Author Topic: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...  (Read 437 times)

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Offline Stürmisch Bewegt

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...who would it be? One to three choices, please, and if you're of a mind to do so, tell us why.

My own hands-down choice would be Arnold Bax for his beguiling music, compelling literary interests, and ambitious love life.  Brahms for my second, mainly because there are many unanswered questions about him - he's actually a biographer's worst nightmare in his efforts to 'cover his tracks', knowing full well there'd be "nosy Parkers" interested in his comings and goings - and his music has been top of my personal chart for decades. 
Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.

Offline DaveF

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 04:40:31 AM »
Berlioz, as I rather like the idea of spending my declining years in peaceful study in the beautiful setting of the Berlioz house in La Côte-St-André.  And what a life! (HB's, not mine.)  But of course David Cairns has done it all already.

Equally interesting question: is anyone here already the world's acknowledged expert on a composer?  (Excluding oneself if, like Dr Henning, you are a composer.)
"All the world is birthday cake" - George Harrison

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2021, 04:58:47 AM »
And what a life! (HB's...)

I would pick HB too...only my HB is Havergal Brian, a fascinating character, a composer who remained prolific into his 90s.

Sarge
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline Irons

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 06:02:39 AM »
I am old enough to know without a doubt there is zero chance that I never have or ever could be an expert on anything. But we can dream and I think that is what the question is about so my two penneth worth is easy, Gerald Finzi. A composer, and more importantly a person, I find of immense interest.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2021, 06:33:24 AM »
I agree regarding Bax ...

It would have to be someone with an interesting, long and eventful life, and a varied cycle of works. Some of them are investigated too thoroughly already, say Stravinsky, Mozart, or Beethoven.

There's probably a lot of musical challenge in Nørgård, that would be wonderful to have the ability to grasp, decipher and analyze. Add to this the many cultural references. Lutoslawski would be great too.

Among some of the other, more obscure candidates, maybe Foulds, Cyril Scott, or Hovhaness. And among the almost forgotten, and probably non-profitable, maybe Samuil Feinberg, or some of the Russian futurists ...
« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 06:37:15 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline Stürmisch Bewegt

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2021, 04:06:17 PM »
There are some really good ideas here, IMO.  I'm esp. sensitive to the Berlioz notion.  I would eagerly have added a medieval composer to my list, DuFay perhaps, but it was difficult to choose among them.  It also seems to me that knowledge of a Medieval or Renaissance composer would entail extra expertise in the cultural and historical departments as there's not much that could be taken for granted therein. Anyway, I think all of us should get cracking on our chosen composers...I'm expecting great things from you!   8)
Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.

Offline Holden

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2021, 10:07:25 PM »
Probably John Field.

He was a main part of my study at Uni in music history and I think he's misunderstood in many ways. Because of his Nocturnes people try and play his piano music like they would Chopin's and that would be wrong.

He was a contemporary of Beethoven for quite a while and still rooted in the classical style. He began writing his famous Nocturnes when Chopin was barely two years old (possible earlier) and most of them were probably written over a 8 to 9 year period from about 1812 to 1821. What I find laughable is the fact that though he was born in Dublin, he spent a large part of his career, from about 1802 onwards in Russia. Yet, the record companies like to employ Irish pianists like O'Rourke and O'Conor to play his works. (An Irish composer played by an Irish pianist - it must be right!). There's nothing Irish about Field's music.
Cheers

Holden

Offline arpeggio

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2021, 10:48:18 PM »
As a band junkie it would be a toss up between:

Percy Granger
Morton Gould
Vincent Persichetti
Norman Dello Joio

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2021, 11:46:36 PM »
Probably John Field.

He was a main part of my study at Uni in music history and I think he's misunderstood in many ways. Because of his Nocturnes people try and play his piano music like they would Chopin's and that would be wrong.

He was a contemporary of Beethoven for quite a while and still rooted in the classical style. He began writing his famous Nocturnes when Chopin was barely two years old (possible earlier) and most of them were probably written over a 8 to 9 year period from about 1812 to 1821. What I find laughable is the fact that though he was born in Dublin, he spent a large part of his career, from about 1802 onwards in Russia. Yet, the record companies like to employ Irish pianists like O'Rourke and O'Conor to play his works. (An Irish composer played by an Irish pianist - it must be right!). There's nothing Irish about Field's music.

So what kind of performance style would you prefer for Field then?

Offline Holden

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2021, 02:24:17 AM »
Certainly not the heavy, syrupy rubato of Micael O'Rourke and John O'Conor. This was not part of the performance style of his time and Field's music has a flow that does not rely on pushing and pulling the tempo. Pianists like  Roberte Mamou, Bernard Frith and my favourite, Noel Lee, play this music with the beautiful simplicity it requires.

Here is Lee playing the 3rd Nocturne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB_jW0WHMKs

She uses dynamics to give it drama. Unfortunately this LP never made it to CD

Mamou with No 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h8SnvVbEbQ

Cheers

Holden

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2021, 02:31:08 AM »
Here is Lee playing the 3rd Nocturne

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB_jW0WHMKs

She uses dynamics to give it drama. Unfortunately this LP never made it to CD

Did he change his sex at any point?

As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2021, 02:35:48 AM »
I would choose someone like Ciconia or Busnoys. Little is known about their lives, but it would also be natural to concentrate on the music.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline Stürmisch Bewegt

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 03:12:24 AM »
Holden, Field actually crossed my mind when I thought about this thread!  His relationship with Clementi - insofar as I'm aware - bears closer scrutiny - and must say that I agree, though 'pretty' I've never been altogether comfortable with O'Rourke and O'Conor's playing of the Nocturnes.  I have both and a scattering of their PCs.
Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.

Offline Stürmisch Bewegt

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 03:14:18 AM »
I would choose someone like Ciconia or Busnoys. Little is known about their lives, but it would also be natural to concentrate on the music.

Good and interesting suggests!
Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2021, 03:54:18 AM »
Did he change his sex at any point?

The 'she' is Roberte Mamou.

I have tried a good deal of Field piano concerto recordings, I prefer O'Conor's old complete set on the Fidelio/Forlane labels, but I feel that there's maybe more to the music. However, I like say a more dramatic/even Weberesque approach. As regards the nocturnes, I only have an old Lee LP, and the old ~complete LP set with Boehm.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 04:29:40 AM by MusicTurner »

Offline (: premont :)

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2021, 04:31:48 AM »
The 'she' is Roberte Mamou.

Thanks. It was difficult to see from Holden's post, because the word "she" would be expected to refer to someone mentioned earlier in the post, and not the least because the words: "Unfortunately this LP never made it to CD" are true of Lee's LP too.
As soon as a word has left the lips, not even the fastest horse can catch up with it.

Offline Florestan

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2021, 05:55:05 AM »
Giuseppe Tartini --- his many violin concertos bear multiple and enigmatic literary mottos, and his life was an adventurous one. One could spend a whole lifetime trying to decipher the mottos only.

Sigismond Thalberg --- Liszt did not fill any vacuum, he was simply one of the many  newcomers in an already crowded scene.

Sergei Bortkiewicz --- this man's life was an uninterrupted tragedy yet his music is never-failingly life-affirming.
What is Music? How do you define it? Music is a calm moonlit night, the rustle of leaves in Summer. Music is the far off peal of bells at dusk! Music comes straight from the heart and talks only to the heart: it is Love!  --- Rachmaninoff

Offline vandermolen

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2021, 07:22:49 AM »
Klaus Egge
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2021, 06:58:23 PM »
I’ll pick three: Alban Berg, Alexander Zemlinsky and Erwin Schulhoff. I chose these three composers, because there seems there’s still not a whole lot known about them. Of course, I love each of these composers and find them compelling in their own individual ways. I didn’t pick a huge name like Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky or Schoenberg, because there have been so many books written about these composers. There are many ‘experts’ on these composers already.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 07:02:22 PM by Mirror Image »
Don’t forget your four A’s, folks: Alex, Arnie, Alban and Anton


Offline Stürmisch Bewegt

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Re: If YOU Could Be the World's Acknowledged Expert on a Composer...
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2021, 02:15:17 PM »
I’ll pick three: Alban Berg, Alexander Zemlinsky and Erwin Schulhoff. I chose these three composers, because there seems there’s still not a whole lot known about them. Of course, I love each of these composers and find them compelling in their own individual ways. I didn’t pick a huge name like Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, Stravinsky or Schoenberg, because there have been so many books written about these composers. There are many ‘experts’ on these composers already.

Worthy subjects all; just FYI, Anthony Beaumont brought out a well-reviewed biography of Zemlinksky in 2000 - nothing less than a passion of his.  That doesn't mean you can't better it! 

Leben heißt nicht zu warten, bis der Sturm vorbeizieht, sondern lernen, im Regen zu tanzen.