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November 20, 2017, 05:54:56 am
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1  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Composers under National Socialism on: November 13, 2017, 10:52:33 am
A good balanced article. It seems to me the case against Sibelius is extremely weak.
2  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mussorgsky but not Ravel on: November 13, 2017, 10:47:53 am
Thanks, a very interesting thread, I had tried to collect them, in my quasi-youth, and agree that the original piano version has so many rewards all by itself. Of the rest, and beyond the Ravel, I enjoy the Naoumoff the best because I am a pf cto nut. The others will be fun to check out.

There is also a YouTube video of the Naoumoff version in a two-piano guise. Personally, I think the extra lines added by Naoumoff are quite out of keeping. I can see the potential of a two-piano version, thinking of the various versions of Busoni's Fantasia Contrapuntistica, but it would be better to use the second piano to thicken the textures rather than adding the weird excursions that Naoumoff overlays.
3  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Mussorgsky but not Ravel on: November 12, 2017, 08:22:51 am
I didn't mention jazz and rock versions. Of the latter, the best known is that by Emerson Lake and Palmer from way back in the days of 70s prog rock, but there is also a more recent one by the German group Mekong Delta. Just listening to the introduction and first promenade (I didn't have the stamina for any more) of the Mekong Delta version shows the limitations. It's a very literal reading, but the use of electric guitars robs the music of any character.
4  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Mussorgsky but not Ravel on: November 11, 2017, 03:34:53 pm
Back in the days before the internet, when my main source of music was BBC Radio 3, I conceived an interest in the alternative orchestrations of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition", given that it was so rarely one got a chance to hear anything other than the Ravel version. I managed to capture a couple on tape, but it was a rare event.

So I thought it would be interesting to see how many orchestrations I could track down today on YouTube. The answer is: quite a few. Here are some links; not a complete list. I exclude versions for organ (many), versions for wind band or wind ensemble (also numerous), and peculiar instrumental arrangements like guitar, or trombone and piano (!).


This was the first ever orchestration. Tushmalov was a pupil of Rimsky - there is no R-K version, surprisingly.


Sir Henry Wood's 1915 orchestration was the first after Tushmalov.







Saraste's version is actually a compilation of Funtek and Gorchakov.

Cohen (Strings):

Leonard (Pf & orch.)

This is a woefully bad performance.

Naoumoff (Pf & orch)

Gamley (finale only):

I include this last one, despite it being only one movement, because my father had it on an old LP, and for YEARS I wondered whose orchestration it was. At last I've found out! It adds men's voices and organ into the mix. Quite over-the-top but needs to be heard.

There is also a version by Leonard Slatkin in which each picture is clipped from a different orchestration; done for a BBC documentary:

Probably my favourite is the Stokowski, but really, I prefer the piano original to all of them.

5  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Addiobelpassato on: November 11, 2017, 11:20:29 am
I just came across this channel today. It is mostly non-obscure repertoire, but a lot of historical performances and quite a lot to explore, so I post it here:
6  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Composers under National Socialism on: November 05, 2017, 07:42:17 am
I guess we could start a thread called "Composers under Communism"  hope those would not want to burn all the scores also.

Hardly necessary, since that subject is widely discussed and the composers are well-known. What happened to music in NDSAP Germany is more of a black hole.
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958) on: November 02, 2017, 08:24:03 am
Another Finnish composer whose music stands well outside the Finnish mainstream of its time and who equally deserves more recognition is the remarkable Ernest Pingoud (1887-1942) who, similarly, suffered from the rejection of the Finnish musical establishment and was also accused of "musical Bolshevism". Pingoud committed suicide. Merikanto drank too much (but then Sibelius did too Sad).

Pingoud is something of a favourite of mine. His music is not at all difficult, and I don't know why he was so rejected.

IIRC, he threw himself under a train in Helsinki Central Station.
8  Little-known music of all eras / Notice of interesting concerts around the world / Sven-David Sandström premiere on: November 02, 2017, 08:18:51 am
Five Pieces for Piano and Orchestra
9  Little-known music of all eras / Notice of interesting concerts around the world / Re: Glass Symphony No. 11 on: October 31, 2017, 11:11:47 pm
Late report back - it was interesting that in the programme notes, the composer compares his 11th to his 8th and 9th symphonies, with no mention of the 10th. However, I don't think that those who disparage Glass #10 will be enthusiastic about #11.

It was the first time I had been in the Sage at Gateshead, and I have to say I was most impressed by the acoustics. The second half of the concert was given over to Rachmaninoff's 2nd symphony, and I found I was noticing details of the orchestration I had never noticed before, and it's a work I have heard many times. It's a work supposedly influenced by Tchaikovsky, but it seemed to me that Borodin is a much stronger influence - and I had never noticed that before.
10  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Re: 'Midi' performances on: October 30, 2017, 11:53:14 pm
Well, digging around, I found this -
11  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Maconchy on Lyrita on: October 30, 2017, 11:50:47 pm
I can hear some of them on Spotify, at least!
12  Little-known music of all eras / Youtube performances / Re: 'Midi' performances on: October 30, 2017, 07:36:47 pm
This is an interesting question. Basically, I will thole an electronic reconstruction if the work is something I really want to hear badly. So if I had a special interest in Eduard Artemiev, I'd be grateful for this link - and I have heard worse.

But it brings me to a related topic, which is music for computer games. This is big business now, and getting to be comparable to film music. You may recall the hoo-hah about the "Hiroshima Symphony" - the guy who apparently DID compose the work was listed as being a games music composer by profession. Long gone are the days when computer games were put together by some teenager in his bedroom, with a beepy tune for soundtrack. Today's games have big budgets, and there are some clever people writing the music for them.

Often a big-name game will have a full orchestral score with one or two hours of music in total, and if one scrutinises the credits one can see that, yes, an orchestra (and often a choir) were the performers. But I have also heard it said that sometimes there is no orchestra, and the music is performed on a synthesiser using samples. If so, it suggests that with a big enough budget, one can get a much more realistic sound than comes out of, say, a play-through in Sibelius. I should see if I can find an example.
13  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Maconchy on Lyrita on: October 30, 2017, 07:19:34 pm
The other day I was in a secondhand bookshop in Birnam (of all places) with a remarkably good selection of CDs. One thing I spotted was this:

- which I didn't know existed. But I'm trying not to buy more CDs until I've played all the ones I've got!
14  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you listening to today? on: October 30, 2017, 07:13:10 pm
There was some discussion recently of Sacheverell Coke's piano concertos - I have discovered his 24 preludes have been recorded -

They are well worth hearing - somewhere between Rachmaninoff and Scriabin.
15  Little-known music of all eras / Coming broadcasts and listen-later links / Re: Gordon Crosse: Symphony No. 3 "Between Despair and Dawn" (world premiere) on: October 30, 2017, 07:08:27 pm
A work completed six years ago. I'm reminded of the way that the premiere of Rubbra's 10th symphony was squirrelled away by the BBC in a lunchtime concert - to some outrage, I'm glad to say.
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