Author Topic: Arthur Farwell  (Read 5129 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Arthur Farwell
« on: March 07, 2009, 05:56:37 AM »
Another relatively unknown composer during the early decades of the 20th century.  I recently purchased a box set which included works by the well known McDowel, Horatio Parker, Henry Hadley, Victor Herbert (Why He? I asked myself), and Farwell's amazing "Gods of the Mountain." I did a little research on Farwell and was accordingly informed that he was totally interested in American Indian culture and wrote much music on that subject. Most are vocal, short works. The "Gods of the Mountain" is perhaps the only orchestral, three movement dramatic composition Farwell conceived.  Its a wonderful, dramatic, early 20th century tonal piece that seems to embrace the listener. If only he had written more symphonic works in this vein.

sul G

  • Guest
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2009, 06:34:10 AM »
There's a piano piece by Farwell - Impressions of the Wa-Wan Ceremony of the Omahas - at IMSLP, which is rather interesting. Busoni's 'Indian' pieces are more all-round musically convincing, perhaps, but this isn't bad.

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2009, 11:45:13 AM »
There's a piano piece by Farwell - Impressions of the Wa-Wan Ceremony of the Omahas - at IMSLP, which is rather interesting. Busoni's 'Indian' pieces are more all-round musically convincing, perhaps, but this isn't bad.

I have on Ichrus label a series of piano pieces on Indian themes.  Farwell's American Indian Melodies Op. 11 are included.  They are interesting yet pale in comparison with "Gods of the Mountain."  The latter work is laced with minor modes and harmonies, and it builds up slowly until ihe climatic moment becomes intensely dramatic.  There is a slight "sensuosity" inherent.  I guess this is his only serious, dramatic orchestral work.  Too bad. I would have liked were he more prolific in exploring or creating other large scale forays, a symphony perhaps. This particular piece was a "find" for me, and I am always on the lookout for composers whose works impact on me. Thanks for the reply.

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2009, 03:21:43 PM »
Is the whole CD worth getting? (i.e. are the other pieces worth hearing)? I have had my eye on it for a while, but haven't taken then plunge due to its cost. Is it two or three CDs?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2009, 04:22:50 PM »
Is the whole CD worth getting? (i.e. are the other pieces worth hearing)? I have had my eye on it for a while, but haven't taken then plunge due to its cost. Is it two or three CDs?

It involves 3 CD's.  I don't recall the price; I'm sure it's available on Amazon.  It's a Bridge label and includes works by: Henry Hadley, Victor Herbert, Edward Mcdowell, Horatio Parker, and Farwell.  I liked the McDowell suites, as I've owned them for some time.  The Parker work, "Vathek." symphonic poem is quite interesting and original. I personally did not care for the Hadley.  (I prefer the English Patrick Hadley, actually). The Farwell was well worth it, at least for me.  It is not necessarily "Indian," although it may have adumbrated certain Indian myths.  The music is mysterious amd mystical.  Influences in all these works tend to be of European influenc.  There is no trace of influences by composers who sort of "founded" the American musical ethos; viz, Gershwin, Harris, Schuman, Hanson, Robert Ward, plus so many interesting American composers in the 20's, 30's, 40's, and so on.  That's a different topic. I do recommend this box set if only for the Farwell.

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2009, 04:28:50 PM »
I have that box set too...but I don't remember the Farwell piece. However, on your recommendation, I shall certainly go back to it and post my thoughts in due course :)

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2009, 04:39:07 PM »
Thing is, I can download just the Farwell off itunes and not get the other pieces for a fraction of the cost... Sounds like the rest of the pieces aren't up to the same level as the Farwell?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2009, 04:45:21 PM »
Thing is, I can download just the Farwell off itunes and not get the other pieces for a fraction of the cost... Sounds like the rest of the pieces aren't up to the same level as the Farwell?

I don't think so. The Parker work has its moments.

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2009, 04:47:23 PM »
Thing is, I can download just the Farwell off itunes and not get the other pieces for a fraction of the cost... Sounds like the rest of the pieces aren't up to the same level as the Farwell?

This review of the box set might help-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/nov03/American1890.htm

All of the music is basically turn of the century rich American romanticism, heavily influenced by French impressionism and Russian nationalist romanticism.

Why don't you download the Farwell first and then decide if the idiom is appealing? The box set is quite an investment if you don't ;D

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2009, 05:08:02 PM »
Ok...just listened to the Farwell again and I would heartily endorse what schweitzeralan has said! Colourful, rich, dramatic, exciting music, beautifully orchestrated. Sounds like Rimsky-Korsakov, updated to sound like Granville Bantock ;D

I too regret that we have not heard more Farwell-the 'Mountain Song' for chorus and orchestra might be interesting.

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2009, 06:03:53 PM »
Ok...just listened to the Farwell again and I would heartily endorse what schweitzeralan has said! Colourful, rich, dramatic, exciting music, beautifully orchestrated. Sounds like Rimsky-Korsakov, updated to sound like Granville Bantock ;D

I too regret that we have not heard more Farwell-the 'Mountain Song' for chorus and orchestra might be interesting.

I'll have to listen to bantock more.  Interesting.

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2009, 04:35:38 AM »
Have listened to it a couple of times now - I like it, but find it a bit repetitive, beautiful orchestration aside. Maybe I'm not getting it.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2009, 08:54:08 AM »
Have listened to it a couple of times now - I like it, but find it a bit repetitive, beautiful orchestration aside. Maybe I'm not getting it.

Perhaps its just something I like; the crescendos, the drama, the harmonies, the mysticism. Strictly personal.  Each listener has his/her interests, passions, styles, musical periods, et. al. As far as I know Farwell just may have jumped his league when he composed that work. There were many intertesting Euro-oriented American composers contemporary to Farwell.  I can just name three or four:  Mcdowell, Parker, Carpenter, Hadley; namely, those included on the CD.  My personal  interests in American music start with Hanson and Roy Harris.  Then it becomes quite vast as suggested in this very forum.

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3599
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2009, 09:11:10 AM »
Oh, there were quite a lot of these American romantic composers-you can add John Knowles Paine, George Whitefield Chadwick, Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Charles Tomlinson Griffes of course, Victor Herbert and many more.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 03:24:21 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2009, 12:39:26 PM »
Oh, there were quite a lot of these American romantic composers-you can add Jhn Knowles Paine, George Whitefield Chadwick, Amy Beach, Arthur Foote, Charles Tomlinson Griffes of course, Victor Herbert and many more.

Right on!  Now I do recall the names you mentioned.  The one composer I particularly like and whose works I mentioned or have posted in the thread was Griffes.  There are so many American composers whose works I have listened to and have appreciated for over several decades. Thing is, it all stopped with me after the 70's.  I don't know who's been composing significant works during the last 30-40 years, and I certainly don't know much about the post modernist "movement" (if there is one in music). Then again that's my problem.

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2009, 03:21:19 PM »
Right on!  Now I do recall the names you mentioned.  The one composer I particularly like and whose works I mentioned or have posted in the thread was Griffes.  There are so many American composers whose works I have listened to and have appreciated for over several decades. Thing is, it all stopped with me after the 70's.  I don't know who's been composing significant works during the last 30-40 years, and I certainly don't know much about the post modernist "movement" (if there is one in music). Then again that's my problem.

Are you talking about all composers, or just American composers that you haven't listened to who composed after the seventies? Carter, Reich, Glass, Adams, Feldman, Kirchner, Albert, Wuorinen, Bernstein, Rouse and Rorem are some names that you might start with - all composers from the USA
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2009, 06:02:45 PM »
Are you talking about all composers, or just American composers that you haven't listened to who composed after the seventies? Carter, Reich, Glass, Adams, Feldman, Kirchner, Albert, Wuorinen, Bernstein, Rouse and Rorem are some names that you might start with - all composers from the USA

I do know most of the names you posted.  The only two  whose works with which I'm familiar are Carter and Adams.  I know several works Carter composed in the 40's and 50's. I also know a couple of works by Adams, the one in particular I like is the one work composed based on a famous Whitman poem. I have heard some of Rorem's vocal works, and I have come across Wuorinen's name in my sundry readings.  I am unfamiliar with most of the works of the composers you mentioned. I guess I'll stick with music composed from roughly 1870-1960.  When I was much younger I listened to what was then "contemporary music."  Now all that is well passe. Just my thing.

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2009, 10:44:19 AM »
I do know most of the names you posted.  The only two  whose works with which I'm familiar are Carter and Adams.  I know several works Carter composed in the 40's and 50's. I also know a couple of works by Adams, the one in particular I like is the one work composed based on a famous Whitman poem. I have heard some of Rorem's vocal works, and I have come across Wuorinen's name in my sundry readings.  I am unfamiliar with most of the works of the composers you mentioned. I guess I'll stick with music composed from roughly 1870-1960.  When I was much younger I listened to what was then "contemporary music."  Now all that is well passe. Just my thing.

fair enough. The Adams piece - are you talking about The Wound Dresser? That's a great piece - really beautiful.
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline schweitzeralan

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 608
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2009, 02:14:57 PM »
fair enough. The Adams piece - are you talking about The Wound Dresser? That's a great piece - really beautiful.

That's it!  Great piece.  I believe that many of Adam's works have been characterized as "minimalist."

Offline Guido

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3326
  • 396 CCs
Re: Arthur Farwell
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2009, 03:25:50 PM »
Hmm... I'd call him a post minimalist really - he's far too much of a romantic and a symphonist to be a true minimalist. Certainly he uses minimalist motives, but he also has a very brilliant sense of melody and harmony that sets him apart from conventional minimalists - see the Adams thread for recommendations there - I think he's really worthwhile and I'm glad Luke told me to get into him!
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away