Author Topic: The Denisov Dabbler  (Read 9977 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2011, 10:52:00 AM »
Works for Chamber Orchestra BIS-518

Concerto for 2 Violas, Harpsichord and String Orchestra (1984)
Chamber Music for Viola, Harpsichord and Strings (1982)
Variations in 'Es ist genug' (1984/86)
Epitaph (1983)

Boy I wish I could get the pics up. >:D Anyhow, this is that BIS cd of Denisov that's been around forever. It sounds to me like a preferable Schnittke,... haha, maybe I've had so many BIS discs over the years, they have a musical 'stamp', haha?

This is all nice and moody, without those hysterical Schnittkean outbursts. It's not a blow-you-away cd, but very nice on a dark and stormy day (though, not too stormy ('never at dusk', haha)).

I think I've reached a peak with Denisov. I'm going to let the Collection marinate a bit, and I'll get back to you. Denisov does come off more and more as a very Bergian Composer, I think.


Offline not edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3827
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2011, 03:12:11 PM »
My problem with later Denisov is that so much of it is endless variations on the same motto theme. It means that for me successive works have a diminishing impact. I still think that Requiem and the viola concerto (also arranged for saxophone) are tremendous works, though (and the BIS disc that snyprr comments on in the previous post is very strong too).

I blow hot and cold on his earlier work. Some of the more dated gestures sound painfully awkward to my ears at least, yet every now and then there's a bona-fide masterpiece like The Sun of the Incas to consider. And while this particular work has, understandably, sometimes been characterised as a Russian Marteau sans maitre, what's even more striking to me are the parallels between its enigmatic last movement and the end of Shostakovich's slightly later 14th symphony.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline Sandra

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 137
  • Location: Portland, Oregon
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2011, 02:20:57 AM »
And while this particular work has, understandably, sometimes been characterised as a Russian Marteau sans maitre, what's even more striking to me are the parallels between its enigmatic last movement and the end of Shostakovich's slightly later 14th symphony.

I hear such parallels all over the place. Shostakovich's influence made its way into every piece that I've heard from this composer. And I agree, exhausting the same simple motives in endless variations isn't always successful, especially if the motives themselves are trivial and dull.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say... Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!" - J. Sibelius

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #23 on: January 25, 2013, 08:43:43 PM »
A Denisov New Release flew in under the radar, and from Harmonia Mundi no less!:

http://www.amazon.com/Denisov-Chamber-Symphonies-romances-Akhmatova/dp/B007X98RDS/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1359171549&sr=1-1&keywords=denisov

This contains two Song Cycles, and also the 2 Chamber Symphonies, which are nice to have together, making a lot of other cds now obsolete (good news for the Collector). This is a 'Major Denisov Event'!

I was just going over the Denisov Discography, and lamenting that Denisov seems destined for the 'Piece-Meal' Composer category, meaning, there are still not many All-Denisov programs out there.

I was just listening to his late-'70s oboe/harpsichord/cello Trio, an absolutely wonderful expression of Denisov's characteristic late soundworld: the snow and mist was a perfect backdrop to this music as I was driving.


Symphony (large, hour long, encapsulating all of Denisov's concerns with light/good-dark/evil)

Chamber Symphonies 1-2 (much smaller, same general sound)


Violin Concerto (Masterpiece! absolutely beats Schnittke at his game)
Cello Concerto (Masterpiece! with electric guitar, awesome!; also 'Death Is A Long Sleep')
2 Viola Concerto (also two other viola 'concertos'; BIS- these are much more subdued, late style)

Flute Concerto?             I suspect all the wind concertos follow the 'late style' lead
Clarinet Concerto
Oboe Concerto*
Saxophone Concerto (plus 'Piccolo Concerto')

Piano Concerto (in my view, the least of the Concertos, energetic though)

Requiem (creepy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjtPg2RN_Hc)
Sun of the Incas (vocal)
La Vin et Rouge (vocal)
Les Pleurs (vocal; with Italian Songs)
2 Cycles on Harmonia Mundi (vocal)


Peinture
Epitaph
Romantic Music
Ode
...other smaller orchestral & chamber pieces...


Piano Quintet**
Clarinet Quintet**
Flute Quartet
(4 Pieces for SQ)?
Piano Trio***
String Trio***

oboe/cello Trio (Masterpiece!; other Trios, unrecorded)***

Cello Sonata (plus other pieces)***
Violin Sonata ( plus 'Solo' & 'Duo')

flute + piano (pretty famous)*** His son plays flute
flute + guitar (pretty famous)***
saxophone + piano (pretty famous)

solo clarinet (pretty famous)**

trombone
trumpet
brass + percussion

Piano Music (the cd of Piano Music is nice; also '4 Hands')***




Denisov starts off with a highly concentrated Wedbernesque languange that peaks in the early '70s. Also, the oratorio 'Sun of the Incas', from the ;60s, is one of the most experimental works of the Denisov-Schnittke-Gubaidulina generation.

Towards the end of the '70s, Denisov hit on a very bleak Impressionism, the sound of overcast skies, coupled with an intense chromaticism manifesting the battle between light and darkness that was at the core of ALL his late works. The net, aural effect is of melting music, the 'light' constantly being 'moved' by the dark forces. Denisov's late music has an ingrained creepy factor that may be disconcerting to some; take care also, for one does not want to overdose on the sound and get a Densiov hangover. I suggest trying the Symphony, or the new Harmonia Mundi disc, or one of the discs that has the Piano & Clarinet Quintets. A lot of the Sonatas appear willy-nilly on a bunch of recital discs, but, his music always graces the programs it is included in: his style can be easily appreciated alongside the company of others (witness the flute/guitar Sonata).

I'm calling Denisov the 'Ultra Chromaticist', the ultimate Scriabinite, the closest Composer in sound to the bleak Victorianisms of Lovecraft.



Offline not edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3827
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2013, 10:30:37 AM »
The disc you mention was one of Fiona Maddocks' discs of the year in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/nov/11/denisov-plat-haut-cieux-peyre?INTCMP=SRCH
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2013, 02:38:27 PM »
The disc you mention was one of Fiona Maddocks' discs of the year in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/nov/11/denisov-plat-haut-cieux-peyre?INTCMP=SRCH

... gossamer textures... ooooo :o

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2013, 09:26:04 AM »
The disc you mention was one of Fiona Maddocks' discs of the year in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/nov/11/denisov-plat-haut-cieux-peyre?INTCMP=SRCH

Well, no one else seems to be on the Denisov tip. What do you think of the Symphony?

Offline not edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3827
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: Denisov's Lighbulb
« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2013, 08:35:13 PM »
Well, no one else seems to be on the Denisov tip. What do you think of the Symphony?
Meh. Too stagnant for my tastes; though beautiful in places the material is stretched terribly thin--and I've heard the late Denisov motto theme way too often by now. I've not heard the Second Symphony (has it been recorded?) or the Second Chamber Symphony that is on the new disc.

I think my favourite Denisov discs remain the BIS viola/chamber orchestra disc and the Melodiya Musica Non Grata collection featuring Requiem. The viola/sax concerto I like a lot too--the moment when the textures clear an the celestas introduce the Schubert theme of the finale is extraordinary. I'm also a big fan of the early Sun of the Incas; calling it the Russian Marteau is an oversimplification, but it's also as good a description as I can think of.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Offline BrianSA

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: Canada
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2013, 04:32:15 PM »
OK, this may be a dumb question, but...can anybody tell me exactly how many symphonies Denisov composed?

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2013, 06:24:40 AM »
OK, this may be a dumb question, but...can anybody tell me exactly how many symphonies Denisov composed?

I thought it was just the one, called, Symphony.

Then there are 2 Chamber Symphonies.

I am completely unaware of any 2nd Symphony,... Edward??

I don't even think there is a juvenile Symphony...


Meh. Too stagnant for my tastes; though beautiful in places the material is stretched terribly thin--and I've heard the late Denisov motto theme way too often by now. I've not heard the Second Symphony (has it been recorded?) or the Second Chamber Symphony that is on the new disc.

I think my favourite Denisov discs remain the BIS viola/chamber orchestra disc and the Melodiya Musica Non Grata collection featuring Requiem. The viola/sax concerto I like a lot too--the moment when the textures clear an the celestas introduce the Schubert theme of the finale is extraordinary. I'm also a big fan of the early Sun of the Incas; calling it the Russian Marteau is an oversimplification, but it's also as good a description as I can think of.

Yea, I know the Symphony is a throbbing pile of dreariness, but, if you have a snowy, misty day, it can't be beat. Yes, Denisov begins to play his two note song (Tranquillo-Agitato) endlessly, but when I NEED grey&dreary, he's one of the few who will do. Even Schnittke has to many things going on for me to wallow in razor blade territory, but Denisov is TOTALLY homogenized into an absinthe hazed stupor.

Offline BrianSA

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Location: Canada
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2013, 07:09:40 AM »
Ha!  So I thought as well.  But just within the past week I discovered that there is apparently a second (downloadable, in two different performances no less, here: http://classical-music-online.net/en/production/29664 ). 

This happy discovery prompted me to check out the entry on Denisiv on Onno van Rijen's Soviet Composers site (http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/denisov.htm ), and this was where things started to get really snakey.  Onno's site lists the following quasi-symphonic compositions for Denisov:

Symphony no 1 in C major (1955)
 
Symphony no 2 for two string orchestras and percussion (1962)
 
Chamber symphony (1982)
 
Symphony (1987) (!)
 
Chamber symphony no 2 (1994)
 
Symphony no 2 (1996) (!?!)

So, symphonies nos 1 & 2, followed by an unumbered symphony (the piece we know as "Denisov'symphony"), followed by a second second symphony (the piece for which I gave the download link above), with two chamber symphonies interspersed.  So you see, perhaps, why I'm confused...

I even considered the possibility that there might be some kind of formatting error leading to some kind of repetition or inadverent mis-insertion, but this doesn't really appear to be the case...

So can anybody shed any light on this?  Are we talking about two withdrawn/disowned/destroyed early symphonies?  And if not what's with the carazy numbering?  As peculiar and confusing as anything William Schuman or Allan Pettersson could come up with... ???
« Last Edit: May 18, 2013, 07:11:37 AM by BrianSA »

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2013, 08:45:25 AM »
Ha!  So I thought as well.  But just within the past week I discovered that there is apparently a second (downloadable, in two different performances no less, here: http://classical-music-online.net/en/production/29664 ). 

This happy discovery prompted me to check out the entry on Denisiv on Onno van Rijen's Soviet Composers site (http://home.wanadoo.nl/ovar/denisov.htm ), and this was where things started to get really snakey.  Onno's site lists the following quasi-symphonic compositions for Denisov:

Symphony no 1 in C major (1955)
 
Symphony no 2 for two string orchestras and percussion (1962)
 
Chamber symphony (1982)
 
Symphony (1987) (!)
 
Chamber symphony no 2 (1994)
 
Symphony no 2 (1996) (!?!)

So, symphonies nos 1 & 2, followed by an unumbered symphony (the piece we know as "Denisov'symphony"), followed by a second second symphony (the piece for which I gave the download link above), with two chamber symphonies interspersed.  So you see, perhaps, why I'm confused...

I even considered the possibility that there might be some kind of formatting error leading to some kind of repetition or inadverent mis-insertion, but this doesn't really appear to be the case...

So can anybody shed any light on this?  Are we talking about two withdrawn/disowned/destroyed early symphonies?  And if not what's with the carazy numbering?  As peculiar and confusing as anything William Schuman or Allan Pettersson could come up with... ???

Surely then the first two are withdrawn. Everything else is as we know it (except for this new discovery). Huh! Well! I guess we'll have to have a listen, won't we? Can one make a cd-r from that?

It's definitely light Denisov weather here today!


Really, has anyone heard the oboe-harpsichord-cello Trio (Berlin Classics)? This is early Late Denisov, all the markers, but it is just sooo hazy and EA Poe-ish. At a good 1/2 hour, it must be his longest chamber work (that I know of). Wow, I'm building up a little Denisov froth this morning!!

Offline not edward

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3827
  • Hello, little man. I will destroy you.
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2013, 10:58:49 AM »
Ha!  So I thought as well.  But just within the past week I discovered that there is apparently a second (downloadable, in two different performances no less, here: http://classical-music-online.net/en/production/29664 ).
Thanks for this; it's a very interesting piece. The same motto theme and compositional techniques as almost all of his post-Requiem work, but this time he lets the harmonic tension burst through to the surface in violent, angry fortissimo passages (and very organically it does so too; his control of tension is impressive here). It is very satisfying to hear late Denisov with fire in its belly, as for all its beauties I find much of his late work terribly grey and monotonous; if there are more works like this I'd really like to hear them.
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2013, 06:09:15 AM »
for all its beauties I find much of his late work terribly grey and monotonous

That's why only Denisov will do when the weather looks like EA Poe! Yes, Late Denisov does not work on a sunny spring day!

Offline amw

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4867
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2013, 07:23:50 PM »
A friend of mine who shares very similar musical tastes recommended to me Edison Denisov's Symphony, which he called a "masterpiece". Anyone familiar with it, or any of Denisov's music for that matter? It's available on this CD:
Oddly, while I've never heard any of them, I have scores of several Denisov pieces, including the regular Symphony as well as the two Chamber Symphonies, The Sun of the Incas and other works.

From leafing through the Symphony, it looks long and rambly in a Schnittke-Pettersson-Silvestrovy sort of way, although somewhat more "freely atonal" in language. I'm not particularly tempted to listen to it myself, but it might be just the sort of thing for a particularly gloomy, rainy day sometime. Cf. quotes above. ;)

kyjo

  • Guest
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2013, 03:02:25 AM »
Oddly, while I've never heard any of them, I have scores of several Denisov pieces, including the regular Symphony as well as the two Chamber Symphonies, The Sun of the Incas and other works.

From leafing through the Symphony, it looks long and rambly in a Schnittke-Pettersson-Silvestrovy sort of way, although somewhat more "freely atonal" in language. I'm not particularly tempted to listen to it myself, but it might be just the sort of thing for a particularly gloomy, rainy day sometime. Cf. quotes above. ;)

Thanks for your reply, amw! Yes, I've read that Denisov often employs "free atonality" in his music-not a concept I'm too fond of, but it won't keep me from checking out his music. Schnittke, Pettersson and Silvestrov are all composers whose music my gloomy self enjoys, so the comparison you make to their music is intriguing. I'm going to browse YouTube to see if there might be any Densiov works of interest I could sample there. :)

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: The Denisov Dabbler
« Reply #36 on: October 18, 2013, 12:20:24 PM »
Oddly, while I've never heard any of them, I have scores of several Denisov pieces, including the regular Symphony as well as the two Chamber Symphonies, The Sun of the Incas and other works.

From leafing through the Symphony, it looks long and rambly in a Schnittke-Pettersson-Silvestrovy sort of way, although somewhat more "freely atonal" in language. I'm not particularly tempted to listen to it myself, but it might be just the sort of thing for a particularly gloomy, rainy day sometime. Cf. quotes above. ;)
Thanks for your reply, amw! Yes, I've read that Denisov often employs "free atonality" in his music-not a concept I'm too fond of, but it won't keep me from checking out his music. Schnittke, Pettersson and Silvestrov are all composers whose music my gloomy self enjoys, so the comparison you make to their music is intriguing. I'm going to browse YouTube to see if there might be any Densiov works of interest I could sample there. :)

I wouldn't mind getting that Barenboim Symphony (Erato) again. I'd say it's almost like Penderecki's 'Christmas' Symphony in its organic and dreary demeanor. I do look forward to the wintry day the Symphony could work wonders!

Someone might enjoy that recent HarmoniaMundi release rather than the Symphony proper. Same basic situation, but perhaps with more variety?