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The Music Room => Classical Music for Beginners => Topic started by: Papy Oli on June 17, 2007, 10:30:36 AM

Title: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Papy Oli on June 17, 2007, 10:30:36 AM
Hi All,

What is/are the difference(s), if any, between the 2 please ? Is it anything to do with the instruments sections, numbers of musicians in it, etc ?

Thanks.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: mahlertitan on June 17, 2007, 10:32:28 AM
i'm not sure, could be just different ways to say the same thing, but i could be wrong.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 10:46:04 AM
There is no difference at all. A matter of choice in making up the name of the orchestra. The LSO is the London Symphony Orchestra. The LPO is the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Both play the same repertoire, they are full size orchestras.

Mike
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Papy Oli on June 17, 2007, 10:53:36 AM
Okey dokey, thanks for the clarification, MT and Knight !  :)
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 10:57:15 AM
No sweat.

Mike
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Bonehelm on June 17, 2007, 11:55:20 AM
The difference is huge. Philharmonic sounds way cooler. Symphony orchestra sounds like a 50 member ensemble.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: knight66 on June 17, 2007, 12:14:59 PM
You are of course joking, I am hoping the person asking the question clues into that.

The Chicago Sym. Orch. rarely sounds like a 50 piece band.

Mike
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Bonehelm on June 17, 2007, 02:12:30 PM
You are of course joking, I am hoping the person asking the question clues into that.

The Chicago Sym. Orch. rarely sounds like a 50 piece band.

Mike

I was obviously joking.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Steve on June 17, 2007, 04:17:25 PM
You are of course joking, I am hoping the person asking the question clues into that.

The Chicago Sym. Orch. rarely sounds like a 50 piece band.

Mike

Only when Zinman's conducting.  :)
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Joan on June 17, 2007, 07:48:02 PM
This subject reminds me of the orchestra that changed its name to "Symphonicity"...you've probably all seen this before:

http://www.playbillarts.com/news/article/6282.html

The Virginia Beach Symphony has decided to rebrand itself as ‘Symphonicity,' reports The Virginian-Pilot.

Orchestra management announced its new name at a concert on April 1. Music director David Kunkel told his audience that the 26-year-old orchestra decided to rename itself for two reasons. First, it wants to minimize confusion with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, based in nearby Norfolk and led by JoAnn Falletta.

Secondly, the orchestra will shortly move into a new and larger home at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, where its first concert is scheduled for November 18. It needs to attract a bigger audience and thus also requires a beefed-up marketing campaign.

According to the Virginian-Pilot, the orchestra hired a consultant and brainstormed a list of hundreds of possible names. The result was Symphonicity, with a fermata over the first "i." In print, the name will always be accompanied by a six-word subtitle, "The Symphony Orchestra of Virginia Beach," until people get accustomed to the new name.

The newspaper report points out that Symphonicity sounds a lot like "Synchronicity," the 1983 album and song by The Police, which is the first thing Robin MacPherson, senior art director at HCD Advertising & Public Relations, thought of when she saw the new name.

"It's a $50 word, that's for sure," Dan Downing, executive vice president at HCD, told the paper. "But it's something that you see it, you don't forget it."

I wonder if this will inspire a Philharmonic orchestra to change their name to "Philharmonious?"

Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: pjme on June 17, 2007, 09:35:14 PM
"Syn - phonein ": sound together 

phonos (phoh NOHS), "voice"

and the Greek :syn-(sy-, sym-, syl-, sys-). (Greek: together, with, along with).
By extension, syn- may also mean: together, with; united; same, similar; at the same time.


Phil - harmonia : friend(s) of harmony / sounding together / Devoted to or appreciative of music.


From the Greek : philo-, phil-, -phile, -philia, -philic, -philous, -phily, -philiac, -philist, -philism (Greek: love, loving, friendly to, fondness for, attraction to, strong tendency toward, affinity for).

Harmon : (Greek > Latin: a fitting together, joining, proportion, concord, agreement, musical harmony)


Peter

Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Papy Oli on June 18, 2007, 11:03:44 AM
Thanks  :)

and yes, Philarmonic sounds waaaaaaaaaaaaay cooler indeed  :P
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: jochanaan on June 18, 2007, 01:09:01 PM
And then there are those orchestras that don't call themselves either, like the Cleveland Orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra. :D
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: RebLem on June 19, 2007, 10:02:11 PM
You are of course joking, I am hoping the person asking the question clues into that.

The Chicago Sym. Orch. rarely sounds like a 50 piece band.

Mike

The Berliner Philharmoniker has 90 members.  The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has 106 members. 

Them's da facts.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: pjme on June 20, 2007, 06:44:00 AM
I know, I know, it is nitpicking ...but : ::)

I count 124 members at the Berlin PO.....( incl. 4 Konzertmeister;,excl. 3 or 4 open posts)....see: http://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/de/orchester/ :)

Peter
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Choo Choo on June 20, 2007, 07:04:47 AM
Nowadays there's no significance in the use of philharmonic or symphony in the names of orchestras.

However, I believe it is the case that at some points in the past, in some places, the name philharmonic did carry a connotation of amateurism - in the sense of being an enthusiast - or charitable status e.g. the considerable number of "Philharmonic Societies" and "Philharmonic Choirs" which sprang up in Britain in the 19th century.  (It was the Philharmonic Society of London, later Royal Philharmonic Society, which commissioned Beethoven's 9th Symphony.)
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: techniquest on June 20, 2007, 12:57:24 PM
It's an odd thing though - composers write symphonies but no one writes philharmonies. I wonder why?
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Bonehelm on June 20, 2007, 04:38:11 PM
The Berliner Philharmoniker has 90 members.  The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has 106 members. 

Them's da facts.

BPO certainly has more than that. Just look up their Mahler videos...huge orchestra and chorus.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Szykneij on June 20, 2007, 04:54:33 PM
It's an odd thing though - composers write symphonies but no one writes philharmonies.

Nope. Just philm scores.   ;)
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Heather Harrison on June 20, 2007, 04:55:27 PM
It's an odd thing though - composers write symphonies but no one writes philharmonies. I wonder why?

Maybe this will give one of our resident composers and idea.

Anyway, a slight variation on this is "Philharmonia".  The Utah Philharmonia is one of the student orchestras at the University of Utah, and the Utah Symphony is the local professional orchestra.

Heather
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Bonehelm on June 20, 2007, 05:01:52 PM
Nope. Just philm scores.   ;)

Good one!  ;)
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: pjme on June 21, 2007, 12:29:37 PM
It's an odd thing though - composers write symphonies but no one writes philharmonies. I wonder why?

 ;D ;D ;D

Anyway- some composers wrote pieces with names like : Concerto philharmonico ( 1990-1992 Gotfried von Einem -for the Vienna Phil.)

Preludio filharmonico by  Czech Evžen Zámečník ( 1980) -


Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Greta on June 24, 2007, 01:10:06 AM
What are the differences between the BBC Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra, and Concert Orchestra? The Concert Orchestra works in TV and film more I think. Is the BBC SO considered the premier ensemble?
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: M forever on June 24, 2007, 04:30:45 AM
The Concert Orchestra is indeed specialized in "lighter music". The S is in London, the P in Manchester. That's the only real difference. Who cares what is "considered" this or that? They are both good orchestras. There is also a BBC Scottish Sympony and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Never heard the latter, but I heard the the former, it is quite good, too.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Choo Choo on June 24, 2007, 04:43:46 AM
The NOW is my favourite of the BBC orchestras, having developed a sinewy, gritty sound under Walter Weller that is/was great e.g. in Bruckner.  Unfortunately it all went a bit soggy under Hickox - but they are still a fine outfit.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: Greta on June 24, 2007, 05:20:24 AM
Quote
The Concert Orchestra is indeed specialized in "lighter music". The S is in London, the P in Manchester. That's the only real difference.

Location, gotcha. I think they're equally fine orchestras myself but always was curious just what the distinction was with the different names. In fact one of my favorite discs I've run across lately is a vivacious live Mahler 6th from the BBC Phil under Mackerras, the playing of both ensembles is top-notch.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: knight66 on June 24, 2007, 06:42:25 AM
Historically the London orchestra would get the more prestigous cheif conductors, Boult, Kempe, Boulez etc. But in recent years, they have all managed to attract rather good chiefs. For instance Ilan Volkov from 2003 in Scotland, he is a really exciting conductor.

Here are some samples of him....

http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/artist_page.asp?name=volkov

Mike
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: samtrb on June 27, 2007, 05:07:24 AM
The symphony orchestra is the "modern" orchestra of the romantic period after Schubert and Berlioz, including nearly all instruments like the trombones, the harp and others on demand (piccolo, bass clarinet). The philarmonic is just another fancy name  ;D
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: M forever on June 27, 2007, 06:22:25 AM
BPO certainly has more than that. Just look up their Mahler videos...huge orchestra and chorus.

I know, I know, it is nitpicking ...but : ::)

I count 124 members at the Berlin PO.....( incl. 4 Konzertmeister;,excl. 3 or 4 open posts)....see: http://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/de/orchester/ :)

You are correct. The BP have 128 permanent members, although rarely all of the positions are filled at the same time. They sometimes take a lot of time to fill them with people who live up to their expectations.
In addition to that, at any time, they have 30 young musicians in the "Orchester-Akademie" which is an institution attached to the orchestra. It offers a kind of postgraduate study program/internship with the orchestra for 2 years, and these young musicians play in the orchestra regularly, too.

The typical size of most bigger concert/radio/opera orchestras in Germany is about that, typically around 110-130 members or so. There are about 40 orchestras of that size, I think. They usually have 5 of each wind instruments (but 8 horns), and about 70-80 string players. That doesn't mean they all play at the same time. They have to have time off now and then.

The biggest orchestra is the Gewandhausorchester which has 192 permanent members. They do full time concert and opera.

The seond biggest is the Staatskapelle Dresden with 162 members. They do full time opera and not a full season of concerts, but they are heavily in demand for concert tours, festival appearances, recordings.

The concept of the "orchestral academy" was introduced by the BP in the early 70s (it was actually Karajan's idea) because they found that many graduates from music schools were very good, but not quite ready yet. So they started that.
It provides young musicians who are already very good, but who need some more experience and routine, with an opportunity to bridge that critical time between studying and working full time, and it allows them to "shape" young musicians and integrate them into the orchestra. Plus, it provides them with a pool of extra musicians they can draw from any time since the academists play with the orchestra regularly, sometimes almost full time when there are open positions.
The academists do not automatically become members after 2 years, they still have to take part in the auditions when positions are open. Some of them stay, some of them get jobs in other good orchestras.
That concept has been picked up by many other orchestras and opera houses, so most of them have similar insitutions now.
Title: Re: Symphonic/Philarmonic Orchestras ?
Post by: MishaK on June 27, 2007, 03:08:21 PM
The concept of the "orchestral academy" was introduced by the BP in the early 70s (it was actually Karajan's idea) because they found that many graduates from music schools were very good, but not quite ready yet. So they started that.
It provides young musicians who are already very good, but who need some more experience and routine, with an opportunity to bridge that critical time between studying and working full time, and it allows them to "shape" young musicians and integrate them into the orchestra. Plus, it provides them with a pool of extra musicians they can draw from any time since the academists play with the orchestra regularly, sometimes almost full time when there are open positions.
The academists do not automatically become members after 2 years, they still have to take part in the auditions when positions are open. Some of them stay, some of them get jobs in other good orchestras.
That concept has been picked up by many other orchestras and opera houses, so most of them have similar insitutions now.

Actually, that was not really that novel of an idea. E.g., the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the training orchestra of the CSO, was founded in 1919. Martinon and Reiner were quite involved with it. It languished a bit under Solti, but Barenboim revived it again. See also here (http://www.cso.org/main.taf?p=2,4,6,4). They train and perform with the CSO MD and guest conductors as well as their own conductor, currently Cliff Colnot. Many Civic alumni go on to become CSO members or move on to other major orchestras. I happened to catch one of their concerts a few years ago with Barenboim (as well as some open rehearsals prior to the concert) and they played really extremely well, as good as any top professional orchestra. The finest live Daphnis & Chloe I have heard, with uncanny dynamic contrasts. I am sure there are other orchestral academies as well that predate Karajan's.