Author Topic: Ruggles the Sun Treader  (Read 14942 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2021, 08:38:36 PM »
Interesting, MI. Had a listen to Sun Treader on youtube just now, wasn't hearing an American angle yet, but that may reveal itself with better/broader acquaintance. Will have a listen around. From memory, the opening reminded me stylistically a little of a George Rochberg symphony I had a brief listen to a week or so ago, which I mention only as he is a (slightly later) compatriot.

I would say the American angle is it is free of the European musical trends that have shaped the earlier American composers like Horatio Parker, Arthur Foote, Amy Beach, etc. Ruggles’ style is completely self-made and as Andreyev pointed out, it follows it’s own logic. Rochberg is actually quite later --- I wouldn’t say slightly later. Ruggles was born in 1876 and Rochberg in 1918. I mean there are many generational gaps between both composers.
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Offline Iota

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #61 on: January 26, 2021, 11:37:11 AM »
I would say the American angle is it is free of the European musical trends that have shaped the earlier American composers like Horatio Parker, Arthur Foote, Amy Beach, etc. Ruggles’ style is completely self-made and as Andreyev pointed out, it follows it’s own logic. Rochberg is actually quite later --- I wouldn’t say slightly later. Ruggles was born in 1876 and Rochberg in 1918. I mean there are many generational gaps between both composers.

Noted, thanks for that. And yes Rochberg is significantly later. It was really just a passing comment on a similarity that occurred to me as I listened to Sun-Treader, having only listened to it and the Rochberg only once.

I also agree with pjme's 'refined and testerone-filled' comments regarding Sun-Treader. He handles those large orchestral forces well. Probably only me, but I kept on thinking of the opening of Brahms 1, each time the portentous timpani started up. 

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #62 on: January 26, 2021, 12:07:47 PM »
Noted, thanks for that. And yes Rochberg is significantly later. It was really just a passing comment on a similarity that occurred to me as I listened to Sun-Treader, having only listened to it and the Rochberg only once.

I also agree with pjme's 'refined and testerone-filled' comments regarding Sun-Treader. He handles those large orchestral forces well. Probably only me, but I kept on thinking of the opening of Brahms 1, each time the portentous timpani started up.

You’re welcome. I should revisit Sun-Treader. Probably a bit later on. That reference to Brahms 1st is interesting, I’ll have to listen out for that.
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Offline pjme

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #63 on: January 26, 2021, 03:32:30 PM »
Brahms 1, yes but also Lutoslawski's Concerto for orchestra and Britten's  Symphonia da requiem start with great timpani/drum signals.

Some profound thoughts on Ruggles from
https://www.esm.rochester.edu/integral/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/INTEGRAL_16_17_slottow.pdf

In Ruggles's music, cadential rising lines often bear an expressive meaning of effort and struggle, connotations reinforced
 by texture, dynamics, attack, and treatment of leaps. Moreover, since Ruggles's lines are intensely sequential, straight ascents and descents underlie the myriad twists and turns of the linear surface.
 At cadences, especially at the ends of pieces or movements, these implied straight lines often reveal themselves explicitly, and, abandoning the evasions of the direct ascent, finally march resolutely upward.
 I believe that Ruggles's cadential straight lines are a musical manifestation of his preoccupation with the aesthetic of
 the transcendent and the sublime.
This aesthetic has been commented on, among others, by Charles Seeger, Lou Harrison, Dane Rudhyar, and Peter Yates.
 To Carl Ruggles, there are not different kinds of beauty: there is only one kind, and that he prefers to call the sublime. . You cannot point out any melody, passage or detail that even represents it or can be characterized as such. But you know,
 just as surely, that in hearing the work you have been in touch with or have had intimations of the sublime.

 The quality of sublimity which Ruggles professes as his desideratum is surely native to the spirit of great religious or philosophic composition in any age... Sublimity in the sense of an elevated, individual, new, explorative, serious
 adventure on the edge of faith; sublimity in this sense Ruggles aims towards and to a great measure sets forth.

 "Music which does not surge is not great music," Carl Ruggles said recently, and he intensified the term surge by means of a gripping motion of the hands used by conductors to rouse an intense vibrato in the violin section of the orchestra.
 Significant words these are, especially today! Music must surge, must rouse the fire of human emotions or energies, must be dynamic life flowing with power - be this power majestic or vehement - from the subjective consciousness of man. It
 must have what Arthur Machen called ecstasy...

here's Sun treader by Edo de Waart
https://youtu.be/tGGXD6-GpHw
Michael Gielen:
https://youtu.be/aU_-KcfsCWQ
Kurt Masur:
https://youtu.be/W8pjKx8Dm-U
« Last Edit: January 27, 2021, 03:03:25 AM by pjme »

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2021, 02:41:03 AM »
When I was a teenager I was lucky to be in an excellent youth orchestra - The Merseyside Youth Orchestra.  Not only were we fortunate to rehearse/perform in the wonderful Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool but we had a very inspiring conductor - Timothy Reynish.  He introduced us all to many remarkable pieces - one of which was Ruggles' Men & Mountains.  Not your standard youth orchestra fare but a real challenge - more intellectually than technically.  I'm not sure what we all made of the piece but it was great to be exposed to that style of composing at a quite young age.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #65 on: February 06, 2021, 07:23:52 AM »
When I was a teenager I was lucky to be in an excellent youth orchestra - The Merseyside Youth Orchestra.  Not only were we fortunate to rehearse/perform in the wonderful Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool but we had a very inspiring conductor - Timothy Reynish.  He introduced us all to many remarkable pieces - one of which was Ruggles' Men & Mountains.  Not your standard youth orchestra fare but a real challenge - more intellectually than technically.  I'm not sure what we all made of the piece but it was great to be exposed to that style of composing at a quite young age.
V interesting. I attended a fine concert in Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool when I was at Lancaster University. Ashkenazy conducted Shostakovich's 8th Symphony - a fine performance made even more memorably by a cat being in the audience and the leader shredding his bow (it turned into cotton wool) during a crucial solo passage just before the end (he held it up to wild applause at the end of the concert). I also have happy memories of the nearby Philharmonic Pub (like a mini version of the Albert Hall).
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Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Ruggles the Sun Treader
« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2021, 02:25:24 PM »
V interesting. I attended a fine concert in Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool when I was at Lancaster University. Ashkenazy conducted Shostakovich's 8th Symphony - a fine performance made even more memorably by a cat being in the audience and the leader shredding his bow (it turned into cotton wool) during a crucial solo passage just before the end (he held it up to wild applause at the end of the concert). I also have happy memories of the nearby Philharmonic Pub (like a mini version of the Albert Hall).

The Philharmonic Pub remains extraordinary to this day - not least for the fact that the stained glass in its windows includes a quote from Elgar's 2nd Symphony and has Grade 1 listed gentlemen's toilets.....