Author Topic: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)  (Read 1269 times)

Twit 2

  • On Earth, no cure
Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« on: December 03, 2020, 04:16:27 PM »
There’s been a fair few threads on the old classics on here, but here’s another one.

Through a close association with the gadfly and poof tyrant pancreas, I have been diligently working my way through composers I haven’t engaged with much for over 10 years, in some cases. Prior to this dubious association, I considered myself a dilettante in these matters. I knew these composers. They were a damn sight more than a nodding acquaintance to me. But upon closer inspection, it turned out I didn’t know certain pieces well enough, not for either of our likings.

Each weekend I call out thus, “What, O wise pancreas, should I listen to this weekend, as I walk the fields in a stupor?”

The reply comes quickly, and with explicit or implicit admonishment:

“You must listen to the symphonies of Carl Nielsen, with Blomstedt at the baton.”

I scurry off and do as he says.

A selection of things I have recently enjoyed reacquainting myself with:

Nielsen - Complete Symphonies
Sibelius - Complete Symphonies
Zemlinsky - Lyric Symphony
Brahms - Alto Rhapsody
Beethoven - Egmont Overture
John Adams - Common Tones in Simple Time
Elgar - Dream of Geronotius; Symphony 2
Walton - Belshazzar’s Feast
Bliss - A Colour Symphony
Mahler - Symphony 8

“Is this a two-way street?” you ask. “Is he attending to your recommendations with the same sense of duty, the same vigour?”

‘Course not, the prick.

Anyway, what classical music have you been rinsing?
« Last Edit: December 03, 2020, 04:40:38 PM by Twit 2 »

Twit 2

  • On Earth, no cure
Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2020, 05:10:04 PM »
Charles Koechlin - Les Heures Persanes

https://youtu.be/w4MHmszQMbw

Lili Boulanger - Pie Jesu

https://youtu.be/eLxrA8cG2ZI

Scriabin - Sonata No. 2

https://youtu.be/n7RNbzKJULg

Ravel - Nahandove

https://youtu.be/FmXnjlo-UYM

pancreas

  • The islets of Langerhans are the very best islets
Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2020, 05:32:11 PM »
Well you reminded me of the existence of Daphnis et Chloe, for which I am grateful. That's it though; that's all you were good for.

Twit 2

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2020, 05:45:06 PM »
Well you reminded me of the existence of Daphnis et Chloe, for which I am grateful. That's it though; that's all you were good for.

Rite/Muti

Firebird/Dorati

I mean, I could go on...

Menu

  • Don't be a fool, Stephanie.
Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 12:46:55 AM »


“You must listen to the symphonies of Carl Nielsen, with Blomstedt at the baton.”



Can one of you give an explanation of what difference a conductor makes? Is it really noticeable to the trained ear?

Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 02:10:45 AM »
Yeah, I think someone untrained (like me) can hear differences between versions. A conductor's a bandleader, it's their creative vision for how the piece is going to be performed. They pick the pieces an orchestra performs, they hire and fire musicians for the orchestra, they've got their own taste as to what constitutes good playing, they talk to the musicians about what they think the music is trying to express, what emotions it's trying to convey, what non-musical themes to think about, and while performing they get to interpret the score- the most important thing is that classical music is usually not metronomic in beat but slows down and speeds up to give emphasis- that requires the conductor's judgment. Just how long should a little dramatic pause last? It might be scored as one crochet beat, for example, but the conductor is expected to interpret that a bit. Also, the notation might say ff to indicate that the violins should play loudly in one section- but how loud?
Personally I don't think, when it comes to enjoying the music, any of that stuff is as important as whether the composition itself is your kind of thing- if it isn't you won't enjoy any performance, and if it is you probably will.

Twit 2

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 07:18:48 AM »
Yeah, pretty much. You could say the conductor is “playing” the orchestra like a giant musical instrument. There are an enormous number of parameters and variables in a musical score, so there is a lot of scope for interpretation and therefore different performances will sound different, sometimes radically different.

I suppose another analogy is with football managers: a lot of the work happens before the game/performance and if they’ve done their job right the players just do their thing as instructed and the audience don’t necessarily notice the input.


Ominous Dave

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2020, 07:30:17 AM »
As a similarly untrained person, I feel very bad at appreciating different recordings of classical pieces. The Karajan recordings of the Beethoven symphonies were the first versions I heard and are just what Beethoven sounds like to me, and other recordings seem like inferior cover versions. There are probably loads of subtle things in the other versions I'm missing but I don't know enough to tell.

(Have a mate who's a conductor who says that 90% of his job is hiring musicians who'll reliably turn up on time and have the right music in front of them. But of course the other 10% is the actual art of the thing.)

Twit 2

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2020, 08:00:42 AM »
Yes, most people think of the first version that they hear as the definitive one, I reckon. Particularly if it’s a decent version. That said, there’s also plenty of scope for “On First Looking into Chapman's Homer” moments of revelation.

A nice comparison for your Karajan/Berlin Phil would be Zinman/Tonhalle Orchester Zurich. Worlds apart.

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2020, 10:35:56 AM »
Thank for these explanations, lads. Do any of you listen to this programme? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06w2121 

I sometimes put it on as a way of educating myself on this sort of thing.

Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2020, 10:39:25 AM »
Charles Koechlin - Les Heures Persanes

https://youtu.be/w4MHmszQMbw

Lili Boulanger - Pie Jesu

https://youtu.be/eLxrA8cG2ZI



These are wonderful. Thanks

Twit 2

  • On Earth, no cure
Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2020, 10:44:16 AM »
Yes! Two massively overlooked composers, there. Get stuck in! Boulanger you can sort of understand - carked it before she got going properly, was overshadowed by her sis. But Koechlin is criminally underrated. No good reason for him to be so obscure, except that early 20th century Paris was seething with geniuses, so hard to get a look in when people like Debussy and Ravel are your contemporaries.

Twit 2

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2020, 10:52:34 AM »
Thank for these explanations, lads. Do any of you listen to this programme? https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06w2121 

I sometimes put it on as a way of educating myself on this sort of thing.

Pancreas can tolerate Radio 3 in a way I can’t, but I think it’s ok. YouTube is amazing for classical music these days. Just dive in the wormhole and follow the suggestions. This guy’s channel is phenomenal:

https://www.youtube.com/c/AshishXiangyiKumar

All piano, but the effort he puts into the programme notes, analysis and timestamps is a genuine public service. I went through all the Beethoven piano sonatas and appreciated them anew, due to his videos. The side by side comparisons of interpretations are brilliant. And, as discussed earlier in the thread, you can be knocked over by some incredible version of pieces you thought you knew, like these nocturnes:

https://youtu.be/kHXxWfSAxik

Twit 2

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2020, 03:48:04 PM »
Listened to the Missa Solemnis twice in a row on my “Saturday, go for a walk and listen to a big arse classical work,” Giulini then Karajan. Epic.

Twit 2

  • On Earth, no cure
Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2020, 09:09:01 PM »
DEBUSSY - JEUX

Chedney Honks

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Re: Deep diving into the classical canon (0 replies thread)
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2020, 08:22:04 AM »
Thanks for that channel recommendation, that's marvellous.

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