Author Topic: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)  (Read 13629 times)

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jlaurson

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Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« on: February 13, 2009, 04:01:09 AM »
George Antheil died yesterday, 50 years ago, of a heart attack.
If you enjoy the rambunctious, boisterous, and brilliant, give this bad boy a (second) chance. We all deserve one, and you won’t regret it.

Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)

Two ladies moved in next door to little George Antheil’s childhood home, and they played the piano. Lots. Day and night, pounding away at the poor upright. It’s what first turned Antheil on to music and it’s a charming story tinged by the bizarre… because the ladies were actually trying to cover up the tunneling operation that led to New Jersey’s then most notorious prison breakout.

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Offline springrite

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2009, 04:44:07 AM »

Two ladies moved in next door to little George Antheil’s childhood home, and they played the piano. Lots. Day and night, pounding away at the poor upright. It’s what first turned Antheil on to music and it’s a charming story tinged by the bizarre… because the ladies were actually trying to cover up the tunneling operation that led to New Jersey’s then most notorious prison breakout.

I will check if there is a prison near where I live for I am afraid someone in the neighborhood may be plotting the exact crime in the exact manner!

Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Drasko

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2009, 02:44:45 PM »
I like Antheil. Mostly familiar with his piano music, preferring his audacious early works like Sonata Sauvage, Mechanisms, Airplane Sonata, percussive, rhythmic, noisy, non-developmental works based on contrasts of dynamics and tempos at the same time frenetic and ultra-precise. Lovely!
His later sonatas 3-5 written post war are still very enjoyable pieces but too much resembling Prokofiev for my taste. There is beautiful recording though, on Wergo where pianist Guy Livingston plays some early and some late sonatas on this very soft sounding Fazioli piano and in combination with such percussive toccata-style music result is quite interesting.
I'd like to hear Valentine Waltzes and La Femme 100 Têtes next, Albany disc with Marthanne Verbit looks nice. 

Online vandermolen

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 02:41:06 PM »
Symphony No 4 is my favourite - a great score in the spirit of Shostakovich's Leningrad or Khachaturian's 'Bell Symphony' (No2). I have four ( :o) recordings on Everest (Goossens), Naxos, CPO and Cala (premiere with Stokowski). His No 3 on CPO is also excellent. There is a good autobiography 'Bad Boy of Music' and I like the fact that he wrote a 'lonely hearts' column for a newspaper!
"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 Dax

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2009, 04:06:06 AM »
I've posted this elsewhere - a version of Ballet mecanique which would have delighted Antheil (considering his notion re coordinating pianolas)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo0H8ztju78

jlaurson

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2009, 04:49:30 AM »
I've posted this elsewhere - a version of Ballet mecanique which would have delighted Antheil (considering his notion re coordinating pianolas)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo0H8ztju78

Yes, nice performance, indeed. I was at that exhibition at the NGA and saw it live.
I even wrote about it... but that might not be helpful, at all.
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2006/03/de-di-ds.html

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2009, 04:42:01 PM »
Good symphonist Antheil!

It is a pity that CPO never got round to completing their cycle of the symphonies with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hugh Wolff. The numbering of the symphonies is a bit of a nightmare and-if I remember-I shall add to this post tomorrow about the problem.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2009, 05:17:47 AM »
Antheil's Symphonies were-

Symphony No.1 "Zingareska"(1923)
Symphony in F(1925-26)
Symphony No.2(1931-36)
Symphony No.3 "American"(1936-39)
Symphony No.4(1942-43)
Tragic Symphony(1945-46)
Symphony No.5 "Joyous"(1947-48)
Symphony No.6 "After Delacroix"(1948)

CPO has recorded Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 while Naxos has recorded Nos. 4 and 6.

Offline monafam

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 02:59:14 AM »
I just purchased an album with McKonkley's Ferry, Symphonies No. 4 & 6.  I am really enjoying it!   

It seems like more often than not I am pleased when I take a chance on some composer I've never heard of.

Online vandermolen

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2009, 06:18:40 AM »
I just purchased an album with McKonkley's Ferry, Symphonies No. 4 & 6.  I am really enjoying it!   

It seems like more often than not I am pleased when I take a chance on some composer I've never heard of.

That's one of my favourite Naxos discs too. You should also like Symphony No 3 on CPO.
"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).

Online vandermolen

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2010, 06:38:10 AM »
Just found this fine version of George Antheil's war-time 4th Symphony second hand on Bay Cities (they did some interesting releases). It is the Goossens LSO performance (an excellent one) and it seems to be available much cheaper than the same performance on Everest. The Symphony is very derivative of Shostakovich (it is more or less contemporaneous with the 'Leningrad Symphony') but is also, to my ears at least, very American and the triumphant last movement is excellent and suggestive of hard-won victory.
"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 Sergeant Rock

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2010, 07:13:54 AM »
The numbering of the symphonies is a bit of a nightmare
Symphony No.1 "Zingareska"(1923)
Symphony in F(1925-26)
Symphony No.2(1931-36)
Symphony No.3 "American"(1936-39)
Symphony No.4(1942-43)
Tragic Symphony(1945-46)
Symphony No.5 "Joyous"(1947-48)
Symphony No.6 "After Delacroix"(1948)

And should we squeeze in the 1927 Jazz Symphony for Piano and Orchestra? :D

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Offline Daverz

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2010, 07:39:47 AM »
Here's a new recording of the original score of the Ballet Mechanique:

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//NI2567.htm

Offline The new erato

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2010, 01:57:27 PM »
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 08:33:37 PM by erato »

Offline jowcol

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2010, 04:40:58 PM »
I was always fascinated that Antheil, in conjunction with Hedy Lamarr ("That's Hedly!"), had developed a patent that anticipated Frequency hopping by a couple of decades.

http://www.inventions.org/culture/female/lamarr.html



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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 01:36:39 PM »
For some reason, I randomly started listening to Antheil this afternoon -- haven't in a while. Does anyone have this album? I might get it. Not so much for the ballet, but for the serenade.

Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2014, 01:41:53 PM »
For some reason, I randomly started listening to Antheil this afternoon -- haven't in a while. Does anyone have this album? I might get it. Not so much for the ballet, but for the serenade.



I have this disc along with the symphony and PC recordings on CPO and I remain rather unimpressed with his music. I think he was one of those composers who struggled to find his own compositional voice so in the process he ended up sounding like a Shostakovich or Prokofiev clone in most cases. I say skip him and check out some other American composers instead.
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2014, 01:50:45 PM »
That recording should be avoided for a number of reasons. You won't hear a more sterile rendition of the revised version of the Ballet Mécanique. Also, the post-machine works of Antheil have left me unimpressed for the most part. If you want a great version of the Ballet Mécanique, look for HK Gruber and Ensemble Modern's recording, and there is also a hard to find recording of the Schönberg Ensemble, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw that is flat out brutal in the best way.
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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2014, 07:20:30 PM »
That recording should be avoided for a number of reasons. You won't hear a more sterile rendition of the revised version of the Ballet Mécanique. Also, the post-machine works of Antheil have left me unimpressed for the most part. If you want a great version of the Ballet Mécanique, look for HK Gruber and Ensemble Modern's recording, and there is also a hard to find recording of the Schönberg Ensemble, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw that is flat out brutal in the best way.

I see... That's a shame, because it seems to be the only recording of his 1st serenade for strings, which I really liked. I'll probably end up getting it for this reason.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Propelling Music: George Antheil (1900-1959)
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2014, 08:56:18 AM »
In connection with a book I'm reading about Hedy Lamarr, I just discovered Antheil's Ballet mecanique.  Lots of fun!  And now I hear where Bartok got some of his inspiration for the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. 8)
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