The Eminence of the Symphony

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dulcinea
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The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by dulcinea » Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:15 pm

When did the symphony achieve its position as the highest form of Kunstmusik? Certainly the fact that people like Haydn, Dittersdorf and Pokorny wrote more than a hundred symphonies each shows that the genre was widely popular long before Beethoven wrote his mighty contributions.
I also want recommendations for symphonies whose majesty and depth of feeling compare to those of Bruckner and Mahler.
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John F
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by John F » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:02 pm

The symphony gained prestige when public orchestral concerts became frequent, in the late 18th and early 19th century. Haydn wrote his last dozen symphonies for a London impresario who featured them, and Haydn himself, in his concert series and made a lot of money. And of course then came Beethoven.

I'll leave it to others to recommend the kind of symphonies you asked for, as I don't really know any other than Bruckner's and Mahler's.
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absinthe
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:23 pm

I'd suggest in Vienna toward the end of the 19th C. Bruckner, Brahms....
The extent to which it can be seen to influence the culture is in the outpourings of critics appearing on the front page of newspapers.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Heck148 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:25 pm

dulcinea wrote:I also want recommendations for symphonies whose majesty and depth of feeling compare to those of Bruckner and Mahler.
just for starters - Mozart #38, 39, 40, 41. :)

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 3:39 pm

Is the symphony the highest form of Kunstmusik?

I know others besides Bruckner and Mahler, but I'm just as unable to help you out with your request as John is, not really knowing what you mean by majesty and depth of feeling. Besides "Bruckner and Mahler" belong together in the same sentence about as much as "Glass, Riley, and Reich." In other words, not at all. (The differences are more profound and more fundamental than any of the similarities.)
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
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dulcinea
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by dulcinea » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:10 pm

some guy wrote:Is the symphony the highest form of Kunstmusik?

I know others besides Bruckner and Mahler, but I'm just as unable to help you out with your request as John is, not really knowing what you mean by majesty and depth of feeling. Besides "Bruckner and Mahler" belong together in the same sentence about as much as "Glass, Riley, and Reich." In other words, not at all. (The differences are more profound and more fundamental than any of the similarities.)
Some Sibelius and Shostakovich plus MATHIS DER MALER for starters.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by THEHORN » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:16 pm

There are so many magnificent symphonies by so many different composers , but I think we have to be careful about calling one form supreme. All of them have produced so many masterpieces.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by dulcinea » Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:50 pm

THEHORN wrote:There are so many magnificent symphonies by so many different composers , but I think we have to be careful about calling one form supreme. All of them have produced so many masterpieces.
AB and GM concentrated their utmost effort on the symphony, so naturally I'm particularly interested in that genre.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:14 pm

dulcinea wrote:Some Sibelius and Shostakovich plus MATHIS DER MALER.
OK.

The other symphonies by Hindemith, then.

And perhaps Pettersson.

Holmboe.

Simpson, if you're not a big Nielsen fan. Simpson uses a handful of Nielsen phrases over and over again. If you're a big Nielsen fan, you'll doubtless want to just listen to Nielsen.

Sessions, for sure. Piston and Schuman wrote some charming works, but they're pretty lightweight compared to Sessions.

Terterian, if you can find them. 3 &4 on one disc and 7 & 8 on another are pretty easy to get ahold of. Far as I know, 2 and 6 have also been recorded, but try finding them!

Anyway, that's probably enough from me. Others here know the other Skandinavian and Finnish symphonists much better than I. Though there, at least for me, liking Sibelius means the people who followed him, without his chops, are not as entertaining. But a lot of other people manage to like a lot of those guys a lot. And I've had many pleasant moments with Saeverud to be sure. And Valen. Especially Valen.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Donaldopato » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:59 pm

some guy wrote:
dulcinea wrote:Some Sibelius and Shostakovich plus MATHIS DER MALER.
OK.

The other symphonies by Hindemith, then.

And perhaps Pettersson.

Holmboe.

Simpson, if you're not a big Nielsen fan. Simpson uses a handful of Nielsen phrases over and over again. If you're a big Nielsen fan, you'll doubtless want to just listen to Nielsen.

Sessions, for sure. Piston and Schuman wrote some charming works, but they're pretty lightweight compared to Sessions.

Terterian, if you can find them. 3 &4 on one disc and 7 & 8 on another are pretty easy to get ahold of. Far as I know, 2 and 6 have also been recorded, but try finding them!

Anyway, that's probably enough from me. Others here know the other Skandinavian and Finnish symphonists much better than I. Though there, at least for me, liking Sibelius means the people who followed him, without his chops, are not as entertaining. But a lot of other people manage to like a lot of those guys a lot. And I've had many pleasant moments with Saeverud to be sure. And Valen. Especially Valen.
Will you still hate me if I still think Pettersson's Symphonies are "relentlessly gloomy" (and I enjoy every one of them) if I consider Terterian's 3rd an absolute masterpiece??

:wink:
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:15 pm

dulcinea wrote:AB and GM concentrated their utmost effort on the symphony, so naturally I'm particularly interested in that genre.
I doubt you'll find others who elevated the symphony to quite the pinnacle of artistic achievement relative to the culture of the times. Vienna was where it was happening. I'd go so far as to claim Bruckner's 7th among the most elevated works of those times. Brahms' 4th deserves a mention though it was far more conservative - something that accorded with the ultra-conservative Eduard Hanslick who all-but ruled the Viennese musical scene. I can't call to mind any other composers working to the same scale and level of refinement. Mahler wrote big and exciting but, purely my personal view, he didn't have quite the contrapuntal and instrumentation skills of Bruckner - possibly because composition had to be fitted in with his operatic work.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by diegobueno » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:58 pm

Mahler's orchestration was infinitely more sophisticated than Bruckner's, although Bruckner's use of the orchestra suited his purpose just fine.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by diegobueno » Fri Dec 02, 2011 8:00 pm

absinthe wrote:e]

I doubt you'll find others who elevated the symphony to quite the pinnacle of artistic achievement relative to the culture of the times. Vienna was where it was happening. I'd go so far as to claim Bruckner's 7th among the most elevated works of those times. Brahms' 4th deserves a mention though it was far more conservative - something that accorded with the ultra-conservative Eduard Hanslick who all-but ruled the Viennese musical scene. I can't call to mind any other composers working to the same scale and level of refinement. Mahler wrote big and exciting but, purely my personal view, he didn't have quite the contrapuntal and instrumentation skills of Bruckner - possibly because composition had to be fitted in with his operatic work.
Mahler's orchestration was infinitely more sophisticated than Bruckner's, although Bruckner's use of the orchestra suited his purpose just fine.

Both of them failed to "elevate the symphony to the pinnacle of artistic achievement". Only Brahms could do that.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 9:00 pm

Donaldopato wrote:Will you still hate me if I still think Pettersson's Symphonies are "relentlessly gloomy" (and I enjoy every one of them) if I consider Terterian's 3rd an absolute masterpiece??

:wink:
Still?

I would have to start hating you first. And I haven't!

Love those Terterian beasts, too. Very much. (7 most of all. Like Ustvolskaya for full orchestra.)
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Donaldopato » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:20 pm

some guy wrote:
Donaldopato wrote:Will you still hate me if I still think Pettersson's Symphonies are "relentlessly gloomy" (and I enjoy every one of them) if I consider Terterian's 3rd an absolute masterpiece??

:wink:
Still?

I would have to start hating you first. And I haven't!

Love those Terterian beasts, too. Very much. (7 most of all. Like Ustvolskaya for full orchestra.)
I am embarrassed that I wrote such a grammatically wretched sentence. :oops:

Is the disc of the 7th and 8th worth tracking down? I see only used copies of it and the 3rd and 4th are actually easily available. I have the Tjeknavorian led 3 and 4.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:31 pm

I think it is. I listen to that 7 & 8 disc quite frequently.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 10:46 pm

Donaldopato wrote:I am embarrassed that I wrote such a grammatically wretched sentence. :oops:
Nonsense. Admirable embedded if-then statements. :wink:

Here we go again with a thread that is bound to unravel into a list of all nice symphonies. Since no one has mentioned Nielssen's yet, let me, if only to save someone else the time, even though I have no interest in them.

Someone mentioned Sessions, also a favorite of mine, but let's get real when Dulcinea asked in effect if there is more Mahler and Bruckner than Mahler and Bruckner, when the answer is clearly no. There is also not more Bach and Handel than Bach and Handel.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Heck148 » Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:22 pm

some guy wrote: Sessions, for sure. Piston and Schuman wrote some charming works, but they're pretty lightweight compared to Sessions.
negative - there is no Sessions symphonic work that comes close to Schuman Sym #3. that symphony is my nominee for "greatest American symphony," definitely heavy-duty all the way. - and it ranks right up with the very greatest of any and all symphonies. Sessions never came close, tho his symphonies aren't bad. by any means.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:29 am

You wanna fight? :lol:
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by maestrob » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:26 am

So far nobody's mentioned Copland III, or for that matter Walton I, or Martinu IV: all of which jump to the front of my mind. Vaughan-Williams wrote some mighty fine symphonies as well, but his II, III, IV & V stand out for me, especially IV.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by John F » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:33 am

But those symphonies have nothing much in common with Bruckner and Mahler, which dulcinea gave as points of reference. As jbuck919 predicted, this thread has unraveled into a list of all nice symphonies, and that's no help to dulcinea.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Heck148 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:36 am

maestrob wrote:So far nobody's mentioned Copland III, or for that matter Walton I, or Martinu IV: all of which jump to the front of my mind. Vaughan-Williams wrote some mighty fine symphonies as well, but his II, III, IV & V stand out for me, especially IV.
yes - Walton #1 - tremendous work, the Martinu is excellent as well. same with VWms - esp 4, 6, 9.

Copland 3 is a great symphony, definitely in the running for "greatest American...."

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Heck148 » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:38 am

John F wrote:But those symphonies have nothing much in common with Bruckner and Mahler, which dulcinea gave as points of reference. As jbuck919 predicted, this thread has unraveled into a list of all nice symphonies, and that's no help to dulcinea.
Shostakovich would certainly deserve mention - in terms of power, and depth of expression - esp #s 5, 7, 8, 10, 11. [all of them really, there are no DDS "lightweights"]

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by John F » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:43 am

Yes, dulcinea went on to mention Shostakovich. The Symphony #4 is the most overtly Mahlerian of Shostakovich's symphonies, and the scherzo of #5 evokes Mahler's Ländler. On the other hand, the Symphony #9 and movements of other symphonies are indeed lightweight and probably not what she's looking for.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by THEHORN » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:53 am

Comparing the symphonies of Bruckner,Mahler and Brahms is apples and oranges. The symphonies of each composer are great in their own way.
Brahms did not "surpass" them in any way. But the more pedantic critics say this because he remained closer to their classical ideal .

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by lennygoran » Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:02 pm

>I also want recommendations for symphonies whose majesty and depth of feeling compare to those of Bruckner and Mahler.<

I like Tchaikovsky's symphonies--so, sue me! Regards, Len :)

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:50 pm

diegobueno wrote:
absinthe wrote:e]

I doubt you'll find others who elevated the symphony to quite the pinnacle of artistic achievement relative to the culture of the times. Vienna was where it was happening. I'd go so far as to claim Bruckner's 7th among the most elevated works of those times. Brahms' 4th deserves a mention though it was far more conservative - something that accorded with the ultra-conservative Eduard Hanslick who all-but ruled the Viennese musical scene. I can't call to mind any other composers working to the same scale and level of refinement. Mahler wrote big and exciting but, purely my personal view, he didn't have quite the contrapuntal and instrumentation skills of Bruckner - possibly because composition had to be fitted in with his operatic work.
Mahler's orchestration was infinitely more sophisticated than Bruckner's, although Bruckner's use of the orchestra suited his purpose just fine.

Both of them failed to "elevate the symphony to the pinnacle of artistic achievement". Only Brahms could do that.

We'll just have to disagree. It's only opinion, so what?

Brahms was a clerk with pretty tunes in his head. He used Beethoven's template and filled in the blanks. He brought nothing new to music except his very conservative thematic material. His orchestration borders on my banal and as for that ridiculous passacaglia tailing off his 4th...well, he wrecked an otherwise nice symphony. Sounds like some horrid orchestral throat clearning.

As for Mahler - INFINITELY more sophisticated? Wha-a-at? His orchestration was quirky all right. I had to laugh at the Sleighbell Symphony. The last movement had some crooning female suddenly interrupted by bursts of slieghbells as if Santa was geeing up his reindeer to last out for a few minutes' more crooning. All good fun.
Might have been better if Mahler had learned to compose coherently.... He'd have done well if he'd composed about 12 symphonies, then he could withdraw the early ones as professionals do. The 8th is quite nice.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Sat Dec 03, 2011 2:54 pm

THEHORN wrote:Comparing the symphonies of Bruckner,Mahler and Brahms is apples and oranges. The symphonies of each composer are great in their own way.
Brahms did not "surpass" them in any way. But the more pedantic critics say this because he remained closer to their classical ideal .
Absolutely.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Sat Dec 03, 2011 3:05 pm

diegobueno wrote:Mahler's orchestration was infinitely more sophisticated than Bruckner's, although Bruckner's use of the orchestra suited his purpose just fine.

Mahler composed on the principle of offering service at any two of: Quick, Cheap and Good. Your choice.


You can have it Quick and Cheap in which case it won't be Good.
You can have it Cheap and Good in which case it won't be Quick.
You can have it Good and Quick in which case it won't be Cheap.

He used to dash these things off in his composing shed during the summer between spates of gardening and digging up potatos. I think he only revised one of his symphonies, didn't he, IIRC?
Nowhere near as conscientious as Bruckner.

:mrgreen:

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:16 pm

Opinions come in two basic flavors, valid and invalid.

The valid ones arise from careful and intelligent observation and are most often accompanied by the support of facts.

The invalid ones arise from prejudice and lazy thinking and are most often not accompanied by anything. If they are, most often they're accompanied simply by other opinions.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by diegobueno » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:27 pm

absinthe wrote: He used to dash these things off in his composing shed during the summer between spates of gardening and digging up potatos. I think he only revised one of his symphonies, didn't he, IIRC?
Wrong. He conducted all of his symphonies, making revisions for orchestration on the spot. In this way he revised all of symphonies before publication. His Titan symphony originally had 5 movements. He got rid of one and renamed it Symphony no. 1. An earlier version of the first movement of the 2nd was recently revived under the title Totenfeier. He switched the order of the inner movements of his 6th several times.

Bruckner, on the other hand, squandered too much time on pointless revisions of his earlier symphonies when he could have been completing the finale of his 9th.
Last edited by diegobueno on Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:46 pm

some guy wrote:Opinions come in two basic flavors, valid and invalid.

The valid ones arise from careful and intelligent observation and are most often accompanied by the support of facts.

The invalid ones arise from prejudice and lazy thinking and are most often not accompanied by anything. If they are, most often they're accompanied simply by other opinions.
What absolute nonsense! Are you saying that an opinion is a boolean variable?
I, uh, don't think so. They come all shades and hues between black and white, dear chap.

:lol: :lol: :lol:


Edit: removed an msg in binary
Last edited by absinthe on Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 5:56 pm

My dear absinthe, the word "basic" implies all those nice shades and hues you refer to. That's why I used it.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:13 pm

some guy wrote:My dear absinthe, the word "basic" implies all those nice shades and hues you refer to. That's why I used it.

Ah.... so your "it's either this or that" "1 or 0" "on or off" covers all shades and hues between? Is that what basic is about? Oh well, I think they call that fluffy logic which is always useful but very difficult to draw up a truth table!!

My take is that an opinion is an opinion, no more no less. It might be naive, flippant, it might be Hanslick, it might be... well, anything. Intelligent observation is fine but how would you apply that to, say, the second movement of La Mer or the final act of Lulu? ....Or even Chopin's Prelude No 1 Op 28?

I am aware that one person's intelligent observation is another's tripe. To present useful discussion of that as applicable to, say, Bruckner, would need something larger than the 100000 characters allowed per post here.

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Seán » Sat Dec 03, 2011 7:59 pm

dulcinea wrote:When did the symphony achieve its position as the highest form of Kunstmusik? Certainly the fact that people like Haydn, Dittersdorf and Pokorny wrote more than a hundred symphonies each shows that the genre was widely popular long before Beethoven wrote his mighty contributions.
I also want recommendations for symphonies whose majesty and depth of feeling compare to those of Bruckner and Mahler.
Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique (the Munch/BSO 1962 recording for starters) and perhaps Shostakovich's Fifth and Tenth.
Seán

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by some guy » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:20 pm

Berlioz' Roméo et Juliette with Monteux and the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for continuers. (Be sure you get the sonically refurbished Westminster set of this, with Leibowitz in the Symphony Fantastique--how easy to get the start and the continue in one set. It's sound is much much better than the MCA issue of this performance.)

Davis and Muti have done some perfectly fine recordings of this. Monteux's still the one to beat, though.
"The public has got to stay in touch with the music of its time . . . for otherwise people will gradually come to mistrust music claimed to be the best."
--Viennese critic (1843)

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.
--Henry Miller

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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by SONNET CLV » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:56 pm

Indeed, the symphony as a musical form, in many of its renditions (and certainly in its "greatest" examples, whatever they may be), is quite an eminent art. I favor the form in my own record collecting and am fortunate to have heard and enjoyed hundreds of wonderful symphonies. I have encountered clunkers, too.

Dulcinea may want to explore the symphonies of the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara. I am presently playing the ONDINE recording (disc ODE740-) of his Symphony No. 3. I probably do not have to remind many of you that it was inspired by Bruckner. Several of Rautavaara's symphonies are worth exploring, and they maintain that lofty sense of drama and nobility of form that marks great symphonies.

Too, check out the symphonies of Portugese composer Joly Braga Santos. I especially recommend the Fourth to those of you who want grandeur and artistic beauty in a symphony. The work is available on a MARCO POLO disc --8.225233. Listen to this one. You will not soon forget it. (I just glanced at the blurb on the back of the CD cover and see this line: "At times recalling the symphonies of Bruckner and Sibelius, Braga Santos Symphony No. 4 is ....")

I came to this site today (after a rather long absence, apparently) while searching on line for information about the Rekasius Symphony No. 5, on a Verro LP disc that has long eluded me. (Do any of you have a copy of this?) One of my searches led me to this site, where some years back I posted something about this symphony. It remains one I have not heard (though I have perused the score). I would not recommend it to those seeking a Bruckner/Mahler symphonic experience. But hearing it is on my bucket list.

Hello to all of you, again. I was rather surprised that my sign in name and password still worked. A credit to our moderators, Corlyss and Lance, in maintaining this wonderful site. I shall look around a bit, and visit more often.

--SONNET CLV

barney
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by barney » Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:50 am

I simply cannot believe that it has taken 38 posts for a man of intelligence and charm and perspicuity to mention Schubert 9, that of heavenly length.

If the symphony reins supreme, which I dispute, it is because of the resources it demands to perform it. I find string quartets more musically intense, as a rule, and listen most to solo piano music, probably, then chamber music. Or vice versa.

absinthe
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Location: UK

Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by absinthe » Sun Dec 04, 2011 5:58 am

absinthe wrote:
some guy wrote:My dear absinthe, the word "basic" implies all those nice shades and hues you refer to. That's why I used it.

Ah.... so your "it's either this or that" "1 or 0" "on or off" covers all shades and hues between? Is that what basic is about? Oh well, I think they call that fluffy logic which is always useful but very difficult to draw up a truth table!!

My take is that an opinion is an opinion, no more no less. It might be naive, flippant, it might be Hanslick, it might be... well, anything. Intelligent observation is fine but how would you apply that to, say, the second movement of La Mer or the final act of Lulu? ....Or even Chopin's Prelude No 1 Op 28?
I knew you'd be unable to answer that one so don't be so sloppy with your thinking next time, eh?

:lol:

Seán
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Seán » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:07 am

SONNET CLV wrote:Hello to all of you, again. I was rather surprised that my sign in name and password still worked. A credit to our moderators, Corlyss and Lance, in maintaining this wonderful site. I shall look around a bit, and visit more often.

--SONNET CLV
It's lovely to have you back positng with us again.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

Seán
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Seán » Sun Dec 04, 2011 7:09 am

barney wrote:I simply cannot believe that it has taken 38 posts for a man of intelligence and charm and perspicuity to mention Schubert 9, that of heavenly length.
:oops: You are correct, I was remiss in not mentioning Schubert's Ninth and his Eighth too for that matter.
Seán

"To appreciate the greatness of the Masters is to keep faith in the greatness of humanity." - Wilhelm Furtwängler

PJME
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by PJME » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:17 pm

Willem Pijper's first symphony (1917): "Pan"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsmK31x8oOY

Mathijs Vermeulen's first symphony (1914) : Symphonia carminum

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ai1BdlMbdYU

Two Dutch symphonies clearly influenced by Mahler's "world".

I like:
Luciano Berio's Symphonia

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbmzU19Jwg4


For "grandioso" treatment of vast forces:
Charles Tournemire: Symphony nr . 6 , with tenor solo, organ , chorus and orchestra
Fragment of last movement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq0WO0yCEpo


Walter Braunfels "Te deum" for soprano, tenor, chorus and orchestra ( you get the whole work, from the Concertgebouw!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mpn52A3rk4Q

Un-Mahlerian, but full of braying horns, trumpet fanfares, seismic climaxes etc.

Andrzej Panufnik: Symphony nr 3 "Symphonia Sacra" ( last movement)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBk9yfxL0g8




P.
Last edited by PJME on Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by diegobueno » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:58 pm

absinthe wrote:

As for Mahler - INFINITELY more sophisticated? Wha-a-at? His orchestration was quirky all right. I had to laugh at the Sleighbell Symphony.
You mention just one of the many aspects of Mahler's orchestration that makes it so special (and indeed infinitely more sophisticated than Bruckner's). His use of percussion was much more extensive than was the norm for symphonies at the turn of the 20th century. He felt that a modern orchestra ought to keep all of the sections busy, not just the strings with occasional commentary by the winds and punctuation by the timpani. He used percussion sounds which were evocative of experiences in his life -- military sounds (snare drum, cymbals, bass drum), rural life (cowbells, sleigh bells. He would not have had any idea about Santa Claus and his reindeer. That is your own baggage which you have to get past when listening to the 4th symphony), personal tragedy (the bass drum in the 10th symphony, inspired by hearing a fireman's funeral procession in New York accompanied by a lonely bass drum and by knowing that the lonely bass drum would soon beat for him), and catastrophe (the terrifying anvil in the 6th). He uses xylophone in the 6th and glockenspiel in the 7th, for brilliance.

Mahler was criticized in his day for his extensive use of percussion. A cartoon entitled "Mahler, Tragische Symphonie" shows Mahler surrounded by a host of percussive implements, but holding a taxi horn in his hand. The caption reads "Ach! I forgot the taxi horn! Now I'll have to write another symphony!" Since then, modern composers have followed Mahler's example, in fact vying with each other to introduce new percussion sounds into the orchestra.*

As far as percussion, Bruckner made effective use of the timpani, but apart from that he was content to employ a cymbal player whose sole task was to make a grand crash at the climax of the slow movement.

* In fact it was Gershwin who finally introduced the taxi horn into the orchestra.
Black lives matter.

PJME
Posts: 780
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by PJME » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:06 am

Karl Amadeus Hartmann:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRe-G-wxg24


The First Symphony is typical of Hartmann's struggle to reconcile music with life. Much of it was written during the 1930's. Hartmann took his text from the American poet Walt Whitman, who himself was profoundly influenced by the American Civil War. In Hartmann's First Symphony, then, we have a German composer setting the words of the poet of democracy and the enemy of his own country. But Whitman's significance for twentieth-century musical modernism was not solely political. By the 1920s, Whitman had become a favorite of the German avant-garde. In 1913, the leading journal of turn-of-the-century musical modernism, Der Merker, published aphorisms by Walt Whitman. Hartmann's choice was therefore also a statement about the necessity to continue the modernist idiom in music which came into being during the first three decades of this century.

During the 1930s, the Nazi Party spearheaded an aesthetic turn away from modernism toward a nostalgic conservative neoromanticism. Music and text in the First Symphony set the stage for Hartmann to write a symphonic essay that integrated political resistance in the form of aesthetic experimentalism. Although, as Robert Maxham points out, Hartmann was deeply influenced by Bruckner, the First Symphony reminds one also of the Mahler of the Second, Third, Sixth, and Ninth Symphonies. Hartmann's musical language is an eclectic but thoroughly original achievement. Arnold Schoenberg was reputed to have said to an aspiring composer that no one should write music unless it sounded as if it had to be. There is this aura of necessity in all of Hartmann's scores. lie never lapses into sentimentality or self-indulgence. Hartmann was severely self-critical and as a result, the final versions of his music are tightly structured and unerringly well-paced, with magical and terrifying timbres.

The Sixth Symphony, like the First, was derived from another case of the symbiosis of the literary and the musical. This time Hartmann chose Emile Zola, who like Whitman had become a symbol of a humanistic social conscience. Zola, more particularly, was the most celebrated opponent of political anti-Semitism owing to his courageous role in the Dreyfus affair. Once again Hartmann's anti-German feelings are evident in his use of a French writer. His legendary penchant for revision and his difficulty in letting works go may (as in the case of the Sixth Symphony) indeed constitute a final piece of evidence regarding the nobility of his spirit. finlike other composers in the post-World War II era, Hartmann never exploited the public recognition of the war's atrocities. He never conveniently used the pain and suffering of the past in order to spur his own muse. A listener today will find access to the aesthetic and the emotional in Hartmann's music without any awareness of the specific historical circumstances which occasioned the music's composition. It is to be hoped that the music of Hartmann–which is entirely neglected in the American concert hall–will be given its due not only because it reminds us that it is possible to sustain human decency without martyrdom even in the worst of times, but because it is great music that is accessible upon first hearing, which does not lose its magic after repeated exposure.

Today's listener will have already anticipated many of the links between Hartmann and Mahler. To refer once again to the insights of Schoenberg, Mahler's integrity as an artist and friend was what made him the idol of a younger generation of musicians, composers, and writers. Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, three of the most influential twentieth-century composers, saw in Mahler their most significant predecessor. As the distinguished Mahler scholar, Edward R. Reilly, has written, Das klagende Lied held a special place in Mahler's life. It was his first foray into large-scale composition, and its rejection led to a period of self-doubt. Like Hartmann, Mahler reworked and reutilized his own music. The material of his songs appear inure than once in his symphonies. In Hartmann's case, the thematic material in the symphonies can be found in other works. It was with a sense of triumph and irony that Mahler chose the revised version of his early work with which to make his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1901, after he had been elected by that orchestra as its conductor. If Hartmann, who was no outsider in his own community in terms of nationality and religion, chose as literary inspiration the writings of foreigners, Mahler, a Jew from Bohemia, chose the quintessential nineteenth-century source of German cultural authenticity–the fairy tales of Grimm–with which to appear in triumph before the Viennese audience. In one clear sense, Mahler, in this work, provided a model for Hartmann. As in Hartmann's First Symphony, text and the procedure of symphonic writing work together. Both composers believed deeply in the ethical and in oral power of art. If neither of them succeeded in writing music that encouraged more goodness and perhaps even tolerance in listeners in their own time, they nevertheless wrote music which to this day retains the potential to inspire its listener to reflect and to resist evil. The achievement of both of these composers bears witness to the resiliency of the aesthetic imagination in this century.

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barney
Posts: 4737
Joined: Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by barney » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:04 am

diegobueno wrote:
absinthe wrote:

As for Mahler - INFINITELY more sophisticated? Wha-a-at? His orchestration was quirky all right. I had to laugh at the Sleighbell Symphony.
You mention just one of the many aspects of Mahler's orchestration that makes it so special (and indeed infinitely more sophisticated than Bruckner's). His use of percussion was much more extensive than was the norm for symphonies at the turn of the 20th century. He felt that a modern orchestra ought to keep all of the sections busy, not just the strings with occasional commentary by the winds and punctuation by the timpani. He used percussion sounds which were evocative of experiences in his life -- military sounds (snare drum, cymbals, bass drum), rural life (cowbells, sleigh bells. He would not have had any idea about Santa Claus and his reindeer. That is your own baggage which you have to get past when listening to the 4th symphony), personal tragedy (the bass drum in the 10th symphony, inspired by hearing a fireman's funeral procession in New York accompanied by a lonely bass drum and by knowing that the lonely bass drum would soon beat for him), and catastrophe (the terrifying anvil in the 6th). He uses xylophone in the 6th and glockenspiel in the 7th, for brilliance.

Mahler was criticized in his day for his extensive use of percussion. A cartoon entitled "Mahler, Tragische Symphonie" shows Mahler surrounded by a host of percussive implements, but holding a taxi horn in his hand. The caption reads "Ach! I forgot the taxi horn! Now I'll have to write another symphony!" Since then, modern composers have followed Mahler's example, in fact vying with each other to introduce new percussion sounds into the orchestra.*

As far as percussion, Bruckner made effective use of the timpani, but apart from that he was content to employ a cymbal player whose sole task was to make a grand crash at the climax of the slow movement.

* In fact it was Gershwin who finally introduced the taxi horn into the orchestra.
Wow. Now that's wht I call an authoritative rebuttal. And very interesting too.

PJME
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:37 am

Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by PJME » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:49 am


dulcinea
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Location: tampa, fl

Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by dulcinea » Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:55 pm

WSMR-FM is now playing the 2d Symphony of Stenhammar. I listened long enough to confirm my original opinion of the work of that less than eminent symphonist: white noise with no memorable melodies or striking moments of drama and lyricism; just the strings going
up
down
up
down
babababaDIN
babababaDUM
babababaDIN
babababaDUM
I changed the radio to CD player, and am now listening to REAL MUSIC:
the RESURRECTION SYMPHONY.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

Mark Harwood
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Location: Isle of Arran, Scotland.

Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Mark Harwood » Fri Dec 09, 2011 5:26 pm

I have an unexceptional little brain, and that might help to explain why I can name lots of guitar works, including as they may sonata, concerto, or theme & variation forms, that make sense to me & satisfy my soul more than any symphony ever has.
The symphony has pre-eminence amongst brainy folks, but I'll take a delightful concerto any time.
Just sayin'.
"I did it for the music."
Ken Colyer

Wallingford
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by Wallingford » Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:32 pm

Anyone else here remember three worthwhile Scandinavian symphonists--Gösta Nystroem, Franz Berwald, and Hugo Alfven?

But really: don't you think the symphony form is a bit overrated? It certainly doesn't warrant hogging precedence over other forms.....
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

dulcinea
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Re: The Eminence of the Symphony

Post by dulcinea » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:05 pm

Wallingford wrote:Anyone else here remember three worthwhile Scandinavian symphonists--Gösta Nystroem, Franz Berwald, and Hugo Alfven?

But really: don't you think the symphony form is a bit overrated? It certainly doesn't warrant hogging precedence over other forms.....
True, but most people who don't really know Kunstmusik think of it this way:
Kunstmusik=Beethoven=symphony.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord! Alleluya!

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