Author Topic: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.  (Read 54097 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« on: March 23, 2009, 04:21:40 AM »
OK, I have started this for purely selfish reasons; to see if I can discover another great symphony by a 'sadly-neglected' composer. Here are my six. I have tried to include works by composers of different nationalities - but this is not a 'rule' for the thread:

Cyril Rootham: Symphony No 1 (British) Lyrita CD

Kaljo Raid: Symphony No 1 (Estonian) Chandos CD

Klaus Egge: Symphony No 1 (Norwegian) Aurora CD

Ross Edwards: Symphony No 1 'Da pacem Domine' (Australian) ABC CD

Rudolph Simonsen: Symphony No 2 'Hellas' (Danish) CPO CD

Douglas Lilburn: Symphony No 1 (New Zealander) Naxos/Kiwi Pacific/Continuum CD
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Offline Grazioso

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2009, 04:57:09 AM »
While probably known to more than a few posters here, these guys mostly fall far outside the classical canon (alas):

Leevi Madetoja: Symphony No 1 (Finnish) Alba (though all three are excellent and available in fine performances on Chandos, too)

Joonas Kokkonen: Symphony No 4 (Finnish) Ondine

Erich Wolfgang Korngold: Symphony in F# Minor (Austro-Hungarian/American) EMI (relatively well-known composer, but I rarely hear this 20th-century masterwork mentioned)

William Mathias: Symphony No 3 (Welsh) Nimbus

Vagn Holmboe: Symphony No 3 "Sinfonia rustica" (Danish) BIS

Ned Rorem: Symphony No 3 (American) Naxos

(And akin to Korngold's situation, you have composers like Boccherini, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc. who are household names among classical fans but whose symphonies you might not have heard--but should!)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 05:03:27 AM by Grazioso »
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2009, 05:20:25 AM »
Richard Wetz Symphonies 1, 2, 3 various conductors and orchestras, CPO

Bernard Herrmann Symphony Herrmann/National Phil, Unicorn

Tikhon Khrennikov Symphony #2 Svetlanov/USSR State Academy, Vox

Edouard Lalo Symphony G minor Almeida/Orch Monte-Carlo, Philips

John McEwen A Solway Symphony Mitchell/LPO, Chandos

Mikis Theodorakis Symphony #7 "Spring" Hauschild/Phil Dresden, Sound Wings

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
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he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 06:44:08 AM »
Interesting idea. This is the type of thread that hurts the wallet!

My thinking would be:

Arriga/Vorisek Cd on Hyperion (can get both on the same disc, so efficient use of the slush fund)
Arriiga Symphony in D major. Vorisek Symphony in D minor. (the D's have it)

The rest would include:
Arensky Symphony No 1 (good version on Chandos with Polyansky conducting, and a second symphony on another disc if you like it)

Svendson symphony no 1 (which I have coincidentally  with #2 on the same disc, BIS)

Steinberg Symphony No 1 (DG, there is a second around too, these used to be at Archivmusic)

Reinicke Symphony no 2 (CPO, with #3)

I was also thinking of including Langaard No 14 or Lyapunov No 1. If I think more, I'm sure I'll remember others too.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2009, 07:04:35 AM »
Gade: Symphony No.1
Schmidt: Symphony No.1
Langgaard: Symphony No.1
Bantock: A Celtic Symphony
Rott: Symphony in E major
d'Indy: Symphonie sur un chant montagnard français ("Symphonie cévenole")
Glière: Symphony No.1

These came immediately to mind. Some very good suggestions above (i.e. Korngold and McEwen). Keep them coming, people!  8)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 08:17:02 AM by Wanderer »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 08:09:09 AM »
Thanks guys for already fascinating replies. Nice to see a vote for old Mcewen. His valedictory 'Where the Wild Thyme Blows' (on the same Chandos CD as the Solway Symphony) is a great favourite. Clearly I will have to listen to Ned Rorem's 3rd Symphony again. Also nice to see a vote for the much despised Khrennikov's 2nd Symphony, which is, I agree, a work which deserves attention.
"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 Brian

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2009, 08:25:59 AM »
I actually found this challenge very easy!

Komei Abe, Symphony No 1
Kurt Atterberg, Symphony No 3, "West Coast Pictures"
Franz Berwald, "Sinfonie singuliere"
Jan Wenzel Kalliwoda, Symphony No 5
Alexander Kopylov, Symphony in C minor
Johan Svendsen, Symphony No 2

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2009, 08:35:06 AM »
Schmidt: Symphony No.1

Thanks for plugging one of my favorite symphonies, a favorite not only in this category (lesser-known composers) but a favorite symphony period. I considered listing it too but didn't want to come across like a broken record.

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."
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Renfield

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2009, 10:06:52 AM »
Being a conservative heathen - my straying from 'normal' repertory almost exclusively consisting of Scandinavian composers I can decode using my familiar roster, and the odd Russian - I will remain in the safety of the audience, for this thread. ;)

Offline Gabriel

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2009, 10:11:43 AM »
As Arriaga's and Voříšek have been listed, I'll contribute with works not yet mentioned in this thread.

Cherubini: Symphony in D major.
Eberl: Symphony in E flat major.
Wölfl: Symphony in G minor.
Spohr: Symphony in C minor.
Kalinnikov: Symphony in G minor.
Kalinnikov: Symphony in A major.

Offline some guy

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2009, 10:12:58 AM »
But most of the people mentioned so far are not really lesser-known, are they?

Berwald? Schmidt? Khrennikov? Langgaard? Really? (Actually, "Really" is not one of the composers.)

How about these, instead:

Günter Kochan, #2
Clarence Barlow, #1
Wilfried Krätzschmar, #2
Avet Terterian, #3
Frank Corcoran, #4
Alessandro Solbiati, #2

And if any of those are too well known (I'm really no judge of well-knownness, I confess), then substitute

Bolesław Szabelski, #5 or
Niels Viggo Bentzon, #7 (good example of one I would have thought too well known, but what do I know?

Offline springrite

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2009, 10:15:27 AM »
Harrison Symphony #3
Harbison Symphony #2
Shapero: Symphony for Classical Orchestra
Yun: Symphony # 4 (Well, any of them, really)
Lyatoshinsky Symphony #3

Well, I do not consider any of the above names really really lesser-known (save Shapero). But based on the names mentioned so far, I guess they'd quality.
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karlhenning

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2009, 10:18:04 AM »
Wilfried Krätzschmar, #2

Ah, the wheat-germ symphonist!

Online Cato

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2009, 10:18:46 AM »
Only 6?   :o

Hans Rott: Symphony in E major.
Alexander Tcherepnin: Symphony #4.
Ernst Toch: Symphony #2.
Sergei Taneyev: Symphonies #2 and 4.   0:)  (He-He!)
Matthias Vermeulen: Symphony #2.
Louis Vierne:Symphony in A minor.
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karlhenning

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2009, 10:19:48 AM »
Cato, you remind me that I want to revisit the Toch symphonies . . . .

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2009, 10:26:07 AM »
But most of the people mentioned so far are not really lesser-known, are they?

Berwald? Schmidt? Khrennikov? Langgaard? Really?

Lesser known than Beethoven, Haydn, Schumann, Mahler, Brahms, etc. Few of the composers mentioned so far get regular airing in our concert halls or have had many recordings. And I wonder how many members in this forum have heard all the symphonies mentioned so far. I bet the majority haven't heard the majority listed.

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 Brian

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2009, 10:29:33 AM »
Kalinnikov: Symphony in G minor.
Oh snap! I forgot that one. A masterpiece! Kalinnikov, Kalliwoda and Kopylov are part of my go-to stable of Obscure Composers Who Wrote Awesome Music and Whose Last Names Begin With K! Also included: Karlowicz, Koechlin, Kuhlau, Kalomiris and the significantly-less-obscure Khachaturian.  ;D
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 04:06:33 PM by Brian »

Offline some guy

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2009, 11:28:09 AM »
Lesser known than Beethoven, Haydn, Schumann, Mahler, Brahms, etc. Few of the composers mentioned so far get regular airing in our concert halls or have had many recordings. And I wonder how many members in this forum have heard all the symphonies mentioned so far. I bet the majority haven't heard the majority listed.

Sarge

I'm sure you're right. I was trying to make sense of the "(really)" in the subject line, but I "(really)" didn't think I was able to. I haven't heard all the symphonies mentioned so far, but there have only been a few composers mentioned so far that I haven't heard of, if not heard.

What I really think is that "lesser-known" cannot be made to carry much content. Lesser-known to whom? If I were to have mentioned Francis Dhomont's Frankenstein Symphony on this thread, maybe there would be a number of people who have never heard of it or of Dhomont. (And I might be the only one who has heard it.) But he's one of the better known electroacoustic composers, very well-known among people interested in those kinds of music. I doubt there's any one working in that field who has not at least heard of him.

sul G

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2009, 11:43:47 AM »
But most of the people mentioned so far are not really lesser-known, are they?

Berwald? Schmidt? Khrennikov? Langgaard? Really? (Actually, "Really" is not one of the composers.)

How about these, instead:

Günter Kochan, #2
Clarence Barlow, #1
Wilfried Krätzschmar, #2
Avet Terterian, #3
Frank Corcoran, #4
Alessandro Solbiati, #2

And if any of those are too well known (I'm really no judge of well-knownness, I confess), then substitute

Bolesław Szabelski, #5 or
Niels Viggo Bentzon, #7 (good example of one I would have thought too well known, but what do I know?

Do I get bonus points because I actually know some of these pieces?  ;D The Terterian is a good pick, I must say - an awesome piece, very original. The Corcoran I have still to feel as viscerally as this, but I haven't listened to it for a long time.

(I remember years ago at CI when Corcoran became something of a cause celebre, with vitriol heaped on his symphonies out of proportion to their fame or importance; I determined to hear what the fuss was about, so in fact the Corcoran disc was the first ever buy I made on the basis of a forum such as this one. Not the last, surprisingly...)

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Six favourite symphonies by (really) lesser-known composers.
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2009, 01:15:49 PM »
I'm sure you're right. I was trying to make sense of the "(really)" in the subject line, but I "(really)" didn't think I was able to. I haven't heard all the symphonies mentioned so far, but there have only been a few composers mentioned so far that I haven't heard of, if not heard.

What I really think is that "lesser-known" cannot be made to carry much content. Lesser-known to whom? If I were to have mentioned Francis Dhomont's Frankenstein Symphony on this thread, maybe there would be a number of people who have never heard of it or of Dhomont. (And I might be the only one who has heard it.) But he's one of the better known electroacoustic composers, very well-known among people interested in those kinds of music. I doubt there's any one working in that field who has not at least heard of him.

One person's warhorse is another person's discovery... And sometimes the path to discovery isn't straight, so even though some of them are better known, there are still several that are new to me.
Be kind to your fellow posters!!