Poll

Do you prefer the music of Zemlinsky or Scriabin?

Zemlinsky
8 (47.1%)
Scriabin
9 (52.9%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Voting closed: January 26, 2011, 11:12:10 AM

Author Topic: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin  (Read 6559 times)

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Bulldog

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Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« on: January 21, 2011, 11:12:10 AM »
Although both composers are close to my heart, I selected Scriabin for his gorgeous melodies.  Also, he's much better looking than Zemlinsky.  :D

karlhenning

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2011, 11:14:27 AM »
My ignorance of Zemlinsky disqualifies me from voting, I think.

But I do really like all the Skryabin I've heard! And I shall observe this thread with interest.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2011, 11:31:40 AM »
Boy, a real tough one.  Zemlinsky's orchestral works are so beautiful...and recently I heard Renée Fleming do a really gorgeous set of his songs (Fünf Lieder, from 1907) that I'd never heard before.

But then there are (all by themselves) Scriabin's Piano Sonatas.  And I'm a big fan of his big, overheated orchestral works, too.

"Vote postponed because of illness!"  (You know, inability to get to the polls, and all that.)

;D

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Bulldog

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 11:35:13 AM »
My ignorance of Zemlinsky disqualifies me from voting, I think.

But I do really like all the Skryabin I've heard! And I shall observe this thread with interest.


Just a suggestion - get a set of Zemlinsky's string quartets.  I think you'll find them very rewarding.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2011, 11:41:26 AM »
Zemlinsky
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"

Online Cato

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011, 11:44:12 AM »
Now stop this!!!   ;D

Let us have Zemlinsky AND Scriabin!   0:)

I have always thought that both composers showed paths not taken, or at least not taken by enough, e.g. in one sense the quarter-tone Russian composer Wyschnegradsky is a descendant of Scriabin

I am not sure that anyone directly examined Zemlinsky's musical path and followed it, or extended it.

Besides the obvious works of Zemlinsky which are already famous, let me recommend the Opus 13 6 Songs for Voice and Orchestra.  The melodies/motifs are perfect for every song, and the harmonic inventiveness is also perfect for the atmosphere demanded by the texts.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2011, 11:45:01 AM »
Now this is a tough one.  Scriabin's symphonies are lush and beautiful, and his piano music is superb.  Zemlinsky's chamber music and choral works, and his Lyric Symphony, are of the same caliber.  Ultimately, Scriabin by a hair.
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Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2011, 11:49:08 AM »
Scriabin. But to be frank i'm not very fond of either.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2011, 12:13:06 PM »
I want to vote for Zemlinsky because I like his music a lot. But I don't know Scriabin's well enough to simply eliminate him. Yet I must.

Zemlinsky.

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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2011, 12:14:14 PM »
Zemlinsky - I find his output more rounded, and with an equal amount of jewels.

I suppose this is a chamber music/opera & lieder fan vs. piano music fan poll? :P
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Bulldog

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2011, 02:19:09 PM »
Besides the obvious works of Zemlinsky which are already famous, let me recommend the Opus 13 6 Songs for Voice and Orchestra

I don't think anything by Zemlinsky is famous; that's a shame.

Online Cato

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2011, 04:27:07 PM »
I don't think anything by Zemlinsky is famous; that's a shame.

For people here at least on GMG they are famous: the Lyric Symphony, The Mermaid, and the String Quartets.

Yes, it is a shame: Zemlinsky once said:

“…Ultimately one is always to blame for one’s own fate; or at least innocently guilty. I surely lack that certain something that one has to have (…) to reach the top.”


There is an excellent Zemlinsky site from Austria (in English):

http://www.zemlinsky.at/en/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=42&Itemid=69
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Bulldog

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2011, 10:18:12 PM »
I'm surprised how well Zemlinsky is doing.  I tend to think he's a relative unknown compared to Scriabin, but the GMG crew is a special group.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2011, 08:32:40 PM »
I voted for Scriabin for the simple fact that I like his approach to music better, especially his orchestral works. I love the coloristic sound-world his music produces.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2011, 08:47:50 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Luke

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2011, 01:07:15 AM »
Scriabin by a long, long way. Simply a more interesting, important, idiosyncratic and influential composer, I think. It's a strange pairing, really, though...

Bulldog

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2011, 03:36:56 PM »
Scriabin by a long, long way. Simply a more interesting, important, idiosyncratic and influential composer, I think. It's a strange pairing, really, though...

I didn't think it strange.  They were born about 3 months apart, were both late-romantic composers who evolved further and both are on the fringe of being popular composers.  Most significant to me, I'd put both in my top ten although neither would be anywhere near that level based on general consensus.

Then again, maybe I'm just a strange guy.

Sid

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2011, 10:44:58 PM »
I have heard more Zemlinsky than Scriabin, so a vote from me would be based on little listening of the latter's music. So I abstain. I especially want to get some of Scriabin's late piano sonatas, in which he apparently went to the limits of tonality. I can clearly hear that in the only work I have on disc by him, the Poem of Ecstasy. Of Zemlinsky's works, I particularly like the Lyric Symphony, Sinfonietta and the Symphonic Songs for baritone and orchestra...

Offline Luke

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2011, 02:26:40 AM »
I didn't think it strange.  They were born about 3 months apart, were both late-romantic composers who evolved further and both are on the fringe of being popular composers.  Most significant to me, I'd put both in my top ten although neither would be anywhere near that level based on general consensus.

Then again, maybe I'm just a strange guy.

No, I just thought it odd based on the sense I get that Scriabin is a different sort of composer - a true original, an experimenter, an inventor of an entirely new method of composing, and very influential in his way - whereas Zemlinsky, fine composer though he is, is not this sort of figure

Online Cato

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2011, 09:42:32 AM »
No, I just thought it odd based on the sense I get that Scriabin is a different sort of composer - a true original, an experimenter, an inventor of an entirely new method of composing, and very influential in his way - whereas Zemlinsky, fine composer though he is, is not this sort of figure

Like Richard Strauss in his Elektra days, Zemlinsky also approaches and sails into the Ultima Thule of Tonality.

Unlike Scriabin, however, Zemlinsky does not leave the planet.

The Russian once told a friend that he would reveal to him his compositional methods, i.e. the ones he developed in his 8th - 10th Sonata days.

So the friend came over to visit, and Scriabin went out of his way to avoid revealing anything about his compositions, and according to the friend, seemed relieved by his friend ignoring the offer.
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Offline Luke

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Re: Zemlinsky vs. Scriabin
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2011, 01:16:11 PM »
Like Richard Strauss in his Elektra days, Zemlinsky also approaches and sails into the Ultima Thule of Tonality.

Unlike Scriabin, however, Zemlinsky does not leave the planet.

The Russian once told a friend that he would reveal to him his compositional methods, i.e. the ones he developed in his 8th - 10th Sonata days.

So the friend came over to visit, and Scriabin went out of his way to avoid revealing anything about his compositions, and according to the friend, seemed relieved by his friend ignoring the offer.

Yes, as you say, Zemlinsky skirted the fringes of tonality - my contention, though, is not so much about how far towards this position the two composers got*, as it is about the individuality or otherwise of how they got there, and the effect on the music. Zemlinsky is, broadly, within that Brahms-Wagner-Strauss line that Schoenberg found himself in, and works in a similar way, but without reaching such an extreme position. But Scriabin, when one looks beyond the lush Romanticism of the earlier orchestral pieces, the Chopinesque pianism of the earlier piano pieces, and the bizarre spiritual beliefs, was really a revolutionary, going in a direction no one had done before -  those synthetic chords and the structures derived from them, essentially simple in concept, are nevertheless completely new, and, importantly in the context of the thread, they sound like no one else. It's a revolution smaller in effect than Schoenberg's, but hardly negligible (and maybe even, in the long run, an equally fruitful way of writing). He's influential too - Scriabin is the most important forebear of that school of Modernist Russian composers so many of whom worked in ways that closely parallel him - one can't imagine Wyschnegradsky without him (as you said) - nor Roslavets, or Protopopov, or Mosolov, or Grigory and Alexander Krein etc. These composers all found their way to their own carefully controlled languages - but in many cases they are essentially more complex, involved forms of Scriabin's own methods. Russian composers around this time had a way of creating music afresh - think of Rebikov or Obouhov(!!) - but Scriabin was both earlier and more complete as a musician than any of them, which makes for a unique and powerful listening experience.

*in fact, I'd say that in mature Scriabin, the issue of tonality is misleading - he's atonal, technically, but the word doesn't really mean the same in the context of his fixed, unchanging harmonic frameworks which are so often based on 'French sixth'-like quasi-dominants, taking on an aura of floating, transfigured tonality.