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 Agar Jelly 12 Oct 2020

Requiem in D minor

Is keeping me sane whilst rattling around in my living quarters. No aficionado here, any knowledge of classical music derives entirely from the 1984 film Amadeus which as I remember was an extremely powerful film (although tried watching it recently and the production values looked dated, it looked as though it had been shot in a studio). I digress!

Concerto for 2 Pianos has just come on - uplifting!

More classical classics?..

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

I'm not quite sure what your question is. There are lots of 'classical classics'. If you mean 'classics I can recommend because I like them', the list will be as long again. Second point: tastes differ.

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 Agar Jelly 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

Tastes differ for sure; I was (selfishly?) trying to harvest more music I might enjoy. I really am a blank canvas in this respect having next to no experience outside of this one collection that was used as the score for the aforementioned film.

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

Your analysis of the Milos Forman film of Amadeus seems a bit upside-down! It's maybe 9 years since I last saw it but I found it to be a sumptuous production, lots of it shot in Prague (as 1983 Prague resembled 18th century Salzburg rather better than did 1983 Salzburg...plus the director got to work from home), but rather clinical and vacuous thanks to F Murray Abraham's incredibly mannered overly theatrical performance. Sure there are some stirring moments and the finale does work nicely. They gave the Oscar to the wrong guy though. Tom Hulce was brilliant and I think overlooked because it was such a showy and energetic performance (I know he was nominated). 

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

In "classic" UKC style I am going to recommend something from 1988.

Philip Glass' music for the film "Powaqqatsi"

 

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

Though I had a smattering of knowledge about classical music in my teens, I'm always pleased at the number of films which have introduced me to great classical works, and not actually films about musicians or composers either.

Here's a few

Badlands

Days of Heaven

The Year of Living Dangerously

Platoon

The English Patient

and most recently

A Fantastic Woman

Post edited at 15:32
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 Agar Jelly 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Philip Glass' music for the film "Powaqqatsi"

That was good!

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 Agar Jelly 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Just announced. I'm in a tier 2 area. Music is going to play an even bigger part in our lives now.

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

Try watching the movie Farinelli. 

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

If you want to experience the full spectrum of the human condition from the deepest despair to the most glorious transcendence - and all in little over an hour - sit down with Bach's Goldberg Variations. Ideally the concert recording on piano by Andras Schiff.

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

I am listening to Avro Pärt's Fratres now, more recent than what you requested but I would recommend.

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 Agar Jelly 12 Oct 2020
In reply to RX-78:

Thanks all! Plenty to go at now. But let's keep them coming.

I just said 'chums' so they needn't be his contemporaries  

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In reply to Andy Clarke:

Bach is very much an acquired taste, and not a particularly 'easy' way into classical music. I happen to think that he is the (joint) greatest of all the composers, and the Goldberg Variations to be one of the greatest pieces of keyboard music ever written. But I was listening to classical music for about 15 years before I got at all heavily into Bach.

For what it's worth, I could mention that for me the first piece of classical music that really grabbed me (when I was 16) was Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto. 54 years later I still find it as powerful and beautiful as ever.

Post edited at 18:23
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 freeflyer 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Classic FM have a great list:

https://halloffame.classicfm.com/2020/

And game-playing friends have introduced me to the composer Jerry Martin - fantastic!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apl52VZLHp8&

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth

How did you react ten years after first hearing the Rachmaninov when Eric Carmen brought out the song "All By Myself"?

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 Roger Martin 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Mozart flute and harp concerto is fantastic.

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In reply to Tom V:

I loved it. Especially as it was not a straight rip-off. But that's irrelevant. It was a great song.

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

> That was good!

Glad you enjoyed it. “Anthem Pt III” is a great standalone piece, long enough to feel complete in itself. 

I mentioned Glass because Mozart is, more often than other classical composers, “accused” of recycling his music....a silly charge because it’s done all the time really, and Glass also seems to be accused of “too much” repetition 

Post edited at 19:00
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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I'm pleased to hear that (but a bit surprised)

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In reply to Tom V:

Why? I love all music. All genres. There can be very good, good, indifferent, poor and very poor in all genres.

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 Agar Jelly 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Speaking of repetition (whilst simultaneously pulling the rug from under the 'classical' theme of my own thread!)

I thought you may enjoy this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7zBePUZMog&

Edit: I think this is The Sky Was Pink (Icelandic Version) by Nathan Fake

Post edited at 19:26
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In reply to Agar Jelly:

Thanks. It's kind of OK Texturally interesting but doesn't go very far.

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In reply to Agar Jelly:

I've gone from not listening to any classical music to listening to an awful lot over the past 5 years roughly.

I'm much more into chamber music than big orchestral stuff. Schubert is probably my favourite composer, this movement being one of my favourite things ever:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e52IMaE-3As&ab_channel=triowanderer

If you like a bit of Mozart, here's the 1st movement of my favourite of his all his chamber works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KNb44ScQDE&ab_channel=smalin

I found these animations to be incredibly effective in getting me into classical music - gives you chance to get totally absorbed in the music. I also like understanding how things work, as a window into how amazingly clever, as well as beautiful this genre of music is, which makes me love it more. Here's a really jolly bit of Mozart (you usually get this sort of fast/jolly thing as the 4th movement finale in music from around this time, i.e. Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven) with a sort of graphical/text explanation of how it fits together. Mozart took this technique from the likes of Bach, but he used silly tunes as a starting point in a very cheeky, humorous and rather subversive way which I think is absolutely magic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQbxsGtyc2g&ab_channel=RichardAtkinson

Always gets a spontaneous laugh and cheer from me that one (unlike the Requiem...).

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In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I mentioned Glass because Mozart is, more often than other classical composers, “accused” of recycling his music....a silly charge because it’s done all the time really, and Glass also seems to be accused of “too much” repetition 

The repetition in Mozart tends to be a consequence of sticking some fairly well-defined rules like Sonata form, minuet and trio, etc. I rather like the way he sticks to the rules myself, giving a sense of order and structure that you don't get from the romantic era composers who threw away the rulebook in favour of unbridled self-expression.

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 Myfyr Tomos 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Hey, don't knock the German Romantics. To the OP, try the oft-neglected Mendelssohn. His symphonies, choral and chamber work, especially the octet. Pretty good effort for a 16 year old. Listen to the full work, not Classic FM snippets.

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

I like it too. 

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 Myfyr Tomos 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Hey, don't knock the German Romantics. To the op, try the oft-neglected Mendelssohn. Listen to his symphonies, choral work and chamber works, especially his octet. Not bad for a 16 year old. 

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 birdie num num 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Bach is very much an acquired taste, and not a particularly 'easy' way into classical music. 

 

If anyone thought Bach was an acquired taste then I’d say Jacques Loussier made Bach a very easy way into classical music. 
Anyway, give Andreas Scholl a go, performing the Angus Dei from the Mass in B minor. You won’t regret it. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tdLCcQixNvg
As for the OP’s Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem, I thoroughly approve.

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 ena sharples 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Would (mostly) agree with Gordon that Bach is not the easiest way into classical music, with the possible exception of the brandenburg Concerto's-try the third for a dose of bouncy joy. In the meantime, try these-Beethoven bagatelles for piano, Brahms symphony no. 2, Mahler 1, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Wagner Seigfried's funeral journey down the Rhine, Strauss Also Sprach Zarathustra should all give some reward for time spent listening.

Post edited at 22:01
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In reply to Myfyr Tomos:

Is Felix often neglected?!

I am frankly quite ignorant of classical music but if I were asked to name 10 composers quickly, like in a game show scenario, he'd easily be one of them. In fact I'll try it now, without thinking.

Mozart

Beethoven, Bach, Liszt, Haydn, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, Purcell, Handel

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

> Mozart took this technique from the likes of Bach, but he used silly tunes as a starting point in a very cheeky, humorous and rather subversive way which I think is absolutely magic

That's the main aspect I really liked, from the "beyond fictionalised" Amadeus(*)

Were any other major composers anywhere near as irreverent and playful? 
I have a basic (really for child beginners) book of simplified Mozart sheet music and it has quite a lot of pieces that are "musical jokes" including one that sets out to mock bad composers  


* I did see a National Theatre cinema broadcast of a stage performance of Amadeus and it was a lot stronger than the film, all respect to Hulce, Callow, Forman and the art director nothwithstanding! 

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 waitout 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Check out some Glen Gould, preferably live recordings. Predominantly a Bach guy who considered Mozart actually died too late, an extraordinary talent that went in interesting directions, very listenable. The film made about him Thirty Two Short Films is a great watch.

For my money though, I like my Russian moderns. Stravinsky I find mind blowing (Oshawa and the Chicago Orchestra, keeping the discordances, above all else).

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 Myfyr Tomos 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Ok, maybe neglected wasn't the word I was looking for. Somehow, you get the feeling that his music isn't quite as "acclaimed" as the works of the others in the list. I think it's wonderful...

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In reply to Blue Straggler:

> Were any other major composers anywhere near as irreverent and playful? 

People often say Haydn was a big musical joker - lot of Mozart and Beethoven's fast, jolly finales are Haydn homages. (There's the famous Hadyn "joke" quartet which I don't know well but one of the jokes is that it finishes, and then doesn't finish so the audience clap at the wrong time, which is a pretty good joke).

I normally associate Beethoven with being extremely serious, but what about this lovely Haydn/Mozart style playfulness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF91Hsvc8yg&list=PLtj_HurkS7ZxXrUnAXpnX0P5hzyPy7Hul&index=20&ab_channel=smalin

Very Mozart, and what a corker!

Then there's this fantastic, fast, fun finale (starting at 5.15):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF91Hsvc8yg&list=PLtj_HurkS7ZxXrUnAXpnX0P5hzyPy7Hul&index=20&ab_channel=smalin

> I have a basic (really for child beginners) book of simplified Mozart sheet music and it has quite a lot of pieces that are "musical jokes" including one that sets out to mock bad composers  

I've heard something like that, but some of it went over my head and sounded pretty good to me...

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In reply to waitout:

Humalong with Glenn....   

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In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I agree totally. Except for rap.

I like the original pop version of Chopin's prelude in C Minor Opus 28#20......

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In reply to Tom V:

> I agree totally. Except for rap.

Here's something accessible to get you started...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slRFwUPQt2M&ab_channel=FreedomCitizen

Rap's not a genre, it's a vocal style that could be a part of any hip-hop, jazz, pop, soul, whatever.

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 waitout 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Tom V:

Ha yes. I know some consider his glossolalia as contamination, but my uneducated ear finds it fascinating. Can't imagine the recordings without it. 

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 waitout 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

For an interesting angle on Ludwig Van, track down an Iranian film by Mohsen Makmalbaf called (I think) Into the Silence, or maybe just Silence.

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

Yes, I should have been less sweeping.  I'm a big fan of French cop shows and whenever they end up in the banlieue there's usually some Arab rap going on which i enjoy.

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AndrewSmith45 12 Oct 2020
In reply to birdie num num:

Man, that was something. I hope that dude didn't get his nuts chopped off, is that whatever mezzo-soprano is for men?
Post edited at 23:46
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 freeflyer 13 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

>  I like my Russian moderns

Did you catch the BBC Young Musician 2018 winner Lauren Zhang playing Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 2? Age 16 and the best performance I've ever heard of probably the most difficult concerto in the repertoire.

Not exactly easy listening however!

Edit: here it is  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d3YZXcgnbo&

Post edited at 01:21
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 waitout 13 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

Fantastic stuff I'd missed, thankyou. Prokofiev can be intense stuff.

Zhang is astounding, all from memory too.

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In reply to AndrewSmith45:

I think he's probably a counter tenor, though some pieces like  Handel's  "Ombra Mai Fu" were supposedly written for castrato males originally. I think Kathleen Ferrier has the edge on all the men I've heard singing it, however.

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 cb294 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

My first tip would be to listen to the Requiem again, but in the recording by Thoedor Currentzis. This was a real ear opener for me, and I already had three other recordings in my collection!

Otherwise, to stray not too far from Mozart (i.e. leaving out the entire Baroque period and earlier) and trying to be ultra classic, what about Beethoven's 5th? My go to recording here would be the Carlos Kleiber version with the Bavarian Radio Symphony orchestra.

Dvorak's cello concerto and Max Bruch, Kol Nidrei, maybe the old Decca recording with Janos Starker?

Chopin's nocturnes with Artur Rubinstein or Brigitte Engerer playing?

Back to Mozart, his last two symphonies are fantastic, my favourite conductor here would be Herbert Blomstedt.

Franz Schuberts first and his unfinished symphony, maybe by Klangkollektiv Wien

The list could go on, especially if you get me started on Bach and his contemporaries!

CB

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 cb294 13 Oct 2020
In reply to AndrewSmith45:

The guy is actually a rather big and powerfully built bloke, watch a video of him as Cesar in Händel's opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto. There is a great video from Copenhagen Opera house on youtube. Cannot find the full length one, but here is a taster:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cI9nDGOfoOg&

The full performance also features my favourite mezzosoprano, Tuva Semmingsen from Norway.

CB

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 ThunderCat 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Depending on how my mind is, I'll usually either listen to a bit of music whilst I work, or I'll go for white noise (storm sounds, running water) if I feel a bit distracted...

I might veer down the classical route today and check out a few of the suggestions on here...

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 mattck 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Any of Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto's.

No. 3 is by far my favourite piece of music. Pure brilliance. No.2 probably just behind that.

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In reply to cb294:

Just listened to Scholl singing "She Moved Through the Fair". Very nice, bit different from Sinead, though!

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

Thanks for the info Jon. Also thanks for educating me, on that thread about electronic music a few months ago (the one that I had to stop posting on) about how mechanical developments on the piano allowed 19th century composers like Chopin to achieve music previously "impossible", that was interesting. 

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In reply to Jon Stewart:

Correction - here's my favourite bit of irreverent, humorous Beethoven:

> Then there's this fantastic, fast, fun finale (starting at 5.15):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gPvdfMU4S8&list=PLtj_HurkS7ZxXrUnAXpnX0P5hzyPy7Hul&index=34&ab_channel=smalin

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 freeflyer 13 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

It was really interesting, I went to see a small concert of hers in Warwick shortly before the lockdown, and her age and maturity were much more obvious then for some reason. She played a Beethoven sonata and one set of Schubert Impromptus, some of my favourite music, plus some Liszt to show off.

The Beethoven was impatient.

One of the pianists she beat was Jeneba Kanneh-Mason sister of Sheku, who played beautifully but was perhaps less ambitious in choice of programme.

Here are the two keyboard final programmes:

Jeneba https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33CH9TuqGIs&
Lauren https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugYtX5Zygzw&

Who should have won?
 

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In reply to birdie num num:

> If anyone thought Bach was an acquired taste then I’d say Jacques Loussier made Bach a very easy way into classical music. 

> Anyway, give Andreas Scholl a go, performing the Angus Dei from the Mass in B minor. You won’t regret it. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tdLCcQixNvg

> As for the OP’s Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem, I thoroughly approve.

Were you really replying to me, 'birdie'? And, if so, was it some kind of joke? Because, if so, I haven't got it. You seem to be telling me to listen to what I already regard as about the highest point in all music (the B Minor Mass).

Post edited at 22:19
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In reply to Jon Stewart:

> I'm much more into chamber music than big orchestral stuff. Schubert is probably my favourite composer, 

Schubert, imho, is in the top three (which is a joint number one). 

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 birdie num num 13 Oct 2020
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I was replying to you, but as a gentle rejoinder to your opinion as Bach being an acquired taste.

I’d kind of say that many, who may not be familiar, have enjoyed Bach in some other form. 
From Loussier to the Hamlet advert.

Anyway, I had no doubt that the Mass in B minor was known to you. Andreas Scholl does it so well.

I’d counter that Bach is a conduit into classical (baroque) music. I’ve been a fan since I was in short pants.

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 waitout 14 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

> It was really interesting, I went to see a small concert of hers in Warwick shortly before the lockdown, and her age and maturity were much more obvious then for some reason. She played a Beethoven sonata and one set of Schubert Impromptus, some of my favourite music, plus some Liszt to show off.

> The Beethoven was impatient.

That's a great critique. Reminds me of some of Bartok's contemporary criticism that referred to his works as 'casual'.

> Who should have won?

Lauren's ambitiousness is what sells me hands down, I think she simply has the bravery to take these revolutionary pieces on and gives them the emotion her skill allows. For someone her age this is what impresses my (uneducated) ear. She seems to want to express more than impress, she's not there to merely entertain which is very Russian. 

Jeneba is obviously prodigious, but Lauren hits the keys from somewhere far beyond her youth. Her Rachmaninov Third makes my point more than words every will.

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 Philip 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Alexis Ffrench

Luigi Boccherini

Anything for cello(s)

Ditto violin

Puccini

Try the Albums Classical Experience (2 CDs each volumes I to IV). About 160 tracks, on Spotify, broad selection, will lead new paths.

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 cb294 14 Oct 2020
In reply to birdie num num:

> I’d counter that Bach is a conduit into classical (baroque) music. I’ve been a fan since I was in short pants.

Same here, but I also agree with GS that really appreciating the almost mathematical elegance with which Bach constructed his pieces can be an acquired taste.

Exhibit 1, the Art of Fugue, transcribed for piano, in the version of Pierre Laurent Aimard. I love to sit in my chair, close my eyes, and just "view" the intrinsic symmetries of the different contrapuncti (C.II and C.IX are simply fantastic).

That certainly took some time, much longer than enjoying the choral works, which I started singing as a boy in my school choir and that were running continuosly on my parents' record player anyway.

CB

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 freeflyer 14 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

> Her Rachmaninov Third

Argh. I didn't know about this, and Radio 3 says "this episode is not currently available".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fwqb

Argh. Sometimes I hate the BBC. Any ideas??

Thanks for your kind words and I completely agree with your comments. Each to their own; I think Zhang will be the next Argerich.

Edit: I emailed the BBC. Not a chance...

Post edited at 20:04
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 Lankyman 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

If he'd been born in the fifties he'd have been Eddie Van Mozart.

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 cb294 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Forgot to recommend

https://www.bachvereniging.nl/en/allofbach

Only Bach, but eventually all of it!

Most of the recording are really good, https://www.bachvereniging.nl/en/bwv/bwv-1065/ is a very nice example.

CB

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 freeflyer 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

I used to think that Mozart on the piano was for beginners in a sound-proof room, but then I listened to the Murray Perahia / ECO boxset of the Piano Concertos and realised how limited a view that was.

There's a great comment from a reviewer on Amazon: "My former piano teacher said of Murray Perahia, ... sometimes God plays the piano..."

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 Pete Dangerous 15 Oct 2020
In reply to Philip:

Puccini should be given with a health warning: anyone with a tendency towards the lachrymose (like me) should avoid driving while listening to this particular composer.

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 waitout 16 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

> Argh. I didn't know about this, and Radio 3 says "this episode is not currently available".

> Argh. Sometimes I hate the BBC. Any ideas??

> Thanks for your kind words and I completely agree with your comments. Each to their own; I think Zhang will be the next Argerich.

> Edit: I emailed the BBC. Not a chance...

It's crazy they'd not have it available. Young Musician of the Year plays arguably the most formidable piano concerto of the 20th C and they monopolize it like that...I'm starting to hate the BBC too now.

Something that may help is they recording I heard may well not be the BBC one as I heard it in Australia on their equivalent (to be honest I didn't even know it was Zhang till announced after). So, either it means another is floating about, or ABC Australia may have access to it.

Not to salt the wound, it was broadcast to promote her now-cancelled Australian tour where she was billed to play, you guessed it, Rach's 3rd (Australia has had a popular love affair with the piece since the film Shine pulled David Helfgot from obscurity).

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 freeflyer 16 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

No luck with ABC. The tumbleweed rolls wrt the BBC replying. I suppose a big label has her locked into some megacontract. Time to move on

What is the point of iPlayer etc showing a bezillion more or relevant search results and then putting "content not available" by each one. Idiots.

I suspect we'll have more opportunities to hear Ms Zhang in the future though.

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 cb294 16 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

Both are technically incredible, but something is missing to my ears from both perfomances. To me both programs sounded like virtuosity just for the sake of it.

If you want to understand what I mean, just compare the LZ version of the opening movement of Rachmaninov's piano sonata #2 (from the 6min mark in your link) with the same piece played by Valdimir Horowitz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JaY0IZEy90&

No comparison, really. However, I am sure that is due to the youth of the two artists, and they will eventually drop the speed freakery as they mature.

On the other hand, Lang Lang never stopped playing like a robot!

CB

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 freeflyer 16 Oct 2020
In reply to cb294:

> No comparison, really

You are right - thanks for the great link  I don't know this sonata particularly well, but if you compare the two performances, Lauren's impatience that I referred to upthread is very obvious. It seems to me that emotion is a difficult thing for her to deal with at the moment, and music helps her in some fashion to do that. She was asked why she chose to play the Prokofiev, and she commented that it was about the right length. Now that makes me laugh, clearly, but I do wonder how serious she was.

This battle between technique and interpretation is partly why I was so keen to hear her play the 3rd piano concerto, because that is a piece where virtuosity is a pre-requisite, but one which requires so many more skills to play well. The piano is first among equals and the performer needs to understand when to be the soloist and when to be the accompanist. Many great performers have got that wrong, at least for my personal taste, and I think Lauren has this skill.

However, then there is the 'waves of emotion breaking over the audience' aspect of the piece, and there is no way to pretend to do that; the pianist must have a deep understanding of the Russian psyche, ideally as a result of being Russian! I would love to hear if the technical challenges of the piece allow Lauren to forget her deep reserve and self-control for a moment; if it did, it would be very special, I think.

ff

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 cb294 16 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

> > No comparison, really

> She was asked why she chose to play the Prokofiev, and she commented that it was about the right length. Now that makes me laugh, clearly, but I do wonder how serious she was.

Pretty serious, probably. The rules of the contest will have been along the line of three pieces, 14 to 18min total, no piece longer than x min...., which she will have had in mind when assembling her program, but which will of course not be in the mind of an interviewer.

> .... the pianist must have a deep understanding of the Russian psyche, .....

The words "Russian psyche" always make me laugh! In the words of the Russian cultural attache in Berlin (at a congress reception I attended), it is exactly the same as the German psyche, at least after five beers.

Not quite, I would think, but there is a grain of truth in it!

CB

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 waitout 16 Oct 2020
In reply to cb294:

> If you want to understand what I mean, just compare the LZ version of the opening movement of Rachmaninov's piano sonata #2 (from the 6min mark in your link) with the same piece played by Valdimir Horowitz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JaY0IZEy90&

> No comparison, really. However, I am sure that is due to the youth of the two artists, and they will eventually drop the speed freakery as they mature.

You are though comparing a millennial to a veteran Russian who has spent a life performing. A closer comparison might be with Horowitz's 1930 recording of The Third, though he's still got 10 years on LZ. To my ear it's soulless, almost a movie soundtrack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRvVk12dvkg&

Comparing it to his 1978 recording is a marvelous and unique exercise in seeing the arc of a virtuoso's career.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHbf1CSUFvI& 

Whether it's Steve Vai or young pianists, speed is a phase to go through, and personally I like to hear impatience in a young musicians performance, a healthy trait and about the only true attitude a 20 year old can bring to it. 

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 cb294 16 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

> Whether it's Steve Vai or young pianists, speed is a phase to go through, and personally I like to hear impatience in a young musicians performance, a healthy trait and about the only true attitude a 20 year old can bring to it. 

Precisely my point, I will buy her CDs in 20 years time (if CDs still exist then...). Her performance was what would be expected of the absolutely very best of her age, but not what I would listen to if I could choose a performance to enjoy. It is like tasting Bordeaux from the barrel years before it is ready to drink.

Hope that she does mature musically, Lang Lang still is a virtuosity only merchant decades after emerging at a similar age.

CB

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 freeflyer 16 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

>  speed is a phase to go through

Sometimes that is true. Take Gould's two recordings of the Goldberg variations, the first in his twenties, full of brio and youthful energy, and the second 25 years later, in his typically unique way, at half the speed (at least for the theme).

For lack of impatience, and another suggestion for the thread, there's Joshua Rifkin's wonderful recordings of Scott Joplin. Here's one of my favourites:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiO2szsZ5bw&list=OLAK5uy_mKsPWqCZwrFhXSqomytcqPeueXYjTDbm0&index=17

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 freeflyer 16 Oct 2020
In reply to cb294:

>  at least after five beers

I once shared accommodation on a flying trip with a Russian who had Indian heritage. A huge character, and not stereotypical in any way except one - his main instruction to fellow diners was: "do not attempt to drink with me."

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 cb294 16 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

Drink with him, but stick to wine or beer.

Do NOT switch to vodka....

CB

edit> also, avoid weddings in Russia, unless you have a spare liver!

Post edited at 23:20
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 cb294 16 Oct 2020
In reply to waitout:

You are right, as expected the two recordings are like day and night! Part of it may also be the recording (especially the dynamic range), but still.

One of my favourite records was the 1986 Horowitz in Moscow concert. Unfortunately I have not had a record player in years, but this thread has reminded me that I need to get this on CD!

If I had to pick one semi-contemporary concert I would have loved to attend, that would have been high on my list, maybe tied with Maria Callas as Amina in La Somnambula at the Scala in 1955 (13 years before I was born...).

I am much more tolerant of the impatience of youth in singers, especially sopranos, for some reason that I cannot really explain. I love to attend the semester concertos of our local conservatory, and don't mind any minor inaccuracies.

CB

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 waitout 17 Oct 2020
In reply to cb294:

> Precisely my point, I will buy her CDs in 20 years time (if CDs still exist then...). Her performance was what would be expected of the absolutely very best of her age, but not what I would listen to if I could choose a performance to enjoy. It is like tasting Bordeaux from the barrel years before it is ready to drink.

> Hope that she does mature musically, Lang Lang still is a virtuosity only merchant decades after emerging at a similar age.

Yes agree very much. Perhaps there's a perverse smug enjoyment that in expecting her to mature in great ways I can say I was into her 20 years ago.

Perhaps also one enjoys more the aged Bordeaux for having tasted the young stuff?  

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 waitout 17 Oct 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

> Sometimes that is true. Take Gould's two recordings of the Goldberg variations, the first in his twenties, full of brio and youthful energy, and the second 25 years later, in his typically unique way, at half the speed (at least for the theme).

I great example. To me Gould is the example of healthy unpredictability unforeseeable from his young recordings (not that he had any 'old' recordings to compare to). It could be posed as a question of maturing into predictable greatness, or retaining the vinegar of youth for something more unique.

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 waitout 17 Oct 2020
In reply to cb294:

> You are right, as expected the two recordings are like day and night! Part of it may also be the recording (especially the dynamic range), but still.

Yes, I think the recording has much to do with it. Especially with the more popular services, few recordings attempted or encouraged anything approaching serous sonic play. Even Stravinsky's Right of Spring rarely had performances or recordings of it's full harmonics well into the late 50's.

> One of my favourite records was the 1986 Horowitz in Moscow concert. Unfortunately I have not had a record player in years, but this thread has reminded me that I need to get this on CD!

For something like that I'd say you want your turntable back and true vinyl pressing!

> If I had to pick one semi-contemporary concert I would have loved to attend, that would have been high on my list, maybe tied with Maria Callas as Amina in La Somnambula at the Scala in 1955 (13 years before I was born...).

> I am much more tolerant of the impatience of youth in singers, especially sopranos, for some reason that I cannot really explain. I love to attend the semester concertos of our local conservatory, and don't mind any minor inaccuracies.

Totally agree. Following a musicians career and seeing the evolution of their seeming inconsistencies is the stuff of life, whether it's Iggy Pop or Horowitz. Just yesterday I had a great discussion with a New York/Tokyo based artist who reminded me how a highly engaged audience is half of any artists process. Picasso's Minotaurs demand an appreciation of the Rose Period etc etc. 

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In reply to waitout:

Awl rite awl rite awl rite    

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 flaneur 09:26 Wed
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

> Bach is very much an acquired taste, and not a particularly 'easy' way into classical music. I happen to think that he is the (joint) greatest of all the composers, and the Goldberg Variations to be one of the greatest pieces of keyboard music ever written. But I was listening to classical music for about 15 years before I got at all heavily into Bach.

> For what it's worth, I could mention that for me the first piece of classical music that really grabbed me (when I was 16) was Rachmaninov's 2nd Piano Concerto. 54 years later I still find it as powerful and beautiful as ever.

Couldn't disagree more!

The very first pieces of classical music that clicked for me were by Bach (specifically the Cello Suites, The Goldberg Variations and the Brandenburg concertii). The other genre I enjoyed from the start was twentieth century tonal music like Shostakovich (try the piano Quintet or the 5th Symphony) or Janáček (the amazing Sinfonietta).

I've never much liked Rachmaninov. I can admire but can't love the pieces. They seemed like the aural equivalent of mock-Tutor architecture: a rehash of an old style whose main aim was to be comfortable and unchallenging. As you said in your first post, tastes differ. My loss I'm sure. 

To the OP: the Guardian is running a series of introductions to major composers with recommendations of key works and performances. https://www.theguardian.com/music/series/know-the-score

My suggestion is to sample everyone on their list - they all have merit and it's hard to predict taste. Spend time with a piece before rejecting it completely: many take several listens.   

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In reply to flaneur:

Shostakovich symphony no 8 puts the wind up me but love it

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