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Henk Badings - Ninth Symphony


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Author Topic: Henk Badings - Ninth Symphony  (Read 835 times)
guest54
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« on: May 20, 2014, 09:50:42 am »

Firstly, may I express the hope that some more members will soon be stimulated to publish their reviews here from time to time. Just imagine, if fifty people contribute a weekly review of something from the archives that they have been listening to!

The next item I have selected at random, knowing nothing about it, is the Ninth Symphony of Henk Badings (1907 to 1998), kindly contributed by member Elroel. Badings was born in Bandung, and was sent to the Netherlands in 1915 as an orphan. His prize-winning First Symphony was given its first performance by the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1930, and aroused the interest of press and public. Despite that success, the composer later withdrew it!

In the 1950s he began to experiment with new scales, micro-intervals and diverse acoustical phenomena. This resulted in the development, in conjunction with A.D. Fokker, of a 31-note scale based on ideas formulated by Christiaan Huygens in the seventeenth century. The microtonal system (with the diesis as the smallest interval) allowed for a finer control of overtones as well as leading to experimentation with different kinds of tuning. Badings also worked in the electronic studio at Delft. His guiding principle throughout was to realize previously unavailable pitches, timbres and rhythms. (Incidentally there are a number of differing dictionary definitions of diesis - does any one know which is applicable in the case of Badings?)

Back to this Ninth Symphony. It did not turn out to be quite what I had expected. It is in fact a short work (sixteen minutes), for string orchestra alone. There are three movements. In the first (seven minutes) a tremolo introduction is followed by a vigorous allegro, full of the dense and complex harmony which so attracts me in other Badings compositions I have previously heard. A memorable pizzicato passage over tremolo bass is followed by a return of the initial vigorous theme, wherewith the movement ends. As is so often the case in twentieth-century music, many of the rhythmic and textural ideas are derived from Stravinsky's Rite. I think that for Badings the textures were largely the point of his music.

The second movement (five minutes) consists mainly of a rhapsodic violin solo over advanced and beautiful harmony.

And the final movement (four minutes) is fast and frantic with a touch of Walton and more of those delightfully dense textures. But this symphony cannot in any sense be described as deep.
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 07:20:39 am »

Firstly, may I express the hope that some more members will soon be stimulated to publish their reviews here from time to time. Just imagine, if fifty people contribute a weekly review of something from the archives that they have been listening to!

The next item I have selected at random, knowing nothing about it, is the Ninth Symphony of Henk Badings (1907 to 1998), kindly contributed by member Elroel. Badings was born in Bandung, and was sent to the Netherlands in 1915 as an orphan. His prize-winning First Symphony was given its first performance by the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1930, and aroused the interest of press and public. Despite that success, the composer later withdrew it!

In the 1950s he began to experiment with new scales, micro-intervals and diverse acoustical phenomena. This resulted in the development, in conjunction with A.D. Fokker, of a 31-note scale based on ideas formulated by Christiaan Huygens in the seventeenth century. The microtonal system (with the diesis as the smallest interval) allowed for a finer control of overtones as well as leading to experimentation with different kinds of tuning. Badings also worked in the electronic studio at Delft. His guiding principle throughout was to realize previously unavailable pitches, timbres and rhythms. (Incidentally there are a number of differing dictionary definitions of diesis - does any one know which is applicable in the case of Badings?)

Back to this Ninth Symphony. It did not turn out to be quite what I had expected. It is in fact a short work (sixteen minutes), for string orchestra alone. There are three movements. In the first (seven minutes) a tremolo introduction is followed by a vigorous allegro, full of the dense and complex harmony which so attracts me in other Badings compositions I have previously heard. A memorable pizzicato passage over tremolo bass is followed by a return of the initial vigorous theme, wherewith the movement ends. As is so often the case in twentieth-century music, many of the rhythmic and textural ideas are derived from Stravinsky's Rite. I think that for Badings the textures were largely the point of his music.

Sydney - I think this is very fine idea, because music is useless unless shared. I think this may go a long way for members here and  I hope the reviews are civil and informative.

Although I am not an academic, I can't help feeling that (in general) Badings wrote from the head, and not the heart..sometimes sounding "engineered" as his earlier background apparently followed him into his musical career. Perhaps a tone poem or ballet would change my mind if he has written any.

But while most music in this genre is distasteful to me, I think Badings is so clever he does make for some very interesting music.
Perhaps the 9th is an example..I will listen soon.. thanks for starting this..
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 07:39:14 am »

Sydney:
I think this inportant post re Badings reminded me that he can write in a lighter mode, quoite a bit of his music here:
Please read:

http://artmusic.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,3403.msg18108.html#msg18108
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 06:39:10 pm »

I don't know Badings's 9th but I have heard the 10th, which is about 19 mins and in the conventional four movements, for full orchestra. The first movement can be added to the "things strongly influenced by Hindemith" list.

Badings is one of those composers whose reputation never quite recovered from the taint of collaboration during WW 2.
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2014, 03:29:25 am »

I suffered a minute or two of excrutiating terror when I went to my downloaded music collection to find that my Henk Badings collection had entirely disappeared. I must have inadvertently deleted the entire folder containing eleven symphonies, five concertos and assorted other orchestral pieces Roll Eyes

..........fortunately, I back everything up to an external hard drive and the Badings folder is still there Smiley Smiley  This does demonstrate the vital importance of backing everything up. Many of these Badings works might well have been unrecoverable.

My own favourite Badings compositions date from the 1930s and early 1940s. The Second, Third and Fourth Symphonies are all works of considerable power. CPO desperately need to continue the cycle they started and record the Fourth(1943) and Fifth(1949) Symphonies
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2014, 06:26:44 am »

I don't know Badings's 9th but I have heard the 10th, which is about 19 mins and in the conventional four movements, for full orchestra. The first movement can be added to the "things strongly influenced by Hindemith" list.

Badings is one of those composers whose reputation never quite recovered from the taint of collaboration during WW 2.
I truly hope that is not the case, we should all be weary (and wary) of those raising issues of collaboration with evil...these were very dark days and one does what one must do to protect their loved ones from an omnipotent despotic government.
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2014, 06:41:37 am »

I found the piece to be quite fascinating.
Once you get beyond the chilling and shrieking start..the work that unfolds is quite engaging. Although it is quite a restless caustic piece, it has many remarkable passages and effects which will hold your interest to the
very end. Atonal??..perhaps..but clever memorable themes none the less, and the ending is exhillerating.
I found it difficult to find comparisions to any one else, the use of percussive and whirring strings was quite extraordinary. I guess Bartok came to mind, especially in the slow movement, but the orchestration and development was much more dense.
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guest54
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2014, 07:39:05 am »

Sydney:
I think this important post re Badings reminded me that he can write in a lighter mode, quite a bit of his music here:
Please read:

http://artmusic.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,3403.msg18108.html#msg18108

Thanks for reminding us of those broadcasts Roger! All the links still work, and I have now downloaded the second symphony and the twelfth. (I wrote a thread some time ago describing how to do such a download: http://artmusic.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,404.0.html and the method still works.) The second symphony is certainly very different from the ninth, both in style and in intention!
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guest54
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2014, 07:43:10 am »

. . . fortunately, I back everything up to an external hard drive and the Badings folder is still there Smiley Smiley  This does demonstrate the vital importance of backing everything up. . . .

Indeed I go a little further, and keep three copies of everything (one original and two backups, if you like - three external drives).
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Jolly Roger
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2014, 11:15:01 pm »

Sydney:
I think this important post re Badings reminded me that he can write in a lighter mode, quite a bit of his music here:
Please read:

http://artmusic.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,3403.msg18108.html#msg18108

Thanks for reminding us of those broadcasts Roger! All the links still work, and I have now downloaded the second symphony and the twelfth. (I wrote a thread some time ago describing how to do such a download: http://artmusic.smfforfree.com/index.php/topic,404.0.html and the method still works.) The second symphony is certainly very different from the ninth, both in style and in intention!

Sydney-
Thanks for the download link..I have been recording live for years, and slowly incrementing the player to the selection I want.
In the case of all nite concerts, this has been very tedious and sometimes I have to leave the computer on all night if I can't increment to the part I want.
On another note:
I have an administrative suggestion..
After I download or record a piece, I update the comment section of the mp3 tag file pasting the text of composer, title and the other existing documentation. That way I don't need to look for or worry about retaining a separate text file with that information and the source. If uploaders at A&M would follow the same practices, it would be very helpful..I also update the title and artists (performers fields) to make it easier to catalogue. If this is being done, it is not done consistently.
If you like, I can send a sample to illustrate.
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Gauk
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2014, 08:21:43 am »

The problem is that the mp3 metadata system is only designed to work for pop music. Most music software is keyed to sort on "artist" (who is actually the guy who designs the CD cover), which is very unhelpful, and if you browse about on the likes of Spotify you can find works that are impossible to identify. You get the performer and title only (which could be "Prelude").

I put the composer in the "artist" field, the movement title ("I. Allegro") for "track", and the title of the whole piece ("Symphony no 3") as the "album". This loses the performers, but I can live without that.
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« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 06:04:09 pm »

The problem is that the mp3 metadata system is only designed to work for pop music. Most music software is keyed to sort on "artist" (who is actually the guy who designs the CD cover), which is very unhelpful, and if you browse about on the likes of Spotify you can find works that are impossible to identify. You get the performer and title only (which could be "Prelude").

I put the composer in the "artist" field, the movement title ("I. Allegro") for "track", and the title of the whole piece ("Symphony no 3") as the "album". This loses the performers, but I can live without that.
I am suggesting for cataloging ones personal collection and for ease of access with normal search tools, and certainly not for compatibility with any music software I sometimes ad the opus and year in the same field. It greatly eases my ability to find, sort and list things I already have by simply putting both the composer(last name,First) and title in the title line and using simple search tools. There are also tools for accessing the tag
fields. Adding to the comments and accessing the properties field is just more gravy for me..I also add the actual performers in the artists line.
Sorry, but since I have zero interest in today's pop music, I am suggesting it for classical only.
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Gauk
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 07:57:30 am »

Sorry, but since I have zero interest in today's pop music, I am suggesting it for classical only.

That's taken for granted. My point is that the system was created by people who know nothing about anything except pop music. Why is there an "artist" line - for van Gogh? Why are there not tags for "orchestra", "conductor", "pianist" etc? Why is there a tag for "album"? So you can collect stamps? It's all predicated on pop music.
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2014, 09:31:25 am »

Sorry, but since I have zero interest in today's pop music, I am suggesting it for classical only.

That's taken for granted. My point is that the system was created by people who know nothing about anything except pop music. Why is there an "artist" line - for van Gogh? Why are there not tags for "orchestra", "conductor", "pianist" etc? Why is there a tag for "album"? So you can collect stamps? It's all predicated on pop music.
Yes, it is "unprofessional" and "semantically oblique"..but by manually populating the tag fields( esp COMMENTS) to embed the documentation I will not be searching for it elsewhere. Now back to the main thread,,
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