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1  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Urspruch Symphony and Piano concerto on: December 24, 2017, 12:30:50 am
Great news! I listened to Urspruch's PC on YT and it was lovely.
2  Little-known music of all eras / Notice of interesting concerts around the world / Re: Joseph Marx - Eine Herbstsinfonie on: November 24, 2017, 01:50:04 am
As you may know, we already have a recording of Feste im Herbst, which is an independent version of the symphony's final movement:

Oh yes, I know that recording - Feste im Herbst is a wonderful work Smiley
3  Little-known music of all eras / Notice of interesting concerts around the world / Re: Joseph Marx - Eine Herbstsinfonie on: November 22, 2017, 04:08:58 pm
Great news! Here's hoping for a commercial recording...
4  Little-known music of all eras / Works on the wireless / Re: Kurt Atterberg - Piano Concerto opus 37 (1936) on: November 14, 2017, 05:54:20 pm
Great work - one of my favorite piano concertos. The slow movement, as always with Atterberg, is very beautiful and atmospheric.
5  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: A Symphonies Game on: November 08, 2017, 07:33:32 pm
Elgar 1
Rachmaninoff 2
Saint-Saens 3
Braga Santos 4
Atterberg 5
Vaughan Williams 6
Sibelius 7
Dvorak 8
Mahler 9
Shostakovich 10

...and an alternate list, 'cause why not?:

Martinu 1
Hanson 2
Honegger 3
Schmidt 4
Arnold 5
Bax 6
Beethoven 7
Glazunov 8
Bruckner 9
Holmboe 10

It really pained me to leave out Brahms and Nielsen (amongst others), but the competition is just too stiff Sad
6  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you listening to today? on: November 04, 2017, 05:34:12 am
Tonight, Palmgren's Piano Concerto no. 2 The River (from a new Alba CD) and Tubin's Symphony no. 6 (Jarvi/BIS). The former is a wonderfully atmospheric and inspiriting score which takes Rachmaninoff as a starting point, but Palmgren has an individual voice. The latter is thunderous, percussive work which is notable for its RVW-esque use of a malevolent, sleazy solo saxophone. I find the hushed ending to be quite moving.
7  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Re: Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958) on: November 02, 2017, 05:50:20 am
Just listened to Merikanto's Symphony no. 2 and was very impressed. It's quite an individual work which escapes the long shadow of Sibelius quite successfully - Merikanto's orchestration (which is phenomenal) and harmonies have more of a Gallic tinge to them. For a so-titled War Symphony, the work gets off to a pretty upbeat start, and while there is drama in the first movement, the real emotional meat of the piece is found in the dark slow movement (notable for its trombone glissandi at the climax). The first and final movements contain some superbly warm-hearted, life-affirming melodies that will make me want to return to this work soon.
8  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you listening to today? on: October 31, 2017, 05:45:46 am
Bernstein: Symphony no. 2 The Age of Anxiety (Thibaudet/Alsop/Baltimore SO). Not sure why I had ignored this work for so long. It gets off to a bit of slow start, but Part II contains some of Bernstein's finest music. That ending is glorious!
9  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Volkmar Andreae (1879-1962) on: October 23, 2017, 06:43:30 pm
This definitely seems like a candidate for the "least amount of replies" thread, but here goes Grin

Andreae (1879-1962) was a Swiss composer who is (relatively) better known today as a conductor who led the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich from 1906-1949 and made some noted Bruckner recordings. His music had not come to light until the Swiss label Guild recently started recording it. These recordings have been released with little fanfare, but those who have heard them have nothing but words of praise. Stylistically, Andreae was hardly an advanced composer, and that probably accounts for his neglect over the years. His earlier works are rather Brahmsian (with a hint of Grieg) but still with a stamp of individuality, and gradually his music began to absorb French influences (Faure and impressionism) and the contemporary fin-de-siècle styles of Schreker, Zemlinsky, et al. Like that of Frank Martin, his music epitomizes the mixture of Germanic and French influences in Switzerland.

So far, I have heard both his piano trios, both his symphonies, his Piano Concerto, and his Konzertstuck for piano and orchestra, and they are all pieces of great melodic inspiration and emotion. His First Piano Trio, op. 1, is a highly impressive premiere opus that has Brahmsian influences but with a distinct freshness and textural openness that is quite individual. The melodies will get stuck in your head for days! The Second Piano Trio is a more elusive but powerful work where the influence of Faure is quite apparent. The early, unpublished Symphony in F is notable for its remarkably poignant slow movement. The later Symphony in C is a highly individual work that moves from a dark, chromatic beginning through a powerful funeral march (echoes of Schmidt's Fourth Symphony) to a blazingly triumphant finale. And the Konzertstuck is 15 minutes of late-romantic piano and orchestra bliss. I greatly look forward to exploring the rest of his output!

Most of his modest output has been recorded by Guild, with the exception of his two operas and some of his choral/orchestral music. Marc Andreae, the composer’s grandson, leads excellent recordings of the orchestral works, and equally fine soloists and chamber ensembles are featured as well.  All of these recordings can be accessed on YouTube and Spotify, and I’ll provide some links below:

Symphony in C:


Piano Trio no. 1 – first movement:

Slow movement of Symphony in F:

In short, I cannot understand why Andreae’s music is not better known. It is memorable, highly melodic, and expertly scored. Anyone else familiar with it?
10  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you listening to today? on: October 23, 2017, 06:39:49 pm
Yesterday, Respighi's Church Windows (Philharmonia Orchestra/Geoffrey Simon on Chandos). That final movement, in particular, is absolutely magnificent!
11  About music in general / The listener / Re: What are you listening to today? on: October 20, 2017, 06:10:29 am
Tubin's Symphony no. 2 The Legendary with Jarvi/Swedish Radio SO on BIS. An absolutely stunning work.
12  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Rudolf Escher (1912-1980) on: October 11, 2017, 06:52:26 pm
Escher's Musique pour l'esprit en deuil for orchestra is a truly remarkable WWII-era piece that vividly reflects the spirit of the times. To my ears, it is a very individual work that doesn't really sound like much else that I've heard - perhaps Honegger is the closest point of comparison. The orchestration is constantly ear-catching. Do yourself a favour and check it out:

His Sonata concertante for cello and piano is another striking, turmoil-filled work that reaches an ecstatic, hard-won conclusion:

I'm really looking forward to exploring the rest of Escher's modest output. Based on what I've heard, he's a highly individual composer who deserves much wider attention. Any other admirers of Escher's music?
13  Little-known music of all eras / Discussion of obscure composers / Aarre Merikanto (1893-1958) on: October 06, 2017, 06:51:41 am
This disc has been one of my best discoveries of recent years:

The Piano Concerto no. 2 is an immensely appealing work that is notable for its episodes of quasi-Rachmaninoffian lushness. The outer movements of the Piano Concerto no. 3 are in a more spiky neoclassical style with resonances of Prokofiev and Bartok, but the middle movement (Pietá) is one of the most exquisitely beautiful movements I've ever heard. Its state of serene calm recalls the slow movement of the Ravel G major concerto. There is a brief, troubled middle section before the music returns to its opening calm in the form of a violin and piano duet. At only five and a half minutes in length I wish it were twice as long, but it still manages to transport me to another world in this amount of time. Here's the link to this extraordinary movement:

The remarkably concise Two Studies for Small Orchestra and Two Pieces for Orchestra on the same Ondine CD are also very much well worth checking out.

I've also listened to Merikanto's Concerto for Violin, Clarinet, Horn, and String Sextet (Schott Concerto), which is another wonderful work in a dark, densely chromatic style. Judging from what I've heard, Merikanto is a highly individual composer deserving of much wider attention. Interestingly, his style seems to have virtually nothing in common with his contemporary Sibelius, being much more cosmopolitan in outlook. I'm greatly looking forward to exploring his three symphonies and other works. Any other fans of his music here?
14  Little-known music of all eras / New recordings / Re: Lyrita futures on: September 17, 2017, 10:43:01 pm
Completely agree with you, Colin, about many British composers' natural ability to write great "big tunes". In addition to Lloyd, I would single out Malcolm Arnold as another talented writer of "big tunes". The most affecting of these is that of the slow movement of his Fifth Symphony, which has an almost Mahlerian poignancy. The theme returns near the end of the finale in grandiose, Hollywoodesque fashion, before a shattering E minor chord plunges the music into the abyss (one of the most astonishing endings in all of classical music, IMO). There are also great big tunes in his First (near the end), Fourth (second theme of first movement), and Seventh (second theme of first movement) Symphonies. Also, there are some examples of great "big tunes" in Alwyn's output, notably near the end of his Second Symphony and in the first movement of his Piano Concerto no. 2.
15  Preliminaries / Greetings / Re: Is this excellent forum 'dying' ? on: September 16, 2017, 01:19:48 am
Yeah, this forum is quite a bit quieter now than it was a couple years ago. I'll try to contribute as much as I can, but I'm a busy man these days! Smiley
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