Classical Music


Music & Audio

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Silver Crusade

On Wednesday I went to a recital at Carnegie Hall for the first time. Murray Perahia is perhaps my favorite pianist of all time. Hearing him play the Prelude, Chorale, et Fugue of Cesar Franck was awe-inspiring. I was so glad to see him play.

The video above is a different pianist, since there does not seem to be a video of Perahia paying that piece on YouTube. Here is a video of him playing some Chopin instead.


I've found that my tastes lean toward "'classical' noise" more than "'classical' music" the older and more stuck in my ways I get - I guess I've always liked the futurist/avant-garde/surrealist/dada type stuff the best.

So, the bulk of my 'classical' collection consists of:

Toru Takemitsu
Giacinto Scelsi
Penderecki
Ligeti
Stravinski
Wakhevitch

...and a mix of the weirder movie and video game soundtracks and heavy-metal art-noise side projects.

Silver Crusade

Interesting. How would you characterize your experience of that music? What draws you to it?

I have enough musical education that I appreciate the avant-garde, but I don't really feel a strong pull toward it.


In one sense, it's probably mostly because it's what I grew up hearing: both of my parents were fans of horror movies, and that sort of thing winds up in horror movie soundtracks all the time. My parents were both also fans of very weird rock music, so I grew up on a mix of psychedelic and prog rock and all the weirdness that stuff comes with.

In another sense (probably a result of the other), one of the things that draws me to music of any kind has always been the dark mood, broken rules, the unexpected in structure and movement, the weird spaces punctuated by claustrophobic noises, and those wonderful moments of mystery instrumentation where I get to wonder about "what the heck was that noise?"

For anyone who might be interested, back in the 1980s someone attempted to reconstruct Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" (Link), to restore the lost original choreography as closely as possible, along with the costumes and scenery designed by Roerich (an influence on H.P. Lovecraft). The ballet is about a human sacrifice in a fantasy version of pagan Europe, and between visual artist Roerich, composer Stravinsky, and choreographer Nijinsky, the whole thing was put together by mystics, eccentrics, and schizophrenics; the weird visuals, bizarre music, and inhuman movements of the dancers in the original production sparked violent, angry, screaming, chaotic riots in audiences, like something out of R.W. Chambers' "The King in Yellow". (To me, the reproduction doesn't look like the sort of thing anyone would pitch a riot over: I found it beautiful, if somewhat weird and alien.)


I don't think I'll ever get tired of Jean-Baptiste Lully.

In general, I think the Baroque created the most amazing music, but I have a soft spot for several Russian composers too (my guilty pleasure, I must admit), such as Mussorgsky and Chaikovsky.

Silver Crusade

So, why are Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky "guilty pleasures"? Most people's guilty pleasures involve children's breakfast cereals, Top 40 pop music, or reality television. I would say 19th century Russian romanticism doesn't qualify :)

At any rate, lots of early music is pretty rad, even though it's not usually what I go for.


Celestial Healer wrote:

So, why are Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky "guilty pleasures"? Most people's guilty pleasures involve children's breakfast cereals, Top 40 pop music, or reality television. I would say 19th century Russian romanticism doesn't qualify :)

I was thinking the same.

Scarab Sages

Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Stravinsky: My heavy metal.

Silver Crusade

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Hey Doodlebug. I just bought a Moondog album. I blame you.


I've really been into Hovhaness lately and can't imagine why he's relatively unknown. I've played these and love them:

Three Journeys to a Holy Mountain

Loon Lake

Anybody else heard/performed Alan Hovhaness and liked him?


So I've griped in the past that I don't like a lot of 20th-century "classical" music. For instance, I would have loved Gershwin's Cuban Overture. (I know, 1932 isn't all that recent.) I WANTED to love it, because of the rumba-like rhythms and some of the catchy themes. But now and then, just when I'm enjoying it, the piece suddenly descends into this harsh dissonance, as if the performers aren't all on the same page. I wished I could find a piece like that without the less pleasant passages.

Recently, when listening to the radio, I discovered just such a piece. And it's so recent, it debuted in 1994. It's the Danzón No. 2 by Arturo Márquez. It doesn't get TOO carried away with the dissonance.


Oh, and I discovered something else on the radio that I wouldn't have expected to like. Mendelssohn's string symphonies never grabbed me. Sure, it's impressive that a 12-year-old could write a symphony at all, but I didn't find them compelling listening. Mendelssohn himself didn't take them too seriously, intending them just for private concerts for his parents' friends, not for publication. So I was surprised to find myself enjoying his string symphony #1. I don't remember how it goes afterwards, yet I like it every time I hear it.


And then there's my own performances. Ever since I started recording myself, I knew I would have to play Bach's Concerto in the Italian Style. The third movement may be my favorite keyboard work of all time, but I recorded all three movements. And this time, I'm not feeling quite so humble about the result, so I posted it to YouTube publicly this time, here.

And while I was at it, I also performed it on the "Harpsichord" setting of a digital piano. Link.

Silver Crusade

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Treppa, every time I hear this aria I think of you. Probably because of all the gorgeous flute playing.

It is from Bach's cantata BWV 45. Funny story: I was looking for a good recording of this aria to share, and when I started to play this one I thought, "Ah, this one is lovely." Then I checked out who had recorded it and realized that this is a recording I actually song on (the choral movements). Glad to see it's still kicking around. Thanks, Naxos! (Although I don't see any of the good choral stuff kicking around online.)

Silver Crusade

Aaron, great keyboard playing! Thanks for sharing.

I would love to put up a link to my solo work on the Brahms German Requiem recently, but I don't have permission to put that recording on the interwebs.


So instead here is a random link to some Gluck.


Celestial Healer wrote:
Treppa, every time I hear this aria I think of you. Probably because of all the gorgeous flute playing.

Thanks! :D I am getting back into flauting (again) after being off for a couple of years. So... rusty. :(

Aaron, if you want contemporary classical that's more lyrical than dissonant, you could do worse than Joaquim Rodrigo. Here's Pepe Romero in concert with one of Rodrigo's more famous pieces. Rodrigo is very Spanish, of course, so if you don't like that style, you won't like him.


Thanks for the responses.

And I love some Spanish music. In this thread, I already mentioned Boccherini's Fandango, many pieces by Falla (including the Ritual Fire Dance, the Three-Cornered Hat suite, and the spanish dance from "La Vida Breve") and Moritz Moszkowski's Spanish Dances.

You know, if someone asked me "What IS the Spanish style of music?" or "What is Spanish music like, anyway?" I would, without hesitation, play a recording of "Asturias" by Albeniz (the guitar version) and say "THAT's what it is."

I've heard Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez" a few times, but I must confess that my first association with the piece isn't even remotely classical. I keep raving about Jazz/Latin/funk/pop musician Herb Alpert. I've done so several times on these boards, like here for instance. And as I was saying, my first assocation with "Aranjuez" is Alpert's "dance" version of it.


Oops. That's not the version of "Aranjuez" to which I wanted to link. That's the 2007 remix, which I don't like as much. That remix skips one part, which results in an awkward transition. Furthermore, the part it skips is clearly a variation of a theme from the Rodrigo original, so that version won't make my point as well.

So let me try that again: Aranjuez (the 1979 version)


Ernst Hermann Meyer--Symphony No. 3

Silver Crusade

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Ernst Hermann Meyer--Symphony No. 3

Okay, the gong strike at the end is really cool.


[Borodin Quartet] Dmitri Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 8 in C minor Op. 110


I do dig baroque, I have to admit.

And sometimes when I'm listening to Iron Maiden (esp. their Somewhere in Time-era stuff) I mentally edit out one guitar and replace it with a string section playing the same thing, and imagine the second guitar or vocals is a woodwind section, and maybe slow down the tempo a bit, and voila!, a new classical symphony.


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I mentioned this beautiful piece earlier in the thread, and now I decided to try my hand at playing it. I refer to Chopin's Etude, Op. 10 No. 3.

(If you're not familiar with the Etude, and don't think much of it now, I would urge you not to judge the piece by my humble effort. It's really supposed to sound more like this.)

Silver Crusade

Nicely done, Aaron! I have worked on that one now and then, although nothing I would want to share :)


Thank you.


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Since I started recording myself, I played some Bach and Chopin, two of my three favorite composers. It seemed obvious I had to play something by Beethoven. (I haven't discovered any Beethoven piece that impressed me that much in years, but over the course of my life, Beethoven's music certainly played a major role in my listening experience, so I feel he deserves mention.)

And upon resolving to give Ludwig a shot, I could feel no doubt which piece to play. I felt a craving to listen to few Beethoven pieces in recent years, and among those few, there was only one that I felt confident I could play: his piano sonata #5, 1st movement.

Silver Crusade

I am trying to play this étude by Scriabin and it isn't going so well. It's important to reach :)

(But seriously, I'm addicted to this piece now.)


The reaching will help your hand. Haven't you read Dragonsong? (Or was it Dragonsinger?)

Silver Crusade

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I saw a stunning performance of Verdi's Otello on Monday. In celebration, here is the finale septet from Act 3.


Celestial Healer wrote:
I saw a stunning performance of Verdi's Otello on Monday. In celebration, here is the finale septet from Act 3.

Kinda weird when a guy who looks like a young Bob Newhart opens his mouth and That Voice comes out. The guy with the waxed moustache looked just like his voice, though.

None of them resembled Othello.

Silver Crusade

Treppa wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
I saw a stunning performance of Verdi's Otello on Monday. In celebration, here is the finale septet from Act 3.

Kinda weird when a guy who looks like a young Bob Newhart opens his mouth and That Voice comes out. The guy with the waxed moustache looked just like his voice, though.

None of them resembled Othello.

The production I saw happened to be the first run of Otello the Met has done since they decided to stop having people sing the role in blackface. And actually, Boito's libretto never references the color of Otello's skin - interesting tidbit there.

Unless you meant that the Otello was too tubby to be a fit war hero, in which case, fair enough.

Edit: Otello was second to the left, between Iago and Desdemona.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Celestial Healer wrote:
Treppa wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
I saw a stunning performance of Verdi's Otello on Monday. In celebration, here is the finale septet from Act 3.

Kinda weird when a guy who looks like a young Bob Newhart opens his mouth and That Voice comes out. The guy with the waxed moustache looked just like his voice, though.

None of them resembled Othello.

The production I saw happened to be the first run of Otello the Met has done since they decided to stop having people sing the role in blackface. And actually, Boito's libretto never references the color of Otello's skin - interesting tidbit there

Thank the Lord they stopped that.

It was either offensively done or the guy looked like an original series klingon.


Freehold DM wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
The production I saw happened to be the first run of Otello the Met has done since they decided to stop having people sing the role in blackface. And actually, Boito's libretto never references the color of Otello's skin - interesting tidbit there

Thank the Lord they stopped that.

It was either offensively done or the guy looked like an original series klingon.

YES! I saw another Othello in the YouTube suggestions after watching CH's offering, and my first thought was "There's a Star Trek opera?" I THOUGHT OTHELLO WAS A KLINGON!

The obvious solution is for CH to coach FHDM so we have a real Othello, black and incredibly manly. But will they allow FH's normal headgear on stage? THAT is the question.

Um, classical music tie: why is it that community orchestras only have openings for strings and tubas?


For some reason, all this talk about Otello kept giving me the urge to hear an aria from an entirely different Verdi opera: "Di tale amor" from Il Trovatore.

(I don't know why, as I like several other selections from Verdi's operas just as much. But it IS up there.)


Treppa wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
The production I saw happened to be the first run of Otello the Met has done since they decided to stop having people sing the role in blackface. And actually, Boito's libretto never references the color of Otello's skin - interesting tidbit there

Thank the Lord they stopped that.

It was either offensively done or the guy looked like an original series klingon.

YES! I saw another Othello in the YouTube suggestions after watching CH's offering, and my first thought was "There's a Star Trek opera?" I THOUGHT OTHELLO WAS A KLINGON!

The obvious solution is for CH to coach FHDM so we have a real Othello, black and incredibly manly. But will they allow FH's normal headgear on stage? THAT is the question.

Um, classical music tie: why is it that community orchestras only have openings for strings and tubas?

I don't think I can do Othello. I doubt I have the voice/range. I kinda sound like Elton John when I sing. At least I hit the notes right during karaoke that one time.

That said, now I want to do a training monage with CH. The cheesier and 80sier, the better.

Silver Crusade

Treppa wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
The production I saw happened to be the first run of Otello the Met has done since they decided to stop having people sing the role in blackface. And actually, Boito's libretto never references the color of Otello's skin - interesting tidbit there

Thank the Lord they stopped that.

It was either offensively done or the guy looked like an original series klingon.

YES! I saw another Othello in the YouTube suggestions after watching CH's offering, and my first thought was "There's a Star Trek opera?" I THOUGHT OTHELLO WAS A KLINGON!

The obvious solution is for CH to coach FHDM so we have a real Othello, black and incredibly manly. But will they allow FH's normal headgear on stage? THAT is the question.

Um, classical music tie: why is it that community orchestras only have openings for strings and tubas?

Othello is considered one of the most demanding tenor roles in the repertory. At any given time, there are about a half dozen guys who can handle it. So they can't be too choosy about what he looks like.

In answer to your question, orchestras have tons of strings, so there is always room for more. And nobody plays the tuba.


Celestial Healer wrote:
Treppa wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
Celestial Healer wrote:
The production I saw happened to be the first run of Otello the Met has done since they decided to stop having people sing the role in blackface. And actually, Boito's libretto never references the color of Otello's skin - interesting tidbit there

Thank the Lord they stopped that.

It was either offensively done or the guy looked like an original series klingon.

YES! I saw another Othello in the YouTube suggestions after watching CH's offering, and my first thought was "There's a Star Trek opera?" I THOUGHT OTHELLO WAS A KLINGON!

The obvious solution is for CH to coach FHDM so we have a real Othello, black and incredibly manly. But will they allow FH's normal headgear on stage? THAT is the question.

Um, classical music tie: why is it that community orchestras only have openings for strings and tubas?

Othello is considered one of the most demanding tenor roles in the repertory. At any given time, there are about a half dozen guys who can handle it. So they can't be too choosy about what he looks like.

In answer to your question, orchestras have tons of strings, so there is always room for more. And nobody plays the tuba.

I know how to play the French horn, and the valve trombone.but the baritone horn will be my first love.

LOW BRASS RULES!


The bari is a lovely and unappreciated instrument, though I personally prefer the French Horn (that temperamental little devil). I also love the viola and a good contralto. Seems like some instruments just don't get the love that others do.


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Oh definitely. Many low-voiced instruments struggle to overcome a buffoonish reputation.


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jocundthejolly wrote:
Many low-voiced instruments struggle to overcome a buffoonish reputation.

LOL.

Sorry, but I can't resist bringing up Tubby the Tuba. Hey, it's a part of my childhood.

"But people never write pretty melodies for tubas. It just isn't done."

"Oh, you're sitting on me," said the little tune.

"You clumsy fool!" snapped the violins.

Silver Crusade

Treppa wrote:
The bari is a lovely and unappreciated instrument, though I personally prefer the French Horn (that temperamental little devil). I also love the viola and a good contralto. Seems like some instruments just don't get the love that others do.

A contralto scene just for you.

The principessa scene from Puccini's Suor Angelica.


Treppa wrote:
The bari is a lovely and unappreciated instrument, though I personally prefer the French Horn (that temperamental little devil). I also love the viola and a good contralto. Seems like some instruments just don't get the love that others do.

When you said bari I thought of the baryton, which I also like.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
jocundthejolly wrote:
Treppa wrote:
The bari is a lovely and unappreciated instrument, though I personally prefer the French Horn (that temperamental little devil). I also love the viola and a good contralto. Seems like some instruments just don't get the love that others do.
When you said bari I thought of the baryton, which I also like.

And I think of my mellifluous lyric baritone voice.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Celestial Healer wrote:
jocundthejolly wrote:
Treppa wrote:
The bari is a lovely and unappreciated instrument, though I personally prefer the French Horn (that temperamental little devil). I also love the viola and a good contralto. Seems like some instruments just don't get the love that others do.
When you said bari I thought of the baryton, which I also like.
And I think of my mellifluous lyric baritone voice.

has flashbacks

Like honey poured over thunder.


I got to go see Carmina Burana at the philharmonic a month ago. It was pretty cool. I also like Adiemus by Carl Jenkins.


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I saw Carmina Burana live, too, in St. Louis. It was incredible!

In other news, if you're going to have music stuck in your head for three days, you could do worse than Candide Overture.

Life goal: at least once, play in a performance of 1812 Overture featuring real cannons.

Silver Crusade

Treppa wrote:

I saw Carmina Burana live, too, in St. Louis. It was incredible!

In other news, if you're going to have music stuck in your head for three days, you could do worse than Candide Overture.

Life goal: at least once, play in a performance of 1812 Overture featuring real cannons.

Admirable goal.


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I think the latest piece I recorded myself playing needs no introduction. I mean if you've never heard of the Minute Waltz you're probably in the wrong thread.

Silver Crusade

Nice playing, Aaron!

Today I share with you my favorite piece of banned liturgical music, the Rossini Stabat Mater. He wrote after his retirement from operatic composition and it was deemed by the Catholic Church to be unsuitable for liturgy, as it was seen as excessively profane and theatrical in style. That ban still holds.

If you listen to nothing else, here is the final Amen. Be sure you don't miss the last 90 seconds.

For additional snippets, here is the famous tenor aria. (Someone shared this video with me a while back and I was impressed by how this guy handles it, especially the high d-flat at the end.) (He also has nice arms.)

And, for fun, the Inflammatus for soprano and chorus


Celestial Healer wrote:
Nice playing, Aaron!

Thank you.

Celestial Healer wrote:
If you listen to nothing else, here is the final Amen.

Wow. I'm not familiar with the piece, but that's some powerful and dramatic stuff.

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