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Matthias

JW is writing a new violin concerto for Anne-Sophie Mutter

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1 hour ago, Disco Stu said:

I'm way more excited about this than any score he might work on.  If I got to pick I'd probably rather have a Piano Concerto than a third Violin one, but I take what JW gives! 

 

I wanted that too, up to "Conversations". But after that and the "Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra", I'm not that keen anymore. They're OK pieces, but far from the lyrical brilliance I had hoped for when he finally returned to his main instrument after 60+ years.

 

Like everyone else, I take what I can get. A concerto for a new instrument or instrument group would be nice, but another violin concerto is fine too.

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12 minutes ago, Thor said:

They're OK pieces, but far from the lyrical brilliance I had hoped

John does not set out for lyrical brilliance in his concerti, really.  He's after new dynamics.  Would be a mistake to expect any kind of overt romanticism.  

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7 minutes ago, SteveMc said:

John does not set out for lyrical brilliance in his concerti, really.  He's after new dynamics.  Would be a mistake to expect any kind of overt romanticism.  

 

I don't necessarily agree with that. Few are straight-out romantic, true, but plenty of his concert works have a lyrical quality to them -- the violin concerto, "Five Sacred Trees", the tuba concerto, the cello concerto, "Elegy for Cello and Orchestra", "Soundings", "La Jolla Quartet" and several others. But in recent years, the (longer) concert works have appeared more as academic exercises. 

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Given the fact that she said the concerto will be premiered next summer, it pretty much has to be at a summer festival. Tanglewood seems likely (and/or Los Angeles?). Vienna is out of contention (no summer festival here), but one can dream of Salzburg and Lucerne, where ASM is performing this summer. 😊

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1 hour ago, Thor said:

 

I wanted that too, up to "Conversations". But after that and the "Scherzo for Piano and Orchestra", I'm not that keen anymore. They're OK pieces, but far from the lyrical brilliance I had hoped for when he finally returned to his main instrument after 60+ years.

 

Judging by this, I think what you would want out of a Williams piano concerto is very different from what I would want.  The Scherzo is a really fun piece!

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1 hour ago, SteveMc said:

Yes, there is a lot of lyricism in those pieces (espceially the Elegy, that being a special case), but it is often an angular lyricism.  Markings is not too far from the Violin and Horn Concertos really.  And I can't say I agree about his recent pieces being completely "academic." 

 

Well, they feel rather 'detached' to me, compared to a great many of his previous works (as does most of his film work in recent years, for that matter).

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On 3/6/2020 at 10:20 PM, Quintus said:

 

Thanks for keeping two feet on the ground Thor. Sometimes it seems like Williams could fart into a mic and people here would rush to debate the upcoming potential clarity of it.

Great you lean on the great expert. And he likes your post. Superb. 

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In the news article on the main website, it says that the concerto will be premiered this year. In the interview, ASM says „next summer“, which is slightly ambiguous, but I‘m 99% sure she means summer 2021. Otherwise, she would‘ve said „this summer“ and 2021 also makes more sense given the rest of the schedule she discusses: This year she‘s gonna play a whole lot more Beethoven due to the anniversary and there is another premiere of a piece by Widmann, and then - in 2021 - she‘ll take time off (sabbatical) before premiering the JW concerto in the summer. At least that‘s how I‘m interpreting what she‘s saying, it‘s not 100% clear.

So please change that in the article.

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20 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

Grubinger did perform his own (rather misguided) Williams arrangements in an open air concert last July. I've always been wondering if the rumour was just some advance info about that blown out of proportion.

 

That’d be too bad.

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On 3/6/2020 at 12:46 PM, Matthias said:

Given the fact that she said the concerto will be premiered next summer, it pretty much has to be at a summer festival. Tanglewood seems likely (and/or Los Angeles?). Vienna is out of contention (no summer festival here), but one can dream of Salzburg and Lucerne, where ASM is performing this summer. 😊

 

What about with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Waldbühne?

 

But my guess is Tanglewood. And I will attend!

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This project will serve as a nice bookend to Williams's concert hall writing.  He identifies his violin concerto has his first substantive piece in his musical voice, whereas the flute concerto is a project he later does not really identify with.  This could very well be his last major concert work (though, obviously, hopefully not).  It will be interesting how they compare.  I hope he allows a romantic lyricism into the piece, even though it will no doubt have the modernist touches so prevalent in this concert oeuvre.  

 

Gotta love the influence certain woman have on Williams.  

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This is great news! While I would love JW to write other concertos (for all the instruments in the orchestra!) another one for violin is fine by me. :) 

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On 3/6/2020 at 2:24 PM, Thor said:

 

I don't necessarily agree with that. Few are straight-out romantic, true, but plenty of his concert works have a lyrical quality to them -- the violin concerto, "Five Sacred Trees", the tuba concerto, the cello concerto, "Elegy for Cello and Orchestra", "Soundings", "La Jolla Quartet" and several others. But in recent years, the (longer) concert works have appeared more as academic exercises. 

I found "Highwood's Ghost" to be lyrical--at least the final part.  

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I wouldn't call that academic at all. An these, days you have to say which school. The big two remaining are the serialist/ very noisy avante garde, like Matthias Pintscher (if you can make it through one of his pieces you must really have a lot of patience), and the pure just sound effects music which is by far the most used today (obviously there are others but not work mentioning like the Philip Glass/ Reich disciples). The newer pieces; Highwood, Markings, both piano pieces, are actually all in the same voice as his usual works. I would say you just have to have a little more patience, they're not as easy on the ears like Five Sacred Trees. The piano pieces are actually very interesting, the problem is the Scherzo never really had a good recording. It's not bad but doesn't do the music justice. That one is more about virtuosity and tactical precision, and the main motif fir the piece he makes variations on but to the extreme. You really have to live and enjoy the moment so to speak with that piece. Same with Conversations. The sad thing about conversations is it covers all the bases, virtuousic stuff, interesting musical context BUT the biggest draw back of the recording is the piece evokes the beautiful resonant qualities of the piano, which certain parts there are pauses and things where you should be able to hear that, but you cant because the recording in incredibly compressed, and the recording general just was apparently ruined in editing, taking nothing away from the performance, that's ace.

Anyway, I'm rambling. But it's not academic, there's nobody or school that you could associate that music with. It's just a new evolution of his music, which has happened several times during his career.

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6 hours ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

I wouldn't call that academic at all. Anyway, I'm rambling. But it's not academic, there's nobody or school that you could associate that music with. It's just a new evolution of his music, which has happened several times during his career.

By "academic" I assume people mean a "within-the-industry" type of music, i.e.:

 

* virtuosic by professional standards, but not necessarily interesting for the audience (i.e. made for musicians), or

* masterful, but not necessarily in a way that sweeps people off their feet (i.e. made for composer / professor colleagues)

* exploring something technical that interests the composer, but is not equally interesting to most others (i.e. purely aimed at composer's own musical education)

 

Williams' concert pieces seem to me to tend to tick at least one of these boxes each.

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Then what would non-academic music be? I mean usually when people call someones music academic its because its something thats "already been done" in simple terms. It could be all of those things, but in a very bland way. All of those things could be true as well, like in the case of the Rite of Spring. It checks those boxes, but wouldnt be called academic in it's time or now.

 

I also vote triangle concerto

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20 minutes ago, WilliamsStarShip2282 said:

Then what would non-academic music be? I mean usually when people call someones music academic its because its something thats "already been done" in simple terms. It could be all of those things, but in a very bland way. All of those things could be true as well, like in the case of the Rite of Spring. It checks those boxes, but wouldnt be called academic in it's time or now.

 

I also vote triangle concerto

Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto, The Nutcracker, Beethoven's symphonies, Star Wars... these works have a virtually universal appeal, because the composers worked hard making them so.

 

You could infer that a large portion of classical music is academic "then". And that's true. The way I see it, it is. That's why a vast majority of it bores the audiences to death.

 

I've heard "academic" used mostly in the context of contemporary atonal/dissonant/experimental/minimalist/spectral etc. mixtures that have too many -als and -isms, and not enough swing.

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2 hours ago, Fabulin said:

By "academic" I assume people mean a "within-the-industry" type of music, i.e.:

 

* exploring something technical that interests the composer, but is not equally interesting to most others (i.e. purely aimed at composer's own musical education)

 

Mostly this. A drier, more exploratory style that lacks a bit in terms of emotional impact and depth. This applies to most of Williams' recent concert works.

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7 hours ago, Lamasseux said:

It's so funny ! :lol:

And it shows playing triangle is not that easy.

Tagadadam !

 

This is not about playing the triangle at all.  This is about a brilliant conductor who is obsessed with every minute detail.  He will do the same with trumpets 1, 2, 3 not staying together or a violin section.  This is an example of his obsessive demand of perfection in all details and we benefit from it in the final performance.  This is what its like at the highest caliber of musicianship and frankly that orchestra/performers weren't up to his caliber.  In a masterclass I witnessed where the teacher was a member of the trumpet section of a world class orchestra, their proficiency is so damn high.  The teacher randomly asked a trumpeter to improvise the tempo and dynamics of a passage from the standard repertoire like Pictures at an Exhibition and he totally matched it by listening to her.  He was trumpet 2 of the section and had to match his principal and was obsessed with that as a goal.  We have the same videos of Bernstein laying in to the trumpet section for not blending.  Each section MUST be a cohesive whole and he had every right to demand it of the best orchestras.  In your video's case, the orchestra didn't match his level and he demanded it of everyone even if they hated it.

I don't know if you all follow the importance of what is happening here but the principal player dictates the sound the others must match.  In this case, Bernstein prefers the 3rd trumpets sound not the principal and is telling the section to match the 3rds sound.  This is horribly insulting but demonstrates his attention to nuance which truly sets him apart.  2nd trumpet (the middle guy) freaking can't stand it and says so which is extremely rude.  The 1st trumpet might speak but the 2nd speaks to the 1st and not the conductor. So much to gleam from this brief exchange of what its like to work in such a complex performance setting.  This is the recording that resulted and its my favorite version of this very famous work. 

https://www.amazon.com/Elgar-Enigma-Variations-Pomp-Circumstance/dp/B0000012UG/ref=sr_1_1

Furthermore, Bernstein is an obnoxiously American conductor talking to a VERY English orchestra about playing VERY English music.  It must have truly drove them crazy but shows you alot about Bernstein because his version of this work is very unique and excellent. 

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On 3/14/2020 at 1:17 AM, karelm said:

 

This is not about playing the triangle at all.  This is about a brilliant conductor who is obsessed with every minute detail.  He will do the same with trumpets 1, 2, 3 not staying together or a violin section.  This is an example of his obsessive demand of perfection in all details and we benefit from it in the final performance.  This is what its like at the highest caliber of musicianship and frankly that orchestra/performers weren't up to his caliber.  In a masterclass I witnessed where the teacher was a member of the trumpet section of a world class orchestra, their proficiency is so damn high.  The teacher randomly asked a trumpeter to improvise the tempo and dynamics of a passage from the standard repertoire like Pictures at an Exhibition and he totally matched it by listening to her.  He was trumpet 2 of the section and had to match his principal and was obsessed with that as a goal.  We have the same videos of Bernstein laying in to the trumpet section for not blending.  Each section MUST be a cohesive whole and he had every right to demand it of the best orchestras.  In your video's case, the orchestra didn't match his level and he demanded it of everyone even if they hated it.

I don't know if you all follow the importance of what is happening here but the principal player dictates the sound the others must match.  In this case, Bernstein prefers the 3rd trumpets sound not the principal and is telling the section to match the 3rds sound.  This is horribly insulting but demonstrates his attention to nuance which truly sets him apart.  2nd trumpet (the middle guy) freaking can't stand it and says so which is extremely rude.  The 1st trumpet might speak but the 2nd speaks to the 1st and not the conductor. So much to gleam from this brief exchange of what its like to work in such a complex performance setting.  This is the recording that resulted and its my favorite version of this very famous work. 

https://www.amazon.com/Elgar-Enigma-Variations-Pomp-Circumstance/dp/B0000012UG/ref=sr_1_1

Furthermore, Bernstein is an obnoxiously American conductor talking to a VERY English orchestra about playing VERY English music.  It must have truly drove them crazy but shows you alot about Bernstein because his version of this work is very unique and excellent. 

I see your point and all I can say is : you're totally right.

BUT, what I said is still true.

Many think playing the triangle is easy because you just have to hit the triangle. But what we can see in this video (thanks to the obssession of Bernstein for every details), is that there are diffrents ways of playing it and hitting the triangle. You can't just hit it like you want but you have to give the right intention at the right time.

And the video is titled "Triangle lessons with Leonard Bernstein", so this IS about playing the triangle. In a certain way, of course. And because Bernstein is a perfectionist.

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On 3/14/2020 at 2:17 AM, karelm said:

 

This is not about playing the triangle at all.  This is about a brilliant conductor who is obsessed with every minute detail.  He will do the same with trumpets 1, 2, 3 not staying together or a violin section.  This is an example of his obsessive demand of perfection in all details and we benefit from it in the final performance.  This is what its like at the highest caliber of musicianship and frankly that orchestra/performers weren't up to his caliber.  In a masterclass I witnessed where the teacher was a member of the trumpet section of a world class orchestra, their proficiency is so damn high.  The teacher randomly asked a trumpeter to improvise the tempo and dynamics of a passage from the standard repertoire like Pictures at an Exhibition and he totally matched it by listening to her.  He was trumpet 2 of the section and had to match his principal and was obsessed with that as a goal.  We have the same videos of Bernstein laying in to the trumpet section for not blending.  Each section MUST be a cohesive whole and he had every right to demand it of the best orchestras.  In your video's case, the orchestra didn't match his level and he demanded it of everyone even if they hated it.

I don't know if you all follow the importance of what is happening here but the principal player dictates the sound the others must match.  In this case, Bernstein prefers the 3rd trumpets sound not the principal and is telling the section to match the 3rds sound.  This is horribly insulting but demonstrates his attention to nuance which truly sets him apart.  2nd trumpet (the middle guy) freaking can't stand it and says so which is extremely rude.  The 1st trumpet might speak but the 2nd speaks to the 1st and not the conductor. So much to gleam from this brief exchange of what its like to work in such a complex performance setting.  This is the recording that resulted and its my favorite version of this very famous work. 

https://www.amazon.com/Elgar-Enigma-Variations-Pomp-Circumstance/dp/B0000012UG/ref=sr_1_1

Furthermore, Bernstein is an obnoxiously American conductor talking to a VERY English orchestra about playing VERY English music.  It must have truly drove them crazy but shows you alot about Bernstein because his version of this work is very unique and excellent. 

 

Or because television was there, he was just wanting to show his stardom. Sad. 

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