Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 339546 times)

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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2740 on: January 16, 2021, 05:35:03 AM »
"Lobgesang" was treated and classified as a "choral symphony" for ~150 years. Do you think we have in the last ca. 20 years (the new edition that puts it with the choral pieces rather than the symphonies stems apparently from 2009) discovered that this had been wrong all the time in the same or a very similar sense it had been wrong all the time to classify whales as fish?
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2741 on: January 16, 2021, 08:25:47 AM »
Given that there is no definition of "what is a symphony?" that encompasses all the symphonies out there while at the same time excluding all the non-symphonies - there were a couple of snippets from the last 2 pages of discussion that I really liked:

...  You could consider tone poems as a poem and a symphony as a novel.  ...  and in general a novel is a work of sprawl with multiple characters, arcs, and an ultimate resolution through struggle.

That's a wonderful description which seems true of many or even most symphonies.  Though not Sibelius' 7th of course, which is more a work of distillation.

Also I liked:

... remember the word "Symphony" has a lot of germanic baggage linking it to Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, etc.,

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2742 on: January 16, 2021, 11:18:36 AM »
"Lobgesang" was treated and classified as a "choral symphony" for ~150 years. Do you think we have in the last ca. 20 years (the new edition that puts it with the choral pieces rather than the symphonies stems apparently from 2009) discovered that this had been wrong all the time in the same or a very similar sense it had been wrong all the time to classify whales as fish?

Yes.

When do you think we noticed how many symphonies Dvořák wrote? It took a long time to fix what the publishers had done.

If you want to keep preferring what the publishers wanted over what Mendelssohn wanted, that’s your business, but given that part of this conversation has been about how composers decide what to call a piece, I would have thought it was highly relevant to point out that Mendelssohn didn’t call it a symphony.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 11:21:32 AM by Madiel »
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Offline relm1

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2743 on: January 16, 2021, 05:11:53 PM »

That's a wonderful description which seems true of many or even most symphonies.  Though not Sibelius' 7th of course, which is more a work of distillation.


The "Though not Sibelius' 7th of course, which is more a work of distillation." is debatable.  First, what do you define as "distillation" in this context? 

Offline Brian

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2744 on: January 19, 2021, 09:10:06 AM »
Mendelssohn didn't call Lobgesang a symphony, and it is no longer catalogued as such.
Wait, really? Even very recent Mendelssohn symphony cycles (like Manacorda or Gardiner/LSO) include it, with numbering.

Online OrchestralNut

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2745 on: January 19, 2021, 09:28:35 AM »
Wait, really? Even very recent Mendelssohn symphony cycles (like Manacorda or Gardiner/LSO) include it, with numbering.

Yes, I was surprised to hear this too, Brian.
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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2746 on: January 19, 2021, 09:29:55 AM »

If you want to keep preferring what the publishers wanted over what Mendelssohn wanted, that’s your business, but given that part of this conversation has been about how composers decide what to call a piece, I would have thought it was highly relevant to point out that Mendelssohn didn’t call it a symphony.
Be careful what you wish for. Mendelssohn didn't want his "5th symphony" (the "Reformation symphony") to be published at all...

My recording of Lobgesang (Spering) "Symphony No. 2" on the spine "Symphonie Lobgesang" on the title, "Lobgesang eine Symphonie-Cantate Nr. 2" on the back (the Nr. 2 does not really make sense here because there is no earlier numbere Symphony cantata). So they apparently could not decide (and the booklet is a mess with several empty pages, apparently a mistake but the pages I described seem regular).

I don't care either way in which volume Lobgesang is edited or how it is called.  But I think it is not very helpful to think that whether it is a symphony or a cantata (or something else) could simply or decisively be settled by what's on a title page, regardless of whether the composer or the editor is responsible. In either case it would be a quite unusual exemplar of its kind and while there is an obvious precedent of a choral symphony with three instrumental movements before the vocal parts and this fact was probably relevant for the publisher's/editors decisions until the day before yesterday, I am not aware of a cantata with three symphony movements at the beginning although many baroque cantatas do start with a short sinfonia which was certainly known to Mendelssohn and might have been
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2747 on: January 19, 2021, 12:06:43 PM »
Again, wasn’t this entire conversation DRIVEN by the question of how a composer labelled a work?
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Online Herman

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2748 on: January 22, 2021, 10:21:46 AM »
But, La Mer has no real programme, it feels like a three movement symphony but is not referred to as such. Do you see a reason it would not be a symphony? Are you suggesting that symphonies work more in the abstract? Beethoven’s 6th would be the kind of problem to that idea. But perhaps I am reading something into your words that you did not say. Your explanation is attractive, but I need to think on it.

Mike

I suspect Debussy really did not want to call anything of his "symphony".

Only at the end of his life, during war, did he revert to Sonatas in form and title.

But I may be wrong.

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2749 on: January 22, 2021, 10:40:32 AM »
There is a Debussy Symphonie, a piece for piano duet. It's been orchestrated and recorded, but it's an early one-movement work (1880).