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Spohr's Ninth


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« on: October 09, 2013, 02:16:14 am »

Spohr's Ninth Symphony - to-day the 9th of October from Czech Radio at around 14:15 middle-European time:

Schedule: http://program.rozhlas.cz/stanice/2013-10-09?st=3

Listen live: http://prehravac.rozhlas.cz/vltava
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2013, 01:09:24 pm »

Spohr's Ninth Symphony - to-day the 9th of October from Czech Radio at around 14:15 middle-European time:

Schedule: http://program.rozhlas.cz/stanice/2013-10-09?st=3

Listen live: http://prehravac.rozhlas.cz/vltava

Good for them! I love the Spohr symphonies. Love the quirky,individuality of his orchestration. A wonderful underrated cycle of symphonies by an unfairly maligned and neglected minor master. Of course some people feel differently,I know;but I likes 'em and I can quite happily listen to them for hours on end without boredom. The Hyperion cycle is wonderful. Wish the same team would give us some Rubinstein. Those Marco Polo and Russian Disc recordings just aren't good enough!! Angry I would particularly like to hear the First,Second,Fourth & Fifth in really first class recordings. In the short term it might be a good idea if someone was to reissue the old Vox/Turnabout recording of the 'Ocean' symphony,which as far as I can make out,has never been released in cd format. I remember getting out of Haverfordwest library (in Pembrokeshire) all those years ago. I have an idea it was preferable to the Russian Disc/Delos release.
At this point,I have to admit,I DO actually enjoy some of Anton Rubinstein's music!! Huh Shocked Grin
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2013, 01:36:14 pm »

A wonderful underrated cycle of symphonies by an unfairly maligned and neglected minor master.

Yes, and Spohr's operas - notably Faust, Jessonda, and Der Alchymist - are all excellent works too Smiley
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 02:14:30 pm »

I think one of the 'problems' with Spohr is he fell off such a high pedestal. And of course comparisons with people like a certain Ludwig van Beethoven. I think he's just different. Forget comparisons and just enjoy Spohr for being Spohr! And just look at the Seventh symphony. I can't think of another nineteenth century symphony like it. I think it deserves a place in the repertory. But I would,wouldn't I?!! Grin
His chamber music is delectable. It tickles the ear buds. A very satisfying composer and allot better than Rubinstein,even if I like some of his music. In fact,if I were to rate Spohr,Rubinstein and Raff,another once highly regarded composer,I think I might place them thus (in order of merit):

Spohr


Raff



Rubinstein

Although,having placed them thus,I must confess to preferring Rubinstein to Raff in terms of the enjoyment I get out of the two composers!! Huh Shocked
Spohr,though,is on another level of inspiration imho!




I'm not so familiar with Spohr's operas,I'm afraid,Neil. As a fairly recent convert to the 'Spohr cause' this is an omission I seriously need to rectify!!
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 03:00:58 pm »


I'm not so familiar with Spohr's operas,I'm afraid,Neil. As a fairly recent convert to the 'Spohr cause' this is an omission I seriously need to rectify!!


Aha, I envy you - you have much excellent music ahead of you Smiley)  Unfortunately Spohr fits that category of Unsung composers who have suffered from poor performances in the past - y'know, the "we might be third-rate, but you have no other chance to hear this work" kind of performance Sad Thankfully things are improving slowly now!

I'm really surprised there are not more German productions of his works?  He's not due for an anniversary soon, either Sad 

Quote
Spohr / Raff / Rubinstein

I'm always tempted to group Hummel. Marschner and Mayr in with that group Wink  "People who would have been famous if it hadn't been for Beethoven" Wink
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 03:59:19 pm »

Yes,I suppose not having heard something does have a good side! Roll Eyes Grin But not before it's too late,of course!! Sad Grin
With respect to Marschner. After hearing cds of his operas,I must say I have been rather impressed. Listening to 'Hans Heiling' and 'Der Vampyr',it's hard to understand why emi didn't record one,or both of these,back in the days when they were recording Lortzing's delectable operas with starry casts. Of course,Lortzing wasn't so good when he was trying anything out of lighthearted singspiel territory;which is why it's difficult to understand why Lortzing's 'Undine' would get a recording and not the splendidly dark outpouring of gothic gloom that 'Der Vampyr' is! Not that 'Undine' shouldn't have been recorded,but Marschner's opera (and 'Heiling') are both finer examples. Even Kienzl's,admittedly,very enjoyable (and at the time very obscure)curio,'Der Evangelimann' garnered a a starrily cast,all stops pulled out studio recording from emi,before they ditched any last iota of creativity and went totally commercial and boring! Sad
Why no studio Marschner?!! Sad Angry
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 04:43:21 pm »

I have to put my hand up to not knowing Hans Heiling - I've just never had the opportunity Sad

I know what you mean about Der Vampyr ! I imagine we'll never be able to recreate the 'shock' element the piece must have had when it first appeared. It had a UK Channel-4 television broadcast - a sort of schlock-horror thing done by Janet Street-Porter of all people (before she became professionally working-class, that is). It starred the very talented Omar Ebrahim, with whom I'd previously done an ENO Touring version of FIDELIO... a very similar kind of role for him Smiley  He was the most frightening Pizarro you might have hoped to see!

And in fact this where these early-romantic pieces score for me - they're conceived as dramatic works, and when shorn of their visual effects (for cd, or in concert performance) they don't deliver the punch that was intended. I would rush to a staged Der Vampyr - but not to a cd recording Smiley

I know this sounds like me being an old luvvy again, of course Smiley  But I remain convinced that there's a corpus of opera where listening to the music alone only delivers half the shilling Smiley  Although I'll also concede there's another repertoire of opera whose plots, action and settings are so preposterous, weak, or frankly laughable that they're better done in concert performances Smiley  (We discussed this genre of "Proms Operas" on another forum a few years ago now).  Of course we could make a long list of the latter - Benvenuto Cellini and Pelleas et Melisande would top my list Wink
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 07:19:35 pm »

I enjoy listening to them;but obviously,notwithstanding the fact that the radio and gramophone were non existent at the time of their conception,it doesn't make much sense to just listen to them. Of course some operas fare better than others. Marschner's Der Vampyr is a case in point. I can get by with Lortzing's Der Wildschutz;but,apart from the fact that the Marschner has a very strong dramatic element,Lord Ruthven is a powerful role which can only benefit from a staged performance with a singer who is preferably as good at acting as he is at singing. Watching as well as listening also helps to draw you into the actual drama,forget about unimportant things like the fact that he's a vampire who drinks the blood of young virgins and focus instead on the fact that he's actually a three dimensional character with emotions and feelings. In a sense,if you want to make a populist comparison,more True Blood Season 1 (before it got too silly) than Christopher Lee Hammer Horror! What  makes Marschner's opera so good is that he sees Lord Ruthven as something more than just a brainless blood sucker. The vampire plot line is just a handy vehicle. Unlike say Meyerbeer,Marschner isn't just out to shock. In fact,despite his morbid inclinations (I'm not an expert on Marschner,I got this from the Marco Polo booklet!) I get the feeling that in many ways the sensationalist plot line  wasn't really that important.

With respect to 'Hans Heiling'. I like this opera. It has a more 'folksy' atmosphere than 'Der Vampyr',which strikes me as the finer of the two operas. Talking of Lortzing;I see cpo have brought out a recording of 'Regina',which is rated highly by some of his admirers. Good! Smiley Hopefully,they might explore some of Marschner's 'other' operas in due course.

NB: I couldn't resist Spohr's 'Faust' so I've ordered the cpo set,anyway! Smiley Reznicek's 'Ritter Blaubart' opera is also in the post,courtesy of some enthusiastic reviews I've read. It sounds very intriguing. Hopefully,I won't be disappointed!
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2013, 06:45:57 am »

Considering that he was a virtuoso violinist, my beef with Spohr centers on his violin concertos.  IMHO, his finest work in the concerto form is his 1st clarinet concerto, followed closely by his 2nd.  Nothing he composed for his own instrument is remotely as original as those two clarinet concertos.  I find the violin concertos almost stultifyingly conventional - even the 8th.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2013, 08:50:03 am »

In a sense,if you want to make a populist comparison,more True Blood Season 1 (before it got too silly) than Christopher Lee Hammer Horror! What  makes Marschner's opera so good is that he sees Lord Ruthven as something more than just a brainless blood sucker. The vampire plot line is just a handy vehicle.


Yes, I'd agree absolutely with that! Smiley

Hope you enjoy the Faust recording Smiley
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Gauk
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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2013, 09:40:14 am »

  Unfortunately Spohr fits that category of Unsung composers who have suffered from poor performances in the past - y'know, the "we might be third-rate, but you have no other chance to hear this work" kind of performance Sad Thankfully things are improving slowly now!


On the other hand, if you ARE a 3rd rate ensemble, you might as well massacre Spohr as massacre Beethoven. At least people have some reason to attend the concert then.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2013, 10:28:25 am »

On the other hand, if you ARE a 3rd rate ensemble, you might as well massacre Spohr as massacre Beethoven. At least people have some reason to attend the concert then.

The luckless conductor of one such ensemble once phrased this to me slightly differently - "We've got more chance of getting away with it -  because the audience don't know the piece, and won't recognise the mistakes so easily".

Sad
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cilgwyn
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2013, 02:13:22 pm »

In a sense,if you want to make a populist comparison,more True Blood Season 1 (before it got too silly) than Christopher Lee Hammer Horror! What  makes Marschner's opera so good is that he sees Lord Ruthven as something more than just a brainless blood sucker. The vampire plot line is just a handy vehicle.


Yes, I'd agree absolutely with that! Smiley

Hope you enjoy the Faust recording Smiley
Thank you,I hope so too! Grin Meanwhile Reznicek's 'Ritter Blaubart' has popped through the letterbox! Great sound quality. Excellent cast! Nice (cartoonish) cover artwork. Readable notes (not bad for cpo! Grin). An english translation of the libretto. This is the way to resuscitate obscurities like this! No half measures. This kind of repertory needs all the help it can get!

The Spohr Faust has a couple of enthusiastic reviews on Amazon,so I'm looking forward to this one. Since I bought it from a us based seller (low price) I'll probably have to wait a little while! It'll be interesting to compare it with that famous one!!
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