The Great American Symphony; Reality; Possibility; Illusion

diegobueno
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Post by diegobueno » Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:20 pm

I pulled this statement off the official Roger Sessions Society website:

Sessions’ harmonic language had, since the 1935 violin concerto, become increasingly chromatic. His second piano sonata of 1946 is completely atonal. In 1953, at the start of composition of his Sonata for Violin, Sessions "realized" that he was writing twelve-tone music. For most of the next 30 years, Sessions composed in a free application of this system, of which he had once been profoundly suspicious.

My favorite Sessions recording (so far) is the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Series no. 3, from the late 70s which has his symphony no. 8 and Rhapsody for Orchestra. I was especially drawn to the Rhapsody. My brother listened to it and said "it's nice, but don't you just expect the Golden Calf to come stomping in at any moment?" That never bothered me because I like Schoenberg's Golden Calf music too.
Black lives matter.

jbuck919
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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:07 pm

diegobueno wrote:I pulled this statement off the official Roger Sessions Society website:

Sessions’ harmonic language had, since the 1935 violin concerto, become increasingly chromatic. His second piano sonata of 1946 is completely atonal. In 1953, at the start of composition of his Sonata for Violin, Sessions "realized" that he was writing twelve-tone music. For most of the next 30 years, Sessions composed in a free application of this system, of which he had once been profoundly suspicious.

My favorite Sessions recording (so far) is the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Series no. 3, from the late 70s which has his symphony no. 8 and Rhapsody for Orchestra. I was especially drawn to the Rhapsody. My brother listened to it and said "it's nice, but don't you just expect the Golden Calf to come stomping in at any moment?" That never bothered me because I like Schoenberg's Golden Calf music too.
If we are to believe Milton Babbitt's account, and I have no reason not to, he and Sessions were discussing this subect when Babbitt looked at Sessions' latest score and with his finger pointed, counting from one to twelve without repeating a number. In other words, without knowing he had done so, Sessions had already written a twelve-tone piece. You can make all the jokes you want about dodecacophany, but ultra-chromaticism was one legitimate path for composers who saw exhaustion in all tonal, neo-tonal, quasi-tonal, pseudo-tonal, crypto-tonal, and phlogisto-ectoplasmal-tonal possibilities. One may not like the outcome, but to an extent (perhaps a very great one) one cannot blame the perpetrators.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

diegobueno
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Post by diegobueno » Sun Jan 28, 2007 11:41 pm

jbuck919 wrote: You can make all the jokes you want about dodecacophany, but ultra-chromaticism was one legitimate path for composers who saw exhaustion in all tonal, neo-tonal, quasi-tonal, pseudo-tonal, crypto-tonal, and phlogisto-ectoplasmal-tonal possibilities.
No jokes here.
Nothing wrong with ultra-chromaticism.
Nothing exhausted about tonality either.
Black lives matter.

Steinway
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Post by Steinway » Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:56 am

I'd have to select the William Schuman 3rd as my choice, but that work has some strong competition for top prize if we can include the
Hindemith E flat symphony, which was composed in America by a German.

I do admire the Harris 3rd very much, just slightly behind the above two!

Stonebraker
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Post by Stonebraker » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:37 pm

BWV 1080 wrote: I find that denigration of Copland, Piston etc actually enhances my appreciation of Carter.
LOL!! Every post of yours sends me into fits of laughter... thank you for existing.

Regardless, I'd put Barber's Symphony No. 1 as the greatest, being the only American Symphony I know. And its great. However, Stonebraker's Symphony No. 1 should come ou sometime in the next 15 years, hopefully it will be Op. 2 after a few practice overtures.
Paul Stonebraker - Promoting orchestral music since '06

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