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Need help on classical

Re: Need help on classical
May 13, 2009, 07:31:05 PM
Messiaen & Charles Ives play transcendental esoteric christian metal and transcendental Ralph Waldo-core respectively.

These are the only modern composers worth anything (ok, Eliot Carter too.).

Charles Ives' concord sonata gives musical portraits of Emerson, Thoreau, the Alcotts and Hawthorne. It would be a good place to start along with his "The Unanswered Question." The Universe Symphony is program music/proto dark ambient strangeness.

Check out Messaien's Transfiguration of Christ or his opera St Francis of Assisi. I saw the latter at the Albert Hall last year and also heard some of his organ music at Ely cathedral.

Don't listen to ASBO's poison about the above.

The only other composers I can listen to are Beethoven, Bach, Schumann and Schubert. Schubert's impromptus are my favourite at the moment. Sometimes I can enjoy Wagner but not often.

Quite often classical music seems a bit stuffy and pompous to me.


Re: Need help on classical
May 13, 2009, 08:37:54 PM
Honestly, if you want to avoid listening to music you don't like, just don't listen to 20th century composers and stick with the classics. Whether you like certain modern composers or not is heavily dependant on your taste.

Granted, when you explore modern classical you will find lots of bad stuff (I find most French composers terrible, including Saint-Saens) but it's never a good idea to limit yourself because someone on the internet told you so. With that in mind, disregard what I just said about French composers and listen to Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen etc., you never know if you'll find something you'll enjoy, and even if you don't you will have learned a little more about classical music.

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 02:22:52 AM
Wow, I seen a lack of Italian composers here. So I present a list:

    * Matteo Rampollini (1497–1553)
    * Andrea Gabrieli (c.1510–1595), uncle of Giovanni
    * Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525–1594)
    * Giorgio Mainerio (c.1530/40 – 1582)
    * Annibale Stabile (c.1535–1595), Roman School composer, pupil of Palestrina
    * Florentio Maschera (1540–1584)
    * Emilio de' Cavalieri (1550-1602)
    * Giovanni Gabrieli (1557–1612), composer and organist
    * Carlo Gesualdo (1566–1613) Chromatic madrigalist, nobleman, murderer
    * Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643), member of the Florentine Camerata, who are generally credited with inventing the modern opera, best     
      known for his Orfeo, also wrote several books of madrigals
    * Salamone Rossi (c.1570–1630) Jewish composer of the early Baroque
    * Gregorio Allegri (1582–1652), composer of the famous Miserere, copied from memory on two hearings by the 14-year-old Mozart
    * Girolamo Frescobaldi (bap.1583-1643)
    * Stefano Landi (c.1586–1639)
    * Domenico Mazzocchi (1592–1665)
    * Virgilio Mazzocchi (1597–1646)
    * Luigi Rossi (c.1597–1653)
    * Giacomo Carissimi (1605–1674)
    * Marco Mazzazzoli (c.1605–1662)
    * Antonio Cesti (1623–1669)
    * Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632–1687)
    * Bernardo Pasquini (1637–1710)
    * Ignazio Albertini (1644–1685)

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 03:35:15 AM

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 04:30:06 PM
A common criticism against Italian, some French, and many Jewish composers is that they do a surface treatment of classical. Some of the most popular classical works come from this segment because they are pretty noise with simple geometrical patterns that make not brilliant brains feel stimulated.

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 06:25:53 PM
Not all Italian composers are bad.

Scarlatti, for instance, is right up there with Bach as far as early composers of keyboard music goes.

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 06:28:43 PM
More thoughts, a broad treatment, and some names.

Here are some of my biases:

- Not all music is suited for active listening at home. I generally prefer absolute (abstract) music for that purpose.

- I can’t stand opera on my stereo. I went to a performance once; it wasn’t unpleasant although I haven’t returned yet.

- Music composed to show off technical skill doesn’t get many repeated listens.

- Is the symphony overrated? (bigger, louder, longer = better?) There’s often less going on than what the # of players would suggest, and knowing that symphonies were frequently composed at the piano, it’s not surprising to often hear only 2 things really going on at once. Nevertheless, some symphonies are masterpieces.

Now, despite what you said there’s no way to answer you but with composers I liek, sorry. Does the fact that I don’t like empty soulless crap comfort you?

Modern: not familiar enough so cannot comment.

Mid & late romantic: often excessively emotional
Brahms stands out (chamber music, symphonies, concertos)

Early romantic:
Beethoven (sonatas, chamber music, symphonies)
Schubert (late works: symphonies 8-9, chamber music, piano sonatas)

Mozart (late symphonies, late chamber music. Overall, not a big favourite of mine. Anything else?)
Haydn (string quartets. Anything else? Some symphonies? The oratorios?)
C.P.E. Bach: He was held in very high regard by subsequent greats. Any leads?

Fuck dance music for poufs. Fuck opera. What’s left?

But seriously, this period has a very large output but a lot of it is very lightweight. Sacred vocal? Meh. Generally not abstract enough, sometimes overemotional.
There’s good stuff going on in some of the instrumental music though. So far I like D.Scarlatti, some Vivaldi, Corelli, some Händel, some Bach…I’d like to hear some of the earlier instrumental composers now. (Frescobaldi? Marini?)

Renaissance & Medieval:

The thread on early music would be a better place to discuss these periods.

I like the later renaissance instrumental pieces, and these would fit in this thread. Byrd is worthwhile. Who else?

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 06:49:09 PM
Not all Italian composers are bad.

Scarlatti, for instance, is right up there with Bach as far as early composers of keyboard music goes.

D. Scarlatti composed all of his 555 sonatas after moving to Portugal/Spain. Good thing he moved out of Italy!


Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 07:33:51 PM
Mozart (late symphonies, late chamber music. Overall, not a big favourite of mine. Anything else?)

I recommend the c minor and the d minor piano concertos.

I’d like to hear some of the earlier instrumental composers now.

Try Dietrich Buxtehude, Michael Praetorius, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and Georg Böhm if you want to listen to some organ music. Don't know much about music written for other instruments from that period.

I like the later renaissance instrumental pieces, and these would fit in this thread. Byrd is worthwhile. Who else?

There are no bad Renaissance composers I'm aware of.

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 08:12:04 PM
I can say for a fact that Verdi is not crap

Not particularly crap, but usually crowd-pleasing (specially in his popular trilogy and Nabucco). The rest of his work is, anyway, not immortal.

How do you come to the conclusion that Verdi's music is not immortal?
I love his operas as of now, and I don't know how my tastes are going to change 20-30 years from now, but I do know that there are people who listen to Verdi their entire life.

Re: Need help on classical
May 15, 2009, 08:21:53 PM
Mozart, the late concerti are essential (~no. 20 onward for piano, I'd say). He's probably my favorite concerto writer actually: he always took great care to make sure that the soloist and the orchestra are always perfectly balanced, and unlike some of the romantics, he took the form seriously enough to create works that go beyond their claims to virtuosity.

He's definitely not the kind of composer that's going to garner a lot of praise around here, but I think that his place amongst the great is well deserved: there's a perfection, an elegance, a purity, a clarity and a simplicity (only apparent, there's a wealth of nuances and intricacies beyond the notes in Mozart) to his music that's you don't find in other works. I think he was one of the composer that best understood the importance of saying more with less, and his later works show that this was something he was enormously talented at.

Mozart might have had comparatively lower aims than Bach, Beethoven and the like, but what he tried, he accomplished with such excellence that it really isn't anything you could hold against him. His music is the most formidable hymn to life that I could think of.

Haydn, the keyboard sonatas are brilliant and entirely different from the ones by his two famous contemporaries. If I were to describe them as a whole, I'd say that they're mostly very lively and driven, with a knack for expressing both the humorous and the tragic (often in the same movement). And of course, they're also full of the kind of "tricks" that Haydn is famous for: there's no such thing as being bored while listening to this man's music. I'm not familiar with much else of his output, but the few London Symphonies that I've heard were all every bit as fascinating as his sonatas.

Schubert, you didn't mention his Lieder! (ok, it's chamber music, but they're too important not to be mentionned on their own). Winterreise and Die Schöne Müllerin are probably the two most important cycles of the whole art song repertoire, and that's for very good reasons. They're completely and thoroughly unavoidable.

And on Tchaikovsky finally, he does stands on the wrong side of the romantic period, but don't let it get in the way of your appreciation of his magnificient Symphony No. 6. The finale's one of my highlight in the whole symphonic repertoire actually.

and finally finally, Scarlatti gets my vote too, 1685 was quite the year for western music.

Re: Need help on classical
May 16, 2009, 08:11:21 PM

Re: Need help on classical
May 20, 2009, 11:14:01 PM
What are this forum's opinions on Chopin?

Re: Need help on classical
May 21, 2009, 02:52:03 AM
One should also pay attention to the conductor and the musicians. Some make good compositions sound bad. A general rule is that a conductor's character will affect the recording, since an essential part of music is sentiment; thus, you want not only skilled, but also virtous conductors (as if the two could really be seperated). Some want to play down the influence of conductors, but those are mostly record labels or deaf people.

Re: Need help on classical
May 22, 2009, 07:02:27 AM
Listening to music and understanding it is a trained skill. Why not get good at appreciating classical, and gain the capacity to find the answers yourself?

I suggest starting with medieval music, moving into the early renaissance. This would give you the tools needed to fully appreciate Franco-Flemish polyphony, which is the high point for abstract Western music.

After that, everything post-1500s will be a piece of cake, some of it very simple; consider the trend in audience aptitudes: (gross simplification)
Medieval & Early Ren. -­> God
High Ren & Baroque -> Man (Aristocracy)
Classical & Romantic & Modern -> Man (Middle Class)
[Rock music -> …]

If this approach appeals to you, speak up and I will write more on medieval & early renaissance music: it’s a minefield for newcomers, just like with metal…

I warn you though, if you think Bach’s a special super-genius, that bubble's going to pop.

Thank you sir.
I'm searching the site atm.