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1  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: John Luke Rose (*1933): Violin sonata No.1 op.28 (1973) on: November 17, 2017, 01:28:25 am
I quite like this composer and enjoyed the clip but it left we wanting more. 
2  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mussorgsky but not Ravel on: November 15, 2017, 02:05:50 am
but really, I prefer the piano original to all of them.


Indeed Smiley) Dear old Modeste never gave any hint that it was any kind of 'unfinished' orchestral work... and as you rightly say, his faithful collaborator Rimsky never took on such a project Smiley

There are more than 600 orchestrations of this fabulous work (including one by yours truly which lies somewhere between Tushmalov and Ravel and includes an organ in the final moments)....
If anyone is interested in hearing, here is an excerpt from my version:
http://picosong.com/wnby9


Hello Relm1 - I really like your version of the Catacombs, it is very atmospheric.  Did you orchestrate the whole work?   Is it available to buy or download anywhere?  Please do tell us more, and about yourself as well!

Thank you Christopher.  Yes the whole work was orchestrated but truthfully, the performance wasn't very good and I am not comfortable sharing it all.  Lot's of cracked notes and inconsistent rhythms.  I performed the bass trombone part in the premiere performance and mixed the recording.  Overall it wasn't horrible but isn't what I would consider reflective of my intentions.  My orchestration is 33 minutes long and is scored for 3.3.3.3/4.3.3.1/timp+3/hp/celesta/organ (ad lib)/strings.  I adore the Ravel version but also wanted to make some practical changes.  I simplified some of the orchestration so it would be more playable and less demanding (Ravel does some very complex rhythms and double/triple stops that aren't fully necessary unless you have a suburb orchestra).  In Bydlo, the melody is given to a tuba in a very high register (typically requiring the performer to switch to a euphonium to hit the very high G# notes).  For me, I have the first phrase to the tuba and let the first horn pick up the higher notes.  It is the same note but fits their range better.  So why did Ravel put a tuba in that role?  He either knew that particular tubist could nail it or wanted the note to sound off.  I didn't want that.  I wanted more security.  I will tell you since I was the orchestrator and bass trombonist who sat next to the tuba that they were terrified of what Ravel wanted so my version is more tuba friendly while keeping the same musical intention.  As far as my background, I have a masters degree in composition and have orchestrated or arranged many works.  I have my own version of Bach's fantastic Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor for orchestra and Rachmaninoff's Prelude in B minor that has been performed in concert.  This week my suite of themes of Puccini operas is being performed in concert.  I am currently working on my Symphony No. 2. 
3  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mussorgsky but not Ravel on: November 12, 2017, 12:50:18 am
but really, I prefer the piano original to all of them.


Indeed Smiley) Dear old Modeste never gave any hint that it was any kind of 'unfinished' orchestral work... and as you rightly say, his faithful collaborator Rimsky never took on such a project Smiley

There are more than 600 orchestrations of this fabulous work (including one by yours truly which lies somewhere between Tushmalov and Ravel and includes an organ in the final moments).  Someone actually has a catalog of all extant orchestrations.  The work is so imaginative that many composers "hear" a version of this work and take it upon themselves to orchestrate it themselves.  It would have been very interesting to know how Mussorgsky would have orchestrated it because he did conceive of it orchestrally (he has a crescendo in a whole note on the piano which makes sense only if he intended to orchestrate it).  By far Ravel's magnificent treatment of this material deserves its place as "The" orchestration.  It casts a long shadow on anyone attempting to orchestrate this after him.  But he also removed some movements that do seem superfluous but ignores Mussorgsky's intention.  In my opinion he greatly enhanced the work by removing some of the extra promenade movements though some orchestrators and arrangers felt restoring them was more truthful.  Ashkenazy has a very fine orchestration which most will consider more Russian than French so also very suitable.  In my opinion, the merger of French and Russian produced some of the very finest works so the mixture of the French refinement with the Russian coarseness is perfect.  Sort of like how an excellent meal or wine is balanced between fruitiness and tartness.

If anyone is interested in hearing, here is an excerpt from my version:
http://picosong.com/wnby9

4  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Kalevi Aho Concerto for Soprano Saxophone and chamber orchestra on: November 07, 2017, 12:50:01 am
The Soprano Saxophone concerto isn't really for an orchestra. It is basically an ensemble piece rather than orchestral.  The scoring is:

wind quintet, harp, and twelve strings. 
5  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Unrecorded British Post-War Concertos on: November 07, 2017, 12:43:37 am
When you say unrecorded, you mean commercially unreleased, not unrecorded right?  For example Arthur Butterworth's violin concerto is on your list but is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKxRlKi-02E
6  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Re: Iulia Narcisa Cibisescu Duran on: November 02, 2017, 03:45:13 pm
I enjoyed the Symphony No. 2.  The audio is from the camera mic so not high fidelity but this would have sounded quite good in a good professional studio recording. Thanks for posting this hitherto unknown composer to me.
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Philip Sawyers (1951-) on: October 31, 2017, 01:26:56 am
I thought the Symphony No. 3 was fantastic.  Very well written and almost Mahlerian.  Especially in the slow movement.  So great to hear a major new four movement symphony with taught structure, thematic development, long thought structure with grace and elegance.  At 40 minutes, it is a substantial new work where the first movement's turbulence is transformed in the final moments of the symphony.  Highly recommended and hope for many more symphonies from Sawyers to come.
8  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Dyson Choral Symphony on Naxos - November 2017 on: October 24, 2017, 01:21:55 am

Excerpts from the Choral Symphony and St Paul's Voyage to Melita can be heard at:

https://soundcloud.com/naxos-deutschland/d8573770

I liked it quite a bit.  Looking forward to hearing the full recording.
9  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: USA composers influenced by RVW on: October 22, 2017, 12:23:58 am
I seem to recall Arnold Rosner was influenced by RVW.  Perhaps the work I heard it is was Rosner's Symphony No. 5. 
10  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Ingvar Lidholm (1921-2017) on: October 21, 2017, 01:12:25 am
He had a good run.  But I am not so familiar with the composer so will try to hear the Swedish radio program.
11  Little-known music of all eras / Downloads discussion / Re: British and Irish Music on: October 05, 2017, 02:49:43 pm
What exactly are the "constraints" and "detriment" you allude to (even if only in a speculative way)?  Could you be more clear?  Fine if we eventually "hear from someone involved", but let's discuss the possibilities while we wait for that.  You apparently have some knowledge and experience of what can occur in these circumstances.  Why not share more precisely the thing(s) you have in mind?


Well, what I meant is that in music school we were told if you have only 20 minutes to work with the orchestra and wrote a piece that would require 30 minutes to properly execute it, you failed in meeting the constraints you had.  The result is subpar or incomplete performance which does not reflect well on your intention or the quality of your work.  That is the detriment.  Perhaps the schedule would not allow all the music to be properly rehearsed so jettisoning a movement would be preferential than a disastrous complete performance.   That was what I was speculating on. 

Robin Holloway responded to my question about the "cut" in the Fourth Concerto and here is what he said:

it was too long!!  Something had to go--- & it was generous of MTT & the orchestra to play so much as they did.  They ran the omitted movement through for me at rehearsal---pretty well; but unfortunately the mikes were not switched on. Introducing the 3 performances, MTT explained circumstances, & got a laugh every night  for "in San Francisco we lose our virtues" (the missing section depicts the 7 Cardinal Virtues,
balancing the 7 Deadly Sins of 3rd mvt.). Thanks for your kind words! & all best,

Robin H
12  Little-known music of all eras / Downloads discussion / Re: British and Irish Music on: September 24, 2017, 04:20:05 pm
What exactly are the "constraints" and "detriment" you allude to (even if only in a speculative way)?  Could you be more clear?  Fine if we eventually "hear from someone involved", but let's discuss the possibilities while we wait for that.  You apparently have some knowledge and experience of what can occur in these circumstances.  Why not share more precisely the thing(s) you have in mind?


Well, what I meant is that in music school we were told if you have only 20 minutes to work with the orchestra and wrote a piece that would require 30 minutes to properly execute it, you failed in meeting the constraints you had.  The result is subpar or incomplete performance which does not reflect well on your intention or the quality of your work.  That is the detriment.  Perhaps the schedule would not allow all the music to be properly rehearsed so jettisoning a movement would be preferential than a disastrous complete performance.   That was what I was speculating on. 
13  Little-known music of all eras / Downloads discussion / Re: British and Irish Music on: September 22, 2017, 02:04:58 am
I note relm1's comments but I remain unconvinced.

Ok, the work turns out to be longer than expected. So what? Accommodate that fact, don't cut the work, thereby imperilling its musical integrity.

And if I was Holloway I would either remove the movement as superfluous (if it actually is???) or say "no, you can reschedule it for next year and perform it in toto!".

http://www.boosey.com/cr/news/Holloway-reviews-of-Fourth-Concerto-in-San-Francisco/11438&LangID=1

I have inquired to RH of this detail and we shall see if there is further detail but as a composer myself, commissions have demands and if the demands aren't met, there are absolutely concessions met but lets see if he responds and gives his take.  I do believe MTT hated the idea of having to cut 9 minutes but lets hear from someone involved.  Removing the movement certainty doesn't imply it is superfluous but rather impractical given the other constraints.  That is my take at least.  I truly wished MTT could have included it.  But there is a point where having it would overall be detrimental.  I think of it like this.  As a commissioned composer sometimes you envision an instrument that is impractical.  Such as an organ for just a few notes.  Well, the venue doesn't allow that.  So the composer retains the intent but the instrument is omitted from the premiere performance.  The composer should not remove this instrumentation however it is not part of the premiere. 
14  Little-known music of all eras / Downloads discussion / Re: British and Irish Music on: September 21, 2017, 02:52:44 pm
You are welcome.  Here is the review of the premiere which explains the missing movement:
http://www.sfgate.com/music/article/Big-audio-dynamite-Holloway-a-huge-undertaking-2652122.php

Let's say you go on eBay and plunk down a pile of cash for a beautiful antique credenza. Now the truck rolls up, and the piece turns out to be just as attractive as the pictures suggested, but bigger -- much, much bigger.

Too big, in fact, to fit through your front door.

That was the dilemma facing Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony when they took delivery on composer Robin Holloway's huge, splendiferous new Fourth Concerto for Orchestra. This was the third and by far the most substantial in a series of pieces the Symphony has commissioned from Holloway, and it left Thomas and the orchestra with far more music than they could easily accommodate.

How much more? Well, Thursday's premiere in Davies Symphony Hall ran 65 minutes -- and that's because the orchestra only played five of the work's six movements.

But what music it is! Holloway writes as though all the harmonic fluidity and orchestral virtuosity of Strauss, Mahler, Debussy and Rimsky-Korsakov were at his fingertips -- as no doubt they are -- and he uses those resources to craft a narrative journey that is endlessly compelling and always accessible. 


My commentary: Still frustrating.  I say someone needs to record the entire work.  The second half of the concert was the 45 minute long Brahms Violin Concerto.  This would indeed be a very long concert and I assume the decision to excise a movement came as disappointing to composer and conductor. 
15  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Lyrita futures on: September 20, 2017, 03:21:47 pm
I have often wondered if it is actually undesirable to have a composer conducting his own work. There is a tendency to look towards the composer's own performance as somehow definitive, but there are two things against it. Firstly, he may have such a vivid idea of what the work should sound like, that he is not fully aware of what it does sound like in the orchestra's realisation. Secondly, a gifted composer may not also be a gifted conductor. It is a remarkable thing to have great talent in one field; to have it in two is asking a lot of fortune. Which is why I despair of people like Tippett who thought he was a great poet as well as a great composer.

Composing and conducting are two completely different specialties.  No one understands a composers work like the composer but that does not mean they are able to lead an orchestra effectively.  In music school you do take conducting courses so you have a basis to conduct.  That is not the same as being able to cajole a brilliant performance out of a world class ensemble.  There is usually never enough time to rehearse a work so having great "rehearsal technique" is important as well along with some psychology instinct.  For example one conductor told the horn sections "Let's hear that one more time, horn players have lived to play this opening..." and the horn opening in Don Juan immediately sounded much better.  I have also heard conductors condescend and intimidate players and not get good results. 
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