Author Topic: Toch Talk  (Read 13666 times)

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Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #120 on: May 15, 2018, 09:51:02 PM »
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #121 on: May 15, 2018, 10:30:43 PM »
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.

Before you write Toch off, you might listen to his string quartets.  They are very enjoyable, imo.  The Verdi Quartet has recorded all of them on CPO.

Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #122 on: May 15, 2018, 10:32:14 PM »
Before you write Toch off, you might listen to his string quartets.  They are very enjoyable, imo.  The Verdi Quartet has recorded all of them on CPO.

Maybe you're on to something. There are only two violin. If he wants three part harmony he has to at least use the viola. :)

Online Cato

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Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
« Reply #123 on: May 16, 2018, 06:09:22 AM »
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.



Well, sorry to read that!  De gustibus non est disputandum!

Perhaps go back to the work and give it a second shot in a few weeks or months.

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.


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.


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/





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Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
« Reply #124 on: May 16, 2018, 07:24:49 AM »
Perhaps go back to the work and give it a second shot in a few weeks or months.

Life is too short to listen to Toch!  Listening to Toch, I found myself questioning the value of music itself. Others, of course, may have a different opinion. (On to Zemlinsky.)

Actually, looking at previous reactions to this music, I appreciated the second (consistent with current reaction) and the third only in the old EMI recording by Steinberg.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 08:44:24 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #125 on: May 16, 2018, 09:03:40 AM »
In any case, I'm done with that cpo series of Toch symphonies.

Maybe I'll listen to the Steinberg recording of the 3rd again, and I have this:



Doesn't appear to be much more available. The cpo series of string quartets is already partially out of print, it appears.

(I'm starting to realize that in my mind the line between Toch and Krenek is blurry.)
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 09:38:37 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #126 on: May 16, 2018, 11:36:01 AM »
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.

I keep the MendelssohnSQ CD around just in case I think I might need a "2nd look". After many of these, I simply find Toch of the hysterical/hectoring-lecturing tone. If one calls him a "survivor", this only heightens the feeling of hysterical Expressionism.

"They" keep talking about the SQs, but I have yet to hear exactly what his Masterpiece might be, because ... ... because...e well,... becaus
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Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #127 on: May 16, 2018, 11:36:57 AM »
Karl, I coulda swore this was my Thread?...
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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #128 on: May 17, 2018, 01:23:32 PM »
Dudes!  Try this on for size!

(Some of the comments are interesting!)

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/gkA8fwuef0c" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/gkA8fwuef0c</a>
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline Daverz

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Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
« Reply #129 on: May 17, 2018, 05:47:53 PM »
Life is too short to listen to Toch!  Listening to Toch, I found myself questioning the value of music itself.

I think the best place to start with Toch is with his earlier, fun works, like the Tanz-Suite.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #130 on: May 18, 2018, 12:21:38 AM »
[...] I simply find Toch of the hysterical/hectoring-lecturing tone.

I really have no idea how your ears work  8)
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #131 on: May 18, 2018, 04:45:56 AM »
I really have no idea how your ears work  8)

Doesn't seem too far off the mark for some of the stuff.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #132 on: May 18, 2018, 04:50:13 AM »
Count me in the group of listeners who just don’t get Toch. I own the box set of symphonies on CPO and a disc of miscellaneous orchestral works on New World Records. I’m not sure what it is about his music, but I find no memorable themes or harmonic ideas that really stick out in my mind. I have tried several times to get into his music, but have failed to connect each time.
"How awful that the artist has become nothing but the after-dinner mint of society.”


Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #133 on: May 18, 2018, 07:09:59 AM »
There may very well be some works by Toch out there that I would enjoy, but with so many misses, and so many other composers that I want to listen to, it's just not going to happen, I'm afraid.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #134 on: May 18, 2018, 07:45:28 AM »
There may very well be some works by Toch out there that I would enjoy, but with so many misses, and so many other composers that I want to listen to, it's just not going to happen, I'm afraid.

I do understand the sentiment, of course.
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 Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #135 on: May 18, 2018, 07:49:19 AM »
I can chalk up one positive experience, the Steinberg recording of the 3rd symphony. Symphonies 2, 3 (Francis) 6, 7, confirmed fails. I'll give it a decade and see if another brave soul tries to record a Toch symphony.

Offline snyprrr

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #136 on: May 20, 2018, 02:18:29 PM »
Dudes!  Try this on for size!

(Some of the comments are interesting!)

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/gkA8fwuef0c" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/gkA8fwuef0c</a>

15 seconds in and I've had it. This is exactly the "tone" of his that leads me to call him hysterical/hectoring,... though maybe even the recording softens things up, if you heard this on a dry as dust Laurel recording ,well,... I certainly can't take fully mature Expressionism like this . And yea, it's not THAT calamitous at all,... but,... I'm like, really? 30 minutes...oy vey...

I really have no idea how your ears work  8)

I don't want the Composer beating me over the head telling me how right his notes are,...maybe I'm getting anti-GermanExpressionism??

Can you recommend me something better than 'The Damned' ,or 'The Night Porter'? Berlin in the 20s... and such...
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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #137 on: May 21, 2018, 05:10:01 PM »
15 seconds in and I've had it. This is exactly the "tone" of his that leads me to call him hysterical/hectoring,... though maybe even the recording softens things up, if you heard this on a dry as dust Laurel recording ,well,... I certainly can't take fully mature Expressionism like this . And yea, it's not THAT calamitous at all,... but,... I'm like, really? 30 minutes...oy vey...

I don't want the Composer beating me over the head telling me how right his notes are,...maybe I'm getting anti-GermanExpressionism??

Can you recommend me something better than 'The Damned' ,or 'The Night Porter'? Berlin in the 20s... and such...

Try this   8)  :

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/5TNcT8SQ8HI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/5TNcT8SQ8HI</a>
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- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline schnittkease

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #138 on: May 21, 2018, 06:19:38 PM »
I've never seen such disdain for poor Toch! Milhaud I can understand, but Toch?!
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Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Toch Talk
« Reply #139 on: May 21, 2018, 06:26:59 PM »
I've never seen such disdain for poor Toch! Milhaud I can understand, but Toch?!

Hands off Milhaud!  :)