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1  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Encores on: May 11, 2016, 11:46:09 pm
I can't imagine what on earth could be programmed after "A Survivor From Warsaw", for example.
One possibility: Iain Hamilton, Epitaph for This World and Time.
2  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Individual composers / Re: Robert Simpson on: April 05, 2016, 05:20:05 am
When Richter was conducting in London, he noted how unreceptive local audiences were to native-born composers whose music he promoted. Things seemed to turn around between Elgar and Britten. Not so much any more, apparently.

That said, there's plenty of interest in British music all over. The whole world mourned the death of David Bowie, and the Rolling Stones just made headlines playing in Havana.

Similarly, there's worldwide interest in addition -- it's used virtually everywhere; subtraction, too, although in the U.S. subtraction is beyond some cashiers at fast food restaurants. Interest in differential equations tends to be limited, of course, even though the power of differential equations to model real-world processes is well known.

So thank goodness for companies that publish recordings of classical music! They bring us higher music the way that university presses bring us higher mathematics.

3  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Re: "Servilia" - opera by Rimsky-Korsakov on: March 30, 2016, 06:29:25 am
I hope an opportunity will arise in the near future to hear the full five-act version and incidentally to compare it with The Czar's Bride, another historical (as opposed to folk or fairy tale) Rimsky opera, written just a few before.

Interesting that Stephen Muir's English translation of the libretto to Servilia is available at
4  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: British string quartets on: February 29, 2016, 11:55:02 pm
I find your industry inspirational, violinconcerto, and I don't doubt that over time your advocacy will affect the way stories about classical music are told.
5  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: The Great American Piano Sonata on: February 29, 2016, 11:49:57 pm
Thank you, all, for your entertaining responses to my earlier post! Humor aside, I think that Gauk's original thread-defining post touched a deep fault line in U.S. culture. Geniuses like Whitman and Ives surely explored  paths of aesthetic experience not previously known, even by giants like Goethe and Wagner. And they were indisputably American in mien as well as birth. The 'problem' is that they lived in a particular cultural moment, one that has long since gone underground. Gifted and challenging originals from just slightly later cultural moments such as, say, Chandler Brossard and Harry Partch are essentially irrelevant in today's art world, far more so than the academic crowd, so often functioning as courtiers of academia, far more so even than the appealing early outlier Anthony David Heinrich. No music can be great until heard on its own terms.
6  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: The Great American Piano Sonata on: February 29, 2016, 01:03:23 am
The Great American Fill-In-The-Blank is a middle-class dream from the first half of the twentieth century, back when the middle class still felt (though to a lesser degree than is seen in James's "Daisy Miller") that part of being upwardly mobile was aspiring to the putative tastes of the upper class. The dream stars that white kid who writes tunes any palooka can understand but who also wows the highbrows. The important thing is he's not hanging out at Big Sur composing for the starry sky. On the contrary, he's urban and hits the big time and, most importantly, gets rich.

If anyone still alive has lived that dream, it's Paul McCartney, starting with "Yesterday." He certainly has a pied-a-terre in the U.S., but I don't think he has written a piano sonata. Maybe Billy Joel has.  But nobody's interested in that dream anymore. Today's middle class aspires to street cred, not salon cred.
7  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Re: Possible Lyrita issues from the Itter Broadcast Collection? on: January 25, 2016, 10:32:56 pm
He's the supreme careerist who wants to be a pop-star.

Surely the same charge could be leveled at Karajan --- with even more justice.

Nonetheless, Karajan was a longtime favorite with me, while for decades I thought Rattles were chiefly useful for Snakes and Babies. Lately, however, in my dotage (and his) I've come to appreciate Rattle more. I steeled myself to listen to his Bruckner 9, but that turned out to be more about me than about him. Not a performance for the ages, perhaps, but an aspirational performance, not a kapellmeisterisch (in a different sense, careerist) one.
8  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Individual composers / Re: The Boston Six on: January 25, 2016, 10:13:07 pm
On the off chance that some scrap of info in it might prove interesting, I'll mention an old review of Foote orchestral music on US Amazon:
9  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: A timeline of symphonies from 1900-1945 on: January 25, 2016, 10:07:59 pm
These things are personal, of course, but Enescu rises much higher on my list than he does on yours, Dave. And in the WWII period that would go for Martinu, too. As American wartime symphonies go, Barber 2 is pretty darn good, if not quite as moving as the Benjamin.

Being the expert that you are in music from Scandanavia and Russia, I assume that you leave off Alfen, Atterbergh, Tubin, Khatchaturian, and other such WWII symphonists deliberately.
10  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Gurdjieff/de Hartmann Piano Music on: November 12, 2015, 02:13:52 am
In The Three Pillars of Zen, Delancy Kapleau experiences a life altering experience while meditating to the deep breathing slow movement of Beethoven's opus 132. There's no simple cause and effect here, of course. The same movement is used as background music in scores of settings every day. That said, there's a reason she did not choose, say, Sessions' nervous, febrile Piano Sonata 2.

Depending on how you want to use the Gurdjieff/De Hartmann music, there are several types of performance available. The recordings of Anja Lechner and Vassilis Tsabropoulos are most enjoyable. Charles Ketcham and Laurence Rosenthal play the piano music beautifully. If one's in the fortunate state of having one's intellect quiet and heart open, the performance of Easter Music by Stafford Ordahl resonates in a very special way, and in the recordings by De Hartmann himself one can hear intimations of something uncommon yet deeply human from the other side of Huxley's doors of perception.

De Hartmann's own music is very different, but memorable. The pieces of the 30s and 40s are situated somewhere in the stylistic neighborhood of Shostakovich and Hindemith. The later music is headed somewhere else. For example Piano Sonata 2 comes out of the earlier style but focuses on giving the performer physical exercises to heighten attention, not unlike Gurdjieff's movements.
11  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Malipiero and Braga Santos on: July 31, 2015, 07:03:00 am
the Ondine cycle is screaming for a complete redo with better audio

We are of like minds. A couple of years back I suggested the cycle to Chandos. Forgetting particular labels, and assuming state of the art engineering, who would you like to lead it? My own first choice would be Segerstam; I think he's good at finding an effective and affecting balance between the narrative (Mahlerian, if you will) and the structural aspects of scores where most conductors tend to favour the one or the other. (Were Stig Westerberg available he would become my first choice.)

That said, perhaps the time for a total Melartin redo is not quite here. The restored score for Melartin's Symphony 3 is so much richer than the truncated version led by Grim that I have little confidence in the cycle's other musical choices. Only Symphony 6 was published. If scholars drawing on materials in the Sibelius Library can do for the other unpublished symphonies what has been done for the third, it will be worth releasing Melartin symphonies singly, as definitive scores come out. That, in my estimation, could include the sizable chunk of symphony 7 that exists -- 150 bars or so, far more than Stenhammar's symphony 3 sketches, which Rozhdestvensky recorded.
12  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / General musical discussion / Re: Malipiero and Braga Santos on: July 26, 2015, 06:33:06 am
It was interesting to see Melartin on the list, I have yet to hear anything not melodic from him.
Melartin sensibly addressed his more astringent scores to solo and chamber performers. Try the wonderful string Trio, op. 133, or the Piano Sonata, op. 111. These are by no means rigorously atonal works, but they come closer to atonality than, say, The Rite of Spring or Prokofiev's Symphony 2, movement 1. Not to mention Sibelius's contemporaneous Symphony 7.
13  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Re: Cowen and Sherwood from EM Records on: June 29, 2015, 06:52:05 pm
Looking forward to the Cowen. I'm quite fond of his Symphony 6.
14  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Individual composers / Re: Vagn Holmboe (1909 - 1996) on: June 29, 2015, 06:44:02 pm
The Epilogue is a must-hear.

Yes, a work of awesome majesty. as if the Almighty Creator took a look at humanity and came down with the blues.

Octatonic blues, to be sure. Schoenberg itches, Vagn Holmboe aches.

Sculptural metaphor: Henry Moore finds his inner Rodin.

15  MUSIC OF ALL ERAS / Commercial recordings (vintage, new and forthcoming) / Re: Tucson Composers on: May 30, 2015, 03:57:00 am
I'll have to order that. In an earlier generation, the chief Tucson composer was Robert MacBride. The Tucson SO performed his symphony and other works. Wish the tapes were digitized and available for download. A new recording of his violin concerto would also be most welcome.
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