Author Topic: The Berger Joint  (Read 3482 times)

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snyprrr

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The Berger Joint
« on: November 25, 2009, 11:43:28 PM »
The Jewish Elliott Carter?, or Roger Sessions? Either way, Arthur Berger stands out in the rat-pack of anonymous academic composers born in New York (though, they all do, don't they?, ha!).

He has an interestingly tidy discography, which those in the know may certainly  post. One New World disc contains all his orchestral works, whilst another New World, and a CRI, disc complement his chamber output. Add his complete piano music and you've got a nice picture of the most Webern sounding of the American composers. Berger likened himself a heavyweight, though I would like to compare the outlooks between him and say Shapey.

The highlight for me is his only String Quartet (1958, same as Sessions' String Quintet). Apparently George Perle thought this SQ represented the times to a Tee, and, I must say, it does have a fairly unique "it". It sounds a bit like Boulez's 1947 SQ Livre pour quatour, which seems obvious, given Berger's inclination, but it has a kind of "Death of Music" program that is interesting, in the way Berger tries to continually revive his "theme" in the midst of ever ossifying theoretic rhetoric, like a fossil of classicism in the death of the new, deadeningly going-no-where, language of serialism. Things get ever more static as all leads to failure. I like it!

For those of you looking for a companion for Carter, Sessions, Shapey, Perle, et al, Berger sits just beyond the spotlight, looking for someone to dance with. Be prepared for "Sibelian Forehead".

... with fried onions and mushrooms, ketchup and mayo...

Offline some guy

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2009, 09:03:23 PM »
Ah rats! For a minute there, I thought you'd found Jonathan Berger.


Offline Superhorn

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2009, 08:46:34 AM »
  I've heard of this composer, although I'm not familiar with his music.
  He has some genuine admirers. Incidentally, my real last name is Berger,too, but I'm not related as far as I know.

snyprrr

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2009, 03:46:50 PM »
The thing that iniatially might throw one off about Berger, is that his best known piece is a,... mmm...March?... for wind quintet which figures prominently in many American Wind Albums, along with Carter and Fine and Barber (there really is one one US wind recital program isn't there?, haha). It has that typical American neo-classical outlook of the '40s.

The only early piece on the CRI album I have is a Serenade Concertante from 1944, revised in 1955. It is oh so typically American on a Pistonish tilt, tonal and tangy a la Stravinsky. It certainly sticks out like a sore thumb compared with Berger's work from only 12 years later, the Webernesque Chamber Music for 13 Players.

From what I've heard, Berger's in the same symposium with Carter and Sessions and Shapey and Perle. He has some of that same stubbornness of sound, that lurching, spurting, spitting rhythm. The Amazon reviews convinced me.

snyprrr

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2009, 03:54:49 PM »
Ah rats! For a minute there, I thought you'd found Jonathan Berger.

Haha, no... this Berger isn't spicy enough for you! :P ;D

...though I'm sure you've been to Orange Julius Berger!

but,... so,... this IS the "Berger" Joint, after all,... ALL "Bergers" are welcome! Who's your Berger?

Brahmsian

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2009, 04:00:03 PM »
ALL "Bergers" are welcome! Who's your Berger?

Well....since you asked.  I just ate some delicious bison burgers.  :)

I'm a fan of Melvin Berger, author ofThe Guide to Chamber Music.

Offline some guy

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2009, 10:45:20 PM »
Ah, well, if I can have a Jonathan Berger with fries and a vanilla milkshake, then I will!!

Jonathan is a composer who teaches at Stanford (so a colleague of Schottstadt and Chafe). I first heard his Meteora on a Cultures Electroniques disc, number two of a series that's up in the thirties now. He's written several electroacoustic pieces since then, some very tasty music indeed. There's also a Naxos disc out of some of his acoustic stuff which I don't find quite so palatable. It might be OK, I really don't know. My copy doesn't get played hardly at all!

Fries are potatoes sliced into slender rectangular strips or sometimes into wedges. Many people eat them with ketchup, but I prefer mayo. (Or Veganaise, now.)

Vanilla milkshakes are whipped up vanilla ice cream. Sometimes people put peanut butter into the mix. Yum!!

Offline Superhorn

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2009, 06:26:26 AM »
  Actually, I'm Robert Berger, former horn player, and my blog
The Horn, is at blogiversity.org. It's not just about the horn, but classical music in general.

snyprrr

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2009, 09:12:51 AM »
If you're looking for a good time, call Molly Berger @555-4782!

Offline some guy

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2009, 12:55:13 PM »
Oh, if you only knew what Molineux.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2011, 01:06:34 PM »
I really don't like where this thread ended, so, out of a current interest in Berger's music, I'll revive this thread. Any fans of his orchestral music out there? I really like what I've heard so far which has been Serenade Concertante and Ideas of Order. These two works have a Stravinskian tone to them, but with maybe even a little late Milhaud thrown in for good measure. These two works were quite enjoyable for me, so I ordered the Gil Rose recording of the orchestral works.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

snyprrr

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2011, 07:34:03 PM »
I really don't like where this thread ended, so, out of a current interest in Berger's music, I'll revive this thread. Any fans of his orchestral music out there? I really like what I've heard so far which has been Serenade Concertante and Ideas of Order. These two works have a Stravinskian tone to them, but with maybe even a little late Milhaud thrown in for good measure. These two works were quite enjoyable for me, so I ordered the Gil Rose recording of the orchestral works.

You are no doubt It!, haha!! ;)

Collecting all Arthur Berger is not an expensive proposition.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Berger Joint
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2011, 07:39:28 PM »
You are no doubt It!, haha!! ;)

I really hope not as what I've heard so far has been really enjoyable. Can't wait to hear that recording.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy