Advice: Jazz fan discovery journey into classical music

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mcerqueira
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Advice: Jazz fan discovery journey into classical music

Post by mcerqueira » Sun Jan 08, 2006 6:33 am

Hello all, I'm a mainly a big jazz music fan but also love classical music in a newbie kindaway. That explains why I'm more of a lurker here, just trying to learn and enjoy :)

Anyway I posted some times and thanks to some of you I discovered Satie, Poulenc and some lesser known composers/performers (?) such has Kasputin, etc. I'm undoubtly more attracted to piano pieces and sounds wich are less, well, "classical". It can be big Chords, engaging intervals, less conventional sounds and progressions, etc, that's why I love composers like Debussy and Ravel but also Rach, etc so much.

The more I read posts the more I discover essential music I previously didn't know, For example I previously associated Ravel only with the Bolero and when someone advised me to listen to his piano pieces I went berserk!

Anyway, to come to point, I recently decided to get some Beethoven piano sonatas and some do have that more "classical" sound and are not that engaging to my ear. For example, sonata No.14 in C sharp minor, op.27 no.2 (Moonlight) - i) Adagio sostenuto (phew!) I already knew, and also the next one, Allegretto.

Then comes (Moonlight) - iii) Presto agitato, and just blews me away! what amazing piece of music! the opening and recurring theme is just pure bliss.

Care to comment and point more hidden gems for me? :D

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Sun Jan 08, 2006 11:29 am

Try Beethoven's Sonatas No. 21 "Waldstein" and 23 "Appassionata." When you're in the mood for something more quiet and contemplative (but still with plenty of drama) listen to Chopin's "Nocturnes." Liszt was a composer who influenced the impressionists and other moderns - he wrote a great deal of music with a lot of variety but you might start with the colorful "12 Transcendental Etudes" and "19 Hungarian Rhapsodies." The "Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses" are examples of his more introspective music. By the way, one of the most admired of Liszt pianists was György Cziffra who also worked as a jazz musician.
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mcerqueira
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Post by mcerqueira » Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:23 pm

Thank you, I also like Liszt very much, I already have the Hungarian Rhapsodies but not the other two you mentioned so I will get them on my must listen list (including Beethoven)...

Von Helsing
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Post by Von Helsing » Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:37 pm

If you like Jazz, you'll probably like early Shostakovich (e.g. Piano Concerto No. 1).

I suppose you've already listened to Gershwin?

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Post by DavidRoss » Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:47 pm

I'd suggest exploring piano concertos by Prokofiev, Gershwin, Copland, and Barber.
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mcerqueira
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Post by mcerqueira » Sun Jan 08, 2006 12:59 pm

Von Helsing wrote:If you like Jazz, you'll probably like early Shostakovich (e.g. Piano Concerto No. 1).

I suppose you've already listened to Gershwin?
Yes, I have some works of both, Shostakovich Jazz suites and piano concertos, but surprisingly I only have a few of Gershwin's more known pieces (Rhpasody in blue, etc).

As for modern classical (I know it's a touchy subject here so don't flame me :) ) I'm still searching for what fancies my hear but I concentrate most of my efforts on Jazz. More established players such as Keith Jarrett or the latest crop of "Euro-pianists" such as Esbjorn Svensson Trio and Tord Gustavesen are carrying the new wave of interesting music (classical/jazz) better IMHO...

Check it out if you never heard them btw

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Re: Advice: Jazz fan discovery journey into classical music

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jan 08, 2006 2:14 pm

mcerqueira wrote:Hello all, I'm a mainly a big jazz music fan but also love classical music in a newbie kindaway. That explains why I'm more of a lurker here, just trying to learn and enjoy :)
Welcome, Mac. We love for lurkers to step out from behind the arras. Kick your shoes off and set a spell.
Anyway I posted some times and thanks to some of you I discovered Satie, Poulenc and some lesser known composers/performers (?) such has Kasputin, etc. I'm undoubtly more attracted to piano pieces and sounds wich are less, well, "classical". It can be big Chords, engaging intervals, less conventional sounds and progressions, etc, that's why I love composers like Debussy and Ravel but also Rach, etc so much.

The more I read posts the more I discover essential music I previously didn't know, For example I previously associated Ravel only with the Bolero and when someone advised me to listen to his piano pieces I went berserk!
How about Debussy's piano music?

Try Jacques Ibert, who was heavily influenced by American jazz. Milhaud too. And Shostakovich's film music. For a classical composer and a Russian at that, he's surprisingly adept at the jazz idiom. For Liszt, I'm going to reprise my suggestions in the Liszt thread. Forgive me if I don't repeat it here. You can find it by searching on Scherbakov. The Naxos series discof Arnaldo Cohen is outstanding, and on it you will hear some Liszt that sounds like Debussy!
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Gary
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Post by Gary » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:44 pm

Welcome, Mcerqueira.

Are you familiar with this recording of Duke Ellington's jazzy arrangement of the Nutcracker and Peer Gynt by any chance?


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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:23 pm

Yum. The Ellington looks intriguing.

Gary, if you keep up your pace, you're going to clear 1000 posts pretty soon.
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Post by MaestroDJS » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:43 pm

Von Helsing wrote:If you like Jazz, you'll probably like early Shostakovich (e.g. Piano Concerto No. 1).
Syncopation is usually considered a basic feature of jazz. I've always been fascinated by some of Shostakovich's very jazzy music because he rarely uses syncopation at all. The finale of Piano Concerto No. 1 is highly rhythmic, but it contains only a few very simple syncopations. Listen closely and almost all of the strong beats are indeed on the downbeats. The finale of his Symphony No. 6 is another example. The BBC Music Guide describes the final pages of this symphony: "The spirited invention is splendidly maintained, and the ending -- more American than Russian, surely -- is uproarious. This is an exhilarating piece..." Paradoxically non-syncopated, but terrifically jazzy nonetheless.

Dave

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Gary
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Post by Gary » Sun Jan 08, 2006 8:57 pm

Corlyss_D wrote: Gary, if you keep up your pace, you're going to clear 1000 posts pretty soon.
:D
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Scott in VT
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Post by Scott in VT » Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:57 pm

Greetings, mcerqueira,

Hey, you and I are "Birds of a feather." I, too, am coming to classical music as a long-time jazz fan. I'm still a neophyte, but here are a couple of things which have grabbed me:

The two Ravel piano concertos, both somewhat "jazzy."

Charles Tomlinson Griffes, an American impressionist who died young; check out his tone poem "The Court of Kublai Khan" (not sure on that title).

Delius' "American" pieces: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, and Florida Suite.

You might enjoy the Gershwin Concerto in F, especially if you like the Rhapsody.

I haven't gotten into the Beethoven sonatas yet, but I have I have a great CD set of Andres Schiffe playing all the Beethoven piano concertos.

Kind regards, Scott

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Re: Advice: Jazz fan discovery journey into classical music

Post by Ricordanza » Wed Jan 11, 2006 6:24 am

mcerqueira wrote:Care to comment and point more hidden gems for me? :D
I suggest you try Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 2, "The Age of Anxiety." It's closer to a piano concerto than a symphony, and it's clearly jazz influenced.

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:01 pm

It’s natural to recommend composers who have absorbed something of the jazz idiom into their music but another kind of music that should have strong appeal for the jazz fan is Baroque music, particularly for the keyboard, which has fascinated a number of jazz pianists including Jacques Loussier and John Lewis who made jazz arrangements of Bach, George Shearing, who breaks into Baroque-style counterpoint sometimes during a solo, and Cyrus Chestnut who wrote a piece called "Baroque Impressions.” I strongly recommend listening to Baroque keyboard music on the modern piano. Try anything by J.S. Bach such as the “Well-Tempered Clavier,” “Goldberg Variations,” “Partitas,” “Suites,” or “Inventions.” Domenico Scarlatti is another great composer of keyboard music which should interest a jazz fan. I have a CD with a good selection of his many sonatas by Sergei Babayan on the audiophile ProPiano label that I think is brilliant.
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Post by dirkronk » Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:25 pm

Hi mcerqueira.

You're getting good comments and suggestions here. I'll throw in some odds-&-ends statements...

Gulda is another pianist who straddled both classical and jazz worlds, and his classical work is quite good. Can't speak for his jazz.

If your ears are attuned to the "pianist as thinker" aspects of Thelonious Monk's performances (in which the performer seems to be literally composing...carving out?...an intellectual argument in music on the spot, as you listen), I would strongly suggest that you find and listen to performances by Maria Yudina--who manages to bring this sensibility to Bach and Beethoven, but perhaps most effectively to 20th century composers. Try to find her Russian Piano School CD on Melodiya/BMG and you'll hear what I mean.

There is a hint of this, too, in the way Babayan plays Scarlatti. I urgently second Haydnseek's recommendation of his CD. It is very special playing.

I'm kind of surprised no one has mentioned Scriabin yet. Normally, my first recommendations of Scriabin sonatas would be Sviatoslav Richter or Vladimir Sofronitsky, who are probably nonpareil in the later works. However, I have to tell you that I was first drawn to the music when listening to the integral set of these sonatas done by Ruth Laredo (played on a Baldwin grand with beautifully engineered recordings, originally on Connoisseur Society but later re-released on Nonesuch vinyl). As presented by Ms. Laredo, several of the works abounded with really tasty jazz-sounding riffs...and with this aspect in mind, I would suggest tracking down these specific recordings...at least to hear once.

Oh, and don't forget to listen to some of Beethoven's very late sonatas, if you want to know who should be recognized as the REAL father of syncopation/stride piano.
:lol:

I realize we're going overboard to help you segue easily into classical from jazz, but really, there are SO many utter delights here that are also utterly non-jazz in orientation. But whatever you listen to, enjoy the exploration!

Cheers,

Dirk

Haydnseek
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Post by Haydnseek » Wed Jan 11, 2006 4:48 pm

mcerqueira wrote:As for modern classical (I know it's a touchy subject here so don't flame me :) ) I'm still searching for what fancies my hear but I concentrate most of my efforts on Jazz. More established players such as Keith Jarrett or the latest crop of "Euro-pianists" such as Esbjorn Svensson Trio and Tord Gustavesen are carrying the new wave of interesting music (classical/jazz) better IMHO...

Check it out if you never heard them btw
The Esbjorn Svensson Trio will be at Blues Alley in Washington, DC on January 23rd which is, unfortunately for me, a Monday.

Other performances in their "Nordic Jazz Series" are:

15th JUKKA PERKO TRIO (Finland)

16th SIGGI FLOSASON QUARTET (Iceland)

17th ANDERSKOV ACCIDENT (Denmark)

18th KJETIL MOESTER TRIO (Norway)
"The law isn't justice. It's a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice may show up in the answer. A mechanism is all the law was ever intended to be." - Raymond Chandler

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Post by Cyril Ignatius » Fri Jan 13, 2006 3:30 pm

The Ravel recommendations (the two piano concertos) are excellent.
And more Ravel - his Mother Goose Suite. And get the full orchestral recording by Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony of Dapnis and Chloe - simply awsome! And Pavanne for A Dead Princess is inspired!

Albinez' Sole piano works, Iberia and Espan (Barenbom on piano) is lovely.

But coming from where you are, let me go in another direction and also recommend the Mighty Handful - the Russian National Composers and that genre more generally - some of the richest most wonderful music ever written in my humble opinion: Balakirov, Mussorgsky, Ippolitov-Ivanov (Caucasian Sketches is a must!), Borodin (the Steppes of Central Asia) and so on... I GUARANTEE THESE!
Cyril Ignatius

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