Author Topic: The Roger Sessions  (Read 9152 times)

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Offline Cato

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Re: The Roger Sessions PIANO SONATA NO.2
« Reply #100 on: January 09, 2017, 07:54:01 AM »
The Second Sonata isn't serial at all.  Of the three, only the Third uses Sessions's personal adaptation of the 12-tone technique.  For that matter, I don't find it ugly; it is violent, to be sure, and the final movement's grotesque march is intentionally quite "crunchy," but the middle movement adagio is extremely delicate, and the first movement has some remarkable flights of fantasy.

Also, Sessions' music is really written from a Romantic perspective of expression.  Like Schoenberg, his music is supposed to be played with emotion and feeling, and this does indeed put him in contrast to the cooler, wittier Babbitt.


Amen!

Snyprr:  check out Beveridge Webster on YouTube!  See if you change your mind about the "ugliness" of the piece!

I have not listened to it in years, but the oldie LP recording by Beveridge Webster still sounds great!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GZoRszmzw2g" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GZoRszmzw2g</a>
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: The Roger Sessions
« Reply #101 on: January 10, 2017, 07:23:01 AM »
Amen!

Snyprr:  check out Beveridge Webster on YouTube!  See if you change your mind about the "ugliness" of the piece!

I have not listened to it in years, but the oldie LP recording by Beveridge Webster still sounds great!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GZoRszmzw2g" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GZoRszmzw2g</a>

The Second Sonata isn't serial at all.  Of the three, only the Third uses Sessions's personal adaptation of the 12-tone technique.  For that matter, I don't find it ugly; it is violent, to be sure, and the final movement's grotesque march is intentionally quite "crunchy," but the middle movement adagio is extremely delicate, and the first movement has some remarkable flights of fantasy.

Also, Sessions' music is really written from a Romantic perspective of expression.  Like Schoenberg, his music is supposed to be played with emotion and feeling, and this does indeed put him in contrast to the cooler, wittier Babbitt.

I enjoyed Holzman's recordings of all three sonatas, personally, and his Second comes with fine recordings of works featuring the violin as well.

OK, it's not Serial, but,... mm,... it's just got TOO MANY NOTES for me, lol. I listened to the Webster, but it sounded no different than the three from yesterday,... which, I suppose, shows the consistency of the piece!?! I think I would need the delicacy of a Ranki to fully appreciate the fist fulls of notes,... it seems the music demands an airtight recording venue and crystalline and uber delicate playing. However, I'm not arguing here...

I do like the 'Lento', sure. I think I just don't like the outer movements' themes, perhaps? It all sounds "plonky, bonky" to me, kind of like Boulez No.2 (Pollini), but that piece does the "flaying" more to my liking. Here it seems as if Sessions is in between two worlds, not able (because the language hasn't advanced that far in 1946?) to go fully over the top.

I mean, sorry if I hear just a touch of the "clangy",... no matter who plays it, I'm still hearing the same things,... I'll see if Holzman's on YT...

Yea, I suppose I need my AvantGarde to be more cerebral and less overtly "emotional",... maybe I'm just done with Germanic Expressionism as Music? The only "emotion" I ever seem to hear is hysterical anger and/or horror (Schoenberg writing his String Trio as an "ode to heart attack").

Yes, the Sessions isn't the most "bangy, clanky" piece in existence, it does have delicacy,... I mean,... I mean,... I wasn't having the same issues with Carter's Sonata (of the same year?).

Could you compare the Sessions with the Carter for me? Yea, the Carter doesn't really start off with all the busy activity...


I think again, the Lawson, with the tighter and "duller" Virgin sound, seems to absorb this piece the best for me. And, he does stretch out the 'Lento' by two minutes to no ill effect.



I think the main problem I'm having is "mid range fatigue": the violence does seem to all occur in that mid range where it "attacks my ear", kind of wanting to induce a "concentration migraine"??!! oy vei, I'm sure I'm just digging my hole deeper now, haha...

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Re: The Roger Sessions
« Reply #102 on: January 10, 2017, 07:26:37 AM »
OK, it's not Serial, but,... mm,... it's just got TOO MANY NOTES for me, lol.

[ snip ]

OK, ... UNCLE!! UNCLE!!

Cleaned that up for you  0:)
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: The Roger Sessions
« Reply #103 on: January 10, 2017, 07:36:24 AM »
I do like the 'Lento', sure. I think I just don't like the outer movements' themes, perhaps? It all sounds "plonky, bonky" to me, kind of like Boulez No.2 (Pollini), but that piece does the "flaying" more to my liking. Here it seems as if Sessions is in between two worlds, not able (because the language hasn't advanced that far in 1946?) to go fully over the top.

The two pieces are very different, and the Sessions is indeed the more traditional of the two in its treatment of form and development.  But going "over the top" is not the point.  Would we criticize Mendelssohn for not being as "out there" as Berlioz or Schumann?  Mendelssohn has his own things to say, separate from them, and likewise Sessions.

Yea, I suppose I need my AvantGarde to be more cerebral and less overtly "emotional",... maybe I'm just done with Germanic Expressionism as Music? The only "emotion" I ever seem to hear is hysterical anger and/or horror (Schoenberg writing his String Trio as an "ode to heart attack").

That's true of some people's reactions, but I certainly find that there's a much wider range of emotion in the music of Schoenberg and Sessions (who are now only as avant-garde as Mozart, and both of whom were traditionalists from the beginning anyway): anger and violence, yes, but also tenderness, nostalgia, melancholy, mystery, awe, bliss, and so forth.  The String Trio, particularly, traverses a very broad swath of moods.

As with Mahler, some people interpret "many different emotions" as neurotic or as universally negative.  So be it.

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Re: The Roger Sessions
« Reply #104 on: January 10, 2017, 07:42:37 AM »
Oh, you'll have fun trying to make sense of our snypssss’s responses.  Good luck!
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Roger Sessions
« Reply #105 on: January 10, 2017, 10:11:44 AM »
Oh, you'll have fun trying to make sense of our snypssss’s responses.  Good luck!

Unless one is an expert decoder, it can prove quite difficult indeed. :)
"Always stick to your likings --- there are profound reasons for them." - Frederick Delius

Offline Rons_talking

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Re: The Roger Sessions PIANO SONATA NO.2
« Reply #106 on: January 11, 2017, 05:52:12 AM »
Piano Sonata No.2 (1946)

"I'm comparing three different recordings, Salwen (Koch), Lawson (Virgin), and Hodgkinson (NewWorld). Frankly, there's not much to compare. Lawson takes the 'Lento' much slower than the other two, almost to compel listening, whereas it goes by before you know it with the other two, but otherwise, all three hit the same notes- I might give the nod to Lawson, who, though he gives a little more space to the notes, doesn't sound any less frenetic in the more violent moments of the outer movements. All have different sounding recordings, but all seem to absorb all the "crunchy" notes without any harshness, and this is a work that has a lot of spikes.

Musically, it's not something I'm all that fond of. It's a 12 minute Serial work in a 1940s guise. Three movements. Lots of activity, but- well, if I were to compare, I might prefer Boulez's Sonata No.1 just for the extra imagination. Sessions is a little "hammery", - if this is what musical anger sounds like, I don't know, maybe it's just the violence of the musical argument itself?

Session's Piano Music is the epitome of somewhat ugly Serialism. He just doesn't care, he's doing what he's doing, and that's that. I have to be in the mood for this much banging around. I much prefer Babbitt's more delicate complexity."



Oh! So painful to read! Piano Sonata 2 has always, from first hearing, been a favourite of mine. It is in no way serial, though Sessions does run through the aggregate from time to time. This is a complex work, in both harmonic and rhythmic development, but once you hear all that's going on, it's clearly  a highly emotional, bold 1940s statement. It makes frequent use of the 016 trichord (i.e. C, Db Gb) as well as harmonies built on seconds and fourths. The constant changing meter and overlapping statements give one a strong suspicion that ordered sets (serial) are going to a part of his future. But Sessions also makes use of Jazzy phrases that harken back to the 20s-30s, yet the work is internally consistent. It's to be performed w/out interruption and the harmonic and melodic flow links the movements so that, except for tempo change, it really is a one-movement-like work. The use of near-cluster sounding figures is not for effect; it really is a work that bases harmony and melody out of identical materials, and the tight voicing are not gratuitous.

For me, it a controlled frenzy consistent with the times, and as such is a remarkable work. I hope somebody out there likes it. It's really his last work that to me, has a lot of the classic mixed in with the contemporary. Pure energy!

Offline snyprrr

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Re: The Roger Sessions PIANO SONATA NO.2
« Reply #107 on: January 12, 2017, 03:15:31 PM »
Piano Sonata No.2 (1946)

"I'm comparing three different recordings, Salwen (Koch), Lawson (Virgin), and Hodgkinson (NewWorld). Frankly, there's not much to compare. Lawson takes the 'Lento' much slower than the other two, almost to compel listening, whereas it goes by before you know it with the other two, but otherwise, all three hit the same notes- I might give the nod to Lawson, who, though he gives a little more space to the notes, doesn't sound any less frenetic in the more violent moments of the outer movements. All have different sounding recordings, but all seem to absorb all the "crunchy" notes without any harshness, and this is a work that has a lot of spikes.

Musically, it's not something I'm all that fond of. It's a 12 minute Serial work in a 1940s guise. Three movements. Lots of activity, but- well, if I were to compare, I might prefer Boulez's Sonata No.1 just for the extra imagination. Sessions is a little "hammery", - if this is what musical anger sounds like, I don't know, maybe it's just the violence of the musical argument itself?

Session's Piano Music is the epitome of somewhat ugly Serialism. He just doesn't care, he's doing what he's doing, and that's that. I have to be in the mood for this much banging around. I much prefer Babbitt's more delicate complexity."



Oh! So painful to read! Piano Sonata 2 has always, from first hearing, been a favourite of mine. It is in no way serial, though Sessions does run through the aggregate from time to time. This is a complex work, in both harmonic and rhythmic development, but once you hear all that's going on, it's clearly  a highly emotional, bold 1940s statement. It makes frequent use of the 016 trichord (i.e. C, Db Gb) as well as harmonies built on seconds and fourths. The constant changing meter and overlapping statements give one a strong suspicion that ordered sets (serial) are going to a part of his future. But Sessions also makes use of Jazzy phrases that harken back to the 20s-30s, yet the work is internally consistent. It's to be performed w/out interruption and the harmonic and melodic flow links the movements so that, except for tempo change, it really is a one-movement-like work. The use of near-cluster sounding figures is not for effect; it really is a work that bases harmony and melody out of identical materials, and the tight voicing are not gratuitous.

For me, it a controlled frenzy consistent with the times, and as such is a remarkable work. I hope somebody out there likes it. It's really his last work that to me, has a lot of the classic mixed in with the contemporary. Pure energy!


Yer killin me! ;D

OK, OK,..;. whew... tough crowd around here!!

OK, please name five piano musics that are more frenetic and raging...  (I need some contexts)...of the same ilk...

I mean, I don't really call it an "angry" piece or anything, it's just all that activity in the mid-range that's wearing me out in a way.


Oy... I've stepped in it here, eh? :laugh:




I'm just feeling a little suspicious that this is everyone's fav piece or something... I mean, really, it's not all THAT, is it???

 :o :o :o
 :o :o :o
 :o :o :o


Anyhow, I know it's not cool to criticize RS,...           badminton anyone?? :-\
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Offline Cato

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Re: The Roger Sessions PIANO SONATA NO.2
« Reply #108 on: January 12, 2017, 03:44:54 PM »
Yer killin me! ;D

OK, OK,..;. whew... tough crowd around here!!

OK, please name five piano musics that are more frenetic and raging...  (I need some contexts)...of the same ilk...

I mean, I don't really call it an "angry" piece or anything, it's just all that activity in the mid-range that's wearing me out in a way.


Easy, dude!

Ferrucio Busoni: Toccata (Especially the last 3 minutes or so)

Leo OrnsteinWild Man's Dance and Suicide in a Diving Airplane

Sergei Protopopov: Piano Sonatas I and II

Sergei Rachmaninov: the Cadenza in the First Movement of the Third Piano Concerto

Alexander Scriabin: Piano Sonata IX

e.g.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/yUuzW9DHsRo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/yUuzW9DHsRo</a>
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

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Offline snyprrr

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Re: The Roger Sessions PIANO SONATA NO.2
« Reply #109 on: January 12, 2017, 04:25:16 PM »
Easy, dude!

Ferrucio Busoni: Toccata (Especially the last 3 minutes or so)

Leo OrnsteinWild Man's Dance and Suicide in a Diving Airplane

Sergei Protopopov: Piano Sonatas I and II

Sergei Rachmaninov: the Cadenza in the First Movement of the Third Piano Concerto

Alexander Scriabin: Piano Sonata IX

e.g.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/yUuzW9DHsRo" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/yUuzW9DHsRo</a>

Busoni 'Toccata' IS Piano Music for me!! ;) Thanks for the List,... hey, gimme gimme moreMoreMORE!!


I mean, when it comes to banging, it seems I can handle Sciarrino better than Sessions...
lol, nevermind, ...

Oh, you'll have fun trying to make sense of our snypssss’s responses.  Good luck!

what did I just write????? you're not the only one, lol!! ;)

Do you have anything intelligent to say about Piano Sonata No.2 to further the discussion? 0:)
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: The Roger Sessions My Sessions Top5
« Reply #110 on: January 12, 2017, 04:32:29 PM »
Sessions Top5

1 String Quartet No.2 (VoxBox ONLY!!)- the greatest thing you've ever heard
2 The Orchestral Works: Symphonies 2-9, Concerto for Orchestra, Piano Concerto
3 Late Chamber Works: piano, cello, string quartet
4 Piano Sonata No.1
5 String Quartet No.1 - String Quintet
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

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