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Guest Anders

Norwegian composers!

Ole Bull

Rikard Nordraak

Agathe Backer Grøndahl

Maj Sønstevold

I'll see if i can find some midis so you can hear their true genious! :wacko:

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Certainly Rheinberger deserves much more attention than he's gotten.  So far I haven't heard a Rheinberger work that I haven't liked.

Neither have I! Amen, brother. In the whole 19th Century, he's second only to Brahms in his stunning use of counterpoint. I have a recording of his 8-part a cappella "Mass in E-flat" and some of his incredible motets, and they're all ravishing. I also acquired some scores to these to study his counterpoint, and their perfection is enough to make you want to throw in the towel. He's often unfavourably compared to Brahms, which isn't at all fair.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Sorabji, or Ronald Stevenson and Alistair Hinton.

Sorabji will always be remembered for his collosal four hour piano work 'Opus Clavicembalisticum', which is a tour de force in pianism. I prefer his seventy minute 'Toccata No. 1' myself. His First Organ Symphony is simply brilliant. Wish more folks played his music.

Ronald Stevenson is also an interesting compsoer to not see more of. His Passacaglia on DSCH is simply fantastic (dedicated to Shostakovich), an epochal work that brings out the best of any pianist.

Alistair Hinton is a British composer who deserves more acclaim as well. His Variations on a Theme of Grieg (which is available on Altarus Records), is a delightful masterpiece.

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Wow, there are so many names that come to mind but I will try to focus on just one of them, Carl Nielsen, a Danish Composer (born the same year as Sibelius 1865 and died in 1926).

His style is very rhythmic, quite classical in a sense (he loved and appreciated Mozart above all others), was a master of Counterpoint and Fugue, and a very skilled orchestrator.

Works to check out:

Flute Concerto (most popular of his three concertos)

Clarinet Concerto (a very interesting, original piece)

Violin Concerto (an outstanding work which does not get nearly as much attention as it should)

The Piano Suite (The Luciferian) ---This is truly a roller-coaster ride with many different moods throughout. It preserves the typical character of a Baroque suite but in a more modern setting

Theme and Variations for piano--a great set of variations that gets quite viruosic

Any of his 6 symphonies--of which I highly recommend:

Symphony No 4 The Inextinguishable

Symphony No 5

In chamber music, his Wind Quintet is not to be missed... (he also wrote String Quartets and a String Quintet, 2 violin sonatas)

I would you all to get to know Nielsen's music. It will be worth your acquaintance....

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What about early composers? They seldom get mentioned on this board at all. I think many people have trouble getting into music from before the 1650 - the tonal language, the techniques and the styles are so far reomoved from where we are now. I'm a bit of an early music specialist, and I love it.

Aside from the ubiquitous Palestrina, Lassus, Victoria, Byrd, etc., here are just a few of my all-but-forgotten faves from before 1650 that came to mind today:

Robert Fayrfax (English; 1461-1521).

John Taverner (English; 1495? - 1545) - not to be confused with our contemporary John Tavener.

Heinrich Isaac (Flemish/Italian; 1450? - 1517) - I had the pleasure of doing a commercial recording some of his vocal music, including a lament on the death of Lorenzo the Magnificent (1492).

Juan Gutierrez de Padilla (Spanish/Mexican; 1590? - 1664) - choir master at the Cathedral of Puebla, Mexico - one of the first great composers in the New World. I've recorded a lot of his stuff, too.

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Guest Recursion

One very obscure composer that I find particularly brilliant is Johann Wilhelm Wilms (1772-1847). It's really amazing his symphonies aren't in the standard repertoire. I LOVE them.

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Respighi. His "Fountains of Rome","Pines of Rome" and other works be more known.

.....Okay, you SOOO did not just say that. Do they ever like... NOT play Ancient Airs and Dances on the Radio?!?! It's like I can't escape it. You know that's like the one thing I don't miss about living in DC is that I don't have to hear those infernal Ancient Airs and Dances on WGMS every five seconds; music which, I might add, I find less appealing than spooning my eyes out. At least in Salt Lake they have a more diversified repertoire on their classical radio station, WBYU, but I assure you that should I hear Ancient Airs and Dances on that station there will be war via me going on the campus of Brigham Young University and smoking a cigarette in broad daylight.... Not that I mind most of Respeghi's other non-pastiche works. Pines of Rome is stunning. But those Ancient Airs and Dances... I can honestly say I prefer Kylie Minogue (and that's hella bad).

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Daniel, what an incisive statement. :D

When I was in college, I had several opportunities to conduct the local symphony orchestra of which I've been a member for umpteen years. Sometimes I chose a piece to conduct, sometimes I was assigned one. One of the pieces I was assigned was a delightful opera overture by Domenico Cimarosa. I wish I could remember what it was, but all I remember was that it was in C major, and that the secondary theme was more memorable than the primary. Ah, well.

In fact, here's all I remember of it...or what I think I remember. What fun it was!

If anyone can help me identify this overture from this fragment, I'll be eternally in your debt. I stop just short of sexual favours. Or not. :D

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Originally posted by Philip Daniel@Sep 10 2005, 10:27 PM

Been listening to Domenico Cimarosa's Eight Sonatas. Short, but delightful. At least to me, I often find the simplicity and balance of 18th century music more interesting that the complexity and emotion of 19th and 20th century compositions.

Hmmm, I'm the exact opposite there. I find mos music of the 18th century academic, uninspiring, and for the most part dull. There is very little emotional life in the music, and that is exactly the sort of thing that I need to hear to kep me engaged when I listen.

This is not to say that I do't like pieces from that time or before. I'm quite fond of Mozart's 40th and 41 Symhponies, as well as his Concerto for Two Pianos. But that's about as early as I can usually stand. After a while, it all just sounds exactly alike to me. Although, the few pieces from that period I have personally played I quite like (for instance, J.S. Bach's Italian Concerto is one of my favourites, and was in fact, the raison d'être for the first movement of my Piano Suite No. 1 in C Major (scroll down the page to find it).

Nor do I discount the influence and the ground those composers covered. They developed many forms which would become pivotal in the more recent centuries, nut they lacked the emotional depth that I look for in music.

I would much rather have Dohnányi's Passacaglia in Eb Minor of Ronald Stevenson's Passacaglia on DSCH than any of the Bach Passacaglias. They owe a debt to Bach, yes, but they sure as heck did something creative, imaginative, and emotionally forceful that Bach never even attempted.

And THAT, my friends, is just one of th emany things that the last two centuries of musical composition have wrought, an emotional depth and foundation in music.

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One must acknowledge three things when judging early music:

1. The level of development music had come through in general;

2. The role emotions and their expression played in everyday life; and

3. The prevailing attitude about art and philosophy at the time.

The 18th Century was "The Age of Enlightenment." I won't go into a lengthy discussion of what that means, but suffice it to say that knowledge was king, and emotion was something one only expressed in very intimate circumstances.

Mozart, on the day of his mother's death in Paris, wrote a letter to his father with a glittering account of his recent musical triumphs there, without so much as a mention of his mother's death. Sent off in the same post was a letter to a very close and dear family friend, saying something to the effect of "Mourn with me, dear friend...my dear mother is no more...rush to my father's side with the sad news, and comfort him with your presence." This might seem callous and bizarre, but that was the way things were handled in the 18th Century. They were different people, with a very different philosophy of life. If you think about it, it was actually very thoughtful of Mozart to spare his father having to hear the news of his wife's death in a letter, choosing rather to send a dear friend with the news instead. A century later, he might have written a gushy letter on black-bordered stationery with an indulgent outpouring of personal emotion. What he did was remarkably restrained and thoughtful.

It would have been unseemly in such a society for music to be much more outwardly emotional than it was, and music developed as far as it could possibly go during that time. This does not mean that it is devoid of emotion, merely an intellectual exercise. One must delve into the music to find the emotion in it.

Can anyone listen to the Aria in Bach's Third Orchestral Suite and tell me honestly that it is devoid of emotion? I personally cannot listen to it without weeping. It's indescribably beautiful. Just because the music of the 18th Century does not spoon-feed us gooey helpings of unbridled emotion doesn't mean that the people who wrote it didn't feel it. Like they themselves, they resrained it - but it is there. You have to work for it to hear it.

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