Author Topic: Monthly Focus  (Read 966 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56488
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2020, 05:00:59 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

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 André

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 9086
  • Location: Laval, QC
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2020, 06:47:57 AM »
When listening to a new work, if my interest reaches a certain level I’ll play it 3 times to get a better understanding. I’ve discovered that each successive listening is like uncovering another layer. Sometimes features that struck me at first listening recede into the background and something else comes into focus.

When it’s a work I know well, if the performance is sufficiently interesting I’ll be moved to listen to other versions and make ABCD etc comparisons. Sometimes old opinions are confirmed, but sometimes they’re not. That’s the virtue of comparative listening. Never take oneself’s opinions as definitive !

Online some guy

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2232
  • Location: Somewhere else
  • Currently Listening to:
    Music
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2020, 08:44:19 AM »
I've said this before. I'll doubtless say it again: "Expectations are the devil."

My problem with "reaches a certain level" is that reaching a level means that the new piece is already fulfilling expectations. Is already in certain ways familiar. Successive listens will likely simply confirm those expectations, strengthening them. OK as far as it goes, but what if a new piece does not fulfil any expectations? Does not reach "a certain level"? It is too likely then that the piece will be deemed unclean and cast into outer darkness. As it were. Whereas it is more than likely that the problem lies with the expectations, not with the piece, and that overcoming (jettisoning) the expectations can lead to enjoyment of pieces that would ordinarily never reach the magical level. Ordinarily being the ordinary condition of having expectations. Of having expectations so ordinary that they pass without even being noticed as such.

In my own listening, I have had to confront my expectations over and over again. Over and over again, I have heard pieces that did not meet my expectations for what I liked or wanted or even considered to be music. Over and over again, I have come to enjoy, to love, to prefer pieces that I had previously rejected. Right before Christmas last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so had to leave Europe and come to the US where I had medical insurance. I moved in with the friends who had become the custodians of my most precious books and CDs. Since then, I've been going through my four DJ boxes, again, this time ripping every unripped CD, making no decisions about whether I really thought I wanted this or that piece or not. Everything.

It has been embarrassing. CD after CD of music I know I didn't like 10 or 15 years ago, music I knew I'd never care about, turning out to be captivating and essential. No expectations, hearing the music as far as is possible as it is, not as I want it or need it to be. Embarrassed, but happy.

It's not a hundred percent, of course. Some things I will never like, and that's OK, too. But so many things I've thought of as unlikable that turn out to be altogether lovely and delightful that I feel I should probably never say "some things I will never like" ever again. I just never know.

Well, I gotta go, now. I have a lot of ripping to do. The cancer is retreating nicely, but I don't want to go home until I've ripped every single one. Ta.

Offline aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 23310
  • Location: Ireland
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2020, 12:36:08 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

This is a work that I do not know and, checking my spreadsheet, I see that I have only one version of it. I will dig that out and give it a listen.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 23310
  • Location: Ireland
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2020, 12:37:54 AM »
I've said this before. I'll doubtless say it again: "Expectations are the devil."

My problem with "reaches a certain level" is that reaching a level means that the new piece is already fulfilling expectations. Is already in certain ways familiar. Successive listens will likely simply confirm those expectations, strengthening them. OK as far as it goes, but what if a new piece does not fulfil any expectations? Does not reach "a certain level"? It is too likely then that the piece will be deemed unclean and cast into outer darkness. As it were. Whereas it is more than likely that the problem lies with the expectations, not with the piece, and that overcoming (jettisoning) the expectations can lead to enjoyment of pieces that would ordinarily never reach the magical level. Ordinarily being the ordinary condition of having expectations. Of having expectations so ordinary that they pass without even being noticed as such.

In my own listening, I have had to confront my expectations over and over again. Over and over again, I have heard pieces that did not meet my expectations for what I liked or wanted or even considered to be music. Over and over again, I have come to enjoy, to love, to prefer pieces that I had previously rejected. Right before Christmas last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so had to leave Europe and come to the US where I had medical insurance. I moved in with the friends who had become the custodians of my most precious books and CDs. Since then, I've been going through my four DJ boxes, again, this time ripping every unripped CD, making no decisions about whether I really thought I wanted this or that piece or not. Everything.

It has been embarrassing. CD after CD of music I know I didn't like 10 or 15 years ago, music I knew I'd never care about, turning out to be captivating and essential. No expectations, hearing the music as far as is possible as it is, not as I want it or need it to be. Embarrassed, but happy.

It's not a hundred percent, of course. Some things I will never like, and that's OK, too. But so many things I've thought of as unlikable that turn out to be altogether lovely and delightful that I feel I should probably never say "some things I will never like" ever again. I just never know.

Well, I gotta go, now. I have a lot of ripping to do. The cancer is retreating nicely, but I don't want to go home until I've ripped every single one. Ta.

Best wishes with your health and your ripping.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Online some guy

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2232
  • Location: Somewhere else
  • Currently Listening to:
    Music
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2020, 10:52:02 AM »
Best wishes with your health and your ripping.
Thanks!!

I've got five Galás lined up to go. That'll be excitin'. Not the ripping part. That is dead boring. But the listening part once the files are ready is fine.

The part involving rogue cells is boring, too. But the healing part is very nice.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56488
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2020, 11:33:31 AM »
Thanks!!

I've got five Galás lined up to go. That'll be excitin'. Not the ripping part. That is dead boring. But the listening part once the files are ready is fine.

The part involving rogue cells is boring, too. But the healing part is very nice.

We are for you!
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 aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 23310
  • Location: Ireland
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2020, 01:52:46 PM »
Thanks!!

I've got five Galás lined up to go. That'll be excitin'. Not the ripping part. That is dead boring. But the listening part once the files are ready is fine.

The part involving rogue cells is boring, too. But the healing part is very nice.

That is the important part.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Online some guy

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2232
  • Location: Somewhere else
  • Currently Listening to:
    Music
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2020, 09:16:10 PM »
Thanks gents!

And, my nickel's worth for aligreto:

Shostakovich is tricky. Performances can be heavy on the dour for this guy, particularly ones made after his death. It's as if everyone is saying, OK, here is A Master; we must be reverent. But it's never really genuine reverence. More like lugubriousness. Reverent would respect the music, letting it be itself without needing to force it into a long-faced version of itself.

I got interested in various recordings of the piano trio nr. 2. It's a lively work, full of dance and sparkle. But you'd never know that in most recordings of it. The most interesting pair, for my thesis, are the ones the Beaux Arts did, one while Shostakovich was alive, one after he had died. The early one is the finest performance of it I've ever heard, precise, lively, moving through all the quick changes with elegance and elan. It fair crackles with spirit and liveliness. The later one is funereal. It's slow and solemn and sanctimonious. It is a pompous rendering of A Great Work by A Great Master.

(While Shostakovich, as a Suffering Victim of Soviet repression, suffers from a lot of misplaced solemnity in performances, he's by no means the only one. I noticed right after Kagel died--Kagel the harlequin, the irrepressible, the comic--there were performances that even solemnized his humor into respectful Great Works of Art. Shudder.

Offline Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2201
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2020, 11:22:27 PM »
I've said this before. I'll doubtless say it again: "Expectations are the devil."

My problem with "reaches a certain level" is that reaching a level means that the new piece is already fulfilling expectations. Is already in certain ways familiar. Successive listens will likely simply confirm those expectations, strengthening them. OK as far as it goes, but what if a new piece does not fulfil any expectations? Does not reach "a certain level"? It is too likely then that the piece will be deemed unclean and cast into outer darkness. As it were. Whereas it is more than likely that the problem lies with the expectations, not with the piece, and that overcoming (jettisoning) the expectations can lead to enjoyment of pieces that would ordinarily never reach the magical level. Ordinarily being the ordinary condition of having expectations. Of having expectations so ordinary that they pass without even being noticed as such.

In my own listening, I have had to confront my expectations over and over again. Over and over again, I have heard pieces that did not meet my expectations for what I liked or wanted or even considered to be music. Over and over again, I have come to enjoy, to love, to prefer pieces that I had previously rejected. Right before Christmas last year, I was diagnosed with cancer, so had to leave Europe and come to the US where I had medical insurance. I moved in with the friends who had become the custodians of my most precious books and CDs. Since then, I've been going through my four DJ boxes, again, this time ripping every unripped CD, making no decisions about whether I really thought I wanted this or that piece or not. Everything.

It has been embarrassing. CD after CD of music I know I didn't like 10 or 15 years ago, music I knew I'd never care about, turning out to be captivating and essential. No expectations, hearing the music as far as is possible as it is, not as I want it or need it to be. Embarrassed, but happy.

It's not a hundred percent, of course. Some things I will never like, and that's OK, too. But so many things I've thought of as unlikable that turn out to be altogether lovely and delightful that I feel I should probably never say "some things I will never like" ever again. I just never know.

Well, I gotta go, now. I have a lot of ripping to do. The cancer is retreating nicely, but I don't want to go home until I've ripped every single one. Ta.

I do wonder if your diagnosis has led you to appreciate music you previously thought you did not?

Great to read you are joining the ever-growing percentage of cancer survivors thanks to medical advances in treatment.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 23310
  • Location: Ireland
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #30 on: September 07, 2020, 12:11:33 AM »
Thanks gents!

And, my nickel's worth for aligreto:

Shostakovich is tricky. Performances can be heavy on the dour for this guy, particularly ones made after his death. It's as if everyone is saying, OK, here is A Master; we must be reverent. But it's never really genuine reverence. More like lugubriousness. Reverent would respect the music, letting it be itself without needing to force it into a long-faced version of itself.

I got interested in various recordings of the piano trio nr. 2. It's a lively work, full of dance and sparkle. But you'd never know that in most recordings of it. The most interesting pair, for my thesis, are the ones the Beaux Arts did, one while Shostakovich was alive, one after he had died. The early one is the finest performance of it I've ever heard, precise, lively, moving through all the quick changes with elegance and elan. It fair crackles with spirit and liveliness. The later one is funereal. It's slow and solemn and sanctimonious. It is a pompous rendering of A Great Work by A Great Master.

(While Shostakovich, as a Suffering Victim of Soviet repression, suffers from a lot of misplaced solemnity in performances, he's by no means the only one. I noticed right after Kagel died--Kagel the harlequin, the irrepressible, the comic--there were performances that even solemnized his humor into respectful Great Works of Art. Shudder.

Thank you for the insight.
Stay well.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Online some guy

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2232
  • Location: Somewhere else
  • Currently Listening to:
    Music
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #31 on: September 07, 2020, 06:47:40 AM »
I do wonder if your diagnosis has led you to appreciate music you previously thought you did not?

Great to read you are joining the ever-growing percentage of cancer survivors thanks to medical advances in treatment.
My urologist said that the cancer would return in about three years. He also said that if the advances in treatment continue advancing at the same pace, the treatments then will be way better than today's are. And today's are spectacular.

So there's that.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56488
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #32 on: September 07, 2020, 07:13:23 AM »
My urologist said that the cancer would return in about three years. He also said that if the advances in treatment continue advancing at the same pace, the treatments then will be way better than today's are. And today's are spectacular.

So there's that.

Very good. Proceed!
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 Irons

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2201
  • Location: Surrey, UK
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #33 on: September 07, 2020, 12:39:28 PM »
My urologist said that the cancer would return in about three years. He also said that if the advances in treatment continue advancing at the same pace, the treatments then will be way better than today's are. And today's are spectacular.

So there's that.

I have been on the journey with a close family member and she came out the other side. It is all consuming, takes over. I do have some idea what you are going through, but you sound so positive which is half the battle won.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3417
  • Location: USA
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #34 on: September 08, 2020, 10:25:38 AM »
All the best wishes to you Some Guy!

And enjoy your music.   :)

Online some guy

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2232
  • Location: Somewhere else
  • Currently Listening to:
    Music
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #35 on: September 08, 2020, 10:59:53 AM »
Thanks very much!

It's been more fun than I can describe to work through my collection and discover all sorts of treasures.

I was for long an inveterate collector, one who bought dozens, hundreds, of CDs sound unheard. Sometimes that worked; sometimes it didn't. What I'm finding now, over and over again, is that as I have changed, music that didn't much impress me 15 years ago now pleases me quite easily. In that regard, the cancer has been a clear gain.

Ripping is a boring task, so it goes slowly. But that just means that I have quite naturally fallen into a variant of Judith's monthly focus: I focus on however many CDs I can get through in a week. Indeed, as I'm writing this, I'm listening to Vinko Globokar's Zlom, which is delightful.

Someone has put it up on youtube, too, so anyone can listen to it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00loPL4RyYY

More Globokar to rip today. What fun!

Offline aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 23310
  • Location: Ireland
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #36 on: September 11, 2020, 07:32:48 AM »
This month, it is
Shostakovich Piano Trio no 2 in E Minor



Shostakovich: Piano Trio No. 2 [Leonskaja/Borodin Quartet]





I do not know when I last listened to this work but it certainly was a long time ago. Revisiting it, I find the musical language sparse and harsh but I do like the work, its tone and its moods. It has moments of dubious joyous spontaneity [the second movement] and moments of bleak and poignant despair [third movement]. It is a product of both its time and circumstances in terms of its inspiration and it is a wonderful work.
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56488
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #37 on: September 11, 2020, 10:06:39 AM »
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 k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56488
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #38 on: September 11, 2020, 10:08:31 AM »
And, while in principle I take some guy's point about unctuous reverence, the composer did write it as an elegy dedicated to a dear musical friend.
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 aligreto

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 23310
  • Location: Ireland
Re: Monthly Focus
« Reply #39 on: September 11, 2020, 01:27:15 PM »
And, while in principle I take some guy's point about unctuous reverence, the composer did write it as an elegy dedicated to a dear musical friend.

Yes, I also took his valid point but there is that large element of the elegiac in the work, be it for his friend, his country or both. Either way, a wonderful work methinks, and a fine choice for a "Monthly Focus".
It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and leave no doubt.