Wallingford Riegger

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alarickc
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Wallingford Riegger

Post by alarickc » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:19 am

After listening to his "Dichotomy"on youtube I must say that I'm rather intrigued. I've never heard of him before and am wondering if anyone has some pieces or recordings of him to recommend. The more I hear the more I'm starting to like twelve-tone and serial music. Many thanks, -Alaric :)
"Private human life is anything but dull. On the contrary, it is far too interesting. The troublesome thing about it is that it has no real conventions, makes no inner sense. Anything can happen. It is mysterious, unpredictable, unrehearsable. Professional life is not mysterious at all. The whole music world understands music. Any musician can give to another comprehensible rendition of practically any piece. If there is anything either of them don't understand, there are always plenty of people they can consult about it.
Private life, on the other hand, is beset by a thousand insoluble crises, from unrequited love to colds in the head. Nobody, literally nobody, knows how to avoid any of them. Religion itself can only counsel patience and long-suffering. It is like a nightmare of being forced to execute at sight a score much too difficult for one's training on an instrument nobody know's how to tune and before a public that isn't listening anyway." -Virgil Thomson

diegobueno
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by diegobueno » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:28 am

Riegger is one American composer that really needs to be revived and remembered. There needs to be a modern recording of the four symphonies, the brass nonet, the string quartet*. I just searched for Riegger on Amazon.com and the names Howard Hanson and Robert Whitney keep recurring as the performers, as if maybe some kind of embargo on his music had been put down in 1970 or something.

Just for example. He wrote a lot of other worthy music too.
Last edited by diegobueno on Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Seán
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by Seán » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:15 am

diegobueno wrote:Riegger is one American composer that really needs to be revived and remembered. There needs to be a modern recording of the four symphonies, the brass nonet, the string quartet. I just searched for Riegger on Amazon.com and the names Howard Hanson and Robert Whitney keep recurring as the performers, as if maybe some kind of embargo on his music had been put down in 1970 or something.
His music is available on Amazon.co.uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_nos ... &x=11&y=19
Seán

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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by John F » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:41 am

Riegger died in 1961 and his music hasn't been championed by present-day musicians, as David Diamond's was by Gerard Schwarz. I've heard none of it in concert and little enough on records, and frankly don't remember any of it. But YouTube has a number of pieces, including the 4th symphony, and it's very listenable - quite American in its idiom, I think, and not as forbidding as Riegger's association with the American avant-garde of his time might lead you to expect. The shipshape recording is by the Louisville Orchestra conducted by Robert Whitney.

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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by johnQpublic » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:29 am

The Brass Nonet (already mentioned) along with "Music for Brass Choir" are very good; highly dissonant and yet quite appealing as his process his clear and obvious.
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by diegobueno » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:51 am

When my brother was in high school he played piano for the school chorus. One day he showed me a piece they were singing which was called Who can revoke by Wallingford Riegger. He played a little bit of it for me. The men start singing the text, changing pitch each measure: C -- D -- E, C major scale, right?, then F# -- G# -- A#. Hah! My young ear was tickled. I decided that the whole tone scale was the coolest thing on earth, especially when it was presented with a hard edge as it was here, rather than the fuzzy sound it had with Debussy (such was my impression as a 14 year old). Soon after that my brother was practicing a piece by Riegger called "Fourths and Fifths" from a collection called New and Old. I really enjoyed that piece and I tucked the name of Riegger away as a composer I wanted to hear more of. Unfortunately, more than 40 years later, I haven't had that many opportunities to hear more. I played Riegger's New Dance in one orchestra I was in. That was around 1982. I've enjoyed the Prausnitz recording of Dichotomy since ca. 1978. It had the Sessions 8th and Rhapsody for orchestra on it.

Here's a youngster performing three selections from New and Old, called "The Twelve Tones", "Shifted Rhythms" and "Twelve Upside Down":


Heck148
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by Heck148 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:20 am

alarickc wrote:After listening to his "Dichotomy"on youtube I must say that I'm rather intrigued. I've never heard of him before and am wondering if anyone has some pieces or recordings of him to recommend. The more I hear the more I'm starting to like twelve-tone and serial music. Many thanks, -Alaric :)
highly recommended disc:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dance-Rhythms-M ... 926&sr=1-4

alarickc
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by alarickc » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:19 pm

Thanks to all of you for the informative responses. It's sad to discover that such a talented composer's work seems to have been mostly forgotten. Unfortunately it seems like the majority of 20th century composer's works do not get there due. I'll make it a point to snap up a copy of some of those albums. Now I just need to pray that perhaps if I beg enough the Oregon Symphony might play a work of his. :|
"Private human life is anything but dull. On the contrary, it is far too interesting. The troublesome thing about it is that it has no real conventions, makes no inner sense. Anything can happen. It is mysterious, unpredictable, unrehearsable. Professional life is not mysterious at all. The whole music world understands music. Any musician can give to another comprehensible rendition of practically any piece. If there is anything either of them don't understand, there are always plenty of people they can consult about it.
Private life, on the other hand, is beset by a thousand insoluble crises, from unrequited love to colds in the head. Nobody, literally nobody, knows how to avoid any of them. Religion itself can only counsel patience and long-suffering. It is like a nightmare of being forced to execute at sight a score much too difficult for one's training on an instrument nobody know's how to tune and before a public that isn't listening anyway." -Virgil Thomson

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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by stenka razin » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:08 pm

The Riegger Symphony No. 3 from 1948 is one of the most powerful and greatest of all 20th century American orchestral works. It will blow you away. The recommended recording is on the CRI CD shown below. It is a 1953 Columbia recording and the symphony gets a tremendous interpretation from the great Howard Hanson and the Eastman-Rochester Symphony.
There are other wonderful Riegger pieces, such as the sprightly 'Dance Rhythms' on the CD. Highly recommended. 8)


Regards,
Mel 8)

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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by diegobueno » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:10 pm

God bless Youtube.

Here's a wild piece I discovered today, one that would certainly establish Riegger as a wild-eyed modernist in 1931. Listen to Fantasy and Fugue for orchestra with organ to the end. Did I say it gets wild in places?





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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by Lance » Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:58 pm

My first exposure to Riegger's work was a chamber piece recorded by pianist/conductor John Covelli for Columbia Records. It is most elusive now and can generally only be found in the mono issue though it was recorded in stereo.
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barney
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by barney » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:14 am

And of course Riegger was beneficiary of one of the all-time great musical reviews:

It sounded as though a pack of rats were being slowly tortured to death, while from time to time a dying cow moaned.

Berlin Signale on Dichotomy.

diegobueno
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Re: Wallingford Riegger

Post by diegobueno » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:25 am

barney wrote:And of course Riegger was beneficiary of one of the all-time great musical reviews:

It sounded as though a pack of rats were being slowly tortured to death, while from time to time a dying cow moaned.

Berlin Signale on Dichotomy.
According to the work list in Oxford Music Online, that performance took place on March 10, 1932, just a year before Hitler came to power. He could have distinguished himself by making it on to their list of "entartete" composers. I suspect he didn't get any performances in Germany after 1933, though.

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