Author Topic: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)  (Read 13913 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 62497
  • Krzysztof Penderecki (1933 - 2020)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    An assortment of composers from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2011, 09:59:04 PM »
I thought I would revive this thread as Egon Wellesz has been a composer that has flown under my radar for a few years, but tonight I decided to pull the trigger on the CPO set of symphonies. I'm fascinated by this composer for two reasons: 1. he was a student of Schoenberg and 2. his music has been described as caught between Bruckner, Mahler, and Berg. That's a fascinating combination, but I'm not sure how true it is of course as these kinds of descriptions pale so often do not do the music full justice. I've always been interested in 20th Century Austrian composers. I actually prefer them to the Germans. There's something about Vienna that just produces brilliant minds. :) Anyway, if I remember, I'll report back once I've received the set and had a chance to listen to some of the music.

Thanks for this thread Collin! I've read everybody's posts and I'm getting excited to hear this music.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 10:09:20 PM by Mirror Image »
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8979
  • William Havergal Brian, symphonist (1876-1972)
    • JZH Text Services
  • Location: Delft, Netherlands
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bruckner, Brian, Graener, Langgaard, Juon...
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2011, 12:30:36 AM »
I just read my own description of the Wellesz First here, which I have completely forgotten... Time to renew my acquaintance (when I have the time, it'll be a busy day).
« Last Edit: December 25, 2011, 04:07:17 PM by J. Z. Herrenberg »
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Dundonnell

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3596
  • Edmund Rubbra(1901-86)
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2011, 04:35:09 AM »
Heavens!  It is three long(or short ???)  years since I wrote that lengthy screed about Wellesz.

How time flies :(

I wish that I had the time at the moment to write so much about any one composer :(

Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 24465
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2011, 12:56:41 PM »
A big plug from me for Symphony No 2 'The English' which does not sound at all English but is is a fine, approachable score - very Brucknerian/Mahlerian in places. I'd start with this work.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2011, 04:13:22 PM by vandermolen »
"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).

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2011, 01:43:30 PM »
I just checked some Wellesz out on YouTube. I should have met him earlier (like during my DSCH tenure),... now I'm slightly ambivalent. The Symphonies are nice a brooding; and, I liked the SQs, but they were a bit on the angsty side for me.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 62497
  • Krzysztof Penderecki (1933 - 2020)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    An assortment of composers from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2011, 08:55:37 PM »
A big plug from me for Symphony No 2 'The English' which does not sound at all English but is is a fine, approachable score - very Brucknerian/Mahlerian in places. I'd start with this work.

Cool, thanks Jeffrey. I'll probably listen to this one first then. Kudos! :)
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 24465
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2011, 01:29:16 AM »
Cool, thanks Jeffrey. I'll probably listen to this one first then. Kudos! :)

My pleasure - you'll enjoy it I'm sure.
Jeffrey
"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 springrite

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6648
  • Location: Flying all over the place
  • Currently Listening to:
    Lots of Bach, Brian, Mahler, Rubbra, Beethoven and Buddhist chants
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2011, 08:54:08 AM »
I bought one of the symphonies discs and loved it. Yes, especially the #2 (English)!

Now I have the complete set but have yet to listen to them. This should be remedies next week for sure.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2013, 07:15:08 AM »
I might be ready for the String Quartets now.

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8199
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2014, 07:04:19 PM »
A short diversion in the Weinberg thread about Egon Wellesz caused me to go back and listen to his music. 

This recording has a good bit of his music for violin (mostly solo), the Suite, Op. 56 (violin and piano) I find especially compelling.



Joanna Madroszkiewicz, violin
Paul Gulda, piano

Surrounding Wellesz, whose music occupies the majority of the disc, are violin sonatas by Haydn and Beethoven.   Somewhat odd choices to fill out the disc, but looking on the bright side, they do provide some variety.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 07:17:59 PM by sanantonio »

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8199
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2014, 05:47:32 AM »
I might be ready for the String Quartets now.

The only recording I know of contains #3, 4 and 6, Artis - mandatory for anyone interested in Wellesz.  They can be heard HERE.

Offline calyptorhynchus

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1017
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #31 on: June 16, 2014, 06:18:38 PM »
I’ve been listening to the nine symphonies of Wellesz and I have been having a different reaction to other posters at this site.

The story I got before I listened from reading here and even from reading the CPO disks sleeve notes was that Wellesz wrote 4 or 5 symphonies that were in the Brucknerian mould, and then in his last symphonies went atonal and 12 note.

When I listened to the first 4 symphonies I found them very strange, they are not in the least Brucknerian, despite a few Brucknerian gestures and the obvious references to Bruckner’s 2nd and 3rd Symphonies in No.3. I thought, if anything, that these symphonies harked back to an earlier Viennese period, although the influence of C20 neo-classicism was evident: Schubert meets Hindemidt, as you might say. There was none of the slow organic growth you get in the Bruckner symphonies.

I found them very well put together and easy to listen to, and enjoyable, but not particularly emotional. Sometimes I felt that they were a touch on the emotionally desiccated side.

When I got to the symphonies 5-9 I couldn’t believe that these were atonal/12 note works. They didn’t sound anything like avant garde music, they sounded quite a lot like the first 4 symphonies only a bit more crunchy and with fewer tunes.

I actually liked the symphonies 5-9 much more, here march rhythms, growling brass, sarcastic scherzi  and intense string cantilenas come to the fore. By the time Wellesz gets to No.9 he has reached a kind of expressionist angst that really communicates. The Violin Concerto, which I have also heard, also has this expressiveness. I’ll be listening to the later symphonies more than the earlier ones I think.

Offline calyptorhynchus

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1017
  • Location: Canberra, Australia
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2017, 04:16:04 PM »
Just been listening to Wellesz' symphonies again and I have realised why I had the reaction to them I did.

Symphonies 1-4 are tonal, but they are uniquely non-contrapuntal. What you get is just a melody line with a non functioning bass, and very occasionally the odd bit of counterpoint or a perfunctory fugue. It's very strange, like listening to one strand of an actual symphony, not the whole. And it's disconcerting for someone like me me who agrees with Havergal Brian that 'good counterpoint is good composition', and it's the reason why I prefer the non-tonal symphonies 5-9 where at least the melodic line isn't so predictable or annoying.

I suppose that Wellesz' career as an academic specialising in Byzantine chant predisposed him to monody.

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2663
  • Location: Wales
  • Currently Listening to:
    Myaskovsky, Schnittke, Pettersson and others
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2022, 09:43:15 AM »
Picked up the CPO set of the 9 symphonies today.

Any favourites among these for you?

Offline Spotted Horses

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1205
  • Formerly Baron Scarpia and Parsifal
  • Location: Texas, USA
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2022, 10:07:42 AM »
Just been listening to Wellesz' symphonies again and I have realised why I had the reaction to them I did.

Symphonies 1-4 are tonal, but they are uniquely non-contrapuntal. What you get is just a melody line with a non functioning bass, and very occasionally the odd bit of counterpoint or a perfunctory fugue. It's very strange, like listening to one strand of an actual symphony, not the whole. And it's disconcerting for someone like me me who agrees with Havergal Brian that 'good counterpoint is good composition', and it's the reason why I prefer the non-tonal symphonies 5-9 where at least the melodic line isn't so predictable or annoying.

I suppose that Wellesz' career as an academic specialising in Byzantine chant predisposed him to monody.

This is an old post, but I would say there is absolutely nothing in this post that I can agree with. And really, he's no good because he doesn't follow Havergal Brian's dictum? That's like saying Steven Spielberg is a hack because he never studied the works of Ed Wood. :)

Picked up the CPO set of the 9 symphonies today.

Any favourites among these for you?

I started listening to the Wellesz set about 2 years ago, and got up to the fifth symphony before I got distracted. My listening notes indicate enthusiastic enjoyment of all of the symphonies I listened to. I seemed to have particularly appreciated the fifth, in which Wellesz begins using serial techniques.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2022, 07:47:04 PM by Spotted Horses »

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2663
  • Location: Wales
  • Currently Listening to:
    Myaskovsky, Schnittke, Pettersson and others
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2022, 01:53:14 PM »
Listened to 2, 3, 6 and 8 today. The early symphonies I can hear the Bruckner link with blocks of sound and whatnot, but there's still colour and interest there with some unusual chord progressions in the chorales and the use of percussion which Bruckner avoided like the plague. Very melodic and pleasant listens. Looking forward to the rest, probably tomorrow.

Offline Symphonic Addict

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5950
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2022, 02:55:26 PM »
Wise choice that purchase. His 9 symphonies show an interesting development, where each is different to another.
Music is life, and like it, inextinguishable.

I love the vast surface of silence; and it is my chief delight to break it.

Carl Nielsen

Offline springrite

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6648
  • Location: Flying all over the place
  • Currently Listening to:
    Lots of Bach, Brian, Mahler, Rubbra, Beethoven and Buddhist chants
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2022, 05:35:48 PM »
Picked up the CPO set of the 9 symphonies today.

Any favourites among these for you?
I have the entire set. My personal favorites are 2, followed by 5. But it really depends on your taste and I am sure reactions from every listener will be different.
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline Spotted Horses

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1205
  • Formerly Baron Scarpia and Parsifal
  • Location: Texas, USA
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2022, 07:43:32 PM »
Listened to 2, 3, 6 and 8 today. The early symphonies I can hear the Bruckner link with blocks of sound and whatnot, but there's still colour and interest there with some unusual chord progressions in the chorales and the use of percussion which Bruckner avoided like the plague. Very melodic and pleasant listens. Looking forward to the rest, probably tomorrow.

You are listening to all nine symphonies in two days? Wow. I spent two or three days digesting each individual symphony!

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2663
  • Location: Wales
  • Currently Listening to:
    Myaskovsky, Schnittke, Pettersson and others
Re: Egon Wellesz(1885-1974)
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2022, 01:48:59 AM »
I go through each of them once before I return to them. Same way I deal with most symphony cycles.