Author Topic: Pieces that have blown you away recently  (Read 171551 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1000 on: December 16, 2019, 03:51:26 PM »


This composer never ceases to amaze me. Impressive, imposing, exultant, glorious work!! An early work, but a quite majestic one. I was reminded of Berlioz in its unabashed celebratory choruses and passages, albeit it has several lyrical moments, quite apt to contrast the whole piece. If you want to indulge yourself with powerful music, then this is for you.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1001 on: December 16, 2019, 04:02:57 PM »
I've probably said this already, but Korngold's Symphony in F sharp blows me away every time I listen to it. It's one of those rare pieces where, once it's over I'm wanting to listen to it again.

Indeed. It hardly tires.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1002 on: December 16, 2019, 06:12:24 PM »
I’m not sure if I posted this before, but I’m continuously blown away by this work from Boulanger:

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Offline kyjo

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1003 on: December 18, 2019, 09:57:45 PM »
Some that have fit the qualification recently:

Bacewicz: String Quartet no. 4. For some reason, I was expecting something much more astringent and Bartokian. Instead, I was met with lovely, melodic music with folksy overtones and gorgeously subtle, almost Gallic harmonies. This is really treasurable music to which I shall return soon! I listened to the Silesian SQ on Chandos.

Gallagher: Symphony no. 2 “Ascendant”. It is quite heartening to see composers of our time writing symphonies on a grand scale, as American composer Jack Gallagher has done in this hour-long symphony from 2010-13. The music is splendidly and virtuosically orchestrated, with a sweeping sense of forward momentum in the outer movements (often putting me in mind of the scherzo of the Korngold Symphony) and enrapturing lyrical calm in the slow movement. The work is quite fortunate to have had the advocacy of JoAnn Falletta and the LSO in their excellent Naxos recording.

Niigaki (falsely claimed by Samuragochi): Symphony no. 1 “Hiroshima”. I won’t go into the complicated history behind the genesis of this ghost-written work from 2003, but I will say that it is an absolutely epic (80-minute), riveting work written in a generally late-romantic style but with some modernist touches in the more intense sections. In particular, the third movement (finale) is absolutely tremendous, working towards a shattering climax and ending in a glowing apotheosis. I’ve read some criticisms of this work as “an amateurish Mahler pastiche” which I really don’t agree with. Yes, there are touches of Mahler here and there but hardly anything overbearing. Then again, I suppose I have a much higher tolerance for this kind of music than a lot of people do! I listened to the only recording available, the Tokyo SO conducted by Naoto Otomo.

Raff: Symphony no. 4 in G minor. To be honest, I did not expect much from this work, knowing that some of Raff’s lesser-known symphonies can be rather uninspired (e.g. nos. 2 and 10). I ended up being thoroughly delighted by this vigorously energetic and generously lyrical work, which doesn’t have a single dull moment from the lovely secondary theme of the first movement to the laugh-out-loud parody at the opening of the finale (I won’t spoil it for you!). The Hans Stadlmair/Bamberg Symphony recording on Tudor is wonderfully crisp and alive.

Tovey: Sonata for Solo Cello. The work by this composer that has impressed me the most so far. (The Symphony in D major is quite good but suffers from a rather subpar recording on Toccata Classics.) The first two movements are very good, but the crowning achievement here is undoubtedly the final Passacaglia, a masterful and fearsomely virtuosic edifice of a movement which keeps accumulating energy as it progresses. This is a work worthy in greatness of standing alongside the Kodaly solo sonata, with which it is coupled in the fabulously committed recording by Nancy Green on JRI Recordings (the only one available, I think).
« Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 10:01:45 PM by kyjo »
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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1004 on: December 19, 2019, 05:04:08 AM »
Gallagher: Symphony no. 2 “Ascendant”. It is quite heartening to see composers of our time writing symphonies on a grand scale, as American composer Jack Gallagher has done in this hour-long symphony from 2010-13. The music is splendidly and virtuosically orchestrated, with a sweeping sense of forward momentum in the outer movements (often putting me in mind of the scherzo of the Korngold Symphony) and enrapturing lyrical calm in the slow movement. The work is quite fortunate to have had the advocacy of JoAnn Falletta and the LSO in their excellent Naxos recording.

I need to give this another listen. I've had the disc for some months now, but I can only remember vague bits about the work.

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1005 on: December 21, 2019, 11:07:24 AM »
Some that have fit the qualification recently:

Bacewicz: String Quartet no. 4. For some reason, I was expecting something much more astringent and Bartokian. Instead, I was met with lovely, melodic music with folksy overtones and gorgeously subtle, almost Gallic harmonies. This is really treasurable music to which I shall return soon! I listened to the Silesian SQ on Chandos.

Gallagher: Symphony no. 2 “Ascendant”. It is quite heartening to see composers of our time writing symphonies on a grand scale, as American composer Jack Gallagher has done in this hour-long symphony from 2010-13. The music is splendidly and virtuosically orchestrated, with a sweeping sense of forward momentum in the outer movements (often putting me in mind of the scherzo of the Korngold Symphony) and enrapturing lyrical calm in the slow movement. The work is quite fortunate to have had the advocacy of JoAnn Falletta and the LSO in their excellent Naxos recording.

Niigaki (falsely claimed by Samuragochi): Symphony no. 1 “Hiroshima”. I won’t go into the complicated history behind the genesis of this ghost-written work from 2003, but I will say that it is an absolutely epic (80-minute), riveting work written in a generally late-romantic style but with some modernist touches in the more intense sections. In particular, the third movement (finale) is absolutely tremendous, working towards a shattering climax and ending in a glowing apotheosis. I’ve read some criticisms of this work as “an amateurish Mahler pastiche” which I really don’t agree with. Yes, there are touches of Mahler here and there but hardly anything overbearing. Then again, I suppose I have a much higher tolerance for this kind of music than a lot of people do! I listened to the only recording available, the Tokyo SO conducted by Naoto Otomo.

Raff: Symphony no. 4 in G minor. To be honest, I did not expect much from this work, knowing that some of Raff’s lesser-known symphonies can be rather uninspired (e.g. nos. 2 and 10). I ended up being thoroughly delighted by this vigorously energetic and generously lyrical work, which doesn’t have a single dull moment from the lovely secondary theme of the first movement to the laugh-out-loud parody at the opening of the finale (I won’t spoil it for you!). The Hans Stadlmair/Bamberg Symphony recording on Tudor is wonderfully crisp and alive.

Tovey: Sonata for Solo Cello. The work by this composer that has impressed me the most so far. (The Symphony in D major is quite good but suffers from a rather subpar recording on Toccata Classics.) The first two movements are very good, but the crowning achievement here is undoubtedly the final Passacaglia, a masterful and fearsomely virtuosic edifice of a movement which keeps accumulating energy as it progresses. This is a work worthy in greatness of standing alongside the Kodaly solo sonata, with which it is coupled in the fabulously committed recording by Nancy Green on JRI Recordings (the only one available, I think).

Huge thumbs up for the Bacewicz and the Niigaki. In fact, I consider all the 7 SQs by Bacewicz being really marvelous stuff, each quartet seems more advanced than the previous one, but not for that less fascinating.

Samuragochi/Niigaki hyper epic symphony was a tremendous revelation when I heard it. The Mahler hints are spot on, and I dare to say any fan of the latter is in safe field if they give it a try.

The Tovey looks enticing. As for his chamber works, the SQ No. 1 and the Aria and Variations for SQ are the only works I know of his, and they're incredibly lovely and wonderfully crafted. Music to dream.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1006 on: December 23, 2019, 08:59:56 AM »
Huge thumbs up for the Bacewicz and the Niigaki. In fact, I consider all the 7 SQs by Bacewicz being really marvelous stuff, each quartet seems more advanced than the previous one, but not for that less fascinating.

Samuragochi/Niigaki hyper epic symphony was a tremendous revelation when I heard it. The Mahler hints are spot on, and I dare to say any fan of the latter is in safe field if they give it a try.

The Tovey looks enticing. As for his chamber works, the SQ No. 1 and the Aria and Variations for SQ are the only works I know of his, and they're incredibly lovely and wonderfully crafted. Music to dream.

Interestingly, I recall Bacewicz’s 2nd SQ being more astringent (and less compelling) than the 4th. My interest is definitely piqued to explore the whole cycle!

Glad to see someone else knows the Samuragochi/Niigaki symphony! A really thrilling and ultimately moving work.

I’ll have to check out those two Tovey works you mention. Last night, I was listening to his Piano Quartet, which has a rather dull first movement but a gorgeous theme-and-variations second movement.
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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1007 on: January 08, 2020, 06:09:34 PM »


Not sure if this fits here in terms of Classical Music. What I'm sure about is the incredibly transcending sense of well-being it conveys. New Age meets Classical Music meets Electronic Music.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1008 on: January 08, 2020, 07:25:33 PM »
Yesterday, I was absolutely blown away by two Bernstein works: Halil and Chichester Psalms. Chichester Psalms I’ve heard multiple times in the past 11 years, but it didn’t really register or hit me until I listened thoroughly to Bernstein’s DG recording. Absolutely magical from start to finish and I was so won over by the work that I ended up reading much about the work and it’s origin. Fascinating back story to this work. Halil is also a fascinating work filled with haunting moments. I find the use of flute and harp to be incredibly beautiful and it caused me to go back and listen to the work several times.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2020, 07:27:29 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Chaszz

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1009 on: January 10, 2020, 12:25:09 PM »
After years of putting it off, I've begun systematically listening to Bach's cantatas, in hope of discovering new gems of great movements in unexplored (by me) works. I especially like big choral movements, with or without trumpets and kettledrums, in his church music. And sometimes an aria is very original and beautiful. So far, I have loved most nos. 140 and 66 among ones I hadn't heard before.
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1010 on: January 11, 2020, 04:57:39 AM »
Indeed. It hardly tires.
Agree, just heard the New Chandos recording. And we all know where Jofn Williams got the Star Wars stuff from.

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1011 on: January 21, 2020, 11:55:40 AM »
Just finished listening to John Foulds' Dynamic Triptych for piano and orchestra (Shelley), and it's probably up there among my favourite piano concertos already.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1012 on: January 22, 2020, 10:17:05 AM »
I have to say I’m blown away by Britten’s Gloriana. And now that I’ve heard it in its entirety, I must count it amongst my favorites of his operas. It’s right up there with The Turn of the Screw, Peter Grimes, and Death in Venice for me.
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1013 on: January 23, 2020, 02:39:26 PM »
Just finished listening to John Foulds' Dynamic Triptych for piano and orchestra (Shelley), and it's probably up there among my favourite piano concertos already.

It really is an extra-ordinary (in the literal sense!) piece.  But I generally find a lot of Foulds is - Vandermolen has been singing the praises of the Cello Sonata a lot recently which I still don't know but every thing else of his which I do is always striking at the very least....

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1014 on: January 23, 2020, 02:57:58 PM »
It really is an extra-ordinary (in the literal sense!) piece.  But I generally find a lot of Foulds is - Vandermolen has been singing the praises of the Cello Sonata a lot recently which I still don't know but every thing else of his which I do is always striking at the very least....
Well, I have indeed been 'blown away' by the Foulds Cello Sonata as I was some time back by Bax's Piano Quintet. I like the  'Dynamic Triptych' very much - a most exciting piece. I remember playing it to my wife when we were first going out. I don't recall her being very impressed, only commenting sarcastically 'well, it certainly is dynamic!'  ::).
His 'World Requiem', which I've seen live, is another fine and moving work.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2020, 03:00:13 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline AlberichUndHagen

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1015 on: February 01, 2020, 08:18:53 AM »
BWV 106. Amazing! One of my very favorite Bach Cantatas of those of his that I've heard (although I've still only heard about half of them).

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1016 on: February 01, 2020, 02:13:41 PM »
Lately these two most utterly moving and uplifting works, respectively:

Werner Josten (1885-1963) - Concerto sacro, for piano and strings: A new German composer in my book whom I discovered recently by hearing a fine CD whose music devoted to him is simply astounding (Jungle - Symphonic poem, Symphony in F, Canzone seria for piano and winds and Concerto sacro for piano and string orchestra). This last piece was the most noteworthy. This work is based on Christ's experiences. Absolutely beautiful, heavenly, with a rather moving depth of expression. There is a profound feeling of pure religiousness. The strings sound lush, intense, dense, almost in your face, but the sound quality is a bit regrettable. The piano sometimes gets more percussive. A modern recording of this piece (it was conducted by Stokowski) would be enormously appreciated. A gorgeous discovery.

Théodore Dubois - Fantaisie Triomphale, for organ and orchestra: Sheer magnificence this is!!! I hadn't heard a most wondrous piece like this in some time. Exultant, apotheosic but not banal, life enhancing, celebratory, glorious. The middle section has a wonderful melody whose mood is slightly more reflexive. It includes bells as well. I mean, GRANDEUR!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 02:15:48 PM by Symphonic Addict »

Offline DaveF

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1017 on: February 01, 2020, 03:08:08 PM »
BWV 106. Amazing! One of my very favorite Bach Cantatas of those of his that I've heard (although I've still only heard about half of them).

Agreed - indeed I find many of those early cantatas (106, 150, 4, 71) to be more exciting (in terms of not knowing what's going to happen next) than the later ones, where the format of chorus-recit-aria-recit-aria-chorale is securely established.  Whose recording of the Actus tragicus do you have?
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Offline kyjo

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #1018 on: February 08, 2020, 06:56:34 AM »
Well, I have indeed been 'blown away' by the Foulds Cello Sonata as I was some time back by Bax's Piano Quintet. I like the  'Dynamic Triptych' very much - a most exciting piece. I remember playing it to my wife when we were first going out. I don't recall her being very impressed, only commenting sarcastically 'well, it certainly is dynamic!'  ::).
His 'World Requiem', which I've seen live, is another fine and moving work.

The Foulds Cello Sonata was a great recent discovery of mine as well thanks to your advocacy, Jeffrey! I particularly enjoyed the moving slow movement (with its brief episode that experiments with quarter tones, very ahead-of-its-time for 1905) and the life-affirming, catchy finale. The Paul and Huw Watkins recording on Chandos (part of the album “British Cello Sonatas, Vol. 1”) is superb. Foulds was a composer of great quality and originality and I also cherish his Cello Concerto, Dynamic Triptyich, and the The Mantras from Avatara. I need to investigate the World Requiem. It’s a great shame that his apparently visionary Symphony of East and West was lost...
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