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Thread: Classical music

  1. #1
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Classical music

    If I use the term 'classical' to encompass everything from Bach to Mozart to Tchaikovsky to Schoenberg to Holst to whomever, am I being too broad? Where is the line drawn? What would be a more proper term for this style regarding modern composers of symphonies, concertos and the like?

    While we're at it:

    Who's you're favorite classical (until further notice) composer? What's your favorite work?

    Who is overlooked?

    And of course, a thousand pardons if there's already a 10 page thread on the same subject.

  2. #2
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    I'm by no means an eficienado. I probably like the hacks and am obviously under-educated on this subject.

    In the last few years I've been connecting with the works of Antonin Dvorak.

  3. #3
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post

    Who's you're favorite classical (until further notice) composer? What's your favorite work?
    .
    I probably play Olivier Messiaen's early organ cycles as much or more than any classical work(s) in my collection.L'Ascension, La Nativite du Seigneur and Les Corps Glorieux are the multi movement works Messiaen composed in the 1930's, along with a few individual organ pieces composed around the same time frame,which are included on the cds of these works.
    Last edited by walt; 11-25-2014 at 05:54 AM.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    If I use the term 'classical' to encompass everything from Bach to Mozart to Tchaikovsky to Schoenberg to Holst to whomever, am I being too broad? Where is the line drawn? What would be a more proper term for this style regarding modern composers of symphonies, concertos and the like?
    The term "classical" as applied to music is used in two ways.

    One is the general term used the way you used it, to distinguish it from more modern genres such as jazz, swing and later rock'n'roll. It's usually pretty clear whether something's a classical work or not, though you run into problems with people like Gershwin and Bernstein, who seem to straddle the line with music composed in the classical style but has ended up on the top 40 charts.

    The other meaning of "Classical" (often capitalised) refers to a much more well defined period in music, preceded by the Baroque period and followed by the Romantic period. Mozart is the quintessential composer of the Classical period, which was characterised by a fairly strong adherence to rules of structure and tonalityBeethoven, who is considered to be either the last of the great Classical composers or the first of the Romantics, was thought quite radical and revolutionary, even though his symphonies kept the same four-part structure that everyone else's did, because he had the audacity to sometimes alter the traditional order of the movements (an andante followed by an allegreeto instead of the other way round, or something like that).

  5. #5
    If you run into a true connoisseur, then they will probably ask you to differentiate between baroque, romantic, classical, and contemporary classical (formerly known as 20th century classical (those are the broad strokes), but I use the word classical to mean all of that.

    My favourite works are:

    Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (which I've actually begun learning the piano version! It's not that hard...)
    Dvorak's 9th Symphony
    the second movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony
    Schubert's 2nd piano trio in E flat (mostly the 4th movement, but honestly I usually listen to the whole thing -- my favourite recording is the Trio Italiano, no small part because I have it in 24/96 on DVD, and because they play the 4th movement 2ce, the second time being a longer variant version) as well as pretty much all of his chamber music (he is the master of chamber music, as far as I am concerned)
    Saint-Saëns' 2nd piano concerto
    Rachmaninoff's 2nd piano concerto
    Tchaikovsky's 1st
    bunch of stuff from Chopin -- probably my favourite composer
    bunch of stuff from Stravinsky
    bunch of stuff from Prokofiev
    (yeah, I like the Russians, it's in my blood)
    Last edited by Dusty Chalk; 11-24-2014 at 02:53 PM.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    I'm by no means an eficienado. I probably like the hacks and am obviously under-educated on this subject.

    In the last few years I've been connecting with the works of Antonin Dvorak.
    A good place to learn is at the Talk Classical Forum. There's a lot more lively discussion there than you'll get here. And there is a backlog of hundreds of threads that you can look up and read. Just use the advanced search feature, type in the composer name or composition title, and choose search titles only. http://www.talkclassical.com/

    A good site for looking up recordings and accompanying reviews is Arkiv. http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/main.jsp

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    Member AZProgger's Avatar
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    I saw an interview with composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. One thing he said was we need a different term to describe "classical" music as a genre. Mainly because the term classical is also used to describe the specific era between the mid 18th century and 1820, as mentioned by Bob_32_116. Also because the word "classical" by definition implies "old." This rules out contemporary music falling under the "classical" heading.

    Another thing Mr. Salonen talked about was how overlooked contemporary composers are. Starting in the mid to late 20th century, people stopped caring about the latest and greatest, preferring to live in the past instead. For the record, my favorite contemporary composer is Peter Boyer.

    There are 3 composers whose style I most identify with: Tchaikovsky, Schumann and Saint Saens. I would also have to second Dvorak. More broadly, I mainly like romantic and modern composers. If I were to list every one I like, this would be a very long post.
    Last edited by AZProgger; 11-24-2014 at 06:06 PM.

  8. #8
    Classical music is my life blood.
    I have about 50 different composers I actively listen to. My favorite period is Late Romanticism (late 19th and early 20th Centuries), with my favorite composer being Anton Bruckner (1824-1896). His eleven symphonies are so important to me, and revered by me, it is hard to put into words what they encompass for me, personally. His last three symphonies Nos. 7, 8, and 9 are my favorite classical works ever.
    I should also mention that my focus in classical music is almost exclusively Historical recordings (done before 1960). Again, words cannot convey the experience of listening to conductors like Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Sir Thomas Beecham, Eugen Jochum, Carl Schuricht, etc. bring the music to life like no one existing today. These past masters went deeper into the score of a work, and brought a unique take on the music, something that is missing in today's scene, in my opinion.
    My main focus is The Symphony, but also like shorter orchestral works, piano sonatas and concertos, and some string quartets.
    Some of my favorite pianists I would also like to mention-Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Schnabel and Walter Gieseking.
    Other favorite composers are Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Beethoven, Hector Berlioz and Frederick Delius.
    Last edited by presdoug; 11-25-2014 at 07:48 AM.
    "and what music unites, man should not take apart"-Helmut Koellen

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    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    One guy I found hard to get into is Shostakovich. I tried a couple of different works but found them a tad plodding.

    Are there a lot of composers of the modern era writing "classical style" sonatas, concertos and symphonies? Has scoring movies, TV themes and events had much of an impact on the form (genre)?

  10. #10
    Occasionally, but for the most part, the serious composers are more dissonant and experimental. You're right to look towards soundtrack music for the more traditional "romantic" type classical music.

    But there's plenty of music already composed and continues to be re-recorded (there are some who believe all music has already been written, and it's just a matter of reassembling it in new and interesting ways).
    rcarlberg: Is there anything sadder than a song that has never been played?
    Plasmatopia: Maybe a song in D minor that has never been played?

    bob_32_116: That would be a terrific triple bill: Cyan, Magenta and Yello.

    trurl: The Odyssey: "He's trying to get home."

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    It will always be JS Bach that does it for me!!!
    Prog's Not Dead

  12. #12
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    Plenty of present day composers have taken a shot at writing for string quartet.A bunch of names come to mind.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

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    I have several, Bach, Copland, Tchiakovsky, and Dvorak among them, although I am sometimes terrified to disclose this for fear of showing my abysmal ignorance compared to that of "THE EXPERTS!"

  14. #14
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZProgger View Post
    ....the word "classical" by definition implies "old." This rules out contemporary music falling under the "classical" heading.
    "Post-classical" and "alt-classical" are, for better or worse, the generic terms for contemporary developments.
    Hell, they ain't even old-timey ! - Homer Stokes

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    One guy I found hard to get into is Shostakovich. I tried a couple of different works but found them a tad plodding.

    Are there a lot of composers of the modern era writing "classical style" sonatas, concertos and symphonies? Has scoring movies, TV themes and events had much of an impact on the form (genre)?
    You might want to try the violin concerto no. 1 by Shostakovich. It's a pretty exciting piece. There are plenty of contemporary composers using the traditional forms of concerto, symphony, sonata. I don't know what you mean by "classical style"? Do you want music that sounds old or modern? Composers such as Penderecki, Aulis Sallinen, and Esa-Pekka Salonen are still writing within the traditional forms.

    I would recommend Paul Hindemith, if you want to listen to a 20th century composer who was great at writing modern music within all the traditional forms. The 3 CD orchestral set on Decca conducted by Herbert Blomstedt is a good introduction to his music. And the 2 CD set on EMI of the Kammermusik conducted by Claudio Abbado is another great collection.

    Most of my favorite modern composers are people who died in the past 20 years or so. Ligeti, Schnittke, Lutoslawski, William Schuman, Hans Werner Henze, Henri Dutilleux. And some still living, including Sofia Gubaidulina, Magnus Lindberg, Per Norgard, and Penderecki. Penderecki's later works are much more conservative than his avant garde compositions of the 60s and 70s. Many of these composers use a lot of dissonance in their music, so if you want something more traditional, stick to the older music. You just have to try stuff out at the library, or on a streaming site to see what you like.
    Last edited by Reid; 11-25-2014 at 01:00 AM.

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    ^^ I'm ashamed to say I don't know most of the names mentioned in the last paragraph above.

    A couple of Renowned Australian composers whose work sounds modern without being dissonant are Nigel Westlake and Peter Sculthorpe. the latter died quite recently.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bob_32_116 View Post
    ^^ I'm ashamed to say I don't know most of the names mentioned in the last paragraph above.
    I didn't know any of them five years ago, but then I discovered the Talk Classical Forum. There are a few Australian members
    who have mentioned Sculthorpe.

  18. #18
    Member FrippWire's Avatar
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    I'm mostly fond of 20th Century composers. I really like Stravinsky, Bartok, Berg, Berio, Rorem, Cage, Ruggles, Cowell, Ives, Barber, Varese, Webern, Penderecki, etc. I'm also a fan of early music such as Medieval and Renaissance music especially as performed by David Munrow and the Early Music Consort of London.

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    Member Oreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    There are a few Australian members who have mentioned Sculthorpe.
    Including me. A great composer (Sculthorpe, that is - not me). His 'Sun Music' is astounding.

    Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a life for you?

  20. #20
    Member Oreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    If I use the term 'classical' to encompass everything from Bach to Mozart to Tchaikovsky to Schoenberg to Holst to whomever, am I being too broad? Where is the line drawn? What would be a more proper term for this style regarding modern composers of symphonies, concertos and the like?
    Who cares what it's called. Pedants will quibble, but fuck 'em.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    Who's you're favorite classical (until further notice) composer?
    Probably Wagner, but Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Schubert are in the mix.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    What's your favorite work?
    It's a near thing between Parsifal, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Le nozze di Figaro and Winterreise, depending on mood and how much time I have.

    Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a life for you?

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Oreb View Post
    Including me. A great composer (Sculthorpe, that is - not me). His 'Sun Music' is astounding.
    Will give it a listen. Thanks!

  22. #22
    Member helicase's Avatar
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    I mainly listen to 20th century classical, with a smattering of romantic period stuff. My favourite piece would be Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Stravinsky's up there with my favourite composers, but no.1 for me is Henryk Górecki. It's a shame most people only know his third symphony. Don't get me wrong, I love that symphony, but he's done so much more. (At least two other symphonies, obviously!) Symphony No.2 "Copernican", Harpsichord Concerto, Kleines Requiem für eine Polka, Three Dances, to name a few favourites.

    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    One guy I found hard to get into is Shostakovich. I tried a couple of different works but found them a tad plodding.
    Try The Execution of Stepan Razin for some non-plodding Shostakovich.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3LockBox View Post
    In the last few years I've been connecting with the works of Antonin Dvorak.
    I know Dvorak is well known in the world of classical music but to me his works should be more well known. Only a small amount of his works have gained notoriety. He's far more than his symphonies. His cello concerto is my favorite work for the cello and his requiem, operas chamber works are phenomenal.

  24. #24
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    My favorite composer is probably Delius, a favorite piece being, 'Brigg Fair'.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    My favorite composer is probably Delius, a favorite piece being, 'Brigg Fair'.
    yeah, some love for Delius, right on! Brigg Fair is a deeply moving experience every time I hear it. Love the version with Sir John Barbirolli conducting, as well as the several by the inimitable Sir Thomas Beecham.
    "and what music unites, man should not take apart"-Helmut Koellen

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