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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dundonnell on July 14, 2008, 12:30:46 PM

Title: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on July 14, 2008, 12:30:46 PM
There has been a considerable amount of discussion on this forum of prominent American composers of the 20th century. Amongst those who produced symphonic cycles were composers of great distinction. The names of William Schuman, Walter Piston, Roy Harris, Howard Hanson, David Diamond, Roger Sessions and(perhaps more controversially) Alan Hovhaness have come up often in a number of threads-for example in the thread started by vandermolen on Naxos American Classics.

I do not think however that enough attention has been given to the achievement of Peter Mennin who died 25 years ago this year. Paradoxically perhaps, Mennin is far from under-represented on CD(although a modern complete set of his symphonies would certainly not go amiss!)
Yet Mennin seems to me to have had less than his due. Naxos has not yet recorded a note of Mennin's music.

In 'A Companion to the Symphony'(ed. Robert Layton) the American conductor John Canarina described Mennin as "perhaps the most viscerally exciting of all American symphonists". Mennin's music was championed first by Walter Hendl, the tragic figure who led the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1949, and later by George Szell in Cleveland. Szell was not particularly noted for his interest in contemporary American music but appears to have had the highest regard for Mennin. Peter Mennin succeeded William Schuman as president of the Juilliard School in 1962 and led that distinguished institution until his untimely death at the age of 60 in 1983. The administrative responsibilities attached to this academic position considerably curtailed Mennin's composition in particular during the last ten years of his life.

Mennin wrote the fateful number of nine symphonies although No.1 was withdrawn and No.2(whilst being awarded prizes) does not seem to have been published or recorded. As with both Harris and Schuman it was Mennin's 3rd which established his reputation virtually overnight following its premiere by the New York Philharmonic when the composer was only 23. The symphonies are(or were) available as follows-

No. 3 in versions by the New York Philharmonic/Dimitri Mitropoulos(CRI American Masters) and by the Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz
   (Delos)
No.4 "The Cycle" -the Camerata Singers and Symphony Orchestra/Abraham Kaplan(Phoenix)
No.5 in versions by the Louisville Orchestra/Robert Whitney(First Edition Music), the Eastman-Rochester Orchestra/Howard Hanson(Mercury) and by the
    Albany Symphony/David Alan Miller(Albany)
No.6-coupled with No.5 on both the First Edition and the Albany discs
No.7 "Variation Symphony" in versions by the Chicago Symphony/Jean Martinon coupled with No.3 on both the CRI disc and the Delos
    disc.
Nos. 8 and 9-coupled together in versions by the Columbus Symphony/Christian Badea(New World Records)

Mennin's symphonies are indeed 'viscerally exciting' with an energy and power akin to the symphonies of William Schuman but not necessarily sounding like Schuman's. Mennin was influenced by both Hindemith and Bartok but his music also owes much to Renaissance counterpoint and polyphony. The mid period symphonies have been compared to both Vaughan Williams and Sir William Walton both in the ferocious angry energy of the fast movements(VW's 4th, Walton's 1st) but also the modal lyricism of his slow movements.
The distinguished American critic Walter Simmons has also compared Mennin to Edmund Rubbra and Vagn Holmboe in his evident determination to go his own way regardless of musical fashion. The symphonies do become grimmer, more angry, with increased chromaticism as time goes on(Nos. 7-9). All are-I would argue-extremely impressive works(although perhaps the choral No.4 may be the weakest?) and are undoubtedly of more consistent quality than those by Harris, less academic than those by Piston, more challenging than those by Hanson or Hovhaness(although I DO love the work of each of these composers too!).

Mennin also wrote a fine Cello Concerto recorded by Janos Starker on Albany(coupled with Piston's 1st) or First Edition Music(coupled with the 5th and 6th symphonies, an even better Piano Concerto(in my opinion one of the most exciting of all American concertos for the piano), brilliantly performed by John Ogden on the same CRI disc as Symphonies Nos. 3 and 7, and a Violin Concerto which remains unrecorded.

As usual I find myself writing an essay as a post-for which I unreservedly apologise :) I do hope however that other Mennin enthusiasts may care to add their thoughts!

PS: some reviews-
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2005/Jan05/Mennin_FE.htm
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2003/Oct03/mennin_56_albany.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/dec99/menin.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2000/nov00/mennin.htm
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: pjme on July 15, 2008, 10:13:08 AM
thanks for this message Dundonnell. There's little that I can add - and I've tried before to praise the qualities of Mennin's music.
I have most of the recordings you mention - symphonies 3 and 7 and the pianoconcerto are favorite works.

Peter

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on July 15, 2008, 10:24:55 AM
. . . The symphonies do become grimmer, more angry, with increased chromaticism as time goes on(Nos. 7-9). All are-I would argue-extremely impressive works(although perhaps the choral No.4 may be the weakest?) and are undoubtedly of more consistent quality than those by Harris, less academic than those by Piston, more challenging than those by Hanson or Hovhaness (although I DO love the work of each of these composers too!).

Very interesting, thanks.  Can't speak to Harris or Piston, but your remark viz. Hanson and Hovhaness rings true.

Not long ago, I revisited with great pleasure the Seventh Symphony, and the Concertato "Moby-Dick".  I find the best of his work very good, but (but?) quite . . . 'specific', for want of a better term.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on July 15, 2008, 10:26:05 AM
So here's a discussion question:  Copland or Mennin, who is the better symphonist?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: johnQpublic on July 15, 2008, 10:43:22 AM
Oh well, I know I've said this about every other year since I first met (some of) this gang back during the heyday of ClassicalInsights (12 or more years ago), but here it goes again:

If only a terrific conductor with an outstanding top-tier orchestra would take up Mennin's cause many more would know & be excited about his work.

As for Piston being more "academic". I wouldn't say that as "academic" usually implies counterpoint and traditional forms. Mennin is much like Piston "academically". However, I guess why you called only Piston "academic" is because he holds his emotions in check while Mennin lets his all hang out.

If we're strictly limited to comparing Copland's three "official" symphonies to Mennin's nine then I'd say Mennin cared more about aligning himself with the history & development of the symphony. Copland seemed more concerned about freer reign in viewing what is a "symphony". But if we're comparing the symphonic works of both I'd give the nod to Copland as he created so many and varied works. Variety is the spice of life; or so I've been told.  :P 

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on July 15, 2008, 11:05:57 AM
Very interesting, thanks.  Can't speak to Harris or Piston, but your remark viz. Hanson and Hovhaness rings true.

Not long ago, I revisited with great pleasure the Seventh Symphony, and the Concertato "Moby-Dick".  I find the best of his work very good, but (but?) quite . . . 'specific', for want of a better term.

(My emphasis)

Mentioned earlier is the "anger" heard in the symphonies, especially the later ones.  Karl's use of the term "specific" might seem vague...   ;)  ... but "specific" is correct, in the way the works tend to use a very sharp needle inserted into the corpus callosum, rather than chopping you up with an ax!  And there is how Mennin loses a comparison to e.g. Karl Amadeus Hartmann.  Mennin might seem highly emotional, but there is an artificiality about it.  Perhaps that is the "academic" nature of the beasts.

As to a comparison with Copland...I think Copland needed to compose more symphonies for a true comparison, but I would again refuse Mennin the wreath. 

I recall in the early 60's seeing a Columbia LP of a work by Mennin with a picture of him facing a picture of Andrew Imbrie: chamber music I believe.  The record contained perhaps string quartets?   I also remember William Schuman's Credendum being on a Columbia LP with a Mennin work: the jacket showed a close up of the windows of UN building, as if it were a glass credenza: I always wondered if the jacket designers misread credendum for credenza.   :o

Anyway, I have no lasting impression of those chamber works.

Any of you older members have a brain cell or two with that info?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on July 15, 2008, 02:15:00 PM
Thanks for the replies. I was beginning to wonder if anyone would respond but I ought to have taken the Trans Atlantic time difference into account :)

Agree absolutely about the need for a "terrific conductor with an outstanding top-tier orchestra" to take up Mennin. Sadly, I don't see that happening. In the 40s, 50s and 60s top flight American orchestras were conducted by people who would promote the leading composers of the day. I am thinking, for example, about Koussevitsky in Boston, Mitropoulous and Bernstein in New York, Ormandy in Philadelphia, Szell(at least in Mennin's case) in Cleveland, Hendl in Dallas, Stokowski in Houston. The valiant Louisville Orchestra in Kentucky(though certainly not a 'top-tier orchestra!) did a fantastic job for modern music in general. More recently, conductors like Lorin Maazel, David Zinman, Leonard Slatkin and, of course, Gerard Schwarz in Seattle performed and recorded works by the great American composers.

Now maybe I am talking rubbish...after all I live in the UK not the USA so I am not exactly familiar with the current American musical scene, but I do get the impression that it is far less likely that the leading American orchestras are performing or(perhaps more significantly) recording this sort of music.

Incidentally, I used the word "academic" in relation to Walter Piston in exactly the sense suggested. I was originally going to use the phrase "less dry than Piston" but I felt that I was being a little unfair to a composer for whom I have enormous respect.

And yes..I would certainly not deny that Aaron Copland was a composer of greater musical and emotional range than Mennin but I would not regard Copland as primarily a symphonist in the classical definition of the term. I appreciate that this potentially opens up a big can of worms and it should certainly not be taken to imply that Copland did not produce fine symphonies, nor that the 3rd is other than an epic example of the 20th century symphony.  It just seems to me that Copland's three(or four if the Dance Symphony is taken into account) symphonies are such diverse works that it is perhaps difficult to discuss them except as separate entities rather than as a symphonic cycle.

That discussion however fascinating is obviously not intended to suggest that Mennin was other than a fine American composer who deserves his due. Perhaps now that Marin Alsop is at the head of the Baltimore orchestra she might be interested in championing Mennin-as she currently seems prepared to do for Roy Harris?



Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: violinconcerto on July 22, 2008, 12:49:00 AM
Anyone here got a recording of the Violin concerto by Mennin or know a source of it?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on July 22, 2008, 01:15:37 AM
I only have 2 Mennin recordings, those being the DELOS Moby Dick CD and a Louisville recording containing 2 symphonies and the cello concerto. The cello concerto is by far my favorite, although I like the symphonies as well. I would love to add more Mennin in my collection.

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on July 22, 2008, 02:04:22 AM
I only have 2 Mennin recordings, those being the DELOS Moby Dick CD and a Louisville recording containing 2 symphonies and the cello concerto. The cello concerto is by far my favorite, although I like the symphonies as well. I would love to add more Mennin in my collection.



If you have the Delos CD with Moby Dick then you will also already have the 3rd and 7th symphonies but the CRI disc of these symphonies contains better(though older) performances and you get the superb Piano concerto. That disc and the more modern recording of the 8th and 9th symphonies are both still available from New World Records. The 8th and 9th are great works from the end of Mennin's career although they are darker and grimmer than earlier Mennin. That disc can be bought via Amazon USA for around $12 and there are good reviews on the Amazon.com website.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on December 06, 2008, 10:37:01 AM
Hmm.  Time we revived this thread ; )

I need to investigate the Eighth & Ninth Symphonies.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 06, 2008, 10:54:01 AM
Hmm.  Time we revived this thread ; )

I need to investigate the Eighth & Ninth Symphonies.

Thank you, Karl ;D

Yes-you definitely should investigates Nos. 8 and 9!

I have just listened again to Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 while No.7 is playing as I type!

I will not rehearse what I have already said(at extravagant length!!) on this thread and will try to restrain my enthusiasm for Mennin's music carrying me off into the realms of hyperbole but I do continue to regard him as "the most viscerally exciting" among his contemporary American symphonists :)

As to Karl's comparison with Allan Pettersson elsewhere on this site, I do see what he means. I have already remarked on the comparisons made by some critics with the music of Hindemith, Bartok, Vaughan Williams, Rubbra and Holmboe. Mennin's music contains little that is humorous or particularly colourful. He composed with little interest in anything apart from his own muse. There is an angry vehemence in his fast movements but a still repose in the slow movements which relate him to some Scandinavians. The later works are more dissonant, more chromatic, even more angry. In that sense the comparisons with Pettersson are certainly valid.

But-to my mind-Mennin is less prolix, more concise, less self-pitying. (But I will stop there because I hate comparing composers to the detriment of one or other...and I do admire/respect Pettersson as a symphonist :))
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on December 06, 2008, 02:10:47 PM
So here's a discussion question:  Copland or Mennin, who is the better symphonist?

Personally I much prefer Copland. I have two Mennin CDs and certainly enjoy the symphony that was on a Mercury CD (with Ives etc). No 3 I think but his work never moved me as much as, say Copland's Third or Organ Symphony, William Schuman's Third or Sixth Symphony, Paul Creston's Second Symphony, Hanson's Third, Bernstein's Jeremiah or Diamond's nos 2-4. However, Colin's thread means that I must have another go with Mennin.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 06, 2008, 02:29:39 PM
Personally I much prefer Copland. I have two Mennin CDs and certainly enjoy the symphony that was on a Mercury CD (with Ives etc). No 3 I think but his work never moved me as much as, say Copland's Third or Organ Symphony, William Schuman's Third or Sixth Symphony, Paul Creston's Second Symphony, Hanson's Third, Bernstein's Jeremiah or Diamond's nos 2-4. However, Colin's thread means that I must have another go with Mennin.

It is No.5 on that Mercury disc, Jeffrey, coupled with the Ives Symphony No.3 and Three Places in New England and Schuman's New England Triptych.

I don't like making comparisons between composers-as I said above. I can understand you saying that Mennin's "work never moved me as much as.." because I don't think that Mennin is necessarily that sort of composer. However, Mennin's slow movements are, I think, a different story and are perhaps overshadowed by the ferocious energy and drive of the fast movements. There is a lot in those slow movements which does recall the influences on Mennin of the heritage of early polyphony as well as the Vaughan Williams of Symphony No.4.

Creston and Hanson are clearly different types of composers altogether-essentially romantics-and Mennin is different. He is nearer in tone to William Schuman-a composer for whom I have a huge admiration-but there is, perhaps, more surface brilliance in Schuman.

I don't think that Mennin is an 'easy' composer to fully appreciate and the later symphonies, especially Nos. 8 and 9, are certainly not 'easy' pieces but I urge anyone to give them some serious listening. The slow movement of No.9(played at Mennin's memorial service in 1983) is undoubtedly most beautiful.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on December 06, 2008, 02:52:39 PM
Ok, thanks Colin. Yes it was No 5 with the Ives and Schuman. I will have another listen to Mennin.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on December 06, 2008, 04:00:27 PM
FWIW, Jeffrey, that Mercury reissue left me fairly cool to the Mennin Fifth . . . it was a recording I fairly soon sent back out to make its way in the Market.  Surprised me, for I do like many of the Mercury Living Presence reissues.

The recording I told Harry of (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg252772.html#msg252772), with the Fifth & Sixth Symphonies, and the Concertato, "Moby-Dick", though, strikes me as better.

(Or, it might jjust be that my ears this year are in a different 'place' than back when I listened to that Mercury.)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: jowcol on December 09, 2008, 08:56:42 AM
Just to weigh in--  I also have the DELOS Moby Dick CD and a Louisville recording containing 2 symphonies and the cello concerto.

I probably need to listen to them in more depth, but Symphony 3 is easily one of the "Great American Symphonies" in my book, and I've been known to listen to it on repeat for hours when I'm working on something.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 09, 2008, 10:10:17 AM
Just to weigh in--  I also have the DELOS Moby Dick CD and a Louisville recording containing 2 symphonies and the cello concerto.

I probably need to listen to them in more depth, but Symphony 3 is easily one of the "Great American Symphonies" in my book, and I've been known to listen to it on repeat for hours when I'm working on something.

Excellent :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on December 12, 2008, 04:04:58 AM
Have just listened to Mennin's Symphony No 3 (NYPO, Mitropoulos), with considerable enjoyment, although there is a relentless quality to his music which wears a bit thin after a while; in this sense Mennin reminds me of the British composer P Racine Fricker, whose Symphony No 2 is well worth revival. Of this generation of composers, it is Scottish composer Robin Orr's 2nd Symphony which stands out. With Mennin and Fricker I find that the sum of their work (often) is lesser than the parts but with Orr's second Symphony this is not the case. Gross generalisations I know, but it is what comes to mind at the moment.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 12, 2008, 07:34:55 AM
Fricker is one of the most disgracefully neglected of all British composers! Not only does the 2nd symphony deserve revival, so too does the rest of his music :) A thread beckons ;D

Your reference to Robin Orr is interesting, Jeffrey, but I assume that you are referring to the Symphony in One Movement, which is Orr's 1st Symphony, rather than the 2nd? It is the 1st which shares the same disc with Fricker's 2nd in its elderly EMI reincarnation.

As for your "gross generalisations" ;D I can 'see where you are coming from'(to use that hideous phrase!) in regard to "a relentless quality" although, as I said before, the slow movements are free of that. I suppose that there is a "melodic anonymity" but the "uncompromising integrity" of the music appeals to me. These were contemporary composers working within established forms and, to a considerable extent, against the grain of musical fashion at that time. They were before the current revival of neo-romanticism or the minimalist vogue. They were attempting to work with the traditions of the past rather than to ignore or to despise such traditions.
I admire that in both Mennin and Fricker. Nor do they wallow in self-pitying bleakness like some composers of the time(no names, no pack drill ;D)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2008, 08:54:20 AM
Nor do they wallow in self-pitying bleakness like some composers of the time(no names, no pack drill ;D)

A.

P.

?

 ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 12, 2008, 12:04:44 PM
A.

P.

?

 ;D

If you think that I might be safe in saying so here...........yes ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2008, 12:41:49 PM
Amilcare Ponchielli will never live this down!   ;) ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 12, 2008, 12:49:18 PM
Amilcare Ponchielli will never live this down!   ;) ;D

Now, now! You know I meant Arvo Part ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on December 12, 2008, 01:35:29 PM
You would risk the wrath of the Estonians?  They'll cut off your lamprey supply!  ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on December 12, 2008, 04:17:48 PM
You know exactly who I mean, Karl ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on December 12, 2008, 04:26:52 PM
Fricker is one of the most disgracefully neglected of all British composers! Not only does the 2nd symphony deserve revival, so too does the rest of his music :) A thread beckons ;D

Your reference to Robin Orr is interesting, Jeffrey, but I assume that you are referring to the Symphony in One Movement, which is Orr's 1st Symphony, rather than the 2nd? It is the 1st which shares the same disc with Fricker's 2nd in its elderly EMI reincarnation.

As for your "gross generalisations" ;D I can 'see where you are coming from'(to use that hideous phrase!) in regard to "a relentless quality" although, as I said before, the slow movements are free of that. I suppose that there is a "melodic anonymity" but the "uncompromising integrity" of the music appeals to me. These were contemporary composers working within established forms and, to a considerable extent, against the grain of musical fashion at that time. They were before the current revival of neo-romanticism or the minimalist vogue. They were attempting to work with the traditions of the past rather than to ignore or to despise such traditions.
I admire that in both Mennin and Fricker. Nor do they wallow in self-pitying bleakness like some composers of the time(no names, no pack drill ;D)

Points taken Colin and, of course your quite right it was Orr's Symphony in One Movement which I was referring to - a fine work (a bit like Chavez's No 4 in its epic, granitic quality). I liked Mennin's Third Symphony, especially the slow movement and will be returning to it.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Guido on December 15, 2008, 05:50:44 PM
I remember the cello concerto as stilted and dull, which means that I have not actively looked into anything else by the composer. Will have to revisit the cello concerto I guess, but I remember being surprised before when someone professed their adoration for the piece a while a go on this forum.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 14, 2009, 12:12:31 PM
thanks for this message Dundonnell. There's little that I can add - and I've tried before to praise the qualities of Mennin's music.
I have most of the recordings you mention - symphonies 3 and 7 and the pianoconcerto are favorite works.

Peter


Your review of Mennin is a very good one.  Many years ago I was "into" the American scene, as it were, which included, among others: Barber, Hanson, Creston, Riegger, (or is it Reiger?), Piston, Pershicati (sp.?), Donovan, Ward, Schuman, Carter, Ives, plus so many others.  I was then absorbed by the neo-classical rythmic pulse which informed many of these works.  I consider Mennin, whose symphonies I still listen to, as exemplary of America's finest composer.  How busy he must have been assuming all those administrative duties at Juliard as well as composing his detailed, tigtly controlled, dramatic works.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on January 14, 2009, 12:39:49 PM
Riegger, Persichetti
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on January 14, 2009, 02:29:36 PM
Funny you should mention Persichetti :)

A cd arrived this morning from Arkiv in the USA of the only Persichetti symphony which had not previously been in my collection-the Sinfonia Janiculum(Symphony No.9). It is a Japanese copy of a RCA recording so the insert booklet is not much use to me ;D

The coupling is Part I-The Entombment of Christ' of Penderecki's Oratorio 'Utrenja'. At first i thought that this was a rather odd coupling until I discovered that Penderecki dedicated this piece to Ormandy(although he did not conduct the premiere).

Haven't listened to the cd yet but will report back in due course.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: schweitzeralan on January 14, 2009, 03:34:27 PM
Riegger, Persichetti

Right.  Thanks; and it is the conservatory spelled with two L's.  I tend to post too hastily.  I'll check out spellings before posting.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on January 14, 2009, 03:36:16 PM
Right.  Thanks; and it is the conservatory spelled with two L's.  I tend to post too hastily.  I'll check out spellings before posting.

No worries; glad to be of some service.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on January 14, 2009, 08:53:59 PM
i have all the cds we've been talking about

symphonically, wouldn't mennin vs sessions be more apt? but i think it is sessions who sounds more like pettersson (sym on the argo disc 6, 7, 9)
though mennin vs piston would be  anitalian run off. but i have a dry academic problem with piston's late ouvre (notice how ALL these symphoists get more bitter during the 60s!).

the cri disc, the albany 5/6 cd, and the new world 8/9...that's it.....i got rid of 5/6....but the piano concerto with ogdon is mighty...yes, holmboe and simpson and such...

nothing wrong with mennin
btw- EVERY american symphony is a "No.3"!!!     kiddin....

i also have the string quartet on voxbox...more of the same which is fine by me...very propulsive mennin is, exciting.

and such a handsome man, haha
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Elnimio on January 07, 2011, 09:55:39 PM
This guy is currently my favorite composer. His piano concerto is mesmerizing.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: karlhenning on January 10, 2011, 09:25:39 AM
Nice av! : )

Yes, the piano concerto is fine (oops, it's been a while since I've listened).

And Mennin is one composer whose entire symphony cycle I wish were available, and recorded anew.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Elnimio on January 10, 2011, 09:47:14 AM
I would pay a lot of money to see that happen.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: violinconcerto on May 07, 2011, 03:03:47 AM
I was a bit puzzled today that wikipedia and some other sources don't mention the violin concerto by Peter Mennin, and on the other hand several other sources do so (for example the Encyclopaedia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/375135/Peter-Mennin).
I am now questioning myself if there really was or is a violin concerto by Peter Mennin? Maybe he wrote such a ork and withdrew it? Or its lost or whatever. Can anyone here give a serious and responsible answer to this question?

Best,
Tobias
www.violinconcerto.de
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) — a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2012, 07:30:40 AM
Incidentally, I think highly of both Mennin and Schuman. Their music, I mean;  I have no opinion about their respective personalities.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Elnimio on May 02, 2012, 07:33:51 AM
Mennin's gift for contrapuntal writing is mind-blowing. It was completely second nature to him. It's so intrinsic in his music that it's difficult to confuse his sound with any other American composer, besides latter Diamond.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: edward on May 02, 2012, 08:27:01 AM
To my knowledge, I've never heard a single note of Mennin's work; any suggestions from those who know my taste in music?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 02, 2012, 09:06:04 AM
I'd suggest giving the Seventh Symphony (Variations Symphony) a test-drive.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on May 03, 2012, 04:36:44 AM
Delighted to see such a considerable amount of discussion on this forum about Piston, Schuman, Diamond and Mennin :) :)

If the record company scouts are watching............please take note ;D ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Dundonnell on May 03, 2012, 04:39:44 AM
I was a bit puzzled today that wikipedia and some other sources don't mention the violin concerto by Peter Mennin, and on the other hand several other sources do so (for example the Encyclopaedia Britannica http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/375135/Peter-Mennin).
I am now questioning myself if there really was or is a violin concerto by Peter Mennin? Maybe he wrote such a ork and withdrew it? Or its lost or whatever. Can anyone here give a serious and responsible answer to this question?

Best,
Tobias
www.violinconcerto.de

My information is that the Violin Concerto is unfinished. I shall ask Mennin's biographer, Tobias, and get a definitive answer for you :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: violinconcerto on May 15, 2012, 09:24:57 AM
My information is that the Violin Concerto is unfinished. I shall ask Mennin's biographer, Tobias, and get a definitive answer for you :)

That would be great! Thanks!

Best,
Tobias
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 04, 2012, 06:18:27 AM
Curiosity has got the better of me at last, and I've bought the download of the Symphonies Nos 8 & 9.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on June 04, 2012, 06:40:31 AM
My information is that the Violin Concerto is unfinished. I shall ask Mennin's biographer, Tobias, and get a definitive answer for you :)
Wow! I only wish I knew someone who'd heard of Beethoven,let alone a Mennin biographer! :( ;D
  A very impressive & satisfying symphonist. I have all his symphonies on cd. No 4 & the tremendous Piano Concerto as downloads. I only wish the cd labels WOULD take note!
  The Piano Concerto is marvellous. Very exciting. Why is there only one deleted recording? What a crazy world,eh?!!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 04, 2012, 06:41:29 AM
The Eighth joins a select and illustrious company of purely instrumental multi-movement works drawing inspiration from Liturgy and/or Psalm.
 
Honegger's Symphonie liturgique, Britten's Sinfonia da requiem, Flagello's Missa sinfonica, Schuman's Ninth, Le fosse ardeatine . . . .
 
The Mennin is certainly his own, a symphony which both emerges organically from his own prior work, and brings forth passages which are unlike any Mennin I've heard before.  Very excited about the piece, in fact.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 04, 2012, 06:46:50 AM
  The Piano Concerto is marvellous. Very exciting. Why is there only one deleted recording? What a crazy world,eh?!!

New concerti have an even tougher road than new symphonies.  First, you've got to have a soloist who believes in it enough to work it up;  which is to say, in many (most?) cases, the performer who creates the première, winds up being the only performer to take an interest in it.  Then, too, with a symphony, you "only" need the conductor with the sympathy for the piece, and the will to program it . . . where with a concerto, even if you find a soloist, the orchestra works practically as hard as for a new symphony, but atop that, there is the challenge of accompanying the soloist, in a work which has scant track record.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: eyeresist on June 04, 2012, 08:44:11 PM
The Eighth joins a select and illustrious company of purely instrumental multi-movement works drawing inspiration from Liturgy and/or Psalm.
 
Honegger's Symphonie liturgique, Britten's Sinfonia da requiem, Flagello's Missa sinfonica, Schnittke's Second . . . .

Just a reminder - Schnittke's 2nd is NOT purely instrumental. It's very much a choral work.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 05, 2012, 01:48:13 AM
Of course, you're right! Lost my own train o' thought, there ....
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on June 05, 2012, 03:42:26 AM
Just a reminder - Schnittke's 2nd is NOT purely instrumental. It's very much a choral work.
You're lucky,Karl! I didn't know that! ??? ::)
 Incidentally,Britten's 'Sinfonia da Requiem' is one of my favourite choral works! ;D

Thanks for you're very interesting composer perspective on the concerto problem! It just goes to prove,you can't have one without the other.(Must get some bread for that cheese!) The Mennin has been around for quite a while,though. A brand new,first rate recording might help spread the 'word' (notes);but that's only half the problem!
  So it's back to my download :(,and,Wow! It's ONLY John Ogdon! :o :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 05, 2012, 04:27:56 AM
The Eighth joins a select and illustrious company of purely instrumental multi-movement works drawing inspiration from Liturgy and/or Psalm.
 
Honegger's Symphonie liturgique, Britten's Sinfonia da requiem, Flagello's Missa sinfonica . . .

. . . and Schuman's Ninth, Le fosse ardeatine; knew there was another to which I'd listened not long ago!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on June 05, 2012, 04:38:39 AM
The 1972 Gramophone review,possibly,didn't do much help! Coupled with some music by Yardumian,the review describes it as a "worthy Lp". Other nuggets include,"I don't think it will arouse much enthusiasm","blandly impersonal" & (in relation to both composers) "faceless cosmopolitanism".

  Ah,what do those reviewers know,anyway?!!! :( ;D

Okay,where are those Mennin cd's? Egad! Methinks,I am in the mood for some 'faceless cosmopolitanism'! :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: bumtz on June 09, 2012, 03:13:17 AM
Naxos is reissuing Schwarz / Seattle Symphony recordings: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559718   
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Alan Cuckston on February 01, 2013, 07:47:14 AM
Re : Peter Mennin's Violin Concerto
Claire Reis, in the 1947 edition of her book 'Composers in America' mentions that a Violin Concerto had been commissioned from Mennin by Roman Totenberg.
Also, David Ewen in his 1982 'Composers in America - a Biographical Dictionary' lists a Violin Concerto of 1950. Is there a manuscript in existence ?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on February 07, 2013, 10:21:05 AM
I managed to find a cheap copy of Mennin's Fourth Symphony on the Phoenix label. This prompted me to another Mennin odyssey,beginning with No3. Wow! These are exciting. Talk about propulsive,wiry energy! The slow movements are very powerful. No Roy Harris style problems here!! They really do pack a punch!
Have to cook supper now,so I can't really say much,or my digestive system will...........later on!!! ??? :(
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 07, 2013, 10:24:18 AM
I managed to find a cheap copy of Mennin's Fourth Symphony on the Phoenix label. This prompted me to another Mennin odyssey,beginning with No3. Wow! These are exciting. Talk about propulsive,wiry energy! The slow movements are very powerful. No Roy Harris style problems here!! They really do pack a punch!
Have to cook supper now,so I can't really say much,or my digestive system will...........later on!!! ??? :(


Excellent!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Brewski on February 07, 2013, 10:27:34 AM
I managed to find a cheap copy of Mennin's Fourth Symphony on the Phoenix label. This prompted me to another Mennin odyssey,beginning with No3. Wow! These are exciting. Talk about propulsive,wiry energy! The slow movements are very powerful. No Roy Harris style problems here!! They really do pack a punch!
Have to cook supper now,so I can't really say much,or my digestive system will...........later on!!! ??? :(

Cool! Mennin is very off the radar for most listeners. Last fall I got acquainted with Symphonies 3 and 7 on an excellent Naxos recording - hadn't heard either one, and they are formidable pieces.

http://www.juilliard.edu/journal/2012-2013/1211/articles/discoveries.php

--Bruce
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 07, 2013, 10:32:19 AM
To my knowledge, I've never heard a single note of Mennin's work; any suggestions from those who know my taste in music?

Any luck, Edward?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: some guy on February 07, 2013, 11:48:29 AM
To my knowledge, I've never heard a single note of Mennin's work; any suggestions from those who know my taste in music?
My suggestion is that you jettison your taste in music.

I haven't liked any of the Mennin I have heard, and he represents a vein I find repugnant, but even I would say to anyone who hasn't listened to any Mennin to listen to some Mennin.

Early last year, I was in L.A. for CEAIT's Cage bash (the good kind of bash :D), so I was driving around in a rental car, which I rarely do, listening to the radio, which I only do if I'm in a rental car. I heard a mid-century orchestral work which I was enjoying. Turned out to be the symphony no. 6 from a composer I hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, Howard Hanson.

Being an enlightened listener and a good friend and father, I shrugged my shoulders and bought a CD of Hanson's 6th for myself when I got back home. I may be prejudiced, but I'm not stupid.

In fact, just spending a few minutes on this thread makes me feel like sampling some more Mennin myself.

In short, Edward, I suggest that you listen to some Mennin. Never mind what. Just listen to some.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 07, 2013, 12:00:57 PM
My suggestion is that you jettison your taste in music.

I haven't liked any of the Mennin I have heard, and he represents a vein I find repugnant, but even I would say to anyone who hasn't listened to any Mennin to listen to some Mennin.

I like your sense of humor!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Daverz on February 07, 2013, 03:56:03 PM
I haven't liked any of the Mennin I have heard, and he represents a vein I find repugnant, but even I would say to anyone who hasn't listened to any Mennin to listen to some Mennin.
[snip]
a composer I hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, Howard Hanson.

I have yet to find Mennin's music interesting enough to rise to the level of repugnant.

Also, what exactly did Howard Hanson do to make you hate him so?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 07, 2013, 04:43:09 PM
I have yet to find Mennin's music interesting enough to rise to the level of repugnant.

I'm feelin' the love!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Daverz on February 07, 2013, 04:56:19 PM
I'm feelin' the love!

I'm definitely not through with him, though.  His music may click at some point.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: some guy on February 07, 2013, 05:23:01 PM
I like your sense of humor!
;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 08, 2013, 05:51:32 AM
I'm definitely not through with him, though.  His music may click at some point.

Intellectually, I know there is such a thing as listeners not 'getting' this or that composer's music. I have no trouble with the theory.

My introduction to Mennin:

I was in, I forget just which: eighth grade? might even have been seventh grade, and I had not been playing clarinet all that long.  I made it into the regional band!  Yes, on balance, I think it may have been that very first time I was in a region band, which is to say, easily my best experience to that time of participating in a musical ensemble.  The recording which was made of that event will not bear it out, but I sure felt as if I had suddenly ascended into the New York Philharmonic.

So in the first place, I was lapping up this experience of what it was like to play with a bunch of peers who knew their way around the instruments.

In addition to what I was by then accustomed to in young-symphonic-band fare (arrangements of the odd movement/number from the classics, arrangements of Broadway show tunes, &c.) in our folders for the region band were two or three pieces by recent (maybe even still living) composers who were not tinpansmiths.  This is no snobbery, cannot be any snobbery, I am simply reporting that excitement and elation which I felt as I was rehearsing these pieces, both (again) the thrill of being in a group, most of whom could play better than I could, and the (perfectly novel for me, at the time) thrill of reading a piece of music whose language, while clearly related to much that I had been playing already, was just as clearly striking out into fresh paths of sonic expression.

So, one of the pieces in our folder that year was Mennin's Canzona for symphonic band. I understand it, now, for a minor work.  (Minor, but still a great little piece.)  At the time, I both simply reveled in its being a cool piece to be a part of playing, and was jazzed that such a piece was written by a fellow whose lifetime and geography overlapped with mine.

The long and the short of this being: intellectually, I can understand that there are listeners who don't twig Mennin. But it is entirely outside of my own experience. From the first that I knew of a composer of the name of Mennin, he was a damned fine sight of a composer in my book.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Daverz on February 08, 2013, 07:12:08 AM
I was in, I forget just which: eighth grade? might even have been seventh grade, and I had not been playing clarinet all that long.

I only play the Squeezebox these days.  It doesn't concentrate the attention like playing the clarinet.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 08, 2013, 07:18:17 AM
So I hear : )
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 08, 2013, 07:21:35 AM
I think that the lack of music for squeezebox reflects one of the truly lamentable blind-spots in the mid-century US symphonists . . . .
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: some guy on February 08, 2013, 08:25:25 AM
What a delightful anecdote, Karl!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on February 08, 2013, 09:04:04 AM
My suggestion is that you jettison your taste in music.

I haven't liked any of the Mennin I have heard, and he represents a vein I find repugnant, but even I would say to anyone who hasn't listened to any Mennin to listen to some Mennin.

Early last year, I was in L.A. for CEAIT's Cage bash (the good kind of bash :D), so I was driving around in a rental car, which I rarely do, listening to the radio, which I only do if I'm in a rental car. I heard a mid-century orchestral work which I was enjoying. Turned out to be the symphony no. 6 from a composer I hate with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns, Howard Hanson.

Being an enlightened listener and a good friend and father, I shrugged my shoulders and bought a CD of Hanson's 6th for myself when I got back home. I may be prejudiced, but I'm not stupid.

In fact, just spending a few minutes on this thread makes me feel like sampling some more Mennin myself.

In short, Edward, I suggest that you listen to some Mennin. Never mind what. Just listen to some.

I've tried with Mennin.

Currently, I only have the CRI disc (Symphonies 3 & 7, Piano Concerto) which I hadn't listened to in a while, and the String Quartet (Vox). I used to have the Albany cd of 5 & 6, and I've heard the NewWorld 8 & 9 many years ago. The first Mennin I heard was No.6 on the Mercury Living Presence album, but when I got the Albany, I just felt like Mennin was like Piston in my book: whatever that means,... both, Mennin specifically, seem to be stuck in the '50s. Schuman, on the other hand, seemed to grow beyond the bombast of the Death of Romanticism/Neo-Classicism.

So I pulled out the CRI. The last time, I listened to No.3, but I just didn't want to go to 'Loud, Brash Symphony Land'. So I felt like I was done with Mennin. Well, I knew that the Piano Concerto was going to be a barn burner, and I remembered not being sooo excited by No.3, so, I went for No.7 (the 'Variations' Symphony).

No.7 really was nice, lots of brass chorales. I am definitely going to recommend this to all. I didn't find it bombastic, and was somewhat surprised by its construction. I find nothing 'wrong' here. Please do give this one another shot.

I will revisit the massive PC (with Ogden), a piece I still feel all the nay-sayers can appreciate. It's a knuckle buster for sure!



btw- someguy,... love that Hanson characterization, haha! Yea, no one should have ever told me that Hanson was 'Nordic' sounding. Well, at least I will know how to get on your nerves in the future, bwaha ha ha ha ha!!
Title: Re: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 08, 2013, 09:30:57 AM
. . . Yea, no one should have ever told me that Hanson was 'Nordic' sounding.

Who?! Who was it told you that??!!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 08, 2013, 10:16:24 AM
Wow!  Skimming through GMG, I come across comments on Ned Rorem and now Mennin, and my memory takes me back 50+ years to exploring (at the time) modern stuff at the public library in Dayton by David Van Vactor, Andrew Imbrie, Gardner Read, Robert Helps (he looked like a beatnik), George Barati (conductor of the Honolulu Symphony: that detail stuck with me for obvious reasons!),and Gene Gutche' (the best in this list, as I recall).

If you have heard of Mennin, have you also heard of these composers?  Many had a work or two on very rare labels, with the exception of what used to be Composers' Recordings Incorporated (CRI).
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on February 08, 2013, 05:50:21 PM
Wow!  Skimming through GMG, I come across comments on Ned Rorem and now Mennin, and my memory takes me back 50+ years to exploring (at the time) modern stuff at the public library in Dayton by David Van Vactor, Andrew Imbrie, Gardner Read, Robert Helps (he looked like a beatnik), George Barati (conductor of the Honolulu Symphony: that detail stuck with me for obvious reasons!),and Gene Gutche' (the best in this list, as I recall).

If you have heard of Mennin, have you also heard of these composers?  Many had a work or two on very rare labels, with the exception of what used to be Composers' Recordings Incorporated (CRI).

You should contribute to the 'CRI Composers' Thread! ;)

I've been checking out all the cds you've mentioned. I'll have to look into Gutche. Yea, they are the last ones on the current list, and I'm confident I can stop where I'm at (with those three Rorem discs).

btw- I HAVE been drinking too much tea, not RB. I drank some ultra-strong coffee recently which sent me into a caffeine spiral. Thank God that's over... I hope!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 08, 2013, 06:21:47 PM
Two words, snypsss: Egyptian chamomile
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2013, 06:27:54 PM
Peter Mennin? Meh....;) :D

But seriously, I haven't really explored Mennin's music too much. Any suggestions? I have an Albany recording which I forget which symphonies were on it. I don't recall liking/disliking the music, so I'll have to refresh my memory.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 08, 2013, 06:28:10 PM

I've been checking out all the cds you've mentioned. I'll have to look into Gutche. Yea, they are the last ones on the current list, and I'm confident I can stop where I'm at (with those three Rorem discs).

A work called Genghis Khan sticks in the memory as worthwhile.


...Robert Helps (he looked like a beatnik),

My memory also brought back more details about Helps: besides sporting a beatnik goatee, he posed on the cover of his record in a torn sweatshirt with his hands on his hips.  I found this odd: why wasn't he better dressed?!  And why the slightly angry sneer?  Did he forget that the photographer was coming for the picture for his album?  ;D 

Beatniks, of course, had to look angry and contemptuous of everything!

Unless you were a nice beatnik!  (Note the torn sweatshirt!  And the bongos!)

(http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/maynard.jpg)


btw- I HAVE been drinking too much tea, not RB. I drank some ultra-strong coffee recently which sent me into a caffeine spiral. Thank God that's over... I hope!

If it is over, we will not be having as much fun here at GMG!   :laugh:
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 08, 2013, 06:32:46 PM
Genghis Khan could have benefited from Egyptian chamomile....
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on February 09, 2013, 07:38:54 AM
Two words, snypsss: Egyptian chamomile

I'll check, thanks.



btw Karl... that pic of you... mm... uh... you're wearing headphones and you have your head turned in a way that... forgive me... makes you look like a 'special' person. Don't they ALL wear headphones and have their heads turned in that certain way? It's just not all that flattering. Take some advice from Scots John on how to take pictures! :P
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 09, 2013, 07:40:58 AM
I get all my best advice from Johnnie!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Daverz on February 09, 2013, 08:27:46 AM
I think that the lack of music for squeezebox reflects one of the truly lamentable blind-spots in the mid-century US symphonists . . . .

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQAWdmbRdYz6QUYV7spZehrxEadH3JVMkP3oVEjm4rDxs2LPsKD)

Not quite the Squeezebox I was thinking of.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 09, 2013, 04:58:35 PM
Here's the Squeezebox I had in mind:

(http://www.peoplequiz.com/images/bios/Yvette-Mimieux.jpg-6166.jpg)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: edward on February 09, 2013, 05:27:33 PM
Well, I finally had the chance to spend a bit of time with the 5th and 7th symphonies (though my listening brain may not be at its best after working nearly 120 hours in the last two weeks). The 5th is certainly the more straightforward work, though I was impressed by the tautness and lack of superfluous material in the toccata-like outer movements--though I'd certainly have guessed it as by an American composer, the Germanic influence was more obvious than I'd have expected. The 7th is much more ambitious and I don't think I've fully got a hang on it after one listen; the rather grim mood and the dense, contrapuntally busy writing reminded me somewhat of Karl Amadeus Hartmann (though it doesn't sound like Hartmann, of course).
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on February 10, 2013, 08:21:29 AM
The 7th is much more ambitious and I don't think I've fully got a hang on it after one listen; the rather grim mood and the dense, contrapuntally busy writing reminded me somewhat of Karl Amadeus Hartmann (though it doesn't sound like Hartmann, of course).

I thought it quite dark, but not bombastic. I think you'll grow into it. Delos, or CRI? Surely the Delos sound must be something.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on February 11, 2013, 02:41:52 AM
Listening to Mennin's Fourth Symphony,now. This is the one with singing! ;D  Hope this s/h cd won't freeze. I just got this one & the Maazel recording of Schuman's Seventh,coupled with the Balada Steel Symphony,through the post. A nail biting wait to see if it would play through a rather nasty looking scratch! Luckily,it didn't.......no d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d (etc) interrupting my 'great' (?) American symphony ??? :(! That's,if there IS one?!!! ;D
Anyway,according to the booklet,the words for Mennin's Fourth 'The Cycle' were written by the composer. "Oh dear!" I thought,averting my eyes from the proferred text,just in case Peter's another Jim Morrison!! ??? :( As it happens,this one's a bit of a suprise,in a way! Although I won't be singing it in the bath,this one is actually quite tuneful! Even fans of Howard Hanson (especially his Sea Symphony) might enjoy this one! And this one is supposed to be his weakest!

Sing-a-long-a-Mennin?!! What the blazes came over him? Maybe a bit of relaxation before his next grey,brooding,angry,contrapuntal (or whatever you musicians call it) workout..........and good for him,I say!! ;D In fact,I'm ashamed to say,I actually quite like it & might just put it on again!! :)

NB: The coupled work by Ginastera is grrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeat,with the bonus of some rather sexy sounding singing. Eat your heart out Mennin!! ;D

Interestingly,this is one of only three choral American symphonies to have come my way. The Howard Hanson,Harris's Fourth (one rather magical movement,the remainder a bit of a mess!! :() & come to think of it,there was a Hovhaness one,with of those mandatory wierd titles of his,and lots of sand and camels!!

The performances on both cds sound pretty good. The Balada is a bit predictable,I suppose (lots of grinding,squealing,dissonant noise),but it's great fun,and...........(continued on page 394 of the Rubbra thread!).
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on February 12, 2013, 04:33:13 AM
Well,my enthusiasm certainly killed off this thread! (Must keep off the old juice! ;D). Of course,the problem with the Phoenix release of the Fourth Symphony,is the possibility that the purchaser is going to want to hear more Ginastera,not Mennin!
The performances & sound quality sound very good to my jaded ears. Not having heard of the performers I was expecting a bit of a 'doofer' until something better came along. The soloist in the Ginastera is excellent.

....and going back to 'squeeze boxes',which is what this thread is really about! I recall meeting my first girlfriend at a 'squeeze box' party! I also recall that she wanted me to ride around on the back of her pony :D & I don't like 'horses'!
All the more reason to dislike them,judging by the news........or develop a taste for 'viande de cheval' (don't speak French,so hope that's right! ;D).
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 12, 2013, 10:59:39 AM

....and going back to 'squeeze boxes',which is what this thread is really about! I recall meeting my first girlfriend at a 'squeeze box' party! I also recall that she wanted me to ride around on the back of her pony :D & I don't like 'horses'!
All the more reason to dislike them,judging by the news........or develop a taste for 'viande de cheval' (don't speak French,so hope that's right! ;D).

Here's the Squeezebox I had in mind:

(http://www.peoplequiz.com/images/bios/Yvette-Mimieux.jpg-6166.jpg)

A review seemed in order!   ;D

It is interesting: how many composers from Mennin's generation established works which are still (at least) fairly well known in the present day?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: some guy on February 12, 2013, 01:21:25 PM
[H]ow many composers from Mennin's generation established works which are still (at least) fairly well known in the present day?
Maderna
Arnold
Husa
Moret
Piazolla
Foss
Xenakis
Ten Holt
Kraft
Ligeti
Huber
Kelemen
Nono
Berio
Boulez
Malec
Brown
Cerha
Dhomont
Feldman
Henze
Kurtag
Mimaroglu
Tudor
Donatoni
Henry
Parmegiani
Barraque
Druckman
Farquhar
Morricone
Rautavaara
Stockhausen
Crumb
Denisov
Ferrari
Hoddinott
Pousseur
Previn
Sculthorpe
Terterian
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 12, 2013, 01:55:52 PM
Maderna
...
Terterian

Many thanks!  Some of those are unknown to me, others, are just names.

Karel Husa used to be really big 40-50 years ago, the heir to the estate of the quartet of Czech musical gods:Smetana-Dvorak-Janacek-Martinu.

I see he is still alive in his early 90's!

Another question for you "intensive" collectors and concert-goers: is there a classical music database which keeps track on a yearly basis of the live performances of composers and of CD releases?

i.e. if one wanted to know how many Mennin performances took place last year, or how many CD's were released, is there a website or organization keeping track of such things?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83) Symphony #8
Post by: Cato on February 12, 2013, 02:44:16 PM
Many thanks!  Some of those are unknown to me, others, are just names.

Karel Husa used to be really big 40-50 years ago, the heir to the estate of the quartet of Czech musical gods:Smetana-Dvorak-Janacek-Martinu.

I see he is still alive in his early 90's!

Another question for you "intensive" collectors and concert-goers: is there a classical music database which keeps track on a yearly basis of the live performances of composers and of CD releases?

i.e. if one wanted to know how many Mennin performances took place last year, or how many CD's were released, is there a website or organization keeping track of such things?

YouTube is amazing: my local band performing the Symphony #8 by Peter Mennin

http://www.youtube.com/v/hj05l7oVtfQ
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 13, 2013, 01:48:44 PM
What did you think, Cato? (I've got that recording.)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 13, 2013, 03:59:29 PM
What did you think, Cato? (I've got that recording.)

Stay tuned!  I hope to hear the entire work - without interruption - tomorrow!

Skimming through Amazon, most of the symphonies are available either new or used: a complete edition could be a job for NAXOS perhaps?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Daverz on February 14, 2013, 03:23:29 PM
Listening to the 3rd on Delos.  Does the Naxos open up the sound at all?  I wish I had a treble control.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 18, 2013, 08:41:43 AM
What did you think, Cato? (I've got that recording.)

Concerning the Peter Mennin Symphony #8



The symphony is excellent: dynamic to the point of fury at times!  The impending tornado presaged by the photograph on the CD cover is an apt encapsulation of the work.

Only one quibble: I find the Penderecki/Ligeti homage at the beginning unnecessary.  There is a marvelously whirling string section at c. 3 minutes into the work which could have been varied and used as the introduction.

Otherwise, I was impressed!  In the 1960's I heard the Seventh and the Fifth (the latter I believe was conducted by Howard Hanson on the old Mercury label).  Mennin's style struck me as somewhat eclectic: earlier someone here mentioned a comparison with Hartmann and perhaps one could do that. 

For Hartmann I have a greater affinity, but I should explore the other Mennin symphonies in the coming weeks and ponder this a while!   0:)

I will say that my local band, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, was in better shape 40 years ago! 

And what happened to conductor Christian Badea?  Here is a somewhat recent answer:

Quote
During the 2010-11 season, Christian Badea conducted a new production of Don Carlos for the Goteborg Opera which was hailed by the critics as being “world class”  and debuted with the Australian Opera conducting a new production of La Boheme – a triumph with critics and audiences alike. Immediate invitations to return followed through 2013, starting with a new production of  Korngold’s Die tote Stadt by the well known movie director Bruce Beresford.

For the 2011-12 season, Christian Badea will conduct the Residentie Orkest of Hague in the opening concerts of the Enescu Festival in Bucharest  and will be a frequent guest of the Bucharest Philharmonic and the National Radio Orchestra. He is conducting a new Carmen in Sweden followed by visits to Denmark and Australia for concerts and opera.

See:

http://www.festivalenescu.ro/index.php?id=86&L=1 (http://www.festivalenescu.ro/index.php?id=86&L=1)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 18, 2013, 08:46:09 AM
Huzzah!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on February 18, 2013, 08:47:28 AM

Mentioned earlier is the "anger" heard in the symphonies, especially the later ones.  Karl's use of the term "specific" might seem vague...   ;)  ... but "specific" is correct, in the way the works tend to use a very sharp needle inserted into the corpus callosum, rather than chopping you up with an ax!  And there is how Mennin loses a comparison to e.g. Karl Amadeus HartmannMennin might seem highly emotional, but there is an artificiality about it.  Perhaps that is the "academic" nature of the beasts.

As to a comparison with Copland...I think Copland needed to compose more symphonies for a true comparison, but I would again refuse Mennin the wreath. 


I found this comment of mine from...2008 at the beginning of this topic!

Quote
Mennin might seem highly emotional, but there is an artificiality about it.  Perhaps that is the "academic" nature of the beasts.

After refreshing my memory over the next few weeks, I will see if I change my opinion!   8)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 18, 2013, 08:52:28 AM
. . . But-to my mind-Mennin is less prolix, more concise, less self-pitying [....]

Yes, in practically every paragraph, he means each note.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on March 01, 2013, 10:11:39 AM
Quote from: Cato on July 15, 2008, 12:05:57 PM
Quote

And there is how Mennin loses a comparison to e.g. Karl Amadeus HartmannMennin might seem highly emotional, but there is an artificiality about it.  Perhaps that is the "academic" nature of the beasts.


After refreshing my memory over the next few weeks, I will see if I change my opinion!   8)

Okay, allow me to argue with myself in a disturbing display of schizophrenia!

Perhaps it is the performances (but I suspect not) or perhaps it is just my changing perspective or perhaps it is the expansion of my ears with regard to the Mennin symphonies....whatever! 

I have revisited the last 3 symphonies and to be sure, my mind went back to Hartmann, but I also began to wonder: Why should Mennin be compared to Hartmann to begin with?

So I find the opinion of 5 years ago harsh and (probably) much too dependent on memories from 40 years earlier!

As of now, I would say that Mennin's symphonies contain a narrative, dramatic power not often found in the works of composers from his generation, and are to be highly recommended!  The "artificiality" which I sensed earlier has disappeared.

So, whoever that "Cato" was in 2008 should be horse-whipped for writing that!   0:)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 01, 2013, 10:14:03 AM
That's our Cato, rising nobly on the stepping-stones of his dead [earlier] self . . . .
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Cato on March 01, 2013, 11:05:08 AM
That's our Cato, rising nobly on the stepping-stones of his dead [earlier] self . . . .

 8)

In fact I listened several times to the Ninth Symphony especially, and after that experience I wrote the following at another topic (What Are You Listening To?):

"I know that Schoenberg said David Diamond could become the American Bruckner, but Mennin makes a case here that the title might belong to him!"
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on April 11, 2013, 06:18:36 AM
My opinion of this composer is changing (for the better). I am really enjoying the Naxos CD below and increasingly agree that Mennin's Third Symphony holds its own amongst the great American thirds (Copland, Diamond, Schuman, Harris).

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 11, 2013, 06:23:03 AM
My opinion of this composer is changing (for the better). I am really enjoying the Naxos CD below and increasingly agree that Mennin's Third Symphony holds its own amongst the great American thirds (Copland, Diamond, Schuman, Harris).



And I find the Concertato « Moby-Dick » and the Variations Symphony (№ 7) even stronger, Jeffrey, and pieces worthy of duplication, so I shall probably fetch in this Naxos release before long
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on April 11, 2013, 06:40:34 AM
My opinion of this composer is changing (for the better). I am really enjoying the Naxos CD below and increasingly agree that Mennin's Third Symphony holds its own amongst the great American thirds (Copland, Diamond, Schuman, Harris).



Just bought this recording, thanks for the reminder, Jeffrey. :) Audio samples sounded nice. I need more Mennin in my collection.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on April 12, 2013, 09:03:40 AM
And I find the Concertato « Moby-Dick » and the Variations Symphony (№ 7) even stronger, Jeffrey, and pieces worthy of duplication, so I shall probably fetch in this Naxos release before long

I agree with you Karl about Moby Dick. Am finding Symphony 7 a harder nut to crack but will persevere. I love Symphony 3 however.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on April 12, 2013, 09:05:25 AM
I agree with you Karl about Moby Dick. Am finding Symphony 7 a harder nut to crack but will persevere. I love Symphony 3 however.

As usual, the harder nut is the better nut!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on April 12, 2013, 09:59:25 PM
As usual, the harder nut is the better nut!

Good point!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on April 13, 2013, 05:45:16 AM
I agree with you Karl about Moby Dick. Am finding Symphony 7 a harder nut to crack but will persevere. I love Symphony 3 however.

I listened to a little of Symphony No. 7 on YT just to see if the musical language would hard for me to follow and it's not. It sounds like a great work and I can't wait to hear Schwarz's performance. By the way, the 7th can't be any tougher to crack than Hartmann's 8th or Schuman's 9th! :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on April 13, 2013, 05:48:46 AM
I listened to a little of Symphony No. 7 on YT just to see if the musical language would hard for me to follow and it's not. It sounds like a great work and I can't wait to hear Schwarz's performance. By the way, the 7th can't be any tougher to crack than Hartmann's 8th or Schuman's 9th! :)

While some nuts are hard because of the shell, others are hard all the way through to the core.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on April 13, 2013, 06:35:22 AM
My opinion of this composer is changing (for the better). I am really enjoying the Naxos CD below and increasingly agree that Mennin's Third Symphony holds its own amongst the great American thirds (Copland, Diamond, Schuman, Harris).



That's the old Delos recording, no? 3 & 7 are also on the CRI disc with the Piano Concerto (Ogde(o)n). The 'Variations Symphony' (7) I thought quite exceptional. The whole album is pretty dark and powerful. You should probably FORGO THE NAXOS and get the CRI for the PC. 'Moby Dick' is on the Albany disc with 5 & 6.

Otherwise, who wouldn't want both Naxos and CRI to compare?

I'll have to see if 8 & 9 are on YT. I recall them being even more meaty than 7,... uh, meaning I couldn't handle them at the time. He's soooooo serious.

5 & 6 I found perfectly constructed, but I seem to recall thinking they were TOO perfect or something... no danger? I DON'T REMEMBER. (whoops) Mennin has always been a bit up tight for me (but I like Sessions?... maybe Mennin is like 'hard rock' whereas Sessions is 'heavy metal'?).

Something missing?



You know, Mennin LOOKS like the up tight 'in the closet' type (looking like a matinee idol, anyone?). Anyone know the particulars?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on April 13, 2013, 08:02:36 AM
Obituary of Peter Mennin:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1144&dat=19830618&id=c7QqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=12EEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3503,919349
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on April 13, 2013, 06:17:42 PM
While some nuts are hard because of the shell, others are hard all the way through to the core.

This is true. I have found Hartmann's 8th and Schuman's 9th to be absolutely ruthless works, but I've enjoyed both of them each time I listen to them. I just don't make a habit of listening to them very often.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: vandermolen on April 23, 2013, 11:51:37 AM
Have been greatly enjoying Mitropolous's recording of Mennin's Third Symphony. there are real echoes of Mitropolous's fine old recording of Vaughan Williams's Symphony No 4, which clearly influenced Mennin.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 07, 2014, 11:36:40 AM
Have been greatly enjoying Mitropolous's recording of Mennin's Third Symphony. there are real echoes of Mitropolous's fine old recording of Vaughan Williams's Symphony No 4, which clearly influenced Mennin.
My listening for the past half hour. Very fine. I like the music, more than 5, and the performance is crisp crisp crisp.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 07, 2014, 11:44:46 AM
Coolness!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 07, 2014, 11:50:35 AM
Coolness!
Muscular unsentimental sophisticated neo-classical goodness. Piston is the closest I can think of.

What is it about #3? All American composers should have written several symphony number threes.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 09, 2014, 12:28:33 PM
Let's see now,composer thirds? How do they measure up?

Copland
Harris
Schuman
Mennin
Diamond
Hanson
Piston
Creston

Versus:

Vaughan Williams
Bax
Tippett
Brian
Rubbra
Bate
Arnold
Arnell

(Elgar 3 doesn't really count,I suppose?!)

Which leaves three of our most performed and celebrated efforts out in the cold:

Elgar
Walton


And then there's the Moeran!


I find most,if not all of the US examples I have cited very impressive or,at least a satisfying listen. And I certainly listen to some of them more than others!!
Of the British examples,I only really feel moved by about four of them. (I haven't heard the Arnell,so I can't really comment on that one!)
Judging by that small sample,US thirds do seem to have the edge! (Not that I don't like our British thirds,of course!!)

Of course there are many others. From our side of the Atlantic,Fricker's third is a bit of a knockout! ;D














Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2014, 12:39:36 PM
Muscular unsentimental sophisticated neo-classical goodness. Piston is the closest I can think of.

What is it about #3? All American composers should have written several symphony number threes.

If we want to get extremely technical, Schuman's 3rd by his own standards is his first symphony since his Symphonies 1 & 2 were withdrawn from performance.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 09, 2014, 03:16:25 PM
That's my post screwed! ??? ;D
 
Thanks for pointing this technicality out,MI!!!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2014, 03:36:19 PM
That's my post screwed! ??? ;D
 
Thanks for pointing this technicality out,MI!!!

 :P
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 09, 2014, 05:23:44 PM
:P
A loss, but the team can survive it. Now if we'd lost Roy Harris's Third ... :-X
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2014, 06:26:26 PM
A loss, but the team can survive it. Now if we'd lost Roy Harris's Third ... :-X

If we'd lost Harris' 3rd, I certainly wouldn't mind. :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 09, 2014, 06:28:26 PM
If we'd lost Harris' 3rd, I certainly wouldn't mind. :)
Give it time John. Harris'll be in your top spot eventually.

 >:D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2014, 08:38:37 PM
Give it time John. Harris'll be in your top spot eventually.

 >:D

Lol...I never cared for Harris. My favorite American composers are Barber, Ives, Schuman, Copland, and Diamond.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 06:42:59 AM
A loss, but the team can survive it. Now if we'd lost Roy Harris's Third ... :-X
Harris might have done himself a favour by losing his third,considering how much misery it caused him trying to come up with something as successful. On the other hand,if he had,the Harris thread would probably be just posts about why he never came up with anything on a par with his Seventh;so maybe he should have lost that one as well!! ;D
When I was a youngster I had the Bernstein Lp of the Harris & Copland thirds. I played the Harris all the time and never bothered with the Copland. Nowadays it's the Copland I go back to;although not that particular recording. Harris is just so gung ho. It's like listening to some politician ranting! And there's just not enough variety in his music. Having said that,I quite like 5,6 & 7 now and again;but phewee! It does get a bit much after a while!! I think his music needs an Ormandy or Bernstein to bring it off anyway,and there aren't many of those these days! Even,if there were I'd rather they recorded the composers MI mentions. I think they have so much more to offer!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 10, 2014, 08:54:41 AM
Harris might have done himself a favour by losing his third,considering how much misery it caused him trying to come up with something as successful. On the other hand,if he had,the Harris thread would probably be just posts about why he never came up with anything on a par with his Seventh;so maybe he should have lost that one as well!! ;D
When I was a youngster I had the Bernstein Lp of the Harris & Copland thirds. I played the Harris all the time and never bothered with the Copland. Nowadays it's the Copland I go back to;although not that particular recording. Harris is just so gung ho. It's like listening to some politician ranting! And there's just not enough variety in his music. Having said that,I quite like 5,6 & 7 now and again;but phewee! It does get a bit much after a while!! I think his music needs an Ormandy or Bernstein to bring it off anyway,and there aren't many of those these days! Even,if there were I'd rather they recorded the composers MI mentions. I think they have so much more to offer!
I found that Bernstein in the radio station library and got to really like it. But I can remember being disappointed with everything else I tried by Harris, until I stopped trying.  I suspect I have the Naxos 7 and 9 tucked away somehwere.
Copland's is certainly the better music.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 08:55:03 AM
Lol...I never cared for Harris. My favorite American composers are Barber, Ives, Schuman, Copland, and Diamond.
I like allot of composers now I didn't like when I was young and vice versa! But Harris? I don't think MI will change his mind in thirty years time,somehow! I just don't think there's enough variety in his music. I just can't see that there's anything to Harris,some erstwhile hidden facet,that is going to hit MI in middle age and he'll be thinking,"Wow! Why didn't I get that?!"

I don't wish to disparage Harris,of course. If you are someone who enjoys his music,good for you. I wish I could compose just one symphony worth listening too,or even a song!! :(

Anyway,back to Mennin!! ;D

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 08:56:52 AM
I dig Mennin.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on March 10, 2014, 08:58:04 AM
Harris would be worse if he spells his name Harrisi.

But Mennini would be just as great as Mennin.

Still love his cello concerto the most, and just about all the symphonies I listened to (I think 6 of them).
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:04:16 AM
I like allot of composers now I didn't like when I was young and vice versa! But Harris? I don't think MI will change his mind in thirty years time,somehow! I just don't think there's enough variety in his music. I just can't see that there's anything to Harris,some erstwhile hidden facet,that is going to hit MI in middle age and he'll be thinking,"Wow! Why didn't I get that?!"

I don't wish to disparage Harris,of course. If you are someone who enjoys his music,good for you. I wish I could compose just one symphony worth listening too,or even a song!! :(

Anyway,back to Mennin!! ;D

Well you never know. I could end up liking Harris. I think the thing that irks me about him the most is he's often just declamatory and, yes, there's just not enough variety in the music itself to keep my attention.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:05:54 AM
I dig Mennin.

I'm trying to appreciate Mennin. Could you tell me, Karl, in your own view, why you enjoy his music so much? My Mennin collection is pretty scrawny, so I'm hoping to add some more recordings soon. Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:06:31 AM
Harris would be worse if he spells his name Harrisi.

But Mennini would be just as great as Mennin.

Still love his cello concerto the most, and just about all the symphonies I listened to (I think 6 of them).

Hm, a Mennin cello concerto, eh?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on March 10, 2014, 09:08:08 AM
Hm, a Mennin cello concerto, eh?
Yes, it is the first that was recommended to me, by Martin Bertheimer, of all people.

... there's just not enough variety in the music itself to keep my attention.

But lots of wheat, barley and hay.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:09:21 AM

But lots of wheat, barley and hay.

 ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:11:27 AM
I'm trying to appreciate Mennin. Could you tell me, Karl, in your own view, why you enjoy his music so much? My Mennin collection is pretty scrawny, so I'm hoping to add some more recordings soon. Thanks in advance.

Well, part of it I couldn't hope to describe, really, since I first "met" his music playing his Canzona in a region band when I was in junior high;  it felt like the most exciting music I had taken part in yet!  So that initial Wow! factor won't translate well, I fear.
 
I'll try to write something more musically coherent a little later.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 09:11:37 AM
I can understand the impact the Harris third had at the time! I just don't think it has worn very well. Anyway,if I had to pick one I would go for No6,which I do quite like when I'm in the right mood;but not in that awful Naxos performance! No7 conducted by Ormandy would come next,followed by No5,in the old Louisville recording.

I suppose some people might accuse Mennin of 'sameness'. Yes,his symphonies tend to be a bit grey and angry;but underneath all the steely rhetoric I feel there is a far wider range of expression,and his slow movements are very beautiful in a brooding kind of way.
Anyway,I remember hearing his Fifth symphony years ago on the radio. It was the first piece of music I had ever heard by him. I just remember thinking it was so power packed. Not a wasted note!
There are some lovely luminous sounds in some of the Harris slow movements. A bit more repose and allot less tub thumping might have helped his cause!!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:14:24 AM
I don't hear anger there;  I hear bristling energy . . . I love it.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on March 10, 2014, 09:16:29 AM
I don't hear anger there;  I hear bristling energy . . . I love it.

Same here.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:17:57 AM
. . . Anyway,I remember hearing his Fifth symphony years ago on the radio. It was the first piece of music I had ever heard by him. I just remember thinking it was so power packed. Not a wasted note!

Hearty agreement, there!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:18:16 AM
Well, part of it I couldn't hope to describe, really, since I first "met" his music playing his Canzona in a region band when I was in junior high;  it felt like the most exciting music I had taken part in yet!  So that initial Wow! factor won't translate well, I fear.
 
I'll try to write something more musically coherent a little later.

Ah okay, Karl. You know I feel a similar experience with Barber. I remember playing an arrangement of I believe the School for Scandal Overture in junior high band and I remember that 'Wow' factor still to this day. So Barber has always been a long-standing favorite of mine I suppose.

I look forward to reading your commentary further.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:19:59 AM
I can understand the impact the Harris third had at the time! I just don't think it has worn very well. Anyway,if I had to pick one I would go for No6,which I do quite like when I'm in the right mood;but not in that awful Naxos performance! No7 conducted by Ormandy would come next,followed by No5,in the old Louisville recording.

I suppose some people might accuse Mennin of 'sameness'. Yes,his symphonies tend to be a bit grey and angry;but underneath all the steely rhetoric I feel there is a far wider range of expression,and his slow movements are very beautiful in a brooding kind of way.
Anyway,I remember hearing his Fifth symphony years ago on the radio. It was the first piece of music I had ever heard by him. I just remember thinking it was so power packed. Not a wasted note!
There are some lovely luminous sounds in some of the Harris slow movements. A bit more repose and allot less tub thumping might have helped his cause!!

Thanks for this, cilgwyn. 8) Sounds like Mennin had gotten under your skin rather early on.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:20:35 AM
Ah okay, Karl. You know I feel a similar experience with Barber. I remember playing an arrangement of I believe the School for Scandal Overture in junior high band and I remember that 'Wow' factor still to this day.

Aye, we played that as well :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on March 10, 2014, 09:21:25 AM
Karl, have you not heard the heroic cello concerto?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 10, 2014, 09:21:35 AM
Well you never know. I could end up liking Harris. I think the thing that irks me about him the most is he's often just declamatory and, yes, there's just not enough variety in the music itself to keep my attention.
What think you of Copland's Symphonic Ode?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:23:01 AM
Aye, we played that as well :)

 8)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:23:56 AM
What think you of Copland's Symphonic Ode?

The best I can remember I enjoyed the work, but it's been awhile.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:24:02 AM
Karl, have you not heard the heroic cello concerto?

I have not, and I see that as an inexcusable oversight . . . .

But I also read a reviewer who complained about the sound of the CD (or, of a second-gen. CD)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on March 10, 2014, 09:24:56 AM
I have not, and I see that as an inexcusable oversight . . . .

But I also read a reviewer who complained about the sound of the CD (or, of a second-gen. CD)

THe sound was not good at all. But I heard it first LIVE in Los Angeles.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:30:49 AM
Nice!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 10, 2014, 09:35:27 AM
THe sound was not good at all. But I heard it first LIVE in Los Angeles.
I am listening to Starker with the Louisville Orchestra/Mester. I am wondering how much of this Mennin wrote and how much was ad libbed by the orchestra, and whether the sound engineer thought this was a solo for cello.

One movement of this recording is enough I think  :-[

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:45:03 AM
A bad recording of a great piece, is worse than no recording, alack the day!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2014, 09:45:56 AM
Surprised Naxos hasn't recorded Mennin's Cello Concerto.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 09:51:42 AM
Naxos definitely has a negative bias against Mennin. Or, that was the impression I had when I blogged this post (http://henningmusick.blogspot.com/2008/11/still-life-with-groundhog.html).

Oh!  And one of the folks who left a comment was the auther of this book:

Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 10, 2014, 09:55:27 AM
A bad recording of a great piece, is worse than no recording, alack the day!
True. Poisons the well. Like the not very good stereo recording of Four Saints  :'(
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: ritter on March 10, 2014, 10:05:07 AM
Reading you guys, I just realized I have a work by Mennin in my CD collection:



I got the disc for the Ginastera, and never got round to listening to Mennin's Fourth  :-[ . Should do so soon... :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 11:13:58 AM
I've got that one. It's generally regarded as one of his less cohesive efforts,I gather. I must admit that when I played it I was wearing cordless headphones. I got engrossed in something and I remember thinking,"I like this symphony!"......then I realised what I was listening to!! :-[ ;D

I'll give it another go later and program out the Ginastera this time,so I can concentrate on the Mennin symphony. Having said that,I do seem to remember that my original reaction was to buy some Ginastera cds (I didn't!).
I think his purely orchestral symphonies are more successful, though.

Maybe this time?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 11:17:51 AM
I cannot speak to the Mennin Fourth, which I've not heard.  But yes, you want Ginastera's Concierto para arpa, and his Variaciones concertantes!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 10, 2014, 01:05:37 PM
I cannot speak to the Mennin Fourth, which I've not heard.  But yes, you want Ginastera's Concierto para arpa, and his Variaciones concertantes!
I was thinking the other day, what happened to Ginastera? For a moment there he was trendy, the cat's meow.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 02:58:18 PM
I cannot speak to the Mennin Fourth, which I've not heard.  But yes, you want Ginastera's Concierto para arpa, and his Variaciones concertantes!
Thanks Karl,i'll make a note of that!

I'm really enjoying Mennin's Fourth. His usual wiry,energetic writing with lots of singing!! ;D I like it! And the performance and recording quality is a bonus. Good singing as well. I particularly like the quieter,more reflective moments. I don't know why I haven't taken this out of the box before! Well worth seeking out imho (as they say) if you can find it at a reasonable price. I would say this is one his most approachable works. I feel like joining in with that lusty chorus. But perhaps not?!!


I haven't listened to the entire symphony yet;but there's a feeling of urgency and momentum which makes me want to listen right through to the end! Howard Hanson's Seventh eat your heart out! This choral symphony has muscle and meat!! ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 03:02:25 PM
Thanks Karl,i'll make a note of that!

I'm really enjoying Mennin's Fourth. His usual wiry,energetic writing with lots of singing!! ;D I like it! And the performance and recording quality is a bonus. Good singing as well. I particularly like the quieter,more reflective moments. I don't know why I haven't taken this out of the box before! Well worth seeking out imho (as they say) if you can find it at a reasonable price. I would say this is one his most approachable works. I feel like joining in with that lusty chorus. But perhaps not?!!


I haven't listened to the entire symphony yet;but there's a feeling of urgency and momentum which makes me want to listen right through to the end! Howard Hanson's Seventh eat your heart out! This choral symphony has muscle and meat!! ;D
The Ginastera is going to have to wait! I enjoyed Mennin 4 so much I'm listening to it again!!

Actually, the quiet bits probably sap some of that energy and momentum;but I feel I'm going somewhere with this. It's not wasting my time,put it that way!! ;D
Also,choral American symphonies don't seem to be that thick on the ground;although I expect there are quite a few,I just haven't heard them. Either way,it's allot better than Hanson's Seventh or the Harris Fourth. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
As to the performance. If only more neglected music was performed with this level of enthusiasm.

Love the ending. Classic Mennin!

And now the Ginastera!!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 10, 2014, 03:10:46 PM
Cool!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 03:29:47 PM
The Ginastera is going to have to wait! I enjoyed Mennin 4 so much I'm listening to it again!!

Actually, the quiet bits probably sap some of that energy and momentum;but I feel I'm going somewhere with this. It's not wasting my time,put it that way!! ;D
Also,choral American symphonies don't seem to be that thick on the ground;although I expect there are quite a few,I just haven't heard them. Either way,it's allot better than Hanson's Seventh or the Harris Fourth. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
As to the performance. If only more neglected music was performed with this level of enthusiasm.

Love the ending. Classic Mennin!

And now the Ginastera!!



I'm in danger of repeating myself here!! ??? ;D

The short version: Great cd!!!



Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 05:44:20 PM
Nah! When you put on one of his orchestral symphonies the shortcomings of No 4 are pretty obvious!
I did like it though,and I think it deserves more attention than it gets. Having said that,I think it's one for confirmed Menninites!!!
Great performance and sound quality,though!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 11, 2014, 01:58:25 AM
"Mennin-ites" do make me think of Ohio, somehow . . . .
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 11, 2014, 03:03:31 AM
I just googled (ixquicked!) 'menninites'!! ??? Menninarians,perhaps? Or what about just 'people who like Mennin's music!' ???

Or,whatever?!!! ;D
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: North Star on March 11, 2014, 03:18:56 AM
Menningitis
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 11, 2014, 03:55:54 AM
I just googled (ixquicked!) 'menninites'!! ??? Menninarians,perhaps? Or what about just 'people who like Mennin's music!' ???

Or,whatever?!!! ;D

Hah!  The proper spelling (of the non-musical variety) is Mennonites, of course.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 11, 2014, 03:56:11 AM
Menningitis

Ouch!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: springrite on March 11, 2014, 05:37:01 AM
Menningitis

I like this one. It is better than Menninoma and less terminal.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on March 11, 2014, 05:57:30 AM
Let alone being struck down with the blood curdling and truly horrifying Dongillisitis Fever! ??? :o
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Ken B on March 11, 2014, 07:31:36 AM
"Mennin-ites" do make me think of Ohio, somehow . . . .

Do you find Vernon Duke a bore?

Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 27, 2014, 10:57:42 AM
Revisiting the Eighth Symphony after a long break from Mennin.

I found a review of the première which reads like a parody.  Or did Mr Deitch actually feel that “my attention span for this piece was limited” reflected well on himself and poorly on the music?

Quote
“Unexciting Première of Mennin’s 8th

Peter Mennin’s Eighth Symphony was given its world première Thursday night by Daniel Barenboim and the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall.  In his notes, Mennin says that “the thrust of the Eighth Symphony has a diversity and contrast of musical ideas and of moods, texture, and instrumental relationships,” but there are essentially no new ideas.

Each of the four movements is based on a Biblical text:  “In the Beginning,” “Day of Wrath,” “Out of the Depths,” and “Praise Ye the Lord.”  Mennin was able to communicate the mood of these allusions, but this is about the only positive thing that can be said about the symphony.  Despite the interesting dissonances that characterize Mennin’s works, some fancy percussion passages, and an unusual feeling of timelessness in a few places, my attention span for this piece was limited.  I found myself, instead, reading Mennin’s impressive biography provided in the program (he is president of the Juilliard School) and inhaling the assortment of expensive perfumes around me.  The symphony, by the way, was well-received by the audience, which still baffles me.

(Edward Deitch, from the Columbia Daily Spectator, 25 November 1974)

The symphony, by the way, was well-received by the audience, which still baffles me.  Good on the audience!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin (1923-83) - a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on August 27, 2014, 02:42:54 PM
Revisiting the Eighth Symphony after a long break from Mennin.

I found a review of the première which reads like a parody.  Or did Mr Deitch actually feel that “my attention span for this piece was limited” reflected well on himself and poorly on the music?

The symphony, by the way, was well-received by the audience, which still baffles me.  Good on the audience!

And you? You didn't say how YOU received it this afternoon. Was it that bad? :(

I mean, we all know that Mennin has THAT reputation. Maybe the audience was drunk? Drunk!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 27, 2014, 02:58:18 PM
Love this piece, crunchy but never arid, delicate but never sentimental.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: snyprrr on August 29, 2014, 06:19:54 AM
Love this piece, crunchy but never arid, delicate but never sentimental.

So, you're saying he's the 'Milky Way' bar of the Composing World? nuts... nougat...
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 29, 2014, 06:26:00 AM
If we took the bones out, it wouldn't be crunchy, would it?
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 17, 2015, 10:28:07 AM
Riff on, blithe spirit!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on July 17, 2015, 01:51:21 PM
A Mennin symphony every day helps you work rest and play! :)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: kyjo on November 27, 2017, 11:48:10 AM
Mennin's 5th Symphony has been one of my greatest recent discoveries - a viscerally exciting, powerful, and concise work. The lyrical, modal slow movement serves as great contrast to the outer movements and is occasionally reminiscent of Vaughan Williams. I'm always a sucker for pieces with a great timpani part, and this piece certainly has one - as well as some great writing for the horns. It's available in this excellent recording:



https://youtu.be/8vyAocmfepk (https://youtu.be/8vyAocmfepk)

I also know his 3rd Symphony, which is not quite as inspired as the 5th IMO but is still a very fine work. I'm certainly looking forward to exploring more of Mennin's music.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on November 27, 2017, 11:50:46 AM
Mennin's 5th Symphony has been one of my greatest recent discoveries - a viscerally exciting, powerful, and concise work. The lyrical, modal slow movement serves as great contrast to the outer movements and is occasionally reminiscent of Vaughan Williams. I'm always a sucker for pieces with a great timpani part, and this piece certainly has one - as well as some great writing for the horns. It's available in this excellent recording:



https://youtu.be/8vyAocmfepk (https://youtu.be/8vyAocmfepk)

I also know his 3rd Symphony, which is not quite as inspired as the 5th IMO but is still a very fine work. I'm certainly looking forward to exploring more of Mennin's music.

Mennin is one of those American composers from my favorite generation of American composers that I have never got into. I just don’t seem to connect with it in the same manner as Copland, Barber, Schuman, Diamond, and Piston. Of course, Schuman and Mennin were ‘adversaries’ if this is a term I can use to describe their relationship. I’m firmly in the Schuman camp.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: kyjo on November 28, 2017, 08:34:42 AM
Mennin is one of those American composers from my favorite generation of American composers that I have never got into. I just don’t seem to connect with it in the same manner as Copland, Barber, Schuman, Diamond, and Piston. Of course, Schuman and Mennin were ‘adversaries’ if this is a term I can use to describe their relationship. I’m firmly in the Schuman camp.

Interesting, John. At the moment I prefer Mennin to Schuman, though truth be told I haven't heard a great deal of either composer's output. I know that Schuman and Mennin were both Juilliard presidents at some point, but I'm not sure exactly why they were adversaries - I'll have to read up on that.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 28, 2017, 08:36:30 AM
Likewise, I am apt to prefer Mennin.  But, my ears like Schuman very well, very well indeed.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on November 28, 2017, 08:37:44 AM
Interesting, John. At the moment I prefer Mennin to Schuman, though truth be told I haven't heard a great deal of either composer's output. I know that Schuman and Mennin were both Juilliard presidents at some point, but I'm not sure exactly why they were adversaries - I'll have to read up on that.

I’ll let someone more knowledgeable on this topic respond, but I believe I read (somewhere) and don’t quote me on this that Schuman didn’t like Mennin personally and kept him from getting several commissions and Mennin thought of Schuman as basically an inferior composer with nothing to say musically. Again, I might be totally wrong and misremembering, but, as I mentioned, a member’s input here that knows of this situation would be helpful.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 28, 2017, 08:39:35 AM
I’ll let someone more knowledgeable on this topic respond, but I believe I read (somewhere) and don’t quote me on this that Schuman didn’t like Mennin personally and kept him from getting several commissions and Mennin thought of Schuman as basically an inferior composer with nothing to say musically. Again, I might be totally wrong and misremembering, but, as I mentioned, a member’s input here that knows of this situation would be helpful.

I don't know, but whatever personal tiffs there may have been, we need not relitigate them  0:)
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: Mirror Image on November 28, 2017, 05:34:10 PM
I don't know, but whatever personal tiffs there may have been, we need not relitigate them  0:)

Oh, it’s for personal amusement only. What another composer thinks about another makes no difference to me. I just like knowing personal stuff about composers. No harm in that of course.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 29, 2017, 08:21:01 AM
To be sure.
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: cilgwyn on January 21, 2019, 11:18:09 AM
It is No.5 on that Mercury disc, Jeffrey, coupled with the Ives Symphony No.3 and Three Places in New England and Schuman's New England Triptych.

I don't like making comparisons between composers-as I said above. I can understand you saying that Mennin's "work never moved me as much as.." because I don't think that Mennin is necessarily that sort of composer. However, Mennin's slow movements are, I think, a different story and are perhaps overshadowed by the ferocious energy and drive of the fast movements. There is a lot in those slow movements which does recall the influences on Mennin of the heritage of early polyphony as well as the Vaughan Williams of Symphony No.4.

Creston and Hanson are clearly different types of composers altogether-essentially romantics-and Mennin is different. He is nearer in tone to William Schuman-a composer for whom I have a huge admiration-but there is, perhaps, more surface brilliance in Schuman.

I don't think that Mennin is an 'easy' composer to fully appreciate and the later symphonies, especially Nos. 8 and 9, are certainly not 'easy' pieces but I urge anyone to give them some serious listening. The slow movement of No.9(played at Mennin's memorial service in 1983) is undoubtedly most beautiful.
Interesting! I like Mennin's slow movements. They are rather beautiful,in their own way. Pools of contemplation surrounded by all that ferocious energy. I find his symphonies quite power packed. But,yes! His slow movements are something else! I find myself appreciating his later symphonies,much,more recently. Particularly,the eighth,with all that apocalyptic imagery. I'll have to listen to the Ninth again,now,after reading this old post!
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: pjme on October 14, 2019, 02:13:46 AM
Here is the world premiere recording of Mennin's superb pianoconcerto.

Eunice Podis is terrific (slightly faster than Ogdon?)  and Szell & the Cleveland Orchestra scorchingly involved.
The overal sound is poor though. Too bad....

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

(http://www.chhistory.org/images/featstories/HouseholdNames/EunicePodisthb.jpg)

Eunice Podis
Title: Re: Peter Mennin(1923-83)-a Great American Symphonic Composer
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 14, 2019, 06:53:32 AM
Here is the world premiere recording of Mennin's superb pianoconcerto.

Eunice Podis is terrific (slightly faster than Ogdon?)  and Szell & the Cleveland Orchestra scorchingly involved.
The overal sound is poor though. Too bad....

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

(http://www.chhistory.org/images/featstories/HouseholdNames/EunicePodisthb.jpg)

Eunice Podis


It is one dynamite piece!