Benjamin Britten

Started by Boris_G, July 12, 2007, 10:14:21 PM

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Egebedieff

Quote from: zamyrabyrd on September 21, 2009, 02:41:45 AM
We can have one here.
I feel as if I have just fallen down the rabbit hole.'

Wendell_E

Quote from: zamyrabyrd on September 21, 2009, 01:49:08 AM
The difference between TofS and Hansel and Gretel is in the latter, evil does not win out in the end.  

I don't see evil winning in The Turn of the Screw, either.  Good "wins", but at a great price.
"Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." ― Mark Twain

zamyrabyrd

Quote from: ' on September 21, 2009, 02:43:09 AM
I feel as if I have just fallen down the rabbit hole.'

"Barney Rubble can never look into the face of God."
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one."

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Egebedieff

Quote from: zamyrabyrd on September 21, 2009, 02:41:45 AM
We can have one here.

This becomes more and more tantalizing -- the notion that we at GMG could hold a real trial for Peter Grimes. Who will be the judge? Who will be the lawyers? Who gets to be the real Peter Grimes? I am most interested in seeing what questions will be asked for the voir dire.

'

zamyrabyrd

Quote from: Wendell_E on September 21, 2009, 02:43:38 AM
I don't see evil winning in The Turn of the Screw, either.  Good "wins", but at a great price.

Unless I got it wrong, Miles calls out the name of 'Peter Quint' and dies.  I can't think of any worse psychological horror for a kid than to believe one is possessed by an evil spirit and not to have any escape.

As I said in the previous post, either you don't believe in spirits, so all this is a myth, or playacting, not worthy of any serious consideration.
Or you do, in which case this is not a subject to be treated lightly, even in playacting.
The film "Chucky" or something like that in which a doll was possessed became a pretext for murder.
ZB
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one."

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Egebedieff

Quote from: zamyrabyrd on September 21, 2009, 02:46:21 AM
"Barney Rubble can never look into the face of God."

I take your point [?]

Well, maybe the real Barney Rubble can. '

zamyrabyrd

Quote from: ' on September 21, 2009, 02:56:47 AM
This becomes more and more tantalizing -- the notion that we at GMG could hold a real trial for Peter Grimes. Who will be the judge? Who will be the lawyers? Who gets to be the real Peter Grimes? I am most interested in seeing what questions will be asked for the voir dire.

'

Well, it would be interesting to find out who actually thinks that he was a child abuser, capable of murder or that he was a more a victim of bias and prejudice, driven to rage and ultimately madness.

ZB
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one."

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Egebedieff

#107
Quote from: zamyrabyrd on September 21, 2009, 03:06:30 AM
Well, it would be interesting to find out who actually thinks that he was a child abuser, capable of murder or that he was a more a victim of bias and prejudice, driven to rage and ultimately madness.

ZB
Put that way, there is a tinge of real realness to knowing who thinks what about a work of fiction. But, as in real life, such a vote won't eliminate that pesky ambiguity (I'm speaking as someone who lives in Texas, where similar votes have led to too many really and literally real bury-that-rag-deep-in-your-face tragedies).
'

zamyrabyrd

Quote from: ' on September 21, 2009, 03:17:05 AM
Put that way, there is a tinge of real realness to knowing who thinks what about a work of fiction. But, as in real life, such a vote won't eliminate that pesky ambiguity (I'm speaking as someone who lives in Texas, where similar votes have led to too many really and literally real bury-that-rag-deep-in-your-face tragedies).
'

The ambiguity of an apostrophe, does it mean possession or quote or something else?
A writer of fiction has the option to withhold vital information until the end like Conan Doyle.
Or not give it out at all, keeping everyone in perpetual suspense.
(It's not real anyway, so why get all upset?)
But in real life, a person commits or doesn't commit a crime.

ZB
"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one."

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

karlhenning

I think Paul Bunyan is great fun.  Sure, Auden's libretto can get a little ripe at times, but for the most part, it's all right, and at 'worst', it's saved by the music.

karlhenning


karlhenning

The "Blues" of № 9 is very stylishly done.

alkan

One work of Britten's, which is my personal favourite, is the Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge for string orchestra.     

I find it absolutely miraculous, both technically and emotionally.

A long time ago I heard it used as the soundtrack for a BBC film.     It was the sole music used, and was able to convey a vast diversity of sentiments.     The film was based on the short story "Mathilda's England" by William Trevor ..... a haunting story that the music captured perfectly.      I wonder if I am the only one who saw this in TV  (around 25 years ago)?


The War Requiem, and the Sinfonia da Requiem are greater music, but as another person pointed out, they require a lot of effort.      I play the Bridge Variations much more often.   Also the Young Person's Guide to the orchestra is a lot of fun and very uplifting.     Always in a good mood after hearing it .....


The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

Lethevich

Alkan - I agree, the Bridge Variations are some of the most sheerly enjoyable music since the Classicists and the Romantics. Whenever I hear them I marvel over how Britten absolutely nailed the style - as if the works were screaming out to be composed and finally somebody wrote them. Along with the Simple Symphony - which is excellent and in a similar style, but not quite such an accomplished work - there is a wonderful wide-eyed quality in these compositions, which simultaneously appeal to adults and children, to a desire for excellent surface melodies and intriguing development.
Peanut butter, flour and sugar do not make cookies. They make FIRE.

alkan

Lethe - there are two things that always amaze me with the Bridge Variations.   

First, the fact that they were written very quickly (4 or 5 weeks I think, in response to an emergency call from the Boyd Neel orchestra).    It's incredible how any human being was able to create such a series of original and perfect mini-masterpieces from a fairly non-descript theme in such a short time.    Pure, inspired genius ...

Second, the orchestral effects which are deployed.    In the Funeral March it's difficult to believe there is no timpani.    In the Chant, the spread of tones, from the very highest to the very lowest, creates an unearthly atmosphere.    The unexpected, yet very clever and satisfying accents and syncopations in the Bourree.   I could go on and on ....
The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.
Harlan Ellison (1934 - )

karlhenning

Quote from: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 01, 2010, 07:09:26 AM
I think Paul Bunyan is great fun.  Sure, Auden's libretto can get a little ripe at times, but for the most part, it's all right, and at 'worst', it's saved by the music.

I am thankful that this recording includes the five-minute Overture (which, I suppose, was scrapped for an orchestral Introduction which runs a bit more than one minute).  The Overture is fine: peppy and doesn't run too long . . . I don't think that the "time-save" was the issue (what is it to 'trim' a bit less than four minutes, from a two-hour operetta?), they must have decided that they wanted to plunge right in with a dewy Prologue.

Pierre

Quote from: zamyrabyrd on September 21, 2009, 02:58:32 AM
Unless I got it wrong, Miles calls out the name of 'Peter Quint' and dies.  I can't think of any worse psychological horror for a kid than to believe one is possessed by an evil spirit and not to have any escape.

As I said in the previous post, either you don't believe in spirits, so all this is a myth, or playacting, not worthy of any serious consideration.
Or you do, in which case this is not a subject to be treated lightly, even in playacting.
The film "Chucky" or something like that in which a doll was possessed became a pretext for murder.
ZB

An option you (and it seems others) have not considered is that nearly all the opera is seen from the perspective of the governess (as is made utterly clear in Britten's opera by it being introduced as 'a curious story' written by her): and therefore, arguably, a portrait of her losing her sanity. The final cry of 'Peter Quint, you devil!' is ambiguous - who is the devil? Is it Peter Quint, as you assume; or is 'you devil!' aimed at the Governess who has goaded the boy into this 'confession'? Bear in mind that in order to sing this role, the boy needs quite a strong voice and so would certainly be anywhere in the range of 11-13 years old - quite old enough, IMHO, to handle the opera as Britten (at least) conceived it; indeed, as brilliantly demonstrated by the young David Hemmings in the premiere recording.

karlhenning

It's certainly a curiously intense operatic adaptation of a curiously intense short story.

Novi

Quote from: Pierre on February 11, 2010, 11:13:22 AM
An option you (and it seems others) have not considered is that nearly all the opera is seen from the perspective of the governess (as is made utterly clear in Britten's opera by it being introduced as 'a curious story' written by her): and therefore, arguably, a portrait of her losing her sanity. The final cry of 'Peter Quint, you devil!' is ambiguous - who is the devil? Is it Peter Quint, as you assume; or is 'you devil!' aimed at the Governess who has goaded the boy into this 'confession'? Bear in mind that in order to sing this role, the boy needs quite a strong voice and so would certainly be anywhere in the range of 11-13 years old - quite old enough, IMHO, to handle the opera as Britten (at least) conceived it; indeed, as brilliantly demonstrated by the young David Hemmings in the premiere recording.


Bearing in mind that I've only heard this once and without libretto, I thought that the ambiguity in James's novella was lost in the transition to opera. So much of the cleverness is in textual nuance; the story on hearing seemed more straightforward.

I'll have to listen to this again though. Does anyone know if there is a libretto easily available? I've got the EMI box which has a lot of music but is rather skimpy otherwise...
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den der heimlich lauschet.

Scarpia

Listened to a piece by Britten that I have not heard before, the Violin Concerto.  The recording I have is Vengrov/Rostropovich with the London Symphony.

It is a piece that has a lot of interesting music, but which I don't find quite holds together.  The first movement is the part that works best for me, not a typical Concerto opening movement, but a sort of rhapsody in medium temp.  The middle movement is a scherzo and the finale a grand passacaglia.  My problem is that I don't find the passacaglia works as a concerto movement.  There are parts where the orchestra builds up to imposing creschendos, then it falls away to reveal the solo violin, which is unable to sustain the drama or momentum (at least in my impression of this performance).  The very end is very beautiful, a haunting, quiet passage.

In any case, I'm not sure Vengerov/Rostropovic/EMI Abbey Road is the idea for this, so I have Britten's own recording on order.