Author Topic: Memories and Associations (Unusual and Otherwise) Connected To Musical Works  (Read 2449 times)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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One of my memories is from about 25 years ago or so, when I was showing a videotape (remember those?) of Jessye Norman performing Erwartung by Schoenberg.

I was teaching German at the time, and used the text (not particularly difficult) in the third-year class for translation practice, and then showed the performance on a projection TV which the football coaches used.

At the end of the performance, one of my juniors leaned back and sighed and shook his head.  I asked what was wrong, and he replied: "That opera had so much tension!"
 ;)

So much for any supposed language barrier!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Jo498

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The oddest associations I can think of are with Mahler's 4th symphony. One are the "tattoo signals" in the first movement that remind me of some children's cassette I had but I do not even remember the precise song it is similar to.
The other is more generally connected with the strange faux naivity of the whole piece. Around the time I first listened to Mahler's 4th with 17 we went on a school trip to Greece and in one of the Meteora monasteries there were really odd paintings or frescoes, depicting either legends of saints/martyrs or biblical stories or maybe historical episodes in a strangely naive picture-book-like fashion. Often quite cruel, with bloody severed heads rolling around, I think. My memories are very dim, but to this day I often think of the Metéora when I listen to Mahler's 4th.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline relm1

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My unusual memory was from the premiere of Scriabin/Nemtin Mysterium.  After the hour long onslaught ended, the diminutive Vladimir Ashkenazy nervously peaked at the audience to see if anyone was still left in the concert hall.  It was generally well received but I remember he seemed unsure of how it would be received. 

Offline Sergeant Rock

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The opening of Beethoven's Ninth's Scherzo was used at one time for a radio news program--don't ask me which one!  I've been trying for decades to remember...

I don't know about a radio news program but The Huntley-Brinkley Report (NBC News) used it. That Beethoven movement is indelibly linked to Chet and David just like The William Tell Overture will forever bring up visions of the Lone Ranger and Silver.

Sarge
« Last Edit: March 18, 2017, 06:49:25 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Cato

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My unusual memory was from the premiere of Scriabin/Nemtin Mysterium.  After the hour long onslaught ended, the diminutive Vladimir Ashkenazy nervously peaked at the audience to see if anyone was still left in the concert hall.  It was generally well received but I remember he seemed unsure of how it would be received.

Wow!  YOU were there!!!  Tell us more!  That is one of my favorite works, ever since the first movement was revealed back in the 1970's!

Concerning Mahler, I played for some unknown reason the Tenth Symphony (completed version) not long after my father's funeral.  Perhaps I was looking for a catharsis, but I approach the work cautiously now because of that association.

 

"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Online Spineur

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The success of some commercials comes entirely from the classical music used.  The best example that come to my mind is the insurer (CNP) used the Waltz from Shostakovich Jazz suite no 2, and this was an instant hit.  Shostakovich sales went to the roof.  I believe the retro style of this particular piece matched the topic so perfectly.

Here is the waltz (without the commercial)

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/7UIHl0oJEpg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/7UIHl0oJEpg</a>
 
A woman voice glides like the wind
Of black, of damp, of night
And all it touches in this flight
Suddenly is over.

Anna Akhomatova

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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The success of some commercials comes entirely from the classical music used.  The best example that come to my mind is the insurer (CNP) used the Waltz from Shostakovich Jazz suite no 2, and this was an instant hit.  Shostakovich sales went to the roof.  I believe the retro style of this particular piece matched the topic so perfectly.

Here is the waltz (without the commercial)

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/7UIHl0oJEpg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/7UIHl0oJEpg</a>
 

Myself, I shall for a long time yet think of the Timothy Hutton/Maury Chaykin adaptation of Rex Stout's Champagne for One, in which this is used.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline ahinton

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My unusual memory was from the premiere of Scriabin/Nemtin Mysterium.  After the hour long onslaught ended, the diminutive Vladimir Ashkenazy nervously peaked at the audience to see if anyone was still left in the concert hall.  It was generally well received but I remember he seemed unsure of how it would be received.
That must have been only an excerpt, although I do not know which; the whole is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4YSysUn-Bk and plays for 2 hours 40 minutes but it's unclear which section you heard because only the last is close to an hour in duration. It's a very considerable achievement on Nemtin's part but, the copious Scriabin quotations aside, I imagine that it's mostly Nemtin and not much Scriabin. I did ask the Scriabin scholar Jonathan Powell about this be he didn't respond, so one might make whatever one might make of that!...

Offline Cato

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That must have been only an excerpt, although I do not know which; the whole is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4YSysUn-Bk and plays for 2 hours 40 minutes but it's unclear which section you heard because only the last is close to an hour in duration. It's a very considerable achievement on Nemtin's part but, the copious Scriabin quotations aside,I imagine that it's mostly Nemtin and not much Scriabin. I did ask the Scriabin scholar Jonathan Powell about this but he didn't respond, so one might make whatever one might make of that!...

How much of this is Nemtin and how much is Scriabin?  Yes, that is the question!

Much is made of the 53 pages of "musical sketches" found in Scriabin's house, and left untouched for 55 years!   So one assumes that the text is not necessarily taking up space in these pages, or too much.  Depending on the size of the pages, the penmanship, etc. that could be a considerable amount of material.  On the other hand, according to the CD notes, Nemtin mentions using a late piano piece as material for Part II.  "I made use of the Prelude Op. 74 #2..."  That would seem to indicate that such use was not indicated in the sketches.

The CD has other vague comments: there is a quote of Nemtin saying that he "was unwilling to write in the style of Scriabin," for a documentary about the composer.  Do we assume that he changed his mind...or was there enough material for Nemtin to follow without inventing anything of his own?

To return to the topic: the opening of this work is connected to a death in my family, this time my grandmother.  She died in our house in July in the 1970's, at a time when I was often playing the work in my room.

Such a connection would please Scriabin, I think!
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

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