Author Topic: Musical depictions of flood or drought  (Read 445 times)

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Offline Dax

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Musical depictions of flood or drought
« on: August 09, 2017, 04:10:16 PM »
I'm not after pieces with "flood" or "drought" in their titles, but actual musical depictions (even brief) of either from any musical period or genre.

Any suggestions?

Offline bwv 1080

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 04:41:16 PM »
Hard to beat this

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/dftrm1bPu88" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/dftrm1bPu88</a>
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 06:06:58 AM by bwv 1080 »
Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum

Offline pjme

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2017, 05:45:15 AM »
)


Dax, can you be a little bit more specific? Or will following (well known) examples do?

Saint Saëns : Le Deluge, oratorio, Op. 45
Telemann: Ouverture-Suite, 'Hamburger Ebb und Fluth
 Hummel: Der Durchzug durchs Rote Meer (1806)
The Flood: A musical play (1962) is a short biblical drama by Igor Stravinsky
Benjamin Britten: Noye's Fludde
Hamish MacCunn: The Land of the Mountain and the Flood
Félicien David: le Désert, ode symphonie
Are the Steppes of central Asia by Borodin dry enough?
Sécheresses (Drought), is a cantata by Francis Poulenc for mixed choir (SATB) composed in 1937
Erik Satie - Embryons desséchés
Gounod: Mireille / act 4 /Tableau 2, La plaine de la Crau  (le désert de la Crau) :Mireille, staggers in, already tired, and dazzled by the sun, faints as she hears shepherd's pipes in the distance. She makes a last effort to continue her journey to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.

Or are you looking for more "sophisticated" interpretations? dry as paper? A flood of tears?

P.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 01:58:46 PM by pjme »

Offline Dax

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 05:01:00 AM »
Very many thanks for these suggestions - I'll look further. I'm after descriptive music (if I'd gone for storms or rivers, I guess the solutions would be more obvious). Having said that, the John Lee Hooker is rather moving! The Poulenc sounds interesting from what little I've dipped in.

I've listening to Virgil Thomson's the Plow that broke the plains and The river (the 3rd movement is entitled Soil erosion and flood). The former sounds more promising.

The initial motivation was a rather vague one concerned with possible musical illustrations relating to climate change . . .

Offline Jo498

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 05:48:36 AM »
Handel: "Israel in Egypt", "The horse and his rider", "The depths have covered them".
There is another river-related scene in "Belshazzar" when the Persian divert the River Euphrates that protects the city of Bablyon so they can subsequently conquer the city and probably more in another oratorio although I don't remember anything else right now.

Check the first part of Mendelssohn's Elias/Elijah that depicts a drought and later rain.

There is an Oratorio by CPE Bach "Die Israeliten in der Wüste" but I am not familiar with it.
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 Turner

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 08:51:57 PM »
Also

- Murail:"L´Esprit des Dunes" http://www.tristanmurail.com/en/oeuvre-fiche.php?cotage=27531
- Partch: "Daphne of the Dunes" https://www.corporeal.com/noteswhp.html
- Messiaen:"Des Canyons aux Etoiles" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Des_canyons_aux_%C3%A9toiles...
- Varese:"Deserts" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9serts
- Eisler:"14 Arten, den Regen zu Beschreiben" https://classical20.com/2016/02/22/hanns-eisler-14-arten-den-regen-zu-beschreiben-op-70-1941/

and, but extending the definition,
- Elgar:"A Voice in the Desert" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Une_voix_dans_le_d%C3%A9sert
- Langgaard:"16th Symphony, Deluge of Sun" (?!) http://www.langgaard.dk/RLU/RLsym16-wwwforord-eng.pdf
- Leifs:"Geysir" and "Dettifoss" http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/Aug01/LeifsGeysir.htm
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 08:54:03 PM by Turner »

Offline springrite

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2017, 08:59:41 PM »
Well, the most obvious example for me would be The Flood by Stravinsky.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline some guy

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 03:08:07 AM »
Ever since I first ventured onto an online classical music forum, I have been fascinated at the ready acceptance of the premises.

And, as well, by the sometimes unbridled pique if anyone does dare question any premise.

Maybe it's just me, but I always question the premises, even if only silently. And, alas, have broken silence often enough to have royally pissed off quite a number of fellow travellers, even though my purpose is never to piss anyone off.

Regardless, my curiousity remains intact, so here're my questions. First, can music depict anything? I don't see how one can answer the OP without first having answered that question in the affirmative. (I obviously cannot.) Certainly Dax must think it can. Which leads to my next questions, to Dax of course but answerable by anyone, namely What are some pieces or bits of pieces that you think do depict either the abundance of water or the absence of same? Can you explain what it is about that combination of pitches and rhythms that makes you think it's depicting drought or flood? Could it be also possible for another listener to legitimately, honestly, get something completely different from that music? (I would exclude music with text--the text there is doing the work of depiction and any putative depiction in the music derives entirely from acquiescing to the words.)

A painting of a ship will be universally seen as a painting of a ship. Except as a joke, no one's going to say that a painting of a ship looks like a painting of a kitten drinking milk. (And, just by the way, you should never feed your cats milk.:)) Pigments are apparently quite good at that whole depiction thing. Better even than words.

Offline Turner

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 03:22:47 AM »
Ever since I first ventured onto an online classical music forum, I have been fascinated at the ready acceptance of the premises.

And, as well, by the sometimes unbridled pique if anyone does dare question any premise.

Maybe it's just me, but I always question the premises, even if only silently. And, alas, have broken silence often enough to have royally pissed off quite a number of fellow travellers, even though my purpose is never to piss anyone off.

Regardless, my curiousity remains intact, so here're my questions. First, can music depict anything? I don't see how one can answer the OP without first having answered that question in the affirmative. (I obviously cannot.) Certainly Dax must think it can. Which leads to my next questions, to Dax of course but answerable by anyone, namely What are some pieces or bits of pieces that you think do depict either the abundance of water or the absence of same? Can you explain what it is about that combination of pitches and rhythms that makes you think it's depicting drought or flood? Could it be also possible for another listener to legitimately, honestly, get something completely different from that music? (I would exclude music with text--the text there is doing the work of depiction and any putative depiction in the music derives entirely from acquiescing to the words.)

A painting of a ship will be universally seen as a painting of a ship. Except as a joke, no one's going to say that a painting of a ship looks like a painting of a kitten drinking milk. (And, just by the way, you should never feed your cats milk.:)) Pigments are apparently quite good at that whole depiction thing. Better even than words.

Geysir is a good example. Eruptions and cascades of sounds rocketing into space, surrounded by ebb-like, quieter passages. ´Nuff said, regarding the simple OP question, a signifier pretty much related to the signified, and general semiotic/musical language and cultural code discussions reserved for some other day.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 03:26:23 AM by Turner »

Offline some guy

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 04:04:27 AM »
Geysir is a good example. Eruptions and cascades of sounds rocketing into space, surrounded by ebb-like, quieter passages. ´Nuff said, regarding the simple OP question, a signifier pretty much related to the signified, and general semiotic/musical language and cultural code discussions reserved for some other day.
Geysir is a good example of what I called acquiescing to the words. Or, in this case, word.

Since this is not a particularly famous piece, you could probably get 15 or twenty people together in the same room none of whom have heard it. With no words, play it for them. See how many different ideas you would get as to what the music is "depicting." My guess would be 15 or twenty.* Also, see how many of those ideas have anything to do with water. My guess would be none. A battle, maybe. Drums often make people think warlike thoughts.

Also, note how similar in form are Geysir and Hekla, which is "about" eruptions and cascades of hot lava rocketing into space.

Also Prokofiev's Battle on the Ice from Alexander Nevsky. Slow and soft/vigorous and loud/slow and soft. I'll bet there are thousands of pieces in this form. And that very few of them are intended to depict anything. Contrast is just a thing in music. Haydn's "Surprise" symphony got a lot of press, but that basic shape of soft/loud/soft (or soft/loud/soft/loud/soft/loud/soft/loud...) is all over the place in Haydn's pieces. And everyone else's as well.

*And, of course if I'm one of them, there will be the vote for "it's not depicting anything." :D

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 06:50:45 AM »
A painting of a ship will be universally seen as a painting of a ship. Except as a joke, no one's going to say that a painting of a ship looks like a painting of a kitten drinking milk. (And, just by the way, you should never feed your cats milk.:)) Pigments are apparently quite good at that whole depiction thing. Better even than words.

Rather than depict, I think it might be more precise to say that music sometimes "suggests" or creates an analogue to some image or thing.  The inexactness of this procedure and the lack of a commonly accepted method of transcription between the two media makes for a wide variety of analogues for each phenomenon, of course, and there's no guarantee that it will be recognized as such by this or that particular listener.

Offline Turner

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2017, 06:57:44 AM »
Geysir is a good example of what I called acquiescing to the words. Or, in this case, word.
Since this is not a particularly famous piece, you could probably get 15 or twenty people together in the same room none of whom have heard it. With no words, play it for them.

This is a repeated key argument, and it doesn´t lead to much. In reality, the listeners are presented for the title, and the piece meant for listeners who understand context.
 
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 07:03:12 AM by Turner »

Offline some guy

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 07:47:01 AM »
What it leads to, for me anyway, is to the conclusion that music is sufficient.

That it is complete in and of itself, needing nor words nor images to be meaningful (or "move us powerfully," which I take to be what "be meaningful" means when applied to music).

I'd like to see someone argue from the other direction, that is, that is in situations where words and music co-exist, whether as title or programme note or lyrics or libretto, it's the music that gives the words extra power and significance. That is, in Geysir, for instance, it is the music that gives the word geyser an extra meaning. You could listen to Geysir quite happily and successfully without ever thinking of geysers, but once you've heard Geysir--if you really like it, that is--you will always think of this music whenever you see a geyser.

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2017, 01:40:08 AM »
Ever since I first ventured onto an online classical music forum, I have been fascinated at the ready acceptance of the premises.

And, as well, by the sometimes unbridled pique if anyone does dare question any premise.

Maybe it's just me, but I always question the premises, even if only silently. And, alas, have broken silence often enough to have royally pissed off quite a number of fellow travellers, even though my purpose is never to piss anyone off.

Regardless, my curiousity remains intact, so here're my questions. First, can music depict anything? I don't see how one can answer the OP without first having answered that question in the affirmative. (I obviously cannot.) Certainly Dax must think it can. Which leads to my next questions, to Dax of course but answerable by anyone, namely What are some pieces or bits of pieces that you think do depict either the abundance of water or the absence of same? Can you explain what it is about that combination of pitches and rhythms that makes you think it's depicting drought or flood? Could it be also possible for another listener to legitimately, honestly, get something completely different from that music? (I would exclude music with text--the text there is doing the work of depiction and any putative depiction in the music derives entirely from acquiescing to the words.)

A painting of a ship will be universally seen as a painting of a ship. Except as a joke, no one's going to say that a painting of a ship looks like a painting of a kitten drinking milk. (And, just by the way, you should never feed your cats milk.:)) Pigments are apparently quite good at that whole depiction thing. Better even than words.

+1

B-b-b-b-but then it would be, like, just music!  :laugh:
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 03:46:07 AM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2017, 04:03:38 AM »
This is a repeated key argument, and it doesn´t lead to much. In reality, the listeners are presented for the title, and the piece meant for listeners who understand context.

Often, the title was given and is there precisely to 'help the listener along,' with what is, no matter what, a highly abstract affair; whether the piece is formalist, in a recognized format, or not, titles also 'help' many a listener follow the form and events of a piece.

Analog really is, as Mahlerian has already said, as close as it gets.  Never underestimate the power of the word as title to lead the listener to a more specific emotional reaction; without that power bestowed by 'the word,' the listener's emotional reaction will always be equivalent to reacting to a Rorschach Blot -- whatever is on and in their mind and emotional make-up of the moment is what the listener brings to, and often gets from, the piece.

At any rate, I do think it is nice though, to know what is working on you and how it affects your perceptions, if for no other reason than so folks don't casually go about broadcasting the misinformation that, "Music represents / tells a story / portrays something." 

Because of course after but two seconds of thought it is plain enough that music alone simply can not realize representations / story-telling / portrayals: 
it takes the mighty suggestion of the word, a title, a suggested poem, program, or image, to fill in that blank which music is completely incapable of achieving.


Best regards.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 06:30:42 AM by Monsieur Croche »
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Offline listener

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2017, 04:57:11 PM »
I'm not after pieces with "flood" or "drought" in their titles, but actual musical depictions (even brief) of either from any musical period or genre.

Any suggestions?
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Offline α | ì Æ ñ

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2017, 04:59:13 PM »
There was something huge I heard once about a flood (no, no Igor)

I'll go digging........
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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Musical depictions of flood or drought
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2017, 08:04:09 AM »
It's an excerpt from a larger piece, but the so-called "Water Fugue" at the end of Part 1 of Franz Schmidt's oratorio Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln came to my mind first of all.

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