Author Topic: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations  (Read 1867 times)

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Offline Ghost Sonata

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2016, 04:50:58 AM »
I think the man needs Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.  It actually has some things in common with some of the classic rock he likes - think 'concept album'  :) - programmatic and approachable, plenty of color and drama and fire with a back story that commands attention.  Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 


Offline North Star

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2016, 05:19:51 AM »
Ah, dude, I love the tinkly, plinky chamber music . . . .
Yes, cherish the tinkle and the plink.

I think the man needs Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.  It actually has some things in common with some of the classic rock he likes - think 'concept album'  :) - programmatic and approachable, plenty of color and drama and fire with a back story that commands attention.  Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
A good suggestion, I think.
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2016, 10:01:13 AM »
<Eyebrow rises ala Mr. Spock>
Uh... This tends to indicate that I have no clue what the "real" titles of the tunes on S-oB tunes might be... Ferinstance, I know track 1 as "Sinfonia to Cantata" - If I go looking for the "real" version, what is it that I'll be looking for? (as that's one of my favorite pieces from that album)

Will look for the orchestral suite #3. What about track 4 - which I only know as "Two Part Invention in B-Flat Major"? (which, for whatever bizarre reason, has always made me think of an old, but good, Disney short - The one with the windmill and the storm - whose title I can't recall. It also makes me think of a... Well, a conversation, even though there's no speech involved - "Call and response", I think the Jazz types would call it.)



That might be something of a difficulty - My near-total ignorance (willful or otherwise) means I wouldn't know "Bach's organ music" unless someone introduced it in proper "Hey, Dakidd! Meet Mr. Bach's organ music - organ music, meet Dakidd" form, if ya follow me. I *THINK* Jesu probably fits on that list, but beyond that, well, frankly, I wouldn't know *ANY* composer's "Type X music" from his "Type Y music" unless it's spelled out like "so and so's Piano Concerto number 1492" or "Ground Round for piccolo schleptet and a wind-breaker, opus $1.98/pound". (Yes, I've brushed - very lightly - up against a certain Mr. Schickele and his research on JSB's obscure relative PDQ. I *THINK* I escaped without getting  any on me - or at least, not enough to leave a stain... :) )
 
Should I cringe in advance, or... ? :) Frank was a strange, strange unit. But sometimes behind the strange, something very special can be seen.

Heh... Who DOESN'T know B's 5th? :) (Interesting/amusing/ironic side-note (err... no pun intended, but since it's just laying there...) : Didja know that those 5 notes are perfect Morse code for the letter "V"? Which is, of course, "5" in Roman notation...)

As for the other folks who have replied, thanks and I'll go looking. The suggestion for Bartok (I can't type accented characters - My computer can, but I never can recall how to make 'em) brings up another question - Whats' the difference between a "concerto" and a "symphony"? And isn't a fugue something that happens when you have a nervous breakdown? :)
Um, oops, I was assuming things.  I'm sorry.

Actually, as I recall, the Switched-On Bach albums and The Well-Tempered Synthesizer were great about giving the actual titles of the original pieces.  Walter/Wendy Carlos played the music exactly as it was originally written; s/he merely transcribed it for synthesizer.  (This is important to us musical geeks; we tend to prefer the originals without rewriting.)

Much classical music is grouped according to the instruments it was written for.  If something is titled "Quartet," it was almost always written for four instrumentalists or vocalists.  (One exception is the "Quartet" from the opera Rigoletto, which is for four singers plus orchestra.)  So when we say "Bach's organ music," we actually mean music written for organ by Bach.  (I'm sorry if that sounds condescending, but I'm trying not to assume knowledge you may not have.)  Two titles to look for are Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor (that may not sound familiar, but you'll probably recognize it), and his Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor.  Both are written for and usually performed on pipe organ (although there are transcriptions for orchestra and other instruments), and both are masterpieces with plenty of thunder. 8)
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Offline jochanaan

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2016, 10:07:17 AM »
...The reason I mentioned Boulez is because you mentioned Frank Zappa; Pierre Boulez has collaborated with Zappa on number of tracks so I thought he'd be worth mentioning (as someone else had already mentioned Varèse)....
Now that's something I didn't know!  I'm interested!  But I tend to like music that doesn't sound like what most people recognize as music. :laugh:
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Offline North Star

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2016, 10:12:28 AM »
Now that's something I didn't know!  I'm interested!  But I tend to like music that doesn't sound like what most people recognize as music. :laugh:
Quite interesting indeed. Of course it's on Youtube.
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/GZ29gn5P68M" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/GZ29gn5P68M</a>
The whole album on this playlist
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Offline Dakidd2112

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2016, 10:47:56 PM »
I think the man needs Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.  It actually has some things in common with some of the classic rock he likes - think 'concept album'  :)


Yeah, what the cold, translucent one with the spooky voice said! :) Concept albums are good - I rank Rush's 2112 right up near the top of the heap, ferinstance. But throwing aside levity, yes - I'm looking for something that I can at least SOMEWHAT grasp. That Boulez thing may be considered musical "champagne" by some, but truth be told, I'm probably going to be a lot happier with the classical music equivalent of a shot of Jack Daniels and a bottle of reasonably decent beer, or maybe a nice brandy - at least at this point in my "career". Continuing the champagne analogy, if you start trotting out those bottles with barely-legible and totally unpronounceable french names and four digit price tags, and telling me how wonderful its subtle bouquet is, and what a nice nose it has, and raving about the hints of oak and peat and this and that and the other thing, chances are I'll just go glassy eyed, take a sip, and respond that it tastes like fizzy rotted grape juice... And based on my own wine/champagne experience, not even particularly pleasant tasting fizzy rotted grape juice. Likewise, try throwing "high art" abstract stuff like that Boulez at me, and it's a good bet that it's either gonna go flying right over my head, or cause me to bounce off it hard enough to just give up on the idea of trying to wade back in entirely. Which, truth be told, is very nearly what it did. I'm gonna try to hang in there, though, and see if there's something that tickles my fancy.


- programmatic and approachable, plenty of color and drama and fire with a back story that commands attention.  Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "programmatic", but I have to agree with the "approachable" part - remember - I'm someone who was beaten about the head and shoulders with the genre - unwillingly - for most of my growing-up years. Not just beaten, but clubbed, hammered, walloped, whipped, and pounded. To the point where I developed an aversion to the stuff that, for a long time, bordered on being a full-blown phobia. My buddy reminded me the other day that there actually *IS* such a thing as classical music that doesn't induce an immediate cringing "Noooooooo! I promise I'll be good! Just please don't hit me any more!" type of reaction - Imagine that! Classical music that's actually PLEASANT! I came here hoping to find out what some of it is, with the only guideline I could think of as useful being something comparable to my taste in "non-classical" music. 

Oh, and the Mussorgsky is downloading now. Let's see what it does for me... (I seem to have a "That sounds familiar" bell ringing in the back of my head...)

Online jessop

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #26 on: October 17, 2016, 10:53:59 PM »
Comparable to your taste in non-classical music is why I went for Boulez........................ ::)

Offline RebLem

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2016, 08:29:07 PM »
I'm amazed that no one has yet mentioned Also sprach Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss.  Also, lots of other works by Strauss.  For an excellent idea of how much a particular composer can vary in style from one work to another, try listening to Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto and has Symphony # 1 "Classical," which he wrote, as he himself explained, to show what he thought Haydn might be writing if he had lived on into the early 20th century.  Of course, the central 20th century work, around which much of the rest revolves, is Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps.  Without going into detail, if you liked Hunger Games, you'll like Le Sacre.  Most folk agree, btw, that Boulez's recording of it with the Cleveland Orchestra is the best one.  What with the World Series this year being between the Cubbies and the Indians, you might want to consider that many of us also believe these two cities happen to have the two best symphony orchestras in the country, and explore some of the work of each in conjunction with watching the WS--especially recordings by Reiner, Giulini, and Solti with Chicago, George Szell with Cleveland, and Pierre Boulez with both.  If you are sympathetic, as I am, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, you might want to listen (its on YouTube for free) to Janet Baker singing the aria "He was despised" from Handel's Messiah with Charles Mackerras and the English Chamber Orchestra, whose 1966 recording of Messiah is, INHO, the greatest ever made.

I urge you to reconsider your disdain for backstories and tales of composers' lives and how they influenced their work.  Such a familiarity is essential for understanding the full import of much of the work of Prokofiev and Shostakovich, for example.  For Shostakovich, I recommend starting with his piano quintet, a masterpiece written during WWII.  Although it was awarded a Stalin Prize, anyone who knows the backstory knows it was heavily influenced by Shostakovich's hatred for much of what Stalinism represented.  In fact, the worst recording of it was made with Shostakovich himself at the piano, because it was recorded in 1955, in that brief 16 month or so period of optimism after the late 1954 de-Stalinization speech by Nikita Khrushchev and the brutal spring 1956 Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution.

I think its a really good idea for you to abandon your desire not to know much about the forms of classical music and how works are constructed and developed, because enjoying them at any but the most superficial levels increases your appreciation of them.  Having said that, I must also say that if you play a Bach concerto, say, underwater in a large aquarium, you will see the fish gathering around the speakers, beating their tails in time with the music, with species that are ordinarily enemies co-existing side by side.  At a very basic level, all you need to like at least some classical music is to be as smart as a fish.  But the more you know, the more it helps.  OTOH, don't let it obsess you to the point where you get upset if you lost track of the plot of an opera and don't quite understand all the transitions for one scene to another and of who is singing to whom and what their relationships are.  Be relaxed enough to enjoy the music at a fundamental level.  In other words, try to study the details, but don't let a failure to keep track of things upset you or keep you from enjoying the music at a more basic level.

To this end, I suggest that violin concerti are an excellent entrée to the world on classical music.  Because of the limitations of the violin, what is called the development sections of movements are relatively simple, transparent, and easy to follow.  Becoming familiar with these simple development sections will stand you in good stead when you decide to expand to more complicated works.  Start with the three Bach Concerti (Hilary Hahn), Beethoven (Grumiaux/Galleira), Brahms (Szerying/Monteux), Bartok2 (Perlman/Previn or Chung/Solti--the Perlman is the best, but it is, to the best of my knowledge, available on CD only as part of a massive set you may not want to shell out for).  Try Menuhin for Mendelssohn. 

Mahler symphonies are very involving.  I recommend the Kubelik as a starter set.  I have about 20 or more sets, including two by Bernstein, and the Kubelik is my overall favorite.  My favorite of the symphonies, personally, is # 2 "Resurrection."  Kubelik is a favorite here, along with the Bernstein performance that is not part of either of his complete sets--its a stand alone performance with Janet Baker as one of the soloists.  Its very much like his first recording, but with better vocal soloists.  The classic Otto Klemperer recording is another favorite, massive and granitic, and with an absolutely orgasmic finale.  You might want to try a Wagner "bleeding chunks" album or two.  They're called that because they are purely orchestral versions of part is his operas, or, as he called them, music dramas, and where they end is sometimes a bit arbitrary.  George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra did a couple of good albums of these, now on CD.  And, if you want great performances of light classical music which is lusciously beautiful and uncomplicated, you can't beat the Reiner/Chicago album of the five most popular Strauss Waltzes.
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Online jessop

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #28 on: October 23, 2016, 08:35:45 PM »
Dear Dakidd2112

Pay attention to this paragraph because it is very interesting in particular. Le Sacre du Printemps is a phenomenal work and Pierre Boulez is a brilliant interpreter of this work.

I'm amazed that no one has yet mentioned Also sprach Zarathustra, by Richard Strauss.  Also, lots of other works by Strauss.  For an excellent idea of how much a particular composer can vary in style from one work to another, try listening to Prokofiev's First Piano Concerto and has Symphony # 1 "Classical," which he wrote, as he himself explained, to show what he thought Haydn might be writing if he had lived on into the early 20th century.  Of course, the central 20th century work, around which much of the rest revolves, is Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps.  Without going into detail, if you liked Hunger Games, you'll like Le Sacre.  Most folk agree, btw, that Boulez's recording of it with the Cleveland Orchestra is the best one.  What with the World Series this year being between the Cubbies and the Indians, you might want to consider that many of us also believe these two cities happen to have the two best symphony orchestras in the country, and explore some of the work of each in conjunction with watching the WS--especially recordings by Reiner, Giulini, and Solti with Chicago, George Szell with Cleveland, and Pierre Boulez with both.  If you are sympathetic, as I am, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, you might want to listen (its on YouTube for free) to Janet Baker singing the aria "He was despised" from Handel's Messiah with Charles Mackerras and the English Chamber Orchestra, whose 1966 recording of Messiah is, INHO, the greatest ever made.

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: kinda new, kinda not, kinda recovering - looking for recommendations
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2017, 07:27:37 AM »
Bach, J.S. (there were a batch of 'em, ya know, a number of sons, all still-known composers)
This was on W. Carlos' -- that 'W." is handy, no? -- original Switched-on Bach album.
Cantatas are comprised of a number of episodic movements, i.e. a sequence of shorter 'numbers.'  In this case, all the rest but this big, bold, dynamic double fugue movement is lost.

both these performances are at a brisk tempo, and lively (Carlos' rendition was up tempo, too.)
Cantata BWV 50 "Nun ist das Heil und die Kraft"
John Eliot Gardiner conducts.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlbf2WjGhsk
Ton Koopman conducts
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceo2QOtQtuM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Elsewhere in the universe of classical repertoire ~ some early to mid-20th Century jazz-influenced classical (an era when Jazzers were influenced by the classical composers, and vice versa....)

Maurice Ravel ~ Piano concerto in G
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXcdoLVkVL4
There are many recordings of this, I recommend the one in this link, now on the EMI label, I'm near certain a nicer-price budget CD)

Darius Milhaud ~ La création du monde
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3GPtgY9hSQ

Stravinsky ~ Ebony Concerto (composed for Woody Herman.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccwFZ6-COec
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Gerald Finzi ~ Eclogue for piano and strings conservative, 20th century Neoclassical, very pleasant music....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkQbzZgwfl0

Samuel Barber ~ 'Cello Concerto
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xza5zmMlTqs
(If you like this, I recommend most the recording with Yo-Yo Ma; Baltimore Symphony, David Zinman.)

Paul Hindemith ~ Symphony Mathis der Maler
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsHGntqx5Yw

Francis Poulenc ~ Sextuor, for piano and wind quintet (yeah, its 'chamber music,' but there is the more introverted sort, and this, the extroverted sort ;-)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMjVsju3HZc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T7rinGXmH8

Lukas Foss ~ Night Music for John Lennon (Prelude, Fugue and Chorale). In Memory of December 8, 1980 (1981)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGsKGLWWPgU

A bit here and there on the map, the above.  Set them in a playlist and check them at your leisure, only advising that when anything not so directly familiar or like to familiar is new to you, give it several chances -- and with music, you can 'let it run' without giving it full focus, let it seep in a bit -- then later try it again.  One of my favorite sayings, here as an admonition of sorts about 'working' at 'getting' a piece of music, is "If you're sweating, you're working too hard."


Best regards
« Last Edit: February 08, 2017, 07:44:12 AM by Monsieur Croche »
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