's Violin Concerto. If you can, listen to Slava Rostropovich playing the Dvorak on August 21 1968 in a Prom concert in London. The USSR State Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Yevgeny Svetlanov. That was the very day that Russian tanks rolled into Prague. There were anti-Soviet protests both outside and inside the Albert Hall but the concert went ahead. The tension in the performance between Svetlanov's orchestra and Slava, who bitterly opposed the invasion, was palpable. It might not be the greatest technical performance of the Concerto ever, but it made for a very poignant historical document. I think you can hear it online.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 07:36 AM

Oh my goodness, how did I miss this thread the first time around? I have been In Cognito for a long while, but my usual haunt of Facebook has become so anxiety-inducing that I thought I'd pop in for a visit- and there's some great threads, good old friends, and well, I'm back.

Classical music is my very first auditory memory. It was the main soundtrack of my childhood. In my early teens I discovered Robert J. Lurtsema on WGBH radio, Boston, and he formed my taste and the basis of my music education. Thus I studied classical music at Boston University, became a music teacher, and I'm so grateful for that foundation.
JS Bach sits on the right hand of the divine. My second (sophomore) year at university, basically all we did in my music theory class was analyze Bach chorales. I had always enjoyed listening- but to begin to grasp the complexity, elegance and intricate beauty of his music was a major epiphany in my life. Now, on a daily basis I turn to his organ works, chorales, cello suites, Goldberg variations, etc- there's always something new to learn.

I primarily prefer tonal music, so, up to the late 19th c., but I don't have much patience with the Romantics. I guess that's why I'm a folkie- I like clear tonal harmonies, discernible melody, and clarity of thought and feeling in my music as in my life.

Now I'm going to go back and catch up with what y'all have had to say. It's nice to be back in the fold!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 08:42 AM

I listened to the Berlioz linked above and realised that I knew it but didn't know until now what it was. The strange thing is that it always seemed, in my mind, to be associated with historical Paris. I supoose I may have seen a period film with the piece used as soundtrack.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 09:56 AM

I know what you mean about the so-called Romantic period. A lot of big noise, heavy orchestration and heart-on-sleeve, and above all, Wagner, the biggest charlatan dead-ender of the lot. But delve a bit deeper and you find some lovely solo piano music by Schumann and late Brahms (Chopin leaves me cold but that's just me), delights-sans-lugubriousness from Mendelssohn and some sheerly beautiful orchestral music by Tchaikovsky. And his sublime Serenade for Strings. And I hope you're not counting my hero Beethoven as "Romantic." There's a clarity of vision and inventiveness, as well as wit and humour, in Beethoven that I find lacking in Berlioz, Liszt, Bruckner, Elgar, Mahler and a lot of Brahms (though his fourth symphony is a gem).


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 01:53 PM

Steve Shaw is correct about the music that Brahms wrote late in life. Brahms had a great gift, a tormented personality, and was a self-hating perfectionist. He wrote string quartets, but we will never know what they were like because he burned them. It seems, judging from the intense and imperfect music of his younger years, that Brahms just had a lot of crap to get out of his system.
One of the areas where Brahms does good work, and not known enough, is music for a-cappella voices, or choruses with minimal accompaniment. Here, Brahms immersed himself in Bach scholarship and looked closely at the polyphony and counterpoint of Bach's choral works.
Lieder is another place to look. Yes, Brahms had stuff to get out of his system as far as voice-and-piano music; his early songs have some imitation Mendelssohn in them. It is interesting, though, to watch Brahms mature as he goes on composing Lieder for solo voice. Something about being truthful to the poetry and the lyrics that he sets, causes Brahms to curb that tendency to wallow and go to excess that spoils some of his instrumental pieces.
By the time Brahms is old, and gradually ailing (he had a lingering dying process, as his cancer was misdiagnosed at first), he is writing solo piano pieces, and art-songs for voice and piano, that are almost twentieth-century in their incisiveness and brevity. There are fewer places to hide in this music, for the performer, the excess has been trimmed away and there are no "vamp-'til-ready" fillers. The late Intermezzi take my breath away, for example.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 02:32 PM

Brahms did have a golden autumn. The late piano works are on a par with late Beethoven's, though Brahms tended to avoid larger multi-movement structures and there are no amazing late sonatas or sets of variations like the Diabelli. The clarinet quintet is a treasure. I don't go for his big orchestral works much, feeling that he was too much under Beethoven's shadow and that the strain of that shows through in places. I love the fourth symphony, though the other three leave me cold. The Variations on the St Anthony Chorale are also very uplifting. None of his concertos do it for me at all. One of my very favourite Brahms pieces is the set of piano variations on a theme by Handel. Such life-affirming drive! As you say, he wrote beautifully for the voice. I have to admit to a severe language barrier when it comes to lieder!

Having said all that, if Brahms comes on the wireless I'll not turn it off, ever!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 02:50 PM

It's lovely to see you here, AllisonA(Animaterra)!

I'm happy that a thread I started over 10 years ago has drawn you back into the fold.

I have to confess that I know nothing about the technicalities of cm. I envy the in depth knowledge some of you have shown in this thread. I fall in the category of "I don't know much about classical music, but I know what I like".

I have a book of cartoons by an Australian called Patrick Cook. One of my favourites shows an arty looking French man and a typical Aussie bloke looking at a painting. The French man says, "It has a certain je ne sais quois", and the Aussie bloke says, "I dunno".

That's me.

LOL
Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: JHW
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 03:00 PM

I haven't read all these many posts but my answer is The Melody, same as Folk and whatever else.
The melody grabs me first and entices me to listen to the rest of it.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 03:11 PM

There's plenty of folk around who can't read music but who have a far deeper understanding and appreciation of classical music than many a professor of music, Helen. The only two things to remember are that it isn't meant to be the exclusive territory of some in-crowd or other and that it isn't meant to be hard!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 04:24 PM

Thanks Steve.

I'm blessed (or cursed) with loving an extremely broad range of music, but I have to say that it is certain classical pieces which can stop me in my tracks due to the complexity of the arrangements.

A confession: my other enduring musical love is a UK electronica duo called Leftfield. They can also incorporate that sort of complexity into some of their music. They started out as percussionists so the rhythms are the core of what they do.

There, that should start a riot on this thread!

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 27 Jan 17 - 06:08 PM

Well, Helen, I hadn't listened to anything other than classical since the demise of the Beatles - until our local dance teacher got me editing popular music tracks for her mostly young classes. Over the years I must have worked on at least four or five hundred tracks for her. Editing them, involving cutting, splicing and combining tracks, meant that I was listening closely to the music that was alien to me, especially the critical bits at the joins. After a while I began to realise just how bloody good a lot of pop music was! The production standards of the best of it are incredibly high. Can't say I'm going to be putting much of it on my playlists exactly, but I got to love several tracks by the likes of Rihanna, for example. And Defying Gravity and Hold Back the River...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Jan 17 - 07:45 AM

Steve, fear not, I'm not throwing all the Romantic babies out with the bath water. It's the over-blown, hyper emotional stuff that makes me think, "Oh, give me a break!". I feel the same about some modern "folk" interpretations as well (High Kings, I'm talking to you).
Some Brahms, some Schumann, even some Wagner. And no, I don't lump the great Beethoven in with the bunch- he stands alone.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Jan 17 - 07:47 AM

Also- Hi Helen! *waves*

It's a great gift to be able to appreciate and enjoy any music without technical understanding. In fact, in some ways I sometimes wish I could just let the music wash over me without the touch of critical analysis that wants to get in the way. I'm getting better at just being in the moment when I listen.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 28 Jan 17 - 10:56 AM

The great jazz guitarist George Van Eps said in an interview that he sometimes wished he could turn off his capacity for harmonic analysis and just enjoy music on a visceral level, so I guess I'm lucky that my understanding of theory and form is pretty basic. :^)
I'm also not a big fan of the romantic composers generally (except for Chopin who had Classical leanings) but do appreciate individual pieces. I recently discovered Swedish composer Franz Berwald's (1796-1868) 3rd symphony which I kind of like.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Jan 17 - 01:33 PM

As an ex-timpanist/percussionist, I like music that features these instruments and complex time signatures to best advantage

Do you know Brian Ferneyhough's "Bone Alphabet"? The (spectacularly weird) score is freely downloadable and there is a YouTube video of Ferneyhough explaining it to a percussionist. The percussionist manages to follow the polyrhythms Ferneyhough has in his head, I certainly can't.

This is more accessible:

Tona Scherchen: Shen

I've seen it live, it makes a terrific impact - the shouts and sighs are done directly into the drumskins, the timpani act as macho sexiness resonators. A bit like the Kodo drummers. Scherchen-Hsiao has been rather unfairly neglected:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tona_Scherchen

There isn't anybody else like her, writing Chinese-influenced Western-idiom music which is both emotionally forceful and completely free of gush.

I heard that an audition for the percussion section of the Berlin Philharmonic involved being asked to clap seven in a bar and stamp four in a bar simultaneously. (Someday I must learn to do 3+3+2 against 4/4 on the washboard, since that's what the klezmer bulgar rhythm does).


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 08 Feb 17 - 12:59 AM

Article on Composer Ludovico Einaudi on Oz ABC news.

He is currently in Oz.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 08 Feb 17 - 12:01 PM

I love that picture of Einaudi playing among the icebergs in Norway.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 03 Sep 18 - 03:38 PM

Because there is a current thread on a performance of J.S. Bach's Well Tempered Clavier, Book II, I have decided to refresh an old favourite thread I started 12 years ago.

JS Bach on BBC4 tonight

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 04:52 AM

The link didn't work for me here in the USA, Helen. Is there a particular program you had in mind?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 05:20 AM

I did find this.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Crook-Finger'd Jack
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 06:36 AM

Slightly gobsmacked that, in 198 posts, Claude Debussy is only mentioned twice.

I came to Debussy in my late teens after hearing Isao Tomita's "Snowflakes are Dancing". Back then it was the melodies (specifically Girl with the Flaxen Hair, Reverie and Arabesque No 1) that grabbed me.

Now, 40+ years on, it's his genius. Hard to imagine just how revolutionary he was.

This, achingly slow, is exquisite:

Ezio Bosso - La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 06:49 AM

That, gillymor, might be because I appear to have stuffed up the link. Here it is:

JS Bach on BBC4 tonight


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 08:28 AM

I'm getting the same server error message, Helen. It must not be available here.
Strongly agree about Debussey,C-F Jack. My favorites include Dances Sacred et Profane, Clair de Lune, Nocturnes and Afternoon of a Fawn to name a few (plus The Girl w/ Flaxen Hair).


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Sep 18 - 11:27 AM

Thank you for bringing this back to the top, Helen! Such a pleasure to read stories from Don Firth and remarks from long-gone mudcatters - I'll trace this to come back and read the entire thing later.

A dozen years ago when I was first getting started selling on eBay I would find things at garage sales to list. I scored a huge purchase at a church sale held in my neighborhood; a 30-gallon plastic storage bin filled with CDs and a handwritten note on top stating "All classical music." I looked at it and considered digging through when the woman running it approached. "I'll never sell that. $20 and it's yours." I didn't have the change, so I paid for what I had and raced off to a nearby convenience store to get cash. I told her I'd buy it just as someone else was approaching the bin, and it took two of us to carry it to my truck.

At home I stacked all 300+ disc cases on my dining room table and proceeded to sort them more or less alphabetically and realized I was probably looking at a teaching tool, left as the remainder of someone's estate; in the mix were multiple versions of several major works that could have been compared in class (i.e., Bernstein versus Toscanini versus Solti versus Von Karajan on Beethoven's fifth symphony). I had a university class that did that and it was remarkable to hear the differences.

By the time my ex came in with the kids they looked at this huge haul on the table and he remarked "it's eBay time!" and I told them no way - this was a windfall for me. These were DGG, Telarch, Columbia, Nonesuch, Angel, Sony Classical, London, EMI. . . the approach was classical and where choral works were involved, secular pieces. I calculated that at market prices of $10 to $15 each I had about $3000 worth of music, and I kept it. He and the kids looked through the stacks and each claimed things they wanted to own or to copy for themselves, and there were duplicates of things I already owned that they happily kept. (I managed to raise teenagers who liked Gilbert and Sullivan operettas!)

In this day and age of streaming music, when my local classical station plays only one movement of a symphony and moves on to a portion of something else, I still tend to listen to the CDs, loading five at a time in the changer according to mood. Sometimes playing works straight through, or if it is short selections on each disk, scrambling them.

I have remarked to the kids that perhaps that late scholar is resting more easily in his or her urn on the mantle, knowing that the collection is appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: robomatic
Date: 06 Sep 18 - 11:43 PM

Folk influence is heavy in Brahms' Hungarian Dances. And I love all the rest of Brahms.
I was raised on Mozart, probably spent a lot of the 9 natal months with him, too.
When I hear the term 'classical' I lump in the romantics as well, which for me is the Slavs (Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Gliere, just look up the poem/ song "Russian Composers" by Ira Gershwin), Dvorak, Smetana, Enesco (Romanian really), and one of my faves, the Armenian Khachaturian, who has Alaska relatives.

And while he's usually left out of the ranks of the great, I always make it a point to bring up Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov who gave us so many memorable vignettes and orchestrated many works by others, and orchestration counts fully as much as composing in my book.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 03:59 AM

I think I'll probably revive this thread a lot more before I fall off my own particular twig. It's one of my favourites, partly because I expected to be shot down in flames for daring to start a thread about classical music and then was pleasantly surprised by all the wonderful contributions. LOL

I am not sure if I mentioned Elena Kats-Chernin in this thread. I'll have to re-read it all again.

Once heard, never forgotten:

Eliza's Aria by Elena Kats-Chernin

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 09:51 AM

One of the loveliest pieces of newer music I've heard in a while-

Concertino Bianco by George Pelecis, the 3rd movement is especially fun.

I was able to open that link, Helen. Interesting piece, at the outset I thought the voice was an oboe.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 10:15 AM

Over the years I've been persuaded to try again with composers I thought I didn't like. Three such were Stravinsky, Bernstein and Sibelius, all of whom I now revere. I've struggled with Brahms and I still think his first three symphonies are, well, worthy...The fourth is, to me, perfectly formed, and a couple more would have been good. The St Anthony Chorale variations are lovely too, but that's as far as it goes for me with his symphonic and concerto music. His solo piano, on the other hand, is a very fine body of work. I'm an aficionado of Robert Schumann's piano music too, though not of his symphonies. There's an inner warmth and something personal in his music that I can't get from Chopin at all. Much of Debussy eludes me, though I love almost everything about Ravel's music. When it comes to Russian, I agree that Rimsky is a dark horse in a good way. I love Borodin but Mussorgsky leaves me cold. But for me Tchaikovsky towers above them all. It's silly to have aversions, and all this is down to personal taste, but I can't bear anything at all by Copland, and Wagner is boycotted in our house.

I know how influential and pivotal Haydn was, but I once heard him described as a cheerful tunesmith, which, to me, he is, when put alongside Mozart. I'm not there with Handel yet but I'm learning. Ultimately, It's the Big Three for me every time, Bach, Mozart and, especially, Beethoven.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 10:21 AM

I tried looking for Eliza's Aria on Google Muisc. Several version do replace the voice with an oboe. Helen's link was to the version by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. I may be exploring some of their other recordings...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 02:43 PM

Helen I give you eternal thanks for creating this thread. Bobby McFerrin as a cello was delightful.
To all who have contributed with care concern and links 'praise be upon you'. While reading, the mere mention of certain pieces came back with such a torrent of beauty that I swooned and was exausted toward the end.

There is much joy to be found in war horses and show pieces but there innumerable small jems and musical ideas to be found in obscure places from dusty closets to paintings. I'll explain later.

Gilly you posted some of the same pieces I would have high lighted.
Kendal, you have ken-densed wisdom.

One of my contentions is that many classical works should be perfored with much more exaggeration than notation allows. On the other end of the musical spectrum simplicity can be more simplified.

As a teenager I discovered hundreds of mini works by Haydn that he had to create for a King of average talent. The King played something called a baritone but the Hayden pieces can be enhanced by any instruments like this

bbl


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 03:09 PM

How I got hooked.
In grade school I got a record. The last song on the record was this


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Sep 18 - 08:52 PM

I forgot to mention Manuel de Falla, one of the greatest Spanish composers. He didn't rate himself and didn't write enough music!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 01:37 AM

Steve,

I bought a $10 set of 4 CD's of Handel's works. I often play some of it while I am painting my pictures. It's very good for focusing the brain and for losing my conscious self in the artistic process. Time just flies by and it can be some of the best times of my life - listening to beautiful music while creating something visual.

I'll go through the Handel CD's and list the works I especially like.

I'm listening now to Concerto Grosso in B flat maj.

Xerxes: Largo is very slow and stately.

Organ Concerto in D Minor, Op. 7/4 is beautiful. The Adagio movement almost makes me want to cry and then near the end of that movement it transforms into a such a powerful statement before the happy, bright Allegro movement starts.

The $10 sets may not be the world's best performances - although I think they sound ok - but it is a cheap way to investigate different composers to find the ones I like.

I suppose that early in this thread I would have mentioned J.S. Bach's St Matthew's Passion - the version by Thijs Van Leer with the female singer. Whenever I hear that piece I am transported back in time to when I was a poor, starving student with only a tiny transistor radio to listen to, hearing that beautiful piece for the first time. I was transfixed, like a fly in amber. I could not have moved even if I had wanted to, not until that music had finished. And then, although I went out and bought the vinyl record as soon as I could afford it, I had no record player so I didn't hear it again until many years later, so I had to carry it in my mind until I could hear it again, and when I did hear it I was just as transfixed as the first time.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 11:47 AM

Steve I thought you meant this one by Seans
I got to sit in with the Moscow Philharmonic for its practice and performence. There is nothing like being on stage with the deep pedal low C going through you chest.

In a good orchestra The 3 corned hat simply plays itself.

For the last couple years I have only been playing by ear and practicing folk and slow jazz.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 12:03 PM

I always liked the Adagio by Rachmaninov #2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNRxHyZDU-Q
I never cared for the Barry Manilow version


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 05:32 PM

I turned Fantasia and fugue in G minor for organ JSBach up to 11 in the car as I drove through the grocery parking lot today. As a kid I found humming that tune helped me wake up from general anesthesia while I was still pre verbal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg50ozbZcqM


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: robomatic
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 07:13 PM

BTW, Brahms' 2 Piano Concertos are Symphonies.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Sep 18 - 07:29 PM

I often think about the conductor who always wanted an expansive WOMB sound from the orchestra when playing Brahms. He would "say this is not Beethoven, it is BRAAAHHMS".


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 06:28 AM

Point taken, robomatic. The violin concerto is even worse, what with its interminable slow passage at the start of the second moment that lasts for five years before the fiddle kicks in...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 07:23 AM

The big problem with not being able to appreciate classical music is too much exposure to simple music that doesn't challenge the senses at all.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 12:15 PM

I think my first experience of "classical" music was probably at my grandparent's house when I was about 7 or 8 years old. They had a wind-up gramophone and a stack of 78rpm records, bought mainly in the 1930s and 1940s. They varied amazingly - from "Lohengrin" to Spike Jones, with vocal performances by Peter Dawson and Ann Ziegler & Webster Booth and others. I suppose this variety arose from my father and aunt buying Spike Jones records in their teens, and my grandad buying "light classics". When I was 12, I took viola lessons and joined the Middle School Orchestra, which was a fantastic experience.

I played these records over and over again, whenever I got the choice, and that - combined with what I heard on our Ecko bakelite "wireless" set - probably started a lifelong passion for music of all styles which has stayed with me all my life.

As far as classical composers are concerned, I have a wide and varied taste - from early music to Steve Reich with everything in between. I have a particular liking for eastern European and Russian composers - Dvorak, Janaçek, Bartok, Moussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc. - but also a passion for French composers such as Satie, Debussy, Ravel and "Les Six" (Poulenc, Milhaud, etc.). Just recently I discovered the wonderful music of Portuguese composer and guitarra player Carlos Paredes, whome I read about in a book by blues and jazz guitarist Woody Mann.

It's a journey that never ends...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 03:44 PM

Will Fly, I can pinpoint my wide interest in music to the same sources: 78 rpm records and the radio, although I wasn't introduced to classical music until kindergarten. We had a wonderful teacher who organised the whole school into a "band" with xylophones, tambourines, castanets, and other bits and bobs, but we also were given a music appreciation lesson, maybe once a week, with the help of the ABC school radio programmes.

I used to say I like all kinds of music, except opera and country & western, but now I even have some faves in those genres. I'm not really fond of hip-hop and rap, though. I like a good melody.

Tunesmith said: "The big problem with not being able to appreciate classical music is too much exposure to simple music that doesn't challenge the senses at all."

I agree. It's one of the reasons why I like an electronic duo called Leftfield. I have all of their CD's and I have been playing them over and over since I bought the first CD called Leftism in about 1996. It's the complexity and the interwoven musical threads which keeps me interested, and I can still hear things that I haven't noticed before. I refer to their style as electro-percussion because they both started out as drummers. There is a strong African influence, too.

E.g. Leftfield's track Storm 3000 starts slow and builds and changes, through multiple expressions until the end.

Also, they rework their tracks and release new versions, building on the original and creating a new evolved version.

This isn't off-topic. I listen to Leftfield for the same reason I listen to some classical pieces. It challenges my musical brain.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 09 Sep 18 - 07:32 PM

Tunesmith said: "The big problem with not being able to appreciate classical music is too much exposure to simple music that doesn't challenge the senses at all."

Well this is complicated. First, a lot of "simple" music, such as a lot of pop music, is actually multi-layered and very well crafted. I've mentioned this before in other threads, but a few years ago I started to help our lovely local dance teacher (and friend of both of us, in case you get any ideas!) by editing pop songs to length for her dance routines with her young pupils (and for the bunch of ladies of a certain age which included Mrs Steve!). On my laptop I was cutting and splicing all manner of songs, from Rhihanna to Don McClean to Broadway musicals. Blending bits together to make everything seamless, often even joining two songs together. It meant that I had to do an awful lot of critical listening at the joins, playing short snatches over and over again...It drove me bonkers at times, but, the thing is, I got to appreciate just how skilfully put together most so-called pop music actually is. I did over 500 songs altogether, and, though I'm never going to buy any of the records I edited songs from, it cured me of dissing all pop music as simple rubbish...

And following on from that, the perception that classical music is somehow complicated and difficult is a notion that I refute. You have to remember that Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and all the rest had to make a living. A very few were lucky enough to make a living from the patronage of wealthy aristocrats, but the rest had to subsist on what they could make from subscription concerts or by earning a grand reputation. There were no CDs or other merchandise to sell to bolster your meagre earnings and you relied on people coming to your concerts, hearing your stuff and spreading the word. You don't manage that by being highbrow and exclusive. That's very much a 20th century phenomenon, intended to convey that only an elite minority could possibly "understand" classical music. Mozart took great delight in the fact that ordinary people were strolling around Vienna whistling the tunes from the Magic Flute.

Well I think that the "elite," who sit in concerts and opera houses in their posh togs, probably understand a lot less about classical music than many a working chap who sings in his local male voice choir, to pick out one example. In fact, they often fall asleep, quite likely as a result of the burgundy quaffed in the interval...

I have no music education at all, but, after fifty or more years of listening on the radio, buying records, going to concerts and doing all that Youtube stuff, I reckon I could hold down a conversation about classical music with anyone. I don't find the music at all difficult or complex (in fact, it all has a fairly simple structure). Don't let the elite fool you into thinking that you're not clever enough to understand it. The greatest music appeals on so many levels and it is of no consequence that you haven't got a degree in music. Buy yourself a box set of Beethoven symphonies, sit back and pum-pum your way through them all. Ludwig would love you for that!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 12 Sep 18 - 04:35 PM

School, county, State, University and international orchestra was my music education. That is up until the 50th performance of Smetana's Bartered bride. Believe me nothing is more uninteresting and boring as the cello part. After 12 years or so I get bored and do something entirely different except I have been married to the same 'different' woman for 30 years.
I guess that's my way of cramming different lifetimes into one.

The detail and intricacy of classical music went into art technique and clinical therapies and anything else I try. Rarely does it succeed but it embellishes parts of life like the Mussorgsky and Copeland at our wedding. ;^/
Pearls of wisdom came from great conductors and have stayed with me.
What makes me listen is the sensuality of classical music.   
I am glad classical music introduced me to life instead of the other way round.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 12 Sep 18 - 04:48 PM

What makes me listen to classical music?
Well, who wouldn't want to listen to the greatest music ever written?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 12:51 PM

Not so fast, if you base music on how it makes you feel more than by genre there is a lot of classical music that is not the greatest by a long hot.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:03 PM

So? Surely that applies to all genres, and so your statement is meaningless.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:05 PM

Good point, Don. A large percentage of what is termed Classical music is unlistenable to all but some students and academics. Same is true of all genres, for every masterpiece that a Gershwin or a Kern turned out during "The Golden Age of Song" there were a few thousand long-forgotten stinkers, maybe tens of thousands.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:16 PM

There are some very strange - and daft - statements being made here.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:27 PM

As daft,as say, promoting N. Sedaka as a some kind of musical genius? Out of respect for the OP that's my last word on this subject.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 01:35 PM

Please don't EVER use the word genius when talking about pop and rock musicians because that wouldn't make any sense.
Pleasant they may be. Entertaining they may be. Stimulating they may be BUT genius they ain't


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:02 PM

The dictionary definition of genius is someone with exceptional ability in a particular activity.

You could say that some rock/popular compsers and musicians measured up in that respect. What about, say, Randy Newman, Richard Thompson, Leonard Cohen, George Gershwin...?

Just a thought...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:19 PM

Will, the term becomes meaningless if we include the names you mentioned...including Gershwin.
OR...we will have to invent a new word to describe the talents of Bach and Beethoven...and Handel...and Liszt...and


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:34 PM

I see your point, and I understand where you're coming from. I'm seeing Classical music and, say, Popular music as two separate genres - each with its own geniuses.

Gershwin is actually an interesting example, with a foot in both camps.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:34 PM

I agree with most of your list, Will, but mine would also include Lennon and McCartney.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:38 PM

This is the OP's opinion.

There is some amazing classical music, and there is some classical music that I have tried to listen to, given it my best shot, and it just doesn't do it for me. Some of that is the atonal, or anti-melody creations of musical academics, but some of it is the exact same musical piece or composer which someone else absolutely adores.

For example, I've never really related to most of Mozart's music, except that I love The Magic Flute opera. Play me just about any other Mozart piece and I'll just go, "Yeah, whatever!", but play me some Vivaldi or J.S. Bach and I am more likely to sit up and listen, and in some cases - hence the original posting - I am so transfixed that I am incapable of re-directing my brain, hands or feet into any other activity because I am totally focused on the music. I probably get watched now and then by my manager at work when I suddenly go dead still and forget to work because I am listening to a piece of music on the earphones.

Alternatively, as gillymor said, there are some other musical pieces outside of the classical genre which can also bring me to the same standstill. I can't possibly list them all but at the top of the list is Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, and a bunch of others in just about every musical genre you can name, including the electro-percussion duo I mentioned before, Leftfield.

To discuss the concept of "genius" would take a very large thread, and it wouldn't be confined to a thread about classical music. Maybe we could start that thread, but all I would say is that MY loose definition of a genius (off the top of my head, without asking Google) is someone with amazing mental and creative capabilities, with the capacity to bring together seemingly unrelated ideas, concepts or elements which generates among other people a new understanding of the field of study. That Eureka moment. An idea which, once formulated, changes the way that the field of study is evaluated from that time forward.

Having watched the wonderful documentary series called Jazz - directed by Ken Burns I believe that a process of genius was used to create jazz (including the influence on popular music even up to today) which used the genius of a lot of different musicians coming from a lot of social and musical backgrounds. So, in my opinion, the genius was not just one or a few people, but the sum of the parts, i.e. synergy between a lot of people not just in one group, but scattered geographically and socially.

I think that the word "genius" is bandied about without really evaluating the person and their capabilities against a real definition of genius, but personally I think that if you get a Eureka moment from a piece of music and you experience that shift in your concept of the musical world from that moment on, then you personally have identified a "genius" in your world and that's a wonderful and amazing experience. Far be it for anyone else to underrate your experience by saying that they don't agree. If it was a Eureka moment for you, then no one else should be able to take that away from you. Someone else can have a different opinion, but they cannot tell you what you think or feel.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 04:48 PM

Very well said, Helen, especially that last paragraph.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 05:08 PM

And one more thought about discussing disagreements about definitions, or disagreements about anything in fact:

"If we’re to survive this post-truth world we seem to have found ourselves in, it’s time to stand up for evidence-based decision-making, critical thought, facts, rational discussion and transparent, open communication."
Joanne McCarthy


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 07:57 PM

I implore you to have another crack at Mozart, Helen. There's a whole world of profound beauty waiting for you. Get your headphones on and hit Youtube. Where to start? Try the Clarinet Quintet, or the Piano Concerto no 21, or the Sinfonia Concertante (the K364 one), or the Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments, or the C minor Mass, or the last four symphonies. The finale of the Jupiter Symphony is one of the most incredible pieces of music ever written. We only live once...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:13 PM

Helen, I second Steve Shaw,
and I particularly suggest the piano concerti of Mozart,
especially the later ones.
Early ones, Mozart was still a kid.

The later concerti come when Mozart is full-blown mature.
And it helps to listen to these piano concerti
and to think of them as instrumental dramas,
and to imagine what sort of story is being played out.

This is one thing that separates the piano concerti of Mozart
from the piano concertos composed by so many others
during the golden age of the piano.
Remember, pianos used to be big business, big moneymakers, and they supported financially a number of cultural developments in the Industrial Age which were more mercenary than musical.
It's why I have trouble with piano concertos in general;
one has this impression of cutthroat competition, and prize-winning,
and "war-horse" repertoire which, as the English say, puts bums in seats.

Not Mozart, bless him.
Mozart is an operatic composer par excellence, so drama and storytelling are natural for him.
And if some composers write songs without words,
then Mozart is capable of writing operas without words --
and the piano concerto is one way for him to do that.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:13 PM

And then, Steve, there is that earworm which, once contracted will not die, no matter how many times or how hard I stomp on it - from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik .

LOL


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:28 PM

I have half a dozen earworms, Helen. I can switch freely from one to another, but I can't not have one at all! The piano concertos are a wonderful body of work and choosing favourites is very subjective. The one in G, K453 (forgotten what number it is), no 23 in A and the last one, no 27 in B flat, are all sublime. His two minor-key ones, no 20 in D minor K466 and the C minor one, no 24, K 491, are full of smoky drama and, at times, pathos. My very favourite is the one in C, K 467, of Elvira Madigan fame. It's the perfect work of art just as The Magic Flute is perfect. Go on, give them a whirl! If you want really nice performances, any by Murray Perahia will get you there. Or Mitsuko Uchida. Many more but I don't keep up!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 18 - 09:55 PM

I like classical music from the Romantic era. I like folk music just fine, but I have to listen to folk music to enjoy it. I can play classical music all day long and do other things.

But my wife likes Baroque, and only Baroque. It sounds like sawing to me, and I can take it in only little bits.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:23 AM

It's true that some of J.S. Bach's stuff can sound like sawing-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWk2tYaA6A0

Here's a lovely piece from the Baroque era by Francois Couperin that is a bit less saw-like-

Mysterious Barricades- Christopher Parkening, guitar


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:26 AM

Whoops, that Bach link didn't take, here it is again-

Minuet in G


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 09:44 AM

I think that Bach's crowning achievement was to pull baroque music out of a sort of mire, in which heaviness, thick textures and a formulaic approach to a sort of layered musical structure, with quite a heavy bass line, often seemed to be the order of the day, especially in pieces for larger ensembles. It isn't helped by some of the big-band performances we used to get, thankfully a phenomenon we seem to be evolving away from. Bach's incredible use of harmony was in contrast to, er, some less imaginative efforts by lesser lights of the era. After him there was nowhere else to go for baroque, which is where Haydn and Mozart come in. To me, they were the giants of the classical era, Haydn the worthy (in more senses than one) creator and Mozart taking the classical style to a pinnacle in music that I don't think has ever been eclipsed. Helen's not fully relating to Mozart rang a bell, in that a good mate of mine, a superb teacher of music and multi-instrumentalist, doesn't "get" Mozart either. He considers it to be light, tinkly and not demanding enough. Well light the candles, pour a glass, shut out the noise and put on the slow movement of Piano Concerto no 21. There's a singing tune going on, on first hearing sounding like all those things I've just said. But listen to what's going on "underneath." There's profound restlessness and disquiet, an emotional quiet storm going on. Then whack up the volume and put on the finale of the Jupiter Symphony, a tour de force, visionary and forward-looking, a complex yet thoroughly coherent masterpiece of driving force (I feel the same about the first movement of the Prague Symphony, my favourite). Beethoven sort of bestrode the classical and romantic periods but he's no revolutionary. True, his works broke all the rules about length, he knew how to "shock" via dynamic extremes and he ditched (almost) the elegance of minuets in favour of spiky scherzos, etc. But he returned again and again to the old forms, fugue and variation, paid explicit homage to Bach and Palestrina even in his late music and used only the forces of Haydn and Mozart. His very last string quartet, the last completed work, was homage to those two, deified!

Unenlightened and subjective opinion only. Shoot!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 10:20 AM

Excellent post, Steve. Much of Mozart's music makes me think of powdered wigs and silken knee breeches but some of those late symphonies were transcendent, particularly the Jupiter.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 11:16 AM

Try Mozart's late G Minor quintet. No wig powder in sight there, but plenty of angst, until he finds the sunlit uplands right at the end.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 05:08 PM

Hi Joe,

I like some Baroque.

All right, Steve, I'll give the old Mozzie (the common Aussie term for a mosquito, in case you didn't know that) a go. Light and tinkly is probably about right for me, but maybe I've been listening to the wrong pieces. It will take me a while to listen to all of the pieces you have recommended but I'll do it with open ears and an open mind.

Congratulations everyone for totally IGNORING my mentions of Leftfield. Was this a concerted effort or a series of solo performances? LOL

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:33 PM

No worries, Helen (another Aussie term!) They're mozzies here too, and here in Cornwall it's peak mozzie-bite season right now. Two vicious bites on me poor legs kept me awake all last night. I know I've come on a bit thick and fast with Mozart, but that's just a reflection of my enthusiasm. It's no affectation, honest. There really are depths to plumb, and the effort is, no exaggeration, potentially life-changing!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 08:37 PM

Well Steve, I'll see whether it is the annoying Mozzie-bite experience or the life-changing experience. I'll let you know. As I said, it may take a while for the life-changing bit because sometimes it takes time for music to grow on me - like a fungus, I suppose. LOL


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,IvanB
Date: 14 Sep 18 - 09:41 PM


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Roderick A Warner
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 06:02 AM

Hi Helen... to work in a Leftfield mention, a small digression. Most Fridays i go to a vintage market, most of it crap but some interesting stuff. For the last 18 months a guy has been coming with his vinyl stall and that's where I head for. Good prices, eclectic selection. Recently I've picked up some good condition classical very cheap, Mozart Jupiter which is mind blowing, ditto Charles Ives piano and 4th symphony. And a load of house/techno 12 inches, including Leftfield last week, 'Open Up' with John Lydon, bought with a double 12 inch Underground Sounds of Australia. Buying vinyl again has re opened a lot of sonic doors as you go with availability and odd stuff pops up. Add in some Stockhausen and Miles Davis second great quintet recently (interlinked in curious way) and most weekends I have this great mix of stuff playing which weaves in and out of classical (I have BBC radio 3 on a lot which covers a lot of ground) across the genres/sub genres and back. At the moment of writing, Steve Reich playing and the power of the music has pulled me away from this post for the duration. Labels are clumsy, keep the fields wide open...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 07:07 AM

Thanks Roderick.

The reason I bought the first Leftfield CD was because of 'Open Up' with John Lydon. I heard it on the alternative radio station a few times and went looking for the CD. I can never just listen to Open Up just once. I have to hit repeat a few times.

When I first used to listen to the CD it was always in the car with the usual car and traffic noises drowning out some of the music, but when I listened to it with earphones I heard so much more complexity. It was a revelatory experience.

BTW, with reference to John Lydon, I also have an original vinyl copy of Never Mind the Bollocks, bought way back when I used to listen to punk.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 09:17 AM

I had a Mozart moment during a competition between violinists performing Mozart concertos. An Asian woman interpreted a concerto in such a way that I had never experienced before. All of Mozart became clear to me all at once. His heart and soul lay bare for all to hear.
Despite being encouraged to give the competition to a young man I had no other choice but to choose the performance of the gods. Each movement described more than I can describe. The work for flute and harp is a fragrant breeze but this violin concerto went farther than music normally goes. Nachtmuzic is not even in the running.

btw
I have my own greatest classical hits medly and Rhapsody in blue is naturally a part of it


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 09:35 AM

The impressionism of Claire d'Lune is a masterpiece I put into a wonderfully crowded classification of an extra musicular event.

If you perform Bach with a flexible free reign on tempo it becomes music.
If you chain yourself to a metronome and organize volume on a second repetition of a phrase, it is math.

The true golden note in music is a momentary silence.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 09:51 AM

Steve I like the way your threads allow me to hear many mental excerpts of some of the works you mention. They are better than ear worms.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 12:06 PM

Thank you, Donuel. By the way, try the version of the Flute and Harp Concerto conducted by Thomas Beecham with René Le Roy on Flute and Lili Laskine on harp, from the 1940s. It's on YouTube. They seem to have brightened the sound from what I remember when I bought the record over thirty years ago. It's an absolute joy.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 04:31 PM

All I can say is, it's lucky I am retiring next year because otherwise I would never have time to listen to all these musical recommendations.

So much music, so little time!

Thanks everyone.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 15 Sep 18 - 09:43 PM

Old time recordings may have been played faster than the tempo signature to fit on a 78 side. But today no one plays Beethoven's 5th as marked. It is blazingly fast. It has been recorded at its real tempo but I don't know how to find it. The entire first phrase goes by in under 10 seconds.
Toscanini was famous for his quick crisp tempos.

I just remembered how a conductor took the Bach concerto for 2 violins in one for the first time for performance and fooled the orchestra into playing twice as slow as marked. I let it go by for about ten seconds when I stood up and did a Jimmy Durante imitation yelling 'stop the music stop the music'. Ladies and Gentlemen lets see how fast we can really play this thing, Maestro take it away. and away we went. The accident ended up looking staged.

So many fun things happened, I should make a list.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Sep 18 - 12:44 AM

Steve Shaw says: I think that Bach's crowning achievement was to pull baroque music out of a sort of mire...

Joe Offer says: Exactly.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 18 - 02:13 AM

I'd possibly start with the things Pip/mum used to play on piano at home which would include some Chopin as well as Beethoven and Mozart sonatas.

While I couldn't name you any piece, I've enjoyed mandolin concertos I've heard on the radio and more generally speaking, probably find earlier/baroque stuff easier listening.

But it's all a bit of a wash and I'd like some material (at least if I can hear a melody...) of any era and dislike other bits and I never really follow up... Not sure that's too different to the way I am with "folk" really. Bits of either can move me, some can leave me cold (or worse) and some in between...

Favorite piece today would be the guitar arrangement of Granada by Albeniz

Performers. I'll go by Pip when she was a student. She reckoned that Alfredo Campoli gave the most amazing concert when she was a student in Brum.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 16 Sep 18 - 09:51 PM

Vivaldi has some nice mandolin concertos.

BTW Vivaldi is certainly a great Baroque composer and conducter.

I 'll show you a swampy mire .

The tripe JSB's sons composed that were just vertical tripe they called music

Yes JSB himself wrote about raising and refining Baroque music with fugues and chromatic fantasias.

Shall we get into what makes different keys fit together.
It was tempering partly invented by JSB


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Sep 18 - 10:35 PM

Easy question mozart for this guy


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: olddude
Date: 16 Sep 18 - 10:36 PM

His piano concertos especially


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 17 Sep 18 - 04:01 AM

What separates Bach from earlier Baroque musicians is that his musical lifetime coincided with changes to the musical temperament of instruments, as Donuel has said. Brass instruments acquired valves, and keyboards were tuned to equal temperament. The main effect of these developments was to increase the number of keys that musicians could play in without retuning/resetting instruments - and this, in turn, allowed much more sophisticated modulation and more complex adventures in melody and harmony. All of which JSB used to the full. He also drew inspiration from French and Italian music, rather than just German.

His suites for solo cello are wonderful creations; you can hear the chord sequences in the melodic progression, which seems to flow effortleslly. Great stuff!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 17 Sep 18 - 12:35 PM

And, of course, the modern " discovery" of the cello suites by Pablo Casals is a great story.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 18 Sep 18 - 05:17 PM

Will you are a god damn music historian :^)
You are positioned well. Stealing from folk repertoire for classical treatment is ubiquitous and normal. Stealing the other way around is a rare novelty.

A novelty of mine is taking some of the hundreds of 'baritone duets' Haydn wrote for his King to play BUT I change the instruments to folk instruments and make them as fast as a bat outta hell. Add some syncopation and boom- its folk music.

I play only half of the cello suites which is a fair indication how half assed my skills are. The Bach violin partitas are so famous and thrilling at times I have to hear them 5 times in a row. The cello suites are far more meditative.

I'm still discovering 'new to me' music.
This week it was Quiet City by Arron Copland.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 10:27 AM

If someone could not play the paritas on harpsichord but could play them on computer keyboard could you say his Bach is worse than his byte?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 11:44 AM

Er... I just need a fugue minuets to think that one through...can't ask Mrs Steve either...she's out Chopin with a long Liszt, taken the Allegro...she's gone with her uncle andante...


Sorry, Helen! It's that Dave.   I'll get serious again soon!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 12:11 PM

Steve, it sounds like your coming unRaveled. Maybe you need some time offenbach.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 12:50 PM

What a lot of Bizet bees...


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 04:32 PM

It's all right. I can Handel a Fauré into puns.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 04:50 PM

I'm assuming Mrs Steve will be Bach in a Minuette.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 04:50 PM

Please, no mouret!
Now, time to start supper, I'm getting honegger pangs.
(okay, I'm done.)


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 08:41 PM

Enough! I'd sooner hack off my Gounods with a rusty machete than continue with this line of enquiry. Let's Tippett into touch here and now!


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 08:52 AM

Speaking of NOVELTY there is this performance of Argh in D minus


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Sep 18 - 05:03 PM

If you go for a Fall foliage drive, might I suggest The Pines of Rome at the peak of your trip.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 04:09 PM

Our local library is a center where they discard books, paintings and CDs and sell them. I have even found classified stuff and formidable historic signatures there. Anyway I have amassed quite a classical collection. I would be happy to look for CDs and collections if I knew what you are seeking since they are super cheap.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: JMB
Date: 24 Sep 18 - 06:32 PM

I have several CDs of classical music with sounds of nature in the background. There is one with pieces such as Asante by Mozart and a piece from Swan Lake that is played on guitar.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Sep 18 - 01:02 PM

PUT New Age music to shame give Jeux d'eau Water Games/park by Raval a listen. Water games


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Oct 18 - 06:59 PM

Great sex music:

Samual Barber - Adagio for strings

Howard Hanson - Romantic Symphony

Enigma Variations by some British dude.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 03 Oct 18 - 07:22 PM

I can't hear Barber's Adagio for Strings
without thinking of JFK and his funeral.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Helen
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 04:23 PM

Just reading this article:

Classical music is undergoing a revolution — and you're probably a fan without realising it


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 04 Oct 18 - 04:58 PM

The last night of the Proms in 2001 occurred four days after 9-11. The usually rumpus-ridden second half was completely rejigged into a sombre affair with Barber's Adagio at its heart. Towards the end there was a defiant performance of the finale of Beethoven's Choral Symphony (conducted by Leonard Slatkin). The previous evening featured Verdi's Requiem, dedicated to the victims. I remember well the rather rumbustious performance of the Choral conducted by Lenny Bernstein in Berlin after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the Ode To Joy finale he directed the choir to sing “Freiheit” (freedom) instead of “Freude” (joy). There's a great photo of Lenny, fag in mouth, hammer in hand, chipping away at that wall. I think I've already mentioned Slava Rostropovich's angry and tearful rendering of Dvorak's Cello Concerto in London on the day the Russian tanks rolled into Prague. Music adding to history!

Leonard Slatkin's dad, Felix, was a member of the Hollywood String Quartet, a bunch of musicians used to playing film music. But that quartet got together and made one of the most memorable set of recordings of Beethoven's late string quartets ever. To me, that's the greatest music of all.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 03:46 AM

The last quartets by Beethoven are wonderful. I also adore Bartok's string quartets, which I think are wonderful as well.

Incidentally, can anyone guess what is the most played classical music phrase played on the planet - hundreds of thousands of plays every day?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 08:01 AM

The opening notes of Beethoven 5?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 08:10 AM

Or perhaps Ride of the Valkyries.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 08:20 AM

It's the Nokia ringtone! Part of a waltz (Gran Vals) by Tarrega.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: gillymor
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 09:26 AM

That's what I get for carrying a Samsung.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 11:22 AM

I am years too late in coming to this thread.

I listen to classical music for the TUNES, and what the composers do with them. Some appeal to me more than others, but Bach can always bring me to a dead halt with the perfect, yet always surprising, works he wrote for church musicians. "The Lark Ascending" by Ralph Vaughan Williams, or his "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis", likewise stop time for me.

Grieg's Holberg Suite is the best breakfast music ever, and fine-dining restaurants are not wrong to load their sound systems with Vivaldi.

Modern recordings are so fine, and the musicianship of today's classically trained players so great, that we are living in the Golden Age of classical music performance, both in one's own sitting room and in a concert hall near you.

But I can't have it on the radio in the car. It's either too absorbing or too relaxing, both just totally wrong for driving.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 10:04 PM

The Borodin string quartet #2 is pure crisp fresh air where ever you hear it.

Call and answer between sitar and table (Indian Classical Music) is ostensibly the sexiest organic music I have ever heard. The slight departure from rhythmic patterns creates an anticipation that you will never forget and can add to your sensual library. It works like an ancient wisdom come to light.


Barbers Adagio for Orchestra was the only time I saw the cello section split into six parts, likewise the violins had 12 separate parts. The effect is an impenetrable wall of sound.


Do you know the trick of Tchaikovsky's Pathetque' first 13 note theme? It is a clever audio illusion. The tune you hear is not played by anyone but is a composite blending into what you think you hear.


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 05 Oct 18 - 10:08 PM

edit


* tabla
* Pathetique #6









*


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: Donuel
Date: 08 Oct 18 - 10:10 PM

What is that trilling bird like violin/orchestra piece by Ralph vaughan Williams ?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: robomatic
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 12:15 AM

Are you referring to "The Lark Ascending"?


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Subject: RE: Classical music - what makes you listen?
From: mayomick
Date: 09 Oct 18 - 09:41 AM

the hiss of the steam iron always does it for me.......dashing away with the classics


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