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The Classical Music Recommendation Thread

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Going off of @Marian Schedenig's recommendation in another thread, I've been looking into Hans Rott's music.  Some very dynamic stuff from the guy.  What I love is how he often sets up a phrase or progression to go in a certain direction, but then suddenly veers someplace completely unexpected, yet so much better and more satisfying. 

Too bad he buckled under the weight of his mind.

 

 

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I've been returning to Scriabin's 10th sonata regularly over the past few weeks.  It's such an unsteady work, the trills start to be almost ludicrous at a certain point, but it's really a remarkable piece.  I'm a bit addicted.  It's definitely music for hot, humid summers.

 

 

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As someone who says he doesn't listen to choral music, I can't believe how completely bowled over I am by Poulenc's Mass.  I really dig the pandiatonic/chromatic/whatever the heck you call it harmonies.  Although I quickly figured out that I despise recordings that feature a boys choir.

 

I especially love the Gloria.  Check out that crazy chord at 0:48

 

 

 

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Good find. His Gloria is great as well! How can you say you don't listen to choral music when we have such great works as these, and Mozart's Requiem and Grosse Messe, and Schubert's late masses, and Händel's Messiah, and and and? :)

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And I love Britten and his Spring Symphony dearly.  When I enjoy choral music it tends to be quirky and daringly individual, like Britten and Poulenc.  I don't like it when it's overly "pretty" sounding.

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Very good Ned Rorem settings of two of my favorite poems.

 

Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Spring and Fall," my favorite poem about death

 

 

Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"

 

There are many composers who've taken on the Frost poem, but Rorem's is the best to my ear.  I think it's better suited to a soprano than a tenor, but this tenor performance is the only one I found that takes the song as slowly as I think it should be.

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Heard Brahms's 4th this afternoon.  A very rich work, an interesting juxtaposition of conservatism and complexity. But, Carlos Kleiber's 1981 recording of the 4th with the Vienna Philharmonic left me wanting.  What recording(s) would you guys recommend?  

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4 hours ago, SteveMc said:

Heard Brahms's 4th this afternoon.  A very rich work, an interesting juxtaposition of conservatism and complexity. But, Carlos Kleiber's 1981 recording of the 4th with the Vienna Philharmonic left me wanting.  What recording(s) would you guys recommend?  

 

Kleiber's recording is considered to be very good. What left you wanting more? A bit lacking in emotions? Another favourite recording of my mine is Szell's with the Clevelanders:

 

 

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13 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

What left you wanting more? A bit lacking in emotions?

Perhaps that is it.  But, generally, Brahms does not connect with me on an emotional level.  Still, I heard a lot I liked in the 4th that I feel could use a more dynamic treatment.  

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I can appreciate Brahms, but he often puts me to sleep. Delivery is a big thing when it comes to clicking with his work. I'd rather play some great Beethoven instead.

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I also have the Szell set of the Brahms symphonies. But I've never been able to really connect with most of Brahms' orchestral works. His 1st symphony is lovely, and the rest are (to borrow KK's term) appreciable enough, but most of the time they leave me rather cold. For some time I thought I might just not be a fan of Szell's interpretations, but I've come to accept that it's just how I think of Brahms, the recordings themselves seem very fine (and for Beethoven's 9th, Szell's recording might still be my favourite). I keep being positively surprised by Brahms' a-cappella choir works though (but I guess I'll never be a fan of his Requiem).

 

On a different note, one of my favourite Michael Daugherty works has finally appeared on YouTube, or at least three of its four movements have:

 

 

 

 

Sadly, the Jefferson movement is missing - my favourite along with Roosevelt.

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18 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

the recordings themselves seem very fine (and for Beethoven's 9th, Szell's recording might still be my favourite).

 

:up:

 

18 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

his Requiem

 

Just stop the CD after the first two movements.

 

A good starting point for approaching Brahms' symphonies is the final movement of the 4th.

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11 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

Oh, I do admire the moody second movement. But the rest doesn't do much for me, and having heard it live last year sadly hasn't changed that.

 

It really is a test of patience to sit through the whole thing in concert. Interestingly, Brahms first composed the movements I, II, and IV. Perhaps he should have stopped after that, before the inspiration seemingly left him.

 

When it comes to requiems, I mostly listen to Mozart's, Faure's, and Verdi's.

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13 hours ago, SteveMc said:

Perhaps that is it.  But, generally, Brahms does not connect with me on an emotional level.  Still, I heard a lot I liked in the 4th that I feel could use a more dynamic treatment.  

 

Try Karajan's recording. I am curious to check Szell, as recommended by other people.

 

Brahms is often a mixed bag, for me... The 3rd and the 4th are my two favourite symphonies of his, but there is a big difference between movements. In the 4th, the first two movements are stunning, among the best orchestral works composed up to that time. The last two sound to me as if he had to add two more movements to call it a symphony, but he didn't have as much inspiration as with the first two, and the result feels anticlimactic. The problem of how to structure a symphony was a typical one in the Romantic period and later, of course. I have a similar issue with some of Mahler's works: when it's good, it's exceptional and among the greatest stuff ever composed; at other times, it is boring. 

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1 hour ago, Score said:

 

Try Karajan's recording. I am curious to check Szell, as recommended by other people.

 

Brahms is often a mixed bag, for me... The 3rd and the 4th are my two favourite symphonies of his, but there is a big difference between movements. In the 4th, the first two movements are stunning, among the best orchestral works composed up to that time. The last two sound to me as if he had to add two more movements to call it a symphony, but he didn't have as much inspiration as with the first two, and the result feels anticlimactic. The problem of how to structure a symphony was a typical one in the Romantic period and later, of course. I have a similar issue with some of Mahler's works: when it's good, it's exceptional and among the greatest stuff ever composed; at other times, it is boring. 

 

C'mon, the final movement of Brahms' 4th is magnificent!

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1 minute ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

C'mon, the final movement of Brahms' 4th is magnificent!

 

I know that some people have that opinion, good for you if you love it :)   

 

It's difficult to explain why I am not enthusiastic about it. I would say that I don't see it as the right conclusion of a large work that starts with movements 1 and 2. In itself, it's a very good piece, of course. In that place, I find it lacks something... it sounds too static. Maybe I just don't connect with what Brahms was trying to say there.

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24 minutes ago, Score said:

 

I know that some people have that opinion, good for you if you love it :)   

 

It's difficult to explain why I am not enthusiastic about it. I would say that I don't see it as the right conclusion of a large work that starts with movements 1 and 2. In itself, it's a very good piece, of course. In that place, I find it lacks something... it sounds too static. Maybe I just don't connect with what Brahms was trying to say there.

 

Ok, I can understand that point of view. Then it's probably best to think about the movements as separate works that just happen to be played after each other. :)

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28 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

That's a good position to check out the women choir!

 

Not during a concert! That's what rehearsals are for.

 

28 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

On another note, and no offense, you look a bit like a priest with that collar...

 

It's a disguise so they'll let an atheist sing in a church.

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#StuBait

 

Along the same lines, @KK, I recommend a great later Copland piece that evokes urban loneliness.

 

The second movement from his Music for a Great City Suite, "Night Thoughts."

 

 

(it's a bit confusing because he actually published two completely different pieces both called "Night Thoughts," the other is a solo piano tribute to Charles Ives)

 

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11 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

That was my introduction to Copland years ago! Hell of a way to get introduced.

 

My unconscious introduction to him in childhood, like for most, was through the Hoedown and the Fanfare for the Common Man, and not coincidentally those are the two Copland pieces interpreted by the prog-rock band Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  I was such a classic rock obsessed kid when I was a teen, those ELP tracks were definitely the first time I took note of Copland's existence and name.

 

Step two was Williams' Music for Stage and Screen album, I loved both The Red Pony suite and Quiet City on that.  And then just seeing his name pop up in reviews and pieces about Williams.

 

Step three was buying this Sony Classical compilation

 

81v1nOO4xqL._SL1500_.jpg

 

From there, it was just a slow process of becoming more and more obsessed.  Falling in love with each of the more populist works, before gradually finding that I loved music from other periods, including the more severe, abstract works.  A joyful process of discovering that his distinct character and generous need to communicate suffused everything he ever did.

 

Of all the souls I have encountered in my listening, his was the most....human.

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2 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

How many boxes are there in Sony's Copland collection? I've been thinking about getting them.

 

It's just three compilations that I know of.  The one I posted, plus the two below

 

81ikqj7XcLL._SY355_.jpg

81m29NYu9HL._SY355_.jpg

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On 8/15/2019 at 6:56 PM, Disco Stu said:

#StuBait

 

Along the same lines, @KK, I recommend a great later Copland piece that evokes urban loneliness.

 

The second movement from his Music for a Great City Suite, "Night Thoughts."

 

 

(it's a bit confusing because he actually published two completely different pieces both called "Night Thoughts," the other is a solo piano tribute to Charles Ives)

 

 

Yea, lovely shades in that one. Though I prefer the more contemplative Quiet City, it's lovely to hear these murkier sides to Copland's harmonic language. Much of which would inform Williams' own denser material.

 

In the spirit of #StuBait...

 

13 hours ago, Romão said:

 

I don't think I've ever heard a better musical depiction of murky water. Love it

 

I don't know if it holds up very well in the symphonic form for me. It has some fantastic colours in it, but I can't seem to derive a very meaningful structure or take-away from it. Last I heard it, it still came across as Sphere-cues stitched together, with flashy zingers every now and then.

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