Brahms real talent...

Brendan

Post by Brendan » Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:30 pm

paulb wrote:i knew there were dozens of recordings in the syms of Brahms and Schumann.
i was refering speciffically to Karl's recommendations of schumann's mass and requiem.
Which IF it is so great, why only one second rate(Sawallich) conductor/EMI and 2 others with names i've not heard before.
3 recordings of these 'major works by schumann".

Read the comment on arkiv, on the EMI release.
The guy sez, "the mass is better fit for the concert hall" (meaning its not really sacred) The requiem he says is rehashed left over symphonic material.
Which explains why no major conductor wanted to take on a recording.
If Karajan and bernstein didn't feel up to recording it, you know its nothing worth the while.
These 2 conductors recorded EVERYTHING from the romantics... and sometimes 2X's!!!!!!
"

Brahms as well used stuff from the violin concert to put together his 'double concerto".
The double concerto is basically a watered down version of the wonderful violin concerto. Worthless.
Ah! So sorry, I missed the bit about mass & requiem - it makes so much more sense now. I knew he had a mass, but didn't even know about the requiem, thus proving your point even more strongly.

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:05 am

paulb wrote:
Brahms' double concerto is basically a watered down version of the wonderful violin concerto. Worthless.
What the f__k are you talking about? :?: :?:


:?: :?:

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:49 am

So many posts in the last 15 hours---let me catch up.

Wolfgang Sawallisch---2nd rate...?!? Whoever said that doesn't have all his musical buttons. Sawallisch's recordings of the Schumann symphonies with the Bavarian Radio-Sym. (an excellent orchestra!) won the "Prix-du-Disc" award. Other 1st-rate Schumann conductors were Klemperer, Karajan, Kubelik and a many others whose names don't begin with the letter "K"... :D

bY THE WAY, last evening we heard Lekeu, Schumann and Brahms in Ludwigshafen with Bella Davidovich, 78-year-old pianist in the Schumann Concerto and Ari Rasilainen conducting the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. After the intermission they played Brahms' First Symphony. A THRILLING CONCERT EXPERIENCE!!!

I guess I've heard each of the four Brahms symphonies at least 300 times, either live or recorded, in the last 48 years----and I never tire of them.

Say what you like about certain Brahms works, but his symphonies are on a par with the best of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Bruckner (and above Mahler's in beauty).

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:02 am

Brendan wrote:Bernstein, Sawallisch and Szell did all four Schumann symphonies, I think. Many don't care for Karajan, but he was often perceived as more than second-rate. Furtwangler's 4th and Celibidache's 2nd are also worth a mention. Not the same as with Mozart or LvB, but there are good recordings by top musicians.
The reviewers praised Bernstein's Schumann No. 2, Karajan's *"Rhenish" and Szell's "Spring"....as well as Klemperer's **Schumann No. 4. (Yes I like it even better than Furtwängler/Berliner Phil.!) but I have both.

These are, for me, absolutely "desert-island-recordings". I LOVE 'EM!

Jack

*His is almost the ONLY recording to take the 4th mvt (Feierlich) at the proper tempo---most everyone else is toooo fast!

**Listen carefully to the way Klemperer brings out the instruments here and you'll never believe another negative critique about Schumann's orchestration methods again....
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:14 am

Jack Kelso wrote: Wolfgang Sawallisch---2nd rate...?!? Whoever said that doesn't have all his musical buttons. Sawallisch's recordings of the Schumann symphonies with the Bavarian Radio-Sym. (an excellent orchestra!) won the "Prix-du-Disc" award.
And his recording of Brahms First Piano Concerto (with Stephen Kovacevich / LPO) won the 1993 Gramophone Concerto Award. This remains one of the preeminent recordings of this concerto.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:20 am

Jack Kelso wrote:So many posts in the last 15 hours---let me catch up.

Say what you like about certain Brahms works, but his symphonies are on a par with the best of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Bruckner (and above Mahler's in beauty).

Jack
To each his own. Schubert is a pleasing Beethoven knock-off, Schumann should have stuck to character pieces and Bruckner is a collossal bore, there are some nice moments in Brahms symphonies, but Mahler is the only symphonist that I like as much as Beethoven (and he was a much better poet than Beethoven - who can swallow the optimistic universal brotherhood crap in the Beethoven's 9th? Now Mahler's 6th - that is life and the world we live in through the eyes of a real poet)

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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:28 am

BWV 1080 wrote:Schubert is a pleasing Beethoven knock-off
:shock:

If I thought that, I'd certainly not enjoy him as much as I do. Perhaps you meant orchestral Schubert.
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:37 am

BWV 1080 wrote:To each his own. Schubert is a pleasing Beethoven knock-off, Schumann should have stuck to character pieces and Bruckner is a collossal bore, there are some nice moments in Brahms symphonies, but Mahler is the only symphonist that I like as much as Beethoven (and he was a much better poet than Beethoven - who can swallow the optimistic universal brotherhood crap in the Beethoven's 9th? Now Mahler's 6th - that is life and the world we live in through the eyes of a real poet)
Said like only a true lover of J.S. Bach and the baroque.

1. Schubert is as different from Beethoven as Wagner is from Schumann.

2. Schumann's symphonies contributed greatly to the development of the form: double-trios in the scherzi, cyclical form (before Franck!), expanded harmonic expression, strongly influencing Brahms, Mahler, etc.

3. Mahler's symphonies lack the cohesion of inspiration that Beethoven, Schumann, Bruckner and Brahms mastered. There is also a great deal of Lisztian/Tschaikowskyian bombast therein.

Different strokes....different folks.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by rogch » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:34 am

karlhenning wrote: This Friday we're going to hear Bartók's Duke Bluebeard's Castle in a concert performance. The other half of the program is the Brahms First . . . and I hope it holds up its half :-)
Sounds like an interesting combination. But i would prefer to hear the Brahms first. A matter of taste of course, but i like to have the traditional piece played before the modern one if they are played at the same concert. Is it the Boston Symphony Orchestra who will play in these pieces? Then the preformances should not be any problem.

By the way, it wasn't van Beinum's Brahms i listened to yesterday, it was Mengelberg. I hope i did not confuse anyone. I am a Concertgebouw fan so i should be able to tell those two apart :oops:
Roger Christensen

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Post by Sapphire » Tue Nov 07, 2006 6:56 am

As regards Brahms, many (not all) of the anti-Brahms comments I've seen on here over the past couple of days fall largely into the "moronic" category. They are so stupid that it's not worth commenting upon. They are not remotely useful or comical; they are just plain ignorant or sinister.

As regards Schumann, what a lot of complete tosh some folk come out with. It's so ignorant it's almost untrue. The alleged second-rate nature of Sawallisch had me in stiches; it really did. And as for the equally dumb (but irrelevant) comment about Schubert being largely a mimic of Beethoven, that's for the record books it's so bad. Here is a proper assessment of some of Schumann's late works - focusing on the Cello Concerto Op. 129 - from a proper expert on the subject, cellist Stephen Isserlis. What this man says is worth a thousand times even the most perceptive comments expressed on here in a week. (Interview: Andante Magazine):
  • "Perhaps Isserlis' most ardent advocacy is reserved for Robert Schumann, whom he considers severely underrated. "When I was growing up," he says, "every time the Cello Concerto was played in London, the critics would say: 'this poor piece, this weak piece.' For me, it's one of the all-time great masterpieces, there's not one uninspired note in it. The slow movement is pure magic, and the last movement has one of the most beautiful cadenzas - it IS a cadenza, it just happens to be accompanied. I've played it a lot, four times in the last three days, and it gets to me every time. At my first ever Festival," he adds, "in 1989 at the Wigmore Hall, we did all Schumann's chamber music - 16 concerts in eight days. It took me a year and a half to put it together." He feels especially strongly that Schumann's late works have always been denigrated, and bitterly blames his widow, Clara, for disparaging, suppressing and sometimes even destroying them. "She refused to have the late works published; Brahms saved a few, like the Requiem, reminding her that Schumann had revised it for publication; that's why we have it. And it's beautiful. She hid the violin concerto, and she probably tore up the fair copy of the third violin sonata, but a full sketch survived, that's why we have that. It's very difficult and not played often, but my friend Josh Bell played it at the Schumann Festival I put on in Salzburg, and he loves it. I've transcribed the whole piece for cello; I only had to cheat a little in the last movement because there are such huge leaps, but the tempo can expand and it just gets more exciting. Clara herself said, 'The first time I played through the sonata, I didn't like it much, but the second time I realized it is wonderful.' If only she had felt the same way about the five Romances for cello which she burned! There are letters about them in the biographies I've read: Brahms and Joachim fighting about which was their favorite, and Schumann writing to a friend: 'didn't you love the place where I put the D in the bass...' Yet long afterwards, Brahms told someone: 'I was much impressed, Frau Schumann burned those cello Romances the other day.' That's the biggest tragedy of all the lost works for cello, and there are many."
Saphire

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:09 am

Saphire wrote: (Interview: Andante Magazine):
  • "Perhaps Isserlis' most ardent advocacy is reserved for Robert Schumann, whom he considers severely underrated. "When I was growing up," he says, "every time the Cello Concerto was played in London, the critics would say: 'this poor piece, this weak piece.' For me, it's one of the all-time great masterpieces, there's not one uninspired note in it. The slow movement is pure magic, and the last movement has one of the most beautiful cadenzas - it IS a cadenza, it just happens to be accompanied. I've played it a lot, four times in the last three days, and it gets to me every time. At my first ever Festival," he adds, "in 1989 at the Wigmore Hall, we did all Schumann's chamber music - 16 concerts in eight days. It took me a year and a half to put it together." He feels especially strongly that Schumann's late works have always been denigrated, and bitterly blames his widow, Clara, for disparaging, suppressing and sometimes even destroying them. "She refused to have the late works published; Brahms saved a few, like the Requiem, reminding her that Schumann had revised it for publication; that's why we have it. And it's beautiful. She hid the violin concerto, and she probably tore up the fair copy of the third violin sonata, but a full sketch survived, that's why we have that. It's very difficult and not played often, but my friend Josh Bell played it at the Schumann Festival I put on in Salzburg, and he loves it. I've transcribed the whole piece for cello; I only had to cheat a little in the last movement because there are such huge leaps, but the tempo can expand and it just gets more exciting. Clara herself said, 'The first time I played through the sonata, I didn't like it much, but the second time I realized it is wonderful.' If only she had felt the same way about the five Romances for cello which she burned! There are letters about them in the biographies I've read: Brahms and Joachim fighting about which was their favorite, and Schumann writing to a friend: 'didn't you love the place where I put the D in the bass...' Yet long afterwards, Brahms told someone: 'I was much impressed, Frau Schumann burned those cello Romances the other day.' That's the biggest tragedy of all the lost works for cello, and there are many."
Saphire
Great interview. It's entirely likely that Schumann remains one of the most underrated composers of all time.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:09 am

Good work finding this, Saphire. Like pianist Andras Schiff, Isserlis is an enlightened musician.

Folks interested in uncovering some of Schumann's late works would also be well-advised to look into many of his WoO (works w/o upus nos.) and even if they're not recorded, some of the scores, I understand, could be available.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:31 am

jbuck919 wrote: The Handel Variations are among the greatest works for piano ever written, widely consdered one of the three of four greatest sets of variations (cite Tovey), and they are a relatively early composition. They are only not more frequently performed because they are so fantastiaclly difficult.
Let me add that Brahms' Paganini Variations, Books I and II, rank alongside a tiny handful of compositions that can be considered among the most ferociously challenging in the repertoire. And, as to works in the "standard repertoire," they may be the most difficult.

I've seen both the Handel and Paganini Variations performed with increasing frequency in competitions and, together with Piano Sonata no. 3, they provide the pianist with an optimal balance between technical virtuosity and sensitive, rich, robust musicality.

Brahms Op.21, no.1 (Variations on an Original Theme), provides another vehicle for the virtuoso to explore spiritually soul-searching music.

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Post by paulb » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:54 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Say what you like about certain Brahms works, but his symphonies are on a par with the best of Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Bruckner (and above Mahler's in beauty).

Jack
I;ve not heard Brahms 2,3,4., at least not that i can recall in the past 30 yrs. But knowing his 1st, I believe what you say is true for me also. IOW If I had to listen to any of these composers syms, a coice of just 1 composer, it would be Brahms. Not a very difficult decision for me I should add.

There can I get some redemption from the Brahmsians now :)
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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Post by Sapphire » Tue Nov 07, 2006 7:57 am

Jack and fellow Schumann fans

I can thoroughly recommend the Stephen Isserlis version of the Cello Concerto. It's on the RCA Victor Red Seal label, Christoph Eschenbach conducting.

The CD also contains several other Schumann works. One of them is the "offertorium" from Schumann's Op. 147, and this is a true gem. When I first heard this I thought it one of the nicest pieces (about 3 mins) of religious choral music I've ever heard. In fact, I had previously bought Bach's Mass in B Minor (the Gardiner version), and I genuinley did not think there was anything on that, of comparable length, to match the superb quality of this piece by Schumann.

It also contains a short piece by Woldemar Bargiel "Adagio for cello and orchestra". This is a real delight and I'm sure you would like it too.

Anyone else reading this who is keen on Romantic era but hasn't quite got into Schumann yet, I can honestly say I don't think you will be disappointed if you make the effort. I really do love most of Schumann's works, and I rate him most highly, of course along with Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and Brahms.


Saphire

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:36 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
3. Mahler's symphonies lack the cohesion of inspiration that Beethoven, Schumann, Bruckner and Brahms mastered. There is also a great deal of Lisztian/Tschaikowskyian bombast therein.
Jack
Lisztian/Tschaikowskyian bombast is fine with me. Long with Schumann and Chopin, Lizst is the third member of the early Romantic holy trinity, and Tschaikowsky is the peer of Brahms.

Mahler's music is coherent and inspired

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:41 am

Opus132 wrote:And why in the nine hells are you still trying to talk about a composer whom you know absolutely nothing about? :lol:
But, Opus132 -- that's what Paul does! 8)

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by karlhenning » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:43 am

Brahms wrote:Let me add that Brahms' Paganini Variations, Books I and II, rank alongside a tiny handful of compositions that can be considered among the most ferociously challenging in the repertoire. And, as to works in the "standard repertoire," they may be the most difficult.
Tougher than Gaspard, would you say?

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:46 am

BWV 1080 wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
3. Mahler's symphonies lack the cohesion of inspiration that Beethoven, Schumann, Bruckner and Brahms mastered. There is also a great deal of Lisztian/Tschaikowskyian bombast therein.
Jack
Lisztian/Tschaikowskyian bombast is fine with me. Long with Schumann and Chopin, Lizst(sic!) is the third member of the early Romantic holy trinity, and Tschaikowsky is the peer of Brahms.

Mahler's music is coherent and inspired
Aah, I see you, too have been taking your Paulb tabs. What's this about a "Holy Trinity" with Chopin, Schumann and Liszt...?!

If Tschaikowsky is the "peer of Brahms" then isn't J.S. Bach the peer of Rameau...?

Aaaahh, I just love this!

Jack

Jack
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Post by Sapphire » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:47 am

Just a quick follow-up on Brahms elegant Ops 116-119 piano pieces.

I read somewhere that Brahms kept these fairly short so that Clara Schumann (who by then was quite advanced in years) would be able to play them without taxing her strength too much, and provide feedback to Brahms. I'm sure she would have provided first class technical feeedback. (No jokes please; this is sacred stuff I'm talking about here!) So, if anyone doubts that Robert Schumann had an important influence on Brahms here's evidence that's probably directly relevant.

As for paulb's partial concession in favour of Brahms (see above), I'll let him off this time because I know he doesn't really mean to be so rude about the Romantic era. I wish he would do the same for Beethoven, the one true "God." Actually, I reckon paul has a marble bust of Beethoven bearing down upon him from a shelf in his our music room, and I bet hardly a day goes by without paul dusting it down and aligning it so he gets the the very best angle to contemplate his greatness. I know, it's absolutely breathtaking, isn't it? Don't you reckon, paul, it's about time you binned all this late 20th C rubbish and got down some proper veneration of the genuine article? We'll let you off completely if you repent now. Repent I say:
  • "Verily I say unto thee your sins will be forgiven, but do not delay for you know not the hour or the day. Go out henceforth and buy thyself a box set of HVK Beethoven Symphonies, and play them unto thyself and be it music to thy soul, and repent you will be saved" (anon) :D
Saphire

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:50 am

Saphire wrote:Anyone else reading this who is keen on Romantic era but hasn't quite got into Schumann yet, I can honestly say I don't think you will be disappointed if you make the effort. I really do love most of Schumann's works, and I rate him most highly, of course along with Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin and Brahms.
Hear, hear!
Steve wrote:Lisztian/Tschaikowskyian bombast is fine with me.
I call it The Grand Gesture, rather than "bombast," but with that quibble, I say again: Hear, hear!

Cheers,
~Karl

PS/ Now watch Paul try to call himself plus moderne que moi 8)
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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 8:52 am

Saphire wrote:Just a quick follow-up on Brahms elegant Ops 116-119 piano pieces.

I read somewhere that Brahms kept these fairly short so that Clara Schumann (who by then was quite advanced in years) would be able to play them without taxing her strength too much, and provide feedback to Brahms. I'm sure she would have provided first class technical feeedback. (No jokes please; this is sacred stuff I'm talking about here!) So, if anyone doubts that Robert Schumann had an important influence on Brahms here's evidence that's probably directly relevant.

As for paulb's partial concession in favour of Brahms (see above), I'll let him off this time because I know he doesn't really mean to be so rude about the Romantic era. I wish he would do the same for Beethoven, the one true "God." Actually, I reckon paul has a marble bust of Beethoven bearing down upon him from a shelf in his our music room, and I bet hardly a day goes by without paul dusting it down and aligning it so he gets the the very best angle to contemplate his greatness. I know, it's absolutely breathtaking, isn't it? Don't you reckon, paul, it's about time you binned all this late 20th C rubbish and got down some proper veneration of the genuine article? We'll let you off completely if you repent now. Repent I say:
  • "Verily I say unto thee your sins will be forgiven, but do not delay for you know not the hour or the day. Go out henceforth and buy thyself a box set of HVK Beethoven Symphonies, and play them unto thyself and be it music to thy soul, and repent you will be saved" (anon) :D
Saphire
Ah, Saphire---I see you have read the "10 Commandments of Politically Adept Enjoyment of Music"....

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Novitiate » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:06 am

Saphire wrote:Just a quick follow-up on Brahms elegant Ops 116-119 piano pieces.

I read somewhere that Brahms kept these fairly short so that Clara Schumann (who by then was quite advanced in years) would be able to play them without taxing her strength too much, and provide feedback to Brahms. I'm sure she would have provided first class technical feeedback. (No jokes please; this is sacred stuff I'm talking about here!) So, if anyone doubts that Robert Schumann had an important influence on Brahms here's evidence that's probably directly relevant.
Saphire (and anyone else), do you have a recommendation for these pieces? The only Brahms solo piano I have is the opp. 24 and 39 that come with the Fleisher/Szell concerto disks.

I find myself returning almost obsessively to the D minor Concerto since getting the recording not so long ago. There's a bit about 12 minutes into the first movement with the upper strings and the piano in dialogue that gets me every time.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:19 am

Novitiate wrote:I find myself returning almost obsessively to the D minor Concerto since getting the recording not so long ago. There's a bit about 12 minutes into the first movement with the upper strings and the piano in dialogue that gets me every time.
Yes, that's a wonderful movement. I like the part where Brahms quotes for a couple of measures, "Home On The Range".

But seriously, I have a real fondness for that work---even if my rather irreverent humor sometimes gets the best of me here.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by rasputin » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:21 am

On Brahm's piano pieces, IMHO you can't go wrong with old Julius
Katchen. He did the best (to me) recording of Haendel's variations.
About difficult variations, there are two I consider as hard or more
than Paganini's: Busoni's Fantasia Contrapuntistica, and Reger's
Var.and fugue on a theme of Teleman. Almost nobody plays them
live, and there are very few recordings.

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:41 am

Novitiate wrote:There's a bit about 12 minutes into the first movement with the upper strings and the piano in dialogue that gets me every time.
Yep, that's my favorite episode in the 1st movement too -- simply magical. :!: I love the way the the strings pass the dialog over to the oboe (solo), then the clarinet (solo) . . . . . only to be swept up into a dramatic tumultuous vortex that pits the piano against the full orchestra.

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Post by Dalibor » Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:50 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Novitiate wrote:I like the part where Brahms quotes for a couple of measures, "Home On The Range".
That's some folk tune, I suppose. He uses them alot, like the children's lullaby quote (almost) in 2nd symph 1st mov. As I already said, his themes sound a bit flat and folkish to me. Whole B-minor piano concerto is an example. All the main themes from it, including the somewhat profound-romantic opening theme of 2nd movement, have that superficial folk sound to them.

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Post by Jack Kelso » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:01 am

Dalibor wrote:
Jack Kelso wrote:
Novitiate wrote:I like the part where Brahms quotes for a couple of measures, "Home On The Range".
That's some folk tune, I suppose. He uses them alot, like the children's lullaby quote (almost) in 2nd symph 1st mov. As I already said, his themes sound a bit flat and folkish to me. Whole B-minor piano concerto is an example. All the main themes from it, including the somewhat profound-romantic opening theme of 2nd movement, have that superficial folk sound to them.
Whoh, Dalibor.....I certainly wouldn't criticize anyone for using folk-music in a symphony or other serious works. Beethoven did it, too. Schumann's Third Symphony has the German song, "So leben wir alle Tage" in the Finale (as soon as you think you recognize it, it disappears).

I enjoy the Brahms' 2nd Piano Concerto---more even than the first. But "Oh, Give Me A Home...." (he cut it off before "where the buffalo roam") in the First is really nice....probably coincidence, though.

Schumann said, "listen carefully to folk-music". It all depends on how one uses it.

Jack
"Schumann's our music-maker now." ---Robert Browning

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:17 am

Jack Kelso wrote: like the part where Brahms quotes for a couple of measures, "Home On The Range".
Jack
"Home on the Range" derives from "My Western Home" which was written in the 1870's.

Brahms wrote his First Piano Concerto in 1853-54.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:18 am

Novitiate wrote:
Saphire wrote:Just a quick follow-up on Brahms elegant Ops 116-119 piano pieces.

I read somewhere that Brahms kept these fairly short so that Clara Schumann (who by then was quite advanced in years) would be able to play them without taxing her strength too much, and provide feedback to Brahms. I'm sure she would have provided first class technical feeedback. (No jokes please; this is sacred stuff I'm talking about here!) So, if anyone doubts that Robert Schumann had an important influence on Brahms here's evidence that's probably directly relevant.
Saphire (and anyone else), do you have a recommendation for these pieces? The only Brahms solo piano I have is the opp. 24 and 39 that come with the Fleisher/Szell concerto disks.
I will second the Katchen rec for 116-119. Also there is an excellent, but unfortunately out of print Dorian recording with Antonin Kubalek

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:19 am

Dalibor wrote:As I already said, his themes sound a bit flat and folkish to me. Whole B-minor piano concerto is an example. All the main themes from it, including the somewhat profound-romantic opening theme of 2nd movement, have that superficial folk sound to them.
Every person (even a moron) is entitled to his/her opinion (See First Amendment).

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:21 am

Brahms wrote:
Great interview. It's entirely likely that Schumann remains one of the most underrated composers of all time.
Its difficult to see how Schumann is underrated if he is widely held (and fairly so) to be one of the greatest and most influential early Romantic composers - easily the peer of Chopin and Liszt

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Post by Dalibor » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:26 am

Brahms wrote: Every person (even a moron) is entitled to his/her opinion (See First Amendment).
We finaly agree ;-)

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:33 am

Jack Kelso wrote:
Aah, I see you, too have been taking your Paulb tabs. What's this about a "Holy Trinity" with Chopin, Schumann and Liszt...?!

If Tschaikowsky is the "peer of Brahms" then isn't J.S. Bach the peer of Rameau...?

Aaaahh, I just love this!

Jack

Jack
"holy trinity" just a little hyperbole, Chopin, Schumann and Liszt being the great three early Romantic composers. Brahms is a great composers, but no JS Bach.

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Post by diegobueno » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:33 am

I can't think of a more consumate master of sonata form than Brahms, and I can find in the whole symphonic literature, nothing so masterful as the first movement of Brahms' 4th symphony. I have to assume anyone who finds this music wanting just doesn't like classical symphonic forms.
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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 10:58 am

diegobueno wrote:I can't think of a more consumate master of sonata form than Brahms, and I can find in the whole symphonic literature, nothing so masterful as the first movement of Brahms' 4th symphony. I have to assume anyone who finds this music wanting just doesn't like classical symphonic forms.
I like classical symphonic forms well enough, so your assumption is incorrect.
Brahms's bashing is a long and venerable tradition. While I do not agree with the extremety of the statements of Tchaikovsky, Hugo Wolf or any of the other musical know-nothings who disliked Brahms, the fact that Brahms music rubbed enough knowledgable people the wrong way is food for thought. The mildly insulting repilies here of "if you do not think Brahms is God, you don't know music" just show the inability of people to discuss music intelligently and accept that no composer is above criticism. My only point was that I do not care for Brahm's melding of his Romanic tonal language with classical sonata forms and prefer the variations and character pieces.

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:36 am

How (or not) do you like the German Requiem, Steve?

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:41 am

karlhenning wrote:How (or not) do you like the German Requiem, Steve?

Cheers,
~Karl
Honestly it has been too long since I have heard it.

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Post by diegobueno » Tue Nov 07, 2006 11:52 am

Heinrich Schenker would take issue with the assertion that Brahms' harmonic practices obscure the tonal unity of his sonata structures. And, BWV, as a devout modernist, you should appreciate the misunderstanding that often greets a genius in his own time. Time has shown Tchaikovsky and Wolf to be wrong. Among knowledgeable musicians of the past century, your position on Brahms is by far the minority view, considering the total of Brahms' output (though many would concur if only the piano music were taken into account)


And this statement from you strikes me as peculiar, and more than just a "this is just what I think" kind of statement.
Schubert is a pleasing Beethoven knock-off, Schumann should have stuck to character pieces and Bruckner is a collossal bore, there are some nice moments in Brahms symphonies, but Mahler is the only symphonist that I like as much as Beethoven (and he was a much better poet than Beethoven - who can swallow the optimistic universal brotherhood crap in the Beethoven's 9th? Now Mahler's 6th - that is life and the world we live in through the eyes of a real poet)
I would have to revise my previous statement to say that you just don't like romanticism. [/b]
Black lives matter.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:00 pm

diegobueno wrote:Heinrich Schenker would take issue with the assertion that Brahms' harmonic practices obscure the tonal unity of his sonata structures. And, BWV, as a devout modernist, you should appreciate the misunderstanding that often greets a genius in his own time. Time has shown Tchaikovsky and Wolf to be wrong. Among knowledgeable musicians of the past century, your position on Brahms is by far the minority view, considering the total of Brahms' output (though many would concur if only the piano music were taken into account)


And this statement from you strikes me as peculiar, and more than just a "this is just what I think" kind of statement.
Schubert is a pleasing Beethoven knock-off, Schumann should have stuck to character pieces and Bruckner is a collossal bore, there are some nice moments in Brahms symphonies, but Mahler is the only symphonist that I like as much as Beethoven (and he was a much better poet than Beethoven - who can swallow the optimistic universal brotherhood crap in the Beethoven's 9th? Now Mahler's 6th - that is life and the world we live in through the eyes of a real poet)
I would have to revise my previous statement to say that you just don't like romanticism. [/b]
Those admitidly late-night hyperbolic comments are restricted to the symphonies of the composers mentioned and do not hold for other genres. How can you say I don't like Romanticism when I am criticizing Brahms for not being Romantic enough and providing gushing praise for Mahler?
Among knowledgeable musicians of the past century, your position on Brahms is by far the minority view, considering the total of Brahms' output (though many would concur if only the piano music were taken into account)
I am not sure what you mean by this, as I have been a huge proponent of Brahms piano music
Last edited by BWV 1080 on Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by diegobueno » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:08 pm

BWV 1080 wrote:
I am not sure what you mean by this, as I have been a huge proponent of Brahms piano music
Simple. Brahms wrote 3 piano sonatas, his earliest published works. Few would put those sonatas on the same level as his later variations and character pieces. I take this is your position as well?
Black lives matter.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:13 pm

diegobueno wrote:
BWV 1080 wrote:
I am not sure what you mean by this, as I have been a huge proponent of Brahms piano music
Simple. Brahms wrote 3 piano sonatas, his earliest published works. Few would put those sonatas on the same level as his later variations and character pieces. I take this is your position as well?
Yes, although I am fond of the 3rd piano sonata

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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:20 pm

diegobueno wrote:I can find in the whole symphonic literature, nothing so masterful as the first movement of Brahms' 4th symphony.
Quite the musical journey . . . . . . yet tightly controlled. Every note, every phrase, every figure has an essential purpose, in terms of both fueling drama and erecting an architectural colossus. I suspect that when Brahms finally completed the coda to the first movement of the 4th Symphony, he said to himself: "well, this is as good as it gets."

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Post by Dalibor » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:43 pm

ON the 4th symph 1st mov subject: this is the most moving Brahms work I ever heared, both the opening theme with it's deep harmonic impact and the way he worked out the whole thing - not much to bore or bother you there. There is still the folk-sounding feeling throughout the movement, but lesser emphasised (he managed to go more lyrical). I can't help but imagine snowy mountains when listening to it, and during the final bars Brahms dressed in old clothes, like a chimney-cleaner, a kind of dancing in a stiffed, bard-like way!

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Post by Sapphire » Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:56 pm

Novitiate

You asked about Ops 116-119. Here are my recs for this and several other works mentioned above. I realise you can argue till the cows come home on this sort of thing.

Ops. 116-119: The best has been suggested to be Julius Katchen. I have heard this from several other sources too. I don't have it. I have a much more recent CD by Helene Grimaud (see separate thread), which sounds fine to me.

Violin Con: IMO the best is definitely Milstein/Pitsburgh. There is nothing to touch the way Milstein hits that high stuff at the beginning. I also have Oistrakh, Heifetz, Perleman, Vengerov. I reckon Vengerov is second best. Just a matter of taste, but Milstein is well regarded.

German Requiem: Klemperer/Schwarzkopf, undoubtedly

Piano Con 1: Richter

Piano Con 2: Richter

Handel Variations Op. 24: Andras Schiff (from "Brahms, Handel, Reger Piano")

Ballades Op. 10: Rubinstein

Op. 39: Van Cliburn (from "My favourite Brahms")

Op. 79: Van Cliburn (from "My favourite Brahms")


Saphire

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Post by paulb » Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:24 pm

Brahms wrote:
Quite the musical journey . . . . . . yet tightly controlled. Every note, every phrase, every figure has an essential purpose, .... fueling drama and erecting an architectural colossus. ."
Now you have clearly and poignantly stated a general characterzation of all the romatic period.

"tightly controlled"..."essentail purpose"....."drama"....erecting a archittectual colassus"...

man give me Prokofiev, Berg, Webern, Schonberg, Debussy, Ravel...many others. Whose approach is totally opposed to the form you described. At least thats how my ears hear it.

Amazing how we are so different. Yet get along in peace we must.
Psalm 118:22 The Stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord's doing , it is marvelous in our sight.

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Post by karlhenning » Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:38 pm

paulb wrote:
Brahms wrote:
Quite the musical journey . . . . . . yet tightly controlled. Every note, every phrase, every figure has an essential purpose, .... fueling drama and erecting an architectural colossus. ."
Now you have clearly and poignantly stated a general characterzation of all the romatic period.

"tightly controlled"..."essentail purpose"....."drama"....erecting a archittectual colassus"...
Paul, that's absurd. You're murdering cultural history again, you rogue! :D
man give me Prokofiev, Berg, Webern, Schonberg, Debussy, Ravel...many others. Whose approach is totally opposed to the form you described. At least thats how my ears hear it.
I took the liberty of adding the italics. Fact is, Paul, "every note/phrase/figure having an essential purpose" -- far from being at all opposed to these composers -- is strikingly appropriate for Prokofiev, Berg, Webern, Schoenberg, Debussy & Ravel.

I cannot answer for why your ears don't hear that.

You're going to be incarcerated someday for this wilful murder of cultural history, mon vieux 8)

Cheers,
~Karl
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Post by diegobueno » Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:46 pm

Paul,

Do you really prefer to hear notes that have no purpose?
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Post by Brahms » Tue Nov 07, 2006 4:36 pm

paulb wrote: man give me Prokofiev, Berg, Webern, Schonberg, Debussy, Ravel...many others. Whose approach is totally opposed to the form you described. At least thats how my ears hear it.
Prokofiev often composed very much within the rubric outlined in my post ("tightly controlled" etc). Take a gander at his 3rd Piano Concerto, wherein Prokofiev wielded extremely tight reins to sculpt and control the motivic kernels permeating all 3 movements. The same can be said for his 5th Symphony and 2nd Violin Concerto.

Schoenberg worshipped Brahms, and harbored nothing but deep-seated respect for Brahms' meticulous craftsmanship.

Ravel and Debussy had very different goals than Brahms, and their music resides in a different galaxy than Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, etc.

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Post by BWV 1080 » Tue Nov 07, 2006 5:08 pm

Brahms wrote:
Schoenberg worshipped Brahms, and harbored nothing but deep-seated respect for Brahms' meticulous craftsmanship.
Indeed, I remember a professer aping Boulez in deriding Schoenberg's music as Brahms with wrong notes
Ravel and Debussy had very different goals than Brahms, and their music resides in a different galaxy than Brahms, Beethoven, Schumann, Schubert, etc.
Yes and no. It is not that far from, say Op 119 no. 1 to Debussy's Images

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