Author Topic: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)  (Read 91154 times)

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Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #680 on: August 07, 2018, 03:52:13 AM »
I give La méditation de Purun Bhagat an A+, and to Les Bandar-log and La course de printemps, an A each.  While I am sure I shall enjoy the Op.18 poems (one reason why I was predisposed to the Zinman rather than the Segerstam), it was especially my eagerness to hear La loi de la jungle which drove my urgency for a complete Jungle Book.

One thing I am finding of immediate interest:  the Zinman timings for the Opp. 95, 159 & 176 are quicker than Holliger’s—in the case of the Opp. 159 & 176, significantly quicker:

Op. 95
Zinman
— 31:54
Holliger — 33:11

Op. 159
Zinman — 13:45
Holliger — 16:00

Op. 176
Zinman
— 16:31
Holliger — 20:24

I do not find any of the Holliger performances at all languorous, so I am curious about the effect of Zinman’s tempi.

Another reflection of my having combed through the entire thread yesterday:  ’tis a mild pity, that the timing of my enthusiasm for the Jungle Book is out of joint with John’s.  I suppose (and this is general, nothing specific to John, of course) historically I have found that the enthusiasm of another does not reliably translate to myself.

Anyway, could just be my own musical biorhythms:  this is the season for my bungle in the Jungle Book.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline André

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #681 on: August 07, 2018, 05:02:43 AM »
Because of the current Jungle Book discussion, my curiosity was piqued, so I played this CD:



My first reactions: extremely singular and fantastic music in there. Where had these works been all my life? I already knew his string quartets (btw, wonderful), but these works exceeded my expectations by far. The orchestration and the atmosphere Koechlin created in these works are with no equal. I'll have to give them more listens to get their secrets.

Zinman (or the disc producer) lays out the works chronologically, thus chronicling the composer’s evolution over a period of 50 years. Koechlin, however, had other ideas. Being a natural born original, he decided on a different playing order when the cycle was finished: opus 175, 176, 18, 95 and 159. There is a logic to this madness. In doing so, Koechlin was simply following Kipling’s order in Jungle Book. Thus we move freely from ivesian spareness to canteloubesque lushness, and everything in-between.

I had a friend burn the Zinman performances in the right order, so I can listen to the work in logical or chronological order. I haven’t made up my mind about which one is the most musically effective. Bedford’s set is the only one to have the poems in the composer’s stated order. I have yet to hear it. Anyone did ?

Note on opus 18: Zinman’s tenor is horrible, and Segerstam didn’t record it.

Offline Biffo

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #682 on: August 07, 2018, 05:53:55 AM »
Zinman (or the disc producer) lays out the works chronologically, thus chronicling the composer’s evolution over a period of 50 years. Koechlin, however, had other ideas. Being a natural born original, he decided on a different playing order when the cycle was finished: opus 175, 176, 18, 95 and 159. There is a logic to this madness. In doing so, Koechlin was simply following Kipling’s order in Jungle Book. Thus we move freely from ivesian spareness to canteloubesque lushness, and everything in-between.

I had a friend burn the Zinman performances in the right order, so I can listen to the work in logical or chronological order. I haven’t made up my mind about which one is the most musically effective. Bedford’s set is the only one to have the poems in the composer’s stated order. I have yet to hear it. Anyone did ?

Note on opus 18: Zinman’s tenor is horrible, and Segerstam didn’t record it.

Someone, possibly you, posted Koechlin's order before. The Bedford recording is no longer available (unless it has been recently reissued) so I ordered a copy from zoverstocks (I think). I received a disc of Brahms First Symphony. I returned it and got a refund.  I suppose it wouldn't be difficult to upload the Zinman set to my PC and play it in the correct order, just haven't got round to it yet.

Offline André

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #683 on: August 07, 2018, 07:19:46 AM »
I put Bedford’s account in my cart. It’s new, so presumably it won’t morph into a Brahms symphony:



Asin number: B0013FDTOA

Offline Iota

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #684 on: March 03, 2019, 11:46:00 AM »


Koechlin Piano Quintet

Quintette Syntonia


Not quite sure how he does it, but Koechlin seems to conjure up extraplanetary harmony and timbres all his own. I think sometimes the refinement of the timbre makes the harmony seem even more exotic than it already is. Be that as it may, the consequence is some pretty rarefied moods. If you've ever felt life has offered you too few opportunities to abseil dreamily down existential chasms for example, there are moments in this quintet that may offer you the chance to address that lacuna.

He seems pretty free in his approach to form in this piece. The structure of the third movt seems almost arbitrary, like mist lifting when it's done, rather than being shaped by any formal influence. In this case, that meant it felt a bit long to me. But it contains some ecstatically beautiful music, which I sort of never wanted want to end. But then as I say, it sort of never did. It's only about 10 minutes long, but towards the end, it felt to me like the exotic-harmony equivalent of 3 minutes worth of the closing bars of Sibelius 5. The also-extremely-lovely last movt, though only a minute and a half shorter, seemed a model of concision by comparison.

Anyway despite that, extraordinary and transfixing music, that I greatly enjoyed.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #685 on: February 10, 2021, 06:32:14 PM »
I put Bedford’s account in my cart. It’s new, so presumably it won’t morph into a Brahms symphony:



Asin number: B0013FDTOA

It’s been three years, Andre. Have you given the Bedford performance a listen? ;)
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #686 on: February 10, 2021, 06:38:04 PM »
I give La méditation de Purun Bhagat an A+, and to Les Bandar-log and La course de printemps, an A each.  While I am sure I shall enjoy the Op.18 poems (one reason why I was predisposed to the Zinman rather than the Segerstam), it was especially my eagerness to hear La loi de la jungle which drove my urgency for a complete Jungle Book.

One thing I am finding of immediate interest:  the Zinman timings for the Opp. 95, 159 & 176 are quicker than Holliger’s—in the case of the Opp. 159 & 176, significantly quicker:

Op. 95
Zinman
— 31:54
Holliger — 33:11

Op. 159
Zinman — 13:45
Holliger — 16:00

Op. 176
Zinman
— 16:31
Holliger — 20:24

I do not find any of the Holliger performances at all languorous, so I am curious about the effect of Zinman’s tempi.

Another reflection of my having combed through the entire thread yesterday:  ’tis a mild pity, that the timing of my enthusiasm for the Jungle Book is out of joint with John’s.  I suppose (and this is general, nothing specific to John, of course) historically I have found that the enthusiasm of another does not reliably translate to myself.

Anyway, could just be my own musical biorhythms:  this is the season for my bungle in the Jungle Book.

Sorry I missed this post, Karl. I hope you’re still finding La Livre de la Jungle to your liking. It’s a work, as with a number of Koechlin pieces, that I can instantly recognize even by the first few measures of each work within the cycle. I have since come around to his chamber music and I love so much of it and the same for his solo piano works. He truly was an individualistic composer and despite what other listeners have said, he does sound like no one else and, for better or for worse, this is something that I can’t say for many composers.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline classicalgeek

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #687 on: October 07, 2021, 01:29:57 PM »
I've been listening to a lot of Koechlin lately, especially the orchestral music, and to a lesser extent the chamber works. And while Le Livre de la jungle has fared decently on disc (comparatively speaking), we still need to hear all of his symphonies and symphonic poems. My personal favorites so far have included his Seven Stars Symphony and Le Docteur Fabricius, but he wrote a lot more than that, some of which (if I'm not mistaken) has yet to appear on a recording. Some of it is just drop-dead gorgeous (Le ciel étoilé from Le Docteur Fabricius? Stunning!), and all of his orchestral music reveals a mastery of the subtleties of orchestral color.

While we're at it, I'd welcome a complete survey of his chamber music (including the reams of miniatures for solo instrument, particularly the flute) and his piano works. But I realize I'm getting greedy!
« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 01:32:27 PM by classicalgeek »

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #688 on: October 07, 2021, 01:34:50 PM »
I've been listening to a lot of Koechlin lately, especially the orchestral music, and to a lesser extent the chamber works. And while Le Livre de la jungle has fared decently on disc (comparatively speaking), we still need to hear all of his symphonies and symphonic poems. My personal favorites so far have included his Seven Stars Symphony and Le Docteur Fabricius, but he wrote a lot more than that, some of which (if I'm not mistaken) has yet to appear on a recording. Some of it is just drop-dead gorgeous (Le ciel étoilé from Le Docteur Fabricius? Stunning!), and all of his orchestral music reveals a mastery of the subtleties of orchestral color.

While we're at it, I'd welcome a complete survey of his chamber music (including the reams of miniatures for solo instrument, particularly the flute) and his piano works. But I realize I'm getting greedy!

I guess I'd be assuming that the Korstick recordings (three volumes in all) of the solo piano music isn't complete? I agree with what you wrote here for sure. A fascinating composer and one that could write music of aural beauty.
"When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something." - Dmitri Shostakovich

Offline ritter

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #689 on: October 07, 2021, 01:40:36 PM »
I have mixed feelings about Koechlin, TBH, but there’s certainly much to enjoy in his output (Le livre de la jungle is a favourite). But, if I had to choose just one piece, it’s that little jewel Le cortège d’Amphitrite, the third of his Études antiques, op. 46:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7foAjT0d7U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7foAjT0d7U</a>
It’s the reworking as a purely orchestral piece of a song of the same title, based on the poem by Albert Samain. Its only (AFAIK) recording is included in the 2 CD set of orchestral songs (even if this isn’t really a song in this version) on Hänssler.

And here the perfect visual companion to this delightful music (sorry to repeat myself, as I posted this painting in the WAYLTN thread not long ago): Raoul Dufy’s monumental painting of the same title (from 1936)…

« Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 01:51:16 PM by ritter »
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Offline classicalgeek

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #690 on: October 07, 2021, 02:27:43 PM »
I guess I'd be assuming that the Korstick recordings (three volumes in all) of the solo piano music isn't complete? I agree with what you wrote here for sure. A fascinating composer and one that could write music of aural beauty.

It appears Korstick is nearly complete - but not quite. One wonders if Hänssler pulled the plug on a Korstick complete cycle at the same time as they did it to Holliger with the orchestral works. Not saying this is or isn't true... just speculating!

Here's a supposedly complete list of Koechlin's piano music from Wikipedia, though I notice some pieces Korstick recorded aren't on it: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_des_%C5%93uvres_de_Charles_Koechlin#Piano

Offline classicalgeek

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Re: Charles Koechlin(1867-1950)
« Reply #691 on: October 07, 2021, 02:36:40 PM »
I have mixed feelings about Koechlin, TBH, but there’s certainly much to enjoy in his output (Le livre de la jungle is a favourite). But, if I had to choose just one piece, it’s that little jewel Le cortège d’Amphitrite, the third of his Études antiques, op. 46:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7foAjT0d7U" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7foAjT0d7U</a>
It’s the reworking as a purely orchestral piece of a song of the same title, based on the poem by Albert Samain. Its only (AFAIK) recording is included in the 2 CD set of orchestral songs (even if this isn’t really a song in this version) on Hänssler.

And here the perfect visual companion to this delightful music (sorry to repeat myself, as I posted this painting in the WAYLTN thread not long ago): Raoul Dufy’s monumental painting of the same title (from 1936)…



Just found it on Holliger's recording on Spotify... what a little gem! It's 'space-y' Koechlin at his finest, a sonority which he really explored in his later orchestral works - full of harp and celesta and string harmonics. Thank you for sharing!