Author Topic: Unnecessary titles for symphonies  (Read 4182 times)

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Offline Maestro267

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Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« on: October 24, 2017, 12:14:07 AM »
Listening to Penderecki's Symphony No. 2, and it got me thinking about symphonies with titles that don't really reflect the music contained therein. Penderecki 2 contains a couple of very brief and not-immediately-obvious quotations of Silent Night, so for some reason someone decided to title the whole work the "Christmas" Symphony, despite the vast majority of its 35 minute duration having nothing whatsoever to do with Christmas.

Another unnecessary title is "Polish" for Tchaikovsky's 3rd Symphony. Again, just because the finale's a Polonaise. Why?

Any other suggestions? Preferably those done by marketing people. Titles determined by the composer themselves are by default OK for those works.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 12:26:50 AM by Maestro267 »

Offline Biffo

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2017, 12:24:47 AM »
'Titan' for Mahler's 1st Symphony is completely unnecessary. Mahler reluctantly gave a name and a programme of sorts to his Symphonic Poem. When he revised it and called it a symphony he discarded the title 'Titan' and all the other literary references in the score. Lazy record companies, programme writers etc insist on using a name that has no relevance to the symphony.

Offline some guy

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 01:35:47 AM »
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

Offline Biffo

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 01:42:51 AM »
Nicknames are sometimes useful, especially with a composer like Haydn who was so prolific. A number isn't always memorable enough and with some composers there are more than one numbering systems. I will also concede that many names are pretty tenuous and should be dispensed with.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 02:00:23 AM »
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

Why, of course, painting with the broadest possible brush is one of your favorite pastimes.

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 04:28:25 AM »
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

My kind of guy!  :)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2017, 05:37:33 AM »
All of the Bruckner titles for his symphonies: like the ‘Philosophic,’ ‘Apocalyptic,’ ‘The Saucy Maid,’ ‘Wagner,’ etc.
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2017, 05:51:36 AM »
All of the Bruckner titles for his symphonies: like the ‘Philosophic,’ ‘Apocalyptic,’ ‘The Saucy Maid,’ ‘Wagner,’ etc.

Fortunately, they're rarely used 8)
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2017, 11:42:36 AM »
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

Yup, Yep, Yes.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 11:51:27 AM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2017, 12:07:02 PM »
(Feels rather smugly pleased that his First Symphony has nothing in the shape of a nickname.)
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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2017, 12:41:10 PM »
(Feels rather smugly pleased that his First Symphony has nothing in the shape of a nickname.)

I am also pleased: delighted in fact.   0:)

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2017, 12:46:06 PM »
What about Symphony Fantastique?
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2017, 12:48:44 PM »
(Feels rather smugly pleased that his First Symphony has nothing in the shape of a nickname.)

But considering the delightful and whimsical names you've given most of your compositions, you can imagine how disappointed I am that your Symphony has no nickname  :(

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2017, 12:51:16 PM »
(Feels rather smugly pleased that his First Symphony has nothing in the shape of a nickname.)

Careful, some wag might give it one to spite you!
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 12:57:26 PM »
Careful, some wag might give it one to spite you!

 ;D :D ;D ...I'm tempted  8)


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 Sergeant Rock

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2017, 12:59:53 PM »
Nicknames are sometimes useful, especially with a composer like Haydn who was so prolific.

Thank you. We were just discussing that the other day in the Haydn thread.

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"

Online Christo

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2017, 01:47:50 PM »
All of the Bruckner titles for his symphonies: like the ‘Philosophic,’ ‘Apocalyptic,’ ‘The Saucy Maid,’ ‘Wagner,’ etc.
The Saucy What??!??  ???  ???
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 01:50:15 PM by Christo »
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2017, 01:56:31 PM »
The Saucy What??!??  ???  ???

That one originates with Bruckner himself.  See Wiki.  I think he meant it as a description of the character of the work, rather than a nickname, per se...
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline some guy

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2017, 01:57:03 PM »
Careful, some wag might give it one to spite you!
I could change my handle to "some wag."

Good idea.

Also, I have nicknamed your first symphony for you, Karl: The Untitled. So, to be pedantic: Karl Henning's symphony no. 1, The Untitled.

I'd give your second symphony a moniker, too, "The Unbegun," but I have a sneaking suspicion that one's been used already.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2017, 02:05:24 PM »
I'd give your second symphony a moniker, too, "The Unbegun," but I have a sneaking suspicion that one's been used already.

Indeed, by none other than that master P.D.Q.  8)

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"