Author Topic: Dmitri's Dacha  (Read 489459 times)

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.

Online OrchestralNut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4388
  • Cesar Franck, or Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
  • Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2540 on: April 26, 2021, 03:01:10 AM »
You didn’t ask me, but get the Borodin Quartet. I have both their complete cycle on Melodiya and their partial cycle on Chandos. I have been impressed with both, but definitely track down the one on Melodiya.

I second this recommendation. Borodin on Melodiya.

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1340
  • Location: UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2541 on: April 26, 2021, 03:10:39 AM »
a slightly off-topic but not wholly related question.  Why do people think that Passacaglia form seems so powerful in expressing/coveying a certain kind of implaccable fateful emotion.  The DSCH works all seems to convey a weightier meaning but then so does Britten's use of Passacaglias in Pter Grimes (and many other works).  Brahms 4's finale seems to bring his set of symphonies to a powerfully satisfying conclusion because(?) of the form.  On a lighter note - Carl Davis brilliantly orchestrated the great Bach C minor passacaglia for the film Napoleon and called it St. Just.  But this is just scratching the surface - there are so many great passacaglias!

Offline Madiel

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10034
    • A musical diary
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
  • Currently Listening to:
    Whatever's listed in my blog.
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2542 on: April 26, 2021, 03:28:51 AM »
a slightly off-topic but not wholly related question.  Why do people think that Passacaglia form seems so powerful in expressing/coveying a certain kind of implaccable fateful emotion.  The DSCH works all seems to convey a weightier meaning but then so does Britten's use of Passacaglias in Pter Grimes (and many other works).  Brahms 4's finale seems to bring his set of symphonies to a powerfully satisfying conclusion because(?) of the form.  On a lighter note - Carl Davis brilliantly orchestrated the great Bach C minor passacaglia for the film Napoleon and called it St. Just.  But this is just scratching the surface - there are so many great passacaglias!

Well if you want 'implacable' and 'fateful', it's a form that is essentially static. The theme continuously cycles over and over.

One that hasn't been mentioned is from the op.87 preludes and fugues. The G sharp minor prelude is a passacaglia (followed by one of the most ferocious fugues in the set).
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline aukhawk

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1369
  • Oh no! Someone catted my avatar!
  • Location: England
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bach to Björk
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2543 on: April 26, 2021, 03:37:40 AM »
Well put.  I would also add that the Passacaglia is a form that he really excelled at such as from Lady Macbeth, and the No. 15 last movement.  Each one is brilliant and very moving but you get a sense they are deeply personal too.

The slow movement of the Tenth Quartet is my favorite of his passcaglias.

Also Passacaglias - the 3rd (slow) movement of the 6th Quartet.  The 3rd (slow) movement of the Piano Trio No.2.
Best of all, the Prelude No.12 in G Sharp Minor from the 24 Preludes & Fugues Op87 - this one quite similar in mood to the Violin Concerto.

You have to see Oistrakh in that Passacaglia -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OTq7uhzT8w  (starts around 4:10 but stops before the cadenza) (cond: Fricke )
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jk786KRIkQw  (the cadenza)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDfwcFxz6A  (better continuation, cadenza starts around 2:40)
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 04:10:12 AM by aukhawk »

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2544 on: April 26, 2021, 05:06:42 AM »
a slightly off-topic but not wholly related question.  Why do people think that Passacaglia form seems so powerful in expressing/coveying a certain kind of implaccable fateful emotion. 

Because it is basically an orchestrated crescendo.  As the the theme repeats, more tension, accompaniment, motion, dynamics swirl around it adding a sense of inevitability and usually there is an unexpected twist near the end that provides a tremendous unexpected release of tension like in Bach C minor Passacaglia reaching C major at point of maximum tension.  Since our expectations have been set and established for so long before, this sudden unexpected shift is quite dramatic and gives composers much room for innovative craftsmanship in exactly how and why they delay that transition and what they do once it is reached. 

Offline BasilValentine

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1386
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2545 on: April 26, 2021, 06:07:38 AM »
You didn’t ask me, but get the Borodin Quartet. I have both their complete cycle on Melodiya and their partial cycle on Chandos. I have been impressed with both, but definitely track down the one on Melodiya.

I also like the Borodin for the quartets. As others have said, the Adagio, the third movement of the Tenth Quartet, is a passacaglia.

Offline BasilValentine

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1386
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2546 on: April 26, 2021, 07:06:33 AM »
a slightly off-topic but not wholly related question.  Why do people think that Passacaglia form seems so powerful in expressing/coveying a certain kind of implaccable fateful emotion. The DSCH works all seems to convey a weightier meaning but then so does Britten's use of Passacaglias in Pter Grimes (and many other works).  Brahms 4's finale seems to bring his set of symphonies to a powerfully satisfying conclusion because(?) of the form.  On a lighter note - Carl Davis brilliantly orchestrated the great Bach C minor passacaglia for the film Napoleon and called it St. Just.  But this is just scratching the surface - there are so many great passacaglias!

I suspect the long history of the form and traditions established by certain iconic works likely have something to do with it. I'd look especially at ground bass arias from the Baroque, like Purcell's "When I am laid in earth" (essentially a passacaglia) from Dido and Aeneas. Descending tetrachord bass lines as in the Purcell, along with diatonic versions, which have always been popular, have a fateful air about them because of their implacable doomed descent.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2021, 07:08:42 AM by BasilValentine »

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 58740
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2547 on: April 27, 2021, 08:22:53 AM »
Because it is basically an orchestrated crescendo.  As the the theme repeats, more tension, accompaniment, motion, dynamics swirl around it adding a sense of inevitability and usually there is an unexpected twist near the end that provides a tremendous unexpected release of tension like in Bach C minor Passacaglia reaching C major at point of maximum tension.  Since our expectations have been set and established for so long before, this sudden unexpected shift is quite dramatic and gives composers much room for innovative craftsmanship in exactly how and why they delay that transition and what they do once it is reached. 

Very good.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Brewski

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 12756
  • "Man With No Shadow" by Makoto Tojiki (2009)
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2548 on: May 03, 2021, 04:54:45 PM »
First time listening to one of my favorite Shostakovich sequences, the Allegro (2nd movement) of the Tenth Symphony, with the score. Thanks to many fine contributors on YouTube, who have synced scores with performances, you can see what the composer actually wrote, and then compare it to what you're hearing.

Anyway, here are Kirill Kondrashin and the Moscow Philharmonic. (I do like the interpretation, even if it might not be my favorite, but never mind.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxIUr-nD_vQ

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2549 on: May 04, 2021, 03:35:43 PM »
So I've completed traversing the string quartets (Borodin Quartet on Melodiya).  My thoughts.  They are autobiographical.  They are best heard in order.  Like the symphonies, the order matters.  Youthful vitality, wit, playfulness, slowly gives way to sarcasm, depth, resignation.  I think if I never heard any of these I could immediately identify which was an early work and which was late period.  I think they are uniquely different from his symphonies yet consistent with his style if that makes any sense.  Two independent paths...sort of like a mountain hike and hiking through the meadows though both are an epic traversal.  I also found the works quite symphonic.  Like Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, I just couldn't help hearing these as orchestral works transcribed for smaller ensembles.  I don't know if that reveals more about me or the composer.  So I sort of hear these as subsequent orchestral works on par with the massive symphonies.  The music felt so familiar yet I hadn't heard it before.  It was also introducing me to new friends I knew I would appreciate.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 54427
  • Gustav Mahler (1860 - 1911)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Entartete Musik
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2550 on: May 04, 2021, 03:44:15 PM »
So I've completed traversing the string quartets (Borodin Quartet on Melodiya).  My thoughts.  They are autobiographical.  They are best heard in order.  Like the symphonies, the order matters.  Youthful vitality, wit, playfulness, slowly gives way to sarcasm, depth, resignation.  I think if I never heard any of these I could immediately identify which was an early work and which was late period.  I think they are uniquely different from his symphonies yet consistent with his style if that makes any sense.  Two independent paths...sort of like a mountain hike and hiking through the meadows though both are an epic traversal.  I also found the works quite symphonic.  Like Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, I just couldn't help hearing these as orchestral works transcribed for smaller ensembles.  I don't know if that reveals more about me or the composer.  So I sort of hear these as subsequent orchestral works on par with the massive symphonies.  The music felt so familiar yet I hadn't heard it before.  It was also introducing me to new friends I knew I would appreciate.

Glad you enjoyed them. 8) I believe these SQs to be vitally important to his oeuvre in general. I’d further this opinion in saying that if you don’t like his SQs, then there’s a good chance you’re not really as into the composer as you thought you were.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 04:43:26 PM by Mirror Image »
Don’t forget your four A’s, folks: Alex, Arnie, Alban and Anton


Offline krummholz

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 224
  • Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996)
  • Location: Central Vermont, US
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2551 on: May 04, 2021, 04:23:53 PM »
The slow movement of the Tenth Quartet is my favorite of his passcaglias.

+1. With the 4th movement of the 8th Symphony as a close second.

Offline Madiel

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 10034
    • A musical diary
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
  • Currently Listening to:
    Whatever's listed in my blog.
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2552 on: May 04, 2021, 09:29:25 PM »
I think if I never heard any of these I could immediately identify which was an early work and which was late period.

None of them are really early. Quartet no.1 is between the 5th and 6th symphonies, and Quartet no.2 is between the 8th and 9th.

Like Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, I just couldn't help hearing these as orchestral works transcribed for smaller ensembles.

I couldn't disagree more, but if you like that sort of thing then you can go listen to the 'Chamber Symphony' versions of many of the quartets.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2021, 09:32:25 PM by Madiel »
I am now working on a discography of the works of Vagn Holmboe. Please visit and also contribute!

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1340
  • Location: UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2553 on: May 05, 2021, 12:56:13 AM »
None of them are really early. Quartet no.1 is between the 5th and 6th symphonies, and Quartet no.2 is between the 8th and 9th.

I couldn't disagree more, but if you like that sort of thing then you can go listen to the 'Chamber Symphony' versions of many of the quartets.

+1 - the utter genius of these quartets is the distillation of DSCH's musical thought into simply (nothing simple really!) 4 monophonic musical lines.  The very essence of chamber music.  One of the things I admire most about DSCH is the way he evolved two quite different/parallel/'authentic' musical voices (ignoring the populist/film side for a moment) - the public/orchestral voice and the private/chamber voice.  Personally I listen very rarely indeed to the Chamber Symphonies simply because they fall between those two stools for me....

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2554 on: May 05, 2021, 05:07:18 AM »
+1 - the utter genius of these quartets is the distillation of DSCH's musical thought into simply (nothing simple really!) 4 monophonic musical lines.  The very essence of chamber music.  One of the things I admire most about DSCH is the way he evolved two quite different/parallel/'authentic' musical voices (ignoring the populist/film side for a moment) - the public/orchestral voice and the private/chamber voice.  Personally I listen very rarely indeed to the Chamber Symphonies simply because they fall between those two stools for me....

It's frequently not 4 monophonic musical lines.  It's melodic with accompaniment.  Who is the melodic switches every few bars.  The very essence of symphonic music.  But we'll agree to disagree on this.

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1340
  • Location: UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2555 on: May 05, 2021, 11:15:08 AM »
It's frequently not 4 monophonic musical lines.  It's melodic with accompaniment.  Who is the melodic switches every few bars.  The very essence of symphonic music.  But we'll agree to disagree on this.

monophonic as in the sense that its 1 note at a time in 4 parts - I'm not debating priomary or secondary material.  All the double stopping in the world won't really make string instruments polyphonic (unless you're Bach!)

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 58740
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2556 on: May 05, 2021, 12:09:51 PM »
four single-line instruments.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Roasted Swan

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1340
  • Location: UK
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2557 on: May 05, 2021, 12:19:39 PM »
four single-line instruments.

exactly - and better put than I did!

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1416
  • Location: California
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2558 on: May 05, 2021, 03:19:27 PM »
exactly - and better put than I did!

I fully understand what both of you mean.  But consider my meaning more closely.  Take Shostakovich Suite for 2 pianos.  This is a symphonic work composed for two pianos.  Orchestral arrangers will hear the "single line instruments" as melodic intentions of the composer given limitations of the instrumentation.  This is not always the case with chamber music.  Mussorgsky's Picture's at an Exhibition is text book example of an orchestral work composed on the piano and it's not because of Ravel's arrangement, there are about 1,000 arrangements of it with Ravel being the most famous (and frankly most accomplished).  But perhaps I'm just crazy and as a composer and orchestrator myself, I always hear things arranged in different ways which again you need to grant me that license which I said "we need to agree to disagree" because we won't agree on this.  Here is something we can disagree on though, I belief Shostakovich is primarily an orchestral composer and hears everything as an orchestral composer would and then when necessary translates it to chamber music.  I have no proof of this, it's just how I hear it.  This is in contrast to Chopin or Liszt who I hear are chamber composers who then sometimes interpret their music for orchestras.  Scriabin is practically entirely a symphonic composer who mostly wrote for piano.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2021, 03:22:39 PM by relm1 »

Offline BasilValentine

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1386
Re: Dmitri's Dacha
« Reply #2559 on: May 05, 2021, 05:03:15 PM »
I fully understand what both of you mean.  But consider my meaning more closely.  Take Shostakovich Suite for 2 pianos.  This is a symphonic work composed for two pianos.  Orchestral arrangers will hear the "single line instruments" as melodic intentions of the composer given limitations of the instrumentation.  This is not always the case with chamber music.  Mussorgsky's Picture's at an Exhibition is text book example of an orchestral work composed on the piano and it's not because of Ravel's arrangement, there are about 1,000 arrangements of it with Ravel being the most famous (and frankly most accomplished).  But perhaps I'm just crazy and as a composer and orchestrator myself, I always hear things arranged in different ways which again you need to grant me that license which I said "we need to agree to disagree" because we won't agree on this.  Here is something we can disagree on though, I belief Shostakovich is primarily an orchestral composer and hears everything as an orchestral composer would and then when necessary translates it to chamber music. I have no proof of this, it's just how I hear it.  This is in contrast to Chopin or Liszt who I hear are chamber composers who then sometimes interpret their music for orchestras.  Scriabin is practically entirely a symphonic composer who mostly wrote for piano.

If anything I think it's the reverse. But it's actually neither. Shostakovich's style is fundamentally contrapuntal and perfectly suited for both orchestral and chamber music. His quartet music is perfectly crafted for the ensemble. His quartets are the very heart of his output.