Author Topic: Pieces that have blown you away recently  (Read 139219 times)

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Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #980 on: November 23, 2019, 03:00:15 PM »
A twofer of terrific symphonies!


Matthew Taylor: Symphony No. 2

This is very recommended for lovers of Nielsen, Holmboe, a bit of Sibelius and Tubin, even of Olav Kielland whose 1st Symphony (or Sinfonia I) has meant an all-time revelation. A very exciting work, with many fine details and stormy nature. The strength of its gestures and its cohesive narrative make it a most compelling symphony. Matthew Taylor is an English composer who proves that symphony is too far from dissapearing (fortunately)!!!




Robert Farnon: Symphony No. 2

Yet another discovery of some significant importance for my tastes. Hyper-Romantic, tuneful, film-like and eventually moving to say the least. This piece has a Korngoldian-like flavour that is just irresistible. One of those works that can easily stick on your mind. Farnon was a Canadian composer of film and light-music, chiefly. Now you know what to expect.


« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 04:01:10 PM by Symphonic Addict »

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #981 on: November 23, 2019, 05:49:32 PM »


Liszt --- Grosse Concert-Phantasie ueber spanische Weisen S 253

An astonishing blend of virtuosity and tunefulness that will make you ask yourself whether what you've just heard was real, or even possible.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/B2qWUPejJA4" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/B2qWUPejJA4</a>

Yes, a really fun work. Whilst don't consider one of his best works, it has all the ingredients to appeal anyone. There was a moment where I thought I was listening to a Mexican song, in the 2nd half.

His Paraphrases on composers' operas are just unthinkable in their virtuosic skills and creativeness too. Pleasure galore.

Offline pjme

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #982 on: November 27, 2019, 01:29:57 PM »
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/pyfnU5Bd5HI" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/pyfnU5Bd5HI</a>

I don't know how to describe this music - sublimely kitschy, grandiose, deep, heartfelt, Ur-Russian... neo- romantic, pathetic. But it brings tears to my eyes. The female soloist (a mezzo or alto?) is superb...
For those who read Russian: http://www.yuributsko.com/ru/works


Offline kyjo

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #983 on: November 28, 2019, 12:11:44 PM »
Lately, these works have fit the qualification:

Franz Schmidt: The Book with Seven Seals. This epic oratorio starts off in a rather benign fashion, but soon develops into an absolutely hair-raising, apocalyptic, terrifying piece of music as befits its subject matter - the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the book of Revelation - and eventually coming to a ecstatically triumphant conclusion. I had previously only known Schmidt's symphonies, which, though excellent (especially the 4th), didn't quite prepare me for the emotional range and dramatic scope of this work. Anyone who enjoys 20th century vocal/orchestral music simply must hear this! I listened to the Kristjan Jarvi recording on Chandos.

Schnittke: Requiem. A mind-blowingly imaginative masterwork that is deeply unsettling yet approachable and communicative. The eerily monotonous spoken chants of the Tuba mirum and the Credo with its drumkit (!) part are especially unforgettable. Now I see what all the hype about Schnittke on this forum is all about! I listened to the Polyansky recording on Chandos.

John Powell: Symphony in A major Virginia Symphony. Apparently Powell was a terribly racist person, but so was Wagner and his music still gets performed around the world. IMO, it's best to separate the man from the music. This symphony completely exceeded my expectations - it is a 55-minute edifice of simply glorious and life-affirming music where ideas flow in the most natural and organic manner. The way Powell weaves Appalachian folk tunes into the music is completely engaging and successful. Perhaps think of Braga Santos' first four symphonies but a bit less variegated and more understated in mood. I listened to the JoAnn Falletta recording on Albany Records.

Samuel Jones: Roundings: Musings and Meditations on Texas New Deal Murals (symphonic suite). Anyone who has, like me, fallen in love with Jones' 3rd Symphony Palo Duro Canyon (I know there are a couple on this forum) simply must hear this substantial piece. I believe Jones is one of America's most sorely neglected contemporary composers - much of his output remains unperformed and unrecorded while contemporary composers of lesser stature (IMO) get promoted by the country's top orchestras. (Perhaps his very generic name hasn't done him any favors? :D) His music is very much in the great American tradition of Copland, Barber, Harris, and Hanson (his teacher) and never gets involved with contemporary gimmicks and "-isms". Roundings is a deeply compelling work which takes the listener on a journey back to Depression-era America, with stunningly vivid portraits of a windmill, an oil well, a locomotive, a tractor, etc. Jones' orchestration is constantly inventive and his musical language always engaging. The only recording available is with the Amarillo SO under James Setapen on Naxos - not a world-class ensemble perhaps but they acquit themselves very well with Jones' soundworld.

Harold Shapero: Symphony for Classical Orchestra. Another great American discovery! Harold Shapero is not a frequently discussed composer, not even on this forum, but on the evidence of this work he is definitely one worth remembering. I'll quote Amazon reviewer G.D. who gives an excellent description of the work:

"What a marvelous, exhilarating work Harold Shapero's Symphony for Classical Orchestra is! As expected from the title, the style is neo-classical and quite conservative, but the results are thrilling - the image that springs to mind js Shapero donning his sunglasses and taking Haydn, Beethoven and Stravinsky on a swift-paced ride through New England in a sleek sports car. That description is not meant to cast aspersions on the results; indeed, I am willing to claim that it is something of a travesty that Shapero's work hasn't established itself as one of the most widely recognized and admired American symphonies of the twentieth century. It is a young man's work - Shapero showed the score to a dismissive Stravinsky in 1947 (Copland was also dismissive, which is probably partially to blame for the fact that Shapero stopped composing for almost twenty years) - but is extremely skillfully and imaginatively put together, and the ideas are fresh, vital and strong. The music is also almost surprisingly original - while Stravinsky's influence is obvious it doesn't really sound anything like the music of other neo-classical composers working in the US at the time.

The most obvious model for the symphony seems to have been Beethoven's seventh, but the symphony can hardly be called derivative. Its opening movement is thoroughly compelling and thematically memorable. The long Adagietto is the heart of the symphony, however, and it is achingly beautiful and sufficiently varied and imaginative to sustain its rather substantial duration without trouble. The Scherzo is great fun; exuberant, playful and stormy, and the Finale brings it home in a deeply impressive way. Yes, there is much in the symphony that is almost conservative enough to have been written in the classical age (though there are plenty of modern harmonic and rhythmic touches as well), but Shapero imbues it all with a personal touch. A magnificent work."

(I listened to the LA Phil/Previn recording on New World Records.)


P.S. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll post some more of my recent discoveries eventually. I finally have some time to post here, as I am on break for the next few days. I'll be back at school for a few more weeks and then I'll have a month-long Christmas break when I will surely have enough time to post here regularly again.  :)
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 12:30:02 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline André

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #984 on: November 28, 2019, 12:23:50 PM »
Thanks for this nice and very informative post, Kyle ! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #985 on: November 28, 2019, 12:59:51 PM »
Lately, these works have fit the qualification:

Franz Schmidt: The Book with Seven Seals. This epic oratorio starts off in a rather benign fashion, but soon develops into an absolutely hair-raising, apocalyptic, terrifying piece of music as befits its subject matter - the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse from the book of Revelation - and eventually coming to a ecstatically triumphant conclusion. I had previously only known Schmidt's symphonies, which, though excellent (especially the 4th), didn't quite prepare me for the emotional range and dramatic scope of this work. Anyone who enjoys 20th century vocal/orchestral music simply must hear this! I listened to the Kristjan Jarvi recording on Chandos.


This work is certainly impressive, but I felt it had some longueurs that distracted me a little. The final moments are glorious, though. I've also heard his opera Notre Dame. It's lovely and very romantic, but it's not a strong work I'm afraid. Its most famous Intermezzo ranks very high by me.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #986 on: November 28, 2019, 02:16:46 PM »
This work is certainly impressive, but I felt it had some longueurs that distracted me a little. The final moments are glorious, though. I've also heard his opera Notre Dame. It's lovely and very romantic, but it's not a strong work I'm afraid. Its most famous Intermezzo ranks very high by me.

Yeah, that’s a valid criticism. I felt the less exciting moments to be a necessary respite from the sections of white-hot intensity, though. Just out of curiosity, what recording did you listen to?
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline Symphonic Addict

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #987 on: November 28, 2019, 03:37:01 PM »
Yeah, that’s a valid criticism. I felt the less exciting moments to be a necessary respite from the sections of white-hot intensity, though. Just out of curiosity, what recording did you listen to?

This:



I too heard some bits of Harnoncourt/VPO but I thought the rendition was lacklustre, and the sound quality seemed inferior too.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 03:41:46 PM by Symphonic Addict »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #988 on: November 28, 2019, 09:30:18 PM »
Schnittke: Requiem. A mind-blowingly imaginative masterwork that is deeply unsettling yet approachable and communicative. The eerily monotonous spoken chants of the Tuba mirum and the Credo with its drumkit (!) part are especially unforgettable. Now I see what all the hype about Schnittke on this forum is all about! I listened to the Polyansky recording on Chandos.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'll post some more of my recent discoveries eventually. I finally have some time to post here, as I am on break for the next few days. I'll be back at school for a few more weeks and then I'll have a month-long Christmas break when I will surely have enough time to post here regularly again.  :)

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Kyle! I’m glad you enjoyed Schnittke’s Requiem. I’m quite a fan of this work (as with much of Schnittke’s music). I’m going to try and revisit some Schnittke’s music next week at some point. Right now, I’m quite mesmerized by Rachmaninov’s solo piano music (amongst other works of his that I haven’t spent much time with) and I’m sure I’ll need more time before I come out of this particular daze. :)
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #989 on: November 28, 2019, 09:57:49 PM »
As for works that I’m blown away with at the moment, Rachmaninov’s Preludes, Opuses 23 & 32. So amazing!
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline jess

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #990 on: December 05, 2019, 03:44:16 AM »
some guy mentioned this guy........and this guy is blowing my mind right now

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/miOorqR7w8s" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/miOorqR7w8s</a>

francisco lopez is brilliant

Offline some guy

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #991 on: December 07, 2019, 06:21:27 AM »
 :)

He is certainly one of my favorites!

Online Christo

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Re: Pieces that have blown you away recently
« Reply #992 on: December 07, 2019, 06:29:31 AM »
Probably the most moving, utterly beautiful piece I encountered this year: Kinder Scout (1923) an unknown tone poem by English composer Patrick Hadley (1899-1973):
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948