Name a beautiful piece of serial music

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IcedNote
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Name a beautiful piece of serial music

Post by IcedNote » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:50 am

The closest one I can come up with is Dallapiccola's "Quaderno Musicale Di Annalibera - Simbolo."

Does Bill Evans' "T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune)" count? :wink:

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greymouse
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Re: Name a beautiful piece of serial music

Post by greymouse » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:07 pm

IcedNote wrote:The closest one I can come up with is Dallapiccola's "Quaderno Musicale Di Annalibera - Simbolo."

Does Bill Evans' "T.T.T. (Twelve Tone Tune)" count? :wink:

-G
I take it you mean serial as in 12-tone in general, but some people only consider music to be serialism if note duration, dynamics, etc. are serialized in which case you end up with that choppy, stabby style. I'm not a big fan of that.

Pretty 12-tone music: Schoenberg Variations for Orchestra. Berg Violin Concerto.

Modernistfan
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Post by Modernistfan » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:12 pm

Try the Benjamin Frankel symphonies or his Holocaust memorial violin concerto, "To the Memory of the Six Million."

(A curiosity: the Frankel Violin Concerto has a very unusual structure for a violin concerto, four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast. The Shostakovich First Violin Concerto, also generally considered as a memorial for Holocaust victims and incorporating Jewish-sounding themes, also has the exact same structure, four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast. However, the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto was largely completed by 1948 but suppressed by the composer in the aftermath of the Zhdanovshchina; it was not played until after Stalin's death in 1955. Frankel's concerto was written in 1951 and premiered that year by Max Rostal, so he would probably not have known the Shostakovich work.)

IcedNote
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Post by IcedNote » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:12 pm

Fair enough; I was speaking of serial music in the more general style (12-tone), not exclusively the kind that uses matrices for every facet. :)

-G
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some guy
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Post by some guy » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:16 pm

Just one? I'm having a hard time coming up with just one ugly one.

Trouble is the word "beautiful," which identifies something about the listener and little to nothing about the thing listened to.

So you'll get long lists (or responses like this one) from people who listen to serial music and like it and short lists (or none at all) from people who don't listen to it much. And possibly you'll get some wrangling about whether or not a proffered piece is really serial or not and maybe some quibbling about what "beautiful" means.

If "beautiful" means "what I, Michael Karman, find attractive" (and "serial" means "anything vaguely systematic that doesn't use a key" :D ), then I'd start off with Boulez' ...explosante fixe..., and go on from there to list every serial piece by Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Gerhard, Wellesz, Searle, Sessions, Messiaen and and and and....
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IcedNote
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Post by IcedNote » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:20 pm

Anything works! Whatever you take it to mean is fine by me. I just want to find out some of the members' aesthetic choices when it comes to this music. Personally, I find it rather tiresome to listen to. Just trying to expand my horizons here. :)

-G
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Post by Chalkperson » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:33 pm

By serial music do you mean what I am playing during breakfast... :wink:
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Post by Donaldopato » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:35 pm

Webern 5 Pieces Op 10 plus the Berg and Frankel Violin Concerti as mentioned, are some that I feel are ultimately "beautiful".
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absinthe
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Post by absinthe » Tue Mar 18, 2008 12:39 pm

IcedNote wrote:Fair enough; I was speaking of serial music in the more general style (12-tone), not exclusively the kind that uses matrices for every facet. :)
-G
I've met a few musical snobs that use serial music as a posture matrice.

;)

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Post by diegobueno » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:31 pm

Berg's Lyric Suite is probably the first piece I think of in connection with beautiful 12-tone music.

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Post by MaestroDJS » Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:44 pm

diegobueno wrote:Berg's Lyric Suite is probably the first piece I think of in connection with beautiful 12-tone music.
Excellent choice.

This reminds me of Eine Faust-Symphonie by Franz Liszt. The main theme, stated by violas and celli, is a descending sequence of four augmented triads. This is apparently the first true 12-tone row in music, but there the atonality stops. The piece itself is not at all serial, and in fact it's simply a highly chromatic tonality. But this expanding chromaticism is a distant ancestor of truly atonal music.
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Post by John F » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:16 pm

Berg's violin concerto.
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JPS
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Post by JPS » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:27 pm

And what about Webern's Bagatelles op 9 for string quartet ? rather comfortable for ears i think.

Is the Berg's violin concerto really a serial work ? Thank you for answer if possible.
Jean-Pierre

Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:42 am

Swiss composer Klaus Huber's "Tenebrae"---a 12-tone work so frightening that it IS beautiful!

Tschüß!
Jack
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Post by pizza » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:36 am

Jack Kelso wrote:Swiss composer Klaus Huber's "Tenebrae"---a 12-tone work so frightening that it IS beautiful!
Morton Gould's 12 tone Jekyll/Hyde Variations quite predictably and with consummate craftsmanship alternate between beauty and fright!

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Post by John F » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:12 am

JPS wrote:Is the Berg's violin concerto really a serial work?
Yes. It's a twelve-tone work, as are some other late works of Berg's such as the opera _Lulu_. But your question is a good one, as Berg ingeniously and movingly managed to work tonal quotations into the serial structure: an Austrian folksong and Bach's harmonization of the chorale "Es ist genug." He could do this partly because of the nature of the tone row he uses and partly, I'm told, because he didn't always follow Schoenberg's "rules" for twelve-tone composition very strictly.

A brief article on the piece, including the notation of the tone row, is in the Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violin_Concerto_(Berg)
Last edited by John F on Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jbuck919 » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:25 am

Seconded on the Berg selections.

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Post by karlhenning » Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:25 am

some guy wrote:Trouble is the word "beautiful," which identifies something about the listener and little to nothing about the thing listened to.
Excellent point!

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Post by absinthe » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:15 pm

some guy wrote: Trouble is the word "beautiful," which identifies something about the listener and little to nothing about the thing listened to.
Yup. I'm beautiful and the music is awful....

The only cereal piece I know is Stravinsky's "Krispies de Riz".

:D

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Post by Auntie Lynn » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:31 pm

If anybody mentioned that Bartok thing for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, I second the motion...

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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:03 am

Auntie Lynn wrote:If anybody mentioned that Bartok thing for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, I second the motion...
Bartok--like Hindemith, Copland, Shostakovich and Britten--was anti-serial/12-tone music.

One of the most moving 12-tone works I know is Schoenberg's "A Survivor from Warsaw" for Speaker, Chorus and Orchestra. If "moving" is "beautiful"---then I nominate this work!

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Post by some guy » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:11 am

Rodeo Copland, maybe.

Not Inscape Copland or Connotations Copland, though.

Two pretty nice pieces, there, doing twelve-tone in his own way....
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Jack Kelso
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:28 am

some guy wrote:Rodeo Copland, maybe.

Not Inscape Copland or Connotations Copland, though.

Two pretty nice pieces, there, doing twelve-tone in his own way....
Well, some guy----you can lasso "Rodeo", drink up all the beer "On the Town" and capture "Billy the Kid" dead-or-alive----but that doesn't make any of this music 12-tone! 8) (But I love it for what it is!)

Tschüß!
Jack
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val
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Post by val » Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:42 am

There are several beautiful works using the serial technique.

Just to mention three:

Schönberg's String Trio opus 45

Schönberg's opera Moses und Aron

Webern's Cantata opus 31

James

Post by James » Thu Mar 20, 2008 10:54 am

Copland's Piano Variations beautiful/expressive using serial techniques...
same goes for 3rd Period Stravinsky...things in Agon, Canticum Sacrum, Threni & others...
Boulez's Le marteau is a beautiful and fascinating post-serial work..
Stockhausen's Choral is a brilliant & beautiful compact serial work.
Berg's Lyric Suite & Violin Concerto as mentioned.
Webern's oeuvre...

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Post by some guy » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:44 pm

Not sure what you're referring to by "this," Jack, but Inscape, Connotations, and several other late pieces are certainly serial. (Starting in 1950, the same year Sessions started.)

Or perhaps you'd prefer "use serial techniques"?

Don't know how much use there has to be to qualify in your books for being "12-tone," but there it is, right there, for everyone to hear (and for a smaller portion of that everyone to analyze).

Boy Howdy!!
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--Viennese critic (1843)

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Post by CharmNewton » Thu Mar 20, 2008 9:13 pm

Ruth Crawford Seeger's String Quartet

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Post by Auntie Lynn » Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:00 am

Okay then, if you don't think Bartok qualifies, how about the Schoenberg Op. 19 piano pieces -- an absolute bear to interpret -- each finger has to have a different pressure in any given chord. Maurizio's go at these pieces is exquisite...

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Post by absinthe » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:53 am

There's a reissue of an Argo recording due in a couple of days:

Lutyens' "And Suddenly it's Evening" for tenor (Herbert Handt) and instruments grouped into various ensembles. It's a beautiful work.

Lutyens was heavily involved with serial writing (with some 12-tone) and has been woefully neglected in the UK, so this Lyrita CD is welcome.

I started a separate thread on the reissue but got timed out and it blanked my post so I couldn't go through typing it all again!

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Post by dulcinea » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:10 pm

Modernistfan wrote:Try the Benjamin Frankel symphonies or his Holocaust memorial violin concerto, "To the Memory of the Six Million."

(A curiosity: the Frankel Violin Concerto has a very unusual structure for a violin concerto, four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast. The Shostakovich First Violin Concerto, also generally considered as a memorial for Holocaust victims and incorporating Jewish-sounding themes, also has the exact same structure, four movements, slow-fast-slow-fast. However, the Shostakovich First Violin Concerto was largely completed by 1948 but suppressed by the composer in the aftermath of the Zhdanovshchina; it was not played until after Stalin's death in 1955. Frankel's concerto was written in 1951 and premiered that year by Max Rostal, so he would probably not have known the Shostakovich work.)
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