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Messages - cmargir

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Metal / Re: Wagner or Brahms?
« on: September 25, 2011, 02:01:38 AM »
thank god you don't have to choose between either of them in this day and age

two masters of their craft, my life wouldn't be the same without either of them

Metal / Re: Pianist Thread
« on: August 07, 2011, 12:04:11 PM »
It probably was the Hammerklavier adagio that I had heard. Interesting observation, cmargir, about seriousness with regards to the 32nd. I guess I'm not sure what to think of the "weird ragtimey/jazzey/whatever rhythms" with regards to interpretation. Any recommendations of takes on this?
I haven't really done any comparative listening but I think that Hungerford might do those best out of the five or so that I've heard.

I haven't found anything that Ms. Uchida has done that doesn't make me cringe, though that's just my taste. I still have a difficult time listening to Mozart sonatas (which are, admittedly, extremely difficult to get right) after hearing her cycle two years ago. This recording has helped speed my recovery (warning: pianoforte).
Uchida's Études was supposed to be the right performance i.m.o.! It is, by the way, an exception in her otherwise German/Viennese repertoire, of which I've only heard some Beethoven & Schumann pieces live.

yes, it's harder to imprint one's vision on a conductor plus an orchestra than it is when you're alone with a score.
It depends on the personality of the soloist and the conductor. In most of the romantic repertoire though, the soloist is the most important person on the stage by a fair margin so it makes more sense that the orchestra tries to follow the pianist than otherwise.

Agreed that Uchida's études are really good.

Metal / Re: Pianist Thread
« on: August 07, 2011, 02:15:43 AM »
yes, it's harder to imprint one's vision on a conductor plus an orchestra than it is when you're alone with a score. You've got to make sure that everyone's on the same page but then you don't have that much time to rehearse so performances do tend to be more standardized. This is part of the reason why Grigory Sokolov no longer plays concertos.

Metal / Re: Pianist Thread
« on: August 07, 2011, 12:23:57 AM »
He's done one of the best Hammerklavier recording out there as far as I can tell. Especially the fugue which is pretty hard to make sense of. Magnificent adagio too, extremely slow but he pulls it off. http://www.megaupload.com/?d=S55G0NEA

he doesn't nail the 32nd as well though. he's a bit too strict/serious to nail some of the weird ragtimey/jazzey/whatever rhythms that crop up. I don't think I've heard anything else from him though. He's mostly known for those late-sonatas but his repertoire was somewhat wider than that obviously. I know he's performed Tchaikovksy/Brahms piano concertos too.

Metal / Re: Organ music
« on: April 25, 2011, 09:38:52 AM »
It's a darn shame, but Bruckner hasn't written any major work for the instrument. Wish we could have access to some of his improvisations though, apparently he was phenomenal at that.

What about WAB126-131? Are they worth checking out?
With my assessment I was mostly deferring to the judgement of concert organists who seem to think rather lowly of the very few pieces that he published. There's very few recordings of them and they're not very often performed at all. They were mostly composed in his early life too, and as such they're most likely nowhere nearly as inspired as his later symphonies. If you really want to sample it though, there's a few recordings up on youtube. I mean, it's 'ok', but compared to this? it just doesn't hold its ground.

Metal / Re: Hugo Wolf - Superior Lieder
« on: April 23, 2011, 11:16:16 AM »
It may be ill-advised to defend a dead account, but here goes:

Bruckner, Wagner, Smetana, Janáček, Schoenberg and co. were all lacking in the insight department, obviously.

Obviously, "uncharacteristically insightful" is a poor choice of words. Wolf paints a remarkably clear picture in a small space, something those composers mentioned did rarely, at least from what I've heard.

This is a broad question, but what "late Romantic" music would you recommend? Certainly those interested here are also acquainted with Bruckner's Symphonies, Wagner, and maybe Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht.
Scriabin, for his very convoluted, extremely chromatic and highly mystical late piano works. His are freely atonal pieces of earth shattering intensity and his language was to become with age a strikingly individual one: he started as a talented Chopin imitator only to become something else altogether with time, a man with destructive delusions of grandeur who was to prefigure by a few years many of the developments to come by way of the Viennese. Sofronitsky, his son-in-law, recorded many of his works and is usually regarded as one of the great exponent of his music.

Alban Berg, the most overtly romantic of the second Viennese school composers. Most of his works are filled with tonal reminiscence, yet his better works are just as immediately expressive as his brethren's. Don't miss the fascinating piano sonata, the searingly beautiful violin concerto, the dark and aptly named lyrische suite and the music from his two operas: Wozzeck and Lulu.

Richard Strauss, the incredibly talented opera composer who unfortunately shied away from modernist strains that often makes late-romanticism so appealing rather early in his career. Still, Salome and Elektra are prime examples of the last great flowering of romanticism, with their striking harmonies accompanying these dark, maddened story.

Janáček, for sheer passion taken to its utmost extreme, for the speech-like melodies and for his intense advocacy for the great folk music of his land (and also for the great Russian literary tradition!). Go for the fabulous string quartets, the piano sonata or the great operas.

Gustav Mahler, the last great Germanic symphonist. Nowhere before was wallowing in self-indulgence this aesthetically satisfying. He makes up for his overly long and grandiose creations with his complete mastery over the orchestra and with his very keen sense for drama. His music is alive with hymns, parodies, marches and songs and his creativity and insight when it comes to the structure of the romantic symphony is second to none. Of special note was his ability to include the Germanic lieder tradition in his orchestral compositions, his Lied von der Erde is a great masterpiece.

Schoenberg, other than his sextet, one should not miss his other early works like the Gurre-lieder and especially the Chamber-Symphony Op. 9, still tonal but just barely. The lieder too, he was a very fine song composer but this aspect of his work is often unjustly overlooked. Don't miss the Webern Passacaglia either, a great representation of what late-romanticism stands for.

And then I could also extol the virtues of many other composers too, in my mind this period is one of the most interesting in all of western classical music. In these times filled with uncertainties many, many composers tried to rise up to the challenge of providing answers to some of the nagging questions that were on everyone's mind. Bartok, Szymanowski, Zemlinsky and Stravinsky in particular, are also very much worthy of investigations.

Metal / Re: Organ music
« on: April 21, 2011, 05:35:58 AM »
Organ music seems to be composed/performed with a very particular dynamic and it certainly gives a different feeling to other classical music, more of a solemn or reverent emotion (not meant in a religious sense). It's also one of the oldest and least altered forms of composition, so it carries with it the power of a tradition from a distant time.

I'm mainly familiar with Bach and a few other composers on a compilation of early German organ music, I definitely have to delve further into the works of Buxtehude. I don't know a thing about the more modern composers but I'll be looking into Franck and anything Bruckner has written for the instrument.

It's a darn shame, but Bruckner hasn't written any major work for the instrument. Wish we could have access to some of his improvisations though, apparently he was phenomenal at that.

Metal / Re: Bach's Cantatas
« on: April 19, 2011, 07:41:35 PM »
Alex Ross is good writer. I don't like how he tends to ignore/disparage avant-garde composers like Carter in favor of less interesting guys like Adams, but this bias shouldn't be all too problematic around here, right? His first book, "The Rest is Noise" is a great overview of 20th century classical music if you keep in mind said bias.

Metal / Re: Organ music
« on: April 19, 2011, 07:22:00 PM »
Any recommendations for classical music played solely on either organ or piano?
César Franck, he didn't compose this many works for the instrument so I would probably recommend trying to get all of it. If you're only familiar with the pre-romantic composers when it comes to organ compositions, you'll be struck by how individual, and grand his compositions, almost as if it was performed on an entirely different instrument. Otherwise, you obviously can't avoid Bach when it comes to the organ, my favorite work of his there would probably be the passacaglia and fugue in C minor BWV 582 but he's also composed many other great prelude and fugue in his life. Remember to avoid the super famous but also notedly inferior BWV 565 (it wasn't even composed by him as far as we know, and it sure doesn't sound like Bach to me).

Mozart too, he didn't compose a whole lot for the instrument but at his best he's at the top of things: especially recommended would be the KV 594 adagio and allegro for mechanical organ. Other than those, I haven't heard much though. If you want to explore the instrument further, you probably can't go really wrong with the predecessors of Bach, whether Pachelbel or Buxtehude. For more contemporary compositions, Messiaen is probably the best known organ composer of the 20th century. Other composers you might want to look into include Charles-Marie Widor, Paul Hindemith or Max Reger.

for solo piano music now, oh man. if you really want recommendations there, you'd be better making a new thread because the répertoire is just humongous.

Metal / Re: Classical is essentially Western European art
« on: February 07, 2011, 01:40:20 PM »
self-evident? they don't call it western art music for nothing. Which is not to say that there hasn't been great performers from outside the usual classical music hotspot, think Mitsuko Uchida, Claudio Arrau or Martha Argerich. Incidently though, they were all trained by european teachers which is no surprise, really.

Metal / Re: Arvo Pärt
« on: January 21, 2011, 11:26:13 PM »
hack! what's your mind supposed to do with minimalism I really don't know.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: October 01, 2010, 09:49:39 PM »
I have a mild respect for Karajan alone out of all of those people, because he's the only one I know (he conducted my favourite recording of Brahms's Fourth Symphony).  That respect has slightly diminished now that it has been claimed that he "defended" this jumble of notes whimsically referred to as "music".

Also, appeal to authority fallacy if ever I saw one.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't listen to and derive enjoyment from this stuff, I'm just saying that, in my Dictatorship, anything of this nature would result in immediate execution for all involved.
If you dismiss my points as "pretentious bullshit", what else can I do? From that initial and second post of yours, it seemed clear to me that you wouldn't be ready to listen to what I had to say with regards to the point and the form of this composition (would I even be able to explain the latter properly? my knowledge of music is far more intuitive than theoretical, I know fuck all about musical composition), and thus I felt like I had to refer to people that you might have some respect for in order to have something to build on. If you're not willing to listen to what I say, I won't waste any time saying it, you know?

Because they're also without a shadow of a doubt some of the greatest interprets of the traditional Germanic repertoire, from Bach to Wagner through Beethoven.
hah. now that's a rebuttal that I wasn't expecting on this website, one of the few internet bastion still defending objectivity in music. Although I did pick these names a bit randomly as they came to my mind,  I firmly believe that in my Dictatorship, everyone would be familiar with every and all of those performers, they're just that important when it comes to the world of recorded and concert music.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: October 01, 2010, 08:21:04 PM »
Because they're also without a shadow of a doubt some of the greatest interprets of the traditional Germanic repertoire, from Bach to Wagner through Beethoven. If you don't have any respect for Artur Schnabel, a friend of Schoenberg who used his own version of dodecaphonism in his compositions, you're missing out on his legendary Beethoven piano sonata cycle. If you don't have any respect for Karajan, you're missing out on his fabulous recording of Haydn's Die Schöpfung that has this near flawless cast. If you don't have any respect for Scherchen, you're missing out on a few of the most intense Beethoven symphony recordings, part of the first few performances where the conductor tried to see through the late-romantic veil that had obscured Beethoven's original vision by using the sharper tempi and the more down to earth orchestration that the composer originally imagined. Quite simply, if you don't like any of the names I mentioned, you don't like classical music and I don't know what I'm doing here.

Of course, you're perfectly free to claim that they were all misguided with their assessment of those composers, but think about something for a second. How could so many intelligent individuals, people that understood the essence of the great composers of the past so well and profoundly, be so wildly off the track when it comes to those compositions we're dealing with here? And I m talking about both composers and performers here, I'd wager that there was very few people in Webern's time who had more respect for Bach and the great composers of the Renaissance than Anton himself, as his fabulous orchestration of this 6 part ricercar exemplifies. How could one claim that a sane composer schooled in the music of the past masters, who was perfectly able to imitate the music of his idols as a youth, would eventually give it all up to write "formless, pointless" and "objectively, incomparably fucking awful" stuff instead? I didn't have the arrogance to do that when I was first introduced to this music, just like I didn't have the arrogance to write off D.R.I. and Ildjarn completely as unmusical noise when I first got into metal and hardcore punk. And guess what? I now love both Ildjarn and Webern all the same, but for wildly different reasons.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: October 01, 2010, 04:49:20 PM »
I personally don't particularly care if you think that I'm a pretentious twat or whatever, but it'd be great if you could show if only a little bit of respect to all the men and women who defended this music throughout their lives. I'm not just talking about the composers here, I'm also thinking of the Schnabel, Karajan, Scherchen, Uchida, Mann and so many others.

Metal / Re: Audiences hate modern classical music
« on: October 01, 2010, 11:19:09 AM »
Where you hear wrongness and an unpleasant arrangement of notes, I hear a work of great ascetic beauty where every statement has been distilled to its most simple and primal expression. Now, I won't deny that there's a certain baffling quality to it, at least at first. It's like he's playing tricks with your mind, he's not giving you what you're expecting when you're expecting it, willfully postponing the reappearance of familiar patterns for a few bars throughout the entire work. There's a kind of playfulness to this game, and that's what drew me to the work initially (this is where I started my foray into atonality). That was before I could unravel all the different voices, put together all the melodic fragments interspersed and understand the rhythmical logic of the work. Once I did, that's when I truly realized that there's something to this music that goes way beyond my initial "well, this is kind of clever" assessment. Quite bluntly, I think the it's a masterpiece and there's very few works out there that feel more "right" to my ears, there's something pure and untainted to this music that I've only been able to hear elsewhere in the works of the great renaissance and early baroque masters.

On the second part of your point, that's definitely an interesting point and I don't disagree completely. I'll have to go into it in more depth at another time though, possibly later today.

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