Author Topic: Florestan´s Romantic Salon  (Read 64819 times)

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Offline Cato

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #160 on: December 20, 2018, 01:45:22 PM »
If one takes the first half of the 20th century as a time when late (sometimes too late or overripe ;)) romanticism was still alive, I think the impression is somewhat skewed. With the Russians it seems obvious that "modernists" and "romantics" (both very rough and clicheed terms) existed in parallel, sometimes (like Prokofieff) in one person. Among the German/Austrian composers it seems mainly that the big names overshadow the others. But Korngold, Schmidt, Schreker, Joseph Marx, Hausegger and others did exist and they would probably be as well known as some of the British composers if there had not been Mahler, Strauss, Schönberg etc. To put it somewhat malignantly, if there is no first tier in a region, it is obvious that the second tier will be more famous than someone else's second tier.

Another point could of be that the German/Austrian composers of the late 19th century had "exhausted" romanticism to such an extent that more of their immediate successors looked for new, sometimes more extravagant ways of composition. Russian music had a much shorter history but it was also rich enough to produce its "own brand" of both modernism and late/postromanticism (similarly probably for the Czech). But British music was really dormant between ca. 1700 and the late 19th century. (The most important "British" composers between Purcell and Elgar were Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn...)

There was far more "space" for Elgar and the somewhat younger composers like RVW to do their own particular version of later romantic or also modern music than for a German/Austrian born in ca. 1870.


It is interesting to listen across the decades and think about such things.  Certainly in the 1960's, when I first heard e.g. Prokofiev's Second Symphony, Third Symphony, Chout, etc.   (i.e. pre-Soviet Prokofiev), I would have automatically described him as a "Modernist" and an example of someone breaking away from Romanticism.

Now I am doubtful about that seemingly too easy classification.  To be sure, Rachmaninov's works are more recognizable as 19th-century (post- ?) Romantic efforts, and he would not have agreed (and did not agree) with the younger composer's pushing of tonality.  Yet it is difficult to find a more emotional and even emotionally hysterical (in the unpleasant sense of insanity) work than The Fiery Angel along with its hybrid offspring Symphony #3.  (Think of it as Carl Maria von Weber's "Wolf's Glen" scene from  Der Freischuetz on steroids  ;)   ). In fact more and more I hear Mahler in pre-Soviet Prokofiev, especially given the extremes toward which both composers seemed to gravitate. No, I am not saying that Prokofiev knew of or studied MAhler, simply that great minds  act in parallel m

Shostakovich famously found inspiration in Mahler, and the entire symphonic oeuvre of Karl Amadeus Hartmann, who was nearly a generation younger than Prokofiev, is very "Romantic" in its expressivity, works which often push against boundaries with nearly manic energy.  Hartmann is often seen as the greatest descendant of the central European symphonic tradition. 

Brahms the Progressive is the title of a famous essay by Arnold Schoenberg, who saw himself as at least a partial descendant of Brahms, as well as Mahler and Bruckner.  (See Dika Newlin's famous book Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg) and who  brought the art movement of German Expressionism into music.  But was not German Expressionism the further development of Romanticism, a variation into unknown keys, so to speak?  Are not Erwartung and even the later Moses und Aron full of the DNA of earlier "Romantic" operas, despite the "mathematical coldness" of the 12-tone system?   And if Romanticism is about death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible, does not "composing with 12 notes" open up new possibilities to explore precisely those things?

« Last Edit: December 20, 2018, 03:16:27 PM by Cato »
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Offline Irons

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #161 on: December 21, 2018, 01:14:09 AM »
Just what has "hegemony of the proletariat" got to do with Romanticism / romanticism? And what do you make of the firmly anti-Bolshevik yet unabashedly romantic Russian émigrés Rachmaninoff, Medtner and Bortkiewicz?

Good point. I was more thinking of the problems encountered by Shostakovich. His music and up to a point, Prokofiev's was influenced by state intervention. It took 25 years for Shostakovich's 4th Symphony to be premiered. A symphony I find to be his  least romantic.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #162 on: January 12, 2019, 09:16:28 AM »
If one takes the first half of the 20th century as a time when late (sometimes too late or overripe ;)) romanticism was still alive, I think the impression is somewhat skewed. With the Russians it seems obvious that "modernists" and "romantics" (both very rough and clicheed terms) existed in parallel, sometimes (like Prokofieff) in one person. Among the German/Austrian composers it seems mainly that the big names overshadow the others. But Korngold, Schmidt, Schreker, Joseph Marx, Hausegger and others did exist and they would probably be as well known as some of the British composers if there had not been Mahler, Strauss, Schönberg etc. To put it somewhat malignantly, if there is no first tier in a region, it is obvious that the second tier will be more famous than someone else's second tier.

Another point could of be that the German/Austrian composers of the late 19th century had "exhausted" romanticism to such an extent that more of their immediate successors looked for new, sometimes more extravagant ways of composition. Russian music had a much shorter history but it was also rich enough to produce its "own brand" of both modernism and late/postromanticism (similarly probably for the Czech). But British music was really dormant between ca. 1700 and the late 19th century. (The most important "British" composers between Purcell and Elgar were Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn...)
There was far more "space" for Elgar and the somewhat younger composers like RVW to do their own particular version of later romantic or also modern music than for a German/Austrian born in ca. 1870.

It is interesting to listen across the decades and think about such things.  Certainly in the 1960's, when I first heard e.g. Prokofiev's Second Symphony, Third Symphony, Chout, etc.   (i.e. pre-Soviet Prokofiev), I would have automatically described him as a "Modernist" and an example of someone breaking away from Romanticism.

Now I am doubtful about that seemingly too easy classification.  To be sure, Rachmaninov's works are more recognizable as 19th-century (post- ?) Romantic efforts, and he would not have agreed (and did not agree) with the younger composer's pushing of tonality.  Yet it is difficult to find a more emotional and even emotionally hysterical (in the unpleasant sense of insanity) work than The Fiery Angel along with its hybrid offspring Symphony #3.  (Think of it as Carl Maria von Weber's "Wolf's Glen" scene from  Der Freischuetz on steroids  ;)   ). In fact more and more I hear Mahler in pre-Soviet Prokofiev, especially given the extremes toward which both composers seemed to gravitate. No, I am not saying that Prokofiev knew of or studied Mahler, simply that great minds act in parallel ways at times.

Shostakovich famously found inspiration in Mahler, and the entire symphonic oeuvre of Karl Amadeus Hartmann, who was nearly a generation younger than Prokofiev, is very "Romantic" in its expressivity, works which often push against boundaries with nearly manic energy.  Hartmann is often seen as the greatest descendant of the central European symphonic tradition. 

Brahms the Progressive is the title of a famous essay by Arnold Schoenberg, who saw himself as at least a partial descendant of Brahms, as well as Mahler and Bruckner.  (See Dika Newlin's famous book Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg) and who  brought the art movement of German Expressionism into music.  But was not German Expressionism the further development of Romanticism, a variation into unknown keys, so to speak?  Are not Erwartung and even the later Moses und Aron full of the DNA of earlier "Romantic" operas, despite the "mathematical coldness" of the 12-tone system?   And if Romanticism is about death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible, does not "composing with 12 notes" open up new possibilities to explore precisely those things?



Bump! 

To quote myself: "And if Romanticism is about death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible, does not "composing with 12 notes" open up new possibilities to explore precisely those things?"

I think again of Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, not to mention the String Trio and Berg's Lulu, in connection to this question.
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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #163 on: January 12, 2019, 02:12:19 PM »
I have also thought for some time of the Epressionism of Schönberg, Berg etc as the height of Romanticism, instead of as a breaking from it. Much of early Modernism is also a kind of urban Romanticism, treating factories and streets as the previous generations treated forests and rivers.
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Offline Cato

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #164 on: January 12, 2019, 03:52:16 PM »
I have also thought for some time of the Epressionism of Schönberg, Berg etc as the height of Romanticism, instead of as a breaking from it. Much of early Modernism is also a kind of urban Romanticism, treating factories and streets as the previous generations treated forests and rivers.

Fascinating idea, although my first impression is that it needs to be placed on its head, i.e. is not early urban Modernism critical of the urban life it finds, rather than nostalgic or laudatory?  I am thinking primarily of the critical/satirical novels of Sinclair Lewis of the 1910's and 1920's, along with things like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

On the other hand, Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain along with Hermann Hesse's early works like Knulp and Beneath the Wheel would seem to have a variation of the Romantic spirit, albeit also rather critical and/or satirical. 

Early 20th Century Science Fiction can be viewed as having a "Romantic" connection I would think: fantasy, optimistic and pessimistic, themes on human life: here I would mention the works of H.G. Wells, and the movies Metropolis, Just Imagine, and King Kong.

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #165 on: January 12, 2019, 04:52:49 PM »
Fascinating idea, although my first impression is that it needs to be placed on its head, i.e. is not early urban Modernism critical of the urban life it finds, rather than nostalgic or laudatory?  I am thinking primarily of the critical/satirical novels of Sinclair Lewis of the 1910's and 1920's, along with things like The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

On the other hand, Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain along with Hermann Hesse's early works like Knulp and Beneath the Wheel would seem to have a variation of the Romantic spirit, albeit also rather critical and/or satirical. 

Early 20th Century Science Fiction can be viewed as having a "Romantic" connection I would think: fantasy, optimistic and pessimistic, themes on human life: here I would mention the works of H.G. Wells, and the movies Metropolis, Just Imagine, and King Kong.
True, there's certainly also a criticizing/mocking tone to many of these portrayals of urban life in modern art.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #166 on: February 24, 2019, 12:15:20 AM »
[/img]


This is a wonderful recording of the Machaut mass. They sing it like it's a chamber piece by Schumann, voices projected like lieder singers, quivering with tasteful humanising vibrato, sweet instrumental accompaniment, everything in line and everything fluid, glorious cantabile with long long phrases, all the harmonies resolved like in a part song by Schubert. Of course it's a lie, a travesty, a romantic effusion. But what glorious music making! What a siren song!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 12:34:10 AM by Mandryka »
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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #167 on: February 25, 2019, 08:23:03 AM »
[/img]


This is a wonderful recording of the Machaut mass. They sing it like it's a chamber piece by Schumann, voices projected like lieder singers, quivering with tasteful humanising vibrato, sweet instrumental accompaniment, everything in line and everything fluid, glorious cantabile with long long phrases, all the harmonies resolved like in a part song by Schubert. Of course it's a lie, a travesty, a romantic effusion. But what glorious music making! What a siren song!

You mean that you can smell the fish and chips through the haze. :D

Offline Ken B

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #168 on: February 25, 2019, 08:38:13 AM »
I have also thought for some time of the Epressionism of Schönberg, Berg etc as the height of Romanticism, instead of as a breaking from it. Much of early Modernism is also a kind of urban Romanticism, treating factories and streets as the previous generations treated forests and rivers.
Absolutely.




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Offline some guy

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #169 on: September 08, 2019, 02:43:54 AM »
...if Romanticism is about death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible....
A pretty big "if," though, no?

Romanticism starts with the primacy of the individual and all that entails. In practice, what that entails is that Romanticism is inclusive. Since all individuals differ from each other somewhat, accepting the primacy of the individual means accepting a whole bunch of differing and contradictory ideas and ideals. That's probably the chief reason that Romanticism was so hard to define, and why many efforts to define it fasten so quickly upon features like the turn towards medievalism and the reaction against industrialization. And that's probably why almost anyone can find something in Romanticism that speaks to them.

So yeah, Romanticism does include death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express the inexpressible. But it also includes life, hate, exuberance, and the desire to express even inchoate things precisely and accurately. Because it derived its rules from within the individual as opposed to external authority, and because of many of its practitioners' fascination with extremes of sense and of emotion, it has acquired a reputation for being loose and undisciplined, for being about looseness and lack of discipline--anything goes kinda thing. And because humans do tend to be emotional creatures, the emotional "freedoms" promised by Romanticism tend to get emphasized, in post-Romantic times, over all its other qualities.

Barzun's idea about the 19th century explains a lot about current, narrow views of Romanticism--his idea was that the movements that followed Romanticism, Naturalism, Realism, and Symbolism, were not so much reactions against Romanticism as they were splintered off from it. Romanticism included the things that make up Naturalism and Realism and Symbolism. But if one sees those three as reactions against Romanticism, then it's pretty easy to see Romanticism as being only those elements of it that are not found in those three. This is, I think, exactly what has happened. Which is a great pity, I think. A bit like "liberal" getting narrowed down so that it is roughly synonymous with "left wing," when it is actually much more inclusive, interested in understanding and appreciating the ideas of conservatism, libertarianism, and leftism, alike. And of understanding and appreciating the qualities of different cultures and nationalities and genders and ages.

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #170 on: September 09, 2019, 11:15:48 AM »
Bump! 

To quote myself: "And if Romanticism is about death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible, does not "composing with 12 notes" open up new possibilities to explore precisely those things?"

I am reminded of Poe's observation that the most Romantic theme for poetry is, the death of a beautiful woman — death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible, indeed.
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #171 on: September 09, 2019, 12:54:41 PM »
I am reminded of Poe's observation that the most Romantic theme for poetry is, the death of a beautiful woman — death, love, yearning, and inchoate desires to express things inexpressible, indeed.

I am assuming you saw that quote in the Poe bio I recommended to you (I remember reading it there)?  I hope you enjoyed it.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #172 on: September 09, 2019, 12:58:03 PM »
I am assuming you saw that quote in the Poe bio I recommended to you (I remember reading it there)?  I hope you enjoyed it.

I had actually seen it earlier, but I did read that bio, and thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks!
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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #173 on: September 11, 2019, 09:04:17 AM »
I looked this quote up, but what I found was this: "The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world."

Its context is the philosophy of composition (which is also the title of the essay it's from), specifically Poe's idea that a work should be short, unified, and the result of logic.
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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #174 on: September 11, 2019, 09:35:42 AM »
I looked this quote up, but what I found was this: "The death of a beautiful woman, is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world."

It's context is the philosophy of composition (which is also the title of the essay it's from), specifically Poe's idea that a work should be short, unified, and the result of logic.

Thanks; I rather suspected that I was paraphrasing.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #175 on: September 11, 2019, 09:37:56 AM »
As at times, one does.
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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #176 on: September 11, 2019, 09:59:16 AM »
It's true.

Why, I've done it myself. (Ages ago, though. ;D)

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Re: Florestan´s Romantic Salon
« Reply #177 on: September 23, 2019, 08:39:06 AM »
I came across this today about Chopin op 10/3 in Tristes Tropiques

Quote
[…] Pendant des semaines, sur ce plateau du Mato Grosso occidental, j'avais été obsédé , non point par ce qui m'environnait et que je ne reverrais jamais, mais par une mélodie rebattue que mon souvenir appauvrissait encore : celle de l'étude numéro 3 opus 10 de Chopin, en quoi il me semblait, par une dérision à l'amertume de laquelle j'étais aussi sensible, que tout ce que j'avais laissé derrière moi se résumait.

Pourquoi Chopin, vers qui mes goûts ne m'avaient pas particulièrement porté ? Élevé dans le culte wagnérien, j'avais découvert Debussy à une date toute récente, après même que les Noces, entendues à la deuxième ou troisième représentation, m'eurent révélé en Stravinsky un monde qui me paraissait plus réel et plus solide que les savanes du Brésil central, faisant s'effondrer mon univers musical antérieur.

Mais au moment où je quittai la France, c'était Pelléas qui me fournissait la nourriture spirituelle dont j'avais besoin ; alors, pourquoi Chopin et son œuvre la plus banale s'imposaient-ils à moi dans le désert ?

Plus occupé de résoudre ce problème que de me consacrer aux observations qui m'eussent justifié, je me disais que le progrès qui consiste à passer de Chopin à Debussy se trouve peut-être amplifié quand il se produit dans l'autre sens. Les délices qui me faisaient préférer Debussy, je les goûtais maintenant dans Chopin, mais sous une forme implicite, incertaine encore, et si discrète que je ne les avais pas perçues au début et que j'étais allé d'emblée vers leur manifestation la plus ostensible. J'accomplissais un double progrès : approfondissant l'œuvre du compositeur le plus ancien, je lui reconnaissais des beautés destinées à rester cachées de qui n'eût pas d'abord connu Debussy. J'aimais Chopin par excès, et non par défaut come fait celui pour qui l'évolution musicale s'est arrêtée à lui. D'autre part, pour favoriser en moi l'apparition de certaines émotions, je n'avais plus besoin de l'excitation complète : le signe, l'allusion, la prémonition de certaines formes suffisaient.

Lieues après lieues, la même phrase mélodique chantait dans ma mémoire sans que je pusse m'en délivrer. Je lui découvrais sans cesse des charmes nouveaux. Très lâche au début, il me semblait qu'elle entortillait progressivement son fil, comme pour dissimuler l'extrémité qui la terminerait. Cette nouure devenait inextricable, au point qu'on se demandait comment elle pourrait bien se tirer de là ; soudain, une note résolvait tout, et cette échappatoire paraissait plus hardie encore que la démarche compromettante qui l'avait précédée, réclamée et rendue possible ; à l'entendre, les développements antérieurs s'éclairaient d'un sens nouveau : leur recherche n'était plus arbitraire, mais la préparation de cette sortie insoupçonnée. Était-ce donc cela, le voyage ? une exploration des déserts de ma mémoire, plutôt que de ceux qui m'entouraient ?
« Last Edit: September 23, 2019, 08:47:12 AM by Mandryka »
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