GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 09:04:15 AM

Title: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 09:04:15 AM
(Title inspired by Cato's thread . . . was it really only at the old GMG? Couldn't scare it up here at all.)

Although I have heard as yet only the symphonies and the Bitter Herbs Cantata, I think highly of Toch.

Here he is on wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Toch)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 16, 2008, 09:11:18 AM
Not even the (whisper it) Geographical Fugue?

All together now:

Trinidad! And the big Mississippi and the town Honolulu and the lake Titicaca. The Popocatapetl is not in Canada rather in Mexico Mexico Mexico.....
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 09:12:31 AM
Not even the (whisper it) Geographical Fugue?

Ach! How could I forget?

Indeed, back in the season of Mark's wedding, we heard it in concert!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 09:26:06 AM
Except when we sang (said?) it at 6th form it was more like: TRINIDAD!!! And the BIG(!) Mississippi and the TOWN(!) Honolulu and the lake Titicaca (teehee!!). The Popocatapetl is not in Canada rather in Mexico Mexico Mexico...

We were bad kids  ;D
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 09:26:20 AM
Well, having school agers say Titicaca in unison is just inviting mass-gigglage.

(Did Toch know? . . .)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 09:31:03 AM
It was a sort of post modern self referential giggle at least (well at least for some of us) - we were all aged between 16 and 18, so at least we were aware of our childish immaturity! Maybe that makes it worse...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on September 16, 2008, 10:10:10 AM
Greetings!

Cato's here, so everybody get off the bar and get on the wall!   $:)

Ernst Toch is highly recommended: in my earlier, apparently lost writings here, I reviewed all the symphonies.

My Internet circumstances are not the best right now: allow me to summarize quickly that Toch follows a more tuneful path, somewhat less stressful path than e.g. Karl Amadeus Hartmann, but a path no less impressive in its own way!

The clarity of Toch's counterpoint and the expressivity of the lines I have always found amazing.  On this point the String Quartets are not to be forgotten!


Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 10:12:37 AM
Hmm . . . Toch string quartets . . . and my birthday is coming up . . . .
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: The new erato on September 16, 2008, 10:17:42 AM
Stumbled across this in my collection:

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Feb03/Toch_MendelssohnQ.jpg)

Now I must hear it!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 10:35:09 AM
Dolce!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Brewski on September 16, 2008, 10:38:59 AM
The clarity of Toch's counterpoint and the expressivity of the lines I have always found amazing.  On this point the String Quartets are not to be forgotten!

Don't have much Toch, but I do have a couple of the string quartet recordings on CPO (Nos. 6 and 12 with the Verdi Quartet, below) and like them, at least after a couple of hearings.  Definitely an underrated composer.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 16, 2008, 10:40:09 AM
I have heard several of Toch's symphonies, and his Big Ben Overture. I also have his excellent study The Shaping Forces in Music, An Inquiry into the Nature of Harmony, Melody, Counterpoint and Form (Dover Books, 1977)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: The new erato on September 16, 2008, 10:41:46 AM
I have heard several of Toch's symphonies, and his Big Ben Overture.

And....? Inquiring minds want to know!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 16, 2008, 10:48:39 AM
And....? Inquiring minds want to know!

I should re-acquaint myself with them, it's been two years... But the musical language appealed to me - modern in a 'European mid-20th century' sense, a bit spiky, colourful. Not too far away from, say, Honegger. Serious.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 16, 2008, 11:53:50 AM
I should re-acquaint myself with them, it's been two years... But the musical language appealed to me - modern in a 'European mid-20th century' sense, a bit spiky, colourful. Not too far away from, say, Honegger. Serious.

In addition to the CPO complete symphonies set conducted by the ever enterprising Alun Francis, I have the Symphony No.3 conducted by William Steinberg on EMI, the Symphony No.5 "Jephta" coupled with the Cantata of the Bitter Herbs conducted by Gerard Schwarz on Naxos , and the two CDs below. The New World Records Disc is interesting because it couples the early Piano concerto No.1 written in 1926 while Toch was still in a relatively youthful 'avant-garde' phase' with lighter and later music. It is remarkable that Toch took to the symphony fairly late in life(hist 1st was completed when he was 62) and then composed a further six in the next 15 years. In fact the last three were written within the last year of his life while he was dying of cancer.

An 'easier' composer than Krenek certainly but I am not sure that as a symphonist he outdoes his fellow Austrian Egon Wellesz but more of Wellesz anon :)

Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 11:56:12 AM
In addition to the CPO complete symphonies set conducted by the ever enterprising Alun Francis, I have the Symphony No.3 conducted by William Steinberg on EMI . . . .

Boston? Pittsburgh?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 16, 2008, 11:59:25 AM
Boston? Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh. Coupled with Hindemith's 'Mathis der Maler' Symphony and Stokowski conducting Frank Martin's Petite Symphonie Concertante.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: scarpia on September 16, 2008, 12:40:25 PM
Ernst Toch is highly recommended: in my earlier, apparently lost writings here, I reviewed all the symphonies.

I also don't  understand why my earlier thread, "Toch's Cock" was deleted.  Apparently discussion of Toch and/or foul is frowned on in these parts.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Kullervo on September 16, 2008, 01:06:43 PM
I also don't  understand why my earlier thread, "Toch's Cock" was deleted.  Apparently discussion of Toch and/or foul is frowned on in these parts.


That was you? What was your nick then?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 01:08:23 PM
Oh, goodie! Genuine adolescent locker-room humor!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Szykneij on September 16, 2008, 01:49:35 PM
Ach! How could I forget?

It's my life. Don't you forget.

(Somewhat abstruse reference to thread title).
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 16, 2008, 02:08:17 PM
I REALLY don't want to be a killjoy but is this what the forum has come to :(

Surely a serious composer merits a serious discussion $:)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Subotnick on September 16, 2008, 02:09:42 PM
This is what I like about GMG, stumbling across composers such as Ernst, who up until now has eluded me. He's being spoken about in such a manner which urges me to go listen. I've found the Naxos Cantata Of The Bitter Herbs / Jephta disc and am about to give it a listen. I'm very interested to hear this as it's part of the Milken Archive Of American Jewish Music, to me, an astonishing collection which I hope to own one day. 2 down (Gershon Kingsley and Marvin David Levy), 48 to go...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 16, 2008, 02:18:42 PM
This is what I like about GMG, stumbling across composers such as Ernst, who up until now has eluded me. He's being spoken about in such a manner which urges me to go listen. I've found the Naxos Cantata Of The Bitter Herbs / Jephta disc and am about to give it a listen. I'm very interested to hear this as it's part of the Milken Archive Of American Jewish Music, to me, an astonishing collection which I hope to own one day. 2 down (Gershon Kingsley and Marvin David Levy), 48 to go...

Thanks for restoring some sanity to the thread ;) :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Kullervo on September 16, 2008, 02:23:00 PM
I REALLY don't want to be a killjoy but is this what the forum has come to :(

Surely a serious composer merits a serious discussion $:)

Sorry Dundonnell, I admittedly have nothing to add, I was just responding to Szykniej's referential joke. I will say that I always enjoy reading your composer threads, even if I have nothing to say. I have been interested in hearing Toch for some time but just haven't gotten around to him — so perhaps eventually I'll be able to contribute. :D
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 16, 2008, 02:28:56 PM
Sorry Dundonnell, I admittedly have nothing to add, I was just responding to Szykniej's referential joke. I will say that I always enjoy reading your composer threads, even if I have nothing to say. I have been interested in hearing Toch for some time but just haven't gotten around to him — so perhaps eventually I'll be able to contribute. :D

That's kind of you to say so :)

Don't worry....you have plenty of time ahead of you to explore all the interesting composers out there :) If/when you manage to get round to some Toch it will be interesting to hear what you think of him. Never quite know whether to count him as an Austrian or an American composer? He emigrated in his 40s. We don't think of Schoenberg as American, do we? Yet Toch is (briefly) discussed in the American chapter of 'A Companion to the Symphony'.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 02:36:02 PM
I thought I would chime in with my expected post about the quality of the obscure composer under discussion's cello concerto, and no doubt opine about the need for more performances of the piece.

Toch's cello concerto is an interesting work - rather spiky but obviously well written for the soloist and tiny orchestra of 9 (even more economical than the orchestra that Hindemith uses in his Kammermusik). It's basically trying to be a romantic concerto with romantic gestures and themes, but it's also highly chromatic - Strauss comes to mind, but Toch is of course much more dissonant than him. There's lots of lovely ideas throughout though it is perhaps not memorable in a traditional sense, it impressed a strong impression on me from the first listen. I can understand why it's not played more often - it's a rather tough nut and there are certainly many better neglected works for the instrument but it's certainly worth a listen.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 16, 2008, 02:44:34 PM
Do you know the two Krenek Cello Concertos-coupled with a number of other Krenek cello pieces on a Koch CD?

I can't quite come to terms with Krenek's serial techniques :(
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 16, 2008, 03:10:14 PM
I really enjoy Toch's idiom. Of course, I already had a decades-long fondness for Hindemith . . . .
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 16, 2008, 03:40:33 PM
Do you know the two Krenek Cello Concertos-coupled with a number of other Krenek cello pieces on a Koch CD?

I can't quite come to terms with Krenek's serial techniques :(

I do indeed - they are good pieces in my estimation. How do you mean you can't come to terms with the serialism? In what sense?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 17, 2008, 07:46:01 AM
It was very late at night when I posted ::)

I simply meant that Krenek's style I find somewhat austere and not terribly sympathetic. The extension of chromaticism into atonal areas, the motoric rhythms, the suggestions of jazz influences-certainly in the earlier symphonies I find wearing and not overly interesting. In addition to Symphonies Nos. 1-3 and No.5(No.4 has not been recorded) and the cello disc I have tried the two Violin Concertos and the Organ Concerto No.2 but just cannot warm to the idiom.

Krenek was-obviously-a serious figure in 20th century music and I respect his long career both as composer and musicologist but he would never be a composer to whose music I could return with great enthusiasm.

I feel the same way about another composer whose music I have collected but cannot embrace-the Greek composer, Nikos Skalkottas.

However, simply because I personally cannot come to terms with a composer will never mean that I dismiss that composer's works.
Sadly(for me!) I am not and will never be a fan of Frederick Delius. I just plain don't respond to Delian meanderings along all those rivers in spring etc. or want to join him in summer gardens. But that is my loss-I know that :( And I fully respect that others react totally differently to the music. Apologies to the Delians on the site :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 17, 2008, 08:11:50 AM
I see - well yes Krenek's music is really tough harmonically and I must admit to not returning to it very often. But there is undeniable quality there - the cello concertos are well written if horrendously virtuosic, imaginative colours and ideas... But I guess he's not going to be for everyone. Most people I meet don't like Hindemith because he's "too academic and dry" but I love it. Delius seems to be a marmitish composer. I do like the cello concerto however.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 17, 2008, 08:23:57 AM
Sadly(for me!) I am not and will never be a fan of Frederick Delius. I just plain don't respond to Delian meanderings along all those rivers in spring etc. or want to join him in summer gardens. But that is my loss-I know that :( And I fully respect that others react totally differently to the music. Apologies to the Delians on the site :)

Apologies accepted, Colin. But why not give the Requiem another try, a beautiful and concentrated piece - I know you have it...  ;) That isn't 'marmitish' (the Venerable Guido) at all.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 17, 2008, 08:51:20 AM
Apologies accepted, Colin. But why not give the Requiem another try, a beautiful and concentrated piece - I know you have it...  ;) That isn't 'marmitish' (the Venerable Guido) at all.

I certainly shall :)

I do have 15 CDs of music by Delius so I cannot be accused of not trying ;D
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 17, 2008, 08:53:01 AM
I certainly shall :)

I do have 15 CDs of music by Delius so I cannot be accused of not trying ;D

Jesus, that is dedication! I don'y even have fifteen CDs of the composers I love!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2008, 08:56:16 AM
. . . Most people I meet don't like Hindemith because he's "too academic and dry" but I love it.

I haven't figured out that critique of Hindemith, either.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2008, 09:05:04 AM
The Hymn which concludes the Cantata of the Bitter Herbs is very well done, could be easily adapted for general sacred use (I mean the strophic hymn itself, not the arioso solo interlude).
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 17, 2008, 09:14:22 AM
Jesus, that is dedication! I don'y even have fifteen CDs of the composers I love!

Tell me about it :-[ Just don't remind my bank manager ;D

Delius is a British composer and I have always felt under some kind of moral obligation to listen to/try to appreciate the music of British composers of the 20th century (with only a few exceptions where I have to draw the line-sorry, Sir Harrison Birtwistle!)

Alternative explanation........I am a slightly insane completist who just has to be able to pick any piece of orchestral music of the last 150 years off his shelves :) :) :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 17, 2008, 09:22:23 AM
This is what I like about GMG, stumbling across composers such as Ernst, who up until now has eluded me. He's being spoken about in such a manner which urges me to go listen. I've found the Naxos Cantata Of The Bitter Herbs / Jephta disc and am about to give it a listen. . . .

And?

I'm revisiting this disc today, too;  I find Jephtha ravishing.

In fact, I might almost say that . . . that I worship its gentle revolution . . . . ; )
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 17, 2008, 09:24:59 AM
And?

I'm revisiting this disc today, too;  I find Jephtha ravishing.

In fact, I might almost say that . . . that I worship its gentle revolution . . . . ; )

Cheeky one Karl.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 18, 2008, 01:27:40 AM
I am a slightly insane completist who just has to be able to pick any piece of orchestral music of the last 150 years off his shelves :) :) :)

Except works by the greatest symphonist Tirol ever produced...  ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Rufinatscha
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: The new erato on September 18, 2008, 03:54:51 AM
Except works by the greatest symphonist Tirol ever produced...  ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Rufinatscha
I visited Innsbruck this summer and simply FORGOT to visit the Landesmuseum - where i had planned to buy the Rufinatscha CD's !!!  :-\
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2008, 03:56:19 AM
I see Brett is listening to the Second Symphony, and here I've forgotten to bring any Toch with me . . .
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 04:04:24 AM
Except works by the greatest symphonist Tirol ever produced...  ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Rufinatscha

Since five out of his six symphonies seem to have been written before 1850 I can justify not investigating by asserting that he lies outside my arbitrary '150 years' :) :)

Why, oh why did I buy all eight symphonies by the Swiss composer Hans Huber(1852-1921)?? I just know that I will probably never listen to them again :(
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 04:37:48 AM
Alternative explanation........I am a slightly insane completist who just has to be able to pick any piece of orchestral music of the last 150 years off his shelves :) :) :)

Any piece of music in the last 150 years? That's quite a project... Presumably this must be thousands of CDs, maybe even tens of thousands...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 04:51:22 AM
Any piece of music in the last 150 years? That's quite a project... Presumably this must be thousands of CDs, maybe even tens of thousands...

Oh..no, no, no :) :) I am not a millionaire(or a Hedge Fund manager :)

I said "orchestral music"! I made the decision a long time ago that I would concentrate on orchestral music of the last 100-150 years. That makes my collection horribly unbalanced-I fully accept that :( To a true musician such a collection is probably an absolute outrage :-[ All I can do is plead financial necessity :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 18, 2008, 04:55:33 AM
I visited Innsbruck this summer and simply FORGOT to visit the Landesmuseum - where i had planned to buy the Rufinatscha CD's !!!  :-\

That's too bad. I remember you were planning on doing that...  :o

Since five out of his six symphonies seem to have been written before 1850 I can justify not investigating by asserting that he lies outside my arbitrary '150 years' :) :)

Okay, you win. Just.  ;)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 05:49:35 AM
Oh..no, no, no :) :) I am not a millionaire(or a Hedge Fund manager :)

I said "orchestral music"! I made the decision a long time ago that I would concentrate on orchestral music of the last 100-150 years. That makes my collection horribly unbalanced-I fully accept that :( To a true musician such a collection is probably an absolute outrage :-[ All I can do is plead financial necessity :)

Sorry yes I meant to type orchestral music - even then surely a massive project! I'm not downgrading my estimation of the number of CDs!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 05:56:35 AM
Oh it's not quite as bad as you think :) I suppose that I have around 2500 CDs currently and it would be hard to find many orchestral works composed between around, say, 1880 and the present day which have been issued on CD(!) which are not in my collection-with the exception of anything which I consider 'avant-garde', ie Webern, Boulez and their followers(sorry, I know that's terribly vague and utter heresy :) :))
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 18, 2008, 06:09:28 AM
Oh it's not quite as bad as you think :) I suppose that I have around 2500 CDs currently and it would be hard to find many orchestral works composed between around, say, 1880 and the present day which have been issued on CD(!) which are not in my collection-with the exception of anything which I consider 'avant-garde', ie Webern, Boulez and their followers(sorry, I know that's terribly vague and utter heresy :) :))

At last! I've been hoping to find someone with all 15 symphonies of von Schnausseger (1839-1912) (it's the first three which are hard to get hold of, of course)! Any chance of you uploading me a copy?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: The new erato on September 18, 2008, 06:11:30 AM
Oh..no, no, no :) :) I am not a millionaire(or a Hedge Fund manager :)

Hedge Fund managers are not millionaires any more.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 06:14:24 AM
At last! I've been hoping to find someone with all 15 symphonies of von Schnausseger (1839-1912) (it's the first three which are hard to get hold of, of course)! Any chance of you uploading me a copy?

You are making fun out of me now aren't you :) :)

(But....I did check!...Oh, sad, isn't it :) :))
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 18, 2008, 06:16:27 AM
You are making fun out of me now aren't you :) :)

(But....I did check!...Oh, sad, isn't it :) :))

I think Luke had Siegmund von Hausegger in mind...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 06:17:45 AM
Hedge Fund managers are not millionaires any more.

Aren't they the ones who are speculating in deals like the Lloyds/HSBOS merger? Shows how little I know about the world of high finance :)

I spend all my money on cds of music by obscure composers and expensive holidays in Norway :) :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 06:21:26 AM
I think Luke had Siegmund von Hausegger in mind...

Did he :-\  von Hausegger didn't compose 15 symphonies-just the one(which I have got 0:)) and died in 1948 anyway.

Why do I get the feeling that I am being mocked :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 18, 2008, 06:41:20 AM
Möckt? Adolf Möckt, 1874-1948? Yes, indeed, there's another one - his symphonic poem Zephyrus (including soprano, tenor and bass wind machines) is very high on my wish list too. Do you have it?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 18, 2008, 06:43:41 AM
Möckt? Adolf Möckt, 1874-1948? Yes, indeed, there's another one - his symphonic poem Zephyrus (including soprano, tenor and bass wind machines) is very high on my wish list too. Do you have it?

Soprano, tenor and bass wind machines...  ;D ;D Yes, ol' Adolf was very good with wind.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 06:51:47 AM
Möckt? Adolf Möckt, 1874-1948? Yes, indeed, there's another one - his symphonic poem Zephyrus (including soprano, tenor and bass wind machines) is very high on my wish list too. Do you have it?

 :) :) :)

Any piece with wind machines must-by very definition-be worth hearing ;D ;D

Point me in its direction(catalogue number included, preferably) and I will order it at once from one of the many central European record shops which subsist exclusively on my custom :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 07:21:19 AM
How about Taktemikii's (1903 - 1957) apocalyptic masterpiece The Singing Bell for 3 symphony orchestras, orchestra of bells and a wind machine made of thunder sheets.

Or Pißtääke's symphony of a thousand gongs?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2008, 07:25:51 AM
Or Toch's piece . . . oh, wait a second.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 07:27:30 AM
Also I am glad that I introduced you to Bliss' two youthful Studies. What do you think of his Discourse?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 07:28:01 AM
Quite right Karl... back to business.  $:)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 18, 2008, 07:29:51 AM
Yeah, Karl.  $:)  Like anyone would believe that one. 'Toch', indeed...  ::)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on September 18, 2008, 07:35:07 AM
 ;D

I had clean forgot that I also have a wind ensemble piece by Toch: Spiel.

Must be back at home, too . . . .

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517zQNmmNpL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 08:00:45 AM
Also I am glad that I introduced you to Bliss' two youthful Studies. What do you think of his Discourse?

Well until my ordered copy of the Naxos Cello Concerto arrives I won't be able to comment on the Two Studies.

My version of the Discourse is the one by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Christopher Lyndon-Gee. I suppose that it is one of the most 'modern' sounding pieces Bliss ever composed(which is, admittedly, not saying much!) and I am sure that it would have benefited from a more attractive sounding title but it is undoubtedly a fine piece. Not perhaps Bliss at his best in my estimation but certainly worth hearing by those unfamiliar with it.

One of so many interesting commissions from the Louisville Orchestra in that golden period when that worthy band recorded such a vast amount of music by contemporary composers. Such a pity that the plan to transfer all their old recordings to cd by First Edition Music seems to have come unstuck :(
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 10:57:21 AM
Does orchestral music include concertos?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dundonnell on September 18, 2008, 03:42:20 PM
Does orchestral music include concertos?

Indeed it does.

(Quick count-107 Cello Concertos in my CD collection, ie 107 pieces actually entitled "cello concerto", plus many other pieces for cello and orchestra of course.)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Guido on September 18, 2008, 04:28:44 PM
Indeed it does.

(Quick count-107 Cello Concertos in my CD collection, ie 107 pieces actually entitled "cello concerto", plus many other pieces for cello and orchestra of course.)

Wow that is a lot! You way have a headache on your hands though - Violinconcerto has over 3000 works for violin and orchestra in his collection - I suspect there may be a few that you are missing. http://www.violinconcerto.de/

The number of works with cello soloist I own is on the left there.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on June 01, 2010, 04:25:32 AM
I'm subbing in the First Church Boston choir the Sunday when the service will include the Geographical Fugue.  It's great fun; and although the director did remember it being generally fun, we of the choir have been reading it so well, that he (the m.d.) says he never realized just how good a piece it is.
 
A note at the end of the score mentions it being part of a suite first performed in Berlin in the 1930s.  Have the other parts of the suite survived, anybody know?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: jlaurson on June 01, 2010, 06:41:04 AM
A trip to Vienna is due this summer for all Toch-heads:

The Jewish Museum in Vienna not only has the best Poppy-seed strudel, it will also feature TOCH in this year's composer exhibit:

http://www.jmw.at/ausstellungen/kommende-ausstellungen.html (http://www.jmw.at/ausstellungen/kommende-ausstellungen.html)

Eisler & Korngold were the last two I visited.

Hanns Eisler––Music as a Weapon
http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=536 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=536)

Korngold Sr. & Jr. – Cliché, Critic and Composer
http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=241 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=241)

Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: John Copeland on February 13, 2011, 12:51:09 AM
Currently listening to the Pitts SO and William Steinberg doing Toch 3.  This is the first time I have heard Toch, and he is attracting me with his vivid expressions and sometimes jagged corners.  Very interesting.  This means more Toch!  I will read through this thread to find out a bit about his stuff, from what I can hear, it has terrible wings in the best sense of the phrase.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: karlhenning on February 13, 2011, 06:22:34 AM
Any Toch means more Toch (in my experience). Glad to see you've revived this thread, John!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dax on February 13, 2011, 09:40:07 AM
All together now:

Trinidad! And the big Mississippi and the town Honolulu and the lake Titicaca. The Popocatapetl is not in Canada rather in Mexico Mexico Mexico.....

The original's in German of course . . .
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: John Copeland on February 13, 2011, 05:37:51 PM
Any Toch means more Toch (in my experience). Glad to see you've revived this thread, John!

Yes, I revived it I suppose, but on the whole this thread is desperately lacking information...  :'(  When I get Toch, I'll be back... :-*
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on February 13, 2011, 06:00:29 PM
Any Toch means more Toch (in my experience). Glad to see you've revived this thread, John!

I don't know if I groaned on here before, but I have a Laurel cd of SQs that has totally turned me off to Toch. I just find it Hysterical Expressionism poured into a Mozart mold. I try and try...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Daverz on February 13, 2011, 06:10:13 PM
I don't know if I groaned on here before, but I have a Laurel cd of SQs that has totally turned me off to Toch. I just find it Hysterical Expressionism poured into a Mozart mold. I try and try...

I'd try some of his earlier stuff from the 20s like the Tanz Suite, the Cello Concerto, and the Piano Quintet.



(The CPO disc's program is duplicated on a Naxos CD I have not heard.)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: jlaurson on February 13, 2011, 06:11:16 PM
Yes, I revived it I suppose, but on the whole this thread is desperately lacking information...  :'(  When I get Toch, I'll be back... :-*

I'll publish a piece on him on WETA in a month or so... I'm just waiting for the Chamber Music America Magazine to get first dips on the piece... That will hopefully shed a little light on the composer... (I've tried to filter out a few misconceptions about his upbringing that pop up even in the Grove.)

Meanwhile: get some of the piano solo works (the juggler) and the early string quartets... I find those rather good introductions, even if they're not definitive Toch.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on February 13, 2011, 06:36:53 PM
I'd try some of his earlier stuff from the 20s like the Tanz Suite, the Cello Concerto, and the Piano Quintet.



(The CPO disc's program is duplicated on a Naxos CD I have not heard.)

I'll publish a piece on him on WETA in a month or so... I'm just waiting for the Chamber Music America Magazine to get first dips on the piece... That will hopefully shed a little light on the composer... (I've tried to filter out a few misconceptions about his upbringing that pop up even in the Grove.)

Meanwhile: get some of the piano solo works (the juggler) and the early string quartets... I find those rather good introductions, even if they're not definitive Toch.

I'm listening to SQ No.9 Op.26 right now, written after his experience in WWI. Yea...no... it seems pretty screamin' to me. Granted, Laurel is known for claustrophobic recordings (and that never helps with this kind of music), but... maybe I'm just hearing that pre-Hollywood sound? One minute it's screeching, the next, Vienna-like.

ok, that was the first mvmt. The scherzo... mmm.... nothing wrong here, but not all that super exciting either.

ok, I either want to hear early Korngold, or Pfitzner, or Schoeck, or,... something else. Hey, it's not badly written,... I just keep wondering if someone would have wrote this post-LvB if they would have locked him up? It sounds like salon music for the Schoenberg set (IMHO, of course ;)).

eh...it's not Janacek.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Daverz on February 13, 2011, 09:25:43 PM
I'm listening to SQ No.9 Op.26 right now, written after his experience in WWI.

Well, earlier or not, I think you'll find the the works I referred to quite different in character.  Think of early, cheeky Hindemith, but maybe a little more harmonically interesting.  Or maybe Weill is a better comparison.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Dax on February 14, 2011, 11:51:31 AM
Here's the Gesprochene Musik. The Geographical fugue (in German) starts at 2'58".

http://www.sendspace.com/file/mj0a4n
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Scarpia on February 28, 2011, 08:00:50 PM
Listened to my first Toch this evening, Symphony No 2.  Really fascinating music, not organized around harmony primarily, but different melodic lines and sonorities that intersect with each other.  The highlight may be the third (slow) movement in which intricate, interweaving woodwind melodies gradually gather momentum, and are jointed by more legato phrases from the strings to reach an imposing climax.  The closing of the last movement contains some sounds I can say I have never hear the like of in orchestral music.  Very impressive, and I will be looking for more. 
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Scarpia on March 01, 2011, 09:07:14 PM
Listened to the next part of the disc, the third symphony.  The music seems more uneven, but with some really outstanding contrapuntal writing in the third movement.  The recording is much too distant for my taste, however, perhaps to accommodate some of the odd sonorities that punctuate the music.  Some of the odd invented instruments that Toch specified seem to have been replaced by conventional substitutes (suspended cymbal for the "hisser," various percussion instruments for the glass spheres and rotating box of wooden balls).  However, the choices are limited to this one and the original Steinberg recording form the 1950's.

Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2011, 09:17:18 PM
Listened to the next part of the disc, the third symphony.  The music seems more uneven, but with some really outstanding contrapuntal writing in the third movement.  The recording is much too distant for my taste, however, perhaps to accommodate some of the odd sonorities that punctuate the music.  Some of the odd invented instruments that Toch specified seem to have been replaced by conventional substitutes (suspended cymbal for the "hisser," various percussion instruments for the glass spheres and rotating box of wooden balls).  However, the choices are limited to this one and the original Steinberg recording form the 1950's.

Yes, I've had a similar reaction earlier tonight as I listened to Symphonies 1 & 4. To me, the music sounds like a bunch of chromatic lines with no rhyme or reason as to where the music is going. I bought the set cheap as hell last October and it had remained shelved until tonight, but to my disappointment, I'm not going to revisit the music anytime soon in hopes that time will be the great healer between myself and Toch's music.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Scarpia on March 01, 2011, 10:24:12 PM
Yes, I've had a similar reaction earlier tonight as I listened to Symphonies 1 & 4. To me, the music sounds like a bunch of chromatic lines with no rhyme or reason as to where the music is going. I bought the set cheap as hell last October and it had remained shelved until tonight, but to my disappointment, I'm not going to revisit the music anytime soon in hopes that time will be the great healer between myself and Toch's music.

I haven't listened to symphonies 1 or 4 yet.  I'd suggest listening to the second symphony before giving up on Toch, it made a very positive impression on me. 

I've just listened to William Steinberg's original recording of the 3rd, and early stereo FDS recording from 1956.  Steinberg's recording strikes me as much more successful than the newer cpo recording, the sound is much more "in your face" and the arresting sonorities and motific writing style is more engaging (although the limitations of the 1956 technology are evident).   In any case, not as immediately engaging as the second symphony, but interesting.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2011, 11:23:29 PM
I'd suggest listening to the second symphony before giving up on Toch

Giving up is an option I haven't considered, Scarpia. Plus, I doubt that would be very fair to Toch's music. This said, I'm simply going to return to his music after I've absorbed some other music. This may take weeks, months, years...who knows? Right now, my mind is preoccupied with some Jewish American music, which I have been meaning to checkout for a year or so.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: jlaurson on June 09, 2011, 03:34:22 PM


Chasing Heidi: Ernst Toch – The Composer and His Chamber Music
(http://www.weta.org/fmblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Toch_FacesOfGermanMusic_108.png)
http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=3191 (http://www.weta.org/fmblog/?p=3191)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on December 12, 2012, 03:57:29 PM
This thread has been inactive for too long! I'm going to try and get back into Toch's music. I have the symphony set on CPO w/ Francis. How would you describe Toch's musical style? I know his symphonies are diverse in style. Any other recordings you can recommend? I know his SQs are highly rated. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on December 12, 2012, 05:12:14 PM
I read through this thread and the discourse was quite disappointing. I learned nothing about Toch's music. Hello? Is there anybody out there who has some real knowledge of the music and can help somebody who wants to understand the composer's musical language?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on December 12, 2012, 06:56:31 PM
I re-listened to Toch's 1st and 4th symphonies tonight and I'm still having the same problems I've had earlier with them: endless chromatic phrases that appear to go nowhere. I think these two symphonies are quite impersonal. They really don't offer, to my ears, anything substantial or any place where a listener, who doesn't have a music degree, can find some kind of access point. These are tough nuts for sure.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: lescamil on December 12, 2012, 11:44:55 PM
The Piano Concerto and the 3rd Symphony have had the most success with me. The Piano Concerto is in a gritty idiom that he unfortunately didn't do too much of by the time he wrote his symphonies. It sounds like angry Hindemith to me, and in the best possible way. The piano writing is varied and fresh, especially for a work from the 1920s. The 3rd Symphony has a bit of that angst, but with more control and maturity, and with a greater sense of drama. I need to revisit the other symphonies myself, though.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on December 13, 2012, 07:37:39 AM
The Piano Concerto and the 3rd Symphony have had the most success with me. The Piano Concerto is in a gritty idiom that he unfortunately didn't do too much of by the time he wrote his symphonies. It sounds like angry Hindemith to me, and in the best possible way. The piano writing is varied and fresh, especially for a work from the 1920s. The 3rd Symphony has a bit of that angst, but with more control and maturity, and with a greater sense of drama. I need to revisit the other symphonies myself, though.

I'll check these works out, especially the 3rd symphony. Thanks.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on December 13, 2012, 07:44:38 AM
I'll check these works out, especially the 3rd symphony. Thanks.

Really impressed by the Piano Quintet (Naxos); can't stand the SQs...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 12, 2013, 03:05:23 PM
Really impressed by the Piano Quintet (Naxos); can't stand the SQs...

really?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 12, 2013, 03:24:49 PM
What don't you like about the quartets?
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 13, 2013, 06:16:39 AM
What don't you like about the quartets?

I only have a cd by the wonderful Mendelssohn Quartet, which includes Op. 26 and Op.70. The former was written right after WWI, and, admittedly, has a hysterical atonality about that I just find grating. It's as if 'A Survivor from Warsaw' was expanded to a full time. I exaggerate, but, I've tried them a FEW times, each time with an open mind (since I thankfully forget the details), but each time I'm greeted with the same stuff.

Next to really really boring music from the 1860s, this hysterical Expressionism is some of my least least favorite music. I have a mental block against the word 'screech'. And, I guess, when Toch calls it 'String Quartet in C Major', haha, well, I mean, couldn't he have 'labeled' it 'Db minor' just so we could, by glancing, be intrigued by the 'psychologically disturbed' key (I'm being cheeky, but, WHO writes in Db minor?). As such, I'm sure it's the most wretched 'C Major' ever, haha,... DO COMPARE with Pfitzner's SQ No.2 in C Major from a few years after. This I consider a Masterpiece (the basis for Pfitzner's Symphony in C).

Anyhow, do you have the Toch SQs? (CPO) I think there are 13, but, the numbering of them is whack (if you think Taneyev's are confusing!?!). I'd be more than willing to try what someone considered the best of the bunch (unless of course they are 26 or 70). I don't think I can fault the Mendelssohn Quartet, they play with all the hysterical passion this music requires. Now I've said hysterical 4 times!!

However, I do love the Piano Quintet. Perfect music.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 13, 2013, 06:33:25 AM
. . . It's as if 'A Survivor from Warsaw' was expanded to a full time.

Sounds like something I would enjoy. I've not yet sought out the quartets, nor the quintet. Not surprisingly, you've piqued my curiosity.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: jlaurson on May 13, 2013, 07:18:53 AM

If anyone could recommend the best Krenek?...
excerpts from Chasing Heidi: Ernst Toch – The Composer and His Chamber Music


Toch went back to Mannheim after the war, but his tone had changed. After composing very little for five years, he premiered his Ninth String Quartet op.26 which received a baffled response from the 1919 Mannheim audience. Modern ears might still find it a quintessentially romantic, even jolly work—certainly no more challenging to the ears than Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz (1905) and considerably less so than Alban Berg’s Piano Sonata opus 1 (1910)—but by now Toch was very comfortable with dissonance which he continued to explore in his 1920 String Quartet No.10, op.28. The trajectory is there, but listening to either of those works there is no telling that Toch would yet become one of the faces of modern German music, starting with his first participation at the Donaueschingen Chamber Music Days.

Two chamber works bracket the war years. The 1938 Piano Quintet op.64 (available on a 2008 Naxos recording performed by the Spectrum Concerts Berlin) lingers wistfully on the romantic music of his past communicated through the means of modernism that had brought him fame. From then on—movie music apart—Toch remained silent. In 1943 he wrote a letter to his composition commissioning friend Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge in which he said that “for quite some time I am not in a very happy frame of mind. Disappointments and sorrows render me frustrated and lonesome. I become somehow reluctant to go on writing if my work remains more or less paper in desks and on shelves.” Unfortunately Toch had gotten between the wheels...

...His pre-penultimate String Quartet, the Twelfth, op.70, came in 1946 and marked the end of his writer’s block. “Writing a string quartet was a sublime delight before the world knew the atomic bomb and—in this respect it has not changed—it still is”... The opening movement, “Calmly and evenly flowing” is a simple, continuous line with shifting pulse spread though all four instruments. The terse Adagio plays loose with atonality, the third movement, “Pensive Serenade”, is a steadily chugging highlight in 18/16 among all of Toch’s String Quartets. Pizzicato saturated airiness may give way to a dense moment at the center, but at least in the Verdi Quartet’s interpretation (cpo 999 776) this sounds everything but pensive. The immediate eruption of the finale suggests that the fourth movement, “Vigorous”, is more aptly titled and the music veers between sparse solistic phrases and orchestral textures.

In 1948 Toch was nearly felled by a stroke which led to his resignation from the music department of the University of Southern California (among his students were Vagn Holmboe and André Previn) to focus exclusively on composing and the focus of his compositions would now move to symphonies, of which he composed seven, receiving the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for his Third. Amid this symphonic frenzy and his musical realignment towards tonality falls his last string quartet, a Coleman Chamber Music Association commission from 1953. Theoretically atonal, Bach and Beethoven are recalled as Toch weaves many numerous tone rows into a double fugue, then a triple fugue. Toch sticks to 12-tone rules throughout, and even where he plays academically with tone rows like in the third movement (which he composed and added to the existing movements a few years later), there’s life to this music; the second movement being downright gay and jocular. It’s a far cry from the innocent sweetness of the Sixth Quartet that started his career, but throughout...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 13, 2013, 07:25:14 AM
. . . However, I do love the Piano Quintet. Perfect music.

snypsss, I truly regret that this may pain you, but . . . I bought a CD with the Quintet two years ago.

But I've not listened to it, yet.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 14, 2013, 05:30:37 AM
snypsss, I truly regret that this may pain you, but . . . I bought a CD with the Quintet two years ago.

But I've not listened to it, yet.


OK, well at least it's there.

Oy, you people with jobs. You know I spent my last unemployment money on ROGER SESSIONS?!?!?! if you don't listen to the Toch before the moon becomes a hanging boob you will wake up with a craving to Compose Minimalism!!!!!!



def': 'hardcore': ...  ...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 14, 2013, 05:34:49 AM
[...] You know I spent my last unemployment money on ROGER SESSIONS?!?!?!

Best. Post. Ever.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on May 14, 2013, 05:44:02 AM
OK, well at least it's there.

Oy, you people with jobs. You know I spent my last unemployment money on ROGER SESSIONS?!?!?!



Best. Post. Ever.

Snyprr: Dude!  You are THE MAN!  Your philosophy of Life absolutely rawks!   :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

First Principle and Conundrum of Snyprrrism:

Who needs food when you have Roger Sessions!!!???
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 14, 2013, 05:47:16 AM
Sometimes I wonder why I have no Roger Sessions yet.

Maybe it's because I've never collected unemployment (just a fact, not any brag). I mean . . . maybe.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Parsifal on May 14, 2013, 04:27:44 PM
OK, well at least it's there.

Oy, you people with jobs. You know I spent my last unemployment money on ROGER SESSIONS?!?!?! if you don't listen to the Toch before the moon becomes a hanging boob you will wake up with a craving to Compose Minimalism!!!!!!



def': 'hardcore': ...  ...

Not that it's any of my business, but I'm curious what, generally speaking, was your line of work.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 15, 2013, 11:42:50 AM
Not that it's any of my business, but I'm curious what, generally speaking, was your line of work.

You know that if I begin to answer that this Thread will be Locked within 13 Posts!!! :P Perhaps it's the phrase "line of work" that always trips me up. Here's the story:

There was a story once involving a 'Career Deducing Machine', and, as the protagonist came up for review, a fly settled on his number, like a decimal point, changing the number so that our hero ended up in a career he was not meant for.

At this point, and perhaps we'll have to give this its own Thread, but, if you're a 'musician', and you're in my shoes, do you want to go back to 'hand' work, or do you want to 'play' music ever again?

I think this needs a Thread...


Sometimes I wonder why I have no Roger Sessions yet.

Maybe it's because I've never collected unemployment (just a fact, not any brag). I mean . . . maybe.


Karl, the ONE piece by Sessions you need to start and finish with,... and the ONLY cd of that piece, is the String Quartet No.2 in the awesome VoxBox. Not the Julliard on CRI,... they're good, but the sound is somewhat claustrophobic. The VoxBox is perfect, capturing the inherent sadness of this pivotal work.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Parsifal on May 15, 2013, 11:49:06 AM
You know that if I begin to answer that this Thread will be Locked within 13 Posts!!! :P Perhaps it's the phrase "line of work" that always trips me up. Here's the story:

There was a story once involving a 'Career Deducing Machine', and, as the protagonist came up for review, a fly settled on his number, like a decimal point, changing the number so that our hero ended up in a career he was not meant for.

At this point, and perhaps we'll have to give this its own Thread, but, if you're a 'musician', and you're in my shoes, do you want to go back to 'hand' work, or do you want to 'play' music ever again?

I think this needs a Thread...

I get it, you're unemployed because you're waiting for them to call you back to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board again...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 15, 2013, 12:33:58 PM
I get it, you're unemployed because you're waiting for them to call you back to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board again...

meshugga!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Johnll on May 15, 2013, 05:45:31 PM
I get it, you're unemployed because you're waiting for them to call you back to be chairman of the Federal Reserve Board again...
Parsiufal, I do not know if you are a women or a man but the above is too snippy for either. Wash that stuff out of your heart so that we can enjoy the sweetie you want to be.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Parsifal on May 15, 2013, 05:48:04 PM
Parsiufal, I do not know if you are a women or a man but the above is too snippy for either. Wash that stuff out of your heart so that we can enjoy the sweetie you want to be.

snyprrr seems to have appreciated my little joke, so I'm not sure what the basis of your objection is.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 16, 2013, 07:13:51 AM
snyprrr seems to have appreciated my little joke, so I'm not sure what the basis of your objection is.

John's from Atlanta, wink wink!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Johnll on May 16, 2013, 04:34:14 PM
John's from Atlanta, wink wink!
Yes!! Winkin is ever so much more fun than blinkin. haha
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 17, 2013, 12:50:37 AM
Yes!! Winkin is ever so much more fun than blinkin. haha

(* nods *)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on September 16, 2016, 09:30:54 AM
Floating in the ether were my reviews of Toch's Symphonies before GMG's Reincarnation in its present form.

Back then the topic was called Time To Talk Toch. ??? :D

See:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 16, 2016, 09:52:30 AM
Floating in the ether were my reviews of Toch's Symphonies before GMG's Reincarnation in its present form.

Back then the topic was called Time To Talk Toch. ??? :D

See:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2)

High time these were brought back!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on September 16, 2016, 02:39:40 PM
Floating in the ether were my reviews of Toch's Symphonies before GMG's Reincarnation in its present form.

Back then the topic was called Time To Talk Toch. ??? :D

See:

http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/forum/index.php?topic=3190.0;wap2)

tick toch tick toch
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on September 16, 2016, 03:39:56 PM
From the Year 2005... ??? :o ;)

My reviews of the Toch symphonies: rather than use the quotation box, I have opted to keep the text normal, and advise that a few edits were made here and there.



"In the last few years I have become more and more interested in Ernst Toch, especially his series of seven symphonies, composed later in his life, and which are available on CPO in luminous performances with Alun Francis conducting.

A good place to start is:

http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/toch/links.htm (http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/toch/links.htm)

...

In general Toch's music is marked by clarity of counterpoint, and contains a lyricism rivaling Prokofiev's, if the Prokofiev of the Second and Third Symphonies had not returned to Russia.  Or perhaps one could compare Toch to the Schoenberg of the Chamber Symphonies as tempered by Hildegard von Bingen and Sibelius.

A few remarks on the first two symphonies: eventually I hope to add comments on all seven.

The First has an enigmatic opening with a muted moto perpetuo in the strings which will serve as a link through all the movements.  There is a melancholy, anitphonal conversation among the instruments, until it develops into a happy fugue, which itself leads into a section of Olympian tranquility.  This builds to a climax which trails away and leads us back to the mystery of the opening.  The Scherzo has fun with some aspects of the first movement (the moto perpetuo) before it marches off.  The Adagio is gentle and meditative, with the moto perpetuo now transformed as a subconscious to the proceedings: it contrasts with the dramatic opening of the last movement.  A yearning trumpet call becomes a motto around which everything becomes centered.  The connections among the themes and the moto perpetuo are more obvious now, as the latter competes with the trumpet theme in counterpoint.

The Second Symphony has a vigorous opening which yields to a mysterious section with lonely, faraway woodwind and brass solos, almost Gregorian in simplicity, yet intricately expressive.  Timpani glissandos add portents to the atmosphere.  The Scherzo has unusual sounds from the percussion section, and the ethereal monologues and dialogues continue.  Although only seven minutes long, the Adagio has a compressed Brucknerian atmosphere, especially at the 5:25 mark on the CPO recording.  The last movement brings back memories of the first: chantlike, timeless, due to the lack of a beat emphasizing the rhythm.  The rhythmic complexity of the motifs is counterbalanced by a drone harmony at times.  Once again, one hears the spirit of Bruckner at the end, but Toch's conclusion is his own, structurally linking the symphony with single drumbeats.

...

Listening through the seven symphonies, one notices ... playfulness throughout Toch's works, a joy in the human ability to create new sounds.  And the Third Symphony, which won a Pulitzer in the 1950's, experiments with several new percussion instruments and with an electronic organ.  The opening movement again - like in the first two symphonies - has a strange lonely opening emphasized by a kind of glass harmonica, and by this time, as the CPO notes point out, the listener will surely see these sounds as a symbol of the composer as a 20th century Ahasuerus, wandering the wastelands in search of peace.  And yet, he lives as happily as he can.  The loneliness gives way to antiphonal conversations, a Toch trademark, and then to a spritely march, which leads however back to the mysterious opening, as if Toch is one of the isolated figures in a Dalinian desert.

The second movement returns to the playfulness: it is not exactly a scherzo (Andante) but offers again intriguing dialogues and maybe even some arguments.  The last movement combines all of the elements of the first two movements: in fact, in 9 minutes the finale is a compressed symphony by itself, a marvelous example of Toch's witty inventiveness and - as always - expressivity.

One notices also that as Toch progressed through symphony writing, the symphonies became ever shorter.  The Symphony #1 is about 40 minutes with 4 movements.  Symphony #2 has 4 movements, but is somewhat shorter.  Now in the Third Symphony we are down to half an hour with three movements.  By the time you listen to the Seventh, it will last c. 20 minutes.

One suspects therefore that saying more with less became one of his goals perhaps.  On the other hand, perhaps he had less to say, but one would doubt that!

...

The Fourth Symphony is something of a transitional work, or in a class by itself.  It has a spoken text which is supposed to be read between the first and second movements, and then the second and third.  It is a poem of sorts dedicated to the widow of Edward Macdowell, who gave Tocha grant to compose at her musical summer camp in the early 1950's.  The CPO notes emphasize that the symphony is simply dedicated to the nonagenarian lady, not somehow about her.   The conductor on the CPO CD, Alun Francis, declaims this text as if he were Sean Connery's younger brother, or Patrick Stewart when the testosterone begins to fade: he looks like Patrick Stewart actually!  The notes say that Antal Dorati refused to use the text at all.  The composer wanted it read, but I think Dorati has a case.

The music is a puzzle: again, as is Toch's trademark, marvelously long melodies are the key to the work, chant-like, mesemerizing in their expressive wanderings.  Mahler's Tenth comes to mind with its opening theme, but this work is small, intimate, the whisperings and wonderings of a confessional.  The Scherzo is quirky, and full of chamber music conversations.  Only in the last movement does the full orchestra say anything about the proceedings, until again everything fades away slowly, single instruments having their say with no counterpoint or harmony or even a drone note in the background.

....

Some words on the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies ..., and I hope I can generate some interest in Ernst Toch's works as a result.  Both were written when Toch was in his late 70's, and both show marvelous invention and energy.

The Fifth Symphony, the biggest in sound of the last 3 symphonies, is subtitled "Jephtha, a rhapsodic poem" and is based on the story in Judges about a general who prays for a victory in a war.  If victorious, he promises to sacrifice the first living thing he sees in thanksgiving, when he returns home.

The first thing he sees...is his own daughter.

The opening movement therefore has a biting mockery, a premonition of the unwitting irony in Jephtha's prayer, accompanied by violence and evocations of the lonely landscape, as well as the loneliness Jephtha will face.

The second movement begins with a little merry military style-march, a "Jephtha-motif" perhaps in the trumpet, triumphant, yet accompanied with the malicious mockery.  There is then an antiphonal conversation, possibly centered around how Jephtha might react to his predicament.  The tragedy strikes, and the symphony suddenly fades away, as the Jephtha theme becomes a motif in the strings of questioning, and everything becomes slowly silent: the enigma, the dilemma of relations with divinity remains, unsolved and insoluble, before which one stands in mute awe and powerlessness. 

The Sixth Symphony has a smaller, chamber-music feel, and begins with a balletic atmosphere if unsettling whimsy, as if the playfulness in the counterpoint were masking something more serious.  The mask soon comes off, and one hears a polyphonic discussion of some distant loneliness, or a wistful regret, with the voices often fading away.

The Second movement is jaunty, continuing the atmosphere established earlier: imagine the Scherzo of Mahler's Sixth boiled down to 4 minutes.  The last movement integrates the whimsical mask directly into the serious contrasts, at times producing an almost satirical nostalgia.  (I thought of Mahler compressed by a tonal Webern via Prokofiev, if that helps!)  A soft bell at the end heightens the mystery of all that has preceded, as again the instruments fade away into nothingness.

...

The Seventh Symphony, Toch's last, is also the shortest of them, following Toch's evolution toward ever greater compression.  This brevity however also means that the works become quick-changing in mood, mercurial, and the Seventh is the best example of this.

The opening movement takes you through many changes, most of them in degrees of happiness and even frivolousness at times, with just the hint of a more serious shadow.  The middle movement, a kind of scherzo, increases the Attention-Deficit quality in the work, with many charming little snippets zooming in and out.  The last movement has a trumpet theme which again seems very confident in its happiness, but that serious shadow mentioned earlier reappears now and then, until finally in the last minute the mood becomes deadly, and the orchestra crashes to a violent conclusion.

If for Mahler the symphony is a universe, for Ernst Toch it is a modest planet, aware of its limitations, yet also aware that it holographically reflects the Universe in any case, and does not need to expand to cosmic size.

I hope I have spun forth enough threads to capture a few people in a web of interest: the string quartets are a major output for Toch, and even though I do not normally care for the string quartet sound, with a few exceptions, Toch's are part of the exceptions.  It also seems as if CPO will be releasing other Toch works in the future."

The Atlantic nearly 20 years ago carried this marvelous article on Ernst Toch written by his grandson:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/)



Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on September 16, 2016, 04:50:08 PM
"All you do is... Toch Talk."
Title: Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
Post by: Cato on September 17, 2016, 03:20:41 AM
From the Year 2005... ??? :o ;)

My reviews of the Toch symphonies: rather than use the quotation box, I have opted to keep the text normal, and advise that a few edits were made here and there.



"In the last few years I have become more and more interested in Ernst Toch, especially his series of seven symphonies, composed later in his life, and which are available on CPO in luminous performances with Alun Francis conducting.

A good place to start is:

http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/toch/links.htm (http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/toch/links.htm)

...

In general Toch's music is marked by clarity of counterpoint, and contains a lyricism rivaling Prokofiev's, if the Prokofiev of the Second and Third Symphonies had not returned to Russia.  Or perhaps one could compare Toch to the Schoenberg of the Chamber Symphonies as tempered by Hildegard von Bingen and Sibelius.

A few remarks on the first two symphonies: eventually I hope to add comments on all seven.

The First has an enigmatic opening with a muted moto perpetuo in the strings which will serve as a link through all the movements.  There is a melancholy, anitphonal conversation among the instruments, until it develops into a happy fugue, which itself leads into a section of Olympian tranquility.  This builds to a climax which trails away and leads us back to the mystery of the opening.  The Scherzo has fun with some aspects of the first movement (the moto perpetuo) before it marches off.  The Adagio is gentle and meditative, with the moto perpetuo now transformed as a subconscious to the proceedings: it contrasts with the dramatic opening of the last movement.  A yearning trumpet call becomes a motto around which everything becomes centered.  The connections among the themes and the moto perpetuo are more obvious now, as the latter competes with the trumpet theme in counterpoint.

The Second Symphony has a vigorous opening which yields to a mysterious section with lonely, faraway woodwind and brass solos, almost Gregorian in simplicity, yet intricately expressive.  Timpani glissandos add portents to the atmosphere.  The Scherzo has unusual sounds from the percussion section, and the ethereal monologues and dialogues continue.  Although only seven minutes long, the Adagio has a compressed Brucknerian atmosphere, especially at the 5:25 mark on the CPO recording.  The last movement brings back memories of the first: chantlike, timeless, due to the lack of a beat emphasizing the rhythm.  The rhythmic complexity of the motifs is counterbalanced by a drone harmony at times.  Once again, one hears the spirit of Bruckner at the end, but Toch's conclusion is his own, structurally linking the symphony with single drumbeats.

...

Listening through the seven symphonies, one notices ... playfulness throughout Toch's works, a joy in the human ability to create new sounds.  And the Third Symphony, which won a Pulitzer in the 1950's, experiments with several new percussion instruments and with an electronic organ.  The opening movement again - like in the first two symphonies - has a strange lonely opening emphasized by a kind of glass harmonica, and by this time, as the CPO notes point out, the listener will surely see these sounds as a symbol of the composer as a 20th century Ahasuerus, wandering the wastelands in search of peace.  And yet, he lives as happily as he can.  The loneliness gives way to antiphonal conversations, a Toch trademark, and then to a spritely march, which leads however back to the mysterious opening, as if Toch is one of the isolated figures in a Dalinian desert.

The second movement returns to the playfulness: it is not exactly a scherzo (Andante) but offers again intriguing dialogues and maybe even some arguments.  The last movement combines all of the elements of the first two movements: in fact, in 9 minutes the finale is a compressed symphony by itself, a marvelous example of Toch's witty inventiveness and - as always - expressivity.

One notices also that as Toch progressed through symphony writing, the symphonies became ever shorter.  The Symphony #1 is about 40 minutes with 4 movements.  Symphony #2 has 4 movements, but is somewhat shorter.  Now in the Third Symphony we are down to half an hour with three movements.  By the time you listen to the Seventh, it will last c. 20 minutes.

One suspects therefore that saying more with less became one of his goals perhaps.  On the other hand, perhaps he had less to say, but one would doubt that!

...

The Fourth Symphony is something of a transitional work, or in a class by itself.  It has a spoken text which is supposed to be read between the first and second movements, and then the second and third.  It is a poem of sorts dedicated to the widow of Edward Macdowell, who gave Tocha grant to compose at her musical summer camp in the early 1950's.  The CPO notes emphasize that the symphony is simply dedicated to the nonagenarian lady, not somehow about her.   The conductor on the CPO CD, Alun Francis, declaims this text as if he were Sean Connery's younger brother, or Patrick Stewart when the testosterone begins to fade: he looks like Patrick Stewart actually!  The notes say that Antal Dorati refused to use the text at all.  The composer wanted it read, but I think Dorati has a case.

The music is a puzzle: again, as is Toch's trademark, marvelously long melodies are the key to the work, chant-like, mesemerizing in their expressive wanderings.  Mahler's Tenth comes to mind with its opening theme, but this work is small, intimate, the whisperings and wonderings of a confessional.  The Scherzo is quirky, and full of chamber music conversations.  Only in the last movement does the full orchestra say anything about the proceedings, until again everything fades away slowly, single instruments having their say with no counterpoint or harmony or even a drone note in the background.

....

Some words on the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies ..., and I hope I can generate some interest in Ernst Toch's works as a result.  Both were written when Toch was in his late 70's, and both show marvelous invention and energy.

The Fifth Symphony, the biggest in sound of the last 3 symphonies, is subtitled "Jephtha, a rhapsodic poem" and is based on the story in Judges about a general who prays for a victory in a war.  If victorious, he promises to sacrifice the first living thing he sees in thanksgiving, when he returns home.

The first thing he sees...is his own daughter.

The opening movement therefore has a biting mockery, a premonition of the unwitting irony in Jephtha's prayer, accompanied by violence and evocations of the lonely landscape, as well as the loneliness Jephtha will face.

The second movement begins with a little merry military style-march, a "Jephtha-motif" perhaps in the trumpet, triumphant, yet accompanied with the malicious mockery.  There is then an antiphonal conversation, possibly centered around how Jephtha might react to his predicament.  The tragedy strikes, and the symphony suddenly fades away, as the Jephtha theme becomes a motif in the strings of questioning, and everything becomes slowly silent: the enigma, the dilemma of relations with divinity remains, unsolved and insoluble, before which one stands in mute awe and powerlessness. 

The Sixth Symphony has a smaller, chamber-music feel, and begins with a balletic atmosphere if unsettling whimsy, as if the playfulness in the counterpoint were masking something more serious.  The mask soon comes off, and one hears a polyphonic discussion of some distant loneliness, or a wistful regret, with the voices often fading away.

The Second movement is jaunty, continuing the atmosphere established earlier: imagine the Scherzo of Mahler's Sixth boiled down to 4 minutes.  The last movement integrates the whimsical mask directly into the serious contrasts, at times producing an almost satirical nostalgia.  (I thought of Mahler compressed by a tonal Webern via Prokofiev, if that helps!)  A soft bell at the end heightens the mystery of all that has preceded, as again the instruments fade away into nothingness.

...

The Seventh Symphony, Toch's last, is also the shortest of them, following Toch's evolution toward ever greater compression.  This brevity however also means that the works become quick-changing in mood, mercurial, and the Seventh is the best example of this.

The opening movement takes you through many changes, most of them in degrees of happiness and even frivolousness at times, with just the hint of a more serious shadow.  The middle movement, a kind of scherzo, increases the Attention-Deficit quality in the work, with many charming little snippets zooming in and out.  The last movement has a trumpet theme which again seems very confident in its happiness, but that serious shadow mentioned earlier reappears now and then, until finally in the last minute the mood becomes deadly, and the orchestra crashes to a violent conclusion.

If for Mahler the symphony is a universe, for Ernst Toch it is a modest planet, aware of its limitations, yet also aware that it holographically reflects the Universe in any case, and does not need to expand to cosmic size.

I hope I have spun forth enough threads to capture a few people in a web of interest: the string quartets are a major output for Toch, and even though I do not normally care for the string quartet sound, with a few exceptions, Toch's are part of the exceptions.  It also seems as if CPO will be releasing other Toch works in the future."

The Atlantic nearly 20 years ago carried this marvelous article on Ernst Toch written by his grandson:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/)






And so I suppose I should review the String Quartets next!  0:)  That will take some time, but...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 15, 2017, 10:07:52 AM
And so I suppose I should review the String Quartets next!  0:)  That will take some time, but...

I expect it will!

Today I am checking out for the first time, one of his quartets.  The first movement begins with a fughetta on a subject which seems at first to track Das musikalisches Opfer.

http://www.youtube.com/v/T-ReoepZYtk
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: schnittkease on August 20, 2017, 10:56:17 PM
Toch is absolutely first-rate. Favorites include:

Cello Concerto
String quartets #8, #9, #11
Symphonies #3, #5 "Jephta"
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 21, 2017, 02:53:53 AM
I do need to investigate the quartets . . . .
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 15, 2018, 09:51:02 PM
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: San Antone on May 15, 2018, 10:30:43 PM
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.

Before you write Toch off, you might listen to his string quartets.  They are very enjoyable, imo.  The Verdi Quartet has recorded all of them on CPO.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 15, 2018, 10:32:14 PM
Before you write Toch off, you might listen to his string quartets.  They are very enjoyable, imo.  The Verdi Quartet has recorded all of them on CPO.

Maybe you're on to something. There are only two violin. If he wants three part harmony he has to at least use the viola. :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
Post by: Cato on May 16, 2018, 06:09:22 AM
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.



Well, sorry to read that!  De gustibus non est disputandum!

Perhaps go back to the work and give it a second shot in a few weeks or months.

From the Year 2005... ??? :o ;)

My reviews of the Toch symphonies: rather than use the quotation box, I have opted to keep the text normal, and advise that a few edits were made here and there.


The Seventh Symphony, Toch's last, is also the shortest of them, following Toch's evolution toward ever greater compression.  This brevity however also means that the works become quick-changing in mood, mercurial, and the Seventh is the best example of this.

The opening movement takes you through many changes, most of them in degrees of happiness and even frivolousness at times, with just the hint of a more serious shadow.  The middle movement, a kind of scherzo, increases the Attention-Deficit quality in the work, with many charming little snippets zooming in and out.  The last movement has a trumpet theme which again seems very confident in its happiness, but that serious shadow mentioned earlier reappears now and then, until finally in the last minute the mood becomes deadly, and the orchestra crashes to a violent conclusion.

If for Mahler the symphony is a universe, for Ernst Toch it is a modest planet, aware of its limitations, yet also aware that it holographically reflects the Universe in any case, and does not need to expand to cosmic size.


The Atlantic nearly 20 years ago carried this marvelous article on Ernst Toch written by his grandson:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/ (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1996/12/my-grandfathers-last-tale/376730/)





Title: Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 16, 2018, 07:24:49 AM
Perhaps go back to the work and give it a second shot in a few weeks or months.

Life is too short to listen to Toch!  Listening to Toch, I found myself questioning the value of music itself. Others, of course, may have a different opinion. (On to Zemlinsky.)

Actually, looking at previous reactions to this music, I appreciated the second (consistent with current reaction) and the third only in the old EMI recording by Steinberg.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 16, 2018, 09:03:40 AM
In any case, I'm done with that cpo series of Toch symphonies.

Maybe I'll listen to the Steinberg recording of the 3rd again, and I have this:



Doesn't appear to be much more available. The cpo series of string quartets is already partially out of print, it appears.

(I'm starting to realize that in my mind the line between Toch and Krenek is blurry.)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 16, 2018, 11:36:01 AM
Listening to Toch, I find myself questioning his basic competence. I'm listening to music (7th symphony) in which the treble instruments are constantly playing and bass instruments are almost entirely silent. Textures are violins and trumpet, violin and clarinet, violin and oboe, trumpet and clarinet, flute and oboe, flute and clarinet... For the basses to touch their instruments or for horns to sound instead of trumpets is a special occasion, reserved for a few moments throughout the work. What I mainly experience is irritation.

I can't remember music I found less appealing than this.

I keep the MendelssohnSQ CD around just in case I think I might need a "2nd look". After many of these, I simply find Toch of the hysterical/hectoring-lecturing tone. If one calls him a "survivor", this only heightens the feeling of hysterical Expressionism.

"They" keep talking about the SQs, but I have yet to hear exactly what his Masterpiece might be, because ... ... because...e well,... becaus
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 16, 2018, 11:36:57 AM
Karl, I coulda swore this was my Thread?...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on May 17, 2018, 01:23:32 PM
Dudes!  Try this on for size!

(Some of the comments are interesting!)

https://www.youtube.com/v/gkA8fwuef0c
Title: Re: Toch Talk: Reviews of the Symphonies
Post by: Daverz on May 17, 2018, 05:47:53 PM
Life is too short to listen to Toch!  Listening to Toch, I found myself questioning the value of music itself.

I think the best place to start with Toch is with his earlier, fun works, like the Tanz-Suite.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 18, 2018, 12:21:38 AM
[...] I simply find Toch of the hysterical/hectoring-lecturing tone.

I really have no idea how your ears work  8)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 18, 2018, 04:45:56 AM
I really have no idea how your ears work  8)

Doesn't seem too far off the mark for some of the stuff.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on May 18, 2018, 04:50:13 AM
Count me in the group of listeners who just don’t get Toch. I own the box set of symphonies on CPO and a disc of miscellaneous orchestral works on New World Records. I’m not sure what it is about his music, but I find no memorable themes or harmonic ideas that really stick out in my mind. I have tried several times to get into his music, but have failed to connect each time.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 18, 2018, 07:09:59 AM
There may very well be some works by Toch out there that I would enjoy, but with so many misses, and so many other composers that I want to listen to, it's just not going to happen, I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 18, 2018, 07:45:28 AM
There may very well be some works by Toch out there that I would enjoy, but with so many misses, and so many other composers that I want to listen to, it's just not going to happen, I'm afraid.

I do understand the sentiment, of course.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 18, 2018, 07:49:19 AM
I can chalk up one positive experience, the Steinberg recording of the 3rd symphony. Symphonies 2, 3 (Francis) 6, 7, confirmed fails. I'll give it a decade and see if another brave soul tries to record a Toch symphony.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: snyprrr on May 20, 2018, 02:18:29 PM
Dudes!  Try this on for size!

(Some of the comments are interesting!)

https://www.youtube.com/v/gkA8fwuef0c

15 seconds in and I've had it. This is exactly the "tone" of his that leads me to call him hysterical/hectoring,... though maybe even the recording softens things up, if you heard this on a dry as dust Laurel recording ,well,... I certainly can't take fully mature Expressionism like this . And yea, it's not THAT calamitous at all,... but,... I'm like, really? 30 minutes...oy vey...

I really have no idea how your ears work  8)

I don't want the Composer beating me over the head telling me how right his notes are,...maybe I'm getting anti-GermanExpressionism??

Can you recommend me something better than 'The Damned' ,or 'The Night Porter'? Berlin in the 20s... and such...
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on May 21, 2018, 05:10:01 PM
15 seconds in and I've had it. This is exactly the "tone" of his that leads me to call him hysterical/hectoring,... though maybe even the recording softens things up, if you heard this on a dry as dust Laurel recording ,well,... I certainly can't take fully mature Expressionism like this . And yea, it's not THAT calamitous at all,... but,... I'm like, really? 30 minutes...oy vey...

I don't want the Composer beating me over the head telling me how right his notes are,...maybe I'm getting anti-GermanExpressionism??

Can you recommend me something better than 'The Damned' ,or 'The Night Porter'? Berlin in the 20s... and such...

Try this   8)  :

https://www.youtube.com/v/5TNcT8SQ8HI
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: schnittkease on May 21, 2018, 06:19:38 PM
I've never seen such disdain for poor Toch! Milhaud I can understand, but Toch?!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 21, 2018, 06:26:59 PM
I've never seen such disdain for poor Toch! Milhaud I can understand, but Toch?!

Hands off Milhaud!  :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Daverz on May 21, 2018, 07:32:23 PM
I can chalk up one positive experience, the Steinberg recording of the 3rd symphony. Symphonies 2, 3 (Francis) 6, 7, confirmed fails. I'll give it a decade and see if another brave soul tries to record a Toch symphony.

Toch wrote the bulk of his output before the rise of the Nazis (before the entire artistic milieu which had sustained him was destroyed, in other words).  I would sample from his earlier music.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: amw on May 21, 2018, 07:40:41 PM
The symphonies are all late works composed in America post 1940ish. He was already in his seventies by that point I think. I have a fair amount of chamber music by Toch, which is generally good, & also the Cello Concerto and Tanz-Suite on CPO, which are also good.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 07:30:00 AM
Ok, it turns out I have that disc with the Tanz Suite and Cello Concerto and have some vague memory of listening to it with some enjoyment. So I put it on.

Starting the Tanz Suite, it starts with an attractive movement with quick, jaunty counterpoint. Cute. I remember liking this. Then comes the second movement. It starts nicely enough, a slow movement, but by the end I am listening to an extended passage which is a duet between clarinet in high register and contrabass playing in low register, playing not just lento, or molto lento, but lentissimo. Really? Two point counterpoint between two voices separated by more than 5 octaves? Is this an ear training exercise? Maybe I can tell the difference between a major 3th and a minor 3th, but can I tell the difference between a major 51st and a minor 51st? This guy has no sense. It is the familiar experience with an obscure composer where you are twiddling thumbs through the failed parts, waiting anxiously for a good bit to come up. I remember the same feeling watching Mets games in the old days, waiting and waiting for Darryl Stawberry to come up, and wondering whether he will hit a homer or strike out, as he more frequently did.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 07:30:39 AM
Maybe you Toch admirers should consider whether it is to your advantage to encourage me to listen to more Toch. :)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 22, 2018, 07:37:40 AM
Um . . . .
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 22, 2018, 07:41:38 AM
You have to admit, I'm giving you material you can use. Maybe you have been searching for a piece with clarinet/contrabass counterpoint at 6 octaves. That would be what, Contrapuntus MDCCLXVI in Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge, if only he had lived that long...
:)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Brian on January 08, 2020, 07:49:17 AM
Just wanted to make sure this anecdote from André Previn was here:

https://vimeo.com/140204929
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on January 08, 2020, 08:11:03 AM
Just wanted to make sure this anecdote from André Previn was here:

https://vimeo.com/140204929

That’s great, Brian. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 08, 2020, 12:58:04 PM
Just wanted to make sure this anecdote from André Previn was here:

https://vimeo.com/140204929 (https://vimeo.com/140204929)

Interesting; and good on Mr Preview.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Daverz on January 09, 2020, 05:08:55 AM
Just wanted to make sure this anecdote from André Previn was here:

https://vimeo.com/140204929

Wait, so Toch was wrong?  8)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Maestro267 on June 16, 2020, 05:16:42 AM
Bumping as the complete symphonies set I ordered has arrived. I've started with No. 2, and I'm enjoying it immensely.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 16, 2020, 01:14:25 PM
Bumping as the complete symphonies set I ordered has arrived. I've started with No. 2, and I'm enjoying it immensely.

Excellent!
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on June 16, 2020, 01:18:37 PM
Okay, Toch fans, what is it about this composer that you like so much? Is there a particular work that could be considered a masterpiece? Are the chamber works better than the orchestral works? Inquiring minds want to know...

I’ve struggled with Toch in the past, but I’m more than open to suggestions.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 16, 2020, 02:03:06 PM
Okay, Toch fans, what is it about this composer that you like so much? Is there a particular work that could be considered a masterpiece? Are the chamber works better than the orchestral works? Inquiring minds want to know...

I’ve struggled with Toch in the past, but I’m more than open to suggestions.

Let me revisit and marshal my thoughts.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Mirror Image on June 16, 2020, 03:18:38 PM
Let me revisit and marshal my thoughts.

Sounds good, Karl. 8)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Maestro267 on June 17, 2020, 03:20:17 AM
Listening to No. 1 now. These symphonies are definitely in the soundworld that I really enjoy. The constant activity in the high strings in several places during the first movement, and the martial outburst on percussion near the end of the second movt, are standout moments for me so far.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Symphonic Addict on April 28, 2021, 03:27:54 PM
Today I stumbled upon the SQ No. 6 from the set below. I'm currently listening to the 1st movement. Wow, I didn't expect such a level of beauty and sheer sophistication. Eugen d'Albert's masterful SQ No. 1 came to my mind on hearing the Toch, there is a certain similarity between both. Supremely marvelous music. Hopefully the other quartets will be as fine or even better.

A pity the first five quartets are not recorded, probably due to they're lost.

(https://img.discogs.com/YaX3UE91RfsA3HBAelsKDJn9XZ0=/fit-in/600x520/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-15110828-1586807177-3559.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Symphonic Addict on May 14, 2021, 01:54:15 PM
Toch's masterful string quartets have meant hours of intense pleasure to these ears. There is no any bad or dull quartet. The consistency of the music is astonishing. I could separate the works in these 3 groups: Nos. 6-8 are imbued with intense romanticism and late-Romanticism, Nos. 9-11 have more harmonic wealth and quirkiness, and Nos. 12 and 13 seemed somewhat more introspective.

This set has been my most important discovery of this year thus far.

(https://img.discogs.com/YaX3UE91RfsA3HBAelsKDJn9XZ0=/fit-in/600x520/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-15110828-1586807177-3559.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Cato on May 16, 2021, 01:17:28 PM
Toch's masterful string quartets have meant hours of intense pleasure to these ears. There is no any bad or dull quartet. The consistency of the music is astonishing. I could separate the works in these 3 groups: Nos. 6-8 are imbued with intense romanticism and late-Romanticism, Nos. 9-11 have more harmonic wealth and quirkiness, and Nos. 12 and 13 seemed somewhat more introspective.

This set has been my most important discovery of this year thus far.

(https://img.discogs.com/YaX3UE91RfsA3HBAelsKDJn9XZ0=/fit-in/600x520/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-15110828-1586807177-3559.jpeg.jpg)

Today must be Great Chamber Music Day!   8)  I just wrote about the great Louis Vierne's chamber music (q.v.) and now, let me also recommend Toch's string quartets.
Title: Re: Toch Talk
Post by: Symphonic Addict on May 16, 2021, 01:42:33 PM
Those SQs were real finds to me. I can't recommend those works enough. Hopefully you'll enjoy them as much as I did!