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message 1: by Tim (new)

Tim Franklin | 8985 comments Hi Gordon,

I posted a message on the Amazon classical board about this group. It remains to be seen whether any of the regulars come over, but could you see about creating a classical music space for them if they should. Cheers!


message 2: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Tim wrote: "Hi Gordon,

I posted a message on the Amazon classical board about this group. It remains to be seen whether any of the regulars come over, but could you see about creating a classical music space ..."


I've just moved this into the "music chat" folder for the time being. If the classical crew prove to be particularly chatty I'll make a new folder.


message 3: by Gordon (last edited Oct 10, 2017 04:34AM) (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments I'm on a train and have finished reading the documents for my meeting this afternoon, so I have some time to spare.

I was wondering whether people find they don't get on with any recordings of works other than the first ones they heard, or others that are very similar to those first ones.

My particular blind spot is Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust. The first recording of this I heard was Georg Solti's with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Kenneth Riegel, Jose van Dam, Frederica von Stade & Malcolm King. I then heard Solti conducting a performance by the same orchestra at the Proms in 1989. To me, Solti's performances define how the work should sound. I find all other recordings difficult to listen to. In particular, I find the tempo of the Hungarian March much, much too slow in every other recording I've heard. Recordings by Colin Davis, etc., get good reviews but I can't enjoy them.

Anyone else have similar blind spots?


message 4: by Tech XXIII (new)

Tech XXIII  | 6653 comments sure do, gordon! prog. :)


message 5: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments Yes. I first heard the L'Oiseaux-Lyre Alfred Deller LP recording of Purcell's 'Come Ye Sons Of Art....' in 1958. I've heard lots of others since and none of them come close to Alf's interpretation and purity of tone. His '"... all the instruments of joy..." is indeed a joy.


message 6: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Tech wrote: "sure do, gordon! prog. :)"

Have an imaginary yes vote, tech.

(That's a yes-this-post-adds-to-the-discussion vote. Not a vote for Yes.)


message 7: by Gordon (last edited Oct 10, 2017 02:20PM) (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "Yes. I first heard the L'Oiseaux-Lyre Alfred Deller LP recording of Purcell's 'Come Ye Sons Of Art....' in 1958. I've heard lots of others since and none of them come close to Alf's interpretation ..."

I don't know Purcell well enough to be able to distinguish, but I understand that feeling that a particular recording is just the right one.

Sometimes the differences are obvious. I first came across Vivaldi's Stabat Mater in a recording with an alto soloist (Livia Budai): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XQ_a.... When I subsequently heard it sung by a baritone it sounded completely wrong.

Similarly, I can't accept Mahler's Kindertotenlieder sung by a man - even though this makes more sense when you consider the content of the songs - because I first heard it sung by Christa Ludwig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7tBo....


message 8: by Martin (new)

Martin O' | 2196 comments It's a problem with classical for me with so many interpretations of so many composers and their works, its a huge backlog to work through and is also dependant on how good the audio equipment is that you use. I do have some classical odds and ends in my collection that I enjoy but am for from being conversant. Lock me away for a couple of centuries with an extensive supply seems to be the only solution. Also I would assume that analogue would be superior to digital or am I wrong?


message 9: by Tech XXIII (new)

Tech XXIII  | 6653 comments Martin wrote: "It's a problem with classical for me..........

ach, it's all cover versions these days! :)



message 10: by Leftin (new)

Leftin Laughs at Gas! | 19 comments Sibelius' First Symphony sounds best on the Naxos version I got first, or the Bernstein versions from late in his career. Most other versions sound too fast now, especially in the most emotive parts and the 2nd Movement. If you're not running out of tissues, it's not being played quite right!


message 11: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments After watching Tunes for Tyrants (pace, Lez: Suzy Klein wasn't so bad), I decided to check out a bit more Shostakovich. I came across this on Youtube and had to buy a collection of jazz & ballet suites and film music. This is very different from the 7th & 10th symphonies, which were the only Shostakovich compositions I really knew previously. The Youtube video is an extended version of the piece: it's usually only about 4 min.

Dmitri Shostakovich: Waltz No. 2

It reminded me of one of my favourite Sibelius pieces, which is more disjointed but also sadder:

Jean Sibelius: Valse Triste


message 12: by Lez (last edited Oct 29, 2017 09:08AM) (new)

Lez | 7490 comments I’ve never really liked the Jazz Suites or the waltzes - they were played to death by Classic FM when it started till I never wanted to hear them again. I only listen to R3 nowadays.
Try his Symp. 5, the last movement in particular is gorgeous. Symp.15 is lovely too, with a sort of mystical ending. Also the 2nd piano concerto. The string quartets are good but I can’t remember which is which.
Sorry about Suzy Klein, can’t explain my aversion to her!


message 13: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "I’ve never really liked the Jazz Suites or the waltzes - they were played to death by Classic FM when it started till I never wanted to hear them again."

I used to share an office with someone who listened to Classic FM. I got so sick of hearing Debussy's Prélude a l'Après-Midi d'un Faun at the same time every day that I haven't been able to listen to it again since. Which is a shame, because I used to like it.

I do need to listen to more of Shostakovich's symphonies. I have a tendency to revert to Haydn, Beethoven, Mahler & Sibelius and don't get around to listening to other symphonists.


message 14: by Gordon (last edited Oct 29, 2017 09:23AM) (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "Sorry about Suzy Klein, can’t explain my aversion to her!"

I find lots of radio/television presenters irritating. I don't like Lucy Worsley, for example. But she does pick interesting topics to make programmes about, so I have to suppress my irritation with her and focus on what's being said.

I used to have an aversion to both Andrew Graham-Dixon and Waldemar Januszczak, for reasons that I have now quite forgotten. After the BBC4 series they've done in recent years - especially Waldemar Januszczak's Renaissance Unchained - I look forward to every new programme they produce. I especially like the way Januszczak gets his camera crews to focus on his flat-footed gait.


message 15: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments For other symphonists I recommend Dvorak - not just the New World, they’re all good particularly 7 and 8. I do have to thank Classic FM for introducing me to Rachmaninov’s symphonies, I hadn’t known he’d written any. His Symphonic Dances too.
I hope I’m not insulting you by assuming you don’t already know these things! 😀


message 16: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "I hope I’m not insulting you by assuming you don’t already know these things! 😀"

I have a CD set with a few Dvorak symphonies but I haven't listened to it very often. As I said, I keep reverting to the same few composers by default.

I was actually looking for a CD of Rachmaninov's 2nd symphony the other day. I know I had it once because it was given to me as a present by a former colleague (not the one who listened to Classic FM). I couldn't find it: I think I might have sold it or given it to a charity shop a few years ago.

For whatever reason, there are a few composers who I just don't get on with. Chief among these is Schumann. I've tried hard to like him but I just don't. The former colleague who gave me the Rachmaninov disc was a big fan of Schumann, Brahms (who I also disliked until I discovered Ein deutsches Requiem) and Rachmaninov. I came to regard these three collectively as similarly sugary and unlistenable. But then the odd little thing would shake my prejudice. After hearing Ein deutsches Requiem I sought out a few other Brahms pieces and liked some of them. Then I discovered Rachmaninov's All-Night Vigil ("Vespers"), which is stunning. And I heard a clip of a Rachmaninov symphony - I don't know which - on the Suzy Klein programme and wanted to hear more of it. Hence my attempt to find the CD to see if it was the symohony I'd listened to only once when it was so kindly given to me.


message 17: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments Agree about Schumann, love Brahms though. Not keen on Liszt or Mendelssohn, half-hearted about Tchaikovsky but my real bête noir is Handel. Don’t much like opera, specially yukky, sugary Puccini. Some Verdi’s OK and Janáček.


message 18: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "Agree about Schumann, love Brahms though. Not keen on Liszt or Mendelssohn, half-hearted about Tchaikovsky but my real bête noir is Handel. Don’t much like opera, specially yukky, sugary Puccini. Some Verdi’s OK and Janáček."

We'll have to agree to disagree about Händel. Once December begins The Messiah will be on my car stereo almost continuously until we reach the C-word. I've liked what I've heard of some of his operas but I need to explore these more.

I like some Liszt, and I've put more effort into trying to like the Faust and Dante symphonies than I did into poor old Schumann. And I like quite a lot of Mendelssohn, however rude he was about the music of Berlioz, who is a bit of a hero of mine. I don't know very much Tchaikovsky but I like the violin concerto and 6th symphony and I adore The Nutcracker (another December staple, albeit usually this Youtube video rather than a CD: Tchaivovsky: The Nutcracker (complete ballet)).

Where we definitely disagree is on opera. I adore Wagner and Verdi, as well as operas by Berlioz, Donizetti, Prokofiev, Meyerbeer, Gluck, Mozart and others (including Janáček, but not Puccini).

Among the composers I struggle to listen to are: Schumann (see previous message), Richard Strauss (except Vier letzte Lieder and the opening section of Also sprach Zarathustra), Britten, Delius, Ravel and Chopin.


message 19: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments We diverge again, Gordon. Ravel is possibly my favourite composer. The string quartet, both piano concertos ( Desert Island choices!) Mother Goose, Daphnis et Chloé, lots of smaller things. Only pieces I don’t like are Le Tombeau de Couperin, Vocalise and La Valse.
Quite like some R. Strauss, there’s some really nice Britten if you look for it, Delius and Chopin I like a few bits here and there.
What about the Americans? Copland, Barber, Hanson, Hovhaness and the magnificent Philip Glass 😀


message 20: by Gordon (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "What about the Americans? Copland, Barber, Hanson, Hovhaness and the magnificent Philip Glass 😀"

I like Aaron Copland and some Samuel Barber, a bit of Steve Reich (although I haven't heard very much), Charles Ives. I don't know much else. I'm not mad on Philip Glass. I've never devoted much time to finding out about American "classical" music, which is surprising given how much I love American jazz.

As Martin stated in an earlier post, there's such a huge backlog to work through. I've become more averse to taking risks on stuff I might not like as I've got older and have less free time. Most of my exploration of music, literature, cinema, theatre & art took place when I was young & unattached. I expect I'll find time again once the offspring have flown the nest, although the current state of my vision & hearing suggests it might be too late by then.

I've just remembered that I did take a bit of a punt with an eBay order a week or so ago. (Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for it to arrive, having been told the latest date for delivery was last Monday.) This is Havergal Brian's 1 h 50 min symphony no. 1 ("Gothic"). I'll let people know whether I found it worth the effort.

I am very fond of Arvo Pärt. Do you like his stuff?


message 21: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments Yes I do like Pärt and some other east Europeans. The posters on ‘zon.com classical (a very erudite crowd, way out of my league) recommended some to me but I’ve not really explored any yet.
I’ve been a big Philip Glass fan since the first thing I heard of his which was his music for Koyaanisqatsi, shown in the early days of C4. It was so unlike anything I’d ever heard before (amazing film too), I was hooked straight away.
I’ve never heard any Havergal Brian. Hope he’s worth the punt.
The problem with classical is you can’t just pick out a 4 minute track, you have to devote proper time to it.


message 22: by Gordon (last edited Oct 29, 2017 04:29PM) (new)

Gordon (skiiltan) | 2940 comments Lez wrote: "I’ve been a big Philip Glass fan since the first thing I heard of his which was his music for Koyaanisqatsi, shown in the early days of C4."

Koyaanisqatsi came out while I was living in Switzerland (see Keith Moon thread). I saw it in a fleapit cinema in Basel that showed a lot of minority-interest movies. Other films I saw for the first time in that cinema include The Wall and my favourite movie of all time: Le Bal .

I found the music in Koyaanisqatsi rather repetitive, and that impression of Philip Glass has never really left me. I liked the film, though.

Re Pärt, I'd recommend Festina Lente , Fratres and any of his choral works (e.g. Stabat Mater ), as well as the obvious Tabula Rasa .


message 23: by Lez (new)

Lez | 7490 comments Yes, some of his earlier stuff might seem repetitive but there’s often a lot more to it.
nocheese and I went to a performance of his ‘Music in 12 parts’ (6 hours including intervals) with his own ensemble. It was completely enthralling, the music just subtly evolves constantly, so what might seem repetitive isn’t at all.
We were only worried that as P.G. was over 70 and the rest looked even older, they might not make it to the end.


message 24: by Tim (new)

Tim Franklin | 8985 comments The first Havergal Brian CD I heard was this one of (mostly early) works. That was certainly not a good entry point - as the zon.com reviewer says, the band is a youth orchestra, and for all their efforts they simply can't hack it on this music. I do have an EMI disc of a couple of symphonies tucked away somewhere, but partly down to the disappointment of the above, haven't been tempted to play it yet.


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