Author Topic: Unnecessary titles for symphonies  (Read 2386 times)

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Parsifal

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #40 on: October 25, 2017, 08:42:20 AM »
Symphony of a Thousand is quite a misnomer, wouldn't you say? Better, 'the Faust' symphony, though that is really only the second half....

"Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", although the work is normally presented with far fewer than a thousand performers and the composer did not sanction that name." ~ Wikipedia

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My personal nickname for it is "The Unendurable".

Offline Florestan

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #41 on: October 25, 2017, 08:45:53 AM »
the dinosaur association for Le sacre.

Never heard about that. What is it?
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Parsifal

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #42 on: October 25, 2017, 08:49:03 AM »
Never heard about that. What is it?

The Disney film Fantasia.

Offline Florestan

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #43 on: October 25, 2017, 08:50:32 AM »
The Disney film Fantasia.

Thanks. Never watched it.
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Parsifal

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #44 on: October 25, 2017, 08:59:53 AM »
Thanks. Never watched it.

Disney created animated sequences to illustrate various piece of music conducted by Stowkowski. I believe it is claimed as the first commercial multi-channel recording.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasia_(1940_film)
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 09:14:31 AM by Scarpia »

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #45 on: October 29, 2017, 12:56:40 PM »
My personal nickname for it is "The Unendurable".

Well, the second half of it, absolutely.  At any rate, it is the only Cheese he ever produced, imo, and it is a Big Cheese at that.
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Offline Alek Hidell

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #46 on: October 29, 2017, 01:12:23 PM »
Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson.

Do you suppose he ever purchased that second shed, to bring him in line with his epithet?
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #47 on: October 29, 2017, 01:25:11 PM »
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.

Penderecki's original title for what we now know as Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima was something far more mundane and non-suggestive.  It made it to rehearsal and 1st read-through, at least.  When the composer heard it and there realized its potency of evoking deep emotion, he then re-titled it with the title it now bears.

Talk about marketing <g>.  The piece was conceived, composed, and rehearsed all the while the composer having no intent or the remotest thoughts about atomic bombs or "The Victims Of Hiroshima." 

Whatever the composer's later association when hearing it played for the first time, whether his reaction was sincere (or he had at least half an eye on a sexier and more dramatic title), he certainly assigned it a title he knew would evoke something in its audience before they'd even heard one note of the piece.

Composer titled, but well after the fact = no greater a connection between the piece and its title than, say, Chopin's Prelude Op. 28 No.6 has to do with "Suffocation." (Golly! Those latter mid to late romantics were a freakin' lugubrious lot, weren't they?)

What Pendercki composed and what he himself titled it (ergo 'official' composer-given title) in fact have no connections between the intent or content of the piece and its title. 

Anyone who does not think some similar situation exists / existed where a symphony (or other piece) made it from inception to completion with the composer having no association with what they after-the-fact titled it is, I believe both a titch naif and perhaps -- worse than a romantic -- a hopeful romantic. <g>
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 02:33:34 PM by Monsieur Croche »
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Online North Star

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #48 on: October 29, 2017, 01:32:19 PM »
Penderecki's original title for what we now know as Threnody for the victims of Hiroshima was something far more mundane and non-suggestive.  It made it to rehearsal and 1st read-through, at least.  When the composer heard it and there realized its potency of evoking deep emotion, he then re-titled it with the title it now bears.

Talk about marketing <g>.  The piece was conceived, composed, and rehearsed all the while the composer having no intent or the remotest thoughts about atomic bombs or "The Victims Of Hiroshima." 

Whatever the composer's later association when hearing it played for the first time, whether his reaction was sincere (or he had at least half an eye on a sexier and more dramatic title), he certainly assigned it a title he knew would evoke something in its audience before they've even heard one note of the piece.

Composer titled, but well after the fact = no greater a connection between the piece and its title than, say, Chopin's Prelude Op. 28 No.6 has to do with "Suffocation." (Golly! Those latter mid to late romantics were a freakin' lugubrious lot, weren't they?)

What Pendercki composed and what he himself titled it (ergo 'official' composer-originated) in fact leave no connections between the intent or content of the piece and its title. 

Anyone who does not think some similar situation exists / existed where a symphony (or other piece) made it from inception to completion with the composer having no association with what they after-the-fact titled said piece is, I believe both a titch naif and perhaps, worse than a romantic -- a hopeful romantic. <g>
Then there's Aaron Copland's Ballet for Martha.
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #49 on: October 29, 2017, 01:58:52 PM »
Do you suppose he ever purchased that second shed, to bring him in line with his epithet?

It is rumored he owned some shares in this as a sort of hedge investment....
~ I'm all for personal expression; it just has to express something to me. ~

Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #50 on: October 29, 2017, 02:08:18 PM »
Then there's Aaron Copland's Ballet for Martha.

Indeed, since it was composed without a direct thought or association with either The Appalachian mountains or Spring.  The ballet's story-line, place, all thought up after the score had been commissioned and completed as -- thank you North Star -- "Ballet for Martha. lol.

I tend to think that about half of all titles, composer given, occurred at least half-way through a comp in progress, or after the fact.

"Gee, Franz, this completed tone poem, the first you've composed, seems to me to fit this poem by Alphonse de Lamartine. It is titled, Les Preludes."
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 02:41:11 PM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline Monsieur Croche

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #51 on: October 29, 2017, 02:30:44 PM »
Never heard about that. What is it?

Disney film, Fantasia. Le Sacre; Dinosaurs in to the death throat-ripping fights, volcanoes erupting in the background, ha haaa haaaaa.

I've forgotten which composer friend Stravinsky asked about Disney and whether he should let this be used in the film after he had been asked by Disney studios about using his music in the film.  I do remember that composer friend told him, "You may as well say yes and get paid for it, because if you don't, they will use it anyway."'

The film segment is a hodge-podge of short cut segments of the score strung together, and they are out of their original sequence as found in the score.  The original Stokowski-conducted sound track for the film is an infamously sloppy bunch of performances;  When the film was restored (digitalized, too, I imagine) the sound track was re-recorded as well, and not just because the later technology might sound better!
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 02:38:09 PM by Monsieur Croche »
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #52 on: October 29, 2017, 06:48:48 PM »
Well, the second half of it, absolutely.  At any rate, it is the only Cheese he ever produced, imo, and it is a Big Cheese at that.

I disagree, of course.  The way he builds the motifs throughout the work is quite subtle, and the work as a whole very effective and beautiful if performed well (which it rarely is).

Offline Holden

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #53 on: October 29, 2017, 06:57:35 PM »
The title 'Inextinguishable' for Nielsen's 4th symphony has always amused me. I have this vision of some horrible piece that just won't stop playing, no matter how much any one tries to end it.
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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #54 on: October 30, 2017, 12:31:10 PM »
Well, the second half of it, absolutely.  At any rate, it is the only Cheese he ever produced, imo, and it is a Big Cheese at that.

I disagree, of course.  The way he builds the motifs throughout the work is quite subtle, and the work as a whole very effective and beautiful if performed well (which it rarely is).

And to add further disagreement  ;), in my case the only thing I salvage from Mahler's Eighth is the ending of Part II (from "Blicket auf" onwards). I find Part I insufferable, with the chorus shouting their lungs out, and think that the beginning of Part II has it's longueurs...but the end, music of the spheres! :)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 12:42:53 PM by ritter »
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #55 on: October 30, 2017, 12:47:36 PM »
I learned from Mahlerian that Mahler and Prokofiev were atonal composers.  So, the key designations for all of their symphonies are unneccessary.

 ;)

I never said that.  In fact I do not call any composer's music atonal.  But if you can call a piece like Schoenberg's Wind Quintet atonal, there's no contradiction with having an atonal piece in E-flat major anyway.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #56 on: October 30, 2017, 12:55:49 PM »
You did say that their music had been called atonal.  But let's not derail this thread.

Of course.  Debussy, Stravinsky, and Schoenberg have been called atonal too, and I don't call them atonal either.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #57 on: October 30, 2017, 01:04:15 PM »
Trout Mask Replica has been called atonal.
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Offline DaveF

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #58 on: October 30, 2017, 01:11:55 PM »
The title 'Inextinguishable' for Nielsen's 4th symphony has always amused me. I have this vision of some horrible piece that just won't stop playing, no matter how much any one tries to end it.

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.
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
« Reply #59 on: October 30, 2017, 01:20:32 PM »
Trout Mask Replica has been called atonal.

Clearly, the people who said that are ____________, because their judgments regarding such things are _____________.

A) Ignorant, Unsound

B) Wise, Impeccable


Fill in the blank however you wish, according to your own perceptions.

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