Author Topic: "War Symphonies"  (Read 5505 times)

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kyjo

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"War Symphonies"
« on: October 10, 2013, 05:29:00 PM »
I think symphonies written during WWII are some of the most profound and emotional works ever written. Most of the works below are tragic, somber and defiant in tone, but some (i.e. Copland 3) are more celebratory and optimistic in character. Here is a list (by no means complete) of symphonies written during or directly after WWII that reflect the circumstances of the times:

Shostakovich: Symphonies 7, 8 and 10
VW: Symphony no. 6 (no. 4 seems to foreshadow the upcoming turmoil)
Prokofiev: Symphonies 5 and 6
Casella: Symphony no. 3
Britten: Sinfonia da requiem
Arthur Benjamin: Symphony
Copland: Symphony no. 3
Holmboe: Symphonies 4 Sinfonia Sacra and 5
Miaskovsky: Symphonies 20-25
Hartmann: Sinfonia Tragica, Symphonies 1-4 and 6
Khachaturian: Symphony no. 2
Honegger: Symphonies 2 and 3 Liturgique
Marinuzzi: Symphony in A
Pizzetti: Symphony in A (on YT)
Schulhoff: Symphony no. 5
Irgens-Jensen: Symphony in D minor
Koppel: Symphonies 2 and 3
Englund: Symphonies 1 War and 2 The Blackbird
AJ Potter: Sinfonia "De Profundis"
Kalabis: Symphony no. 2 Sinfonia Pacis (written in 1961 but clearly reflects the tragedy of war)
Malipiero: Symphonies 3 della campane and 4 In memoriam
Orthel: Symphonies 2 Sinfonia Piccola and 3
Saeverud: Symphonies 5 Quasi una fantasia, 6 Sinfonia Dolorosa, and 7 Salme (Psalm)
Kletzki: Symphony no. 3 In memoriam
Panufnik: Symphonies 2 Sinfonia Elegiaca and 3 Sinfonia Sacra
Polovinkin: Symphonies 5-9 (only nos. 7 and 9 recorded)
Popov: Symphonies 2 Motherland and 3 Heroic
Cikker: Symphony 1945 (on YT)
Wiren: Symphonies 2 and 3
Arnell: Symphonies 1-3
Bate: Symphony no. 3
Gibbs: Symphony no. 3 Westmorland
Lloyd: Symphony no. 4 Arctic
Antheil: Symphony no. 4 1942
Diamond: Symphonies 2-4
Hanson: Symphony no. 4 Requiem
Piston: Symphony no. 2
Schuman: Symphonies 3-5

What do members think of these works and how they were inspired by the war? Any I left out? :)


« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 05:34:29 PM by kyjo »

Offline jochanaan

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 05:51:13 PM »
A fine list, including many I don't know.  But I would also include Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements, in its own way as much a "war" symphony as any on the list.

If one is to believe Volkov's Testimony, Shostakovich was expected to make his Ninth Symphony the third of a "war trilogy," a "song of triumph."  Instead, he put out this Neoclassical, small-scale work.  Yet maybe DSch had just had enough of war music. :)
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kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 06:02:39 PM »
A fine list, including many I don't know.  But I would also include Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements, in its own way as much a "war" symphony as any on the list.

If one is to believe Volkov's Testimony, Shostakovich was expected to make his Ninth Symphony the third of a "war trilogy," a "song of triumph."  Instead, he put out this Neoclassical, small-scale work.  Yet maybe DSch had just had enough of war music. :)

Thanks! Don't know how I forgot about the Stravinsky. I guess because it isn't a "gloom and doom" work like a lot of the others. I actually regret the fact that Shostakovich changed course with the Ninth because I've never really warmed to the version he decided upon. BTW Naxos recorded a "Symphonic Movement" which is a six-and-a-half fragment from the original version of the Ninth. It's quite stirring and intense, very much in the vein of the Eighth. If only :(......


Offline jochanaan

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 06:11:59 PM »
Thanks! Don't know how I forgot about the Stravinsky. I guess because it isn't a "gloom and doom" work like a lot of the others.
Perhaps not; that's why I said "in its own way".  But I can hear Igor's rage about the war, even though I believe he was in the US at the time...
I actually regret the fact that Shostakovich changed course with the Ninth because I've never really warmed to the version he decided upon. BTW Naxos recorded a "Symphonic Movement" which is a six-and-a-half fragment from the original version of the Ninth. It's quite stirring and intense, very much in the vein of the Eighth. If only :(......
Well, tastes differ.  I love DSCH9.  And being the musical progressive that I am, I especially love the ending, how it covers the whole gamut of tonal centers before resolving unexpectedly in the very last chord! ;D
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kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 08:39:00 PM »
Two very fine WWII-inspired symphonies from Naxos' Japanese Classics series that I forgot to mention are Moroi's Symphony no. 3 and Ohki's Symphony no. 5 Hiroshima.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 08:43:41 PM »
just a few utilizing the medium, some in 'new forms', some from men who experienced its horrors firsthand .. "that reflect the deep psychological impact as a result of those experiences/circumstances"

Stockhausen, Gruppen
Ligeti, Atmosphères
Messiaen, Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum
Nono, Il canto sospeso
Ravel, Le tombeau di Couperin
Strauss, Metamorphosen

..


Again, not abiding by the OP's guidelines. Kyle wants symphonies. Nothing else, James.
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Offline relm1

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2013, 02:06:35 AM »
Martinu's Symphony No.3 and 4 are war influenced works.

Offline North Star

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2013, 02:45:46 AM »
they are written for the symphony orchestra, they are influenced by war .. they count.
Well, Ravel's Tombeau exists also in a cut transcription for symphony orchestra, but it's obviously a piano piece.  $:)
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Offline North Star

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 02:49:37 AM »
But I think there aren't so many works related to war that we couldn't discuss (if posting lists counted as discussion.. :D) all of them here. Britten, for example, wrote quite a few war-related/influenced pieces, but no such symphonies.
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DavidW

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 03:45:38 AM »
Again, not abiding by the OP's guidelines. Kyle wants symphonies. Nothing else, James.

The concept of the symphony is nebulous in the 20th and 21st centuries.  They are essentially just orchestral works with the name symphony slapped onto the title.  James works count.

DavidW

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2013, 03:46:38 AM »
But I think there aren't so many works related to war that we couldn't discuss (if posting lists counted as discussion.. :D) all of them here. Britten, for example, wrote quite a few war-related/influenced pieces, but no such symphonies.

I think this should be expanded to all war-related/influenced musical pieces and not just symphonies or orchestral works.

Offline Daverz

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2013, 04:34:00 AM »
George Crumb, Black Angels

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2013, 04:51:20 AM »
If one is to believe Volkov's Testimony, Shostakovich was expected to make his Ninth Symphony the third of a "war trilogy," a "song of triumph."  Instead, he put out this Neoclassical, small-scale work.  Yet maybe DSch had just had enough of war music. :)

Happily, there are sources better than Volkov for this  ;)
 
The expectations were certainly for a grand, choral-finale, Ninth, with implicit (no: explicit) glorification of Stalin.  No surprise that Дмитри Дмитриевич couldn't bring himself to do that.
 
The Fourteenth Symphony, though (which of course, is really an orchestral song cycle) has aspects of artistic response to Britten's War Requiem, which Дмитри Дмитриевич found an excellent piece, only philosophically he quarreled with the peaceful, consolatory ending (well, that's built into the overall framework provided by the Mass, of course).
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kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2013, 07:16:25 AM »
The concept of the symphony is nebulous in the 20th and 21st centuries.  They are essentially just orchestral works with the name symphony slapped onto the title.  James works count.

That's entirely untrue, David. How are the works of the great 20th century symphonists Shostakovich, Sibelius, VW, Nielsen, Prokofiev, Schuman, Miaskovsky, Holmboe, Hartmann, Rubbra etc. not symphonies? These composers, as well as many others, displayed a tremendous grasp and deep understanding of the symphonic form. Even in the 21st century, composers such as Aho, Rautavaara and Broadstock are keeping the symphonic tradition alive. I refuse to believe people who say that the symphony is an irrelevant form nowadays. True, composers aren't writing symphonies as much as they did in the first half of the 20th century, but to say "the symphony is dead" is entirely ignorant IMHO.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 07:29:09 AM by kyjo »

kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2013, 07:19:08 AM »
I give up. ::) I'm disappointed that almost everyone who has contributed to this thread so far has disregarded the thread title. But go ahead, list all the crap you want, I can't stop you.......

kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2013, 07:20:52 AM »
Martinu's Symphony No.3 and 4 are war influenced works.

Indeed! And THANK YOU for actually abiding by the guidelines of this thread!

Online Sergeant Rock

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2013, 07:43:21 AM »
Bernard Herrmann Symphony "dates from 1941 and evidently reflects some spirit of the times. For three of its four movements it is a dark, turbulent and tragic work, harsh and even brutal in its scoring. The finale, on the other hand, is a triumphant re-affirmation of life."

Havergal Brian Symphony #6 "Sinfonia tragica" (1948, sketches are undated but probably composed in '47)

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kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2013, 07:45:21 AM »
As far as WWI-inspired works go, the only ones that come to mind immediately are:

Elgar: Cello Concerto
Merikanto: Symphony no. 2
Rootham: For the Fallen
Miaskovsky: Symphony no. 4

I wonder why there's so many more works inspired by WWII than WWI? Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 07:51:03 AM by kyjo »

kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2013, 07:47:55 AM »
Bernard Herrmann Symphony "dates from 1941 and evidently reflects some spirit of the times. For three of its four movements it is a dark, turbulent and tragic work, harsh and even brutal in its scoring. The finale, on the other hand, is a triumphant re-affirmation of life."

Havergal Brian Symphony #6 "Sinfonia tragica" (1948, sketches are undated but probably composed in '47)

Sarge

I LOVE the Bernard Herrmann symphony! A compelling work very much in the Schuman/Piston/Diamond vein. The Brian work is very good as well-almost Sibelian in places.

kyjo

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Re: "War Symphonies"
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2013, 08:03:37 AM »
A major discovery for me a couple years ago was Mamoru Samuragochi's Symphony no. 1 Hiroshima. Although written in 2003, this work poignantly depicts the 1945 tragedy as well as hope for the future. Lasting 82 minutes, this symphony is on a grand Mahlerian scale and is undoubtedly among the most accomplished symphonies written in the past 50 years. The work is generally late-romantic in style (dissonance is limited but not absent) and follows in the great symphonic tradition of Bruckner, Mahler and Shostakovich. The finale gradually emerges from the darkness into light, producing a deeply affecting conclusion. It's available on CD, but as it has to be imported from Japan, it's quite expensive (the cheapest used copy right now on US Amazon is $29). Your best bet is either YouTube or an mp3 album from Amazon:

3rd movement (very moving): http://youtu.be/p6ffWlF9NBo
mp3 download: http://www.amazon.com/Symphony-No-1-Hiroshima/dp/B00CYW02FK/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1370302217&sr=1-1&keywords=Hiroshima



« Last Edit: October 11, 2013, 08:05:49 AM by kyjo »

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