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The Music Room => General Classical Music Discussion => Topic started by: Maestro267 on October 24, 2017, 12:14:07 AM

Title: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Maestro267 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: some guy on October 24, 2017, 01:35:47 AM
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Biffo 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Florestan 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.

TD: Symphony of a Thousand.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Gurn Blanston on October 24, 2017, 04:28:25 AM
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

My kind of guy!  :)

8)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: kyjo 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)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche on October 24, 2017, 11:42:36 AM
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

Yup, Yep, Yes.

Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 24, 2017, 12:07:02 PM
(Feels rather smugly pleased that his First Symphony has nothing in the shape of a nickname.)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Gurn Blanston 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:)

8)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 24, 2017, 12:46:06 PM
What about Symphony Fantastique?
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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!
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Christo 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??!??  ???  ???
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian on October 24, 2017, 01:56:31 PM
The Saucy What??!??  ???  ???

That one originates with Bruckner himself.  See Wiki (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._1_(Bruckner)).  I think he meant it as a description of the character of the work, rather than a nickname, per se...
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: some guy 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Sergeant Rock 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
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal on October 24, 2017, 02:05:31 PM
Thank you. We were just discussing that the other day in the Haydn thread.

Sarge

Quite so. Does anyone know if the nickname The Flatulent was authorized by Haydn himself?
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 24, 2017, 02:07:10 PM
Quite so. Does anyone know if the nickname The Flatulent was authorized by Haydn himself?

Undoubtedly, and I think it was coined by Mozart  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on October 24, 2017, 02:10:12 PM
All of the Bruckner titles for his symphonies: like the ‘Philosophic,’ ‘Apocalyptic,’ ‘The Saucy Maid,’ ‘Wagner,’ etc.

I'm glad these have fallen out of use, but "The Romantic" is still used for #4. Which is odd, since all of his symphonies are Romantic.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal on October 24, 2017, 02:13:25 PM
Undoubtedly, and I think it was coined by Mozart  ;D

Now, my dear Sarge, according to our knowledgeable Gurn, it was written in 1792. Well, perhaps Mozart visited Papa Haydn in a dream.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Sergeant Rock on October 24, 2017, 02:16:52 PM
Now, my dear Sarge, according to our knowledgeable Gurn, it was written in 1792. Well, perhaps Mozart visited Papa Haydn in a dream.

Mozart's influence lingered on far after his death  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian on October 24, 2017, 02:21:25 PM
I'm glad these have fallen out of use, but "The Romantic" is still used for #4. Which is odd, since all of his symphonies are Romantic.

Unlike the others, that one does come from the composer.  In his mind, it was connected with Medieval romances somehow.

I'll agree with Florestan that "Symphony of a Thousand" is a particularly bad offender here, but I really don't care for unsanctioned titles generally.  Why is that Haydn symphony with an English horn called "The Philosopher" anyway?
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 24, 2017, 02:33:19 PM
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

Very grateful for the compliment!
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Christo on October 24, 2017, 02:40:19 PM
Perhaps unnessary but, anyhow, the most inspired titles that I know are those of the seven symphonies by Matthijs Vermeulen (1888-1967):

1. Symphonia Carminum (1914)
2. Prélude à la nouvelle journée (1920)
3. Thrène et Péan (1921)
4. Les Victoires (1941)
5. Les lendemains chantants (1945)
6. Les minutes heureuses (1958)
7. Dithyrambes pour les temps à venir (1965)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche on October 24, 2017, 03:30:13 PM
Careful, some wag might give it one to spite you!

Lol, there is that.  Historically, just look at what happened to the original titles of Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 "Quasi una fantasia" Op. 27, No. 2, and each of Chopin's Études Op. 10 and Op. 25, and the Preludes Op. 28.  Dubbed after the fact and after the death of those composers by critics and journalists, right there are enough horrid titles to summon up the enraged spirits of the deceased composers, so precious - ugly are the nicknames, and of course none of the nicknames have anything whatsoever to do with the 'content' of those pieces!
Beethoven: "Moonlight? My ass! That is a 1.) death knell 2.) interlude, and 3.) outrage -- after watching a friend slowly die."
Chopin: "They named them what!?! You're not being serious, are you?"


With those Beethoven and Chopin instances in mind, I've often thought that if the composer does not give it a name, others certainly will!  This is near to a "Damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation! :-)

During the late 1980's and early 90's you couldn't help but trip over a title of something in the new (American) rep of the time without stumbling upon a title starting with an elipsis, like Joseph Schwantner's ...And the Mountains Rising Nowhere.  Fickle fashion is a factor in titling.

Between composers not naming their pieces as per form (some are unnameable by that measure, which is certainly a prime reason as to the 'why' of other sorts of titles) and audiences very much liking the much easier for them to remember (and sometimes highly suggestive) titles like "Common Tones in Simple Time," or "Blue Cathedral," etc. the trend for dubbing pieces with titles that are cute, humorous or that quite cleverly allude to the premise of a piece (as well the inevitably overly precious or downright obnoxious) continues. (I have to wonder if Jennifer Higdon's Blue Cathedral would not have gained its current popularity if it had instead been called Essay for Orchestra.)

I do rather like Morton Feldman's M.O. of the title being a sort of list of the piece's instrumentation, Bass Clarinet and percussion, Piano and String Quartet, Piano and orchestra because they proclaim 'what is in the tin' without any hint of word coloring to affect what the listener hears. Others seen to really like -- or love -- the more suggestive and descriptive titles.

I prefer titles that in no way will affect my disposition toward what I am going to hear.


Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche on October 24, 2017, 03:33:01 PM
Why, of course, painting with the broadest possible brush is one of your favorite pastimes.

TD: Symphony of a Thousand.

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

Just the facts, ma’am.” ~ Detective Sergeant Joseph "Joe" Friday, of "Dragnet.'
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche on October 24, 2017, 03:36:49 PM
What about Symphony Fantastique?

Program music, to one degree or another, from the get-go. (see below)

"In the first score from 1845, Berlioz writes:

    The composer's intention has been to develop various episodes in the life of an artist, in so far as they lend themselves to musical treatment. As the work cannot rely on the assistance of speech, the plan of the instrumental drama needs to be set out in advance. The following programme must therefore be considered as the spoken text of an opera, which serves to introduce musical movements and to motivate their character and expression.

In the 1855 preface, a different outlook towards the work's programmatic undertones is established by Berlioz:

    The following programme should be distributed to the audience every time the Symphonie fantastique is performed dramatically and thus followed by the monodrama of Lélio which concludes and completes the episode in the life of an artist. In this case the invisible orchestra is placed on the stage of a theatre behind the lowered curtain. If the symphony is performed on its own as a concert piece this arrangement is no longer necessary: one may even dispense with distributing the programme and keep only the title of the five movements. The author hopes that the symphony provides on its own sufficient musical interest independently of any dramatic intention." ~ Wikipedia
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian on October 24, 2017, 04:02:57 PM
Between composers not naming their pieces as per form (some are unnameable by that measure, which is certainly a prime reason as to the 'why' of other sorts of titles) and audiences very much liking the much easier for them to remember (and sometimes highly suggestive) titles like "Common Tones in Simple Time," or "Blue Cathedral," etc. the trend for dubbing pieces with titles that are cute, humorous or that quite cleverly allude to the premise of a piece (as well the inevitably overly precious or downright obnoxious) continues. (I have to wonder if Jennifer Higdon's Blue Cathedral would not have gained its current popularity if it had instead been called Essay for Orchestra.)

I have to admit I enjoy Milton Babbitt's punning/cute titles for works, from My Complements to Roger [Sessions] (yes, that's spelled correctly) to The Joy of Sextets.

Still, The Most Often Used Chords by John Harbison might be a bit too far for me.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: jessop on October 25, 2017, 01:55:15 AM
I would say "all," not excluding those given by the composers.

Especially Gerhard's symphony no. 4
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: North Star on October 25, 2017, 02:31:58 AM
Atterberg's 6th, nicknamed the 'Dollar Symphony' after winning the 192 Columbia Graphophone Company sponsored competition to write a symphony completing, or inspired by, Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: ritter on October 25, 2017, 02:44:14 AM
Atterberg's 6th, nicknamed the 'Dollar Symphony' after winning the 192 Columbia Graphophone Company sponsored competition to write a symphony completing, or inspired by, Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony.
...and leaving Franz Schmidt's delightful Symphony No. 3 as runner-up in that competition. As a matter of fact, Schmidt's work was recognized as the best Austrian entry, so it could well be nicknamed the "Groschen-Symphonie" .  ;D
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Marc on October 25, 2017, 02:44:58 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

Just the facts, ma’am.” ~ Detective Sergeant Joseph "Joe" Friday, of "Dragnet.'

Fact: the first performance in München had more than 1000 performers.
Hence its nickname.

Topic duty: maybe even some symphonies are unnecessary.
Let alone their nicknames. :P
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: some guy on October 25, 2017, 03:46:19 AM
Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Florestan on October 25, 2017, 08:26:14 AM
Lol, there is that.  Historically, just look at what happened to the original titles of Beethoven's Sonata No. 14 "Quasi una fantasia" Op. 27, No. 2, and each of Chopin's Études Op. 10 and Op. 25, and the Preludes Op. 28.  Dubbed after the fact and after the death of those composers by critics and journalists, right there are enough horrid titles to summon up the enraged spirits of the deceased composers, so precious - ugly are the nicknames, and of course none of the nicknames have anything whatsoever to do with the 'content' of those pieces!
Beethoven: "Moonlight? My ass! That is a 1.) death knell 2.) interlude, and 3.) outrage -- after watching a friend slowly die."
Chopin: "They named them what!?! You're not being serious, are you?"
[/quote]

I fully agree with Sir Compton Mackenzie's, founder of Gramophone, take on Moonlight.

Quote from: Wikipedia
[he]found the title "harmless", remarking that "it is silly for austere critics to work themselves up into a state of almost hysterical rage with poor Rellstab", and adding, "what these austere critics fail to grasp is that unless the general public had responded to the suggestion of moonlight in this music Rellstab's remark would long ago have been forgotten."

Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 25, 2017, 08:37:55 AM
Well, enter Music's abstract nature: some of the public will respond positively to perhaps any textual clue.

Separately: I'm not saying that I'll never write a symphony with a “sanctioned" nickname. I'll take it on a case-by-case basis.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 25, 2017, 08:41:00 AM
A lot of the Fantasia public respond positively to the dinosaur association for Le sacre. Is that really the touchstone for "authenticity"?

Just saying.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal 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

Just the facts, ma’am.” ~ Detective Sergeant Joseph "Joe" Friday, of "Dragnet.'

My personal nickname for it is "The Unendurable".
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Florestan on October 25, 2017, 08:45:53 AM
the dinosaur association for Le sacre.

Never heard about that. What is it?
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal on October 25, 2017, 08:49:03 AM
Never heard about that. What is it?

The Disney film Fantasia.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Florestan on October 25, 2017, 08:50:32 AM
The Disney film Fantasia.

Thanks. Never watched it.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal 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)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Alek Hidell 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?
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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>
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: North Star 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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....
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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."
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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!
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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).
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Holden 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: ritter 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! :)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 30, 2017, 01:04:15 PM
Trout Mask Replica has been called atonal.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: DaveF 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 30, 2017, 01:21:29 PM
Atonal is a word that gets slung around, regardless of what it actually means.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: North Star 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.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/miscellaneous-saying-proverb-dictionary-word-sticks_and_stones-rje0474_low.jpg)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 31, 2017, 03:36:02 AM
That does sometimes happen to words, literally.

(https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/miscellaneous-saying-proverb-dictionary-word-sticks_and_stones-rje0474_low.jpg)

I did mean it figuratively, but I am glad for the caution!
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Biffo 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'
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: jessop 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.'
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on October 31, 2017, 07:13:40 PM
Trout Mask Replica has been called atonal.

Hmmm  ::)

If you want to stuck with the general ambiguous descriptions, it'd be called "poly-tonal", it's much like Nancarrow's ragtime stuff or Bartok's folksong stuff.

EVERYTHING IS SO CONVOLUTED OMGG!!!  ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: amw 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
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mirror Image 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. :)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on October 31, 2017, 07:17:55 PM
Symphony no 9: Where I demonstrate these academic concepts you won't notice, I've also written into the program notes to fuck with you
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on October 31, 2017, 07:19:59 PM
A piece that is entirely made up of cluster dissonance (to the Ives/Cowell degree), involving a really long block of wood placed over a grand piano for the entire duration, named:

"Sonata - In Praise Of C Major"
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on October 31, 2017, 07:25:02 PM
Speaking of Ballet, a solo ballet about a paralyzed person would be interesting!
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: jessop 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...................

https://www.youtube.com/v/ScxXYjgf3PU
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal 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.  ::)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mahlerian 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on October 31, 2017, 07:47:47 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)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Monsieur Croche 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)
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on November 01, 2017, 10:19:55 PM



 :D
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: opaquer on November 01, 2017, 10:20:55 PM
Gorecki's much anticipated sequel to his third symphony, a song cycle called:

"Song(s) of Sorrowful Symphonies"


 :laugh:
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Earthed 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).
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: BasilValentine 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: Parsifal 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.
Title: Re: Unnecessary titles for symphonies
Post by: vandermolen 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.