Author Topic: Ries's Pieces  (Read 3764 times)

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Offline Grazioso

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Ries's Pieces
« on: April 04, 2011, 09:12:11 AM »
Ferdinand Ries (German, 1784-1838), student and friend of Beethoven, composer of eight symphonies, a number of piano concertos, a wide range of chamber music, and more. What's the good word on this composer?

So far, I have heard and enjoyed a number of his rather Beethovenian symphonies



and more so, his piano quintet op. 74



I'm particularly eager to know which of his chamber works--many have been released on CPO--are most worth hearing.

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2011, 09:19:32 AM »
I can vouch for some wonderful piano concertos as well (I have the first three of four):
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Offline Leo K.

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 10:44:16 AM »
I can vouch for some wonderful piano concertos as well (I have the first three of four):


I have two of the Ries concerto disks, and gladly vouch for 'em. I'm collecting all of them, and then I'll be after his chamber music.

I also enjoy the symphonies box, of which I first heard about two years ago on Gurn's classical thread in the other forum.

I really love his music. There are no words I can find to express my joy on hearing Ferdinand Ries.

I can't wait to listen to his champer music now.



Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 11:47:50 AM »
I actually have a couple more:
and

The first repeats the concerto on vol 2 (Op 55) of the Naxos series, but has a Czerny concerto too, the main reason I acquired the disc (also excellent). It is well played. There is also a very nice disc of sonatas.  Playing is very good, both technically and stylistically. The opening of the Gran Sonata reminds me so much of one of Beethoven's sonatas.
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Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2011, 10:45:09 AM »
Ries, Ferdinand (1784-1838) deserves a little more attention, me thinks!  :D

He was born in Bonn (of course, birthplace of Beethoven; Ries father was one of Ludwig's early teachers!) - in 1803, Ries moved to Vienna and became Beethoven's secretary and copyist, and also a pupil and good friend; Albrechtsberger was his composition teacher.  But Ries was also a superb pianist and performed Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto writing his own cadenza.  He was also a prolific and consistently excellent composer - further bio information and a listing of his compositions can be found HERE.

The 'newest' addition to my Ries collection are the complete Flute Quartets, Op. 35 & 145 performed by Oxalys - excellent; for those interested see the Fanfare review reprinted HERE.

I now own over a dozen discs of this composer's music included the complete Symphony collection, discussed previously; Piano Quartets, Quintet, Trios & Sonatas; also, 2 discs of SQs (he wrote 26); Clarinet Sonatas-Trio; and Septet/Octet - must look into the Piano Concertos of which I have none to date!  So let's hope for some more 'action' in this thread!  :)


 

Offline Albion

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2011, 06:27:27 AM »
Two further stand-out discs from CPO -

 

 ;D
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline MishaK

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2011, 06:29:44 AM »


Double horn concerto - now that sounds fun. How are the soloists? Never heard of them. Do you know in what ensembles they play?

Offline springrite

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2011, 06:36:56 AM »
I have not heard the symphonies. But the concerti are certainly marvelous stuff. However, I find the solo piano works rather disappointing.

I should try a couple of his symphonies though.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline Albion

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2011, 06:43:31 AM »
Double horn concerto - now that sounds fun. How are the soloists? Never heard of them. Do you know in what ensembles they play?

A brief but very positive review of the disc is here - http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Nov09/Ries_7773532.htm and I agree that the concerto is superbly played!

About the soloists:

Teunis van der Zwart - http://www.teunisvanderzwart.com
Erwin Wieringa - http://www.akamus.de/musiker.cfm?REDID=476

 ;D
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2011, 12:19:02 PM »
Two further stand-out discs from CPO -

 

Guys - these discs are of interest to me - love 'Horn Concertos'!  :D

Now I read the linked review which was quite positive, but then traveled over to AMAZON HERE, and the 'Horn Disc' received some terrible comments - hard for me to resolve this obvious discrepancy, so any further clarification would be helpful - thanks! :)

Offline Albion

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2011, 09:43:23 PM »
Now I read the linked review which was quite positive, but then traveled over to AMAZON HERE, and the 'Horn Disc' received some terrible comments - hard for me to resolve this obvious discrepancy, so any further clarification would be helpful - thanks! :)

The reviewers clearly haven't appreciated that the players are using natural (rather than modern valved) horns where everything relies on the embouchure and intonation will never be completely true. A reviewer on Amazon.co.uk hears things somewhat differently -

CPO can be credited with having spearheaded the revival of Ferdinand Ries some years ago and it's good to see that their advocacy of this talented composer is still continuing. The two concertos that make up the lion's share of the music here are relatively early works, in that they predate the middle period of his composing life that he spent in London. Both are, in some senses, rediscoveries: the double horn concerto was never published and its autograph remained in an archive of the Berlin State Library; and in the case of the violin concerto, until only recently it was thought that it had only survived in a piano-and-violin reduction - happily two sets of orchestral parts were discovered (one a heavily revised version of the other), which led to this recording. As you might expect from their dates (1810/1811), the concertos display a generally Late Classical mode of expression; curiously, the stylistic influences of Beethoven, which are often quite prominent in his later compositions, are minimal here.

The concerto for two horns was written with specific performers in mind, two brothers from Kassel (Johann Gottfried and Johann Michael Schunke) who were both horn virtuosi. As a contemporary reviewer pointed out, the solo parts present some serious technical challenges that would prevent anyone but the most assured horn player from taking up the gauntlet of playing them; as well as some startlingly vertiginous writing, the horns are given some perilously low passages - played on period (and thus valveless) instruments, that sense of danger comes across in these performances. The two soloists in this recording don't always sound absolutely sure-footed as they navigate their parts and no doubt modern horns would have made their jobs easier but, that said, the impression of playing at the edge of their ability does lend the performances an extra frisson. It's all enjoyable stuff: Ries combines the two horns skilfully and there are some interesting effects in the 'andante' that prove that Ries had a sure grasp of orchestral colouring at this stage in his career and that foreshadow the more Romantic orchestral effects in his later, more characteristic works.

Like the double horn concerto, Ries' only violin concerto occupies an essentially Late Classical sound world. Beethoven's own solitary violin concerto, which Ries must have known, seems to have exercised no influence on the work and the liner notes make comparisons to the contemporary concertos of Rode; I have no knowledge of his works (indeed, who does in this day and age?) but if I were pressed to name a composer within whose orbit I do think this piece lies, I would say that the later concertos of Viotti display the strongest similarities in structure and orchestration. It's an attractive and lyrical work, technically accomplished but not dependent on virtuoso fireworks to make its effects.

Neither of these works serve as examples of Ries' mature musical personality and nor do they show a great deal of individuality, though they do contain elements that were to become a regular part of his compositional vocabulary: his fondness for Neapolitan suspensions, for example, and the use of diminished seventh chords in the violin concerto; they are still enjoyable and fairly substantial compositions, though, that help to provide a more rounded view of his creative career.

Each concerto is preceded by one of Ries' opera overtures, which date from later in his life. He wrote three operas in total - in addition to the two represented here, there is one intriguingly titled 'A Night in Lebanon', from 1834, and it's a shame there wasn't space to include the overture to that as well. The librettist of `Liska' stated later on that the fatal flaw in the opera was the dearth of melody "without which no opera can ever succeed, no matter whatever else merit it may possess"* and it's probably fair to say that neither of the overtures here are particularly strong in that department. Of the two, the overture to 'Die Räuberbraut' apparently achieved some success in the composer's lifetime as a concert piece; it is probably the most appealing to modern ears because of its turbulent, even stormy, Early Romantic cast.

The performances on the disc - on period instruments - are all fine and CPO's sound is also good. The musical contents may not all be Ries at his very best but there is much pleasure to be derived from the two concertos and that makes the disc warmly recommendable to both Ries enthusiasts and those interested more generally in the music of this era.


Perhaps it's not the best music by Ries that has been recorded so far (for that, try the Symphonies and Piano Concertos), but I still think its a fascinating disc.

 :)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2011, 09:57:09 PM by Albion »
A piece is worth your attention, and is itself for you praiseworthy, if it makes you feel you have not wasted your time over it. (SG, 1922)

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2011, 05:44:14 AM »
Albion - did not check the Amazon sites in other countries (although I often do) - thanks for the clarification on the use of 'natural' horns - I actually enjoy these valveless horns and have a number of discs of various performances; two of my favorite players on these instruments are Ab Koster & Lowell Greer:D

Offline Brian

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2016, 07:17:01 AM »
So one thing I used to do, and still do, is listen to lots of obscure music, like symphonic cycles, and then completely forget which ones I liked and which ones I didn't. So this year I've been trying to set detailed notes in composer threads as I go through a cycle, to prevent repeating that mistake.

This time 'round, it's the Ferdinand Ries symphonies, almost all of which I've heard before, but I can't remember which ones I liked most at all. Worth pointing out here that I do enjoy a lot of the Ries piano concertos, especially No. 8 "Gruss an den Rhein".

So...

Symphony No. 1 starts off sounding like it's modeled on Beethoven's Fourth - a dark, odd intro segues into a joyous main allegro. There's a light, almost silly comic-opera tune for clarinet as the secondary theme. Victor Carr Jr. compares the main movement to the Fidelio overture, an even more apt description. The second movement is a funeral march which feels kind of light and oddly peppy - even Haydn is darker. During the last two movements, I mentally checked out; this is harmless fluff, like youthful Schubert symphonies except not as memorable or charming.

Symphony No. 2 now compares best to composers like Schumann and Mendelssohn. There's a shortness to the melodic lines, and perfunctory transitions, which make Schubert's symphonies better still. In C minor, this piece does have a bit more drama than the minor-key sections of the First (though don't compare it to Beethoven's C minor symphony).

There are lots of people comparing the Ries symphonies to Beethoven, because of the time frame and the well-known fact that Ries was a protege/wannabe. But I haven't heard much Beethovenian in these symphonies (except in the finale here, which steals a rhythmic idea from the finale of Op 59 No 3). They work best when they're trying to be charming, rather than bold; they don't have totally arresting ideas. No. 2 is clearly an upgrade over 1, however: I liked more or less all of it, or at least, found it pleasant enough.

Symphony No. 3, in E flat, finds Ries returning to his habit of starting with an ambiguous intro in an uncertain key, then quickly establishing the E flat allegro. Here again he seems like a midpoint between Haydn and Schumann, but a lighter, less substantial one than Beethoven. (Again, don't compare this to another E flat symphony; they're in different weight classes.)

Not really any notes on this one, again. It's fine. Cheery. Nice woodwinds in the finale.

Symphony No. 4 is the first one that really has a distinctive and noteworthy feel. The intro has a timpani tap-tap-tap that presages Brahms 1, but the symphony (F major) taps into a sunnier kind of Brahmsian drama with a sunny, gorgeous French horn melody. It's the first memorable or noteworthy melody in the Ries cycle. There's a bit too much "busy work" elsewhere in the first movement, and the andantino isn't the most memorable.

The scherzo really, really reminds me of something I've heard before and I can't remember what. Finale is cheery and rounds off the symphony nicely - more vigor and force than in the previous works - but overall the first movement is the highlight of this one. Ries hasn't put together a complete symphony yet, but here he's written a good one.

Offline arpeggio

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2016, 11:28:31 AM »
Our orchestra performed one of his Piano Concertos a few years ago.  We thought it was a great piece.  Some us in the wind section thought Ries was a better orchestrator.  Well that was just our opinion and it may not be true.

It really puzzles me that all of these great contemporaries of Beethoven have been swept under the rug.  Along with Ries there are Reicha, Danzi and Spohr.  It make my question the wherewithal of the impeccable tastes of out so called modern audiences.  I have performed some of the woodwind quintets of Reicha and Danzi and they are outstanding.

Offline SonicMan46

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Re: Ries's Pieces
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2016, 12:42:12 PM »
So one thing I used to do, and still do, is listen to lots of obscure music, like symphonic cycles, and then completely forget which ones I liked and which ones I didn't. So this year I've been trying to set detailed notes in composer threads as I go through a cycle, to prevent repeating that mistake.
..............................

Quote
SonicMan, September 2011!

Ries, Ferdinand (1784-1838) deserves a little more attention, me thinks!  :D

I now own over a dozen discs of this composer's music included the complete Symphony collection, discussed previously; Piano Quartets, Quintet, Trios & Sonatas; also, 2 discs of SQs (he wrote 26); Clarinet Sonatas-Trio; and Septet/Octet - must look into the Piano Concertos of which I have none to date!  So let's hope for some more 'action' in this thread!  :)..................

Thanks Brian for the comments on the Ries Symphonies - own the collection.  Just ordered the CD shown below of more chamber works (as above, nothing new of Ries for 5 years!) - there appears to be 5 volumes of the Piano Concertos on Naxos (some information HERE) - hopefully, Naxos will package these up into a single inexpensive box - I'd likely buy into the package.  Dave :)