Author Topic: Monthly Focus  (Read 1756 times)

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Offline Judith

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Monthly Focus
« on: July 01, 2020, 01:39:21 AM »
Every month, I focus on a work that am not very familiar with. Repeatedly listen so I can familiarise myself. End result is expansion of my listening repertoire. Anyone else do anything similar?

This month is Sibelius Symphony no 6.
After finding his 4th "hard work", this one seems easier.
Although have three recordings, listened to
Neeme Jarvi
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra🎼🎼

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2020, 05:21:19 AM »
I tend to focus on certain composers rather than singling out a certain work. I couldn’t imagine focusing on one work and that be my primary focus, but to each their own.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 05:28:17 AM »
Every month, I focus on a work that am not very familiar with. Repeatedly listen so I can familiarise myself. End result is expansion of my listening repertoire. Anyone else do anything similar?

This month is Sibelius Symphony no 6.
After finding his 4th "hard work", this one seems easier.
Although have three recordings, listened to
Neeme Jarvi
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra🎼🎼

I like this idea.  I suppose I have indeed listened similarly.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Judith

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 05:37:31 AM »
I tend to focus on certain composers rather than singling out a certain work. I couldn’t imagine focusing on one work and that be my primary focus, but to each their own.
Listen to other works as well but I make sure listen to focus more often that month🎼🎼

Offline some guy

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 11:11:10 AM »
I've done something similar, but only once, and under specific compulsion.

In the long, long ago, I was intrigued by a couple of pieces by Sibelius and utterly baffled by the rest. How I could ever have been baffled by Sibelius baffles me now, but so it was.

So I went over to the downtown library in Sacramento (was driven there, that is--it was, after all, in the before time) and checked out all the Sibelius LPs they had, took them home, listened to them over and over again for a week.

That did it. Sibelius became a favorite.

I've never had to do that again. Knowing from that one experience that bafflement was inevitable--and temporary--I have spent the subsequent decades simply listening to music and enjoying it.

If you need to keep doing it, however, then I think you should keep doing it. "It" is not at all a bad thing to do. Wanting to understand and hence to enjoy is a perpetual condition, and whatever you have to do to achieve understanding and enjoyment is bound to be a good thing.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 11:22:43 AM »
I tend to focus on certain composers rather than singling out a certain work. I couldn’t imagine focusing on one work and that be my primary focus, but to each their own.

I also generally focus on a composer. But sometimes I'll focus on a set of works, for instance LvB piano sonatas or string quartets. Maybe an opera, though I very rarely purchase multiple recordings of operas (a while back I compared the Solti and Goodall Gotterdammerungs).
I don't predefine the duration (e.g. month); that winds up being determined by how the project goes and my (questionable) attention span.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 11:26:07 AM by T. D. »

Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 11:27:26 AM »
Every month, I focus on a work that am not very familiar with. Repeatedly listen so I can familiarise myself. End result is expansion of my listening repertoire. Anyone else do anything similar?

This month is Sibelius Symphony no 6.
After finding his 4th "hard work", this one seems easier.
Although have three recordings, listened to
Neeme Jarvi
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra🎼🎼
Great idea! That can open lots of doors - other works by that composer, works written around the same time, works that influenced the current work (before or after), etc. Sounds like you are enjoying the process!!
Be kind to your fellow posters!!

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 02:46:58 PM »
I also generally focus on a composer. But sometimes I'll focus on a set of works, for instance LvB piano sonatas or string quartets. Maybe an opera, though I very rarely purchase multiple recordings of operas (a while back I compared the Solti and Goodall Gotterdammerungs).
I don't predefine the duration (e.g. month); that winds up being determined by how the project goes and my (questionable) attention span.

Well, for me, it’s never a composer, but composers. :) I go with the flow and explore what I want when I want. There isn’t a timeline and there never should be one.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline aligreto

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2020, 05:04:25 AM »
Every month, I focus on a work that am not very familiar with. Repeatedly listen so I can familiarise myself. End result is expansion of my listening repertoire. Anyone else do anything similar?


I have really only done this once in my listening lifetime and it was for a very specific reason. As a piece of background information I have always disliked the sound of solo piano music with few exceptions. I find it difficult to listen to the instrument for prolonged periods. It has always been thus. [Piano concertos and a well balanced piano chamber ensemble are fine.]

Anyway, a long time ago on another forum we had monthly listening projects and one of those was Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The object was to listen to the work in as many presentations as one liked, particularly if one was not familiar with the work.

At the time I had one or maybe two of the orchestral versions in my collection and I would not have listened very often to those. My listening companions were putting pressure on me [knowing my aversion] to listen to the original piano version. I did so in the cause of science! I ended up buying four different versions, which in itself was a miracle, and I never looked back. The original piano version has long been the only version of that music that I will listen to now. My conversion, in this particular case, was complete!
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2020, 11:33:56 AM »
I have really only done this once in my listening lifetime and it was for a very specific reason. As a piece of background information I have always disliked the sound of solo piano music with few exceptions. I find it difficult to listen to the instrument for prolonged periods. It has always been thus. [Piano concertos and a well balanced piano chamber ensemble are fine.]

Anyway, a long time ago on another forum we had monthly listening projects and one of those was Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. The object was to listen to the work in as many presentations as one liked, particularly if one was not familiar with the work.

At the time I had one or maybe two of the orchestral versions in my collection and I would not have listened very often to those. My listening companions were putting pressure on me [knowing my aversion] to listen to the original piano version. I did so in the cause of science! I ended up buying four different versions, which in itself was a miracle, and I never looked back. The original piano version has long been the only version of that music that I will listen to now. My conversion, in this particular case, was complete!
Oh, how interesting Fergus!  Do you have a favorite recording of the piano version?  I believe that I only have one version (but with those boxed sets, who knows?!) and it's with S. Richter.  It's the Sofia (live) one.  Sound is rough, but I was mesmorized by the performance!

Getting back on topic, I do like the idea of listening to an unfamiliar work multiple times...don't often do it, but attempt to do so every once in a while.  I can't read music, so am unable to follow along with a score and also have a rather limited knowledge of musical terms, so it's a bit frustrating.  I do get Judith's point about it helping one to focus...I suspect also to appreciate new/different aspects of the work, etc. too.  In these days and times of 'instant everything', it's a good skill to cultivate me thinks.   :)

Best,

PD

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2020, 11:51:09 AM »
I think one reason why I don’t do a monthly focus on one particular work is to avoid burnout. There is much to be said with listening to a variety of music. It’s kind of like if I focused on Holst’s The Planets for example for an entire month. I’d get sick of it and I don’t want this to happen, because I love this piece. This is why my listening is composer-centric and not focused on one work in particular. Not only that, I could never stick to some kind of regiment in my listening anyway.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2020, 11:55:00 AM »
For me it's very difficult to focus. I feel I have a chaos in my head. It's a vortex of thoughts, ideas, frustrations,... ...it's a hard life to be intellectually curious in the information era. I was just today thinking maybe I should just ignore 99.9 % of information available to me and concentrate on the rest 0.1 %.

Lately I have tried to "semi" focus on Englund, Haydn and Atterberg.
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Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 12:11:51 PM »
I think one reason why I don’t do a monthly focus on one particular work is to avoid burnout. There is much to be said with listening to a variety of music. It’s kind of like if I focused on Holst’s The Planets for example for an entire month. I’d get sick of it and I don’t want this to happen, because I love this piece. This is why my listening is composer-centric and not focused on one work in particular. Not only that, I could never stick to some kind of regiment in my listening anyway.
I do admire your enthusiastic (right word?) explorations of composers of which maybe one work really clicks with you; it seems, to me anyway, that you then heartily dive in ....heart first.   :) 

I've noticed that other enthusiasts for a particular composer, when they hear that you've enjoyed something by composer 'X', are then keen to suggest other works for you to listen to (sometimes feeling rather like an inundation...LOL  ;) ).  But it's all good; that's why were here.   :)

If a composer really starts to resonate with me, I do love exploring other works by them....and learning about their life and times, influences on their music, who all they influenced, etc.  In short:  it opens up Pandora's Box!  ;D

Best wishes,

PD

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 01:43:48 PM »
I do admire your enthusiastic (right word?) explorations of composers of which maybe one work really clicks with you; it seems, to me anyway, that you then heartily dive in ....heart first.   :) 

I've noticed that other enthusiasts for a particular composer, when they hear that you've enjoyed something by composer 'X', are then keen to suggest other works for you to listen to (sometimes feeling rather like an inundation...LOL  ;) ).  But it's all good; that's why were here.   :)

If a composer really starts to resonate with me, I do love exploring other works by them....and learning about their life and times, influences on their music, who all they influenced, etc.  In short:  it opens up Pandora's Box!  ;D

Best wishes,

PD

Yes, indeed, PD. I certainly love exploring many different composers. It’s a bit easy for me to get overwhelmed, but I’m starting to take things slower and just enjoy the journey. Yes, those enthusiasts you speak of are my posse. ;) You and I are of the same mind as I, too, find much to gain from reading about a composer’s life, the possible influences on their music, etc. It’s good to read that you’re just as enthusiastic about this music as I am. 8)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2020, 03:30:27 PM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Dowder

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2020, 03:25:25 PM »
Last month was primarily Goldberg Variations. Still not quite done but gave several different recordings a spin. Also LVB Symphony 4 and Bartok Concerto for Orchestra.

This month may continue with last month.  ;D

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Offline aligreto

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2020, 11:55:03 PM »
Oh, how interesting Fergus!  Do you have a favorite recording of the piano version?  I believe that I only have one version (but with those boxed sets, who knows?!) and it's with S. Richter.  It's the Sofia (live) one.  Sound is rough, but I was mesmorized by the performance!

Best,

PD

Without deviating too much off topic my favourite is also, of course, the Richter "Sofia" version.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline Judith

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2020, 05:26:13 AM »
Decided my focus for this month is Beethoven String Quartet in C Major op 59 no 3 Razumovsky.   Familiar with the other two because have seen them performed live but not this one.  Very easy to take in and some lovely melodies also.  Performed by Endellion String Quartet🎻🎻🎼🎼

Offline aligreto

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2020, 05:35:55 AM »
Decided my focus for this month is Beethoven String Quartet in C Major op 59 no 3 Razumovsky.   Familiar with the other two because have seen them performed live but not this one.  Very easy to take in and some lovely melodies also.  Performed by Endellion String Quartet🎻🎻🎼🎼

It is indeed wonderful music. I was only listening to those quartets recently myself.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2020, 07:36:21 AM »
Decided my focus for this month is Beethoven String Quartet in C Major op 59 no 3 Razumovsky.   Familiar with the other two because have seen them performed live but not this one.  Very easy to take in and some lovely melodies also.  Performed by Endellion String Quartet🎻🎻🎼🎼

Excellent!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Judith

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Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2020, 04:49:33 AM »
This month, it is
Shostakovich Piano Trio no 2 in E Minor

Lively, vibrant and challenging (who says I don't like a challenge?).

Listening to a lovely recording by
Joshua Bell
Steven Isserlis
Olli Mustonen