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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.

The composer and pianist Timo Andres today released his piano transcription of Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments, one of my favorite Stravinsky pieces.

 

 

He also wrote a nice little blog entry about the piece here: https://www.andres.com/2020/10/28/symphonies-of-centenarians/

 

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It’s famously cryptic music, put together from lots of little stylized, angular gestures, which recur and evolve in intricately nested patterns. But the core of it is the last few minutes—a spacious, mournful chorale based around plainspoken minor-7th chords that casts the preceding music in an entirely different light. I think it’s one of the most moving passages in all of Stravinsky—not in a heart-on-the-sleeve way, but more like the feeling of walking from a small room into a vast cathedral.

 

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Thanks @Disco Stu, I think I'll be checking out the Shor!

 

Naxos posted about Howard Hanson earlier in the week for his birthday and realised that I only had a couple of recordings of his symphonies but Naxos had released recordings of all of them performed by the Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz (originally on Delos I think) and discovered that Presto were selling the entire set of symphonies for download for less than a fiver (the same price as a single disc). Too good a bargain to miss so purchased there and there and been working through them, in amongst listening to some of the great scores from movies starring the late, great Sean Connery (man, he had a tremendous roster of composers behind him and some of Jerry Goldsmith's best scores to boot). Anyway, back to Hanson... I highly recommend anyone who likes their film music sweeping and romantic to check his stuff out, the Nordic (no 1) in particular. The second is probably the most infamous, featuring two significant film music connections. The first movement was, as most will know, used for the end credits of Alien. It works pretty well but obviously thematically and tonally disconnected from Goldsmith's classic score. Then there's the final movement which is uncannily similar to the bicycle chase from ET. The way Williams adds beats resulting in odd length bars (measures if you're American!) makes his, erm, interpretation(!?) rhythmically more interesting and propulsive. However, the Hanson is still worth checking out.

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5 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

The LSO on Naxos? Huh.

It might be a re-release. A number of Stravinsky albums with Robert Craft conducting the LSO have appeared on Naxos (well worth picking up, especially for the less well known works such as the Symphonies in C, in Three Movements and Psalms, all of which are absolutely superb).

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Just now, Jurassic Shark said:

OK. Not that I have anything against Naxos - they have a lot of good records and I own many of their CDs.

 

I edited my post because I was looking at a page of albums they were streaming on their Library website when I said dozens, not albums they released.  For the sake of accuracy, I went through and counted which ones were originally released by their own label and came to about 25.

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1 minute ago, Tom Guernsey said:

It might be a re-release. A number of Stravinsky albums with Robert Craft conducting the LSO have appeared on Naxos (well worth picking up, especially for the less well known works such as the Symphonies in C, in Three Movements and Psalms, all of which are absolutely superb).

 

Weren't the Craft recordings on Sony, or am I mixing up conductors here?

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1 hour ago, Tom Guernsey said:

They may well have been originally, but whoever they were originally for, Naxos definitely rereleased a number of them.

 

I can confirm that Robert Craft's recordings are part of the old 22 CD Stravinsky box on Sony, conducted by Stravinsky and by Craft under Stravinsky's supervision. I believe these recordings are now public domain in most of Europe, so I'm guessing Naxos aren't paying a cent to Sony.

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38 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

I can confirm that Robert Craft's recordings are part of the old 22 CD Stravinsky box on Sony, conducted by Stravinsky and by Craft under Stravinsky's supervision. I believe these recordings are now public domain in most of Europe, so I'm guessing Naxos aren't paying a cent to Sony.

Oh right. I have the Sony set so will have to check. I’m pretty sure I bought the Craft recordings separately but perhaps they were grouped differently on the Naxos release. I’ll have to dig out the box (packed away now it’s all ripped!). An absolute bargain though... 

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5 minutes ago, Tom Guernsey said:

Oh right. I have the Sony set so will have to check. I’m pretty sure I bought the Craft recordings separately but perhaps they were grouped differently on the Naxos release. I’ll have to dig out the box (packed away now it’s all ripped!). An absolute bargain though... 

 

Yeah, an absolute bargain indeed! This was one of my first big boxes of classical music, back when such affordable releases were scarce.

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Florence Price's First Symphony is a quite worthy work.  Lots of great rhythms and such in the outer movements.  Nicely stormy first.  Lovely little orchestration touches throughout.  

The second movement is my favorite.      

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0oRsqkq0J0

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15 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

What would you say defines this?

 

I mean, no one definition will probably be sufficient at this point. But I think a lot of younger contemporary composers in the concert hall are harmonically drawing more freely from popular music, leaning more towards pop-inflected tonal writing and post-minimalist figures, while working within classical repertoire forms and structures. Composers like Caroline Shaw and Nico Muhly come to mind. And you're starting to see more crossover musicians and performer-composers who work both in the concert hall and pop spaces.

 

That's just one circle, of course. While there are obviously others that are still playing with more modernist and "uber-academic" ideas. But 21st century music in general is becoming more and more divergent and harder to define, which can be both a good and a bad thing.

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7 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Geez, you were basically playing the same notes all the time, and you didn't even bother to play during Venus and Mercury!

 

Yep, I'm greedy like that.  Those are the hammering ending chords at the end of mars.  Everyone plays the same thing for a few measures but very, very, very loudly.

 

I uploaded an excerpt of us:

https://clyp.it/m5l0t4wq

 

Of course you must play this at obnoxiously loud volume to get the effect.  Imagine in my spot this onslaught of sound was coming from all directions!  Two tubas to my left, trombones, trumpets, six horns to my right.  Drums behind me.  Ouch!  Just like how a mother can hear her kid, I can hear my playing in all that.

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In honour of The Land Before Time and Willow (and Red Heat, of course) - Horner knew no ideological boundaries! 

 

 

Notable appearances: Whispering Winds i. e. in 'Victory', (after 00:26),the evil army motif from Willow in 'Interlude' (after 00:10). The cantata is a great piece, with or without those connections, of course.

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An interesting playlist perhaps:

 

From 1927-1939, Aaron Copland taught open enrollment, adult education night courses on music appreciation at The New School in NYC.  Below is the syllabus for his "Masterworks of Modern Music" course that he taught 1928-29.  Unsurprisingly for Copland, Stravinsky is the only composer to get two works covered.  It's interesting to note that 6 out of the 10 pieces featured are vocal works (operas or song cycles).

 

image.png

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Damn these people where on fire.  This is Johnny's friend, Andre Previn, conducting the LSO in 1979 in a blistering performance of one of Shostakovitch's greatest symphonies...the No. 13 "Babi Yar".  This is a work of great darkness, power, and depth.  The title is from the 1941 massacre by Nazis of Jews at Babi Yar (then a taboo to speak against in the Soviet Union resulting in this work getting banned).  Shostakovitch transcends the work into a paean beyond any specific massacre but to be a denunciation of racism and sexism against the establishment.  A dark and deeply moving work heard here in a blistering performance.

 

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I hope you reimbursed the Holst ' estate' r at least obtain a permission to perform PLANETS.

😎;)

On 11/16/2020 at 1:24 PM, Disco Stu said:

An interesting playlist perhaps:

 

From 1927-1939, Aaron Copland taught open enrollment, adult education night courses on music appreciation at The New School in NYC.  Below is the syllabus for his "Masterworks of Modern Music" course that he taught 1928-29.  Unsurprisingly for Copland, Stravinsky is the only composer to get two works covered.  It's interesting to note that 6 out of the 10 pieces featured are vocal works (operas or song cycles).

 

image.png

....and probably no recordings available to reference!

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The absolute greatest among the not so well known piano concertos. It's available on the excellent Azerbaijani Piano Concertos disc on Naxos, which I cannot recommend enough. That opening is particularly wonderful (for whatever reason I'm unable make it play from 0:00, so please drag the timer back).

Another great Amirov piece:

 

 

Speaking of piano concertos, does anyone have any recommendations regarding the "Romantic Piano Concertos" series on Hyperion? Been really thinking about getting the Arensky/Bortkiewicz and Moszkowski/Paderewski discs (are these good?), and obviously other recommendations would be welcome as well.

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