Author Topic: 20th Century Choral Music  (Read 33534 times)

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Offline Brewski

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Re: 20th Century Oratorio
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2008, 02:45:51 PM »
Well, I guess I need to add this to my list!  I have a couple of Elder's earlier Elgar releases with the orchestra and they are marvelous.  (I am especially fond of their version of In the South.)

Paul Groves is one of my favorite "newish" singers, after hearing him in the title role of a concert version of Candide.  Then I saw him as Tom in The Rake's Progress--also excellent in that.

Thanks for the comments; this new release sounds most enticing.

--Bruce
Even Beethoven's 5th was new once. Imagine being in that first audience

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline knight66

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Re: 20th Century Oratorio
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2008, 02:47:38 PM »
Thanks Bruce, despite a fair bit of competition, I think it is my record of the year, or discs of the year now I guess!

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Brewski

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Re: 20th Century Oratorio
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2008, 02:49:46 PM »
I should have added that I don't know the piece at all--whether by Barbirolli or anyone else.  But there is very little Elgar I've heard that I haven't liked.

--Bruce
Even Beethoven's 5th was new once. Imagine being in that first audience

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: 20th Century Oratorio
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2008, 05:48:28 PM »
Any particular works that you don't know that I can help you with, Mike?

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: 20th Century Oratorio
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2008, 06:11:36 PM »
I think that renaming the thread might now be a good idea :)

Renamed!

Quote
Sorry to hear that you are unwell :( Get better soon :)


Thanks, Dundonnell. :) My wife and I both fell ill and recovery has been slow. Any day now, though.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Christo

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Re: 20th Century Oratorio
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2008, 10:57:37 PM »
Anybody heard Der Jona Sendung by Tobias on BIS? I remember Martin Anderson was mightily impressed by it once upon a time.

Yes, I used to play it quite often, and yes, a handful of critics where overwhelmed at it's world premiere (more or less so) back in 1995, after a neglect of some 75 years. I find it very hard to classify the piece, it's like a Händel meets Brahms meets Sibelius meets .... Some parts are very special and quite unique indeed, but large other parts less so. I'll hve to return to it again.
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline knight66

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2008, 11:09:54 PM »
William Mathias-'Lux Aeterna'
Suk 'Epilogue'
Arthur Honegger:    "Cris du Monde"
                           "Jeanne d'Arc au bucher"

I would like rather more on Martinu's "The Epic of Gilgamesh"

That is for starters.

Nice to see this thread attracting a bit of traffic.

Mike

DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #47 on: December 12, 2008, 07:13:40 AM »
William Mathias-'Lux Aeterna'
Suk 'Epilogue'
Arthur Honegger:    "Cris du Monde"
                           "Jeanne d'Arc au bucher"

I would like rather more on Martinu's "The Epic of Gilgamesh"

That is for starters.

Nice to see this thread attracting a bit of traffic.

Mike



I SHALL return ;D

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #48 on: December 12, 2008, 04:07:16 PM »
William Mathias(1934-1992) was one of the four distinguished composers who brought so much to music in Wales during the last decades of the 20th century;the others were Grace Williams(1906-77), Daniel Jones(1912-93) and Alan Hoddinott(1929-2008).
Although the youngest Mathias died tragically early at the age of 58.

Mathias wrote within the great traditions of Welsh music and especially choral music. He wrote more for chorus and orchestra than the other three and certainly more of his choral music is available on disc. (We need a recording of Daniel Jones's big Oratorio 'St. Peter', although his fine Cantata 'The County Beyond the Stars' is on disc.)

Mathias is a more accessible composer than Hoddinott. His idiom has been described as 'inclined to be derivative and sometimes dated' and it is undoubtedly strongly influenced by composers like Britten and Tippett but, in my opinion, none the worse for that!

'Lux Aeterna' is, probably, his masterpiece. It is a big(56 minute) piece for soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto, boys' chorus, choir, organ and orchestra and was given its first performance to commission at The Three Choirs' Festival in Hereford Cathedral in 1982. Dedicated to the memory of the composer's mother, it sets texts from the Requiem and other Masses, the Vespers for Trinity Sunday, four anthems to the Blessed Virgin and four poems by St.John of the Cross. The work is infused by a dedicated spirituality but also considerable drama and power. It is given a dedicated performance on the early Chandos disc conducted by Sir David Willcocks.

For those who respond to large choral works of this kind in a modern but eminently accessible idiom I would strongly recommend the piece!

(Mathias wrote a further large-scale choral work entitled 'This Worlde's Joie' based on early English texts on the subject of the four seasons. It appears on a Lyrita disc coupled with two shorter choral pieces: 'Ave Rex' and 'Elegy for a Prince'-also strongly recommended) :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 04:12:13 PM by Dundonnell »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2008, 04:47:29 PM »
My Favourites:

Howells: Hymnus Paradisi (must be heard, especially as it's now on Naxos), Stabat Mater

Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem, Epithalamion, Sancta Civitas, Hodie

Prokofiev: Ivan the Terrible (better than Alexander Nevsky in my book)

Bliss: Morning Heroes

Honegger: Christmas Cantata (I hope that the new Hyperion recording is coming my way for Christmas).

Tippet: A Child of Our Time (for the ending)

Britten: Cantata Misericordium, War Requiem

Martin: In Terra Pax

Finzi: In Terra Pax

Martinu: Epic of Gilgamesh

Durufle: Requiem (does this count?)

"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2008, 10:32:18 PM »
I would like rather more on Martinu's "The Epic of Gilgamesh"


I sure would like to deliver, Mike. I gave it a half-start tonight but couldn't wring much out. I'm on the mend finally but my head is still a little sluggish. Tomorrow is my target date for a proper write-up of Gilgamesh. 


« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 04:06:20 PM by Dancing Divertimentian »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline knight66

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #51 on: December 12, 2008, 11:30:17 PM »
I sure would like to deliver, Mike. I gave it a half-start tonight but couldn't squeeze much out. I'm on the mend finally but my head is still a little sluggish. Tomorrow is my target date for a proper write-up of Gilgamesh. 


Sorry you have been feeling rough. I guess a consolation might be that it probably means you will not catch anuything over Christmas. Usually one or other of us gets a cold over the holiday period.

Colin,

Thanks for the Mathias suggestion. I found it second hand on Amazon and have ordered it.

Mike

DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2008, 01:30:36 AM »
I should have added Szymanowski's Third Symphony and Stabat Mater to my list
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline The new erato

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2008, 01:37:56 AM »
Has Waltons Belshazzar been mentioned?

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2008, 06:21:41 AM »
Has Waltons Belshazzar been mentioned?

Yes ;D

karlhenning

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #55 on: December 13, 2008, 06:25:31 AM »
Does a bear poop in the woods?  8)

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2008, 06:37:27 AM »
For Suk's Epilogue I cannot do better than refer you to the excellent Musicweb review of the Pesek performance on Virgin-

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2003/Oct03/Suk_Epilogue.htm

Epilogue is, very much, Suk's swansong. Although he began composition in 1920 he took nine years to complete the work and a further four years of revision. The first performance was in December 1933 in Prague under Vaclav Talich(to whom the work is dedicated). Two years later Suk was dead.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2008, 11:02:00 PM »
Ah, okay, Gilgamesh.

Well, it's a very likable work. Very approachable. But this is not meant to imply it's lightweight or fluffy. In fact, it is the very opposite.

For anyone already familiar with Martinu's aesthetic the work is self-recommending. It's top-shelf Martinu which means that all the things that make Martinu great are to be found in abundance. It'll grip the listener from start to finish

But what about the many folks who aren't familiar with Martinu's aesthetic? Well, what's to say? Imagine a composer with all the ups and downs of Stravinsky, the quirkiness of Hindemith, and the pensiveness of Britten. Combine these and what you get is a partial picture of Martinu's musical style. Where he strikes out on his own is his unique sense of playfulness - but not as in 'ha-ha' playfulness. More like 'spicy' playfulness. And in his best works Martinu really turns up the spice.

As he does here.

But spice can mean different things depending on the approach. With Gilgamesh it's a matter of using that spice to decorate the musical line to keep the slowish pace of the work from bogging down the listener. But that's the joy of the work!! It's not so much a test of patience for the listener as it is an exploration of undiscovered riches.

It's simply a steady stream of invention, color, and quirkiness, which keeps the listener on their toes and wondering what will happen next. But certainly there's more to the work than a slowish pace. There's nothing quite like Martinu's unique powers of invention and when the orchestral outbursts eventually do come they're all a-dazzle. The complexity, the layering, and the way the outbursts seem so perfectly contrasted with the preceding calm, all this spells drama of the first order and leaves one marveling. The kaleidoscopic effect on the musical line is amazing!

What that I could do justice to the musical effects. No it's not a piece to show off an orchestra's chops - a la Rite or some such - but the moods and colors are pounded home by a rigorous musical regime that dazzles every bit as deeply as your garden variety orchestral showpiece (0:)). It's just a different side of the dramatic coin and Martinu chooses finesse.

Over the long haul there's no repetitiveness or fatigue. Nor is the music watered down or laced with dramatic effects. It's just good honest music. With this type of piece (low-keyed) the goodness resides in the way the music can be made to seem relevant. And at every point the music makes itself relevant. And then some (I think I should mention spice here but I won't ;D).


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline knight66

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #58 on: December 13, 2008, 11:08:54 PM »
Thanks for that; it sounds intriguing and I have not heard any of his music as far as I can recall. Do you have any recorded versions to recommend?

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: 20th Century Choral Music
« Reply #59 on: December 13, 2008, 11:20:14 PM »
There are only two commercial versions I know of - the one I have on Supraphon and a Naxos version originally released on Marco Polo (Dundonnell mentions one other from the cover of BBC Music Magazine which is probably NLA).

This one has everything I could ask for:





Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach