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Double Sextet - Steve Reich

 

This won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. I've probably posted it before but it's SO GOOD!! Might be one of my favorite non-film works of all time. Just a few favorite moments:

 

 

Reich's jagged, groovy rhythms are absolutely masterful here (although I can't really read music myself, I've heard that virtually every bar in the 1st and 3rd movements is in a different time signature, which makes the piece, and performance, all the more incredible). I love how he carefully builds the instrumental layers on top of one another, towards a wildly joyous climax:

 

 

And that's only the first movement! The 3rd is just as amazing. In the climax, I absolutely adore how in the finale the various instruments enter one by one, finishing with the winds euphorically "bouncing" atop the charging piano & percussion plus strings:

 

 

That modulation... :woop: This finale feels almost like something you could sing along to. 

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I've only ever sampled select works, but from what I hear Copland's certainly one to look into some more.

 

I've also been going crazy with Alexander Borodin in the last week, revisiting his symphonies (the first is my favourite, then second, and he himself never finished the third, but Glazunov completed it). I've also gone through his complete piano works, his opera Prince Igor, the two string quartets and of course In the Steppes of Central Asia. In these listening sessions I have really come to appreciate Borodin as a very good composer. He very consistently has written top-notch works that I'd listen to on a fairly regular basis. Think about looking into his work some more folks. 

 

This past week also included Shostakovich's first two piano concertos, Bruckner's orchestral works, and Sibelius' symphonies.

Happy listening!

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The Adagio from Bax's Third Symphony has a very pastoral feel to it. The opening makes me feel as if I'm walking on a country trail in the North Downs somewhere. And if I hadn't known beforehand, I would have been convinced that 18:47 was written in America...

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35 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Had one last season. This season, there weren't enough interesting programmes for me, so I'm picking out individual concerts instead.

 

I see. May I ask what's the price of an annual subscription with the VPO?

 

As for myself, I've had a regular seat for many years at the subscription concerts of my local orchestra, the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. They only sporadically record albums, so I guess they're not that known internationally, but artistically they're on the level of the Oslo Philharmonic. A full annual subscription costs about €400.

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7 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

I see. May I ask what's the price of an annual subscription with the VPO?

 

I don't know what a VPO subscription costs, but it's hard to get one anyway. You have to apply with a written letter, probably repeatedly for years, because tickets only become available if previous subscribes don't continue their subscription, and are then given to the longest waiting applicants.

 

I had a Musikverein subscription last year, which included six concerts at the Golden Hall, one with the VPO, the others with other high profile international orchestras and conductors. There were two versions of that cycle, one included another VPO concert (performing Beethoven's 9th under Andris Nelsons), but I opted for the other version which had Rattle conducting the full Bruckner 9th (with finale) with the Berlin Philharmonic - my main reason to get the subscription in the first place. That cost €342.90 for 6 concerts in a seat a bit further back than the one I just booked for the Bruckner 6th (that was €68 for the single concert).

 

For comparison, the cancelled Williams/VPO concerts were €240 in the best category and €90 for seats comparable to those mentioned above.

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1 hour ago, Faleel J.M. said:

1:08 Sounds a bit familiar:
 

 

Williams used the melody of the Israeli national anthem here, which comes from the same Italian folk song melody as Smetena's melody.

 

 

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Was continuing with my Bax symphony adventure this evening, and was stunned by the final movement from #5:

 

 

Whilst the Allegro section is energetic and a lot of fun to listen to, it's the epilogue which made a deep impression on me. There's something particularly regal and majestic about it.

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28 minutes ago, Loert said:

Was continuing with my Bax symphony adventure this evening, and was stunned by the final movement from #5:

 

 

Whilst the Allegro section is energetic and a lot of fun to listen to, it's the epilogue which made a deep impression on me. There's something particularly regal and majestic about it.

 

Bax excelled at epilogues.  He was a very fine and unique composer that is sadly neglected.

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On 12/22/2018 at 10:13 PM, Will said:

Double Sextet - Steve Reich

 

This won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize. I've probably posted it before but it's SO GOOD!! Might be one of my favorite non-film works of all time. Just a few favorite moments:

 

 

Reich's jagged, groovy rhythms are absolutely masterful here (although I can't really read music myself, I've heard that virtually every bar in the 1st and 3rd movements is in a different time signature, which makes the piece, and performance, all the more incredible). I love how he carefully builds the instrumental layers on top of one another, towards a wildly joyous climax:

 

 

And that's only the first movement! The 3rd is just as amazing. In the climax, I absolutely adore how in the finale the various instruments enter one by one, finishing with the winds euphorically "bouncing" atop the charging piano & percussion plus strings:

 

 

That modulation... :woop: This finale feels almost like something you could sing along to. 

 

Yesssss! :beerchug: Two of my very favorite Reich works Will!! Had not seen these particular performances. I went through a couple weeks last year where I was just obsessed with Double Sextet (and every few years do the same with Music for 18 Musicians!) Insane grooves. :dance: Spot-on descriptions of why it's so great - about 20:27 on is my favorite portion of the Sextet, setting up the modulation with that cycling chord progression, soooo good! Tactile in harmony and rhythm somehow, you can feel it. Both of these - incredible Reich pieces.

 

Not sure if you're familiar with the Dutch minimalist Louis Andreissen but I think you'd love his stuff too, here's a real gritty performance of his famous De Staat - a must-hear if you enjoy Reich:

 

 

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16 hours ago, Loert said:

One of Strauss' finest achievements:

 

 

One of the greatest (if not greatest) song cycles ever.  The BBC did a fantastic hour long analysis of it which is well worth hearing to better appreciate this gem.  I'll look for it and post if I find it.  EDIT: Maybe it's this?  Unfortunately doesn't play for me.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p01ylm44

 

This is a very fine, though old fashion, 20th century symphony by English composer George Lloyd (1913-1998).  Written in the middle of the century, this hour long symphony is grand and epic, very lyrical and has a debt to Elgar, William Walton, and Vaughan Williams.  George Lloyd has a rather fascinating bio - he was in the Royal Navy during WWII and suffered shell shock that pretty much ended his promising career.  He became a farmer as part of his recovery and after a long silence, gradually resumed his composition.  He was championed in his last decades resulting in a series of new works and a complete recording of his symphony cycle.  He composed 12 epic symphonies, several operas, 3 piano concertos, oratorios, and much else.  A very fine composer if you don't mind his conservative and generally optimistic vernacular.  His Symphony No. 7 is gorgeous, melodic, and dramatic.  I believe I posted it earlier in this thread.  Though I find his music enjoyable, I wouldn't have minded if he was a bit more adventurous (more Ravel/Prokofiev, less Elgar).  Regardless, it is very fine music and he deserves to be better known.

 

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14 hours ago, Loert said:

 

By the way, Kent Kennan's "Counterpoint" is the single most valuable book I've read on music technique. Read it if you haven't already!

That's cool - he was professor at my school but I've never heard his music. 😌

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@filmmusic posted a link to a fascinating interview with JW where The Maestro says this about a composer I was heretofore unknown to me:

Yehudi Wyner's new piano concerto (winner of a 2006 Pulitzer) is "fabulous, an absolute knockout."  There are many aspects of JW's artistry at display in this work such as influences of Prokofiev, rock-a-billy (eg: early rock), etc., but interestingly it isn't terribly thematic.  I personally believe the true JW sound is not as thematic as his iconic scores would have us believe.

 

Full interview filmmusic linked to here - very much worth reading:

https://www.chronicle.com/article/Conversations-With-John/4906

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You want to hear a classical work based on Dracula you say?  I bring you Grohg.  Inspired by the classic horror film Nosferatu, "Grohg's" scenario is morbid stuff, all about a sorcerer-vampire who brings the dead back to life for his amusement. The score was written between 1922-5 but not performed until 1992...the same year as Francis Ford Copolla's Dracula movie!!!

 

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Although it's a couple of months early and the title sounds like it should be the name of a page 3 girl, this is an absolutely wonderful piece of music unknown to me until recently: April - England by the English composer John Foulds.  It reminds me of Ralph Vaughan Williams and Arthur Bliss in the central section.  Where has this been all my life?!

 

 

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