Author Topic: Gurn's Classical Corner  (Read 506505 times)

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Offline springrite

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #120 on: March 01, 2009, 09:11:26 AM »
What sonatas are they, Paul? Just curious, always looking for ones I don't have, particularly if they are on fortepiano. :)

8)

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Listening to:
Dussek Sonatas / Staier - Andreas Staier - Op 31 #2 Sonata in D for Fortepiano 3rd mvmt - Pastorale: Allegro non troppo

I will let you know when I get back from my trip! The CD is in my office. I will go to the office first before I go to the airport.

If I remembered correctly, it was probably a COLLINS CD. Was it Pizarro? I will find out tomorrow.
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #121 on: March 01, 2009, 09:13:40 AM »
I will let you know when I get back from my trip! The CD is in my office. I will go to the office first before I go to the airport.

If I remembered correctly, it was probably a COLLINS CD. Was it Pizarro? I will find out tomorrow.

Ah, very good. That is one I hadn't heard of, so maybe some new music if I can find a copy of it over here. :)

8)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #122 on: March 01, 2009, 09:15:52 AM »
Very interesting, Gurn. I didn't know (or remember) that point. Alas, I'm afraid I will have to deny your last statement. I saw Mitsuko Uchida some months ago playing a magnificent KV 491 with her back towards the audience. ;)

Interesting point, Gabriel. So maybe she is the exception that proves the rule. :)  I would have liked to hear that performance, K 491 is one of my personal favorites. :)

8)

----------------
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C.P.E. Bach & W. F. Bach Works for 2 Harpsichords - Andreas Staier & Robert Hill - W.F. Bach Falck 10 Sonata in F for 2 Harpsichords 1st mvmt - [Allegro moderato]
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Offline springrite

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #123 on: March 01, 2009, 09:22:26 AM »
The conventional interpretation at the time about Dussek's practice of playing with his side to the audience was that he thought he looked best that way. Apparently he had a very good looking profile. Drawings of him seems to suggest that he was not much to look at from the front but much much better from the side!
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #124 on: March 01, 2009, 09:26:54 AM »
The conventional interpretation at the time about Dussek's practice of playing with his side to the audience was that he thought he looked best that way. Apparently he had a very good looking profile. Drawings of him seems to suggest that he was not much to look at from the front but much much better from the side!

Yes, he was famous for his pretty-boy profile. I think the sound thing was a bonus that sold the deal to other pianists, even ones without a profile. BTW, Dussek was a compulsive eater, and the last few years of his life he didn't tour because he was too fat to get around. I bet that was a profile he didn't enjoy showing off. ::)

8)




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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #125 on: March 01, 2009, 10:00:18 AM »
Yes, he was famous for his pretty-boy profile. I think the sound thing was a bonus that sold the deal to other pianists, even ones without a profile. BTW, Dussek was a compulsive eater, and the last few years of his life he didn't tour because he was too fat to get around. I bet that was a profile he didn't enjoy showing off. ..

Yep, I posted a number of photos of him (early & later in life) in the OP on the old forum thread - he did blow-up like a toad, maybe not quite Jabba the Hutt, but a resemblance, esp. in the jowls!  ;D

Forgot to post the other Dussek addition to my collection - the one mentioned by Gurn w/ Staier on the fortepiano - need to do some re-listening to those discs along w/ Becker on a modern piano; as I remember Staier can get to be a little of a 'key banger' at times, but just different interpretations - BTW, the Trio 1790 uses a fortepiano in the Piano Trios; Dussek wrote a lot of these but a check on Amazon still shows just the one offering by this superb group!  :)

 

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #126 on: March 01, 2009, 10:11:19 AM »
Yep, I posted a number of photos of him (early & later in life) in the OP on the old forum thread - he did blow-up like a toad, maybe not quite Jabba the Hutt, but a resemblance, esp. in the jowls!  ;D

Forgot to post the other Dussek addition to my collection - the one mentioned by Gurn w/ Staier on the fortepiano - need to do some re-listening to those discs along w/ Becker on a modern piano; as I remember Staier can get to be a little of a 'key banger' at times, but just different interpretations - BTW, the Trio 1790 uses a fortepiano in the Piano Trios; Dussek wrote a lot of these but a check on Amazon still shows just the one offering by this superb group!  :)

 

Yes, if there is one thing to be said negatively about Staier, it is that he is a true Classical style keyboardist, which is to say, he articulates his notes ala Mozart. Dussek comes from that fractionally later period when legate e cantabile is required. Hard to say anything else had about him as I really enjoy his playing. The Field concertos I am listening to now are superb (Concerto Köln is in no small way responsible for that, either).

Trio 1790 not only have some wonderful Haydn trios (7 disks so far) but also some CPE Bach as well as the Dussek. All well worth looking into. :)

8)

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Field: Piano Concerto No.2 & 3 - Andreas Staier / Concerto Köln - Field H32 Concerto #3 in Eb 1st mvmt - Allegro moderato
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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #127 on: March 01, 2009, 01:44:45 PM »
Yes, if there is one thing to be said negatively about Staier, it is that he is a true Classical style keyboardist, which is to say, he articulates his notes ala Mozart. Dussek comes from that fractionally later period when legate e cantabile is required.

As I haven't listened Staier's Dussek (shame on me... I've had the CD in my hands!), I cannot comment specifically on his playing, but I agree that a strict Mozartian articulation wouldn't fit Dussek too much.

Outside of Beethoven, this is as good as it gets at the turn of the century.

For piano, I totally agree. Perhaps Clementi can be added to them, while I don't count Haydn, because he belongs to a previous generation. Other name to consider is Wölfl, but his importance is, in my opinion, inferior than Dussek's (but he has some remarkable works).

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #128 on: March 01, 2009, 02:01:25 PM »
As I haven't listened Staier's Dussek (shame on me... I've had the CD in my hands!), I cannot comment specifically on his playing, but I agree that a strict Mozartian articulation wouldn't fit Dussek too much.

And he does tend to play that way. Not purely, of course, but it's like that is his natural style and he sometimes reverts a bit. Doesn't really bother me too much, I like the music and his playing quite a lot. :)

Quote
For piano, I totally agree. Perhaps Clementi can be added to them, while I don't count Haydn, because he belongs to a previous generation. Other name to consider is Wölfl, but his importance is, in my opinion, inferior than Dussek's (but he has some remarkable works).

I have a disk of Wölfl sonatas and really, they are very good. He was once in a piano competition, pitted against Beethoven. He didn't win, but they came away quite good friends, which was not always the case with Beethoven. :D

As for Clementi, I think he is in a class of his own, not Beethoven's class, but a cut above all the others. I am hoping that this discussion will steer in his direction soon. :)

8)



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Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #129 on: March 01, 2009, 03:10:54 PM »
I have a disk of Wölfl sonatas and really, they are very good. He was once in a piano competition, pitted against Beethoven. He didn't win, but they came away quite good friends, which was not always the case with Beethoven. :D

You probably own Jon Nakamtsu's recording for Harmonia Mundi, which, if a bit mechanical, is very good and is a quite reliable sample of this composer. However, the most devoted person towards Wölfl seems to be Laure Colladant, who has recorded many of the piano sonatas (played on a pianoforte). I have most of her recordings: opp. 6, 15, 28 and 33. Very good music indeed.

I have some of his other chamber works. Of particular interest: the piano trios op. 23 (led also by Colladant), and the string quartets op. 4 (Authentic Quartet in Hungaroton). They are music of their time: there are no great innovations, but the music is magnificently crafted and always very inventive.

An "unexpected highlight" of Wölfl's music are his two symphonies. There is, to my knowledge, just one recording, released by the Russian label Caro Mitis and very well played by the Pratum Integrum Orchestra. They are certainly more conventional works than Beethoven's or Eberl's works of the same period, but very interesting works nonetheless. (The Andante of the G minor symphony is a memorable movement: simple and effective, its ideas are quite Mozartian, but their treatment is Haydnesque). This CD includes a "bonus": a D minor "duo" (sonata) for piano and cello, op. 31, that crowns the disc. The repertoire for piano and cello of the classical period is particularly scarce, so it's a very welcome item in any collection, but its interest is more than anecdotic: this work is beautiful from the beginning to the end, with a dazzling finale showing unusually evident syncopations in its A subject that can't be explained but by heavy folkloric influence. A hidden treasure.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #130 on: March 01, 2009, 03:27:09 PM »
You probably own Jon Nakamtsu's recording for Harmonia Mundi, which, if a bit mechanical, is very good and is a quite reliable sample of this composer. However, the most devoted person towards Wölfl seems to be Laure Colladant, who has recorded many of the piano sonatas (played on a pianoforte). I have most of her recordings: opp. 6, 15, 28 and 33. Very good music indeed.

Yes, I do have Nakamatsu. And I was quite surprised on receiving it, given that it is on HM, that it wasn't played on a pianoforte. :(  I have never seen Colladant, I can only suppose that this is a French label only released in France... :-\  Well, I shall have a look around for it anyway, since I really do enjoy the music I have now. :)

Quote
I have some of his other chamber works. Of particular interest: the piano trios op. 23 (led also by Colladant), and the string quartets op. 4 (Authentic Quartet in Hungaroton). They are music of their time: there are no great innovations, but the music is magnificently crafted and always very inventive.

An "unexpected highlight" of Wölfl's music are his two symphonies. There is, to my knowledge, just one recording, released by the Russian label Caro Mitis and very well played by the Pratum Integrum Orchestra. They are certainly more conventional works than Beethoven's or Eberl's works of the same period, but very interesting works nonetheless. (The Andante of the G minor symphony is a memorable movement: simple and effective, its ideas are quite Mozartian, but their treatment is Haydnesque). This CD includes a "bonus": a D minor "duo" (sonata) for piano and cello, op. 31, that crowns the disc. The repertoire for piano and cello of the classical period is particularly scarce, so it's a very welcome item in any collection, but its interest is more than anecdotic: this work is beautiful from the beginning to the end, with a dazzling finale showing unusually evident syncopations in its A subject that can't be explained but by heavy folkloric influence. A hidden treasure.

Well, this looks like something worth the hunt. Good thing the dollar is getting stronger vs the euro and pound... ;D  Thanks for that excellent info. :)

8)


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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #131 on: March 01, 2009, 03:36:07 PM »
Well, this afternoon I listened to some Dussek Piano Sonatas played by Staier & Becker, i.e. fortepiano vs. modern piano, different styles, and not the same pieces.  I did enjoy both of these performances, and was amazed at the dynamics that Staier could produce on his instrument; however, Becker did pretty much the same on the piano - bottom line - excellent discs both, different instruments, and the dynamics are purely those of Dussek - his sonatas are really much more in the early Romantic period, so don't expect an approach like that of Haydn or Mozart (although he was just 4 yrs younger than Wolfie).

You probably own Jon Nakamtsu's recording for Harmonia Mundi, which, if a bit mechanical, is very good and is a quite reliable sample of this composer. However, the most devoted person towards Wölfl seems to be Laure Colladant, who has recorded many of the piano sonatas (played on a pianoforte). I have most of her recordings: opp. 6, 15, 28 and 33. Very good music indeed.

Yes, those are the recordings that I own - but the ones by Colladant sound intriguing, just not sure 'how available' they maybe here in the USA, but will check!  Thanks for the recommendation!   :D


Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #132 on: March 01, 2009, 03:44:51 PM »
Gabriel - the Dussek work on the Brilliant disc is indeed Op. 41 as you indicate above - however, I was curious about 'how many' Piano Quintets he composed (he wrote SO MUCH chamber music); in checking Wiki HERE, this single one is all I found listed (but may have missed others?).

Dave, it's a pity that there are just a few recordings of Dussek's music around. Moreover one has to be very careful: there are "Jan Ladislav Dusík/Dussek" and "Frantisek Xaver Dusek/Dussek", who can be mistaken by their similar family names.

Yes, those are the recordings that I own - but the ones by Colladant sound intriguing, just not sure 'how available' they maybe here in the USA, but will check!  Thanks for the recommendation!   :D

Unfortunately they are difficult to find even in France. But I wish you good luck with your research! ;)

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #133 on: March 04, 2009, 07:09:00 PM »
So, you've listened to a lot of music. Early on, a friend turned you on to Bach, and then you discovered Beethoven and Brahms and maybe Wagner, and suddenly found Shostakovich, Bartok and then the Moderns. And along the way, you really never listened to much music from the Classical Era, with the exception of Mozart's "Jupiter" symphony, and of course, the "Requiem" was de rigeur. But then your occasional forays beyond that didn't turn out well, and now you don't really like "Classical" music. *sigh*

Clearly you aren't alone. This story can be told by any number of your friends here on the forum. It almost seems as though if one doesn't start out with "classical", one doesn't gravitate to it after listening to a lot of other genres. The reasons for this are not so hard to figure out. The rather more dense polyphony of Baroque music, the long melodic line of Romantic music, the intellectual brilliance of modern music all have a strong attraction. The simplicity, squareness, lightness and elegance of classical music (I leave off the quotes here, we all know what I mean by now :) ) don't reach out and grab the vast majority of people in the same way. And yet, these exact things are what were considered to be the strong points of the music in its own time. Symmetry and transparency were the goals. The beauty lies in setting up (preparing) the modulations, not in letting you into the emotional world of the composer. The drama comes from delaying a return to the tonic key by taking a little trip through the dominant minor when you didn't expect that at all, not in leaving for some remote area in the Circle of Fifths and not coming back at all! When Mozart exposes a theme in Eine kleine Nachtmusik, you know he is going to develop it and then recapitulate it, and the whole thing is going to sound as though he couldn't possibly have written it any other way. And this rightness and inevitability is the source of the attraction of classical music. If you listen to enough of it, you, too, will be "hooked" on it. There is no bombast, but there is infinite intricacy and subtlety. :)

If you wish to get into classical music, here are a few "listening tips":
  • Start with famous works by famous composers. There are reasons they are famous. Use that to your advantage.
  • Don't necessarily start with orchestral music. Solo keyboard and chamber music can be easier to get your mind around.
  • Don't compare classical music with Baroque, Romantic or Modern. It's different. Judge it on its own merits.
  • Be adventurous. Listen to a disk of Vanhal's music alongside Haydn's. No harm comes from music that is off-the-beaten-path, honest! :)

8)

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Schubert: Dances for Fortepiano - Trudelies Leonhardt - D 924 Grätzer Walzer for Fortepiano
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #134 on: March 04, 2009, 07:51:59 PM »
As usual, Gurn has raised some important considerations about listenting to music from different eras and not trying to apply prejudices from one period to the other - the 'classical period' and its transitions (i.e. early from the Baroque & later into the Romantic) are fascinating to consider, so yet on to another comparison:

A 'later' transitional composer mentioned a few posts back was Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) - a comtemporary of WA Mozart (and a famous 'competition' in the early 1780s between the 2 composers/performers in Vienna) - an interesting consideration is the performance of Clementi's Piano Sonatas on a fortepiano vs. a modern piano - personally, I think that Clementi's compositions were composed for instruments beyond those available to him @ the times, so the challenge becomes of interest!

The other day, I listen to Clementi performed by Howard Shelley on a modern piano (Vol. 1 - also own Vol. 2) - these were wonderful (the reason why I bought the 2nd volume, I guess!); the comparison was Costantino Mastroprimiano on the fortepiano, Vol. 1 on the Brillant label, a 3CD offering of the 'Viennese Sonatas', so not the same ones as Shelley - I loved both performances; the fortepaino did not do as well in the 'chorded portions' - i.e. the more dynamic banging of the keys in this transitional music just seems to come across better for me on a modern piano - this seems to be an important area of dispute in comparing these different pianos; I was reading a negative review on Amazon HERE concerning the fortepiano performances - I disagreed and wrote a rebuttal (if interested, go to the link - I'm 'giradman' there) -  :D

Bottom line is that I do enjoy the 'fortepiano' but there is a transition from the classical to the romantic period in which the modern piano may become the better choice of instrument; now 'when & who' is to decide this choice is likely a personal preference - well, just a few thoughts - Dave  :)


 

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #135 on: March 04, 2009, 08:05:21 PM »
Dave,
I really enjoy the Mastroprimiano set. I don't have the Shelley for comparison, although I do have some of his Hummel, which is contemporaneous and also on modern piano, so I can extrapolate from there. Later Clementi really does come on the cusp of modern piano (he died in 1832, and the pianos of that time were far more modern than not). I think the thing about fortepianos is that you have to really love their unique sound. If you don't, then they will lose out to modern pianos every time, unless you are enough into the subtleties to enjoy the little ornaments that are very difficult for a modern pianist to reproduce, but which can be tossed off with ease by a fortepianist. I have a modest amount of Clementi's fortepiano music, by such as Immerseel, Mastroprimiano, Khouri and Susan Alexander-Max. I also have some wonderful performances on modern piano by Vladimir Horowitz and Danielle Laval. There are no losers here, the music stands up well to either approach. I don't (and will likely never) buy into the concept that Clementi (or Beethoven for that matter) had the foresight to imagine what the piano of the future would be able to do, but I think that they wrote music which transcends the instrument. That's good enough for me. :)

8)

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Offline Sorin Eushayson

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #136 on: March 04, 2009, 10:13:56 PM »
  • Be adventurous. Listen to a disk of Vanhal's music alongside Haydn's. No harm comes from music that is off-the-beaten-path, honest! :)

I agree!  For Romantic-period music one might be tempted to leap right into the big names like Mahler or Brahms, but I think more people should try the music of one Franz Berwald, a Swedish composer of great character and style.  I know you're familiar with him too, Gurn!  :)

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #137 on: March 05, 2009, 04:02:08 AM »
If you wish to get into classical music, here are a few "listening tips":
  • Start with famous works by famous composers. There are reasons they are famous. Use that to your advantage.
  • Don't necessarily start with orchestral music. Solo keyboard and chamber music can be easier to get your mind around.
  • Don't compare classical music with Baroque, Romantic or Modern. It's different. Judge it on its own merits.
  • Be adventurous. Listen to a disk of Vanhal's music alongside Haydn's. No harm comes from music that is off-the-beaten-path, honest! :)

Excellent tips, Gurn. Here I add some others:

  • Get at least a minimum acquaintance with the forms of music of the classical era, and most of all with the so-called sonata form. Many of the hidden delights of this music will suddenly jump in front of your eyes (or ears).
  • Do not get discouraged by a certain "homogeneity" in classical music. Do not forget that classical composers had - consciously or unconsciously - the idea of being building an universal language, very differently from Baroque music whose national styles were differentiated.
  • Benefit of the historical approach. Many of the main instrumental genres, as we know them now, were born during the classical period: string quartet, string quintet, keyboard trio, wind quintet, keyboard sonata, symphony. Investigate how their development came to such a successful end.
  • Do not confound clarity with conformism. Some of the most daring innovators in the history of music can be found in the classical repertoire: for instance, C.P.E. Bach, F. J. Haydn, Rejcha and Beethoven.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #138 on: March 06, 2009, 06:48:02 PM »
Excellent tips, Gurn. Here I add some others:

  • Get at least a minimum acquaintance with the forms of music of the classical era, and most of all with the so-called sonata form. Many of the hidden delights of this music will suddenly jump in front of your eyes (or ears).
  • Do not get discouraged by a certain "homogeneity" in classical music. Do not forget that classical composers had - consciously or unconsciously - the idea of being building an universal language, very differently from Baroque music whose national styles were differentiated.
  • Benefit of the historical approach. Many of the main instrumental genres, as we know them now, were born during the classical period: string quartet, string quintet, keyboard trio, wind quintet, keyboard sonata, symphony. Investigate how their development came to such a successful end.
  • Do not confound clarity with conformism. Some of the most daring innovators in the history of music can be found in the classical repertoire: for instance, C.P.E. Bach, F. J. Haydn, Rejcha and Beethoven.

Excellent additions, Gabriel. And here is a note (my inferences) on your point about building a universal language. It was conscious. Here is an (rather long and) interesting quote from Blume's classic and Romantic Music" (an indispensable book, IMO):

...the rather singular doctrine of "mixed taste" represented primarily by Quantz and with some variation by Leopold Mozart and C.P.E. Bach (all in their various "Versuchen..."). According to Quantz two peoples "deserve credit for the improvement in musicaql taste in recent times, the Italians and the French...". All writers of the time distinguish emphatically between Italian, French and German musical styles. Herder still clung to this approach and even in Goethe a similar distinction is found. Italian music was praised for its expressive power, its sensuousness its tender, singing character, its wealth of inspiration; French music for its vivacity, especially in rhythm, its pleasing quality and easy accessibility - though it was censured for its dryness and its schematic cast. from far back, the Germans had inherited the advantages od solid compositional craft and instrumental virtuosity; "but of the good taste and beautiful melodies one finds, save for a few old church songs, few indications... They try to compose more artfully rather than comprehensibly or pleasingly, more for the eye than for the ear". On the other hand, Quantz grants the Germans a particular ability to "assimilate other peoples' tendencies in taste, whichever they may wish"; "they know how to make use of what is good in all sorts of foreign music". A mixing of style is therefore recommended to them as a recipe for arriving at good music "that will be accepted by many countries and recognized as good". Quantz does not hesitate to characterize such a "mixed taste" as "the present German taste".

This fit in well with widely held views. Telemann had already boasted of being able to compose in any style. And Mozart reported from Mannheim (2/7/1778 letter to Leopold) that he was "able to adopt and imitate almost all sorts and styles of composition". ...................  What they achieved was anything but a blending of styles. They were, rather, creating out of their own specifically German talent something fundamentally new.... Composers very soon realized that the purpose of their efforts could not be the coining of a new national style alongside existing national styles, or of making other national styles their own; that it was far more a matter of creating something above and beyond national styles, something of a worldwide validity, a "universal language" of music in which all peoples, without distinction, and all levels of society too, could take part - a language of humanity. This humanistic idea arose in German music simultaneously with the similarly-directed idea in German literature. Gluck wrote (in a letter to the "Mercure de France" in 2/1773) that he "wished to write a strong music that speaks to the heart, that would appeal to all peoples" and "wipe out the ridiculous differences in national music". Gluck's late style was praised (Chabagnon) as "the universal language of our continent" (De la Musique, 1785). This is the meaning, too that lies behind Haydn's famous remark "My language is understood in the whole world"...


Sorry, didn't mean to ramble, but this is an important point since the classical era gave birth to all subsequent music up to the total rejection of tonality and melody around WW I. When we call this "The Age of Enlightenment", it is no small thing, since the philosophies that arose then (Herder, Kant etc) and the revolutions, philosophical and actual, changed the course of history as we know it. And music not only went along for the ride, it greased the wheels in many cases. :)

8)


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Listening to: Jos Van Immerseel - Clementi Op 25 #5 Sonata in f# 2nd mvmt - Lento e patetico
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Dr. Dread

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Re: Gurn's Classical Corner
« Reply #139 on: March 07, 2009, 06:11:23 AM »
I've read beginners guides that assert chamber music is the thornier listen and to go for the larger forces first. I'm not sure why.