Author Topic: Pieces that have blown you away recently  (Read 46082 times)

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Baron Scarpia

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #440 on: March 19, 2018, 11:38:02 AM »
Ah, that probably clears it up. Cheers

e: here's how it was listed -



Was it a suite of 6 short movements, or a single movement?

Offline ritter

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #441 on: March 19, 2018, 11:39:57 AM »
From the précis of a dissertation at Rice University:

“Debussy reworked six movements of Les Chansons de Bilitis for piano four-hands in 1914 and titled them Six Epigraphes antiques. Two versions for flute and piano have since been made from these works. Donald Peck published a version, titled Bilitis, for Bourne Co. based on Les Chansons de Bilitis in 1979, and Karl Lenski published a version for Universal Edition based on the Epigraphes, also titled Bilitis , in 1984. This document discusses all of the editions listed above, and provides background information on Pierre Louys, his friendship with Debussy, and the origins of Les Chansons de Bilitis.”

https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/19522

The Chansons de Bilitis (no direct link to the Trois chansons de Bilitis) have a bit of a checkered history. They started out as the work for reciter and ensemble that Mirror Image pointed out, and then were adapted by Debussy himself as Six épigraphes antiques for piano duet, but also for solo piano. Then, after Debussy’s death, Ernest Ansermet orchestrated them (a version I find devoid of any charm).

Debussy at the top of his game MHO, partucularly the opening Pour invoquer Pan, dieu du vent d’été:)
Ritter
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Offline NikF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #442 on: March 19, 2018, 11:45:53 AM »
Was it a suite of 6 short movements, or a single movement?

Six short movements. And that was another thing about it, that they seemed so natural, so fluid coming one after the other. Maybe that's down to some kind of consistency in the writing or something? I don't know.

From the précis of a dissertation at Rice University:

“Debussy reworked six movements of Les Chansons de Bilitis for piano four-hands in 1914 and titled them Six Epigraphes antiques. Two versions for flute and piano have since been made from these works. Donald Peck published a version, titled Bilitis, for Bourne Co. based on Les Chansons de Bilitis in 1979, and Karl Lenski published a version for Universal Edition based on the Epigraphes, also titled Bilitis , in 1984. This document discusses all of the editions listed above, and provides background information on Pierre Louys, his friendship with Debussy, and the origins of Les Chansons de Bilitis.”

https://scholarship.rice.edu/handle/1911/19522

The Chansons de Bilitis (no direct link to the Trois chansons de Bilitis) have a bit of a checkered history. They started out as the work for reciter and ensemble that Mirror Image pointed out, and then were adapted by Debussy himself as Six épigraphes antiques for piano duet, but also for solo piano. Then, after Debussy’s death, Ernest Ansermet orchestrated them (a version I find devoid of any charm).

Debussy at the top of his game MHO, partucularly the opening Pour invoquer Pan, dieu du vent d’été:)

That's interesting. Thanks. And on reading it now, some of it seems familiar from the introduction at the recital.
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #443 on: March 19, 2018, 11:53:56 AM »
Six short movements. And that was another thing about it, that they seemed so natural, so fluid coming one after the other. Maybe that's down to some kind of consistency in the writing or something? I don't know.

That's interesting. Thanks. And on reading it now, some of it seems familiar from the introduction at the recital.

Very interesting. I've not found any recording of the flute and piano version, so the closest you can probably get to re-experiencing it in a recording is to listen to Debussy's Six épigraphes antiques.

I just noticed that the original 12 movement "Musique de scène pour Chansons de Bilitis" is included in Warner complete edition, so maybe I will check that out.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #444 on: March 19, 2018, 11:57:08 AM »
Thanks for all the input, fellas. 8)
“I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.” - Claude Debussy

Offline NikF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #445 on: March 19, 2018, 01:24:11 PM »
Very interesting. I've not found any recording of the flute and piano version, so the closest you can probably get to re-experiencing it in a recording is to listen to Debussy's Six épigraphes antiques.

I just noticed that the original 12 movement "Musique de scène pour Chansons de Bilitis" is included in Warner complete edition, so maybe I will check that out.

I'm about to give it an initial listen via the youtubes.

Thanks for all the input, fellas. 8)

Yer welcome, brocephus.  8)
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #446 on: March 19, 2018, 10:39:47 PM »
I'm very glad you mentioned these unassuming pieces. It is easy to miss things, feeding discs into CD players and letting the music go by. It is important to stop and notice things.

I've heard these pieces before, but with the prejudice that they are relatively minor works, not particularly distinguished. Today I really listened to them (the Six epigraphs antiques) and they are utterly charming in their simplicity and melodic invention. I listened to Werner Haas and Noel Lee's fine recording. I understand your impression that they seem very fluid and natural. There is a genius in creating simplicity. I can imagine how they could be very naturally performed with flute and piano.

« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 10:46:59 PM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline NikF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #447 on: March 20, 2018, 08:55:57 AM »
I'm very glad you mentioned these unassuming pieces. It is easy to miss things, feeding discs into CD players and letting the music go by. It is important to stop and notice things.

I've heard these pieces before, but with the prejudice that they are relatively minor works, not particularly distinguished. Today I really listened to them (the Six epigraphs antiques) and they are utterly charming in their simplicity and melodic invention. I listened to Werner Haas and Noel Lee's fine recording. I understand your impression that they seem very fluid and natural. There is a genius in creating simplicity. I can imagine how they could be very naturally performed with flute and piano.



Yeah, that's what struck me most of all - how seamless it was - almost as natural as breathing.

"There is a genius in creating simplicity" - absolutely. Less is more etc. And it's not limited to music. Even for the humble hoi polloi it takes balls to continually be honest and enlightened enough to remove what might have initially been a hard worked for element or aspect, just so the whole can then prosper and bloom.
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #448 on: March 20, 2018, 09:01:49 AM »
Yeah, that's what struck me most of all - how seamless it was - almost as natural as breathing.

"There is a genius in creating simplicity" - absolutely. Less is more etc. And it's not limited to music. Even for the humble hoi polloi it takes balls to continually be honest and enlightened enough to remove what might have initially been a hard worked for element or aspect, just so the whole can then prosper and bloom.

It is a universal problem, in my field as well. Writing scientific papers there is a strong prejudice to include text describing how ingenious you were to make the breakthrough, then you realize that to the reader it is superfluous and only obscures the result.

Offline NikF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #449 on: March 20, 2018, 09:21:32 AM »
It is a universal problem, in my field as well. Writing scientific papers there is a strong prejudice to include text describing how ingenious you were to make the breakthrough, then you realize that to the reader it is superfluous and only obscures the result.

I was unaware of that. But I can imagine the risk is ever present, because of human nature.
If you leave the superfluous stuff in, your average (whatever that means) person isn't going to recognise or even notice that it's there. And those who can identify it know you're indulging yourself to the point of lacking discipline.

When I listen to Debussy (or any composer) my frame of reference is small. And when that's coupled with my limited knowledge of music theory, it means all I can do is recognise that he's employing something clever and relatively rare. But nevertheless it's there,, and it's a pleasure to hear, discover, and consider.

"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #450 on: March 20, 2018, 09:32:53 AM »
I was unaware of that. But I can imagine the risk is ever present, because of human nature.
If you leave the superfluous stuff in, your average (whatever that means) person isn't going to recognise or even notice that it's there. And those who can identify it know you're indulging yourself to the point of lacking discipline.

When I listen to Debussy (or any composer) my frame of reference is small. And when that's coupled with my limited knowledge of music theory, it means all I can do is recognise that he's employing something clever and relatively rare. But nevertheless it's there,, and it's a pleasure to hear, discover, and consider.

For me, the usual case is that there is a trail of ideas and realizations that leads to the insight. There is a temptation to think that you have to lead the reader down the same trail. But if you think about it you can usually find a more direct way to reach the conclusion. You have to go against your pride, because you are letting the reader take a shortcut that you did not have the advantage of and it makes your supposedly ingenious deduction seem trivial.

I studied music a little, but not enough to really understand this stuff in depth. But in works like these of Debussy, I think the magic comes from the fact that he uses harmonies for color, not based on the traditional harmonic progressions where harmonies had to be prepared and resolved. In this piece there is a deceptively simple melody, and then a chord appears like a vivid splash of color, just because it essentially dropped out of the sky, without any preparation. It is at once very naive, and revolutionary, if you think of it in terms of the tradition.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 09:42:20 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #451 on: March 20, 2018, 09:41:56 AM »
Chansons de Bilitis for 2 flutes, 2 harps, celesta and reciter (Catherine Deneuve)






Sarge
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"

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #452 on: March 20, 2018, 09:44:40 AM »
Chansons de Bilitis for 2 flutes, 2 harps, celesta and reciter (Catherine Deneuve)


My next goal is to listen to that piece (I have a different recording) to see how it relates to the six epigraphs antiques.

Is there a lot of talking in the piece?

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #453 on: March 20, 2018, 09:49:08 AM »
My next goal is to listen to that piece (I have a different recording) to see how it relates to the six epigraphs antiques.

Is there a lot of talking in the piece?

Mostly talking...but since it's Deneuve talking, I don't mind  ;)

Sarge
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 NikF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #454 on: March 20, 2018, 09:55:20 AM »
For me, the usual case is that there is a trail of ideas and realizations that leads to the insight. There is a temptation to think that you have to lead the reader down the same trail. But if you think about it you can usually find a more direct way to reach the conclusion. You have to go against your pride, because you are letting the reader take a shortcut that you did not have the advantage of and it makes your supposedly ingenious deduction seem trivial.
A couple of years ago I posted a photo in the photography thread. It was of a young woman standing in an airport. Head and shoulders, with a big 'custard pie of light' in her pretty face. I could have explained why that photo was a near perfect example of what it was supposed to be. But I didn't and instead bit my topute and let it go. I think you need to take comfort in the fact you know what's right, even if you're almost obliged to play the 'game' for the benefit of others.


Quote
I studied music a little, but not enough to really understand this stuff in depth. But in works like these of Debussy, I think the magic comes from the fact that he uses harmonies for color, not based on the traditional harmonic progressions where harmonies had to be prepared and resolved. In this piece there is a deceptively simple melody, and then a chord appears like a vivid splash of color, just because it essentially dropped out of the sky, without any preparation. It is at once very naive, and revolutionary, if you think of it in terms of the tradition.

That's a good and relatable way to put it, and one I should keep in mind when listening to Debussy.

"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Offline NikF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #455 on: March 20, 2018, 09:56:04 AM »
Chansons de Bilitis for 2 flutes, 2 harps, celesta and reciter (Catherine Deneuve)






Sarge

 8)
"You overestimate my power of attraction," he told her. "No, I don't," she replied sharply, "and neither do you".

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #456 on: March 20, 2018, 07:56:27 PM »
My next goal is to listen to that piece (I have a different recording) to see how it relates to the six epigraphs antiques.

Is there a lot of talking in the piece?

Unfortunately and I say this because I’m not one who likes narration in a piece of music unless it’s done at the very beginning as some kind of prologue like in Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and then that’s it. The music, however, in this work from Debussy is absolutely enchanting.
“I love music passionately. And because I love it I try to free it from barren traditions that stifle it.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Ainsi la nuit

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #457 on: March 21, 2018, 05:37:04 PM »
I've been in the process of discovering Kurtág's music recently. There's an absolutely fantastic new recording on the ECM label that claims to contain the complete works for choir and ensemble - whether that's true, I have no idea since I don't know Kurtág's entire catalogue - and to be fair, I'm often relatively salty about such claims because of previous disappointments. I'm still annoyed at Decca's "complete" Stravinsky ballet set which certainly didn't include all of his ballet music...

Rant over, back to Kurtág: the recording I mentioned contains a lot of music that is simply brilliant, but the one work I can't get out of my head is the strange work for piano and ensemble called ...quasi una fantasia...; it's apparently supposed to have some spatial element to it (I saw a video of it on BP's Digital Concert Hall website) but I've haven't seen the score so I don't know what Kurtág's instructions are. Anyway, it's a wonderful piece. Not very long, but just the right length. Given the name of the piece and the opus number 27/1, the piece forms a reference that no one can miss... It doesn't really surprise me that Kurtág would do something like that, since his output is literally filled with little references, memorials, hommages and mementos to artists, writers, composers and thinkers, both alive and dead.

The piece starts with a staggeringly simple gesture, a descending scale on the piano that the ensemble carefully comments. There's a lot of energy and aggression to be heard, though, as the piece explodes into a more frantic mode. It's difficult to express in words how otherworldly the music sounds, there's something außerirdisch about it. A thoroughly enjoyable work, warmly recommended! The Op 27/2 is a double concerto for piano and cello, and worth a listen as well.

Offline GioCar

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #458 on: March 22, 2018, 12:19:14 AM »
I've been in the process of discovering Kurtág's music recently. There's an absolutely fantastic new recording on the ECM label that claims to contain the complete works for choir and ensemble - whether that's true, I have no idea since I don't know Kurtág's entire catalogue - and to be fair, I'm often relatively salty about such claims because of previous disappointments. I'm still annoyed at Decca's "complete" Stravinsky ballet set which certainly didn't include all of his ballet music...

Rant over, back to Kurtág: the recording I mentioned contains a lot of music that is simply brilliant, but the one work I can't get out of my head is the strange work for piano and ensemble called ...quasi una fantasia...; it's apparently supposed to have some spatial element to it (I saw a video of it on BP's Digital Concert Hall website) but I've haven't seen the score so I don't know what Kurtág's instructions are. Anyway, it's a wonderful piece. Not very long, but just the right length. Given the name of the piece and the opus number 27/1, the piece forms a reference that no one can miss... It doesn't really surprise me that Kurtág would do something like that, since his output is literally filled with little references, memorials, hommages and mementos to artists, writers, composers and thinkers, both alive and dead.

The piece starts with a staggeringly simple gesture, a descending scale on the piano that the ensemble carefully comments. There's a lot of energy and aggression to be heard, though, as the piece explodes into a more frantic mode. It's difficult to express in words how otherworldly the music sounds, there's something außerirdisch about it. A thoroughly enjoyable work, warmly recommended! The Op 27/2 is a double concerto for piano and cello, and worth a listen as well.

I've been fascinated by op.27/1...quasi una fantasia... as well.
Together with op.27/2 and Brefs messages op.47, it's my favourite piece in that wonderful album.

Offline arpeggio

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #459 on: March 24, 2018, 11:41:45 AM »
The BBC Music CD's have done it again.

I have just been introduced to the music of Reynaldo Hahn.  I have checked into his impressive catalogue.  I need to check out more of his works.  :)