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November 18, 2019, 06:39:15 pm
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1  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Vienna on: July 16, 2019, 11:00:30 am
Actually, it's partly a reflection of how ignorant most concert-goers are of contemporary or post-war composers of any nationality other than their own. You and I could rattle off a long list of post-war Swedish composers, but if you stopped someone in the foyer of the Wigmore Hall, they might be stumped.
2  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: July 16, 2019, 10:55:54 am
I don't doubt that they are fine works. But I suggest that we only know of them because Respighi became famous after his Roman triptych. Without that, those early works would languish with the many fine works by many fine composers who never "hit the big time".

Even then, it doesn't always work - witness the number of composers famous for one work which is frequently performed, and seemingly no-one ever asks "what else did he write?" I make an exception for M. Canteloube, where the answer is (besides the Songs of the Auvergne), almost nothing.
3  About music in general / Members' own compositions / Re: Music of Edward Schaffer on: July 16, 2019, 10:48:30 am
Yes, I saw the link at the head of the first post.
4  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Vienna on: July 14, 2019, 10:40:58 pm
A thought that has been with me recently:

Think about how dominant Vienna was in the history of music from the late 18th century to the early 20th. Now, imagine you asked a modern concert-goer to name a post WW2 Austrian composer (excepting those who emigrated). Whatever happened to Austrian music? Admittedly they lost Hungary, but even so!
5  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: July 14, 2019, 10:37:00 pm
I think my point stands. Would those youthful works by Respighi be remembered at all if Respighi had died aged 35? I suspect not. We only have recordings of them today because Respighi is famous on account of what he went on to become.
6  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Joseph Holbrooke from CPO on: July 14, 2019, 10:25:04 pm
A French friend of mine who thought he knew English better than he did, once remarked of something he disapproved of, "Ugh! They are terrific!"
7  About music in general / Members' own compositions / Re: Music of Edward Schaffer on: July 14, 2019, 10:23:04 pm
Well done in putting all these up for listening!
8  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mario Pilati on: June 01, 2019, 06:24:16 pm
However, suppose you only knew the music Respighi wrote before the age of 35 (the age Pilati died). Would you say the same thing? There would be no Roman Trilogy, for instance.
9  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: SOME unrecorded British Piano Concertos, 1934-94 on: June 01, 2019, 10:03:38 am
The Rubbra concerto is a great work - I suppose it suffers from the lack of bravura in the first movement.
10  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: June 01, 2019, 10:01:54 am
The thing about humour is that it's supposed to be funny, or at least amusing. The "sex and the Swiss" remark is simply stupid and offensive however you look at it.

Actually, I am reminded of a remark along those lines that manages to be more successful; the writer George Mikes once remarked that "continentals have sex lives - the British have hot water bottles".
11  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Leonid Polovinkin (1894-1949) on: May 30, 2019, 11:52:38 am
I have been listening with interest to the 7th symphony of Leonid Polovinkin. Particularly notable is the slow movement, which is one long unfolding melody. There doesn't seem to be much internet biographical information about the composer, a contemporary of Prokofiev, but it seems he wrote nine (!) symphonies of which only #7 and #9 have been recorded. It seems he went through the typical stages for a composer of his generation - influence of Scriabin, then experimentalist in the 1920s, and then moving to a social realist phase in the Stalin era.

It seems to me to be very surprising he is not better known. His works apparently include an opera based on JM Synge's "Playboy of the Western World", which would be interesting to hear. He is not even mentioned in SD Krebs's study of Soviet composers, though he does get an article in the 1953 Groves.
12  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: New Dutton CDs for May - Vaughan Williams, Braunfels, Arne and Elgar on: May 30, 2019, 11:28:22 am
Whether the music is or is not a masterpiece, that poem certainly isn't.
13  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Julius Bittner's Symphony No.1 from Toccata on: May 19, 2019, 10:19:38 am
I just listened to the Bittner symphony, and I can't say I agree with you. It's certainly not Brucknerian, and I think that may have been another example of Adriano's complaint about trying to pigeon-hole works by saying "it's like X". And equally, I would not be in a hurry to compare it to Franz Schmidt. Bittner seems to have an individual voice, and though on first hearing I felt there was a spot towards the end of the slow movement where his imagination was struggling, overall I enjoyed it and am happy to be able to hear it. I will listen to it again.

I gather there is a 2nd symphony as well.
14  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 19, 2019, 10:13:00 am
I have the Fanelli CD!

Alexandre Dénéréaz I have added to my listening list.
15  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Whatever happened to Fritz Brun? on: May 18, 2019, 11:48:27 am
Accusing Brun of "spasmodic syntax" reminds me rather of all the negative remarks about Havergal Brian, another composer whose style does not yield up easily to casual listening, but whose music is highly rewarding for those who make an effort to understand Brian's way of thinking. To go from an antipathy to Brun to damning the Swiss en bloc is frankly bizarre.

Incidentally, on the subject of rescuing neglected Swiss composers, it seems to me that a lot of French composers have been very poorly treated. André Gedalge is one case in point. Then there is a fantastic symphony by Louis Thirion which is completely unknown.
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