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Author Topic: Gurn's Classical Corner  (Read 220218 times)

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Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #40 on: February 22, 2009, 12:21:36 PM »

http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=177282

On this disk, all but Maxim Berezovsky are imports. Italian, French and German (Steibelt may have been a Brit, can't remember). However, a couple of years ago, someone (it may have been you, Drasko) posted about a Russian violinist whose career spanned the 1800 range who was a composer of some excellent concertos. He certainly preceded Glinka.  Damned if I can remember his name though... If anyone does, please post it. :)

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #41 on: February 22, 2009, 12:23:07 PM »
Cool thread, Gurn -- speaking from the 21st century though I does  8)

Thanks, Karl, you were the 21st century exception I mentioned. :)  maybe that will make you give us a post here and there, like on early Russians, maybe?  :)

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hildegard

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #42 on: February 22, 2009, 01:18:56 PM »
One of my first discoveries, was Paisiello, when I bought the soundtrack to Kubrick's Barry Lyndon.  It was an excerpt from his Barber of Seville opera (not Rossini's  ;) Kubrick Film soundtracks were my transition into classical music, and opened up that new world of intrigue to me!  0:)

My discovery of Paisiello also has been through his vocal compositions, such as the beautiful aria, "Il Mio Ben," from his opera Nina Pazza per Amore. Like Rossini, though, Paisiello is also known for an opera that preceded him, La Serva Padrone, which was originally set to music by Pergolesi (1710-1736). While some may consider Paisiello and Pergolesi to be a generation apart, there is more similarity than difference in the originality and fancifulness of their music. The vocal compositions of both also equally form part of the classical and classic repertoire of today's students and followers of bel canto.   

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2009, 02:29:11 PM »
History part 2: 1750-1775

This was the period of development of the style which led to the High Classical. Galant had lost its charm for many people who wanted to be challenged by the music. And on the practical side, enough experimentation had been done to allow composers to know what was possible with the orchestra. And what was possible were dynamic contrasts, an import from Italian opera (Jomelli, Mannheim, circa 1755), and a solid blending of strings and winds, something that was lacking in earlier orchestral music which tended towards one or the other.

The main player in this period was Joseph Haydn. He assimilated the great amount of information to which he was exposed during his training period in Vienna and, during the late 1750's through 1760's, while employed away from Vienna, and with an orchestra of considerable talent and with an accommodating employer, he turned out a full spectrum of orchestral, sacred and chamber music which greatly furthered the growth of sonata form, instrumentation and explorations of tonal relationships.

By the 1770's, there were many good composers who took the ideas of Haydn, CPE Bach, Johann Stamitz and others and blended them with their own original ideas to make sonata-allegro form, key contrasts, wide dynamic range, etc. the standard musical form. Now the time was come to take these seminal ideas and build the musical works that we have come to think of as "Classical Music". :)

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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2009, 02:47:14 PM »
Doing my daily GMG check imagine my surprise when I see a new thread from my old pal Gurn Blanston.  Imagine also my surprise to learn that it's shot up to three pages in a day!  :o

Great reading, Gurn!  I'll make sure to drop by here often.  ;)

Er... That is all!  ;D

sul G

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #45 on: February 22, 2009, 02:51:35 PM »
In very curious to know, since I really enjoy Russian music, if there were any good Russian composers in the classical era (pre-Glinka)?

This disc is surprising and wonderful



and there are other Khandoshkin discs out there which I haven't heard. This is solo violin music, fiery virtuoso stuff, but with plenty of poetry and arresting ideas too. Somehow you can tell that this is music from the edge of things, and that's not a bad thing. Definitely worth a punt - and it fills a gap which I didn't think could be filled. Khandoshkin's wiki page

Nice thread, Gurn. And your list of books is spot on. It should be pointed out that Rosen's The Classical Style is officially The Best Book On Music Ever.  >:( $:) I've never read anything as consistently revealing...unless it be Rosen's The Romantic Generation. The guy is incredible.

sul G

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #46 on: February 22, 2009, 03:03:53 PM »
Here's one I hadn't heard of - Yevstigney Fomin. There's the vocal score of an opera of his at IMSLP - I have it downloading now!

There's also Bortniansky, a name I'm very familiar with but whose music I don't recall hearing. Wiki says:

Quote
While Dmytro Bortniansky's operas and instrumental compositions are on par with those of the great classical composers, it is his sacred choral work that is performed most often today. This vast body of work remains central not only to understanding 18th century Russian sacred music, but also served as inspiration to his fellow Ukrainian composers in the 19th century.

which is pretty much how I understood things to be, give or take a slightly different interpretation of the words 'on a par with'; I've always associated him with liturgical music in the Russian style, in the line that led through Tchaikovsky to Rachmaninov and even Schnittke. But what do I know - nothing when it comes to this.  ;D

sul G

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #47 on: February 22, 2009, 03:09:08 PM »
Here's one I hadn't heard of - Yevstigney Fomin. There's the vocal score of an opera of his at IMSLP - I have it downloading now!

Here we are - the opening bars of a classical period opera from Russia called 'The Americans'! Who'd a thunk it?  8) :D


sul G

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #48 on: February 22, 2009, 03:17:02 PM »
Hey, I assume you can even hear the above here (click on 'album preview' - hope it works!). Track 4 is this overture, and there's some other Fomin, and Bortniansky, on the disc too.

Edit - it does work, you can listen to the whole CD...
« Last Edit: February 22, 2009, 03:19:01 PM by sul G »

Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #49 on: February 22, 2009, 03:38:31 PM »
Doing my daily GMG check imagine my surprise when I see a new thread from my old pal Gurn Blanston.  Imagine also my surprise to learn that it's shot up to three pages in a day!  :o

Great reading, Gurn!  I'll make sure to drop by here often.  ;)

Er... That is all!  ;D

Welcome, Sorin. Hope you will share some of your knowledge with us. This will be a community effort and we will all benefit. :)

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Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #50 on: February 22, 2009, 03:40:14 PM »
This disc is surprising and wonderful



and there are other Khandoshkin discs out there which I haven't heard. This is solo violin music, fiery virtuoso stuff, but with plenty of poetry and arresting ideas too. Somehow you can tell that this is music from the edge of things, and that's not a bad thing. Definitely worth a punt - and it fills a gap which I didn't think could be filled. Khandoshkin's wiki page

Nice thread, Gurn. And your list of books is spot on. It should be pointed out that Rosen's The Classical Style is officially The Best Book On Music Ever.  >:( $:) I've never read anything as consistently revealing...unless it be Rosen's The Romantic Generation. The guy is incredible.

Luke,
Ah, it was you who rec'd that disk a while back. Glad you caught up with us and reminded. I read a bit else about this composer and had decided I really wanted to try him out, but... I forgot his name...  :-[

Oh, I hope that at least a few people will grab some of those books. I got them all "used" on Amazon for a pittance and they have provided many hours of enjoyment along with some serious edification, which I am always greatly in need of. :)



8)
« Last Edit: February 22, 2009, 03:42:42 PM by Gurn Blanston »
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #51 on: February 22, 2009, 04:06:07 PM »
Hi Gurn - just coming in for the evening and noticed your already 3-page thread!  :o

As you likely know, this is my favorite period of music and really love the transitional years, so will be quite interested in joing in on the conversation and hopefully contributing some useful information -  :)

Just for a starter consideration, this period saw a tremendous development of various instruments, such as the keyboards (e.g. harpsichords into the fortepianos) and woodwinds (such as flutes & clarinets); thus, this discussion will need to include preferences for performances of works on these various types of instruments.

Just today, I was listening to the 6-CD set of Ronald Brautigam performing the Mozart Piano Sonatas on a wonderful instrument (built by Paul McNulty in 1992 after one by Anton Walter, ca. 1795) - the sound and 'up front' presence of this piano is just superb.

So, I would encourage those participating in this thread to consider the changes that were occurring w/ the instruments of these times - great start, buddy!  Dave  :D


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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #52 on: February 22, 2009, 04:35:50 PM »
Hi Gurn - just coming in for the evening and noticed your already 3-page thread!  :o

As you likely know, this is my favorite period of music and really love the transitional years, so will be quite interested in joing in on the conversation and hopefully contributing some useful information -  :)

Just for a starter consideration, this period saw a tremendous development of various instruments, such as the keyboards (e.g. harpsichords into the fortepianos) and woodwinds (such as flutes & clarinets); thus, this discussion will need to include preferences for performances of works on these various types of instruments.

Just today, I was listening to the 6-CD set of Ronald Brautigam performing the Mozart Piano Sonatas on a wonderful instrument (built by Paul McNulty in 1992 after one by Anton Walter, ca. 1795) - the sound and 'up front' presence of this piano is just superb.

So, I would encourage those participating in this thread to consider the changes that were occurring w/ the instruments of these times - great start, buddy!  Dave  :D


Ah, welcome Dave. I was sure you would show up, and soon. :D

I really enjoy that suite of Mozart sonatas by Brautigam, and that does give a good lead-in to the subject you raise. Indeed, it is on my agenda too. I started a paragraph about it in one of the history sections and then erased it, thinking I might be adding too much at once. Clearly not, though. I have run across some good instrument histories since the last time the subject came up, and I hope to be able to post some of that material here. beyond the keyboard, the changes in, particularly, wind instruments went a long way towards making them usable. Which is to say: they actually stayed in tune through an entire work (or at least a movement). Anyway, an excellent subject for exploration. :)

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Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #53 on: February 22, 2009, 05:05:58 PM »
On the old forum, SonicMan and I started many threads on Classical Era composers. Some of these became very popular, a few didn't. In any case, the initial posts nearly always contained a brief biography and perhaps a few music recommendations to be getting on with. Rather than restart those threads, I thought to go back and copy and paste that original post so that the composers will be discussed in their context with each other. :)

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Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #54 on: February 22, 2009, 05:07:19 PM »
Here's the first then, since he was mentioned earlier.

Luigi Boccherini (February 19, 1743 – May 28, 1805) was a classical era composer and cellist from Italy, mostly known for one particular minuet from one of his string quintets, and the Cello Concerto in B flat major (G 482). This last work was long known in the heavily altered version by German cellist and prolific arranger Friedrich Grützmacher, but has recently been restored to its original version.

Boccherini was born in Lucca, Italy, in a musical family. At a young age his father, a cellist and double bass player, sent Luigi to study in Rome (1757), and after various concert tours, his talents eventually brought him to the Spanish court in Madrid, where he was employed by Don Luis, the younger brother of King Charles III. There he flourished under royal patronage, until one day when the King expressed his disapproval at a passage in a new trio, and ordered Boccherini to change it. The composer, no doubt irritated with this intrusion into his art, doubled the passage instead, leading to his immediate dismissal.

Among his patrons was the French consul Lucien Bonaparte, as well as King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, himself an amateur cellist, flutist, and avid supporter of the arts. Boccherini fell on hard times following the deaths of his Spanish patron, two wives, and two daughters, and he died in poverty in 1805, being survived by two sons. His blood line continues to this day.

Boccherini is sometimes referred to as the 'wife of Haydn', because much of his chamber music closely resembles the Austrian master's. However, Boccherini is often credited with improving Haydn's model of the string quartet by bringing the cello to prominence, whereas Haydn had always relegated it to an accompaniment role.

A virtuoso cellist of the first caliber, Boccherini often played violin repertoire on the cello, at pitch, a skill he developed by substituting for ailing violonists while touring. This supreme command of the instrument brought him much praise from his contemporaries (notably Baillot, Rode, and Romberg), and is evident in the cello parts of his compositions (particularly in the quintets for two cellos, treated oftentimes as cello concertos with string quartet accompaniment).

He wrote a large amount of chamber music, including over a hundred string quintets for two violins, viola and two cellos (a type which he pioneered, in contrast with the then common scoring for two violins, two violas and one cello), nearly a hundred string quartets, and a number of string trios and sonatas (including at least 19 for the cello), as well as a series of guitar quintets. His orchestral music includes around 30 symphonies and 12 virtuoso cello concertos.

Boccherini's works have been catalogued by the French musicologist Yves Gérard (born 1932), published in London (1969), hence the 'G' numbers for his output.

Boccherini's style is characterized by the typical Rococo charm, lightness, and optimism, and exhibits much melodic and rhythmic invention, coupled with frequent influences from the guitar tradition of his adopted country, Spain. Unjustly neglected, his works have been gaining more recognition lately, in print, record, and concert hall.
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karlhenning

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2009, 05:14:32 PM »
On the old forum, SonicMan and I started many threads on Classical Era composers. Some of these became very popular, a few didn't. In any case, the initial posts nearly always contained a brief biography and perhaps a few music recommendations to be getting on with. Rather than restart those threads, I thought to go back and copy and paste that original post so that the composers will be discussed in their context with each other. :)

8)

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Brünnhilde forever

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2009, 05:16:42 PM »

Edit - it does work, you can listen to the whole CD...

Lovely music indeed and great recording sound. I am still listening to it, track 11 very lively! Thank you sincerely!  :-*

sul G

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #57 on: February 22, 2009, 05:19:09 PM »
Thanks for that, Gurn. The following:

Boccherini's style is characterized by the typical Rococo charm, lightness, and optimism

whilst undoubtedly true as a generalisation, is the sort of thing which, rightly or wrongly, puts many people off Boccherini, sadly - so I would point out that those looking for music with more troubled undertones will find them in Boccherini too. The Stabat Mater for solo soprano and strings, for example, (on Harmonia Mundi, coupled with a very dark quintet IIRC; also on other discs I haven't heard) is a beautiful work, melodically rich, highly expressive; elsewhere, there is plenty of chamber music with plenty going on below the surface.

Searching around, I also see that there's another Stabat Mater about which I'd forgotten. This disc looks well worth a punt:




Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #58 on: February 22, 2009, 05:23:38 PM »
In another thread, I posted some summary numbers from an excellent book on orchestral development from the Baroque into the early 19th century which is pertinent to this current discussion; in addition to considering the changing instrumentation of this period, the orchestras also show tremendous alternation in their numbers and compositions; the book shown below is an excellent documentation of these changes (really written for a college course, so my read was not as thorough as possible) - but just another consideration for the music of this time, i.e. the orchestras used were much smaller that those that often perform this music in recent years and the instruments and performing practices were different - yet, another interesting 'mix' in this fascinating period of music!  :D

Quote
......... - should Haydn be played w/ the size orchestra he was familiar w/ in his times, i.e. 18th century, and w/ the instruments of the times, esp. the woodwinds (including tunings, strings - gut, etc.) - don't think that Papa Joe would even understand his music being performed by a late Romantic orchestra approaching 100 members!

A few months ago, I was reading the book shown below The Birth of the Orchestra (subtitled 'History of an Institution, 1650-1815) - this is an in-depth analysis of orchestral development, the latter half during Haydn's times; to be honest this is really appropriate for a college textbook, so did skip over a lot of parts; but out of curiosity concerning the SIZE of orchestras back then, I did a brief compilation of the appendices concerning the size of orchestras during the periods of Haydn's composing; below is just a summary:

Orchestra Sampling (yrs)                 Number          Range             Average

       1754-1759                                 23                 10-50               29
       1773-1779                                 33                 12-68               33
       1791-1796                                 43                 10-86               34
Sorry, but can't get these titles & columns to 'line up' easily!  :-\

But the point is that during Haydn's times, orchestras likely averaged only 20-30 players (the larger ones in the ranges listed were operatic/theater groups); plus, the wind instruments were still in a stage of development and were wood back then; the keyboards were organ, harpsichord, or fortepianos.  Of course, the string instruments were likely gut, and the mode of playing, tuning, etc. different from modern orchestras; I'm w/ Q, the orchestras used in Haydn's times were 'small' in comparison to our modern ones, the ratio & types of instruments (esp. the winds) were different, and the performance practices likely not the same.  To me the Haydn Symphonies sound wonderful if well played regardless of the orchestra (and I have about half of his output by nearly a half dozen performers), but would be FUN to hear these as did Papa Joe:D


Online Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #59 on: February 22, 2009, 05:27:17 PM »
Thanks for that, Gurn. The following:

whilst undoubtedly true as a generalisation, is the sort of thing which, rightly or wrongly, puts many people off Boccherini, sadly - so I would point out that those looking for music with more troubled undertones will find them in Boccherini too. The Stabat Mater for solo soprano and strings, for example, (on Harmonia Mundi, coupled with a very dark quintet IIRC; also on other discs I haven't heard) is a beautiful work, melodically rich, highly expressive; elsewhere, there is plenty of chamber music with plenty going on below the surface.

Searching around, I also see that there's another Stabat Mater about which I'd forgotten. This disc looks well worth a punt:





Good point, Luke. While it is true that much of his earlier music (on which his reputation was built) is quite galant, his later music, post-1790, is very much more harmonically and melodically intricate. Even in just chamber music, not to mention such as the Stabat mater. This disk:



is a good example of that. It is his last string trios, and they differ greatly from his early ones like the Op 14 set. Wouldn't do at all to pigeonhole a composer of this breadth, he touched all the bases in his long career. :)

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