Author Topic: EJ Moeran  (Read 78607 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #680 on: August 06, 2021, 12:23:40 AM »
I find the two Falletta Naxos issues most impressive. The idiom is spot-on. Hopefully she will get around to recording the symphony one day.
+1
"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 Roasted Swan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #681 on: August 06, 2021, 01:17:13 AM »
I find the two Falletta Naxos issues most impressive. The idiom is spot-on. Hopefully she will get around to recording the symphony one day.

++1 - I have to say I've never been that fussed either way with Falletta's recordings in Buffalo (others seem to love them) but I thought her 3 Naxos discs in Ulster - 2 x Moeran and 1 x Holst were really really fine.  Her short tenure in Ulster means something just didn't click there for her and/or the orchestra but the small recorded legacy is excellent.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #682 on: August 06, 2021, 01:23:51 AM »
++1 - I have to say I've never been that fussed either way with Falletta's recordings in Buffalo (others seem to love them) but I thought her 3 Naxos discs in Ulster - 2 x Moeran and 1 x Holst were really really fine.  Her short tenure in Ulster means something just didn't click there for her and/or the orchestra but the small recorded legacy is excellent.
Her recording of Gliere's Ilya Muromets Symphony is one of the best (Buffalo PO).
"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 HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #683 on: August 08, 2021, 11:42:46 PM »
I agree. Moeran's Nature music is more melancholy, less obsessed by transience as Delius's is. There is also no eroticism in Moeran's music, as far as I know...

Having been away on holiday for a while, I have returned to find some interesting postings on the forum. Might I ask generally how you define eroticism in music, and to give some specific examples of where you believe it exists in music. The context of my question is that I do not consider that music is capable of conveying concepts such as eroticism (indeed, it is incapable of conveying anything at all) except by agreed convention, and would be interested to know how you (and anybody else for that matter) has acquired such a convention. Why do you think this does not exist in Moeran's music?

You will be well aware of Stravinsky's assertion, to which I refer in my book, that if music appears to communicate anything beyond itself, this can only be an illusion. I am very interested to understand how such illusions come about. Some are obvious, film and TV music for example has conventionally led to the definition of certain musical characteristics as representing images or emotions. But explaining other acquisitions is problematic.

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #684 on: August 09, 2021, 01:53:38 AM »
Having been away on holiday for a while, I have returned to find some interesting postings on the forum. Might I ask generally how you define eroticism in music, and to give some specific examples of where you believe it exists in music. The context of my question is that I do not consider that music is capable of conveying concepts such as eroticism (indeed, it is incapable of conveying anything at all) except by agreed convention, and would be interested to know how you (and anybody else for that matter) has acquired such a convention. Why do you think this does not exist in Moeran's music?

You will be well aware of Stravinsky's assertion, to which I refer in my book, that if music appears to communicate anything beyond itself, this can only be an illusion. I am very interested to understand how such illusions come about. Some are obvious, film and TV music for example has conventionally led to the definition of certain musical characteristics as representing images or emotions. But explaining other acquisitions is problematic.
Yes, I'm aware of Stravinsky's infamous pronouncement. The idea that all emotion in music is not inherent but something we ascribe to it. But if I remember correctly, even Stravinsky himself found this a bit of an overstatement, born of the desire to get rid of overblown Romanticism. In the meantime he was able to write a ballet like The Fairy's Kiss, based on material by that most emotional of composers, Tchaikovsky, whom he revered...
Back to Delius and Moeran, and eroticism in music. Composers who have been considered 'erotic' in their music are people like Wagner, Scriabin and Delius. The common musical denominator among them is extreme chromaticism. The diatonic in that view is a mode of the defined, clear-cut, in former days: masculine. Chromaticism is erotic in its erosion of barriers, its fluidity, its destabilisation of (diatonic) harmony.
Delius was a Nietzschean hedonist. His music is ultra-chromatic. Moeran's much less so. Hence my assertion.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #685 on: August 09, 2021, 03:58:47 AM »
Having been away on holiday for a while, I have returned to find some interesting postings on the forum. Might I ask generally how you define eroticism in music, and to give some specific examples of where you believe it exists in music. The context of my question is that I do not consider that music is capable of conveying concepts such as eroticism (indeed, it is incapable of conveying anything at all) except by agreed convention, and would be interested to know how you (and anybody else for that matter) has acquired such a convention. Why do you think this does not exist in Moeran's music?

You will be well aware of Stravinsky's assertion, to which I refer in my book, that if music appears to communicate anything beyond itself, this can only be an illusion. I am very interested to understand how such illusions come about. Some are obvious, film and TV music for example has conventionally led to the definition of certain musical characteristics as representing images or emotions. But explaining other acquisitions is problematic.

The "music can't mean anything except sound" is a debate that regularly rears its head on this forum and elsewhere.  But I would say there are explicit and implicit examples.  Strauss caused consternation by depicting a love scene with his wife in Sinfonia Domestica - that's what he meant and that's what he tried to depict.  Walton's storm scene in "Troilus and Cressida" is not meant to be anything except a night of passion.  But then I suppose I suppose there are other works where the sensuality is more implicit - or perhaps not if you're Nijinsky choosing Prelude a l'apres midi to dance (more consternation).  I think there is possibly(!) a strong case for someone like Bax's music being completely linked to his libido.  Nearly all his great music is (as he said himself) a response to life love and death.  The 3 famous tone poems are all so linked - Tintagel is dedicated to harriet Cohen and November Woods is an allegory for emotional storms as much as natural ones.

Stravinsky had an approach/agenda which clearly suited the anti-Romantic position so no surprise he wrote what he did.  With Moeran I hear place rather than person in his music.  The quotes from him - whether accurate or fanciful speak of the symphony being based on Irish or Norfolk landscapes.  In the Mountain Country is again more of a nature picture.  I think that even the works for Coetmore are not great emotional outpourings in the Baxian style but more an expression of 'proof of love' rather than an evocation of love - emotional or physical.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #686 on: August 09, 2021, 04:05:24 AM »
Bax came to my mind too - especially the stormy works like 'November Woods', arguably reflecting the turbulent emotions aroused by his passionate affair with Harriet Cohen.
"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 J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #687 on: August 09, 2021, 04:34:42 AM »
I am reminded of RVW's amusement at seeing the following entry in a music encyclopaedia: Cohen, Harriet. See under Bax, Arnold.
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #688 on: August 09, 2021, 11:47:43 AM »
I am reminded of RVW's amusement at seeing the following entry in a music encyclopaedia: Cohen, Harriet. See under Bax, Arnold.

I'm sure that the text in the musical dictionary was deliberate. In the old days when everyone was very proper writers and journalists used to delight in trying to get double entendres through. I grew up in Cambridge and the story went that the Cambridge Evening News had an editor who was ruthless in eliminating anything suggestive, but the journalists didn't give up and one day his guard slipped: the headline for a story about a man objecting to his neighbour trying to get permission to extend his house was "Man fights erection in street"  :)

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #689 on: August 09, 2021, 11:49:44 AM »
That's one massive slip.  :D
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #690 on: August 09, 2021, 11:55:12 AM »
Some time in the 30s one whole issue of the Times had to be recalled and pulped because they had printed a letter signed "R Supward"!

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #691 on: August 09, 2021, 01:09:16 PM »
 :D
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline André

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #692 on: August 09, 2021, 03:00:06 PM »
I'm sure that the text in the musical dictionary was deliberate. In the old days when everyone was very proper writers and journalists used to delight in trying to get double entendres through. I grew up in Cambridge and the story went that the Cambridge Evening News had an editor who was ruthless in eliminating anything suggestive, but the journalists didn't give up and one day his guard slipped: the headline for a story about a man objecting to his neighbour trying to get permission to extend his house was "Man fights erection in street"  :)

I wonder what that editor would have made of this scene of the inauguration of the Brooklyn Bridge ?

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4cCyukRyMw" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4cCyukRyMw</a>

The fun starts around 0:55  :)

Offline Biffo

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #693 on: August 10, 2021, 04:41:34 AM »
Some time in the 30s one whole issue of the Times had to be recalled and pulped because they had printed a letter signed "R Supward"!

I can't remember the exact date (sometime in the 1970s?) but The Times published an article about a cache of papyrus rolls that had been unearthed in Egypt. They had been dated to the 1st century BC and contained a number of the sayings of Jesus. No one at the Times seemed to have noticed that the alleged scholar who translated the scrolls was called Batson D. Sealing. This was doubly embarrassing because it wasn't long after Times Newspapers had spent a huge sum of money buying a set of fake Hitler Diaries.

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #694 on: August 13, 2021, 04:08:52 AM »
The "music can't mean anything except sound" is a debate that regularly rears its head on this forum and elsewhere.  But I would say there are explicit and implicit examples.  Strauss caused consternation by depicting a love scene with his wife in Sinfonia Domestica - that's what he meant and that's what he tried to depict.  Walton's storm scene in "Troilus and Cressida" is not meant to be anything except a night of passion.  But then I suppose I suppose there are other works where the sensuality is more implicit - or perhaps not if you're Nijinsky choosing Prelude a l'apres midi to dance (more consternation).  I think there is possibly(!) a strong case for someone like Bax's music being completely linked to his libido.  Nearly all his great music is (as he said himself) a response to life love and death.  The 3 famous tone poems are all so linked - Tintagel is dedicated to harriet Cohen and November Woods is an allegory for emotional storms as much as natural ones.

Stravinsky had an approach/agenda which clearly suited the anti-Romantic position so no surprise he wrote what he did.  With Moeran I hear place rather than person in his music.  The quotes from him - whether accurate or fanciful speak of the symphony being based on Irish or Norfolk landscapes.  In the Mountain Country is again more of a nature picture.  I think that even the works for Coetmore are not great emotional outpourings in the Baxian style but more an expression of 'proof of love' rather than an evocation of love - emotional or physical.

Music by its very nature cannot intrinsically "mean" or be about anything, in the way that expressions in language do "mean" something. But even in language, meaning comes from agreement and convention. Exactly the same sequence of sounds can have different meanings or representations in different languages (which, of course, are themselves collectively agreed conventions) - consider the English "gift" and the German "Gift", for example.

Music can have acquired metaphorical meaning, but again, this may not be the same for each listener. In each of the examples you quoted, we are reliant on what the composer claimed for their music, or what others have claimed on the composer's behalf. I did it myself in the book, as you will recall, when I asserted a possible programme for In the Mountain Country. I could compose a piece of music that I asserted represented my walk in the Peak District the other day. But unless I informed listeners that this is the case, how would anybody know?

Offline Irons

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #695 on: August 13, 2021, 07:24:24 AM »
Music by its very nature cannot intrinsically "mean" or be about anything, in the way that expressions in language do "mean" something. But even in language, meaning comes from agreement and convention. Exactly the same sequence of sounds can have different meanings or representations in different languages (which, of course, are themselves collectively agreed conventions) - consider the English "gift" and the German "Gift", for example.

Music can have acquired metaphorical meaning, but again, this may not be the same for each listener. In each of the examples you quoted, we are reliant on what the composer claimed for their music, or what others have claimed on the composer's behalf. I did it myself in the book, as you will recall, when I asserted a possible programme for In the Mountain Country. I could compose a piece of music that I asserted represented my walk in the Peak District the other day. But unless I informed listeners that this is the case, how would anybody know?

 To convey emotion music is far more powerful then words and can reach our inner soul. A quotation from Henrich Heine sums it up for me Where words leave off, music begins. Without fail the Larghetto of Elgar's 2nd Symphony cracks me up and I have no idea why. Nothing in this music has any connection with my life or past and outwardly I'm not an emotional person and yet this string of notes cuts to the quick.
Moeran is different, the second movement of his Cello Concerto moves me greatly but unlike the Elgar I know why it does.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #696 on: August 13, 2021, 12:01:36 PM »
To convey emotion music is far more powerful then words and can reach our inner soul. A quotation from Henrich Heine sums it up for me Where words leave off, music begins. Without fail the Larghetto of Elgar's 2nd Symphony cracks me up and I have no idea why. Nothing in this music has any connection with my life or past and outwardly I'm not an emotional person and yet this string of notes cuts to the quick.
Moeran is different, the second movement of his Cello Concerto moves me greatly but unlike the Elgar I know why it does.
I neither deny nor dispute that music can have an emotional effect on listeners. While I do not share your connection with the Elgar movement, there are countless other pieces that can affect me deeply. All responses to music are by necessity learned, whether or not one recalls it or even realises how that learning took place. However, in order for music to communicate anything meaningful, it has to be commonly agreed what it is, and this can only come externally - the music itself can provide no information. Like many composers, Moeran made certain claims for his music, which I have documented in my book. I have also presented my response to his claims, but I make no assertion that my response is any more correct than anybody else's. As I have said in the Introduction to my book: "It is the nature of music that each response to it is an individual one, informed by the unique experiences of each listener ...", so there can really never be a general agreement.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #697 on: August 13, 2021, 01:20:00 PM »
I neither deny nor dispute that music can have an emotional effect on listeners. While I do not share your connection with the Elgar movement, there are countless other pieces that can affect me deeply. All responses to music are by necessity learned, whether or not one recalls it or even realises how that learning took place. However, in order for music to communicate anything meaningful, it has to be commonly agreed what it is, and this can only come externally - the music itself can provide no information. Like many composers, Moeran made certain claims for his music, which I have documented in my book. I have also presented my response to his claims, but I make no assertion that my response is any more correct than anybody else's. As I have said in the Introduction to my book: "It is the nature of music that each response to it is an individual one, informed by the unique experiences of each listener ...", so there can really never be a general agreement.

So if Strauss in the Alpine Symphony says "this is a waterfall...., this is a meadow" are we not to believe him!?  If Dvorak in his late tone poems very deliberately illustrates the narratives of the the folk stories he portrays in music are we meant to be sceptical?  Of course there are musical "signposts" that in certain cultures we understand represent certain things, but that is just a learned cultural response no different from a gesture in one culture meaning something quite different in another - context within that culture is everything.  Of course composers will use those musical gestures as signifiers for their intent - they don't have to write an instruction booklet with every work.

Offline HotFXMan

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #698 on: August 13, 2021, 11:14:41 PM »
So if Strauss in the Alpine Symphony says "this is a waterfall...., this is a meadow" are we not to believe him!?  ...

Yes, of course we are, and that is exactly my point - we are reliant on the composer to explain his or her music, because without such explanation, we have no objective points of reference. If an abstract artist says that their creation of seemingly random red lines on an alternating black and dark blue background represents a response to the view from the summit of Mount Snowden, we are constrained to accept that, no matter how sceptical we may be. But if the artist simply shows us the painting and says nothing, how could a view from Mount Snowden - or anywhere else for that matter - occurs to us. It is exactly the same for music. With programme music, we as listeners are provided with an explanation of what the music is intended to represent. However, like the painting, we are at liberty to accept or reject that because there are no semiotic indicators inherent in the music. Middle C followed by G followed by B cannot "mean" anything, nor can the harmonic sequence Cm7, Gm7flat9, Ddim, Eflat7sus4, nor the use of flute and bassoon in unison for two bars. These are all effects that combine to produce a temporally changing sequence of sounds that, ultimately, either pleases (satisfies) us or doesn't.

Online foxandpeng

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Re: EJ Moeran
« Reply #699 on: August 14, 2021, 12:49:19 AM »
Yes, of course we are, and that is exactly my point - we are reliant on the composer to explain his or her music, because without such explanation, we have no objective points of reference. If an abstract artist says that their creation of seemingly random red lines on an alternating black and dark blue background represents a response to the view from the summit of Mount Snowden, we are constrained to accept that, no matter how sceptical we may be. But if the artist simply shows us the painting and says nothing, how could a view from Mount Snowden - or anywhere else for that matter - occurs to us. It is exactly the same for music. With programme music, we as listeners are provided with an explanation of what the music is intended to represent. However, like the painting, we are at liberty to accept or reject that because there are no semiotic indicators inherent in the music. Middle C followed by G followed by B cannot "mean" anything, nor can the harmonic sequence Cm7, Gm7flat9, Ddim, Eflat7sus4, nor the use of flute and bassoon in unison for two bars. These are all effects that combine to produce a temporally changing sequence of sounds that, ultimately, either pleases (satisfies) us or doesn't.

I agree. Apart from Beethoven 6. There is always an outlier.