Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

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Sylph

Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Sylph » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:46 am

Is it Strauss, Mahler, Korsakov, Shostakovich, Respighi? Händel? Sibelius? (I'm just listing them at random, as they come to mind...) And why?

And which work specifically has the kind of orchestration you especially admire? It doesn't have to be one work, you can list all the works you want.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by hangos » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:05 am

certainly not Chopin! :D

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by karlhenning » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:09 am

hangos wrote:certainly not Chopin! :D
Actually, the wealth of sounds he gets out of the piano is miraculous.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Barry » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:45 am

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by karlhenning » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:51 am

Offhand, if pressed, I suppose my favorite orchestrator must be Stravinsky.

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:45 am

Purely as orchestrator - Berlioz, Tchaikovsky.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:59 am

karlhenning wrote:
hangos wrote:certainly not Chopin! :D
Actually, the wealth of sounds he gets out of the piano is miraculous.

Cheers,
~Karl
Maybe we need a special category for "single instrument orchestrator".

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by karlhenning » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:04 pm

slofstra wrote:
karlhenning wrote:
hangos wrote:certainly not Chopin! :D
Actually, the wealth of sounds he gets out of the piano is miraculous.
Maybe we need a special category for "single instrument orchestrator".
No, no; we can exclude Chopin from the current topic.

Though, honestly, I think the orchestration for the piano concerti just fine . . . .

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Seán » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:33 pm

Favourite Orchestrator? Why Gustav Mahler of course. "Best" - meaning my favourite - orchestrated work? Mahler's Fifth Symphony.
Seán

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Chalkperson » Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:39 pm

Shostakovich...
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by absinthe » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:28 pm

I wasn't quite sure how to interpret the question. An orchestrator, to me, is someone who orchestrates music usually for a solo instrument or ensemble (as Schoenberg orchestrated his Op 4 sextet for string orchestra or Pillockski orchestrates Debussy's Preludes). It isn't quite synonymous with "arranger" who may re-arrange an orchestral score for anything (as in Mozart's version of Beethoven's 5th Symphony for 22 kazoos and glass harmonica).

For composers who compose orchestrally, there are so many. High among their works: Le Sacre du Printemps, La Mer, A Floresta do Amazonas, Jeux, RVW's Sinfonia Antartica, Beethoven's Symphony 9, and the big D major Mass, Honegger's Pacific 231 and Pastorale d'Eté, etc etc...

;)

James

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by James » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:46 pm

I'm going to be original here and say: Maurice Ravel. Oh and Bartok was a master at this too. Stravinsky, of course. Webern. And Messiaen...very original and strong here. AND etc...

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:49 pm

Single Work: Beethoven's 6th.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Barry » Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:54 pm

slofstra wrote:Single Work: Beethoven's 6th.
Yes! The way Beethoven uses the woodwinds in the second movement is incredibly moving.
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by barney » Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:08 pm

When I read the question, I assumed by orchestrator was meant someone who orchestrates a work by someone else, in which case it is hard to go past Ravel or Rimsky-Korsakov. Liszt orchestrated some Schubert songs, as well as solo piano transcriptions, and I like Reger's orchestrations of several lieder too. Shostakovich and Britten.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:07 pm

Barry wrote:
slofstra wrote:Single Work: Beethoven's 6th.
Yes! The way Beethoven uses the woodwinds in the second movement is incredibly moving.
Exactly what I had in mind.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:03 am

Sylph wrote:Is it Strauss, Mahler, Korsakov, Shostakovich, Respighi? Händel? Sibelius? (I'm just listing them at random, as they come to mind...) And why?

And which work specifically has the kind of orchestration you especially admire? It doesn't have to be one work, you can list all the works you want.
Respighi, Rimksy-Korsakov, and most Frenchmen and French-trained composers, starting with Massenet on up thru Rodrigo.

Mostly because of the balance they get in winds and strings and the warmth of the treatments. Cantaloube just blows my socks off. A big orchestra but incredible transparency and lightness.
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by pizza » Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:09 am

slofstra wrote:
karlhenning wrote:
hangos wrote:certainly not Chopin! :D
Actually, the wealth of sounds he gets out of the piano is miraculous.

Cheers,
~Karl
Maybe we need a special category for "single instrument orchestrator".
One would have to include Alkan for his Op. 39 Symphony for Solo Piano and Concerto for Solo Piano.

Concerning multi instrument orchestrators, I would include Varese for Ionisation, Ameriques and Arcana.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by karlhenning » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:59 am

pizza wrote:
slofstra wrote:Maybe we need a special category for "single instrument orchestrator".
One would have to include Alkan for his Op. 39 Symphony for Solo Piano and Concerto for Solo Piano.
And Stravinsky for his Concerto per due pianoforti.

(Of course, Stravinsky is already under consideration for his formidable & exquisite mastery of orchestration.)

Cheers,
~Karl
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Jack Kelso » Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:21 am

For me, the BEST orchestration must fit the musical material at hand. For instance, the art of Berlioz wouldn't be appropriate for the Schumann or Brahms symphonies, nor would Mendelssohn's refined and transparent instrumentation be expressive enough for Liszt or Wagner---and theirs would sound ludicrous in "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Elgar is often underrated as an orchestrator. The "Enigma Variations" (the overtures and symphonies, too!) are just marvelous in the way that each and every performer gets "a word in". His modernized version of Handel's "Overture in D Minor" is powerful, but never ostentatious. Also, he knew that the oboe should not be given a real solo part until it has warmed up sufficiently.

Another great master of the orchestra was Hindemith, as (intentionally) "dry" as he often sounds. He was able to play almost every instrument of the modern orchestra---and his original and varied chamber works for small orchestra are miraculous in their subtle and wide expressive use of each instrument!

Joachim Raff was so expert in his instrumentation that the listener doesn't even notice it as such, yet it projects his symphonic ideas in a direct and unpretentious way without calling attention to itself. One can easily hear in the Liszt symphonic poems the strong influence of the Swiss-born master.

Perhaps Richard Strauss is the ultimate orchestral manipulator---for much of his musical material is itself born out of the magnificent tonal web he spins for it: the art of orchestration as musical ideas. He, too gave Raff great credit for his development.

A composer must learn his own individual brand of instrumentation---the one that best fits his or her own musical philosophy.

Tschüß!
Jack
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by slofstra » Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:26 am

pizza wrote:
slofstra wrote:
karlhenning wrote:
hangos wrote:certainly not Chopin! :D
Actually, the wealth of sounds he gets out of the piano is miraculous.

Cheers,
~Karl
Maybe we need a special category for "single instrument orchestrator".
One would have to include Alkan for his Op. 39 Symphony for Solo Piano and Concerto for Solo Piano.

Concerning multi instrument orchestrators, I would include Varese for Ionisation, Ameriques and Arcana.

Here I thought I was just making up a clever (or silly) oxymoron, and all kinds of stuff is coming out of the woodwork.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Wallingford » Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:21 pm

As nearly all the obvious choices among the greats--Ravel, Rimsky, Strauss & those guys--are already mentioned, I'd like to trot out a composer with a special genius for string orchestra writing: GRIEG.

Certainly with the Holberg Suite and 2 Elegiac Melodies, but also the Lyric Pieces "Shepherd Boy," "Evening In The Mountains," and "At The Cradle" (these last two with only an oboe & horn added, only at the beginnings and ends), and also the central sections of "Ingrid's Lament" and "Arabian Dance" from Peer Gynt (not to mention "Ase's Death " and "Anitra's Dance"). Through a quite ingenious utilization of divisi and double-stops, Grieg produced a bewildering variety of colors just within this ensemble.

Even the String Quartet is, at heart, an abandoned attempt at a suite or serenade of some sort for string orchestra: indeed, Dimitri Mitropoulos conducted a "blowup" of this work.
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Sylph

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Sylph » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:06 pm

Well, I have to say: I expected these answers. :mrgreen:

TopoGigio

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by TopoGigio » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:53 pm

Another Sylph gimmick ? There are all sorts of variations to his basic
story Image

Sylph

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Sylph » Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:58 pm

TopoGigio wrote:Another Sylph gimmick ? There are all sorts of variations to his basic
story Image
Stop persecuting me. OK? I'd say you have a whole lot of gimmick, but you know - the gimmicks always end.

Just ignore me from now on. If I need your help, I'll ask for it.

TopoGigio

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by TopoGigio » Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:16 pm

Accepted! Image

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by absinthe » Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:27 pm

The problem with this question is that there are so many competent orchestral composers that it's impossible to single out a favourite. To me, the best are those works/composers whose orchestration isn't obtrusive. To that extent Janacek's Sinfonietta stands out against, except I've developed a great respect for that work. It's tortuous nature does have overtones of his lifestyle about which I decline to comment except it seems to penetrate his later compositional and orchestral styles.

Sylph

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Sylph » Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:32 pm

absinthe wrote:The problem with this question is that there are so many competent orchestral composers that it's impossible to single out a favourite.
Yeah, I know. I actually have a love/hate relationship with these top list threads. I love them because I find out something new every time, yet people somehow feel constrained or something... I was actually hoping that someone would suggest someone new, someone unrightfully forgotten.
absinthe wrote:To me, the best are those works/composers whose orchestration isn't obtrusive. To that extent Janacek's Sinfonietta stands out against, except I've developed a great respect for that work. It's tortuous nature does have overtones of his lifestyle about which I decline to comment except it seems to penetrate his later compositional and orchestral styles.
Well, what's obtrusive in your world? And you can type 20 or more names, we could get a feel of your tastes.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:18 pm

Sylph wrote:
TopoGigio wrote:Another Sylph gimmick ? There are all sorts of variations to his basic
story Image
Stop persecuting me. OK? I'd say you have a whole lot of gimmick, but you know - the gimmicks always end.

Just ignore me from now on. If I need your help, I'll ask for it.
If you need help he is a good one to ask...he knows most of the answers, see if you can stump him, I doubt that you can... :wink:
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:49 pm

We tend to associate the term "great orchestrator" with composers--none prior to the 20th century--whose surface appeal owes a great deal to sonorities (which does not invalidate their compositions as totalities of art, of course). We tend to take for granted that Beethoven was a very great orchestrator because it is more common, for no very good reason, to think of his music in other terms that can presumable be abstracted from their orchestral realization.

My vote for the greatest work of orchestration is the good old Ninth Symphony.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Heck148 » Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:47 pm

karlhenning wrote:Offhand, if pressed, I suppose my favorite orchestrator must be Stravinsky.

yup - he's way, way up there. Shostakovich and Ravel are really great also.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Steinway » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:39 am

The greatest orchestrator? Mahler, of course! :D

The work? His 3rd Symphony, of course! :)

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Heck148 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 2:17 pm

Cliftwood wrote:The greatest orchestrator? Mahler, of course!
He's certainly a main contender, one of the very greatest. as a conductor, who spent huge amounts of time in front of orchestras, he had a real first-hand knowledge ogf what would, and would not work...

by the late works, DLvDE, Symphony #9, his skill has been honed to the level of sheer artistry, rivalled by few, if any.

Sylph

Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Sylph » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:19 am

Jack Kelso wrote: Joachim Raff was so expert in his instrumentation that the listener doesn't even notice it as such, yet it projects his symphonic ideas in a direct and unpretentious way without calling attention to itself. One can easily hear in the Liszt symphonic poems the strong influence of the Swiss-born master.
Didn't Raff also say he helped Liszt a lot in orchestrating Tasso?
Last edited by Sylph on Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by Donaldopato » Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:22 am

Ferde Grofé, who of course made a living as an orchestrator. But the sounds and textures he coaxes out of an orchestra in his famous suites (Listen to the Death Valley Suite's "49'er Emigrant Train" movement and hear how he uses the orchestra to conjure the image of over laden ox drawn wagons heaving and creaking over the desert.
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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by bombasticDarren » Fri Jan 16, 2009 3:02 pm

Favourite orchestrators include for me Beethoven (particularly in the wind section), Sibelius (always been attracted to his use of strings....is that unusual?) and maybe Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams for the overall sense of texture.

However, best piece of orchestration in my opinion is Ravel's for 'Pictures at an Exhibition' by Mussorgsky...love it.

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Re: Your Favourite Orchestrator & Your Best Orchestrated Work

Post by ChrisX » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:16 am

This is an incredibly tough one to answer. What I admire in a great orchestrator is that he is able to make the orchestra sound like it is one singular instrument. Just listen to Schoenbergs's Pelleas & Mellisande for instance. I also admire orchestrators that make me redefine my conceptions of how an symphony orchestra should sound and Edgar Varese and Olivier Messiaen do just that.
Arnold Bax is also someone whose orchetral pallette is extremely interesting to me since he is able to conjour up some very dark AND very light sounds from the orchestra.
Chris
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