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Top 10 VCs


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Author Topic: Top 10 VCs  (Read 1011 times)
kyjo
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2013, 11:38:37 pm »

OK, so my top 10 favorite "unsung" VCs list would look like this:

1. Atterberg
2. Veale
3. Piston 1
4, Schuman
5. Bloch (if not "unsung" enough then Pettersson 2)
6. Rozsa
7. Karlowicz (if not "unsung" enough then Respighi Concerto gregoriano)
8. Rochberg (not any "easy" work by any means but intensely poignant)
9. Linde
10. Miaskovsky
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dyn
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« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2013, 12:34:34 am »

Interesting how heavily everyone's lists are weighted towards the 20th century. Many aeons ago (read: last year), I wrote an exhaustive dissertation (read: superficial 20-page essay) on how the concerto essentially experienced a revival in the 20th century after a comparatively low ebb during the 19th. I think the specific examples of composers I picked as reinventing concerto form to suit their needs were Bartók, Hindemith, Carter and Berio, but there could have been others, those are far from the only 20thc composers for whom concerti (or at least works for solo + ensemble) were relatively central.

(Inasmuch as it makes sense to talk about a "low ebb" during the 19th century. Lots of works for solo instrument + orchestra were composed then as well of course. But most of them jettisoned a lot of the ideas of a "concerto form" and became simply orchestra pieces with a solo obbligato—e.g. Mendelssohn's violin concerto is essentially a symphony with violin, Liszt's piano concertos symphonic poems with piano etc. Only the more "classicizing" composers like Brahms really focused on trying to create a concerto dynamic.)

As I may have mentioned before I don't particularly like the violin (sorry Tobias). That said, another reason for my perception of a "low ebb" is that any top 10 list of violin concerti for me would jump straight from Bach to a few selected 20th century works (Prokofiev 2, Dutilleux, Ligeti, etc) with only the Mendelssohn, the first movement of the Chaikovsky and the adagio and finale of the Brahms (and possibly Bruch 1 and bits of Dvořák—I'm also somewhat intrigued by the Joachim concertos, which I've never heard) standing out in between. I've never been particularly taken with Mozart, Beethoven or Schumann's VCs, Paganini's are charming but a bit too lightweight to sustain my interest for the full half hour or so, most of the others I've heard are pretty forgettable. Some of that could of course be the performances—as with sopranos (sorry Neil), there are very few violinists I can tolerate Grin

In rough order -

Bach - the D minor, reconstructed from the keyboard concerto BWV 1052
Bach - the E major
Bach - the A minor
Prokofiev - the G minor (I prefer it to the D major for some reason, almost no one else seems to)
Bartók - #2
Space reserved for unholy Chaikovsky/Brahms violin concerto hybrid with the first movement of the Chaikovsky and the second and third movements of the Brahms (hey, they're both in D major, roughly similar lengths, it could work!!!)
Stravinsky -
Mendelssohn - the E minor
Ligeti -
Dutilleux - L'arbre des songes
Berio - Corale
honourable mention: Hindemith, Kammermusik No. 4

There aren't that many violin concerti I feel strongly enough about to dislike but some of them would include Glazunov, the Szymanowskis, Khachaturian, Shostakovich's C-sharp minor, Maxwell Davies, and Adams. Perhaps I just haven't heard sufficiently convincing performances though.

I don't know about "unsung" ones, but among lesser-known 20th century ones that elicited more than a "meh" I would name William Schuman, Nikolay Roslavets #1, and perhaps Witold Lutosławski's Chain 2. Also liked Stephen Paulus's once upon a time but haven't listened to it in years.
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guest2
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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2013, 09:53:47 am »

It's significant isn't it that no one has given Schönberg's a plus - or a minus for that matter.
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ahinton
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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2013, 11:58:11 am »

It's significant isn't it that no one has given Schönberg's a plus - or a minus for that matter.
I think that this is more likely down to the stricture of naming just ten; I have to admit to being puzzled by that work for years until hearing its astonishing performance by Hilary Hahn which I doubt has ever been bettered - had it been typical of the way in which the work had been presented, it would be far more widely appreciated than it has been in the past.
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mjkFendrich
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2013, 01:44:27 pm »

Searching for further details about Stevenson's VC I just discovered a new
concerto by James M. Stephenson from 2012, which can be heard at

http://soundcloud.com/james-m-stephenson/stephenson-tributes-concerto

in full length.
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Bobyor
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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2013, 01:49:11 pm »

I have long liked Pfitzner's ... anyone else fond of this one?
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kyjo
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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2013, 03:39:13 pm »

I have long liked Pfitzner's ... anyone else fond of this one?

Me! I'm not a huge fan of Pfitzner's music, but the VC (along with his wonderful oratorio Von Deutscher Seele) is his masterpiece IMHO. It's a big-boned work, full of inspiring passion. If you like it, be sure to check out Max von Schillings' similarly epic VC, recorded by Marco Polo.
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guest128
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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2013, 10:00:06 pm »

Rajicic No.2 (available from this forum)


Where?
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Dundonnell
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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2013, 12:48:24 am »

Rajicic No.2 (available from this forum)


Where?



I can upload it for you if you wish. I think that it must have been uploaded for the Unsung Composers website since I appear it have downloaded in June of last year before the Fall Grin
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guest128
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« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2013, 04:25:27 am »

Thanks.  In fact, a different performance of Rajicic's VC was issued on commercial CD by some obscure Eastern European label that I possessed at one time.  Not to hurt the feelings of that poster who placed this work in his top 10 VC's of all time, but I found it pretty banal on first encounter, and this alternative rendition (a much fleeter read of it) doesn't alter my judgement.  The ideas are simply threadbare, - but we all differ.
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Neil McGowan
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« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2013, 07:34:02 am »

It's significant isn't it that no one has given Schönberg's a plus - or a minus for that matter.


And yet the Webern VC is well provided with recordings and performances?  Wink
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« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2013, 10:51:15 am »

The Eshpai VC's but even more, the heart-aching Ivanovs!!
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kyjo
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« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2013, 07:52:37 pm »

The Eshpai VC's but even more, the heart-aching Ivanovs!!

I almost included the Ivanovs on my list-it is my favorite work of his and a beautiful, melodically memorable work. It is a much "easier" work compared to his sometimes enigmatic symphonies.
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chill319
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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2013, 12:44:18 am »

Re the Bax VC, it is one of the few works of his that has disappointed me. The first movement is like a Konzertstück or Concertino all by itself, with a fast-slow-fast disposition. The slow part is, admittedly, gorgeous. But the whole doesn't hang together to me. I can understand why Heifetz didn't take it up. I prefer the stunning 1925 concerto by Scott.
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kyjo
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« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2013, 12:52:18 am »

Re the Bax VC, it is one of the few works of his that has disappointed me. The first movement is like a Konzertstück or Concertino all by itself, with a fast-slow-fast disposition. The slow part is, admittedly, gorgeous. But the whole doesn't hang together to me. I can understand why Heifetz didn't take it up. I prefer the stunning 1925 concerto by Scott.

I agree and I find Bax's cello concerto to be one of his weaker works as well. His works for piano and orchestra are of a higher caliber IMO.
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