Author Topic: Charles T. Griffes  (Read 9858 times)

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Offline schweitzeralan

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Charles T. Griffes
« on: January 17, 2009, 06:12:49 AM »
I've been listening to many orchestral works by this early 20th century (d. 1918) American composer,Charles T. Griffes. I'v read his bio and read several studies of his work. His music tends to be predominantly Euro-oriented; and, accordingly, they do not evince that singular 'American sound" so prevalent in the works of Copeland, Harris, Robert Ward, Pershechetti et. al.  A few years ago I acquired sheet mucic and played several pianistic works by Griffes. I particularly love "The Vale of Dreams," and "Barcarolle." Anyone out there who plays these and/or other impressionist scores by Griffes?
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 02:05:32 PM by schweitzeralan »

springrite

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Re: Charles T. Griffis
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009, 06:53:05 AM »
Why is it that you and I have so similar tastes?

CTG is one of my favorites, but NOT for his orchestral music. What I love are his piano output. From White Peacock to the Sonata, his piano works reminds one of Debussy but has his own unique voice.

My favorite recording, if you can find it, is an old NONESUCH recording by the American composer pianist Noel Lee. I do not think it has been issued on CD. Of course, u can find his complete piano works on CD from NAXOS, played by Lewin. It is a decent recording, but not as dreamy as Lee.

Offline DavidRoss

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 07:02:53 AM »
The only music by Griffes I'm familiar with are the orchestral works recorded by JoAnn Falletta for Naxos.  I enjoy that quite a bit when in the mood for lush, dreamy, Debussy-influenced late Romanticism.  Pity he died so young.  Thanks for suggesting his piano music, Paul.  Since Lee is OOP, I may give the Naxos a try. 
"Maybe the problem most of you have ... is that you're not listening to Barbirolli." ~Sarge

"The problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money." ~Margaret Thatcher

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 08:15:13 AM »
Just have 2 CDs of Griffes' compositions below: 

Orchestral Pieces on Naxos w/ Falletta

Piano Works w/ Denver Oldham - have not listened to this disc in a while (older recordings from 1977/81), so hard to provide an endorsement, however, rather two 'mixed' reviews by the Amazonians HERE; his piano music is enjoyable, so looking forward to some possible recommendations; the Lewin set on Naxos seems to also have received variable comments -  :-\

 

springrite

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 08:21:11 AM »


Piano Works w/ Denver Oldham - have not listened to this disc in a while (older recordings from 1977/81), so hard to provide an endorsement, however, rather two 'mixed' reviews by the Amazonians HERE; his piano music is enjoyable, so looking forward to some possible recommendations; the Lewin set on Naxos seems to also have received variable comments -  :-\


Oldham's piano sound has no sense of tone color whatsoever. I don't have this CD but have two other recordings by him. Lewin is a bit better, but his touch can sometimes be too harsh on this music. Now, if only one of those Debussyan pianists would play this music!

I will get my Noel Lee transfered to CD next month, if only to preserve it better than a cassette can.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 08:30:36 AM »
I like The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan and The White Peacock, originally discovered on an old RCA LP. The CD below is worth exploring too:

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 09:02:48 AM »
Oldham's piano sound has no sense of tone color whatsoever. I don't have this CD but have two other recordings by him. Lewin is a bit better, but his touch can sometimes be too harsh on this music. Now, if only one of those Debussyan pianists would play this music!

I will get my Noel Lee transfered to CD next month, if only to preserve it better than a cassette can.

Hi Paul - I have the Oldham comin' up next on my CD player just to re-fresh my memory, but that is sort of my remembrance w/ this disc; believe that I picked it up through BRO, so not a major expense - would love to hear the music played well myself!  Dave  :)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2009, 02:00:32 PM »
I have just been listening to the outstanding CD pictured below. I loved everything on it (Griffes, Copland, Gould, Hanson) and the performances conducted by the late Charles Gerhardt - a great conductor, are terrific. Also the CD has a depth and warmth to the recording quality which makes it sound like you are listening to an audiophile vinyl LP. The performance of Hanson's 'Romantic Symphony' is the best I know (Like Koussevitsky's recording of Hanson's Third Symphony). But, the Griffes's scores - in particular 'Kubla Khan' are magnificent - so much better than the Naxos CD. The cover photo, which includes the twin towers added a poignancy to the whole thing. A great CD of wonderful music.

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Charles T. Griffis
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2009, 04:41:01 AM »
Why is it that you and I have so similar tastes?

CTG is one of my favorites, but NOT for his orchestral music. What I love are his piano output. From White Peacock to the Sonata, his piano works reminds one of Debussy but has his own unique voice.

My favorite recording, if you can find it, is an old NONESUCH recording by the American composer pianist Noel Lee. I do not think it has been issued on CD. Of course, u can find his complete piano works on CD from NAXOS, played by Lewin. It is a decent recording, but not as dreamy as Lee.
Interesting that you point out similarities in our mutual preferences in terms of individual composers.  Decades ago I would listen to all varieties of music from Baroque to 20th century avant-garde.  Eliot Carter became one of my favorite Modernist innovators.  During the last two or three decades I have retreated and have become more exclusiveand conservative in my musical taste.  To be sure I still listen to many composers, as do so many well informed  posters in this forum.  I tend to prefer the style suggestive of modally harmonic, impressionistic, color oriented works exemplified by the likes of Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Arnold Bax, Debussy, Ravel, Joseph Marx, Sibelius, and many others, including the piano works of Griffis, Reichel, Janacek, Palmgren, Schmitt (Ombres), Cyril Scott, etc.  I particularly like the few compositions of two sensualist "colorists": Alexander Krein and the Finn Vaino Raitio. I have four pieces by Raitio, but they are considerably advanced.  I can only manage to "dig out' those passages so appealing to me.  The Raitio 4 pieces are unfortunately not recorded. These plus other composers, known or relatively unknown, make my day.

Scarpia

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2009, 01:53:23 PM »
This is the one Griffes recording I have.



Why this wonderful Mercury Living Presence recording was never released on CD is a mystery to me.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2009, 03:04:50 PM »
This is the one Griffes recording I have.



Why this wonderful Mercury Living Presence recording was never released on CD is a mystery to me.


Picture doesn't seem to have come out.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Scarpia

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2009, 03:08:25 PM »
Picture doesn't seem to have come out.

Hmm, the external image link seems to come and go.

It is Howard Hanson conducting the Eastman Rochester Symphony, Griffes Pleasure Dome, White Peacock, Clouds, Bachanale, and some Loeffler stuff.  A Mono Mercury Living Presence LP.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 11:11:01 AM by Scarpia »

Offline jowcol

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2009, 11:37:19 AM »
I'll need dig into the piano music more- I have all the current Naxos discs, and Kubla Khan I really like.  (Although it really should have an Abyssinian maid on the dulcimer....)

Why Griffes and Koechlin don't get more recognition as impressionist/colorists I don't know. 
"If it sounds good, it is good."
Duke Ellington

Offline schweitzeralan

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2009, 03:02:24 PM »
I'll need dig into the piano music more- I have all the current Naxos discs, and Kubla Khan I really like.  (Although it really should have an Abyssinian maid on the dulcimer....)

Why Griffes and Koechlin don't get more recognition as impressionist/colorists I don't know. 

I gree; at least Griffes' works are recorded.  I've heard some Koechlin but don't know his works all that well.  Another composer whose name I listed much earlier in the forum is the Finn Vaino Raitio.  Not prolific, but what his few works are very appealing to me. I wish his 4 piano works (titles in Finnish) which I own in manuscript but are not recorded.  His "Moonlight On Jupiter" is also unavailable.  Just thought I'd mention him as a fellow "colorist" in regards to impressionist music.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2009, 12:16:10 AM »
Hmm, the external image link seems to come and go.

It is Howard Hanson conducting the Eastman Rochester Symphony, Griffes Pleasure Dome, White Peacock, Clouds, Bachanale, and some Loeffler stuff.  A Mono Mercury Living Presence LP.


Sounds like a great LP - maybe they could couple it on CD with the old Mercury of Hanson's Fourth Symphony! (probably wishful thinking).
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline The new erato

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2009, 01:37:15 AM »
You guys need this disc:



Very interesting selection, and the Griffes is predictably fine:

Carpenter, J: Watercolors
Griffes: Five Songs From the Chinese, Op. 10
Harris, Roy: Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun
Parker, H: Cahal Mor of the Wine-Red Hand, Op. 40
Thomson, V: The Feast of Love
 
I like the Thomson a lot as well, but I need more than two listenings, this is a recent arrival.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2009, 01:47:57 AM »
You guys need this disc:



Very interesting selection, and the Griffes is predictably fine:

Carpenter, J: Watercolors
Griffes: Five Songs From the Chinese, Op. 10
Harris, Roy: Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun
Parker, H: Cahal Mor of the Wine-Red Hand, Op. 40
Thomson, V: The Feast of Love
 
I like the Thomson a lot as well, but I need more than two listenings, this is a recent arrival.


Yes, we do! Looks like a very interesting CD - but kindly be aware of my (diminishing) bank account before making these suggestions  ;D
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline The new erato

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2009, 01:57:10 AM »
Yes, we do! Looks like a very interesting CD - but kindly be aware of my (diminishing) bank account before making these suggestions  ;D
Now look who's talking.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2009, 01:59:58 AM »
Now look who's talking.
I guess a case of 'The pot calling the kettle black'. Point taken  :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles T. Griffes
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2013, 08:43:37 PM »
But, the Griffes's scores - in particular 'Kubla Khan' are magnificent - so much better than the Naxos CD.

Not to hose this post down, but I find nothing wrong with the Naxos recording. In fact, it's simply the only game in town until another all-Griffes orchestral recording emerges, which I doubt will be anytime soon. Anyway, I thought Falletta did an excellent job. She clearly has this music under her grasp and understands Griffes' idiom. I'd like to hear the London Symphony Orchestra or even the Cleveland Orchestra in this music, but I'm just going to stop dreaming. :)
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 08:45:16 PM by Mirror Image »
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