Classical Music Thread -

Positron

Subconsciously Suberogatory
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kiwifarms.net
So we have a featured thread on the Deaf community, which focuses on the worst people. To counterbalance let me present the best among deaf (not Deaf) people: percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Apart from great musicianship she is very personable and will read lips.

The piece "Prím", written by Askell Másson for solo snare drum, is her calling card. If you go to her concert this piece is likely to be her encore.

 
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Positron

Subconsciously Suberogatory
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How many keyboard sonatas Domenico Scarlatti is known to have written? A easy-to-remember number: 555.
Among the lot, the E-major Sonata K380 is probably the most popular:


 

Positron

Subconsciously Suberogatory
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Franz Schreker's opera Die Gezeichneten (The Ones Marked by Fate) is a glorious example of the decadent post-Mahler Romanticism in early 20th century. The score is sumptuous and richly ornamented, although the sexually-charged story is pure daftness (Alban Berg found it "kitschy"). None of its three protagonists is particularly sympathetic. The "good" tenor, the hideously deformed nobleman Alviano, considers himself virtuous and honorable, but allows his friends to kidnap women and enjoy them on his private island. The evil baritone, Count Tamere, is intent to make every woman who catches his eyes "his whore". Both vie for the painter Carlotta, an otherworldly beauty so frail that her body will be destroyed by physical love. Carlotta leads Alviano on, professes her love for him in order to capture his ardent, noble soul on canvas -- only to friendzone him once she finishes the painting and goes for the hunky Tamere. When Alviano hears Carlotta whisper Tamere's name in her post-coital dying breath, he kills his rival, then goes mad.

The music is richer than you can ever imagine. Each of the protagonist is invested with, not just a couple of leitmotifs, but a complete atmosphere: Alvino inhabits the world of melancholic descending figures, that are sometimes at odds with his ardent vocal line. Tamere's knightly music is horn-heavy and rhythmic. Whenever Carlotta appears, or even mentioned, the music turns into organza and fairy dust.

What I have cued here is the second scene of Act II. Carlotta explains to Alviano her artistic vision, and how she needs Alviano to help her bring it to life. This production is interesting in that Alviano is depicted not as physically deformed, but as a transvestite. I think this makes a lot of sense and cranks up the sexual tension of the opera even more.
 
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Strine

It had become a glimmering gorl,
kiwifarms.net
Franz Schreker's opera Die Gezeichneten (The Ones Marked by Fate) is a glorious example of the decadent post-Mahler Romanticism in early 20th century. The score is sumptuous and richly ornamented, although the sexually-charged story is pure daftness (Alban Berg found it "kitschy"). None of its three protagonists is particularly sympathetic. The "good" tenor, the hideously deformed nobleman Alviano, considers himself virtuous and honorable, but allows his friends to kidnap women and enjoy them on his private island. The evil baritone, Count Tamere, is intent to make every woman who catches his eyes "his whore". Both vie for the painter Carlotta, an otherworldly beauty so frail that her body will be destroyed by physical love. Carlotta leads Alviano on, professes her love for him in order to capture his ardent, noble soul on canvas -- only to friendzone him once she finishes the painting and goes for the hunky Tamere. When Alviano hears Carlotta whisper Tamere's name in her post-coital dying breath, he kills his rival, then goes mad.

The music is richer than you can ever imagine. Each of the protagonist is invested with, not just a couple of leitmotifs, but a complete atmosphere: Alvino inhabits the world of melancholic descending figures, that are sometimes at odds with his ardent vocal line. Tamere's knightly music is horn-heavy and rhythmic. Whenever Carlotta appears, or even mentioned, the music turns into organza and fairy dust.

What I have cued here is the second scene of Act II. Carlotta explains to Alviano her artistic vision, and how she needs Alviano to help her bring it to life. This production is interesting in that Alviano is depicted not as physically deformed, but as a transvestite. I think this makes a lot of sense and cranks up the sexual tension of the opera even more.
Beautiful. Like Italian Mahler. I love that period of vivid maximalist orchestration that gave us jewels like Petrushka and Daphnis & Chloe. Disney tried hard to recreate it in their early films.
 

Strine

It had become a glimmering gorl,
kiwifarms.net
On the topic of Daphnis and Chloe, Dutoit's recording of it alone makes him a "favourite" conductor, even though his treatment of Le Tombeau and other works is less impressive (certain woodwind soloists had a hand in that though). The moment in the Act 3 opening (which Lawrence Kramer called "the most explicit representation of an orgasm in all 'classical' music) when Daphnis finds Chloe is probably the greatest moment in French music of the 20th century.
The scene opens with flutes and clarinets playing extremely rapidly but very quietly; the bubbling of the stream that runs through the scene, but also the tension plaguing Daphnis, who cannot find his beloved. A four-note theme establishes itself, representing the rising sun as it begins in the bassi and plays throughout the scene, slowly becoming higher in pitch. Birds trill, shepherds pipe, and Daphnis searches for Chloe - eventually the nymphs guide him; represented by the wordless choir (around 43:10). Daphnis becomes anguished; the scoring at 43:20 shows this with frantic themes. A huge build in the orchestra leads to the great moment: Daphnis finds Chloe, with the almighty sun rising behind her. The sun theme becomes the love motif in three octaves at once; huge, passionate intervals in the violins are accompanied by flashing sunbeams in the brass and the woodwinds joyfully playing the "stream" theme. The sun theme returns, rising in pitch as the sun rises into the sky, and as the reunited lovers desperately embrace the scene and music reach an ecstatic climax of light; the triumphant nymph motif soaring above it as the fated lovers meet their destiny.
 
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Strine

It had become a glimmering gorl,
kiwifarms.net

tis for the spook season
Penderecki wrote that shrieky string thing for a radio contest and submitted it untitled, and it didn't win. He then resubmitted it with its current gaudy tragedy-porn name and it won. I'm very cynical about it. It's not even difficult music to write, and he hasn't written anything else of substance.
 

Positron

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True & Honest Fan
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Penderecki wrote that shrieky string thing for a radio contest and submitted it untitled, and it didn't win. He then resubmitted it with its current gaudy tragedy-porn name and it won. I'm very cynical about it. It's not even difficult music to write, and he hasn't written anything else of substance.
The avant-garde Penderecki of the Threnody and St. Luke's Passion is gone, but even in his neo-romantic moods, the Second Violin Concerto "Metamorphoses" is a very strong work to me.

As for "tragedy porn", no one as far as I know beat the shamelessness of (((Steve Reich))) (Different Trains; WTC 9/11). Also I doubt tragedy porn was such a hot-ticket item at the time of Threnody as it is today. Nowadays, a pee o'sea composer writing on a contentious subject is pretty much immune from criticism and is a shoo-in for big prizes (I'm thinking of Angel's Bone by Du Yun)
 
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Strine

It had become a glimmering gorl,
kiwifarms.net
Nowadays, a pee o'sea composer writing on a contentious subject is pretty much immune from criticism and is a shoo-in for big prizes (I'm thinking of Angel's Bone by Du Yun)
Like the other arts, music has been vandalised by Post-Modernism and now it's about the narrative of the (often fourth-rate) composer rather than any self-evidenced merit, most of the time. The Metamorphosen has emotional weight; Romanticism is still bearing fruit because we are still in the Romantic period (I view Modernism and its tumour, Post-Modernism, as contained within the Romantic, as they exist conceptually to contradict its Dionysus humanism with Apollo irony, and then with Eris chaos), but it is very difficult to find anything to truly say in such a stale medium: appeal to emotion is never going to fall completely flat, but the ceiling of emotion was raised so high in Mahler's Germanic blazes of divine ecstasy, and the floor dropped so deep by Tchaikovsky's wailing, shuddering soliloquys to cold death, that musings someway along the spectrum are merely fodder - Romanticism has been fully excavated; there is nothing yet to explore in the medium, in my opinion; Stravinsky and Nabokov gave it a eulogy before its burial, and then its later necessary renaissance.

The other wing of contemporary music, the declining avant-garde has simply eradicated form, and now it has nothing left to destroy or create because it's in the vacuum of space, effectively. Hence the rebirth of Romanticism: suddenly form is valuable, suddenly comforting anchors of emotion and naturalism are being dropped; the shiny machines of old New art are being constricted with nature's Romanticist vines. But it's sad, now; the medium is directionlessly trying to dress up Romanticism for a fearful new age of isolation and emotion-driven politic: it has thus inverted itself; for Wagner was politic-driven emotion. Has the journey been completed, or is there another stretch? Society is becoming rapidly more conservative under the hideous irony of "liberalism"; maybe we must cycle through another long, painful timeline of simplicity, then form, then liberation of form.
 

Positron

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Gustav Holst has always been interested in the mystical and the occult; he learned Sanskrit in order to read the great Hindu texts in their original language and set his own translation to music. An example are the four groups of Hymns from the Rig Veda, each for a different combination of voices and instruments. The Third Group, for female chorus and harp, is most immediately appealing.


It sounds as if the voices that fades into infinity at the end of The Planets coalesce again, far beyond the Solar System. (This work predated The Planets, however)
 
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Oscar Wildean

Happy Helloween.
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The Merry Widow Waltz is my favorite waltz piece.

The orchestral version of Michelle by The Beatles sounds lovely.
 
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Sundae

Weird-Ass Puppet Dog
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Pachelbel's Canon in D is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever composed.

If there's music in heaven, I like to think this is what would be played there.
 

Strine

It had become a glimmering gorl,
kiwifarms.net
It is very difficult to find a recording of this movement without either a horrible oboist or a tasteless violinist, but this one does very well. Endlessly ripped off for Hollywood movie soundtracks, this famous movement is aesthetically an interesting confluence between fumbling green Protestant sentiment in an autumnal, saturnine American landscape (Robert Frost without the nauseating piety) best demonstrated in the hesitant, sweetly earnest oboe solo at the beginning, and the wine-sweetness of Jewish violin, best demonstrated at 5:17 and onward. Barber wasn't even Jewish, which demonstrates the massive influence of Jewish music on the American sound: Elgar and Vaughan Williams are audible in the orchestration, but the violin playing - correctly interpreted - is not the reserved, light style of the English; rather an all-American declamation of the sad red tenderness which runs through so much Jewish art.
 

Zaragoza

Love Saw It
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For any fans of the WW1 series The Great War (1964), you've heard of this soundtrack before, on episode 17 Surely we have Perished features this piece of orchestra and it's used very efficiently at the right moments.

The soundtrack captures the dreaded feel of destruction, desolation and despair as the narrator begins to describe the wet marshes of Passchendaele and testimonies of the soldiers who fought in it.

Symphony No. 11 in G Minor, Op. 103 - "The Year 1905": II. The Ninth of January, Allegro (Live)

@10:00 - 10:20 is where the soundtrack is oftenly used in the episode.
 

Positron

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True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Ginastera's Variaciones Concertante is another of those pieces that should be immensely popular but somehow isn't yet. It is basically South America's answer to Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. The theme is first played on cello and harp, and each subsequent variation spotlights a solo instrument or orchestra group:

 
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I'mnotgaybut

kiwifarms.net
I personally love this. The first time I heard this played, the performer was much harder on the left keys, which made very shocking and brutal. This recording is a bit lighter but I still enjoy it.
 
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