Favorite composers and compositions (in honor of K A H)

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Postby gwalla on Wed Nov 07, 2001 8:55 am

Post about your favorite classical composers and works here. That's the broad definition of classical as a genre, rather than as a style, so Romantic, Baroque, Neoclassical, etc. qualify.<P>Here are a few of mine:<P><LI><B>Bartok</B> - Great stuff. My favorite piece is the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 2 (underground hip-hop fans should be able to recognize a melodic fragment that DJ Shadow sampled). I prefer it to the Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste, although I like that too. I have a CD featuring Gil Shaham on violin and Boulez conducting, and I highly recommend it.<P><LI><B>Hovhaness</B> - I think, if you like Bartok (and who doesn't?), you'd probably like Hovhaness. He's uneven, ranging from mediocre to awesome, but he's also incredibly prolific so there's plenty of good stuff to choose from. He combines an interest in asian and middle-eastern (he was Armenian-American) melodies with a fascination (read: obsession) with fugue and counterpoint, a love of nature and the outdoors, and a Romantic approach. I recommend the Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, the Symphony No. 50 "Mount St. Helens" (Op. 360), "And God Created Great Whales", and most of all the Sonata for Harp and Guitar "Spirits of Trees" (Op. 374). The latter I have in a performance by Yolanda Kondonassis on harp, and it's beautiful. Think Japanese koto meets baroque. I've seen the Magnificat and the St. Vartan's Symphony recommended, but I haven't heard them yet.<P><LI><B>Cowell</B> - I'm only familiar with the works for solo piano (as performed by Sorrel Doris Hays). Cowell is a real ear-opener. He pioneered the use of tone clusters: chords built on stacked seconds rather than the traditional thirds--take a hand or arm and press it down over a bunch of keys at once. You'd think it would just be noise, but Cowell uses clusters in very creative ways, such as in "The Tides of Manaunaun", where a steady pulse of tone clusters in the bass gives the feeling of constant waves washing through the piece. I'm curious about his orchestral and choral/vocal works (I've seen the Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 3, the Symphony No. 4, and the cantata "...if He please" recommended), but I haven't found any recordings on CD yet.<P><LI><B>Ives</B> - A true-blue American nutter. Ives may not be for everyone, but I like his stuff a lot. Nobody does bombast quite like Ives, but he also has his calm and introspective moments, and his somber moments, as well (the "St. Gaudens at Boston Common" from Three Places in New England, for instance, inspired by a statue in honor of the first black regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War). Three Places in New England is good, as in the Orchestral Set No. 2, and the 2nd and 4th Symphonies. Even if you don't like most of his stuff though, try the Symphony No. 1 (if you can find it, it's not performed often--I have it on a Chandos disc with Barber's Three Essays for Orchestra). It's nothing like his later work, but still adventurous--in the first movement he modulates through just about every key).<P><LI><B>Ruggles</B> - If you like Ives, you'll probably like Ruggles. Actually, I think in many ways Ruggles is better. His compositions seem tighter, while Ives tends to sprawl all over the place. Since they were friends, you'll usually find his stuff on recordings with Ives. I've only heard Sun-Treader and Men and Mountains. Like Hovhaness, he's big on evoking nature and the great outdoors, but he goes about it in a completely different way.<P>More later <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"><P>------------------
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I go now, to mess with the Watchmen..."<P> - Darryl a.k.a. the Kingdom Come Baby, "Age of Crisis on Infinite Clones Saga - Chapter One Million: Onslaught of the Secret Genesis Wars Agenda", <I>Plastic Man Special '99</I><p>[This message has been edited by gwalla (edited 11-07-2001).]
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Postby gwalla on Wed Nov 07, 2001 10:54 am

BTW, I don't expect everyone (or anyone else for that matter) to have taste as odd as mine. More mainstream composers are certainly allowed! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif">
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:16 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by K A H:
<B>Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition"</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I have a CD of that. Do you prefer the solo piano original or Ravel's orchestral arrangement? (I'm guessing solo piano)<P>------------------
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Postby K A H on Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:33 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B> I have a CD of that. Do you prefer the solo piano original or Ravel's orchestral arrangement? (I'm guessing solo piano)</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Depends on the Picture. I have CDs of both the piano solo version (although the soloist is Vladimir Horowitz, so it's not exactly a faithful rendition) and the orchestral version, and I also have the music for the piano version, which is immensely satisfying to play.<P>One of my piano teachers once commented that it sounds more as though the piano version is a reduction of the orchestral version than as though the orchestral version has been adapted from the piano version. This doesn't always work against the piano version, though. I prefer the piano version of most of the first eight pictures and all of the Promenades, but I definitely prefer the orchestral versions of "The Hut on Fowl's Legs" and especially "The Great Gate at Kiev" - the point halfway through where the Promenade theme rises through the rest of the music like a phoenix from the ashes is so much more impressive if it's being rendered by a full orchestra. Not that I'm anywhere near as good as Horowitz and his ilk, but I have never been able to replicate that effect with the piano version.<P>K.A.H.
There must be a fair number of forumgoers who are completely lost reading this thread.
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Postby mzacher on Thu Nov 08, 2001 2:36 am

I must admit my knowledge of 'classical' music is fairly limited (Read: I am Decidedly Ignorant <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> ). I'm actually a Soundtrack buff.
...But I do have a few favorite pieces and composers...<P><B>J. Strauss</B>: 'The Blue Danube'
Always a favorite of mine, for a number of (often bizarre) reasons.<P><B>Saint-Saens</B>: 'Dance Macabre'(String Version). I <I>Love</I> this piece. It always cheers me up no end. Especially when I imagine the story or 'music video' that might go with it...<P><B>Elgar</B>: The 'Pomp and Circumstances' Marches. Makes me think of England everytime. (...and Danger Mouse, but I digress. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/biggrin.gif"> ) His 'Enigma Variations' are also on my favorites list.<P><B>Mozart</B>: ...what, you want me to pick just one?? <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"><P><B>John Williams</B>: Probably <I>Not</I> classed as 'classical' music, but I almost always enjoy his soundtracks.<P><B>Yoko Kanno</B>: One of my all-time favorite composers/singers. Mostly soundtrack work, but she does everything from full Orchestral/Choir music (Escaflowne, styles ranging from Dirges to Carnival music) to Swing/Jazz (Cowboy Bebop) to 'Pop' (Macross Plus) to...er, 'other stuff' (Things like 'Atomic Firebird' -I have no idea how to describe it, but it's cool none-the-less. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> ) Highly Reccomended.
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 4:42 am

<LI><B>Dallapiccola</B> - an Italian serialist by way of Berg (hence, not so dogmatically opposed to traditional chords as many serialists became). I've heard his opera "Il Prigioniero" and the Canti di Prigionia. Powerful stuff. Dallapiccola lived in Italy under Mussolini (his wife was Jewish), and expressed his opposition thrugh his work, which (what I've heard, at least) tends to be about such things as imprisonment and tyranny. There's a CD of the Swedish Radio Symphony and Choir conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, which includes both the opera and the canti. Get it. Steve Schwartz, on his <A HREF="http://www.kith.org/jimmosk/schwartzAB.html" TARGET=_blank>Underrated Masterpieces page</A>, calls the canti "serial music for people who hate serialism", and I have to agree.<P><LI><B>Penderecki</B> - Penderecki is all about pushing sound to its limits. I have a CD on the Naxos label that includes his Symphony No. 3, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Flourescences for Orchestra, and De Natura Sonoris II for Orchestra, performed by the NAtional Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. All great. The Threnody is very disturbing and powerful (and not for the squeamish). The same can be said for the Flourescences, which uses a full orchestra with quadruple wind and brass, 32 percussion instruments for 6 percussionists, bizarre instruments (such as an alarm siren, flexatone, Javanese gongs, and a typewriter), and creative approaches to playing traditional instruments (using strings as percussion, playing the interior of the piano and mouthpieces). De Natura Sonoris II is in a similar vein but more restrained and uses a limited orchestra. The Symphony No. 3 is much more traditional (it has memorable tunes!). All of these pieces have a very creepy feel. I always pull this disc out for Halloween, along with my "Classics from the Crypt" disc (which has the usual creepy-classical suspects: Tacotta and Fugue in D Minor, Night on Bald Mountain, In the Hall of the Mountain King, Danse Macabre, Mephisto Waltz, etc.), to creep out the kids coming to the door.<P><LI><B>P
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 4:45 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by SabrStrykMkII:
<B>For a self-confessed band geek, i don't have a lot of expertise. But this year we played Bach's <I>Toccata and Fugue in D Minor</I> and Mussorgsky's <I>Night on Bald Mountain</I> as part of our marching show. Quite fun that was, I can assure you.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I'm sure you're familiar with Sousa!<P>------------------
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 4:58 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mzacher:
<B><I>Saint-Saens</I>: 'Dance Macabre'(String Version). I <I>Love</I> this piece. It always cheers me up no end. Especially when I imagine the story or 'music video' that might go with it...</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>The "Danse Macabre" cheers you up? Wow! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B><I>Elgar</I>: The 'Pomp and Circumstances' Marches. Makes me think of England everytime. (...and Danger Mouse, but I digress. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/biggrin.gif"> ) His 'Enigma Variations' are also on my favorites list.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Unfortunately, since Pomp and Circumstance seemed to get played every time I graduated from a school (from Elementary up through High School), I've gotten kind of tired of it. Not the music's fault, it's just been overplayed to me.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>
<I>John Williams</I>: Probably <I>Not</I> classed as 'classical' music, but I almost always enjoy his soundtracks.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Williams is good, although he tends to bite off of other composers pretty often. My favorite is his soundtrack to Jurassic Park.<P>I also like Danny Elfman, even though his music can be rather excessively busy (why play a quarter note when you can play eight 32nds?). Actually, that's part of the charm. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/biggrin.gif"><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B><I>Yoko Kanno</I>: One of my all-time favorite composers/singers. Mostly soundtrack work, but she does everything from full Orchestral/Choir music (Escaflowne, styles ranging from Dirges to Carnival music) to Swing/Jazz (Cowboy Bebop) to 'Pop' (Macross Plus) to...er, 'other stuff' (Things like 'Atomic Firebird' -I have no idea how to describe it, but it's cool none-the-less. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"> ) Highly Reccomended.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Kanno's end theme to Brain Powerd, "Ai no FIELD" is beautiful. Too bad the series sucks. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif"> And "Tank!" (the Cowboy Bebop theme) should be in the repertoire of every jazz band in the world.<P>Also be on the lookout for Jo Hisaishi, who has scored every Miyazaki film since Castle of Cagliostro. Princess Mononoke is of course beautiful, but also be on the lookout for the Castle in the Sky Laputa soundtrack. Loads of fun, and lots of range.<P>------------------
"My work here is done...
I go now, to mess with the Watchmen..."<P> - Darryl a.k.a. the Kingdom Come Baby, "Age of Crisis on Infinite Clones Saga - Chapter One Million: Onslaught of the Secret Genesis Wars Agenda", <I>Plastic Man Special '99</I><p>[This message has been edited by gwalla (edited 11-08-2001).]
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Postby Balfegor on Thu Nov 08, 2001 5:12 am

Shostakovich!<P>Mahler!<P>And in lighter moments, Saint-Saens!<P>-Tae
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Postby mzacher on Thu Nov 08, 2001 5:57 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B> Kanno's end theme to Brain Powerd, "Ai no FIELD" is beautiful. Too bad the series sucks. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif"><P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>True, the series did suck, but Yoko Kanno's music almost made it worthwhile. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif">
...Heck, 'Turn A Gundam' <I>Really</I> sucked, but Yoko Kanno redeemed it, as far as I'm concerned
(as long as you ignore the recycled Escaflowne music used in some of the early episodes.)<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B>Also be on the lookout for Jo Hisaishi, who has scored every Miyazaki film since Castle of Cagliostro.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Really? Does that include the lyrics to the 'cover' of that John Denver song in 'Whisper of the Heart'? <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"><P>Another name to add to my 'Must Get' List.
...which is growing too rapidly as I re-read this thread... <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif">
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Postby Balfegor on Thu Nov 08, 2001 6:05 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B><LI>Penderecki</B> - Penderecki is all about pushing sound to its limits. I have a CD on the Naxos label that includes his Symphony No. 3, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Flourescences for Orchestra, and De Natura Sonoris II for Orchestra, performed by the NAtional Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra. All great. The Threnody is very disturbing and powerful (and not for the squeamish). The same can be said for the Flourescences, which uses a full orchestra with quadruple wind and brass, 32 percussion instruments for 6 percussionists, bizarre instruments (such as an alarm siren, flexatone, Javanese gongs, and a typewriter), and creative approaches to playing traditional instruments (using strings as percussion, playing the interior of the piano and mouthpieces). De Natura Sonoris II is in a similar vein but more restrained and uses a limited orchestra. The Symphony No. 3 is much more traditional (it has memorable tunes!). All of these pieces have a very creepy feel.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Speaking of Penderecki, in addition to the pieces mentioned above, I like his Canticum Canticlorum Solomonis, too. That one has some nice vocal effects. His Polish Requiem is also very good. In some sections, he retreats into the old avant-garde stuff, but the finale, which brings back all themes introduced earlier in the work and winds them into a big pulsing mess is quite stunning.<P>OTOH, my feeling has generally been that his music isn't really as powerful as other composers' despite his subject matter (when he has it). Threnody is an neat piece, I suppose, but it strikes me as a little flat--feeling-wise. Perhaps I've just not developed a sensitivity to his style of music (certainly, I'm unable to distinguish the shades of sentiment in much popular music today, because of my too-limited experience with it) but the effects he has managed to produce are generally either "vaguely eerie," as in the Dream of Jacob (I think?) and some of the De Natura Sonoris, or "frightening/menacing/inhuman" as in the threnody. Shostakovich approaches many of the same themes, and definitely wanders into the same emotional territory, but seems, to me, to tease out a deeper, richer vein of sentiment from them.<P>-Tae
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Postby Balfegor on Thu Nov 08, 2001 6:10 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>
Also be on the lookout for Jo Hisaishi, who has scored every Miyazaki film since Castle of Cagliostro. Princess Mononoke is of course beautiful, but also be on the lookout for the Castle in the Sky Laputa soundtrack. Loads of fun, and lots of range.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Oh, by the way, did he also do the music for "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" ? I don't know the kanji for his name, so I couldn't tell in the end credits. It sounded like it might have been him, but his orchestration has been getting progressively more lush, and in "Sen to Chihiro," it almost sounds like it might be a different composer.<P>-Tae
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 6:13 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mzacher:
<B> Really? Does that include the lyrics to the 'cover' of that John Denver song in 'Whisper of the Heart'? <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Er...not everything in the soundtrack is "score". <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif"><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Another name to add to my 'Must Get' List.
...which is growing too rapidly as I re-read this thread... <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/smile.gif"></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>That's the idea! <IMG SRC="http://www.theunholytrinity.org/cracks_smileys/contrib/owen/PBgrin.gif"> <P>------------------
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 6:31 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Balfegor:
<B>Speaking of Penderecki, in addition to the pieces mentioned above, I like his Canticum Canticlorum Solomonis, too. That one has some nice vocal effects. His Polish Requiem is also very good. In some sections, he retreats into the old avant-garde stuff, but the finale, which brings back all themes introduced earlier in the work and winds them into a big pulsing mess is quite stunning.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I'll be on the lookout for them. Thanks!<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>OTOH, my feeling has generally been that his music isn't really as powerful as other composers' despite his subject matter (when he has it). Threnody is an neat piece, I suppose, but it strikes me as a little flat--feeling-wise.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Hmm. It doesn't to me. However, the original title was just the amount of time it took to perform (like Cage), and he only gave it its current title after he first heard it performed. Maybe the fact that it wasn't originally intended to evoke a particular emotion may be part of it?<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Perhaps I've just not developed a sensitivity to his style of music (certainly, I'm unable to distinguish the shades of sentiment in much popular music today, because of my too-limited experience with it) but the effects he has managed to produce are generally either "vaguely eerie," as in the Dream of Jacob (I think?) and some of the De Natura Sonoris, or "frightening/menacing/inhuman" as in the threnody.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Yeah, that's pretty much what I get out of them too. I just think he does a good job of it. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/wink.gif"><P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Shostakovich approaches many of the same themes, and definitely wanders into the same emotional territory, but seems, to me, to tease out a deeper, richer vein of sentiment from them.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I'll have to give him a listen. I'm not that familiar with Shostakovich (although he seems to have been adopted into the standard rep recently).<P>------------------
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 6:36 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Balfegor:
<B> Oh, by the way, did he also do the music for "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi" ?</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I couldn't really say. I'm not familiar with the film (is that one of the non-Miyazaki films from Studio Ghibli?). All I know is that he and Miyazaki have worked together on every Miyazaki movie after Castle of Cagliostro (which of course was Miyazaki's first feature-length film).
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Postby K A H on Thu Nov 08, 2001 6:50 am

I must admit, my own tastes in music are somehow looking banal and colourless in light of some of the favourites chosen for this thread!! I can't really explain why, but my tastes in (classical) music only go up to about the middle of last century. (Not <I>this</I> century anymore! I keep forgetting! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif">)<P>As long as we're picking apart the pieces we have picked out (someone take a pick-axe to my head....)<P>I mentioned Shostakovich, Rachmaninov, and Prokofiev. All Russian, yet their music is nothing alike. With Shostakovich, I agree with the assessment of his First Symphony, which I heard performed last summer (I particularly took to the first and last movements), and I'm also fond of the Op.87 collection. My personal favourites are the two preludes and fugues that gave rise to Phoebe's piece in "Souvenirs d'Avalon"; namely, No.18 in F minor and No.23 in F major. The F minor prelude and fugue has been a favourite of late since the atmosphere of both the prelude and the fugue is extremely bleak until the last few bars, when they both make the move to F major, and, well, I haven't exactly been in a sunny mood since last winter. (Oddly enough, since about the time I started reading "Avalon". The two are not related!!) And No.21 in B-flat major is <I>very</I> fun to play.<P>Among Rachmaninov pieces, I've always been fond of the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, though more Variations 12-15 (the variations that comprise the "scherzo movement") than the overplayed Variation 18 which, though undeniably pretty, has been inflicted on me once too often. I also like the preludes, not so much the infamous C-sharp minor Op.3 No.2 as some of the other twenty-three he later penned to create a set in all the major and minor keys
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Postby Balfegor on Thu Nov 08, 2001 7:20 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B> I couldn't really say. I'm not familiar with the film (is that one of the non-Miyazaki films from Studio Ghibli?). All I know is that he and Miyazaki have worked together on every Miyazaki movie after Castle of Cagliostro (which of course was Miyazaki's first feature-length film).</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>It's the new Miyazaki film released in Japan this summer. I got to see it while I was there. Great fun. Better than Mononoke Hime, actually.<P>-Tae
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Postby K A H on Thu Nov 08, 2001 7:56 am

"In honor of K A H"? I swear, there must be some sort of global conspiracy to keep me blushing round the clock....<P>Anyway, here, predictably, is my own contribution to the thread; the answers will also be predictable to anyone who has read the threads related to "Souvenirs d'Avalon".<P><I>J.S. Bach.</I> Especially the first <I>Well-Tempered Clavier</I> and his organ works. Although I also like the Brandenburg and violin concertos, and some of the suites for orchestra, not to mention his other keyboard works such as the English and French suites. Agh! So many to choose from. And his music is endless fun to play.<P><I>Beethoven.</I> Particularly the piano sonatas between Op.10 No.3 and Op.81a inclusive (those two being particular favourites), as well as certain of the string quartets (especially Op.59 No.1), the violin sonatas (the "Spring" leaps to mind), the "Emperor" concerto, and the Third, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Symphonies. And, again, his piano works are lots of fun to play, especially if I'm a bit tense.<P><I>Chopin.</I> You name it, I probably like it. But especially any of the concertos, piano sonatas, the scherzos, the
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Postby Tyvar on Thu Nov 08, 2001 9:28 am

Im not a expert on classical music like some others here seem to be, but I do enjoy it.<P> Some of my favorite composers<P> Grieg- All I have really heard of his is "In the Hall of the Mountain King" but it never fails as a piece to cheer me up<P> Orff the Carmina Burana, its all good (even better if you get ahold of translations to find out what they are singing, some of the stuff is hilarious, only its it old german and Latin) but Fortuna Imperatix Mundi is terrific, it sounds so martial (Its great in that scean in the movie Excaliber) but if you know the lyrics it becomes great to listen to when your depressed.. or Reading Machiavelli..<P> Vivialdi, Baroque composer, The Four Seasons, its popular for a reason, its great, and i love the whole work<P> Lastly Samuel Barber, His Adigio for strings is a hauntingly powerfull work, but even more so in its choir version, "Agnus dei" it is so powerfull it never fails to move me close to tears.
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Postby gwalla on Thu Nov 08, 2001 9:29 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by K A H:
<B>Among film composers, the only one who has really left enough of an impression on me to drive me to seek out his work outside the context of the film has been Bernard Herrmann - I searched high and low for MP3s of the overtures to "Vertigo", "North by Northwest", and "Psycho" a few months ago. It's not that I don't like, say, John Williams, so much as his work just doesn't have the same impact on me as Herrmann. (Funnily enough, one of my favourite Williams scores was for "The Poseidon Adventure".)</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Oh yes, Herrmann! One of the greats of filmmusic, definitely. How much of his stuff outside of the Hitchcock scores have you heard? He composed for Welles of course (Citizen Kane), but also Scorcese, Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451), DePalma, and even stop-motion FX great Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans). I've heard Kane and the Harryhausen scores, but it's been a long time. He also has some non-film works, noe of which I've heard, but I'm curious.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>As for the many anime soundtracks that have appeared in this thread, well, that would be straying into territory as unfamiliar (and in some ways as appealing) to me as the Arctic! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif"></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P> <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspot.com/KeenBoard/tongue.gif"><P>AIUI, the Evangelion movie soundtracks consist entirely of classical works (no original score).<P>I only know of three composers of anime scores: Yoko Kanno (who is very prolific, and whose name is starting to appear as a selling point in ads for some series), Jo Hisaishi (who is associated with the greatest director of animated film), and Kuniaki Haishima (who did the Spriggan soundtrack, but who tends more towards "electronic" than "classical" so I didn't mention him before even though the soundtrack is near-perfect).<P>------------------
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Postby Balfegor on Thu Nov 08, 2001 11:13 am

Ah, everyone's getting into the specifics . . .<P>With Shostakovich, his symphonies are among my favourites. The first symphony has a nice light feel to it, and it very enjoyable to listen to. And the third movement of the 8th is also very nice--the entry of the brass in particular can be very impressive. <P>On his piano works, I love the 24 preludes and Fugues. The last one, in D minor is fun to play, and the 22nd in G minor, I think, has a personal resonance with me. I'm not sure what, but my father, hearing me play it one evening, thought I had written it. It is very much *the* piece I would like to have written.<P>For Mahler, the opening movement to the Resurrection symphony is very nice, but the rest of it doesn't strike me in the same way, even the choral part. The third movement of the 6th symphony I like very much. Very bittersweet it is. The theme that sounds like rushing winds makes the hair on the back of my neck rise up. <P>I also like the second part of the Song of the Earth, for a similar reason. Also rather bittersweet. The finale is nice too, even though when individual movements expand to the 30min scale, they tend to be too big for me to keep track of all at once, and they seem to me to lose cohesion because of it. It would probably be different if I were actually to study the score, but I haven't got a copy.<P>Saint-Saens I just generally love. His second piano concerto has, in my opinion, the most beautiful opening I have ever heard on a piano concerto. The third movement of the same concerto is also a great finale. It's invigorating just to listen to.<P>His music, or at least, the music of his that people actually play, is all like that. I am told that his fugues were not particularly fun, but I have never heard them or had to play them, so I cannot say. But even his requiem, during the "Kyrie Eleison" has a lovely cool feeling, sort of like a seabreeze, or the ocean spray.<P>But he's more the "easy listening" type. I don't think he's considered "great" on the scale of, say, Bach or Mahler, or even Bartok.<P>-Tae<P>
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Postby SabrStrykMkII on Thu Nov 08, 2001 12:43 pm

For a self-confessed band geek, i don't have a lot of expertise. But this year we played Bach's <I>Toccata and Fugue in D Minor</I> and Mussorgsky's <I>Night on Bald Mountain</I> as part of our marching show. Quite fun that was, I can assure you.
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Postby gwalla on Fri Nov 09, 2001 1:02 am

Hey K A H, what do you know about tuning theory? It's loads of fun to play with.
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Postby K A H on Fri Nov 09, 2001 1:29 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B> Oh yes, Herrmann! One of the greats of filmmusic, definitely. How much of his stuff outside of the Hitchcock scores have you heard? He composed for Welles of course (Citizen Kane), but also Scorcese, Truffaut (Fahrenheit 451), DePalma, and even stop-motion FX great Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans). I've heard Kane and the Harryhausen scores, but it's been a long time. He also has some non-film works, noe of which I've heard, but I'm curious.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Hmm, let me think.... films I've seen for which Herrmann wrote the music include, ahm, <I>Citizen Kane</I> and <I>The Magnificent Ambersons</I> from Welles, <I>Jason and the Argonauts</I> from Harryhausen (although he can't have written the score for <I>Clash of the Titans</I> since the latter was made in 1981 and Herrmann died in 1975; as I remember, <I>Taxi Driver</I>, the last major film for which he wrote the score, was dedicated to his memory), and, er, well, I just said <I>Taxi Driver</I> didn't I. All films I enjoyed for many reasons, not least of which was Herrmann's music (although I've never cared for the acting in <I>Jason</I>).<P>I must say, the opening titles of <I>Vertigo</I>, <I>North by Northwest</I>, and <I>Psycho</I> are some of my favourite parts of any film. Animation by Saul Bass, music by Bernard Herrmann, directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Doesn't get much better. (Chuckle if you will, but the nightmare sequence in <I>Vertigo</I> is one of my favourite animated pieces of film.)<P>Never heard any of his non-film work, though. Same for John Williams, actually, and I've been told by those who know that it's worth a listen.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B> AIUI, the Evangelion movie soundtracks consist entirely of classical works (no original score).</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>AIUI = As I Understand It, I presume. I've heard from a friend who is a big fan of the TV series that the music for that is entirely original. Although if the film has an entirely classical score, that would explain why, when I first explained the idea of "Souvenirs d'Avalon" to the forum, some people were reminded of the Evangelion score. I only wish it were of as high quality!<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by gwalla:
<B> I only know of three composers of anime scores: Yoko Kanno (who is very prolific, and whose name is starting to appear as a selling point in ads for some series), Jo Hisaishi (who is associated with the greatest director of animated film), and Kuniaki Haishima (who did the Spriggan soundtrack, but who tends more towards "electronic" than "classical" so I didn't mention him before even though the soundtrack is near-perfect).</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Somewhat larger in their native land than, for lack of a better name, Alan Menken is in the USA, I presume. (For that matter, who <I>are</I> the noteworthy composers of animated film scores in the Anglophone world?)<P>Incidentally, I'm quite ignorant of the wonders of tuning theory - can you point me to a possible source of enlightenment thereon? I'd be interested to read up on it. I'm fascinated by the uneven temperament they used in pre-1700 music (it's actually one of the reasons Dufay holds a particular fascination for me), although I'd imagine this is a different world of non-standard (well, non-today's standard) tuning altogether.<P>K.A.H.
A lot of pianos I've played on have had uneven temperament, but they shouldn't have done. If you see what I mean.
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Postby gwalla on Fri Nov 09, 2001 4:11 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by K A H:
<B> Somewhat larger in their native land than, for lack of a better name, Alan Menken is in the USA, I presume. (For that matter, who <I>are</I> the noteworthy composers of animated film scores in the Anglophone world?)</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Animation is so under-the-radar here that I don't think there are many composers who are particularly associated with animation.<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><B>Incidentally, I'm quite ignorant of the wonders of tuning theory - can you point me to a possible source of enlightenment thereon? I'd be interested to read up on it. I'm fascinated by the uneven temperament they used in pre-1700 music (it's actually one of the reasons Dufay holds a particular fascination for me), although I'd imagine this is a different world of non-standard (well, non-today's standard) tuning altogether.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>I meant in general, both historical and creative tunings.<P>Kyle Gan has <A HREF="http://home.earthlink.net/~kgann/tuning.html" TARGET=_blank>a good primer</A> on Just Intonation, which is the purest form of tuning (based on small-number ratios of frequencies). He also has an <A HREF="http://home.earthlink.net/~kgann/histune.html" TARGET=_blank>introduction to historical tuning</A>, which covers Pythagorean tuning, meantone temperaments, well-temperaments, and the development of equal temperament.<P>Of course, some people come up with their own tunings. They're usually grouped together under the umbrella term "microtonal", although technically that term should really be reserved for people who work with more than 12 tones per octave (quarter-tones, for example), while some "microtonalists" work with alternate 12-tone tunings, or even fewer tones per octave. Some are followers of the just-intonation proponent Harry Partch (who I'll post on later), some work with alternate temperaments (<A HREF="http://www.harmonics.com/lucy/" TARGET=_blank>Charles Lucy</A>'s "Lucytuning" is a meantone based on the number pi, and is a development of the tuning work of John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer; there has also been work done in 19-tone equal temperament), and some avoid the octave entirely (the Bohlen-Pierce scale is thirteen tones per the perfect 12th, a frequency ratio of 3:1).<P>Joe Monzo has a <A HREF="http://www.ixpres.com/interval/dict/" TARGET=_blank>definition of tuning terms</A>, but it's fairly advanced.<P>------------------
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