The Diamond Mine

Started by karlhenning, March 17, 2009, 04:28:06 AM

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snyprrr

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on May 02, 2012, 03:22:04 PM
I'm glad we have a Diamond thread.

My introduction to him was on the Australian Classic FM, a truly dreadful music radio station dedicated to everything mediocre and substandard in classical music (in correspondence with me they told me that the music of Robert Simpson would have 'no appeal' to their listeners and they would never play it). However, on this one occasion they served up a treat: I was waiting for someone at a train station late at night, their train was late and went out to the car and flicked on the radio and they were playing the last movement of the SQ 3, couldn't believe it, just such wonderful, eloquent, sad but noble music. I think Classic FM were having an aberration at the time.

Marvelous composer, one of the great things about him is that he is very consistent, so, although his music gets darker and more dissonant over time, it's always recognisably Diamond straightaway. I love the symphonies (I know 3, 4, 5 and 10) and it's a crying shame we don't have a complete cycle. We do have the complete string quartets from Albany and I've got the first two volumes so far (2, 3, 8, 9, 10 and the Concerto for SQ), love them.

Just a couple of questions:

1. I know that DD was gay, and yet all the information about the String Quartet No.3 was that the slow movement was written in memory of a woman that DD lived with in Paris who suicided. What's the story, was she just a friend? Or was he bisexual? I don't care what his sexuality was, just want to know the story.
2. I downloaded the radio broadcast of the premier of the Symphony 10 from 1988 from Unsung Composers downloads, (love the way the organ becomes more and more prominent in the scherzo and the through the finale). Anyway, some other information tells me DD revised the symphony in 2000, does anyone know if these changes were major?

Which Quartets would I like first?

calyptorhynchus

DD's quartets, like his symphonies, show an early lyrical phase, a tougher, more dissonant and harsh middle period, and a later period that combines elements of the first two.

Early 1-3, Concerto for String Quartet (a string quartet, but so called because each movement gives prominence to one of the players in turn).
Middle 4-7
Late 8-10

The third has the marvellous elegy I mentioned before as the last movement.

The quartets from 4 onwards all feature  elements such as fugue and theme and variations (influence of Beethoven).

4 is the longest, IMHO 8 is the least characterised, but they are all very good.

The Potomacs have the following disks (there are other recordings of single SQs coupled with other composers' works):

3, 8, Concerto
2, 9, 7
1, 5, 6
4, 7

Probably the 2, 9, 7 disk gives you the best sampling. I don't think you can get these disks physically any more, you have to download unless you buy second-hand.

snyprrr

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on December 15, 2012, 02:14:42 PM
DD's quartets, like his symphonies, show an early lyrical phase, a tougher, more dissonant and harsh middle period, and a later period that combines elements of the first two.

Early 1-3, Concerto for String Quartet (a string quartet, but so called because each movement gives prominence to one of the players in turn).
Middle 4-7
Late 8-10

The third has the marvellous elegy I mentioned before as the last movement.

The quartets from 4 onwards all feature  elements such as fugue and theme and variations (influence of Beethoven).

4 is the longest, IMHO 8 is the least characterised, but they are all very good.

The Potomacs have the following disks (there are other recordings of single SQs coupled with other composers' works):

3, 8, Concerto
2, 9, 7
1, 5, 6
4, 7

Probably the 2, 9, 7 disk gives you the best sampling. I don't think you can get these disks physically any more, you have to download unless you buy second-hand.

thanks!

San Antone

Quote from: sanantonio on December 08, 2012, 04:37:26 PM
He is another 20th C. composer who devoted much of his energy in the string quartet form.  There are 4 volumes performed by the Potomac Quartet and generally very good. 

[asin]B000063CO4[/asin]

[asin]B00006RY6C[/asin]

[asin]B0000DG05V[/asin]

[asin]B000777I6A[/asin]

I had posted this a week ago.  Don't know why it was ignored.

vandermolen

#64
Quote from: Mirror Image on November 29, 2012, 08:43:15 PM
Completely agree. He wrote superb music. Those slow movements are really something special. Heartbreaking and there seems to be an underlying feeling of sadness within these movements.

Have been listening to the two slow movements of Symphony No 3. I totally agree with you. The last movement is especially touching.  The work is, I think, dedicated to Diamond's parents and to me the finale conveys a sense of farewell. The fast movements have a sense of rhythmic urgency which is very compelling too (I find this also in the opening movement of Symphony No 1 - another score that I have learnt to greatly appreciate). Can't understand why Diamond is not better known. I am hoping to explore his chamber music next.
"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).

calyptorhynchus

When I was complaining that we don't have a recording of Symphony 11, I was forgetting that the Schwarz Delos disk #5 (the one Naxos didn't rerelease) has a performance of the Adagio from the 11th on it.

Got a second-hand copy recently and listened to it, it's a great disk, also has Rounds, Ravel Elegy, Concert piece for Orchestra and Duo for Flute and Harp. The sleeve notes tried to justify the 'bleeding chunks' approach by noting that the Adagio was self-contained and free-standing &c, but I found it wasn't. It's a wonderful movement and whets the appetite for the whole symphony, but it's much more active and searching than I thought it would be, and obviously functions as such within the symphony as a whole.

I also found online a review of the premier of the 11th in 1992 (from the New York Times), seems that the conductor, Kurt Masur, in his wisdom, cut ten minutes from the finale  :o (is that still legal?)

calyptorhynchus

I've just been listening to Diamond's Concerto for String Quartet and orchestra (1996), courtesy of YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgjTOlQCA1Q

What an amazing work! On the face of it, it's a very difficult combination to write for, you might think the quartet would be a tangle, get swamped by the orchestra &c, but Diamond magnificently refutes this, providing 35 minutes of contrapuntal mastery with the most thrilling textures.

He even parodies what a bad composer would do: many times when the quartet enters it enters in order, 1st violin, 2nd violin, viola, cello, in close imitation, but the quality of the writing and way the each entry develops away from the this beginning in a never ending flow of contrapuntal inventiveness belies this formulaic  entry (and the quartet enters in different ways at various other points).

There is a medium length first movement, fast, vigorous and inventive, which would be a tour de force for a young composer, but is a demonstration of incredible energy for a composer in his eighties. There is a medium length slow movement winding down to a coda of absolute calm and stillness, that you don't want to end. The last movement is long and it looks like it's heading for disaster with a folky rondo, but the quality of the material is outstanding and the movement holds together beautifully, again, you're disappointed when it ends.

People complain that we don't get modern music that is approachable, well here is it, why isn't there a recording? (the same question could be asked for all the late symphonies of Diamond).

Peter Power Pop

#67
Quote from: calyptorhynchus on May 02, 2012, 03:22:04 PM
I'm glad we have a Diamond thread.

My introduction to him was on the Australia's ABC Classic FM, a truly dreadful music radio station dedicated to everything mediocre and substandard in classical music (in correspondence with me they told me that the music of Robert Simpson would have 'no appeal' to their listeners and they would never play it). However, on this one occasion they served up a treat: I was waiting for someone at a train station late at night, their train was late and went out to the car and flicked on the radio and they were playing the last movement of the SQ 3, couldn't believe it, just such wonderful, eloquent, sad but noble music. I think Classic FM were having an aberration at the time.

The first time I heard David Diamond's music was also on ABC Classic FM, but it wasn't String Quartet No. 3. It was this:

David Diamond - Rounds for String Orchestra (1944)
https://www.youtube.com/v/3QAyE0HAB7s

I absolutely loved it, and from that moment I was a fan of his work. I bought as many CDs featuring his music as I could find. I ended up with the five discs of orchestral works on Delos (reissued on Naxos), and a few orchestral and chamber discs.

QuoteMarvelous composer, one of the great things about him is that he is very consistent, so, although his music gets darker and more dissonant over time, it's always recognisably Diamond straightaway. I love the symphonies (I know 3, 4, 5 and 10) and it's a crying shame we don't have a complete cycle. We do have the complete string quartets from Albany and I've got the first two volumes so far (2, 3, 8, 9, 10 and the Concerto for SQ), love them.

Just a couple of questions:

1. I know that DD was gay, and yet all the information about the String Quartet No.3 was that the slow movement was written in memory of a woman that DD lived with in Paris who suicided. What's the story, was she just a friend? Or was he bisexual? I don't care what his sexuality was, just want to know the story.
2. I downloaded the radio broadcast of the premier of the Symphony 10 from 1988 from Unsung Composers downloads, (love the way the organ becomes more and more prominent in the scherzo and the through the finale). Anyway, some other information tells me DD revised the symphony in 2000, does anyone know if these changes were major?

1. No idea.

2. Er, dunno.

EigenUser

Quote from: Peter Power Pop on October 03, 2014, 12:44:08 AM
The first time I heard David Diamond's music was also on ABC Classic FM, but it wasn't String Quartet No. 3. It was this:

David Diamond - Rounds for String Orchestra (1944)
https://www.youtube.com/v/3QAyE0HAB7s

I absolutely loved it, and from that moment I was a fan of his work. I bought as many CDs featuring his music as I could find. I ended up with the five discs of orchestral works on Delos (reissued on Naxos), and a few orchestral and chamber discs.
I have that album! I played Rounds in my high school orchestra for our annual competition, which we won. It is some seriously fun music to play. Sadly, there were a quite a few people in orchestra who were fairly lazy (though good players otherwise) and hated the piece simply because it was difficult -- very difficult for a high school orchestra to put together in a fairly short time frame. I personally loved every minute of it and putting the whole thing together was very rewarding.

Our orchestra teacher had a friend who knew David Diamond and said that while he was very nice, he was one of the most boring people ever. Apparently he gave many lectures in music schools and was known for being extremely dry.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Peter Power Pop

#69
Quote from: EigenUser on October 03, 2014, 02:30:16 AM
I have that album! I played Rounds in my high school orchestra for our annual competition, which we won. It is some seriously fun music to play. Sadly, there were a quite a few people in orchestra who were fairly lazy (though good players otherwise) and hated the piece simply because it was difficult -- very difficult for a high school orchestra to put together in a fairly short time frame. I personally loved every minute of it and putting the whole thing together was very rewarding.

Our orchestra teacher had a friend who knew David Diamond and said that while he was very nice, he was one of the most boring people ever. Apparently he gave many lectures in music schools and was known for being extremely dry.

I'm currently listening to this interview, and enjoying it:

https://www.youtube.com/v/stVN81lmqFs

I'm finding him very informative.

Actually, I've just discovered that there are quite a few interviews with DD on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/v/oM1YKLIWKM8

https://www.youtube.com/v/J28DbNl5oeg

https://www.youtube.com/v/pR9N-z4OktM

https://www.youtube.com/v/MCufCmiajxU

vandermolen

He sent a charming, animated, reply to my fan letter ( by animated I mean that it was very lively, rather than it being in the form of an animated cartoon).
8)
"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).

Peter Power Pop

Quote from: EigenUser on October 03, 2014, 02:30:16 AM
I have that album! I played Rounds in my high school orchestra for our annual competition, which we won.

Excellent.

QuoteIt is some seriously fun music to play. Sadly, there were a quite a few people in orchestra who were fairly lazy (though good players otherwise) and hated the piece simply because it was difficult -- very difficult for a high school orchestra to put together in a fairly short time frame. I personally loved every minute of it and putting the whole thing together was very rewarding.

It sounds like a heap of fun to play. I love those scurrying strings.

QuoteOur orchestra teacher had a friend who knew David Diamond and said that while he was very nice, he was one of the most boring people ever. Apparently he gave many lectures in music schools and was known for being extremely dry.

Rons_talking

I've always liked DD's early symphonies, the Third in particular. But the most emotional and moving single work of his IMO is the Adagio from String Quartet #3. I recently discovered this work. At about two minutes into the movement, when the harmony shifts to a bit more relative major it is sublime. I keep wishing he'd written just a few more quartets during the 1940s, when he was more modal--less chromatic. Not that I don't like the later works, they're marvelous; it's just that his voice is most intimate to me during the earlier period.

vandermolen

Quote from: Rons_talking on December 29, 2014, 03:12:07 AM
I've always liked DD's early symphonies, the Third in particular. But the most emotional and moving single work of his IMO is the Adagio from String Quartet #3. I recently discovered this work. At about two minutes into the movement, when the harmony shifts to a bit more relative major it is sublime. I keep wishing he'd written just a few more quartets during the 1940s, when he was more modal--less chromatic. Not that I don't like the later works, they're marvelous; it's just that his voice is most intimate to me during the earlier period.

The Third is my favourite Diamond work. Deeply moving and touching - dedicated to his parents. It was the work which inspired me to write to him.
"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).

Peter Power Pop

Quote from: Rons_talking on December 29, 2014, 03:12:07 AM
I've always liked DD's early symphonies, the Third in particular. But the most emotional and moving single work of his IMO is the Adagio from String Quartet #3. I recently discovered this work. At about two minutes into the movement, when the harmony shifts to a bit more relative major it is sublime. I keep wishing he'd written just a few more quartets during the 1940s, when he was more modal--less chromatic. Not that I don't like the later works, they're marvelous; it's just that his voice is most intimate to me during the earlier period.

For anyone unfamiliar* with Diamond's String Quartet No. 3, here's a little seven-minute documentary on the work:

https://www.youtube.com/v/0fGNz4vcV0M

(*That would include me.)

Rons_talking

#75
Wow! The documentary is wonderful!  I hope everyone who likes Diamond's music gives it a listen. Intensly beautiful.

Mirror Image

Quote from: vandermolen on December 14, 2012, 11:12:46 PM
Can't stop listening to Symphony No 3 - should be up there with those of Copland, Harris, Hanson and Schuman. It used to be the slow movement which I found so moving (still moves me greatly), but now it is the slow, deeply touching, last movement which I can't get over. In fact the whole work is wonderful. The original Delos CD is better than the Naxos reissue as it includes Diamond's fine music for 'Romeo and Juliet'. Wish we had a complete cycle of the symphonies.

I love the 3rd but I can't stop listening to the 4th. I love both of these symphonies dearly.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Mirror Image

Quote from: Rons_talking on December 29, 2014, 03:12:07 AM
I've always liked DD's early symphonies, the Third in particular. But the most emotional and moving single work of his IMO is the Adagio from String Quartet #3. I recently discovered this work. At about two minutes into the movement, when the harmony shifts to a bit more relative major it is sublime. I keep wishing he'd written just a few more quartets during the 1940s, when he was more modal--less chromatic. Not that I don't like the later works, they're marvelous; it's just that his voice is most intimate to me during the earlier period.

I, too, prefer his earlier, lyrical works. It seems a lot of American symphonists went this route --- started off writing intensely melodic music and then as WWII came to an end, they started composing more turbulent music. Not all of them did this of course, but Schuman, Diamond, and Mennin certainly did.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Peter Power Pop

#78
Quote from: vandermolen on December 14, 2012, 11:12:46 PM
Can't stop listening to Symphony No 3 - should be up there with those of Copland, Harris, Hanson and Schuman. It used to be the slow movement which I found so moving (still moves me greatly), but now it is the slow, deeply touching, last movement which I can't get over. In fact the whole work is wonderful. The original Delos CD is better than the Naxos reissue as it includes Diamond's fine music for 'Romeo and Juliet'. Wish we had a complete cycle of the symphonies.

I have the original Delos CDs of Diamond's orchestral works (five volumes, including the one with Romeo and Juliet).

If anyone's interested in any or all of them, just send me a PM.

Vol. 1



Vol. 2



Vol. 3



Vol. 4



Vol. 5

Mirror Image

Quote from: Peter Power Pop on April 14, 2015, 12:58:50 AM
I have the original Delos CDs of Diamond's orchestral works (five volumes, including the one with Romeo and Juliet).

If anyone's interested in any or all of them, just send me a PM.

Vol. 1



Vol. 2



Vol. 3



Vol. 4



Vol. 5


I own them all. I actually own the Naxos reissues as well. The same applies to the Piston series with Schwarz.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók