Author Topic: Toch Talk  (Read 10776 times)

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Offline Cato

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #100 on: May 14, 2013, 06:44:02 AM »
OK, well at least it's there.

Oy, you people with jobs. You know I spent my last unemployment money on ROGER SESSIONS?!?!?!



Best. Post. Ever.

Snyprr: Dude!  You are THE MAN!  Your philosophy of Life absolutely rawks!   :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

First Principle and Conundrum of Snyprrrism:

Who needs food when you have Roger Sessions!!!???
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #101 on: May 14, 2013, 06:47:16 AM »
Sometimes I wonder why I have no Roger Sessions yet.

Maybe it's because I've never collected unemployment (just a fact, not any brag). I mean . . . maybe.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #102 on: May 14, 2013, 05:27:44 PM »
OK, well at least it's there.

Oy, you people with jobs. You know I spent my last unemployment money on ROGER SESSIONS?!?!?! if you don't listen to the Toch before the moon becomes a hanging boob you will wake up with a craving to Compose Minimalism!!!!!!



def': 'hardcore': ...  ...

Not that it's any of my business, but I'm curious what, generally speaking, was your line of work.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #103 on: May 15, 2013, 12:42:50 PM »
Not that it's any of my business, but I'm curious what, generally speaking, was your line of work.

You know that if I begin to answer that this Thread will be Locked within 13 Posts!!! :P Perhaps it's the phrase "line of work" that always trips me up. Here's the story:

There was a story once involving a 'Career Deducing Machine', and, as the protagonist came up for review, a fly settled on his number, like a decimal point, changing the number so that our hero ended up in a career he was not meant for.

At this point, and perhaps we'll have to give this its own Thread, but, if you're a 'musician', and you're in my shoes, do you want to go back to 'hand' work, or do you want to 'play' music ever again?

I think this needs a Thread...


Sometimes I wonder why I have no Roger Sessions yet.

Maybe it's because I've never collected unemployment (just a fact, not any brag). I mean . . . maybe.


Karl, the ONE piece by Sessions you need to start and finish with,... and the ONLY cd of that piece, is the String Quartet No.2 in the awesome VoxBox. Not the Julliard on CRI,... they're good, but the sound is somewhat claustrophobic. The VoxBox is perfect, capturing the inherent sadness of this pivotal work.
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

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Offline Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #104 on: May 15, 2013, 12:49:06 PM »
You know that if I begin to answer that this Thread will be Locked within 13 Posts!!! :P Perhaps it's the phrase "line of work" that always trips me up. Here's the story:

There was a story once involving a 'Career Deducing Machine', and, as the protagonist came up for review, a fly settled on his number, like a decimal point, changing the number so that our hero ended up in a career he was not meant for.

At this point, and perhaps we'll have to give this its own Thread, but, if you're a 'musician', and you're in my shoes, do you want to go back to 'hand' work, or do you want to 'play' music ever again?

I think this needs a Thread...

I get it, you're unemployed because you're waiting for them to call you back to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board again...

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #105 on: May 15, 2013, 01:33:58 PM »
I get it, you're unemployed because you're waiting for them to call you back to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board again...

meshugga!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

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Offline Johnll

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #106 on: May 15, 2013, 06:45:31 PM »
I get it, you're unemployed because you're waiting for them to call you back to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board again...
Parsiufal, I do not know if you are a women or a man but the above is too snippy for either. Wash that stuff out of your heart so that we can enjoy the sweetie you want to be.

Offline Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #107 on: May 15, 2013, 06:48:04 PM »
Parsiufal, I do not know if you are a women or a man but the above is too snippy for either. Wash that stuff out of your heart so that we can enjoy the sweetie you want to be.

snyprrr seems to have appreciated my little joke, so I'm not sure what the basis of your objection is.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #108 on: May 16, 2013, 08:13:51 AM »
snyprrr seems to have appreciated my little joke, so I'm not sure what the basis of your objection is.

John's from Atlanta, wink wink!
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

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Offline Johnll

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #109 on: May 16, 2013, 05:34:14 PM »
John's from Atlanta, wink wink!
Yes!! Winkin is ever so much more fun than blinkin. haha
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 05:36:15 PM by Johnll »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #110 on: May 17, 2013, 01:50:37 AM »
Yes!! Winkin is ever so much more fun than blinkin. haha

(* nods *)
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 Cato

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #111 on: September 16, 2016, 10:30:54 AM »
Floating in the ether were my reviews of Toch's Symphonies before GMG's Reincarnation in its present form.

Back then the topic was called Time To Talk Toch. ??? :D

See:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #112 on: September 16, 2016, 10:52:30 AM »
Floating in the ether were my reviews of Toch's Symphonies before GMG's Reincarnation in its present form.

Back then the topic was called Time To Talk Toch. ??? :D

See:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2

High time these were brought back!
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 snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #113 on: September 16, 2016, 03:39:40 PM »
Floating in the ether were my reviews of Toch's Symphonies before GMG's Reincarnation in its present form.

Back then the topic was called Time To Talk Toch. ??? :D

See:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2

tick toch tick toch
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

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Offline Cato

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #114 on: September 16, 2016, 04:39:56 PM »
From the Year 2005... ??? :o ;)

My reviews of the Toch symphonies: rather than use the quotation box, I have opted to keep the text normal, and advise that a few edits were made here and there.



"In the last few years I have become more and more interested in Ernst Toch, especially his series of seven symphonies, composed later in his life, and which are available on CPO in luminous performances with Alun Francis conducting.

A good place to start is:

http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/toch/links.htm

...

In general Toch's music is marked by clarity of counterpoint, and contains a lyricism rivaling Prokofiev's, if the Prokofiev of the Second and Third Symphonies had not returned to Russia.  Or perhaps one could compare Toch to the Schoenberg of the Chamber Symphonies as tempered by Hildegard von Bingen and Sibelius.

A few remarks on the first two symphonies: eventually I hope to add comments on all seven.

The First has an enigmatic opening with a muted moto perpetuo in the strings which will serve as a link through all the movements.  There is a melancholy, anitphonal conversation among the instruments, until it develops into a happy fugue, which itself leads into a section of Olympian tranquility.  This builds to a climax which trails away and leads us back to the mystery of the opening.  The Scherzo has fun with some aspects of the first movement (the moto perpetuo) before it marches off.  The Adagio is gentle and meditative, with the moto perpetuo now transformed as a subconscious to the proceedings: it contrasts with the dramatic opening of the last movement.  A yearning trumpet call becomes a motto around which everything becomes centered.  The connections among the themes and the moto perpetuo are more obvious now, as the latter competes with the trumpet theme in counterpoint.

The Second Symphony has a vigorous opening which yields to a mysterious section with lonely, faraway woodwind and brass solos, almost Gregorian in simplicity, yet intricately expressive.  Timpani glissandos add portents to the atmosphere.  The Scherzo has unusual sounds from the percussion section, and the ethereal monologues and dialogues continue.  Although only seven minutes long, the Adagio has a compressed Brucknerian atmosphere, especially at the 5:25 mark on the CPO recording.  The last movement brings back memories of the first: chantlike, timeless, due to the lack of a beat emphasizing the rhythm.  The rhythmic complexity of the motifs is counterbalanced by a drone harmony at times.  Once again, one hears the spirit of Bruckner at the end, but Toch's conclusion is his own, structurally linking the symphony with single drumbeats.

...

Listening through the seven symphonies, one notices ... playfulness throughout Toch's works, a joy in the human ability to create new sounds.  And the Third Symphony, which won a Pulitzer in the 1950's, experiments with several new percussion instruments and with an electronic organ.  The opening movement again - like in the first two symphonies - has a strange lonely opening emphasized by a kind of glass harmonica, and by this time, as the CPO notes point out, the listener will surely see these sounds as a symbol of the composer as a 20th century Ahasuerus, wandering the wastelands in search of peace.  And yet, he lives as happily as he can.  The loneliness gives way to antiphonal conversations, a Toch trademark, and then to a spritely march, which leads however back to the mysterious opening, as if Toch is one of the isolated figures in a Dalinian desert.

The second movement returns to the playfulness: it is not exactly a scherzo (Andante) but offers again intriguing dialogues and maybe even some arguments.  The last movement combines all of the elements of the first two movements: in fact, in 9 minutes the finale is a compressed symphony by itself, a marvelous example of Toch's witty inventiveness and - as always - expressivity.

One notices also that as Toch progressed through symphony writing, the symphonies became ever shorter.  The Symphony #1 is about 40 minutes with 4 movements.  Symphony #2 has 4 movements, but is somewhat shorter.  Now in the Third Symphony we are down to half an hour with three movements.  By the time you listen to the Seventh, it will last c. 20 minutes.

One suspects therefore that saying more with less became one of his goals perhaps.  On the other hand, perhaps he had less to say, but one would doubt that!

...

The Fourth Symphony is something of a transitional work, or in a class by itself.  It has a spoken text which is supposed to be read between the first and second movements, and then the second and third.  It is a poem of sorts dedicated to the widow of Edward Macdowell, who gave Tocha grant to compose at her musical summer camp in the early 1950's.  The CPO notes emphasize that the symphony is simply dedicated to the nonagenarian lady, not somehow about her.   The conductor on the CPO CD, Alun Francis, declaims this text as if he were Sean Connery's younger brother, or Patrick Stewart when the testosterone begins to fade: he looks like Patrick Stewart actually!  The notes say that Antal Dorati refused to use the text at all.  The composer wanted it read, but I think Dorati has a case.

The music is a puzzle: again, as is Toch's trademark, marvelously long melodies are the key to the work, chant-like, mesemerizing in their expressive wanderings.  Mahler's Tenth comes to mind with its opening theme, but this work is small, intimate, the whisperings and wonderings of a confessional.  The Scherzo is quirky, and full of chamber music conversations.  Only in the last movement does the full orchestra say anything about the proceedings, until again everything fades away slowly, single instruments having their say with no counterpoint or harmony or even a drone note in the background.

....

Some words on the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies ..., and I hope I can generate some interest in Ernst Toch's works as a result.  Both were written when Toch was in his late 70's, and both show marvelous invention and energy.

The Fifth Symphony, the biggest in sound of the last 3 symphonies, is subtitled "Jephtha, a rhapsodic poem" and is based on the story in Judges about a general who prays for a victory in a war.  If victorious, he promises to sacrifice the first living thing he sees in thanksgiving, when he returns home.

The first thing he sees...is his own daughter.

The opening movement therefore has a biting mockery, a premonition of the unwitting irony in Jephtha's prayer, accompanied by violence and evocations of the lonely landscape, as well as the loneliness Jephtha will face.

The second movement begins with a little merry military style-march, a "Jephtha-motif" perhaps in the trumpet, triumphant, yet accompanied with the malicious mockery.  There is then an antiphonal conversation, possibly centered around how Jephtha might react to his predicament.  The tragedy strikes, and the symphony suddenly fades away, as the Jephtha theme becomes a motif in the strings of questioning, and everything becomes slowly silent: the enigma, the dilemma of relations with divinity remains, unsolved and insoluble, before which one stands in mute awe and powerlessness. 

The Sixth Symphony has a smaller, chamber-music feel, and begins with a balletic atmosphere if unsettling whimsy, as if the playfulness in the counterpoint were masking something more serious.  The mask soon comes off, and one hears a polyphonic discussion of some distant loneliness, or a wistful regret, with the voices often fading away.

The Second movement is jaunty, continuing the atmosphere established earlier: imagine the Scherzo of Mahler's Sixth boiled down to 4 minutes.  The last movement integrates the whimsical mask directly into the serious contrasts, at times producing an almost satirical nostalgia.  (I thought of Mahler compressed by a tonal Webern via Prokofiev, if that helps!)  A soft bell at the end heightens the mystery of all that has preceded, as again the instruments fade away into nothingness.

...

The Seventh Symphony, Toch's last, is also the shortest of them, following Toch's evolution toward ever greater compression.  This brevity however also means that the works become quick-changing in mood, mercurial, and the Seventh is the best example of this.

The opening movement takes you through many changes, most of them in degrees of happiness and even frivolousness at times, with just the hint of a more serious shadow.  The middle movement, a kind of scherzo, increases the Attention-Deficit quality in the work, with many charming little snippets zooming in and out.  The last movement has a trumpet theme which again seems very confident in its happiness, but that serious shadow mentioned earlier reappears now and then, until finally in the last minute the mood becomes deadly, and the orchestra crashes to a violent conclusion.

If for Mahler the symphony is a universe, for Ernst Toch it is a modest planet, aware of its limitations, yet also aware that it holographically reflects the Universe in any case, and does not need to expand to cosmic size.

I hope I have spun forth enough threads to capture a few people in a web of interest: the string quartets are a major output for Toch, and even though I do not normally care for the string quartet sound, with a few exceptions, Toch's are part of the exceptions.  It also seems as if CPO will be releasing other Toch works in the future."

The Atlantic nearly 20 years ago carried this marvelous article on Ernst Toch written by his grandson:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/



« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 05:01:01 PM by Cato »
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #115 on: September 16, 2016, 05:50:08 PM »
"All you do is... Toch Talk."
Rat Poison is 99% Good Food, so Follow the Money

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Offline Cato

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Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
« Reply #116 on: September 17, 2016, 04:20:41 AM »
From the Year 2005... ??? :o ;)

My reviews of the Toch symphonies: rather than use the quotation box, I have opted to keep the text normal, and advise that a few edits were made here and there.



"In the last few years I have become more and more interested in Ernst Toch, especially his series of seven symphonies, composed later in his life, and which are available on CPO in luminous performances with Alun Francis conducting.

A good place to start is:

http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/toch/links.htm

...

In general Toch's music is marked by clarity of counterpoint, and contains a lyricism rivaling Prokofiev's, if the Prokofiev of the Second and Third Symphonies had not returned to Russia.  Or perhaps one could compare Toch to the Schoenberg of the Chamber Symphonies as tempered by Hildegard von Bingen and Sibelius.

A few remarks on the first two symphonies: eventually I hope to add comments on all seven.

The First has an enigmatic opening with a muted moto perpetuo in the strings which will serve as a link through all the movements.  There is a melancholy, anitphonal conversation among the instruments, until it develops into a happy fugue, which itself leads into a section of Olympian tranquility.  This builds to a climax which trails away and leads us back to the mystery of the opening.  The Scherzo has fun with some aspects of the first movement (the moto perpetuo) before it marches off.  The Adagio is gentle and meditative, with the moto perpetuo now transformed as a subconscious to the proceedings: it contrasts with the dramatic opening of the last movement.  A yearning trumpet call becomes a motto around which everything becomes centered.  The connections among the themes and the moto perpetuo are more obvious now, as the latter competes with the trumpet theme in counterpoint.

The Second Symphony has a vigorous opening which yields to a mysterious section with lonely, faraway woodwind and brass solos, almost Gregorian in simplicity, yet intricately expressive.  Timpani glissandos add portents to the atmosphere.  The Scherzo has unusual sounds from the percussion section, and the ethereal monologues and dialogues continue.  Although only seven minutes long, the Adagio has a compressed Brucknerian atmosphere, especially at the 5:25 mark on the CPO recording.  The last movement brings back memories of the first: chantlike, timeless, due to the lack of a beat emphasizing the rhythm.  The rhythmic complexity of the motifs is counterbalanced by a drone harmony at times.  Once again, one hears the spirit of Bruckner at the end, but Toch's conclusion is his own, structurally linking the symphony with single drumbeats.

...

Listening through the seven symphonies, one notices ... playfulness throughout Toch's works, a joy in the human ability to create new sounds.  And the Third Symphony, which won a Pulitzer in the 1950's, experiments with several new percussion instruments and with an electronic organ.  The opening movement again - like in the first two symphonies - has a strange lonely opening emphasized by a kind of glass harmonica, and by this time, as the CPO notes point out, the listener will surely see these sounds as a symbol of the composer as a 20th century Ahasuerus, wandering the wastelands in search of peace.  And yet, he lives as happily as he can.  The loneliness gives way to antiphonal conversations, a Toch trademark, and then to a spritely march, which leads however back to the mysterious opening, as if Toch is one of the isolated figures in a Dalinian desert.

The second movement returns to the playfulness: it is not exactly a scherzo (Andante) but offers again intriguing dialogues and maybe even some arguments.  The last movement combines all of the elements of the first two movements: in fact, in 9 minutes the finale is a compressed symphony by itself, a marvelous example of Toch's witty inventiveness and - as always - expressivity.

One notices also that as Toch progressed through symphony writing, the symphonies became ever shorter.  The Symphony #1 is about 40 minutes with 4 movements.  Symphony #2 has 4 movements, but is somewhat shorter.  Now in the Third Symphony we are down to half an hour with three movements.  By the time you listen to the Seventh, it will last c. 20 minutes.

One suspects therefore that saying more with less became one of his goals perhaps.  On the other hand, perhaps he had less to say, but one would doubt that!

...

The Fourth Symphony is something of a transitional work, or in a class by itself.  It has a spoken text which is supposed to be read between the first and second movements, and then the second and third.  It is a poem of sorts dedicated to the widow of Edward Macdowell, who gave Tocha grant to compose at her musical summer camp in the early 1950's.  The CPO notes emphasize that the symphony is simply dedicated to the nonagenarian lady, not somehow about her.   The conductor on the CPO CD, Alun Francis, declaims this text as if he were Sean Connery's younger brother, or Patrick Stewart when the testosterone begins to fade: he looks like Patrick Stewart actually!  The notes say that Antal Dorati refused to use the text at all.  The composer wanted it read, but I think Dorati has a case.

The music is a puzzle: again, as is Toch's trademark, marvelously long melodies are the key to the work, chant-like, mesemerizing in their expressive wanderings.  Mahler's Tenth comes to mind with its opening theme, but this work is small, intimate, the whisperings and wonderings of a confessional.  The Scherzo is quirky, and full of chamber music conversations.  Only in the last movement does the full orchestra say anything about the proceedings, until again everything fades away slowly, single instruments having their say with no counterpoint or harmony or even a drone note in the background.

....

Some words on the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies ..., and I hope I can generate some interest in Ernst Toch's works as a result.  Both were written when Toch was in his late 70's, and both show marvelous invention and energy.

The Fifth Symphony, the biggest in sound of the last 3 symphonies, is subtitled "Jephtha, a rhapsodic poem" and is based on the story in Judges about a general who prays for a victory in a war.  If victorious, he promises to sacrifice the first living thing he sees in thanksgiving, when he returns home.

The first thing he sees...is his own daughter.

The opening movement therefore has a biting mockery, a premonition of the unwitting irony in Jephtha's prayer, accompanied by violence and evocations of the lonely landscape, as well as the loneliness Jephtha will face.

The second movement begins with a little merry military style-march, a "Jephtha-motif" perhaps in the trumpet, triumphant, yet accompanied with the malicious mockery.  There is then an antiphonal conversation, possibly centered around how Jephtha might react to his predicament.  The tragedy strikes, and the symphony suddenly fades away, as the Jephtha theme becomes a motif in the strings of questioning, and everything becomes slowly silent: the enigma, the dilemma of relations with divinity remains, unsolved and insoluble, before which one stands in mute awe and powerlessness. 

The Sixth Symphony has a smaller, chamber-music feel, and begins with a balletic atmosphere if unsettling whimsy, as if the playfulness in the counterpoint were masking something more serious.  The mask soon comes off, and one hears a polyphonic discussion of some distant loneliness, or a wistful regret, with the voices often fading away.

The Second movement is jaunty, continuing the atmosphere established earlier: imagine the Scherzo of Mahler's Sixth boiled down to 4 minutes.  The last movement integrates the whimsical mask directly into the serious contrasts, at times producing an almost satirical nostalgia.  (I thought of Mahler compressed by a tonal Webern via Prokofiev, if that helps!)  A soft bell at the end heightens the mystery of all that has preceded, as again the instruments fade away into nothingness.

...

The Seventh Symphony, Toch's last, is also the shortest of them, following Toch's evolution toward ever greater compression.  This brevity however also means that the works become quick-changing in mood, mercurial, and the Seventh is the best example of this.

The opening movement takes you through many changes, most of them in degrees of happiness and even frivolousness at times, with just the hint of a more serious shadow.  The middle movement, a kind of scherzo, increases the Attention-Deficit quality in the work, with many charming little snippets zooming in and out.  The last movement has a trumpet theme which again seems very confident in its happiness, but that serious shadow mentioned earlier reappears now and then, until finally in the last minute the mood becomes deadly, and the orchestra crashes to a violent conclusion.

If for Mahler the symphony is a universe, for Ernst Toch it is a modest planet, aware of its limitations, yet also aware that it holographically reflects the Universe in any case, and does not need to expand to cosmic size.

I hope I have spun forth enough threads to capture a few people in a web of interest: the string quartets are a major output for Toch, and even though I do not normally care for the string quartet sound, with a few exceptions, Toch's are part of the exceptions.  It also seems as if CPO will be releasing other Toch works in the future."

The Atlantic nearly 20 years ago carried this marvelous article on Ernst Toch written by his grandson:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/






And so I suppose I should review the String Quartets next!  0:)  That will take some time, but...
"Now who taught ye t' be playin' patty fingers in the holy water?"

- Barry Fitzgerald to John Wayne in  The Quiet Man.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #117 on: May 15, 2017, 11:07:52 AM »
And so I suppose I should review the String Quartets next!  0:)  That will take some time, but...

I expect it will!

Today I am checking out for the first time, one of his quartets.  The first movement begins with a fughetta on a subject which seems at first to track Das musikalisches Opfer.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/T-ReoepZYtk" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/T-ReoepZYtk</a>
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

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