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Messages - cmargir

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Metal / Re: Evolution of the classical listening experience
« on: July 27, 2009, 05:18:44 PM »
Thanks humanism for secularizing classical music.
What a silly thing to say. That's exactly his point here, if you're into music only for the religious aspect of it, the possibility to embrace this facet of the musical experience is even more accessible now than ever before with the advent of high quality recordings.

That was a very interesting article. I especially liked the part where it said that classical music was not a Buddhist ritual as silence seems to make it so but entertainment where people are free to express their enjoyment. While it may not be a Buddhist ritual the classical music I enjoy invokes the same sorts of mindfulness and concentration that befits a Buddhist ritual.
Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto. That's the piece associated with the mention of Buddhist monuments in the article I first mentionned. Does this 'invokes the same sorts of mindfulness and concentration that befits a Buddhist ritual' to you? Sure doesn't to me and neither does any of the romantic concerti that I'm familiar with, and there's really nothing surprising with this because that's just not what they're meant to evoke.

Metal / Re: Evolution of the classical listening experience
« on: July 26, 2009, 08:01:41 PM »
Read the article I mentionned again, these kind of exhuberent behaviours were not only tolerated but also expected and embraced by the composers themselves. On the contrary, if there's anything lost through this interaction between the audience and the performers, it was meant to be lost because thought unappropriate for the circumstances.

And you're overdramatizing the effect that these disruptions actually have on one's appreciation and understanding of the music. A one minute interruption between contrasting movements shouldn't cause you to lose all your concentration.

Metal / Re: Evolution of the classical listening experience
« on: July 26, 2009, 01:51:18 PM »
Ross followed this article with another interesting one specifically on the history of applauses within classical performances. I'm personally ambivalent about this issue. In a way, I do think that there is a part of the répertoire that is better served with an almost absolute silence from the audience. I went to a performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde earlier this year where not only did the public manage to stay entirely silent during the whole, lenghty composition, but where the conductor was also able to keep this silence for what seemed like an eternity, long after the very last note had been played, thereby decupling the effect of this staggering music. It was a phenomenal performance though, the conductor and the orchestra had earned this magical moment that just couldn't have been possible had the audience been chatting and clapping all the way through it.

But then, I do also have a problem with what I consider to be an excessive and unecessary reverence toward works that don't exactly warrant it. I don't have any issues with people applauding or shouting between the movements or after the cadenza of a romantic concerto for instance, as long as the praises are well deserved and don't become dogmatically applied to every single run-through of the work. Because that's the issue here, classical music has been held on a pedestal for so long now that people are just too intimidated by its reputation to follow their gut feeling after they listen to a work, so they foregoe their own opinions and mimic the crowd's reaction instead. Thing is, the crowd's even more clueless than they are, so you end up with an ovation that's more often than not proportional to the reputation of the performer instead of to the quality of the performance.

I haven't listened to the planets in a while, but I can see why it's one of the works that seems most readily accessible for classical music newcomers.  Very evocative, nicely orchestrated, quite varied and one of the best idea for a suite ever. It's still the only Holst I've heard though, maybe I'll have to try those two suites you mentionned, David.

Metal / Re: my musical week
« on: July 19, 2009, 07:15:05 AM »
Not always, I've been a big on Lieder for quite a while even though I couldn't put a sentence together in German. Great vocal music is just that, great music. Brahms' one of the great song composer anyhow, his two liebeslieder cycles are great (especially the 'new' one).

And as far as what I've been listening to lately: Leoš Janáček, a lot of it. Just wonderful.

Metal / Re: Allies
« on: July 14, 2009, 07:41:13 AM »
Seems awfully ambitious for something this light on content. The ambitions part isn't very problematic if they manage to meet them eventually, but so far I don't really see why anyone would want to visit this website.

Metal / Re: darker side of classical music
« on: July 05, 2009, 07:51:25 PM »
If what you're looking for in music is 'darkness', why don't you listen to metal/hardcore/electronic? Classical music is, in general, too multidimensional to fill adequatly these kind of cravings. Where modern music succeeds in my mind, it's in its ability to pinpoint those very specific emotions, ambiences, etc. and to convey them into music in a simple, but highly efficient manner, while the classical composers seemed to prefer a more all-encompassing view of things.

I mean, I haven't heard all the music that's been composed in the entire history of mankind, but I can tell you that so far, I haven't heard anything (in classical music or otherwise) that sounds darker than Incantation, angrier than Minor Threat, more assertive than Amebix etc.

Metal / Re: Classical music
« on: June 30, 2009, 06:11:14 PM »
The few Scarlatti sonatas that I've heard from Scott Ross are excellent, and that's coming from someone that's never really been a huge fan of the harpsichord. On piano, Horowitz is fine though he does romanticize them a bit. This is quite good too.

It's amazing how the man was able to remain interesting with an output of this size (he made 555 of them!). The form rarely ever changes all that much, but what he does within it is a cause of endless fascination to me. Here's a few samples if anyone's interested, the Kk. 27 sonata with four very different interpretations:


And to fill the original purpose of the thread, I'll add that the composers that I probably listen to the most are the ones from the Germanic tradition, with a slight preference for either the very early romantics (Schubert, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, etc.) or the very late ones (Anton Bruckner most importantly, but I've also started to appreciate some Mahler here and there). Haydn too, I love Haydn.

And by the way, there's an interesting page on Bruckner here, I can vouch that the first symphony (linz) recording is a good one.

Metal / Re: Need help on classical
« on: June 29, 2009, 03:39:21 PM »
He's not all that controversial with the very late romantic composers for instance, his Shostakovich, Sibelius, Strauss and even his Bruckner/Mahler rarely gets the kind of kneejerk reaction that he gets with earlier works like the ones from Mozart or Beethoven.

People like to romanticist the past, and for composers recently dead, there's less distortion between how it was performed while they lived and how it is performed now.

People tend to romanticize Beethoven, slow him down, try to even out the rough spots so he has some kind of Zen to him... but that's wrong! The worst of these are Bernstein and Klemperer. Bernstein throws in drama, but not compositional dynamics.
That's weird, my impression of Kemplerer's conducting seems to run in the opposite direction. I haven't heard any of his Beethoven just yet, but his Brahms is anything but zenlike for instance; Never particularly fast, nor particularly slow, his philarmonia cycle is much more distinguished by the quite extraordinary clarity and balance of his orchestral textures than anything else in my opinion. Showed me a side to Brahms that I had never really noticed before: most Brahms recordings tend to be too string centric and end up understating the quality of the man's orchestration

Klemperer's ability to build tension at relatively slow paces and to make you feel the music's progression is quite impressive too: his third movement of the third (Poco allegretto) has around the same length as most recordings of it, but somehow it's got this great forward drive while most others seem to have deemed more important to put their emphasis somewhere else. His approach works wonderfully well with the following movement and the overall structure of the work.

I've often heard that he's not particularly well represented by his recorded legacy, apparently he lived and continued to work when he was already way past his prime. Most people point toward the fact that he slowed down dramatically toward the end of his life as a sign of that; he wasn't always like that. Maybe that's the reason why the Beethoven that you've heard from him isn't very good? And I do agree that Beethoven should be played at a brisk pace more often than not, that's something that the conductors from the romantic school didn't seem to get for some reason. He's no Bruckner and certainly shouldn't be played as such.

Interzone / Re: Can Christians Create Quality Music?
« on: June 11, 2009, 08:19:46 PM »
Finding the ones that were not devout and that were not inspired by religion would be the more interesting question I believe. In my mind, the quality of the masses of Franz Schubert and Johann Sebastian Bach or of Anton Bruckner's Te Deum and 9th Symphony are more than enough to demonstrate that Christianity can not only create quality music, but also timeless masterpieces. You don't even need to be religious to agree with me here.

Metal / Re: Obscura Composition Dates
« on: June 08, 2009, 10:24:52 PM »
I do own the Demo Anthology, and it says that the 1993 demo included:
13-La Vie Est Prélude (La Mort, Orgasme)
14-Rapturous Grief
15-The Art of Sombre Ecstasy
While the 1995 one had:
17-Obscura (Instrumental)

So, with this in mind, I think that quite a few tracks were at the very least completed after 1995, and it does make sense when you listen to the album. Tracks like La Vie Est Prélude (bad French by the way, you're not supposed to capitalize all the words in a title) are clearly more melodic and closer to their earlier material than tracks like Obscura, Earthly Love or Clouded.

Metal / Re: Refreshing Classical Albums
« on: June 08, 2009, 01:14:37 PM »
Brahms' fourth is a favorite here too, a marvelous synthesis of the whole romantic, classical and late baroque period. If anything, I think that Brahms was certainly one of the most perfect composer there ever was, the consistency of the output that he's left us is just mindbogling, unlike most others, he doesn't really have such things as immature works. The fact that he destroyed every single of his compositions that weren't up to his absurdly high standards probably has something to do with this, but that still leaves us to a little over 100 opuses, which isn't small by late romantic standards.

But anyway, the symphony of his that I like the most is the third, with its earthshattering finale (which gets me like nothing else), its hearth wrenching third movement, and the stupendous first and second movement, in all their elegance and chamber-music like restrain (though they both have sections that are quite symphonic in character, the process of making them fit this perfectly together must have been awfully complex).

I like the first too, but it's not as Brahmsian as the others, there's a bit too much Beethoven in it I think. In my mind, the two aren't as similar as some people make them to be, there's a restrain, a calm and an almost Schubertian wandering spirit in Brahms that you don't find in Beethoven, whose music is clearly more assertive, ambitious and in some cases, more unabashedly intellectual than anything the other ever wrote.

And as far as my favorite recordings of those symphonies, Furtwängler/Kleiber for the fourth, Klemperer for the third (doesn't completely fit with my own view of the work, but it's a great performance nonetheless, I still need to listen to Furtwängler here too) and Furtwängler again for the first.

And on the refreshing classical music front, Mendelssohn's (HERESY!) chamber music has had its ways with me lately. His sixth quartet is something to behold, the octet is a masterpiece, and the first piano trio has its moments of pure bliss.

Interzone / Re: WolframAlpha search engine and death metal
« on: May 29, 2009, 08:18:26 AM »
Irrefutable proof that the possibilities of wolfram alpha are limitless! And I disagree that they should try to restrict themselves only to the mathematical world (an area in which it is excellent already by the way). On the contrary, the wider their reach, the more powerful the engine becomes, and the more useful its comparison capacities will get. Just think of how fascinating it could be if you could just input something like "Bruckner Symphony No. 7 first movement bar 1 vs Schubert symphony no. 9 second movement bar 5" and to get thrown back at you the actual scores side to side along with an analysis of what's going on (key, chord frequency, orchestration, anything).

Interzone / Re: WolframAlpha search engine and death metal
« on: May 28, 2009, 06:50:22 PM »
Is Wolfram|Alpha a search engine?
No. It's a computational knowledge engine: it generates output by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of searching the web and returning links.

So there, wolfram alpha won't ever care about "understanding" death metal. What you might eventually have though, is factual information about bands, albums and songs. A partnership with a stable version of metal-archives would probably be the most interesting prospect with regards to this.

Metal / Re: Need help on classical
« on: May 24, 2009, 08:19:14 PM »
He's not all that controversial with the very late romantic composers for instance, his Shostakovich, Sibelius, Strauss and even his Bruckner/Mahler rarely gets the kind of kneejerk reaction that he gets with earlier works like the ones from Mozart or Beethoven.

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