Author Topic: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?  (Read 43616 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51025
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #200 on: June 21, 2020, 07:22:56 PM »
I have to say I keep coming back to Hovhaness even after saying I dislike this or that about his music --- it has this strange hold over me. While I do believe he recycles the same compositional techniques and methods in many of his works, I still enjoy so much of his music. It does have staying power, IMHO. I kind of look at Hovhaness as having much in common aesthetically with Lou Harrison sans the Armenian influence of course. Does anyone else hear the same thing? I also detect a little bit of Colin McPhee in Hovhaness as well.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18789
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #201 on: June 21, 2020, 08:32:27 PM »
I have to say I keep coming back to Hovhaness even after saying I dislike this or that about his music --- it has this strange hold over me. While I do believe he recycles the same compositional techniques and methods in many of his works, I still enjoy so much of his music. It does have staying power, IMHO. I kind of look at Hovhaness as having much in common aesthetically with Lou Harrison sans the Armenian influence of course. Does anyone else hear the same thing? I also detect a little bit of Colin McPhee in Hovhaness as well.
Yes, I do agree John about the Lou Harrison comparison and they feature together on a nice CD I have which includes both of their second symphonies and which I've been playing recently. I think that VW was an influence as well, especially the Tallis Fantasia, which I think we can hear in the 'Mysterious Mountain' symphony for example. Like the new avatar  :)
"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 k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #202 on: June 22, 2020, 04:32:17 AM »
Agreed that Hovhaness stays the course!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51025
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #203 on: June 22, 2020, 04:36:13 AM »
Yes, I do agree John about the Lou Harrison comparison and they feature together on a nice CD I have which includes both of their second symphonies and which I've been playing recently. I think that VW was an influence as well, especially the Tallis Fantasia, which I think we can hear in the 'Mysterious Mountain' symphony for example. Like the new avatar  :)


Thanks, Jeffrey. That Hovhaness/Harrison recording is excellent. Yep, RVW was definitely an influence or, at least, I can detect it, I’d also say that Sibelius was a huge influence as he met the composer and had a 30 year correspondence with him, which I found to be fascinating. I’d love to read some of those letters. Anyway, the work Lousadzak actually landed the composer into some hot water. It was a praised by Lou Harrison, but it caused a mini-riot during intermission at its premiere from what I’ve read. Nobody had really heard anything like this before in Boston, so it was a bit of a shock to the system.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 10:32:36 AM by Mirror Image »
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51025
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #204 on: June 22, 2020, 09:57:14 AM »
Agreed that Hovhaness stays the course!

It appears his music has got under your skin as well, Karl. 8)

“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51025
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #205 on: June 22, 2020, 05:29:04 PM »
Okay...I’m back to Shostakovich. ;D
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18789
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #206 on: June 22, 2020, 11:04:03 PM »
Okay...I’m back to Shostakovich. ;D
Poor Hovhaness and I'm sure that Honegger is displeased as well  ;D

Interesting about the Hovhaness/Sibelius correspondence of which I was completely unaware - I agree with you that Sibelius was an influence John.
"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 Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51025
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #207 on: June 23, 2020, 10:36:22 AM »
Poor Hovhaness and I'm sure that Honegger is displeased as well  ;D

Interesting about the Hovhaness/Sibelius correspondence of which I was completely unaware - I agree with you that Sibelius was an influence John.

Yeah, I had to sack Hovhaness. He was getting on my nerves. ;)
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #208 on: June 23, 2020, 10:55:39 AM »
Yeah, I had to sack Hovhaness. He was getting on my nerves. ;)

Saturation does not serve Hovhaness well.   :(
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 51025
  • Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    ...Brume au-dessus de l'eau...
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #209 on: June 23, 2020, 11:01:36 AM »
Saturation does not serve Hovhaness well.   :(

Indeed, not. A little bit goes a long way --- I agree.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline arpeggio

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 902
  • Location: Burke, Virginia, USA
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #210 on: October 23, 2020, 09:31:50 AM »
I have recently went on a quest to acquire all of the available symphonies of Hovhaness.  One can see the results in the "Purchases Today" thread.

As a result of my quest I discovered the Alan Hovhaness website:

http://hovhaness.com

I checked the thread and I could not find any posts for the site.

This is a great website and a good resource for recordings.  Through it I was able to complete my collection.

 

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #211 on: October 23, 2020, 09:54:41 AM »
I have recently went on a quest to acquire all of the available symphonies of Hovhaness.  One can see the results in the "Purchases Today" thread.

As a result of my quest I discovered the Alan Hovhaness website:

http://hovhaness.com

I checked the thread and I could not find any posts for the site.

This is a great website and a good resource for recordings.  Through it I was able to complete my collection.

 

Excellent!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Online T. D.

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 722
  • Location: Rural upstate NY
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #212 on: October 23, 2020, 10:44:59 AM »
+1, many thanks.
Recently discovered Hovhaness, not likely to go anywhere near the completist route but intend to "cherry-pick" a few recordings.

Offline relm1

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1224
  • Location: California
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #213 on: October 23, 2020, 04:11:32 PM »
I have a friend who met him several times over the course of decades and even premiered some works with the Bridgeport University Orchestra (the conductor was Harrison Berlanti who was a pianist and harpsichordist who was very well connected with the East Coast music world at that time).  My friend recalls it was from 1969 through early 80's (perhaps longer but his involvement with that orchestra ended).  Hovhaness conducted a few of his pieces in several concerts over the years.  Hovhaness came in and sat down with them on the dress rehearsal of the concert featuring his music.  He said "I just finished this small piece, do you mind if we give it a reading" for a new piece that he had just finished and passed out hand written parts.  Friend doesn't remember the name of the piece but it was for full orchestra and brief.  They rehearsed it a few times right before the concert then Hovhaness decided to add it to the program and they played it in the concert as an unannounced work ("featuring a world premiere").  My friend encounters with him were pleasant experiences.  Some composers were crusty and not pleasant, but Hovhaness was consistently very gentle, very nice.   I asked if he recalled if Hovhaness was a genius or something and he just says that he recalls being in awe of him like he was when they played with Dave Brubeck, Yo-yo Ma, or Aaron Copeland.   Keep in mind, in this time frame, Yo-yo Ma was a local celebrity, not an international iconic figure I believe.  Friend said in the 70's, Hovhaness was much more popular and programmed than he is now.  He was fairly popular at the time but thinks he might have lost some of his popularity because he was so prolific but everything had sort of the same "drone or Russian feel...it became hard to tell one work apart from the rest". 
« Last Edit: October 23, 2020, 04:16:49 PM by relm1 »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 56926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Alan Hovhaness — Where to begin?
« Reply #214 on: October 23, 2020, 07:22:12 PM »
I have a friend who met him several times over the course of decades and even premiered some works with the Bridgeport University Orchestra (the conductor was Harrison Berlanti who was a pianist and harpsichordist who was very well connected with the East Coast music world at that time).  My friend recalls it was from 1969 through early 80's (perhaps longer but his involvement with that orchestra ended).  Hovhaness conducted a few of his pieces in several concerts over the years.  Hovhaness came in and sat down with them on the dress rehearsal of the concert featuring his music.  He said "I just finished this small piece, do you mind if we give it a reading" for a new piece that he had just finished and passed out hand written parts.  Friend doesn't remember the name of the piece but it was for full orchestra and brief.  They rehearsed it a few times right before the concert then Hovhaness decided to add it to the program and they played it in the concert as an unannounced work ("featuring a world premiere").  My friend encounters with him were pleasant experiences.  Some composers were crusty and not pleasant, but Hovhaness was consistently very gentle, very nice.   I asked if he recalled if Hovhaness was a genius or something and he just says that he recalls being in awe of him like he was when they played with Dave Brubeck, Yo-yo Ma, or Aaron Copeland.   Keep in mind, in this time frame, Yo-yo Ma was a local celebrity, not an international iconic figure I believe.  Friend said in the 70's, Hovhaness was much more popular and programmed than he is now.  He was fairly popular at the time but thinks he might have lost some of his popularity because he was so prolific but everything had sort of the same "drone or Russian feel...it became hard to tell one work apart from the rest". 

Very nice!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 18789
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
"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).