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The Classical Music Recommendation Thread

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6 minutes ago, Richard said:

Currently :music:  Beethoven's 6th Symphony. It's dead good!

 

That's actually my least favorite Beethoven symphony. Although it's still good. ;)

 

Which recording are you listening to?

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One of the few pieces in Stravinsky's catalogue that I did not know until recently, and it went immediately in my top 10 of his works:

 

 

 

Amazing use of the double wind quintet, that never doubles the voices, providing instead additional layers to the harmony. Amazing use of the voices, combined in chords that "look wrong" on the paper, but sound great. The work of a genius. 

 

 

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With his customary self-deprecating modesty, Powell states in the booklet text titled 'John Powell's Hubris' (LOL): 'Neither A Prussian Requiem nor Requiem addendum are truly what they say they are, but merely the fumblings of my heart, communing with those I have lost.' So with that out of the way, a classification of the two works he presents on this album as new part of classical canon isn't what Powell had in mind (to challenge Britten's 'War Requiem' would be a folly, indeed). Rather, he takes on several musical forms on his own terms, some with more success than other, but first things first. 

 

'The Prize is Still Mine' is an attractive piece (its context nebulous), paving the way for the more ambitious 'Requiem': "From my part in the recordings of an installation piece written with Gavin Greenaway, the elements of The Prize is Still Mine appeared. With its strange mix of styles – gospel and early 20th century romanticism, this composition for voices and orchestra tells a story of triumph and rejuvenation. With the completion of a project that celebrated genuine pride, I felt able again to examine the false pride that led to the First World War, and returned to A Prussian Requiem emboldened.". It's probably the piece de resistance for film music fans, as with James Horner's late tries in the concert hall it comes easily digestible - and quintessentially british in idiom - , opening with the sonorous earthy string elegies courtesy of Vaughan-Williams taking turns with expressive gospel laments, the fluttering woodwind solos after 05:30 and the hymnal bucolic rhythmizations also traits of RVWs writing and a most welcome addition to the Tallis Fantasy allusions - growing over the course of 14 minutes into a jubilant finale (shades of Powell's bigger scores are to be found especially in the brass). It's a good piece but also a bit 'overt' in its eagerness to please: the obvious nods to RVW are too close for comfort (to gain the piece independency), and to dress it up with gospel singing isn't the ticket, either. So it remains an entertaining-if-derivative entry that is well chosen as an opener, as the major work here is the 'Requiem' that follows.

 

The 45-minute work is introduced by Powell as follows: "On the centenary of the First World War, I decided to compose a 'war requiem;' an act of grand hubris I thought, and in that very idea, I found my story: 'How did the war begin?' With this hubris came anxiety. Could I transcend my established identity as a film composer and finally communicate the complexities of my feelings on such a distant subject? My study of WWI would have to extend beyond my own conjecture and overactive empathy. As I planned the requiem, I reviewed the scenes of muted conflict holding Europe and its empires in a constant geopolitical standoff. I eventually found the historical character to serve as protagonist in my new work: General Helmuth von Moltke. When polled by the Kaiser as to possible offerings of peace by other countries on the night before the conflict began, his reply was an indignant hissy fit that could plausibly have been the reason that war went from 'inevitable' to a reality. My own hubris paled in comparison.'

 

Powell clearly anticipates the backlash, but he mustn't. The 7-part oratorio is technically impressive and conceptually sound (the english origin clearly . Lacking the fierce, brutal intensity of mid-century efforts depicting the horrors of war (even when you compare it to the film scores of North and Goldsmith, 'Blue Max' most obviously) it's lush and beautifully fluid setting is part colourful scene-setting (Introduction to Moltke), part retrospective lament (The Gift, Requiem Addendum). The best parts, though, are 'We the Glorious Dead' and 'The Papers of Peace, Let the Rails Roll, Victory is Ours', the libretto noting the saber rattling, the hopes for false glory ('We long to be inglorious') through a dialogue between Moltke, the Kaiser and the soldiers dying in vain for one man's hubris. 

 

'My Reasoning', expressing Moltke's point of no return ('The cock and the bulldog would form a vice to grind our bones to feed the bear. No, there is no fucking stopping') is probably the weak link, with its simplistic attack rhythms sounding more like a Giacchino score.

 

'The Gift', a prayer from the chorus sardonically alternating with Moltke offering the gods all those dead as 'a present, a gift to, a libation unto all the gods', is again a return to top form (RVW reigns supreme here, too). I presume the touching dirge at the 04:55 mark is meant for the performance suggestion 'Moltke and the Kaiser turn their backs to the audience in shame and begin howling the sounds of sorrow' and it's a wonderful finale. A more formal latin lament closes the piece, to which Powell even wrote his own libretto. 

 

All things considered, it's a noteworthy addition to the repertoire and far above what is called from Powell in motion picture scoring. Especially the dramatic depth on display makes me wonder what he could do in genres beyond animation and bubblegum blockbusters. He sure isn't lacking in chops, if anyone still doubted that.

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It is also quite interesting that there is only an "orchestration consultant" listed in the booklet which would indicate Powell handled the majority of that task himself. Of the three album he released in the past 6 months, this is by far the best one.


Karol

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On 13/06/2018 at 3:46 PM, Jurassic Shark said:

So you're one of the few who prefer his 80's cycle? I've got to confess they're not that bad. ;)

 

I bought them, because it was a bargain, at £10, for all 9. I wouldn't know his 80s cycle from his asshole :lol:

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I actually had a dream about Einaudi tonight. I don't remember what it was about, only that I saw him perform at the piano.

 

His music is very pleasant to play, and he's very good at what he does (Divenire is lovely). Though I wouldn't necessarily call it "fresh"...but I know what you mean.

 

His early Berio-influenced efforts are interesting:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR_rbIiSlaE&list=PLA67A43F90EBAB9DE

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I might have posted it before, but any Peter Lierberson fans in the house? What I really like about him is he has a very unlabored feeling style: there's a certain spontaneity, a sense of free flow that sometimes elude even the "greats" of our time. In this sense, I detect a good kinship with Williams' concert work.

 

 

Also, I think some here might be a fan of Takashi Yoshimatsu. He gets criticized for writing stuff that "sounds like film music", but he's got a flow, and I'm a sucker for these kinds of harmonies:

 

 

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4 hours ago, Richard said:

 

I bought them, because it was a bargain, at £10, for all 9. I wouldn't know his 80s cycle from his asshole :lol:

 

Btw, was it one of those buy-nine-symphonies-for-the-price-of-one bargains? :sarcasm:

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Louis Moureau-Gottschalk

Le Banjo

It's more ragtime than classical, but its an undeniable tune. Reminds me off Steamboat Willy.

Leos Janacek

Sinfonietta: Allegretto

Another great tune. Janacek was always a bit of a dark horse in classical music to me. Great music that you probably have never heard of.

 

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This is so damn gorgeous...Rautavaara's Violin Concerto (I'm a huge fan of one of the greatest violin concerto's ever by Sibelius on same CD).  Buy/hear this CD.  It's excellent!

 

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Over on TalkClassical, they have a thread where members listen to and discuss contemporary composers, new one each week.

Heard this piece by Marc-André Dalbavie over there.  Quite nice textures in the orchestration.  Some interesting thematic ideas as well. 

 

 

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When I took guitar lessons few years ago... the professor always talked against the "B-flats" (ie classical guitar players).

 

Fuck, this is what I wanted to be! 😒

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It was actually very fun to do.

 

The way the classical music is sold today, it seems they want you to listen to Beethoven's 32 pianos sonatas one after the other. What a stupid thing to do!

 

You don't have to, as sometimes several years separates one work from the other!

 

These musicians were once young, then they reach a maturity period and too soon alas, they wrote their last works...

 

I did it only with these three composers, because I know them enough to do it. I can't do that for any other composers.

 

And 22 volumes for each composer, it's seems big... but I had to make very difficult choices!

 

And there are personal choices too... for Bach.. sorry for the purists.. but I absolutely hate HARPSICHORD! So my selections are played on the piano...

 

And for Mozart, sorry, but I'm not a fan of his Operas... and anyway, in a compilation, it's hard to feature them anyway. (Obviously, I could not pass over the Magic Flute, as it's such a luminous and yet late work...). And Again for Mozart, I start his own compilation a little bit late... because the works of "baby Mozart" (wrote with his father behind his shoulders anyway)... that's not my cup of tea... 😆 Mozart was profilic, but I think the "wonder dog of his father" wrote such dull "elevator" music for years before finding his "own" style and put a little bit of "feelings" in his music... ( please never quote me with this last sentence!)

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59 minutes ago, Bespin said:

And there are personal choices too... for Bach.. sorry for the purists.. but I absolutely hate HARPSICHORD! So my selections are played on the piano...

While I have no qualms agianst harpsichord, I must agree that the full effect of Bach's keyboard works can only be heard on piano.

Bach is remarkable in that way.  His music sounds good on just about any instrument.  

 

(I eagerly await someone seriously performing the Well - Tempered Clavier on Yamaha DX-7 MkII or SY99 electric piano) @Nick Parker, thoughts?

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8 minutes ago, Steve McQueen said:

While I have no qualms agianst harpsichord, I must agree that the full effect of Bach's keyboard works can only be heard on piano.

Bach is remarkable in that way.  His music sounds good on just about any instrument.  

 

(I eagerly await someone seriously performing the Well - Tempered Clavier on Yamaha DX-7 MkII or SY99 electric piano)

 

I'm sure that when composing, in his head, Bach always "heard" all the nuances in his music... that he unfortunately never could translate playing an harpsichord. He once tested a "piano", but it was far from being the modern piano we know today. He did'nt like it, but I'm sure he knew his music would be performed one day on this "kind" of instrument. Anyway, his true instrument was the organ. I have difficulties with that one too... 😁

 

Wy favorite Well-Tempered Clavier version is by Ashkenazy.

 

Unfortunately, it is not on Spotify.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Bespin said:

 

I'm sure that when composing, in his head, Bach always "heard" all the nuances in his music... that he unfortunately never could translate playing an harpsichord. He once tested a "piano", but it was far from being the modern piano we know today. He did'nt like it, but I'm sure he knew his music would be performed one day on this "kind" of instrument. Anyway, his true instrument was the organ. I have difficulties with that one too... 😁

 

Wy favorite Well-Tempered Clavier version is by Ashkenazy.

 

Unfortunately, it is not on Spotify.

 

 

 

Here it is:

 

Btw, as a Canadian, you should know that nothing beats Glenn Gould when it comes to Bach. ;)

 

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3 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Here it is:

 

Btw, as a Canadian, you should know that nothing beats Glenn Gould when it comes to Bach. ;)

 

 

Unfortunately, it's partially available in Canada 3/4 of the tracks are grayed out.

 

Gould, yes, for the "Gould"berg variations!

 

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