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The Illustrious Jerry

What is the last piece of classical music you listened to?

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Speaking of Dvorak, his Bagatelles for String Trio and Harmonium hits a nice light chamber music Saturday morning feeling.

 

 

I know I’m not generally much into that mid-to-late Romantic music but for some reason Dvorak and Saint-Saens have always appealed to me from that era.  I think it's because while the rhythms and harmonies can sound a bit staid to my ears, those two have such striking melodic gifts that I can't help myself.

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John Williams' 2009 Viola Concerto has been in my regular rotation recently.  It and the Harp Concerto from the same year are my favorite two Williams concert works of this century I think.

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Listened to this new release of music by American jazz/classical composer Derek Bermel.  The large-scale jazz piece, "Migrations" is really cool but my favorite was the orchestral Bartok tribute, "A Shout, a Whisper, and a Trace."  Enjoyable!

 

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A Quaker Reader

 

A very interesting set of 11 organ piece by Ned Rorem.  It's a very abstract and expressive work.  I've actually listened to this recording 4 or 5 times over the last week.  Something keeps me coming back, I don't question it!

 

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J.S. BACH: Goldberg Variations (BVW 988)

Glenn Gould, piano

 

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In my humble opinion, Gould's 1981 interpretation of the Goldberg Variations is a must-listen for any Bach connoisseur. Gould's previous recording in 1955 made him something of an overnight sensation. He's considered one of the greatest Canadian musicians of all time, a claim that is well and truly supported by this magnificent recording. A few interesting excerpts from the liner notes:

 

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It is by no means uncommon for a performer to record certain works- the pièces de résistance of his repertoire- more than once. Nor is it surprising if these recordings differ significantly from one another: they are, as it were, a stock-taking of the interpretative attitude at a particular point in time and milestones in an artistic development.

 

But Glenn Gould's two studio recordings (...) constitute rather an exceptional case. For one thing, separated from one another by a period of some twenty six years, they represent the beginning and end of his career as a pianist (...). These two versions (...) are also exceptional in the history of interpretation on account of their extreme differences, which can be discerned from a purely external point of view from their respective playing times- 38 minutes 27 seconds in 1955 compared with 51 minutes 15 seconds in 1981.

 

- Michael Stegemann

 

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"I think that the great majority of the music that moves me very deeply is music that I want to hear played or want to play myself, as the case may be, in a very ruminative, very deliberate tempo. (...) Firm beat, a sense of rhythmic continuity has always been terribly important to me. But as I've grown older I find many performances, certainly the great majority of my own early performances, just too fast for comfort. I guess part of the explanation is that all the music that really interests me, not just some of it, all of it, is contrapuntal music (...) and I think (...) that with really complex contrapuntal textures ones does need a certain deliberation, a certain deliberate-ness, and (...) that it's the occasional or even the frequent lack of that deliberation that bothers me most in (my) first version of the Goldbergs." 

 

"I've come to feel over the years that a musical work, however long, ought to have basically one- I was going to say tempo but that's the wrong word- pulse rate, one constant rhythmic reference point. Now, obviously, there couldn't be anything more deadly dull than to exploit one beat that went on and on and on indefinitely. But you can take a basic pulse and divide or multiply it- not neccesarily on a scale of 2-4-8-16-32, but often with far less obvious divisions- and make the result of those divisions or multiplications act as a subsidiary pulse for a particular moment."

 

- Glenn Gould

 

It would seem as though Gould himself preferred the newer recording to the older take, and I agree with him there. Highest of reccomendations!

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Piston's Sinfonietta from 1941 is one of my favorites in his oeuvre.  It's Piston at his most warmly witty and good-humored, it's a complete joy.

 

Listen to this final statement of the first movement's second theme.  It's everything I love about American music of this time period.  Intelligent but refreshingly direct.  Engaging syncopated rhythms.

 

 

And it's got just a classic Piston finale, where he's always open-armed and lively.  He just wants you to join the fun!

 

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On 8/15/2019 at 6:06 PM, Modest Expectations said:

Jaw-dropping. I didn't know that Korngold was actually a sequel to some earlier guy.

 

Not just the great Reger.  Keep digging.

 

7 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

Listening to John Corigliano's settings of Bob Dylan lyrics.  The comments on these videos are absolutely hilarious.  I find the project fascinating and cool, but boy these Dylan "fans" do not.

 

God Youtube comments are such trash.

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Each of us reaches a peak, then declines.

 

And some starts to decline earlier than others.

 

That's life!

 

Mutter never f** played JW's music during her entire life... and now that her album sales are declining, she suddently loves JW like if he was her daddy God.

 

Nice marketing idea DG, good luck.

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An excellent selection of heavenly chorus performed by none other than a local source, that being the McMaster University Choir, perfect for settling down to on a hectic Tuesday morning. The recording from 1996 sounds great!

 

Pieces include Palestrina's Missa: Hodie Christus Natus Est, Mendelssohn's Sechs Sprüche, Warum Toben Die Heiden, Mittsn Wir I'm Leben Sind, and Josef Rheinberger's Abendlied. Simply lovely! Recorded at St. Ann's just down the road, which I've visited a few times myself. A very pleasant step outside my usual listening.

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53 minutes ago, The Illustrious Jerry said:

Rheinberger's Abendlied.

 

One of our choir favourites. It's been years since we had it in a concert programme, but it often comes up during choir parties (though the quality of those performances is a different matter).

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On 8/18/2019 at 5:00 PM, Dixon Hill said:

God Youtube comments are such trash.

 

There's nothing quite like the performative pride-in-ignorance found in the comments sections of Elliott Carter music, though.  Personally I can't be sure if a performance is or isn't "music" until I've consulted the Youtube gestalt.

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