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The Classical Music Recommendation Thread


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The best way to hear Holst's Planets is to perform Holst's Planets.   Observations: 1. Wow, what an incredible work! 2. What I thought would be difficult wasn't that hard and what

Some Amazon reviews for your amusement.

0:00 - 6:04 is probably what Williams would have sounded like if he were writing action music 150 years ago (especially from 3:19).

On 1/29/2016 at 0:52 AM, Koray Savas said:

Richter's Sleep was finally released on CD, and the price dropped from it's initial $80 to $50, which I found reasonable enough to pick up. Really loving it a little over an hour in. Officially a completist now.

 

 

 

 

I like Richter, but I've been hesitant about approaching this one. 8 hours just seems a bit too much Richter for my tastes. But this does sound lovely.

 

Playing some old-school Hanson at the moment:

 

 

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To be honest, I did exactly what the piece was designed for, sleeping. :P I listened to first 90 minutes or so actively, and then went to sleep, and when I woke up it ended about 20 minutes later.

 

I'm interested to see what the From Sleep arrangement, which is designed for an active listening experience, is like. Most of the ideas in the full work are just repeated for 10-20 minutes before moving on to something else, so I imagine it's much more concise.

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I am of the personal opinion that Silvestre Revueltas had a sizable influence on the film music of Danny Elfman, and based on how much I've been studying his work lately, I would hope that it's not misplaced. Anyway, had fun listening to this chamber orchestra works that mimics a mariachi band.

 

 

 

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While we're on the subject of Adams, take a listen to the opening of Nixon In China.  The whole idiom of this prelude (and the rest of the opera), the mood, with that drop down to the major seventh and whatnot, this is something that's quite common today in film music and tonal classical music.  Do you think this might have been the first real instance of that idiom?  Was Adams really the first to truly merge the late 20th century "pop" world with the orchestra in this certain way, in a bigger way that Reich or Glass or anyone else might have?  I can't particularly come up with any strong examples before 1987 of this sort of thing, even in film music.  It's really interesting to me how "tonality" returned to classical music in the biggest way through these guys, after taking a holiday in popular music land and returning with so many of the new moods and mannerisms it found there.

 

 

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14 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

 

 

 

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While we're on the subject of Adams, take a listen to the opening of Nixon In China.  The whole idiom of this prelude (and the rest of the opera), the mood, with that drop down to the major seventh and whatnot, this is something that's quite common today in film music and tonal classical music.  Do you think this might have been the first real instance of that idiom?  Was Adams really the first to truly merge the late 20th century "pop" world with the orchestra in this certain way, in a bigger way that Reich or Glass or anyone else might have?  I can't particularly come up with any strong examples before 1987 of this sort of thing, even in film music.  It's really interesting to me how "tonality" returned to classical music in the biggest way through these guys, after taking a holiday in popular music land and returning with so many of the new moods and mannerisms it found there.

 

 

 

Remember that Adams was a child of the 1960s and this played into his pop aesthetic sensibilities.  I find that Nixon in China is a fantastic opera and very compelling though I was originally put off by what I felt was a silly topic that lacked gravitas.  I think it was brilliant that Adams didn't take this as a story of a politically motivated historic event by a politician but rather as the birth of a myth.  I find the influences of this opera to include rock opera which was really born in the 1960s.  Take a listen to this:

 

(this is from the movie version but the musical was very popular in the late 1960s) and even came to symbolize the hippy movement and the era of dissent against culture.  Those who created this very influential rock musical were themselves influenced by Rogers & Hammerstein who themselves were influenced by Germanic and Italian operas and more specifically operettas (Gilbert & Sullivan).  So its even difficult to know where "pop" and opera merged since it goes back to operettas of centuries ago where it merged popular music with strict music.  I point to the excerpt from "Hair" not as a direct heir to Nixon in China, but as a stepping stone that Adams absorbed and in Nixon we get a combination of romantic opera, neo classical, jazz, pop, rock, and of course minimalism.  He is a child of his times but was already shaking off the minimalist influences.

 

I also find that in Dr Atomic, he is using his youth influences in a different way...the 1940's and 50's B movie is overtly incorporated. 

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Interesting. Yes, certainly there were plenty of previous composers who were influenced by the pop of their time, whatever that might have been. But I'm fascinated particularly by how Adams' use of what is basically the 70's/80's/90's songwriter sense of tonality as the basis of his tonal writing seems to have become the standard in at least film music if not also much classical music.  Pop music has changed a lot since then, but this particular kind of language seems to stay put in the form that, I'm postulating, Adams' influence led to. I guess the core of what I'm saying is.... I think the current core tonal elements of film music and certain classical music can be traced to a point of origin that is Adams' first opera.  I know it's risky trying to draw connections like this, but I feel like there's good reason behind this one.  This seems to have been key in replacing the heavily romantic idiom revived in 77. Of course I'm ignoring all kinds of other places that this kind of pop entered into this world, this is just aimless conjecture on my part. 

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This is a great raucous, Cage and Feldman droning on and on to each other about all manner of nonsense, and it's eminently listenable.  Or skip through at random and be amused by the diversity of comical, contextless things you'll hear from Cage.

 

 

And a more compact, musically substantive interview with him.

 

 

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Does anyone have any suggestions about where to best find live performances on Youtube?  I know some orchestras have their own channels, and some users seem to upload a lot of material like that, but it's hard to keep track of.  I love being able to see the music happening, especially if it's one of those really artfully filmed things.  Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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It's one of my very favourite Adams works. I prefer it to Harmonielehre actually. To me, it's quintessential Adams, and one of the few pieces that really encompass his total harmonic and dynamic range. Just brilliant.

 

The recording you posted is quite nice, but I like it when the choral syncopation is brought out more, which I know is harder to achieve in a concert hall setting, but still. Kind of like its done here:

 

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2 minutes ago, KK. said:

It's one of my very favourite Adams works. I much prefer it to Harmonielehre actually. To me, it's quintessential Adams, and one of the few pieces that really encompass his total harmonic and dynamic range. Just brilliant.

 

It's actually the only work of his that I've heard that I enjoy all the way through to a high degree.  He's an interesting composer but not much of his really latched on in any significant way.  Harmonielehre, however, is a masterwork.

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Just received from Amazon the 2006 CD reissue.  I never listened this album and I don't even know the works.

 

Discovery mode Activated!
 

p_ors74141.jpg

 

Serge Prokofiev: Sonata for Cello & Piano; David Ward-Steinman: Duo for Cello & Piano (1974, Orion, ORS 74141)

Featuring John Williams (p).

 

p_83115.jpg

 

(Reissued in 2006 as "Music for Cello and Piano by Sergei Prokofiev & David Ward-Steinman", Marquis, 83115)

 

(Reissued for Digital Download in 2007, Marquis Classics)

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That's a tough piece.  But he really delivered brilliantly on that commission.  Just a meditative, reflective piece, with only the litany of names and quotes giving it any specificity to 9/11.  A lesser artist would have done something crass or dramatic or political.  Speaking of... Oliver Stone did a movie?

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1 minute ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

That's a tough piece.  But he really delivered brilliantly on that commission.  Just a meditative, reflective piece, with only the litany of names and quotes giving it any specificity to 9/11.  A lesser artist would have done something crass or dramatic or political.  Speaking of... Oliver Stone did a movie?

He made an inspirational drama about firefighters starring Nicholas Cage.  

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Man that frantic section starting around 16:00 lifts you right out of your seat.  Incredibly stirring.  The original NY Philharmonic performance has even more drive to it.  Thanks for posting this.  I've only heard it a few times, since it's not something I throw on casually, so I don't know it very intimately - and I've had my "a ha" moment with that little section tonight.  It's really unbelievably moving.

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