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Dead-Composers Society


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Following on the heels of our 'Live-Poets Society' over in the Writer's Corner, I thought we'd do something similar with classical music.

 

The goal of this thread is to share videos on classical music we like. The idea is to introduce our fellow enthusiasts to pieces and composers we may or may not have heard of. Post a link to a video with a few words of introduction; mainly along the lines of who and how the piece interests you personally. Naturally, I encourage feedback on what others post, and suggest we all keep an open mind :) 

 

[[needless to say, the composers do not have to be deceased, lol, but it may help]]  

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I wouldn't be worthy of my avatar, when my first contribution wouldn't be music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

 

For me the most beautiful piece of music is the ending of the Weihachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio). I first heard the oratorio as a boy when I got my first (transistor) radio and could -without knowledge of my parents- listen in bed late at night with an earpfone (only one earphone in those days: stereo came later :)).

 

In Bach's time all music was live and mostly to be performed just once, so it was common practice for composers to re-use their own work and even use music by other composers.

 

To show how totally different the same choral theme can sound, it is followed by a choral from the Matthäuspassion (St. Matthew Passion) where the celebration of birth in the Christmas Oratorio with interruprions of the timpani and the tromba in major key between each line is replaced by a much more modest orchestration and set in a minor key on the way to crucifixion.

 

I sincerely hope this will fit in the forum and is not seen (nor meant) as a religious item. If I violate any posting rules, though, I'll accept removal of the post without discussion.

 

 

Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 Final Choral:

 

 

 

St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244:

 

 

 

Oh, and BWV is an abbreviation of Bach-Werke-Verzeignis (Directory of the work of Bach), a heavy 750 pages thick book.

 

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I wouldn't be worthy of my avatar, when my first contribution wouldn't be music by Johann Sebastian Bach.

 

For me the most beautiful piece of music is the ending of the Weihachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio). I first heard the oratorio as a boy when I got my first (transistor) radio and could -without knowledge of my parents- listen in bed late at night with an earpfone (only one earphone in those days: stereo came later :)).

 

In Bach's time all music was live and mostly to be performed just once, so it was common practice for composers to re-use their own work and even use music by other composers.

 

To show how totally different the same choral theme can sound, it is followed by a choral from the Matthäuspassion (St. Matthew Passion) where the celebration of birth in the Christmas Oratorio with interruprions of the timpani and the tromba in major key between each line is replaced by a much more modest orchestration and set in a minor key on the way to crucifixion.

 

 

You provide an interesting compare and contrast between the two versions of the music. I've always liked my recording of the Christmas Oratorio, but especially love listening to the opening number. I think it calls for two mixed chorus and a boys' choir – it's powerful celebration music.

 

Thanks for posting, Peter :)    

Edited by AC Benus
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Fritz Kreisler is my favorite violinist. I could listen to his recordings for hours on end.

 

This is a 1938 recording of Dvořák's Humoresque Op. 101 No. 7

Wow, what a beautifully restored recording, Drew! It's wonderful that in the age of youtube the formerly hard-to-get masters are at our fingertips. My listening experience only goes back to youthful recordings by Yehudi Menuhin, so it's fascinating to see (i.e. hear) the generation he was being maverick from.

 

Edited by AC Benus
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Beethoven has always been one of my favorite composers.  The Moonlight Sonata is my go-to piece when I need to relax.  

...I'm afraid I'll have to let others speak about LvB...I've never been a fan...

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Thank you, AC for this accompaniment to Live Poets. I am unsure of how to add videos to a post. 

 

However, here is a link to one of my very favorite pieces by Francois Couperin. In many ways, it was far ahead of its time. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJClooBYqY

About the vid posting, I've found if you copy the link from the url line in youtube, and then post here, it usually shows the video image in the posting. If you use the link from the 'Share' box on youtube, and paste it here, it will not generally show. 

Edited by AC Benus
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I stumbled across this recoding yesterday. Paul Wranitzky (or, Pavel Vranický) was a Viennese composer, protégée of Antonio Salieri, and contemporary of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven.  

 

The first movement is lovely, but take my advice and start at min. 9:40, with the second movement. I was enchanted by the sweet and wistful melody and then pleasantly drawn in deeper by the complexity of the key changes and dramatic shifts.

 

If you like this movement, then I suggest you give the entire symphony a try.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBE7X7UutM&feature=youtu.be

 

https://youtu.be/nvBE7X7UutM

 

(if the video is not functioning for you, let me know and I will look for another recording) 

On my way to the slow movement, I dipped into the first as well. That, I found identikit sub-Mozart - definitely nothing to write home about. The slow movement was quite different. It has all sorts of interest: harmonically, rhythmically and in its use of the orchestra. It reminds me of early Beethoven (which is a pretty good thing, in my book). :)

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Hmm, this takes me back to my high school music appreciation electives. My fall back favorites are Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (sorry, I can't post a link using my tablet). I first encountered them on recordings from the Smithsonian Museum using period instruments back in the 70's.

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Beethoven has always been one of my favorite composers.  The Moonlight Sonata is my go-to piece when I need to relax.  

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT7_IZPHHb0

I enjoy playing the early Beethoven piano sonatas and this one is a favourite. However, I wouldn't think of listening to it - a small part is because I don't want to be listening to a performance which will always be way out of my reach, the other reason is piano music as a whole doesn't feature.

 

A lot of people think like you, Val, and find much enjoyment and relaxation from listening to the piano - just not my thing. :)

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Thank you, AC for this accompaniment to Live Poets. I am unsure of how to add videos to a post. 

 

However, here is a link to one of my very favorite pieces by Francois Couperin. In many ways, it was far ahead of its time. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJClooBYqY

 

It's quite a 'romantic' interpretation and wouldn't be to my taste particularly. What it has done though, is to remind me that I've been avoiding the French harpsichordists and it's about time that I did something about it :rolleyes: That sounded approachable and not excessively decorated. Thank you for giving me an unintentional prod!  :)

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Hmm, this takes me back to my high school music appreciation electives. My fall back favorites are Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (sorry, I can't post a link using my tablet). I first encountered them on recordings from the Smithsonian Museum using period instruments back in the 70's.

 

Like dugh, I've got a lot of affection for the Brandenburgs although I have to say it's been a long time since I last listened to them. Each concerto uses a different combination of instruments and Bach, being the master he is, uses them to their full in each. My favourite is No.1  - who else could use three oboes and two horns together to such stunning effect?

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQBHLziS1OY

Edited by northie
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How wonderful to see the different tastes is music. Like Dughlas in the 70's I came to appreciate the "authenticly" performed music; for me it was the Concentus Musicus Wien with the recently deceased Nikolaus Harnoncourt as director. Every penny I could save was used for his recordings of Bach's music.

But I can definitely also dream away with Vallkyrie's Beethoven sonata, although the third movement is not as peaceful and quite a bitch to play properly.

As for Parker's Couperin I prefer to hear it played on harpsichord. I found this performance a beauty:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj33HliB5v0

 

While writing this I'm enjoying Northie's choice of Brandenburg Concertos. Heard so often and every time a joy.

 

AC made me appreciate the less known composers of Mozart's time and Vranitcky is another one. There's always some part that grabs the attention.

 

I bet Valkyrie can dream away with this perfect piece of music, used by Visconti in the movie Death in Venice: the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's 5th symphony:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWPACef2_eY

 

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It's about time we introduced a woman into the proceedings ... This is a recording I was about to inflict on AC before he went 'public' with this thread. :)

 

Lili Boulanger was a French composer from the beginning of the C20 - she would probably be much better known if she had lived longer but she died aged only 24. This setting of Psalm 24 knocked me sideways when I first heard it - the sheer impact of the opening with its powerful, rhythmically-urgent music grabbed my ears like little else.

 

Edited by northie
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Prokofiev's Piano Concerto 3

 

 

I had to think a bit before choosing this piece.  Since AC Benus's intention is to introduce classical music to new comers of the genre, so I am not entirely sure this piece is appropriate for the purpose.  BUT..., it's such an exciting piece to hear AND watch, from the Hitchcock-like first movement to the grand finale that's truly a technical tour-de-force.

 

I picked young Martha Argerich's performance for several reasons.  Despite I am like a big fan of Evgeny Kissin, but I picked Argerich instead because her performance exhibited the vivacious energy that I believe works better.  And you get to see her pompous air when she was young.  :D  Her more recent performances mature quite a bit, and you almost feel she was like, "I've only played this like for the 392nd time, not counting private performance," which is quite a marvel, because she played in such precision....  Kissin's performance is good (and he's Russian to boost), but it seems this piece can stumble even Kissin.  I own his recording, which is my favorite performance, but I've seen him screwed up once in a live recording that's posted on YouTube..., so yeah, even one of the greatest pianists alive can screw up the grand finale.

 

One of the YouTube clips I've seen (sorry I don't know where is it now), it shows the music sheet.  It makes you wonder what kind of schizophreniac genius wrote this....  Absolutely strange, tons of dissonance, and yet when all the music instruments played together, they work!  I've played piano a little bit in high school, though I am absolutely lousy at it, but I can appreciate how difficult it is to play such a piece where you have to watch out not be dragged by the syncopated sound of the orchestra.  And when you are practicing, you have no idea whether you played it right or wrong, unless you can imagine the orchestra playing along with you.  The dissonant piano sound by itself is not music, just bunch of crappy bangs.  If it's difficult to play, how fiendish it is to write this?

 

This is one of the songs you have to watch to appreciate.  See how she moved her fingers.  There are two ways to play the last couple minutes of the grand finale.  She used the traditional method, by playing each keys individually, using pure force and speed.  That's how the composer himself played it when he performed his own creation.  I doubt many people can do it.  That's why the knuckle method was invented to play a piece so fast, sometimes the video recording would just show motion blur if frame rate isn't fast enough.

 

If you don't have the patience to listening through the entire concerto, at least listen to the first few minutes and last five minutes. 

 

If this one is too radical for some of you, I do have other pieces I can suggest.  But please give it a chance.

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Prokofiev's Piano Concerto 3

 

 

I had to think a bit before choosing this piece.  Since AC Benus's intention is to introduce classical music to new comers of the genre, so I am not entirely sure this piece is appropriate for the purpose.  BUT..., it's such an exciting piece to hear AND watch, from the Hitchcock-like first movement to the grand finale that's truly a technical tour-de-force.

 

I picked young Martha Argerich's performance for several reasons.  Despite I am like a big fan of Evgeny Kissin, but I picked Argerich instead because her performance exhibited the vivacious energy that I believe works better.  And you get to see her pompous air when she was young.  :D  Her more recent performances mature quite a bit, and you almost feel she was like, "I've only played this like for the 392nd time, not counting private performance," which is quite a marvel, because she played in such precision....  Kissin's performance is good (and he's Russian to boost), but it seems this piece can stumble even Kissin.  I own his recording, which is my favorite performance, but I've seen him screwed up once in a live recording that's posted on YouTube..., so yeah, even one of the greatest pianists alive can screw up the grand finale.

 

One of the YouTube clips I've seen (sorry I don't know where is it now), it shows the music sheet.  It makes you wonder what kind of schizophreniac genius wrote this....  Absolutely strange, tons of dissonance, and yet when all the music instruments played together, they work!  I've played piano a little bit in high school, though I am absolutely lousy at it, but I can appreciate how difficult it is to play such a piece where you have to watch out not be dragged by the syncopated sound of the orchestra.  And when you are practicing, you have no idea whether you played it right or wrong, unless you can imagine the orchestra playing along with you.  The dissonant piano sound by itself is not music, just bunch of crappy bangs.  If it's difficult to play, how fiendish it is to write this?

 

This is one of the songs you have to watch to appreciate.  See how she moved her fingers.  There are two ways to play the last couple minutes of the grand finale.  She used the traditional method, by playing each keys individually, using pure force and speed.  That's how the composer himself played it when he performed his own creation.  I doubt many people can do it.  That's why the knuckle method was invented to play a piece so fast, sometimes the video recording would just show motion blur if frame rate isn't fast enough.

 

If you don't have the patience to listening through the entire concerto, at least listen to the first few minutes and last five minutes. 

 

If this one is too radical for some of you, I do have other pieces I can suggest.  But please give it a chance.

 

Very glad to see Argerich included here. What a marvelous interpreter of piano works.  Thanks for including this.

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Smalin is a channel on Youtube that I absolutely enjoy. :D It's been around since pretty much the beginning of the website and in those eleven years, Stephen Malinowski has devoted his time to creating animated graphical scores for many compositions.

 

Here are two personal favorites of mine.

 

Fugue in G Minor, BWV 578

 

Clair de lune by Debussy

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I had a high school history teacher who used to play classical music before class started and during breaks.  He introduced us to a lot of composers, many of which I have since forgotten.  I remember one that I loved, but unfortunately can't remember the exact name of the piece.  It was a Russian composer and based on a fairy tale.  Sleeping Beauty or Snow White or something.  I'm sure someone more knowledgeable can point me in the right direction :) 


I bet Valkyrie can dream away with this perfect piece of music, used by Visconti in the movie Death in Venice: the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's 5th symphony:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWPACef2_eY

It's lovely :)  Thanks for sharing :hug: 

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