Author Topic: Unnecessary titles for symphonies  (Read 2981 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46144
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #60 on: October 30, 2017, 01:21:29 PM »
Atonal is a word that gets slung around, regardless of what it actually means.
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 Mahlerian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2118
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #61 on: October 30, 2017, 01:25:31 PM »
Atonal is a word that gets slung around, regardless of what it actually means.

Its meaninglessness is what makes it so easy to sling around.
"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

Online North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 16249
  • Location: Kuopio, Finland
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #62 on: October 30, 2017, 02:00:39 PM »
Atonal is a word that gets slung around, regardless of what it actually means.
That does sometimes happen to words, literally.

"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46144
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #63 on: October 31, 2017, 03:35:18 AM »
Its meaninglessness is what makes it so easy to sling around.

I'd substitute ambiguity for meaninglessness.  It can be meaningless, depending on how it 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

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 46144
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, Frescobaldi, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Chopin, Haydn, Henning
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #64 on: October 31, 2017, 03:36:02 AM »
That does sometimes happen to words, literally.



I did mean it figuratively, but I am glad for the caution!
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 Biffo

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: United Kingdom
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #65 on: October 31, 2017, 04:19:30 AM »
I believe Nielsen's own name for it was L'inestinguibile which, as it isn't in his native language, should surely be retained - just as we don't call Beethoven's 3rd the Heroic.

The Danish version of the booklet notes for the recording by Michael Schønwandt and the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra call the work  'Det Uudslukkelige'. The booklet also quotes a programme note by Nielsen in which he explains the meaning of the symphony's name; he uses the Danish title.

'The composer... has attempted to express in a single word what only music itself has the power to express fully: the elementary will to life'

Offline jessop

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4250
    • jessop's SoundCloud
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #66 on: October 31, 2017, 07:03:58 PM »
I think if I compose a symphony I will write it in E flat major and title it 'The Atonal.'

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3285
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #67 on: October 31, 2017, 07:17:02 PM »
I think if I compose a symphony I will write it in E flat major and title it 'The Atonal.'

I actually had longstanding plans to write a "String Quartet No. 1 in B-flat major" that would be "atonal" (both in the sense of not using common practice tonality, and in the sense of consisting more of noise than pitch), although for serious reasons, but that idea—along with my other planned string quartet, String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122, which takes each movement of Shostakovich's quartet of the same title and randomises its content in a slightly different way—got shelved because string quartets are hard to find around here

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 42727
  • Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The sounds of Mother Goose, The Child, & the Spells
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #68 on: October 31, 2017, 07:17:20 PM »
I think if I compose a symphony I will write it in E flat major and title it 'The Atonal.'

I’ll compose a ballet based on a story of three early 20 something guys going to a nightclub and call one of the movements, Atonal Hijinks. :)
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline jessop

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4250
    • jessop's SoundCloud
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #69 on: October 31, 2017, 07:30:23 PM »
I’ll compose a ballet based on a story of three early 20 something guys going to a nightclub and call one of the movements, Atonal Hijinks. :)

Maybe it would sound something like this...................

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ScxXYjgf3PU" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ScxXYjgf3PU</a>

Offline Mahlerian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2118
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #70 on: October 31, 2017, 07:39:12 PM »
If Debussy's music was called atonal it was an incorrect use of the word.  The Cambridge Companion to Debussy has an entire chapter on his handling of tonality.

You can find similar explanations of Schoenberg's harmonic methods in his later works.  He also uses the facts of tonal relationships, just as Debussy did.

Schoenberg's 12-tone music is certainly atonal.  Some of Stravinsky's late works are atonal as well.

So you say.  Some people disagree, including Schoenberg.

But, Prokofiev and Mahler don't write atonal music.

So you say.  Early commentators didn't agree.  Nor did the person who wrote that infamous Pravda article, as regards Prokofiev.

None of these terms, atonal, serial, 12-tone, even tonal, are exact.

Then why do you get to make hard and fast decisions like the above?  How can you say that Schoenberg's 12-tone music is "certainly" atonal if neither tonal nor atonal are exact terms?

According to a strict definition of 12-tone music hardly any of the music written by so-called 12-tone composers would qualify since they all take liberties with the methodology.

Sure.  What's your point?

This is your bug-a-boo and it is beyond tedious.

You could always let it go and stop being bothered by the fact that I don't hear atonality.
"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

Parsifal

  • Guest
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #71 on: October 31, 2017, 07:41:41 PM »
You can find similar explanations of Schoenberg's harmonic methods in his later works.  He also uses the facts of tonal relationships, just as Debussy did.

So you say.  Some people disagree, including Schoenberg.

So you say.  Early commentators didn't agree.  Nor did the person who wrote that infamous Pravda article, as regards Prokofiev.

Then why do you get to make hard and fast decisions like the above?  How can you say that Schoenberg's 12-tone music is "certainly" atonal if neither tonal nor atonal are exact terms?

Sure.  What's your point?

You could always let it go and stop being bothered by the fact that I don't hear atonality.

Maybe you can confine your obsession with the word "atonal" to one thread so that discussion of music on the site won't be hindered.  ::)
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 07:44:43 PM by Scarpia »

Offline Mahlerian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2118
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #72 on: October 31, 2017, 07:46:28 PM »
Maybe you can confine your obsession with the word "atonal" to one thread so that discussion of music on the site won't be hindered.  ::)

I didn't bring it up in this thread.  San Antonio did.  I didn't bring it up in that other thread, either.  Others did.  You brought it up in the Now Listening thread, of all things.

I wouldn't say that responding to others' jabs is obsession.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 07:53:14 PM by Mahlerian »
"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 Monsieur Croche

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1421
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #73 on: November 01, 2017, 09:12:34 PM »
Lol, what if the whole "in C Major" trend had continued into so-called "atonal" works:

Brian Ferneyhough - La Terre est Un Homme no 1 for orchestra (in no key but still really fucking good)
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Earthed

  • Guest
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #74 on: November 01, 2017, 10:44:50 PM »
I find nick-names useful as they are easier for me to remember than Opus or work number.
Sometimes a nick can tell you a bit about the character or programme of the work too (e.g: Mahler's "Tragic", Bruckner's "Romantic", etc..).
I "collect" nick's to some extent and include them in the information part of my Digital Library.
I don't mind if the nick is an "official" one bestowed by the Composer or just something someone else added along the way (e.g: Mozart's "Elvira Madigan" Piano Concerto).

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 42727
  • Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    The sounds of Mother Goose, The Child, & the Spells
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #75 on: November 02, 2017, 06:55:20 AM »
I find nick-names useful as they are easier for me to remember than Opus or work number.
Sometimes a nick can tell you a bit about the character or programme of the work too (e.g: Mahler's "Tragic", Bruckner's "Romantic", etc..).
I "collect" nick's to some extent and include them in the information part of my Digital Library.
I don't mind if the nick is an "official" one bestowed by the Composer or just something someone else added along the way (e.g: Mozart's "Elvira Madigan" Piano Concerto).

My only beef with symphony nicknames is that, while they may help identifying the symphony in terms of organizing them, they do not help me in any other way with the music. They certainly do not help me with understanding the piece better since, in most cases, the music doesn’t have some kind of program, unless a true title is given and is explicitly of a programmatic character of course and even then it’s not always a guarantee that I’ll associate the program with it.
“I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.” - Maurice Ravel

Offline BasilValentine

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 519
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #76 on: November 02, 2017, 09:18:08 AM »
I didn't bring it up in this thread.  San Antonio did.  I didn't bring it up in that other thread, either.  Others did.  You brought it up in the Now Listening thread, of all things.

I wouldn't say that responding to others' jabs is obsession.

Yes! I was just about to call shenanigans on Scarpia and San Antonio! They're sticking pins in you and complaining when you say ouch.

For me, all composer authorized titles in, all others out — unless you are one of those people who insists on identifying Beethoven piano sonatas by number without key or opus number, in which case, give me the damned nickname so I know what you are talking about.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2017, 09:20:20 AM by BasilValentine »

Parsifal

  • Guest
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #77 on: November 02, 2017, 09:19:46 AM »
Yes! I was just about to call shenanigans on Scarpia and San Antonio! They're sticking pins in you and complaining when you say ouch.

Fair enough, time to lay off the a-word.

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 9702
  • Location: Rotherfield, East Sussex,
Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #78 on: December 17, 2017, 04:34:45 AM »
Weigl's 'Apocalyptic Symphony' is, sadly, not very apocalyptic.

Agree about Atterberg's 'Dollar Symphony' - a stupid title which does nothing for the work.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Buying Music From Amazon?
Please consider using these links. A small percentage of every sale using these links is passed on to GMG and helps keep this forum online.
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK