Author Topic: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)  (Read 16114 times)

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Offline Cato

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2012, 05:26:43 AM »
Thanks to Kentel for the information above.

I will need to listen tomorrow: not possible right now.

(And I had almost forgotten about my previous comments above!   $:)   ;D   )
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Offline MDL

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2012, 08:55:26 AM »
Somewhere, hidden in the dusty, neglected bowels of my CD collection, along with unloved Gramophone compilations and those BBC Magazine freebies (baroque music, anything by Haydn) that will never get played, is a CD of three Segerstam symphonies that I bought, second-hand, almost two decades ago. Don't ask me which CD it is. Honestly, the den looks like somebody's emptied a skip into it, and I can't find anything these days. I remember quite liking each symphony for the first few minutes, but losing interest in and patience with each one as it went on.

But I'm curious now and want to give Segerstam another try, so I'll have to face the disaster zone that is my CD collection and root out that long-forgotten recording. I may be gone awhile.


Offline Cato

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2012, 06:05:21 PM »
Somewhere, hidden in the dusty, neglected bowels of my CD collection, along with unloved Gramophone compilations and those BBC Magazine freebies (baroque music, anything by Haydn) that will never get played, is a CD of three Segerstam symphonies that I bought, second-hand, almost two decades ago. Don't ask me which CD it is. Honestly, the den looks like somebody's emptied a skip into it, and I can't find anything these days. I remember quite liking each symphony for the first few minutes, but losing interest in and patience with each one as it went on.

But I'm curious now and want to give Segerstam another try, so I'll have to face the disaster zone that is my CD collection and root out that long-forgotten recording. I may be gone awhile.

Have you survived?   :o

If the CD is c. 20 years old, I am betting it is a BIS-CD with not 3, but two symphonies, #11 and #14.

 

Best image I could find.
"Meet Miss Ruth Sherwood, from Columbus, Ohio, the Middle of the Universe!"

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Offline MDL

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2012, 03:54:32 AM »
Actually, I was wrong. It's two symphonies and another orchestral piece:



I still haven't found it. I'd post a photo of the junk yard that is the den, but I would have to shoot myself afterwards. I've listened to samples on Amazon and am surprised by how clear my memories of each piece are.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2012, 03:58:25 AM by MDL »

Offline springrite

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2012, 05:09:37 AM »
Actually, I was wrong. It's two symphonies and another orchestral piece:



I still haven't found it. I'd post a photo of the junk yard that is the den, but I would have to shoot myself afterwards. I've listened to samples on Amazon and am surprised by how clear my memories of each piece are.

That is the one (and only one, thankfully) that I have. I don't have any recollection of the symphonies but do remember the Minute Thoughts.
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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2012, 01:26:28 PM »
That is the one (and only one, thankfully) that I have.

I 've read many ironic commentaries about Segerstam's (and other's) music on this forum, but I'd like somebody to tell why he does not like it using arguments, so that we could have a decent discussion.

This is a music which focuses on orchestral  effects, there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses. I do find the result very impressive with its magmatic and heavy masses of basses (double-basses, cellos, tubas, trombones etc.), its concentrated and colourful flows of winds, and its sparkling sounds of bells, flute, violin, etc on the top. It sounds to me like a musical landscape which I find very poetic and evocative.

BUT I don't deny anyone the right to think that this music is not worth the effort to listen to, I'd just like to know why.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2012, 01:37:27 PM »
I'd like somebody to tell why he does not like it using arguments, so that we could have a decent discussion.

I don't like it because "there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses." I'm not being sarcastic. For music to be interesting to me, it needs at least three of those four things...and preferably, all four.

Sarge
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kentel

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2012, 02:29:27 PM »
I don't like it because "there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses." I'm not being sarcastic. For music to be interesting to me, it needs at least three of those four things...and preferably, all four.

Sarge

At least, that's clear :) However, you've definitively locked the door to much of the musical production of the 20th and 21st centuries...

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2012, 02:36:47 PM »
At least, that's clear :) However, you've definitively locked the door to much of the musical production of the 20th and 21st centuries...

That's true, but not before giving it a fair chance. And there is still a staggering amount of modern music composed in the styles I respond to.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2012, 08:15:21 PM »
Segerstam could compose a 1,000 symphonies and I still wouldn't listen to any. 8)
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Offline some guy

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2012, 09:43:25 PM »
I'd like somebody to tell why he does not like it using arguments, so that we could have a decent discussion.
Good idea.

This is a music which focuses on orchestral  effects, there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses.
I listen to a lot of music. I listen to a lot of music I don't like. Some of that I end up liking quite a lot; some not. I don't give up easily, though. I have found too many things that were unpalatable at first that became favorites. One thing I've found is that I do tend to prefer music that that has no melody or perceptible rhythmic pulsation. And so I feel I should be enjoying Segerstam much more than I do. But I don't. I don't know how valuable my not liking him is, however. Or why. I know his music bores me. And I think I know why: the orchestral colors are ones I've heard a bazillion times already and the masses don't seem at all organized, nor do they seem disorganized in any exciting, dangerous, risky way--just sloppy.

Having said that, however, I have to say that I still find comments like this much, much more useful:
I do find the result very impressive with its magmatic and heavy masses of basses (double-basses, cellos, tubas, trombones etc.), its concentrated and colourful flows of winds, and its sparkling sounds of bells, flute, violin, etc on the top. It sounds to me like a musical landscape which I find very poetic and evocative.

kentel

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #31 on: February 28, 2012, 04:12:45 PM »
Good idea.
Thanks

I listen to a lot of music. I listen to a lot of music I don't like.

I understand that.

One thing I've found is that I do tend to prefer music that that has no melody or perceptible rhythmic pulsation.

Me too. I especially enjoy the idea of "musical worlds", descriptive music which evokes landscapes of all sorts. Tonal music is generally unable to do that. The melody unfolds itself like a story that you need to follow, while atonal/non pulsative is generaly static.

Moreover, since the attention cannot focuse on the melodic line nor on the pulse either, it requires a great inventivity on the behalf of the composer, who has to capture the listener's attention exclusively by means of orchestration's and harmonic skills. There's a breath in such music that you cannot find in tonal music, and this is not only the case with Segerstam, Maxwell-Davies and others, it's also the case if you listen to traditional Japanese or Aborigenal music, f.ex.

If we stay within the frame of western classical music, I think that everything began with Wagner. When Wagner's operas were first heard in Paris, where he expected fame and glory, the critics litteraly assasinated his music for exactly these reasons : no melody, almost no tonality and a focus on the power of orchestral evocation. For those guys who were used to Meyerbeer, Auber, Boeildieu and even Berlioz, that was something absurd.

But, compared with Wagner, the orchestra of the other romantic composers is extremely unimaginative and flat : see even great geniuses like Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, etc.  Actually they don't need to take care of the orchestra, because their music focuses on melodic and tonal aspects which are sufficient to catch the listener's attention. Well, you have in fact Berlioz and Liszt (who, incidentally, were good friends). And Rimsky, but is Rimsky a romantic, I don't think so.

I also enjoy listening to tonal stuff, but even if I appreciate the genius of many composers, I always feel like my imagination is much more restrainted.


 
And so I feel I should be enjoying Segerstam much more than I do. But I don't. I don't know how valuable my not liking him is, however. Or why. I know his music bores me. And I think I know why: the orchestral colors are ones I've heard a bazillion times already and the masses don't seem at all organized, nor do they seem disorganized in any exciting, dangerous, risky way--just sloppy.

Thank you for raising the standard of debate, that's much interesting. Even if I'm fond of Segerstam's music, I agree with most of your comments. I'll just react to the two most relevant (to me) :1-  the masses don't seem at all organized nor disorganized 2- the orchestral colors are one

Both assertions are true IMO : 1- they are organized in flows, of "flux", I don't know how to call that. Within a flux of, say violin + flute + harp, many things happen, that's for the disorganized. The score is written like that, for groups of instruments, each improvising upon the composer's instructions, each within the limits of a specific range, and probably each at its own pace (like with Carter, but I'm not sure of that) .

However, the flux is static and does not vary very much, giving a feeling of "not so disorganized" and leading to 2- the monotony of the orchestral colors. The general impression is that the orchestral color is one, in fact it is not in the details. This impression is even stronger if you consider several symphonies : they all look similar, and they are if you consider the general move.

My feeling is that Segerstam's orchestration is built upon 3 main flux corresponding to 3 main ranges : bass (always abyssal and magmatic), medium (the central axis) and high (always glittering). It's like when you look at the foliage of a tree in summer : you generally perceive 3 colors : dark green/green/light green, and the painter uses 3 colors to paint it (that's a rule). The perfect balance. It also looks monotonous, it also has many nuances, but the fact is, that you perceive only 3 nuances of a single color.

Segerstam's symphonies are exactly that, at least to me : 3 nuances of a same color, each symphony having the same subject. It's just like a guy painting trees all the time; trees are similar if you consider their general visual impact, but in fact they are not.


Having said that, however, I have to say that I still find comments like this much, much more useful:

That's good to hear, thanks for that :)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 04:23:03 PM by kentel »

snyprrr

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #32 on: February 28, 2012, 09:16:46 PM »
Thanks

I understand that.

Me too. I especially enjoy the idea of "musical worlds", descriptive music which evokes landscapes of all sorts. Tonal music is generally unable to do that. The melody unfolds itself like a story that you need to follow, while atonal/non pulsative is generaly static.

Moreover, since the attention cannot focuse on the melodic line nor on the pulse either, it requires a great inventivity on the behalf of the composer, who has to capture the listener's attention exclusively by means of orchestration's and harmonic skills. There's a breath in such music that you cannot find in tonal music, and this is not only the case with Segerstam, Maxwell-Davies and others, it's also the case if you listen to traditional Japanese or Aborigenal music, f.ex.

If we stay within the frame of western classical music, I think that everything began with Wagner. When Wagner's operas were first heard in Paris, where he expected fame and glory, the critics litteraly assasinated his music for exactly these reasons : no melody, almost no tonality and a focus on the power of orchestral evocation. For those guys who were used to Meyerbeer, Auber, Boeildieu and even Berlioz, that was something absurd.

But, compared with Wagner, the orchestra of the other romantic composers is extremely unimaginative and flat : see even great geniuses like Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, etc.  Actually they don't need to take care of the orchestra, because their music focuses on melodic and tonal aspects which are sufficient to catch the listener's attention. Well, you have in fact Berlioz and Liszt (who, incidentally, were good friends). And Rimsky, but is Rimsky a romantic, I don't think so.

I also enjoy listening to tonal stuff, but even if I appreciate the genius of many composers, I always feel like my imagination is much more restrainted.


 
Thank you for raising the standard of debate, that's much interesting. Even if I'm fond of Segerstam's music, I agree with most of your comments. I'll just react to the two most relevant (to me) :1-  the masses don't seem at all organized nor disorganized 2- the orchestral colors are one

Both assertions are true IMO : 1- they are organized in flows, of "flux", I don't know how to call that. Within a flux of, say violin + flute + harp, many things happen, that's for the disorganized. The score is written like that, for groups of instruments, each improvising upon the composer's instructions, each within the limits of a specific range, and probably each at its own pace (like with Carter, but I'm not sure of that) .

However, the flux is static and does not vary very much, giving a feeling of "not so disorganized" and leading to 2- the monotony of the orchestral colors. The general impression is that the orchestral color is one, in fact it is not in the details. This impression is even stronger if you consider several symphonies : they all look similar, and they are if you consider the general move.

My feeling is that Segerstam's orchestration is built upon 3 main flux corresponding to 3 main ranges : bass (always abyssal and magmatic), medium (the central axis) and high (always glittering). It's like when you look at the foliage of a tree in summer : you generally perceive 3 colors : dark green/green/light green, and the painter uses 3 colors to paint it (that's a rule). The perfect balance. It also looks monotonous, it also has many nuances, but the fact is, that you perceive only 3 nuances of a single color.

Segerstam's symphonies are exactly that, at least to me : 3 nuances of a same color, each symphony having the same subject. It's just like a guy painting trees all the time; trees are similar if you consider their general visual impact, but in fact they are not.


That's good to hear, thanks for that :)

I can respond to the 'summer day' qualities of LS's music. Frankly, he sounds like he'd be great to fall to sleep to (currently I'm enjoying Persepolis). I'd probably like it better than Feldman's For Samuel Beckett, which I find so dreary, like a very rainy day. LS seems so much more tripping over himself in the joy of just making music sound!

I checked the Amazon, and it appears that 'every' Symphony from say 6-21 has been recorded, along with later ones, and then numerous 'Orchestral Dairies',... and 'Thoughts'. So, I'm curious, who knows what's 'better' than?

I used to have the first Ondine disc, seems I enjoyed it. Please help me out, we have BIS, Ondine, and Kontrapunkt...

kentel

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #33 on: February 29, 2012, 03:16:18 PM »
I checked the Amazon, and it appears that 'every' Symphony from say 6-21 has been recorded, along with later ones, and then numerous 'Orchestral Dairies',... and 'Thoughts'. So, I'm curious, who knows what's 'better' than?

I used to have the first Ondine disc, seems I enjoyed it. Please help me out, we have BIS, Ondine, and Kontrapunkt...

There's actually TWO Ondine cds :

this one : and this one :

+ 4 Bis :



+ others (Kontrapunkt & Finlandia) :



+ the three symphonies available on YouTube which I mentioned in a previous post (81, 172, 216), that makes all in all 15 symphonies, respectively : 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 81, 151, 172, 173, 212 & 216.

Symphonies, Orchestral Diaries and Thoughts are often mingled , f.ex, the 14th Symphony is also the Orchestral Diary n°44, the 17th Symphony is also the Orchestral Diary n° 49 AND the Thoughts before 1992, etc.

I've listened to all the symphonies mentioned above but for the 9, 12 & 15 (i.e. the Finlandia and the Kontrapunkt cds), and my favorite are the 13th and the 81th, the ones I like less are the 14th and the 173th. I can possibly tell you why if you're not totally bored reading to my unending posts.

You also have the Impressions of Nordic Nature and the Flowerbouquette series.

eyeresist

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #34 on: February 29, 2012, 05:38:46 PM »
I especially enjoy the idea of "musical worlds", descriptive music which evokes landscapes of all sorts. Tonal music is generally unable to do that.
Sibelius? Vaughan Williams?

kentel

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #35 on: March 01, 2012, 03:32:48 AM »
Sibelius? Vaughan Williams?

Yes, you're right; I'll have to improve my argumentation...

eyeresist

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #36 on: March 01, 2012, 06:09:07 PM »
Yes, you're right; I'll have to improve my argumentation...
Well, you said "generally", so I'll give you that. I could only think of two exceptions off the top of my head.

Offline some guy

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #37 on: March 01, 2012, 08:01:41 PM »
My first Segerstam CD was an Ondine.



So there are at least three Ondine recordings of his music. This one has symphonies 21 and 23.

The other one I have is the Ondine with Leif doing his Father Christmas pose.

snyprrr

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #38 on: March 01, 2012, 08:20:33 PM »
I can possibly tell you why if you're not totally bored reading to my unending posts.

No no no, please, go on... I want full incidental reviews of everything! 8) Mach schnell!! :o ;D :-*

I can tell you that the THOUGHT of Segerstam Symphonies is working for me! Very glittering indeed, but maybe I just listened to Norgard's 5 and my radar is off? ??? Which might be best for inducing alternative states of consciousness?

btw- I believe it was the tripping-through-the-daisies cd I had!

Y'know, how can't you love this guy? :-*

kentel

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Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2012, 02:30:01 PM »
My first Segerstam CD was an Ondine.



So there are at least three Ondine recordings of his music. This one has symphonies 21 and 23.

The other one I have is the Ondine with Leif doing his Father Christmas pose.

I believed the NML to have all the Ondine cd... that's kind of frustrating...I've never heard these symphonies, thank you for mentioning this cd.

Let's correct my last statement :

that makes all in all 17 symphonies, respectively : 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23,  81, 151, 172, 173, 212 & 216.

Given the fact that, at today's date, he has written 253 symphonies, that makes 236 missing...
« Last Edit: March 03, 2012, 02:36:06 PM by kentel »