GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Sean on February 22, 2009, 04:13:18 PM

Title: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sean on February 22, 2009, 04:13:18 PM
It's somewhere between distant reflections of Sibelius gestures and Lindbergian type dissonance, reasonably well controlled but ultimately testing the patience a bit. Another dead-end.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on February 22, 2009, 06:37:04 PM
                          $:)    $:)    $:)     $:)      $:)      $:)      $:)

 $:) $:) $:) Leif!  Leif Segerstam!    :o      We have you surrounded!!!   $:) $:) $:)

  $:)  $:)  Put down the pen and the music paper, and come out with your batons up!   $:)   $:)
                 
                       $:)       $:)       $:)       $:)       $:)         $:)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: karlhenning on February 22, 2009, 06:40:35 PM
Sean, you do understand that Leif here is no microcosm of composition, today, generally?
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on February 22, 2009, 06:43:19 PM
Sean, you do understand that Leif here is no microcosm of composition, today, generally?

On the other hand with 215 symphonies, old Leif can't be "micro" anything!   8)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sean on February 22, 2009, 06:53:33 PM
Sean, you do understand that Leif here is no microcosm of composition, today, generally?

You'd be surprised what I do understand, and what I don't.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: karlhenning on February 22, 2009, 07:06:39 PM
You'd be surprised what I do understand, and what I don't.

Thanks for not answering  ;D
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on February 22, 2009, 10:31:50 PM
i recently got the old bis recording of the string quartet No.6, which i believe, was his first composition in the "free-pulsative" style that has become his...thing. lief and mrs. segerstam, i believe, play the violins.

SEGERSTAM String quartet No.6 (1974):

I free-pulsatively 12,46
II free-pulsatively 11,12
III con moto 7,22
IV adagissimo con spirito di gustav mahler 12,08

i really didn't know quite what to expect (i used to have a few of the syms), but i knew it was gonna be kinda improvisatory. well, it kinda reminded me of death in venice, very mahlerian/romantic "conservative" material put through some post bergian molasses...ummm....kind of like four musicians "jamming" to late romantic melodic fragments.

don't get me wrong, there's really not much here. it's got the length of bloch's first great, inspired quartet, but has the more anonymous melodic curves of bloch's later chamber music.

the piece goes through 44min and four movements, and when you don't think you can stand any more 1974 sub mahler revival, the last movement,  starts as a nice mahlerian funeral dirge-and then!- out of no where,!!-the tragic low bass chord on a waiting piano comes crashing down, slowing interjecting as the movement dies away.

so, i gotta give it to him for his little surprise ending. now, i hated this piece as soon as i heard it, and what's worse is that it's been talking to me lately nd saying, "but you NEED an example of what was happening in the early 70s just to keep things in perspective." nothing sounds quite as depressing as improvised mahler jams from the 70s. so i was actually disappointed that the wild spacey stuff was missing here. i mean it really sounds like regular music, with notes, but you can tell that it's being "communed". i was actually happy about not thinking about segerstam before i saw this post,haha.

ok, the next rainy "allan pettersson" day, i'll try it again. either way, i'm leaning towards masterpiece......? i could almost bear to hear the seventh....soon after that though the quartets multiply exponentially just like the symphonies.

masterpiece i say
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sean on February 22, 2009, 10:58:34 PM
i recently got the old bis recording of the string quartet No.6, which i believe, was his first composition in the "free-pulsative" style that has become his...thing. lief and mrs. segerstam, i believe, play the violins.

SEGERSTAM String quartet No.6 (1974):

I free-pulsatively 12,46
II free-pulsatively 11,12
III con moto 7,22
IV adagissimo con spirito di gustav mahler 12,08

i really didn't know quite what to expect (i used to have a few of the syms), but i knew it was gonna be kinda improvisatory. well, it kinda reminded me of death in venice, very mahlerian/romantic "conservative" material put through some post bergian molasses...ummm....kind of like four musicians "jamming" to late romantic melodic fragments.

don't get me wrong, there's really not much here. it's got the length of bloch's first great, inspired quartet, but has the more anonymous melodic curves of bloch's later chamber music.

the piece goes through 44min and four movements, and when you don't think you can stand any more 1974 sub mahler revival, the last movement,  starts as a nice mahlerian funeral dirge-and then!- out of no where,!!-the tragic low bass chord on a waiting piano comes crashing down, slowing interjecting as the movement dies away.

so, i gotta give it to him for his little surprise ending. now, i hated this piece as soon as i heard it, and what's worse is that it's been talking to me lately nd saying, "but you NEED an example of what was happening in the early 70s just to keep things in perspective." nothing sounds quite as depressing as improvised mahler jams from the 70s. so i was actually disappointed that the wild spacey stuff was missing here. i mean it really sounds like regular music, with notes, but you can tell that it's being "communed". i was actually happy about not thinking about segerstam before i saw this post,haha.

ok, the next rainy "allan pettersson" day, i'll try it again. either way, i'm leaning towards masterpiece......? i could almost bear to hear the seventh....soon after that though the quartets multiply exponentially just like the symphonies.

masterpiece i say

Great post, not someone coming to the defense of some obscurity but putting the boot in, all as required. Not sure about the Bloch comparisons but okay; I also agree with the Pettersson and his overhyped Seventh.

(You don't do capitals? Kind-of makes it easier to read, that's the idea of them...)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 23, 2009, 03:34:15 PM
....well, it kinda reminded me of death in venice, very mahlerian/romantic "conservative" material put through some post bergian molasses...ummm....kind of like four musicians "jamming" to late romantic melodic fragments.

Really? I'm sold. I've got to hear this.

Sarge
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Guido on February 23, 2009, 05:54:05 PM
Why does he bother with writing that many? Especially when they're all such anonymous, dull wank? It's clear that he expends a lot of effort on them, so why not focus that effort to try and create something original, concentrated and good as opposed to reams and reams and reams of wank? Someone should ask him.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Guido on February 23, 2009, 05:57:23 PM
Also Sean... I think the reason that there seems to be a disproportionate amount obscurity praising is that the obscure stuff that we all hear that isn't so good just doesn't get mentioned. Unless something is really bad, it isn't fun to recount the dullness or unispiredness of some mediocrity or other.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Guido on February 23, 2009, 05:58:09 PM
                          $:)    $:)    $:)     $:)      $:)      $:)      $:)

 $:) $:) $:) Leif!  Leif Segerstam!    :o      We have you surrounded!!!   $:) $:) $:)

  $:)  $:)  Put down the pen and the music paper, and come out with your batons up!   $:)   $:)
                 
                       $:)       $:)       $:)       $:)       $:)         $:)

Also this is the best use of emoticons I have ever seen. Great, great work!
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: drogulus on February 24, 2009, 03:11:25 PM
Why does he bother with writing that many? Especially when they're all such anonymous, dull wank? It's clear that he expends a lot of effort on them, so why not focus that effort to try and create something original, concentrated and good as opposed to reams and reams and reams of wank? Someone should ask him.

     I don't see it that way. Composers are as original as they can be, for the most part. And I'm not sure that a composer's output is more original if it's more "concentrated". And there are a few composers who don't try to be original as others might see it, because what they are hearing in their head isn't evaluated that way. They want to do that, however unoriginal someone else might think it is.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sean on February 24, 2009, 04:50:26 PM
Also Sean... I think the reason that there seems to be a disproportionate amount obscurity praising is that the obscure stuff that we all hear that isn't so good just doesn't get mentioned. Unless something is really bad, it isn't fun to recount the dullness or unispiredness of some mediocrity or other.

Sure thing Guido. It's just me being bitter and twisted before my time.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Guido on February 24, 2009, 05:51:05 PM
     I don't see it that way. Composers are as original as they can be, for the most part. And I'm not sure that a composer's output is more original if it's more "concentrated". And there are a few composers who don't try to be original as others might see it, because what they are hearing in their head isn't evaluated that way. They want to do that, however unoriginal someone else might think it is.

But what I'm saying is that if he "only" wrote 50 and spent 5 times the effort on each he would no doubt have a much more satisfying body of works, no? Original only in terms of finding the most personal form of self expression rather than just whatever crap comes into his head. His pieces sound exactly as you'd imagine they would. There's something really grotesque to me about writing this many symphonies.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on February 27, 2009, 06:23:25 PM
maybe each time he simply plays a different compositional "game" with the orchestra, just as a fun thing to do between composer and players, even if the results are always the same, however, segerstam does not really come off as a "concert goers be damned" kind of composer.

i mean, ac/dc has been making the same album for 30 years and people still love that. wow, if that's the comparison i have to make, oy!!!

lief- look at how many people are taking time out of their busy lives to discuss you. you are truly a blessed man!
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: greg on February 27, 2009, 07:47:57 PM
I listened to one of his symphonies several months ago. I can't remember which one, but it was VERY long, probably 40 or 50 minutes. It had a completely distinct sound, and although it lacked variety, it really didn't lack beauty at all. I just sat there like I was in a trance.

I'm interested to know a few things:
1) who here has listened to more than 5 of his symphonies.
2)will they ever all be recorded?  :D
3) will they all ever be performed? (have they)?
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: drogulus on March 01, 2009, 07:50:45 AM
But what I'm saying is that if he "only" wrote 50 and spent 5 times the effort on each he would no doubt have a much more satisfying body of works, no? Original only in terms of finding the most personal form of self expression rather than just whatever crap comes into his head. His pieces sound exactly as you'd imagine they would. There's something really grotesque to me about writing this many symphonies.

     I don't understand why you think originality is a matter of effort and concentration, or that it equals self expression. I would think self expression is not tied to originality if it means making the best music you can make. Maybe your best isn't original in any obvious way, or in any way at all other than being your own.

     Maybe writing fewer symphonies is not what a composer wants, and devoting more time and effort doesn't improve them. It could be that it's more satisfying to get on with the next one.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on July 18, 2011, 09:31:43 AM
bump
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on February 25, 2012, 05:01:56 AM
     I don't see it that way. Composers are as original as they can be, for the most part. And I'm not sure that a composer's output is more original if it's more "concentrated". And there are a few composers who don't try to be original as others might see it, because what they are hearing in their head isn't evaluated that way. They want to do that, however unoriginal someone else might think it is.

I agree; quantity is not necessarily connected with quality, in neither way (Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Boccherini...) although it may be the case (Cooman...), but it's certainly not for Segerstam. I see his symphonic corpus much more as a unique endless piece, a little bit like Feldman's gigantic 2nd quartet or other chamber pieces (For Philip Guston eg.). These works have neither beginning nor end, it's a kind of orchestral continuum. He can certainly write hundreds of symphonies that way, it's fine to me : the drawback is not the lack of quality, it's probably more the lack of variety. But I don't complain, I could listen to such music during hours.

By the way, I found 3 unissued (?) symphonies on Youtube :

Symphony nr.151 :

movement I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJNn1qGGoYU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJNn1qGGoYU)
movement II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xyyf8j34Ow&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xyyf8j34Ow&feature=related)
movement III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNy0sFdAXJk&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNy0sFdAXJk&feature=related)

Symphony nr.172:

movement I:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFWSeKAno2c&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFWSeKAno2c&feature=related)
movement II:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyWsPSLXyNM&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyWsPSLXyNM&feature=related)

Symphony nr.212: this one has a very good video

movement I:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAydCG0KTdQ&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAydCG0KTdQ&feature=related)
movement II:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9909P9h-2s&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9909P9h-2s&feature=related)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on February 25, 2012, 05:26:43 AM
Thanks to Kentel for the information above.

I will need to listen tomorrow: not possible right now.

(And I had almost forgotten about my previous comments above!   $:)   ;D   )
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: MDL on February 25, 2012, 08:55:26 AM
Somewhere, hidden in the dusty, neglected bowels of my CD collection, along with unloved Gramophone compilations and those BBC Magazine freebies (baroque music, anything by Haydn) that will never get played, is a CD of three Segerstam symphonies that I bought, second-hand, almost two decades ago. Don't ask me which CD it is. Honestly, the den looks like somebody's emptied a skip into it, and I can't find anything these days. I remember quite liking each symphony for the first few minutes, but losing interest in and patience with each one as it went on.

But I'm curious now and want to give Segerstam another try, so I'll have to face the disaster zone that is my CD collection and root out that long-forgotten recording. I may be gone awhile.

Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on February 25, 2012, 06:05:21 PM
Somewhere, hidden in the dusty, neglected bowels of my CD collection, along with unloved Gramophone compilations and those BBC Magazine freebies (baroque music, anything by Haydn) that will never get played, is a CD of three Segerstam symphonies that I bought, second-hand, almost two decades ago. Don't ask me which CD it is. Honestly, the den looks like somebody's emptied a skip into it, and I can't find anything these days. I remember quite liking each symphony for the first few minutes, but losing interest in and patience with each one as it went on.

But I'm curious now and want to give Segerstam another try, so I'll have to face the disaster zone that is my CD collection and root out that long-forgotten recording. I may be gone awhile.

Have you survived?   :o

If the CD is c. 20 years old, I am betting it is a BIS-CD with not 3, but two symphonies, #11 and #14.

(http://images.ariama.com/amg/class/cov200/cl600/l651/l65196r5l5k.jpg) 

Best image I could find.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: MDL on February 26, 2012, 03:54:32 AM
Actually, I was wrong. It's two symphonies and another orchestral piece:

(http://www.opusarte.com/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/8/d/8d942b2d-e336-41aa-b883-091eb7364ff9.jpg)

I still haven't found it. I'd post a photo of the junk yard that is the den, but I would have to shoot myself afterwards. I've listened to samples on Amazon and am surprised by how clear my memories of each piece are.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: springrite on February 26, 2012, 05:09:37 AM
Actually, I was wrong. It's two symphonies and another orchestral piece:

(http://www.opusarte.com/media/catalog/product/cache/2/image/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/8/d/8d942b2d-e336-41aa-b883-091eb7364ff9.jpg)

I still haven't found it. I'd post a photo of the junk yard that is the den, but I would have to shoot myself afterwards. I've listened to samples on Amazon and am surprised by how clear my memories of each piece are.

That is the one (and only one, thankfully) that I have. I don't have any recollection of the symphonies but do remember the Minute Thoughts.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on February 27, 2012, 01:26:28 PM
That is the one (and only one, thankfully) that I have.

I 've read many ironic commentaries about Segerstam's (and other's) music on this forum, but I'd like somebody to tell why he does not like it using arguments, so that we could have a decent discussion.

This is a music which focuses on orchestral  effects, there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses. I do find the result very impressive with its magmatic and heavy masses of basses (double-basses, cellos, tubas, trombones etc.), its concentrated and colourful flows of winds, and its sparkling sounds of bells, flute, violin, etc on the top. It sounds to me like a musical landscape which I find very poetic and evocative.

BUT I don't deny anyone the right to think that this music is not worth the effort to listen to, I'd just like to know why.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 27, 2012, 01:37:27 PM
I'd like somebody to tell why he does not like it using arguments, so that we could have a decent discussion.

I don't like it because "there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses." I'm not being sarcastic. For music to be interesting to me, it needs at least three of those four things...and preferably, all four.

Sarge
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on February 27, 2012, 02:29:27 PM
I don't like it because "there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses." I'm not being sarcastic. For music to be interesting to me, it needs at least three of those four things...and preferably, all four.

Sarge

At least, that's clear :) However, you've definitively locked the door to much of the musical production of the 20th and 21st centuries...
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 27, 2012, 02:36:47 PM
At least, that's clear :) However, you've definitively locked the door to much of the musical production of the 20th and 21st centuries...

That's true, but not before giving it a fair chance. And there is still a staggering amount of modern music composed in the styles I respond to.

Sarge
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2012, 08:15:21 PM
Segerstam could compose a 1,000 symphonies and I still wouldn't listen to any. 8)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: some guy on February 27, 2012, 09:43:25 PM
I'd like somebody to tell why he does not like it using arguments, so that we could have a decent discussion.
Good idea.

This is a music which focuses on orchestral  effects, there's no melody, no perceptible rhythmic pulsation, all the interest lies in the orchestral colors and in the organisation of the orchestral masses.
I listen to a lot of music. I listen to a lot of music I don't like. Some of that I end up liking quite a lot; some not. I don't give up easily, though. I have found too many things that were unpalatable at first that became favorites. One thing I've found is that I do tend to prefer music that that has no melody or perceptible rhythmic pulsation. And so I feel I should be enjoying Segerstam much more than I do. But I don't. I don't know how valuable my not liking him is, however. Or why. I know his music bores me. And I think I know why: the orchestral colors are ones I've heard a bazillion times already and the masses don't seem at all organized, nor do they seem disorganized in any exciting, dangerous, risky way--just sloppy.

Having said that, however, I have to say that I still find comments like this much, much more useful:
I do find the result very impressive with its magmatic and heavy masses of basses (double-basses, cellos, tubas, trombones etc.), its concentrated and colourful flows of winds, and its sparkling sounds of bells, flute, violin, etc on the top. It sounds to me like a musical landscape which I find very poetic and evocative.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on February 28, 2012, 04:12:45 PM
Good idea.
Thanks

I listen to a lot of music. I listen to a lot of music I don't like.

I understand that.

One thing I've found is that I do tend to prefer music that that has no melody or perceptible rhythmic pulsation.

Me too. I especially enjoy the idea of "musical worlds", descriptive music which evokes landscapes of all sorts. Tonal music is generally unable to do that. The melody unfolds itself like a story that you need to follow, while atonal/non pulsative is generaly static.

Moreover, since the attention cannot focuse on the melodic line nor on the pulse either, it requires a great inventivity on the behalf of the composer, who has to capture the listener's attention exclusively by means of orchestration's and harmonic skills. There's a breath in such music that you cannot find in tonal music, and this is not only the case with Segerstam, Maxwell-Davies and others, it's also the case if you listen to traditional Japanese or Aborigenal music, f.ex.

If we stay within the frame of western classical music, I think that everything began with Wagner. When Wagner's operas were first heard in Paris, where he expected fame and glory, the critics litteraly assasinated his music for exactly these reasons : no melody, almost no tonality and a focus on the power of orchestral evocation. For those guys who were used to Meyerbeer, Auber, Boeildieu and even Berlioz, that was something absurd.

But, compared with Wagner, the orchestra of the other romantic composers is extremely unimaginative and flat : see even great geniuses like Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, etc.  Actually they don't need to take care of the orchestra, because their music focuses on melodic and tonal aspects which are sufficient to catch the listener's attention. Well, you have in fact Berlioz and Liszt (who, incidentally, were good friends). And Rimsky, but is Rimsky a romantic, I don't think so.

I also enjoy listening to tonal stuff, but even if I appreciate the genius of many composers, I always feel like my imagination is much more restrainted.


 
And so I feel I should be enjoying Segerstam much more than I do. But I don't. I don't know how valuable my not liking him is, however. Or why. I know his music bores me. And I think I know why: the orchestral colors are ones I've heard a bazillion times already and the masses don't seem at all organized, nor do they seem disorganized in any exciting, dangerous, risky way--just sloppy.

Thank you for raising the standard of debate, that's much interesting. Even if I'm fond of Segerstam's music, I agree with most of your comments. I'll just react to the two most relevant (to me) :1-  the masses don't seem at all organized nor disorganized 2- the orchestral colors are one

Both assertions are true IMO : 1- they are organized in flows, of "flux", I don't know how to call that. Within a flux of, say violin + flute + harp, many things happen, that's for the disorganized. The score is written like that, for groups of instruments, each improvising upon the composer's instructions, each within the limits of a specific range, and probably each at its own pace (like with Carter, but I'm not sure of that) .

However, the flux is static and does not vary very much, giving a feeling of "not so disorganized" and leading to 2- the monotony of the orchestral colors. The general impression is that the orchestral color is one, in fact it is not in the details. This impression is even stronger if you consider several symphonies : they all look similar, and they are if you consider the general move.

My feeling is that Segerstam's orchestration is built upon 3 main flux corresponding to 3 main ranges : bass (always abyssal and magmatic), medium (the central axis) and high (always glittering). It's like when you look at the foliage of a tree in summer : you generally perceive 3 colors : dark green/green/light green, and the painter uses 3 colors to paint it (that's a rule). The perfect balance. It also looks monotonous, it also has many nuances, but the fact is, that you perceive only 3 nuances of a single color.

Segerstam's symphonies are exactly that, at least to me : 3 nuances of a same color, each symphony having the same subject. It's just like a guy painting trees all the time; trees are similar if you consider their general visual impact, but in fact they are not.


Having said that, however, I have to say that I still find comments like this much, much more useful:

That's good to hear, thanks for that :)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on February 28, 2012, 09:16:46 PM
Thanks

I understand that.

Me too. I especially enjoy the idea of "musical worlds", descriptive music which evokes landscapes of all sorts. Tonal music is generally unable to do that. The melody unfolds itself like a story that you need to follow, while atonal/non pulsative is generaly static.

Moreover, since the attention cannot focuse on the melodic line nor on the pulse either, it requires a great inventivity on the behalf of the composer, who has to capture the listener's attention exclusively by means of orchestration's and harmonic skills. There's a breath in such music that you cannot find in tonal music, and this is not only the case with Segerstam, Maxwell-Davies and others, it's also the case if you listen to traditional Japanese or Aborigenal music, f.ex.

If we stay within the frame of western classical music, I think that everything began with Wagner. When Wagner's operas were first heard in Paris, where he expected fame and glory, the critics litteraly assasinated his music for exactly these reasons : no melody, almost no tonality and a focus on the power of orchestral evocation. For those guys who were used to Meyerbeer, Auber, Boeildieu and even Berlioz, that was something absurd.

But, compared with Wagner, the orchestra of the other romantic composers is extremely unimaginative and flat : see even great geniuses like Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, etc.  Actually they don't need to take care of the orchestra, because their music focuses on melodic and tonal aspects which are sufficient to catch the listener's attention. Well, you have in fact Berlioz and Liszt (who, incidentally, were good friends). And Rimsky, but is Rimsky a romantic, I don't think so.

I also enjoy listening to tonal stuff, but even if I appreciate the genius of many composers, I always feel like my imagination is much more restrainted.


 
Thank you for raising the standard of debate, that's much interesting. Even if I'm fond of Segerstam's music, I agree with most of your comments. I'll just react to the two most relevant (to me) :1-  the masses don't seem at all organized nor disorganized 2- the orchestral colors are one

Both assertions are true IMO : 1- they are organized in flows, of "flux", I don't know how to call that. Within a flux of, say violin + flute + harp, many things happen, that's for the disorganized. The score is written like that, for groups of instruments, each improvising upon the composer's instructions, each within the limits of a specific range, and probably each at its own pace (like with Carter, but I'm not sure of that) .

However, the flux is static and does not vary very much, giving a feeling of "not so disorganized" and leading to 2- the monotony of the orchestral colors. The general impression is that the orchestral color is one, in fact it is not in the details. This impression is even stronger if you consider several symphonies : they all look similar, and they are if you consider the general move.

My feeling is that Segerstam's orchestration is built upon 3 main flux corresponding to 3 main ranges : bass (always abyssal and magmatic), medium (the central axis) and high (always glittering). It's like when you look at the foliage of a tree in summer : you generally perceive 3 colors : dark green/green/light green, and the painter uses 3 colors to paint it (that's a rule). The perfect balance. It also looks monotonous, it also has many nuances, but the fact is, that you perceive only 3 nuances of a single color.

Segerstam's symphonies are exactly that, at least to me : 3 nuances of a same color, each symphony having the same subject. It's just like a guy painting trees all the time; trees are similar if you consider their general visual impact, but in fact they are not.


That's good to hear, thanks for that :)

I can respond to the 'summer day' qualities of LS's music. Frankly, he sounds like he'd be great to fall to sleep to (currently I'm enjoying Persepolis). I'd probably like it better than Feldman's For Samuel Beckett, which I find so dreary, like a very rainy day. LS seems so much more tripping over himself in the joy of just making music sound!

I checked the Amazon, and it appears that 'every' Symphony from say 6-21 has been recorded, along with later ones, and then numerous 'Orchestral Dairies',... and 'Thoughts'. So, I'm curious, who knows what's 'better' than?

I used to have the first Ondine disc, seems I enjoyed it. Please help me out, we have BIS, Ondine, and Kontrapunkt...
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on February 29, 2012, 03:16:18 PM
I checked the Amazon, and it appears that 'every' Symphony from say 6-21 has been recorded, along with later ones, and then numerous 'Orchestral Dairies',... and 'Thoughts'. So, I'm curious, who knows what's 'better' than?

I used to have the first Ondine disc, seems I enjoyed it. Please help me out, we have BIS, Ondine, and Kontrapunkt...

There's actually TWO Ondine cds :

this one :(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61%2BbCwUXwoL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) and this one : (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515IeZXHj0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

+ 4 Bis :

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61nhhXUKT3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51zt4K2-YrL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pAZG-yqML._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HTEhe5JHL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

+ others (Kontrapunkt & Finlandia) :

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EUok2a8GL._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61EhLtB6iSL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

+ the three symphonies available on YouTube which I mentioned in a previous post (81, 172, 216), that makes all in all 15 symphonies, respectively : 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 81, 151, 172, 173, 212 & 216.

Symphonies, Orchestral Diaries and Thoughts are often mingled , f.ex, the 14th Symphony is also the Orchestral Diary n°44, the 17th Symphony is also the Orchestral Diary n° 49 AND the Thoughts before 1992, etc.

I've listened to all the symphonies mentioned above but for the 9, 12 & 15 (i.e. the Finlandia and the Kontrapunkt cds), and my favorite are the 13th and the 81th, the ones I like less are the 14th and the 173th. I can possibly tell you why if you're not totally bored reading to my unending posts.

You also have the Impressions of Nordic Nature and the Flowerbouquette series.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: eyeresist on February 29, 2012, 05:38:46 PM
I especially enjoy the idea of "musical worlds", descriptive music which evokes landscapes of all sorts. Tonal music is generally unable to do that.
Sibelius? Vaughan Williams?
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on March 01, 2012, 03:32:48 AM
Sibelius? Vaughan Williams?

Yes, you're right; I'll have to improve my argumentation...
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: eyeresist on March 01, 2012, 06:09:07 PM
Yes, you're right; I'll have to improve my argumentation...
Well, you said "generally", so I'll give you that. I could only think of two exceptions off the top of my head.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: some guy on March 01, 2012, 08:01:41 PM
My first Segerstam CD was an Ondine.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X473tQezL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

So there are at least three Ondine recordings of his music. This one has symphonies 21 and 23.

The other one I have is the Ondine with Leif doing his Father Christmas pose.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on March 01, 2012, 08:20:33 PM
I can possibly tell you why if you're not totally bored reading to my unending posts.

No no no, please, go on... I want full incidental reviews of everything! 8) Mach schnell!! :o ;D :-*

I can tell you that the THOUGHT of Segerstam Symphonies is working for me! Very glittering indeed, but maybe I just listened to Norgard's 5 and my radar is off? ??? Which might be best for inducing alternative states of consciousness?

btw- I believe it was the tripping-through-the-daisies cd I had!

Y'know, how can't you love this guy? :-*
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: kentel on March 03, 2012, 02:30:01 PM
My first Segerstam CD was an Ondine.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51X473tQezL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

So there are at least three Ondine recordings of his music. This one has symphonies 21 and 23.

The other one I have is the Ondine with Leif doing his Father Christmas pose.

I believed the NML to have all the Ondine cd... that's kind of frustrating...I've never heard these symphonies, thank you for mentioning this cd.

Let's correct my last statement :

that makes all in all 17 symphonies, respectively : 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23,  81, 151, 172, 173, 212 & 216.

Given the fact that, at today's date, he has written 253 symphonies, that makes 236 missing...
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Brian on May 02, 2016, 03:27:17 AM
A comment from BIS Records founder/CEO Robert von Bahr:

"Segerstam is presumably the greatest musical genius I will ever come across: he reads a score - ANY score - better than I read a Swedish daily. He has perfect pitch down to the tiniest degree and perfect rhythm as well - wake him up in the middle of the night and ask for tempo 167 and it comes. He has the unbeatable record of composed symphonies, pushing towards 300 now (which is about his IQ as well)."
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 02, 2016, 04:13:45 AM
pushing towards 300 now (which is about his IQ as well)."

And his weight . . . .
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on May 02, 2016, 05:33:20 AM
Unless I see the musicians crowded into closets and a dining room and in kitchen hallways, and hear the synthesizers being beaten, I will not believe.

https://www.youtube.com/v/f1CPFf1luOg

This reminds of the Wonder Automobile Company, whose slogan was:

"If it runs, it's a Wonder!"   0:)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on May 02, 2016, 05:39:58 AM
Unless I see the musicians crowded into closets and a dining room and in kitchen hallways, and hear the synthesizers being beaten, I will not believe.

https://www.youtube.com/v/f1CPFf1luOg

This reminds of the Wonder Automobile Company, whose slogan was:

"If it runs, it's a Wonder!"   0:)

I saw that the other day... jaw still on floor...

If he's so "genius", perfect pitch/rhythm- then why does he write amorphous stuff????? Is it to ease his hyper-precision????
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 02, 2016, 05:59:58 AM
Unless I see the musicians crowded into closets and a dining room and in kitchen hallways, and hear the synthesizers being beaten, I will not believe.

https://www.youtube.com/v/f1CPFf1luOg

This reminds of the Wonder Automobile Company, whose slogan was:

"If it runs, it's a Wonder!"   0:)

I lasted about 45 seconds. It's too derivative of symphony #238.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2016, 06:08:04 AM
I'm not sure what Segerstam's Symphony No. 151 is supposed to be, but 10 seconds in and I ran for help.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on May 02, 2016, 06:13:49 AM
I lasted about 45 seconds. It's too derivative of symphony #238.

 :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

I saw that the other day... jaw still on floor...

If he's so "genius", perfect pitch/rhythm- then why does he write amorphous stuff????? Is it to ease his hyper-precision????

"Amorphousness" is his style!  0:)

Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2016, 07:24:37 AM
I lasted about 45 seconds. It's too derivative of symphony #238.

ROFLMAO
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2016, 07:25:14 AM

"Amorphousness" is his style!  0:)


His music can only bring synpppps pain . . . .
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on May 02, 2016, 09:32:11 AM
His music can only bring synpppps pain . . . .

I suspect that the Symphony #237 and everything composed after Symphony #97 1/2 may well be a non-analgesic deconstruction of Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla combined with that famous folk-song Did Someone Call Me Schnorrer?.

Hence the pain!  8)

An early work: compare the two!

https://www.youtube.com/v/KKqRxgarjdc
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Rons_talking on May 02, 2016, 08:51:03 PM
A comment from BIS Records founder/CEO Robert von Bahr:

"Segerstam is presumably the greatest musical genius I will ever come across: he reads a score - ANY score - better than I read a Swedish daily. He has perfect pitch down to the tiniest degree and perfect rhythm as well - wake him up in the middle of the night and ask for tempo 167 and it comes. He has the unbeatable record of composed symphonies, pushing towards 300 now (which is about his IQ as well)."

I've heard roughly the same description applied to dozens of modern composers. My reaction is "So What?" So he's just like 1000 conductors and performing musicians around the world. The music I've listened to like a set of instructions. I don't dislike it...But credentials don't make the music. How many Boulez recordings and writings are there where there is not a reference to his great ear, uncanny rhythm and mathmatical training? The whole "the music HAS to be good because the creator can sing three symphonies at once while frying his eggs and making hash browns" seems to apologize in advance for the music.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: The new erato on May 02, 2016, 09:13:00 PM
I wouldn't trust any composer that eats hashed browns.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on May 03, 2016, 06:06:54 AM
I suspect that the Symphony #237 and everything composed after Symphony #97 1/2 may well be a non-analgesic deconstruction of Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla combined with that famous folk-song Did Someone Call Me Schnorrer?.

Hence the pain!  8)

An early work: compare the two!

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

Segerstam's genius has stayed the course over the decades, lol!!

:Amorphous is my bag, baby!"
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: ritter on May 03, 2016, 06:31:27 AM
......But credentials don't make the music. How many Boulez recordings and writings are there where there is not a reference to his great ear, uncanny rhythm and mathmatical training? ...
The answer to your question is quite easy: a whole lot of--excellent--recordings by Boulez don't make any reference to those qualities you mention...What Boulez (a notoriously self-critical composer, whose complete works fit on less than 13 CDs ) has to do in the discussion of Mr. Segerstams's 151st (!!!) symphony, beats me  ::)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2016, 06:48:49 AM
Hey, Segerstam is nothing compared to this guy:

http://carsoncooman.com/

Born in 1982, he's already reached op. 1140, which you can download (sounds like he spent less time writing it than it takes to play). By the time you inspect the site, he'll surely be up to op. 1200 if not beyond. Take that, Leif!
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 03, 2016, 08:13:43 AM
The answer to your question is quite easy: a whole lot of--excellent--recordings by Boulez don't make any reference to those qualities you mention...What Boulez (a notoriously self-critical composer, whose complete works fit on less than 13 CDs ) has to do in the discussion of Mr. Segerstams's 151st (!!!) symphony, beats me  ::)
Is that 151 symphonies or 1 symphony written 151 times?
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: ritter on May 03, 2016, 08:18:09 AM
Is that 151 symphonies or 1 symphony written 151 times?
I'm in no position to answer that question, I'm afarid, as I must confess I have neither the time nor the inclination to listen to them all... :D
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 03, 2016, 08:28:20 AM
I'm in no position to answer that question, I'm afarid, as I must confess I have neither the time nor the inclination to listen to them all... :D

Is there a box set? And does it allow for expansion, when he gets around to writing the next 50 or 60 next month?
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on May 03, 2016, 08:50:13 AM
Segerstam's genius has stayed the course over the decades, lol!!

:Amorphous is my bag, baby!"

Leif the Lucky c. 1016

Leif the Amorphous c. 2016

Is that 151 symphonies or 1 symphony written 151 times?

Would it be unfair to call the Segerstam oeuvre 275 (and counting) Variations on My First Symphony ?
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 03, 2016, 09:45:50 AM
Is that 151 symphonies or 1 symphony written 151 times?

I marvel that he can keep them straight, himself.  (I mean, assuming for the sake of argument that he does.)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on May 04, 2016, 05:48:01 AM
I marvel that he can keep them straight, himself.  (I mean, assuming for the sake of argument that he does.)

Hmm...well, he seems to know how many are composed in one summer at least!

From 16 years ago:

Quote
"How does one get in touch with the Guinness Book of Records people?" ponders the 56-year-old conductor. "Has anyone composed 22 symphonies in a year before this?" Segerstam is highly regarded on the conductor's podium, but his compositions do not enjoy quite the same undivided appreciation. He has nevertheless managed to get his music across quite well in the concerts he conducts.
   
"My newest symphonies are performed without a conductor. In this way I can pass up my conducting fees when these works are performed", he says.
In recent years
the response of the public, the music critics, and the record companies towards Segerstam's work has not been altogether negative.
   0:) 0:) 0:)

See:

http://www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20000811xx3 (http://www2.hs.fi/english/archive/news.asp?id=20000811xx3)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 04, 2016, 06:18:49 AM
Pushing that left-handed compliment envelope! has not been altogether negative . . . .
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on May 04, 2016, 06:31:04 AM
Pushing that left-handed compliment envelope! has not been altogether negative . . . .

Should we have a poll on "what is your least altogether negative" Segerstam symphony?

Personally, I feel less negative towards 174 than I do about 207, but it's a toss up between 115 and 198.
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: Cato on May 04, 2016, 06:43:06 AM
Should we have a poll on "what is your least altogether negative" Segerstam symphony?

Personally, I feel less negative towards 174 than I do about 207, but it's a toss up between 115 and 198.

Hmm, so the overall trend is down?  $:) 8)
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 31, 2016, 08:54:56 AM
I marvel that he can keep them straight, himself.  (I mean, assuming for the sake of argument that he does.)
It is going to be fun when he gets old and senile. Did I write that one already? Oh wait, maybe not...
Title: Re: Segerstam- Symphony No.151 (out of 215 so far)
Post by: snyprrr on June 03, 2016, 07:46:23 PM
Should we have a poll on "what is your least altogether negative" Segerstam symphony?

Personally, I feel less negative towards 174 than I do about 207, but it's a toss up between 115 and 198.

Seriously, I'm sure there's SOMETHING interesting in the BIS series which seems to pick Symphonies between the 7- 27 range, very "early" (1980s). Maybe I just feel the need to stick up for Leiflief: I'm sure there's a Cosmic Gem there that would put Feldman to shame... but none of those discs are cheap enough to encourage a go.

Why not some of you money bags to the dirty work???? tap tap atp