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The Classical Music Recommendation Thread

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Here's a random question that would require a lot of research potentially: Who was the first composer to take a programmatic work (ballet, opera, incidental music, film score) and specifically publish a suite of music to be separately presented in concert as "pure music" (to use a phrase I despise)?

 

I thought perhaps Mendelssohn with his Midsummer Night's Dream, but apparently presenting the orchestral interludes as a separate suite did not originate with him and he never officially gave it his blessing.  Obviously Tchaikovsky is probably the most famous, and Prokofiev and Copland in the 1920s - 40s are huge touchstones in that genre for me personally.

 

I'm sure opera overtures were being played in concert long before, but that seems more like a "proto" version of what I'm talking about.

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Claude Debussy: Tarantelle Styrienne (arr. Ravel)

To date one of my favourite Debussy works. Originally written for piano (good) and orchestrated by Maurice Ravel, the full orchestral sound is perfect for this piece, adding more colour and variety to the original piece.

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8 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

Here's a random question that would require a lot of research potentially: Who was the first composer to take a programmatic work (ballet, opera, incidental music, film score) and specifically publish a suite of music to be separately presented in concert?

 

I thought perhaps Mendelssohn with his Midsummer Night's Dream, but apparently presenting the orchestral interludes as a separate suite did not originate with him and he never gave it his blessing.  Obviously Tchaikovsky is probably the most famous, and Prokofiev and Copland in the 1920s - 40s are huge touchstones in that genre for me.

 

The opera overture comes to mind, which we know can lead a life quite separated from the complete opera, and often served as a thematic highlight.

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1 minute ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

The opera overture comes to mind, which we know can lead a life quite separated from the complete opera, and often served as a thematic highlight.

 

Heh, I added a sentence to the end of my post like 60 seconds before you replied.

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25 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

Here's a random question that would require a lot of research potentially: Who was the first composer to take a programmatic work (ballet, opera, incidental music, film score) and specifically publish a suite of music to be separately presented in concert?

 

I thought perhaps Mendelssohn with his Midsummer Night's Dream, but apparently presenting the orchestral interludes as a separate suite did not originate with him and he never gave it his blessing.  Obviously Tchaikovsky is probably the most famous, and Prokofiev and Copland in the 1920s - 40s are huge touchstones in that genre for me.

 

If you are using the word "suite" in the literal sense (i.e., a collection of several pieces, more than one), then I don't know for sure, but if you include the case of only one piece being extracted (as some people do here, where they call JW's single concert pieces "suites"), then Mozart planned the ouverture to Don Giovanni to be played also as a stand-alone piece. He even wrote a different ending, specifically intended for concert performance. You can hear the concert version here:

 

 

 

The concert ending (where it starts to differ from the opera score) starts at 5:36. This is the original one as written by Mozart, while also other composers have written other concert endings for that. This is the earliest example that I am aware of.

 

In the 20th century, don't forget several examples by Stravinsky (Firebird, Pulcinella, Histoire du Soldat, pieces from Petrushka etc.).

 

EDIT: I saw your edit just now!

 

Let me add that Wagner also planned some excerpts from the Tetralogy to be played in concert (most famously, the Ride of Walkyries, which greatly impressed Tchaikovsky).

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54 minutes ago, Score said:

 

If you are using the word "suite" in the literal sense (i.e., a collection of several pieces, more than one), then I don't know for sure, but if you include the case of only one piece being extracted (as some people do here, where they call JW's single concert pieces "suites"), then Mozart planned the ouverture to Don Giovanni to be played also as a stand-alone piece. He even wrote a different ending, specifically intended for concert performance. You can hear the concert version here:

 

 

 

The concert ending (where it starts to differ from the opera score) starts at 5:36. This is the original one as written by Mozart, while also other composers have written other concert endings for that. This is the earliest example that I am aware of.

 

In the 20th century, don't forget several examples by Stravinsky (Firebird, Pulcinella, Histoire du Soldat, pieces from Petrushka etc.).

 

 

Yeah I'm thinking of the tradition that (as I understand it currently at least, looking to be proven wrong) starts with Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, etc. of suites of smaller pieces that reflect a larger work.  Again, I think of 18th century opera overtures as being the proto version of it but separate somehow.  I think of the concert arrangements that Williams publishes for his film scores as consciously existing in this tradition.

 

Incidental music for the stage definitely existed before the 19th century (I think of people like Purcell), but were the composers actively working to have that music presented separate from the original work like Tchaikovsky and contemporaries did?

 

 

EDIT: My mind is being blown as I discover that the orchestral suites for Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty probably weren't selected/published by Tchaikovsky himself!  Nutcracker was though.  This is changing my perception.

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2 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

 

Yeah I'm thinking of the tradition that (as I understand it currently at least, looking to be proven wrong) starts with Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, etc. of suites of smaller pieces that reflect a larger work.  Again, I think of 18th century opera overtures as being the proto version of it but separate somehow.  I think of the concert arrangements that Williams publishes for his film scores as consciously existing in this tradition.

 

Grieg did it too (assuming the Peer Gynt suites were arranged by him?). And Sibelius was all over repurposing tons of his own incidental music as concert pieces and suites.

 

Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream, as far as I recall, was a concert overture first. The incidental music came later. So even if Mendelssohn himself didn't arrange that into a suite, he first repurposed one of his concert pieces as the overture for the play.

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Edvard Grieg: March of the Dwarfs (Lyric Piece)

Edvard Grieg is not the most common name in classical music, but his music in undeniable. Most notably excerpts from his Peer Gynt Suites (In the Hall of the Mountain King, Morning) are among his work. This piece, one of 66 'lyric pieces' he wrote for piano was one of few he orchestrated. It's an 'allegro con fuoco' almost, a very lively and firy piece and a good one at that.

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22 hours ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

This conversation reminds me- didn't Holst rewrite the Planets after the premier received bad response.

No!  The Planets was well received but had multiple premieres.  For example the first performance in 1918 with Adrian Boult conducting omitted several movements because the instrumentation varies widely such as a chorus only in the last few minutes of Neptune.  This was a "private performance" not really with a large audience and the orchestra was practically sight reading the very complex score (only two hours to rehearse).  Today, this would probably be considered a read through.  Holst did add instrumentation later such as the organ part after the first reading, so maybe that is what you are referring to.  Basically he understood he would have an organ at his disposal after he composed the work so added a part for the grand instrument.

SEPARATE TOPIC!

I think Karen Tanaka is a very interesting composer.  This work is quite striking and worth hearing.  In fact, this entire album is very good.  I thought every single work was complex, refined, interesting, unique, and captivating. 

I always associate Ifukube with Godzilla but this disc shows a more lyrical and balletic side to him. 

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