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In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 00:23:51 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 19:41:12 GMT
Basilides says:
When I asked if it was worth it I was of course paraphrasing the music and the imaginary revolutionary protagonist. But I might also have said that if the music is asking whether it's worth it then I would certainly ask myself whether it was worth listening to the music.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 00:23:52 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 20:21:02 GMT
Basilides says:
I'm not especially fond of Nielsen though I do have a lot of respect for him, his determination and will to optimism.
It's the sound of his orchestration and the 'sameness' of it that mainly puts me off. Despite his use of percussion and military drumming in particular I wouldn't class any his symphonies as war symphonies as I did Frankel's. This of course, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing - that they are not war symphonies I mean.
The 5th Symphony is less optimistic than earlier works. We can hear him begin to loose his confidence and optimism as he sets out to 'express something primitive, in the division between dark and light, the fight between good and evil' (his own words) but he is not defeated.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 02:43:23 GMT
Piso Mojado says:
Geoffrey -- Even Otto Edelmann, a born Leporello, sometimes essayed the role of Wotan, but I'd prefer Ferdinand Frantz to him. I also think Rene Pape as "Boris" and the sacrosanct Bryn Terfel as Wotan are miscast, at least in their current Metropolitan Opera productions, from excerpts and still photographis in costume I've seen. In Furtwaengler's time casts were still often dictated by exclusive contracts with major labels, hence Hans Hotter, who should have been Furtwaengler's Wotan in the complete 1954 vienna "Walkuere", was probably not available to him.

Furtwaengler, like many conductors and most of us, was very loyal to his favourite singers ... Edelmann, Jaro Prohaska, Margarethe Klose, Kerstin Flagstad, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, et alia. I would like to have heard the Hotter-Furtwaengler combination, but there's only "Damnation of (Berlioz) Faust", and Brahms's "German Requiem", both in poor sound.

We have the two complete "Ring" cycles with Furtwaengler from La Scala and Rome, the former with Flagstad, and both with strong casts of the day, but no Hotter. A great loss is that none of the five "Parsifals" that Furtwaengler conducted at La Scala has survived on tape.

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 03:45:04 GMT
Piso Mojado says:
I've ordered Arur Schnabel, Scholar of music, the big new and I hope re-mastered EMI box, also their big new Alfred Cortot box with many re-mastered titles, both from Scotland, who are still in the U.K. I hope and available through Amazon third parties. Then to preserve the balance, Artur Schnabel's Philips Great Pianists 2-CD set with his 1942 re-makes of Beethoven's Op. 110-111 that I've not had since LP days. Also Juan Diego Florez's new "Santo" album, with "Every Valley" from "Messiah"; and "Mit Wuerd und Hoheit angetan" from Haydn's "Creation". That's it for Christmas, if they get here on time.

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 10:52:20 GMT
Basilides: Nielsen's 5th was the first of his symphonies I got to know and I have found it very confident and optimistic. Not long after its completion he was diagnosed with angina and told to cut down his workload. The large scale works written after that (6th Symphony and wind concertos) are radically different. They are considerably less expansive but whether this represents a loss of confidence I am not sure. His writings at the time suggest that he was trying to engage with the new music of Schoenberg and Stravinsky but don't indicate a loss of optimism.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 12:55:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 12:57:20 GMT
I am with Geoffrey on this one, I'm afriad. The closing movement of Nielsen 5 may not be as openly optimistic as No.4 or as happy as No.3, but it is hard grafted optimism after the almost nihilistic ending of the first movement; there are few such desolate pages of music in any era, but the finale eventually sweeps this away.

I do not know what to make of the 6th symphony - it's either a look towards the "new" music or a p*ss take, or a new style partially made necessary by the health problems he had. Shostakovich did similar (15th quartet; and the opening bar of Nielsen 6 and of Shostakovich 15 are almost identical - coincidence???) There is immense confidence in the Clarinet Concerto, if we are talking about compostional style; if it's personal confidence, a change is hardly surprising, although the optimism is still there....

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 14:55:13 GMT
Robert: I had read about Nielsen 6 long before I had heard it and this may have coloured my expectations. In The Symphony (Penguin 1967) Hugh Ottaway describes the work as 'deeply disturbing: Carl Nielsen, that exceptionally well-integrated man, is here in diasarray, the victim of his own physical collapse' but he also says 'At the same time we aware of Nielsen's active, exploring mind; for the Sixth, like the Fifth, contains the germ of manynew possibilities'. In the booklet notes to the Blomstedt complete set of symphonies, Robert Simpson is quoted as saying that the first movement could have stood on its own 'as one of his most impressive works, a tragic one-movement symphony'.

I have always understood the Humoreske as satirical but the notes for the Schonwandt recording give a more positive view - of this movement, the symphony as a whole and Nielsen's frame of mind. The actual performance, which I have just listened to, leans more to the satiric and tragic though.

Nielsen himself said 'as a whole I have tried to make the symphony as lively and gay as possible'. Despite that I think it remains an enigma.

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 20:13:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 20:23:45 GMT
Basilides says:
Last night I got in rather late with no time for anything but a very fast response. Now I have just refreshed my memory of the 5th by listening to it again and have modified slightly my view above.

Posted on 18 Nov 2010 22:10:20 GMT
Basilides says:
I forgot to mention, it wasn't P I had in mind it was M - surely a perfect equivalent for R in terms of style and prominence, or lack of it.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 22:27:40 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 22:29:45 GMT
God, you've lost me now. Thought you meant S..... and which M? NM or GM?

Nielsen 6 is one of those totally enigmatic works that I know well, but simply don't get, what ever the critics (and the authors themselves) say. The other two in the same breath are Shostakovich 15 and Vaughan Williams 8. I think Geoffey is right in considering the "disturbing" angle as appropriate, but if that's the case, why the frivolous 2nd movement? And is VW8 just a collection of as many "phones" as the orchestra could muster????

In confort zone I listened to Tubin 2 and 3 again, and remain convinced 2 is a fabulous work, 3 flawed by the finale, but the finale only. Ordered Tubin 11, which Jarvi pere never got round to on BIS.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 22:46:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 22:53:28 GMT
Basilides says:
Yes wosshisname was there too of course.

But it wasn't S&P, it was S&M.

But neither GM nor NM whoever he is.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 22:55:58 GMT
Lost even deeper....

Nikolai of the 27, or Gustav of the 9 or 10 or 11 or 10.5

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Nov 2010 23:04:04 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Nov 2010 23:16:26 GMT
Basilides says:
Ah yes. NM is alright by me. But I won't accept more than 10 by GM. That other pseudo-symphony, or quasi-symphony, as some would have it, is not in the same class. I am immune to it.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 12:02:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 21 Jan 2011 17:41:50 GMT
Piso Mojado says:
The Enigma cryptographers are hard at work on this, as B. is being G. or G2. again. P is Prob'ly PRKFV, and M his friend Nikolai Myaskovsky. GM is of course one of Alma Mahler.'s earlier husbands, but that could be almost anyone, so precisely which is uncertain, perhaps AZ, or WG or even OK or FW? Every man is capable of that. S. obviously is ... but I mustn't say. G is of course Gnostic, and G2 is Gnomic. There! I'm sure that's perfectly clear to all of us now. Oh, yes, and B., did your singer of SB's "Knoxville" have a name, please, as well as a dynamic range? We must assume from your corollary remarks that it was not Eleanor Steber, or Leontyne Price or Miss Studer? I hope it wasn't Jessye Norman? Still more clarification, please.

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 12:53:07 GMT
Lez Lee says:
Edgar - the soprano in question was a lady called Ruby Hughes. All I can find out about her is that she won the 1st prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Festival Singing Competition.
Type in her name on YouTube and you can hear her singing some Handel.

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 13:34:44 GMT
Downloaded works on the CPO label by Atterberg, Wetz and Boehe. Due to a slight technical hitch the Boehe (Odyseus Vol 1) didn't download but attempting to rectify that. I've just burnt the Wetz (Symphony No 1) to a disc to listen to this afternoon.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 15:46:23 GMT
Piso Mojado says:
Please let us know how you get on with Wetz, Geoffrey. I've got two of his symphonies, favourable impression so far.

Thousand thanks, Lez Lee, I THOUGHT she must have a name, Ruby Hughes it is. Funny, I thought of Ruby Gentry, but I suppose that's another Fach? Handel Festival to Barber, eh? Hmmmm.

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 18:30:45 GMT
Basilides says:
Dynamic range is not a way of referring to a singer's 'vocal range', that is to say the number of octaves,including fractions, they can encompass. It is the conventional term for the difference in volume between the quietest and loudest passages.

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 18:30:46 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2010 19:46:26 GMT
Basilides says:
Dynamic range is not a way of referring to a singer's 'vocal range', that is to say the number of octaves, including fractions, they can encompass. It is the conventional term for the difference in volume between the quietest and loudest passages.

Recording engineers have a choice of trying to capture the full dynamic range of a performance or compressing it. In the days of vinyl recording this was necessary so that the stylus could negotiate the groove. Broadcasts are sometimes compressed in volume and sometimes not. On Classic FM it is normal but on R3 it used to be only used during peak traffic hours such as 5-7pm so that motorists would not be disturbed by sudden peaks of volume and would not be distracted by turning the volume up and down.
These days many labels pride themselves on trying to capture the real dynamic range of performances but this I feel does not take into account the reality of hi-fi equipment and conditions of listening. Even very high-end equipment can sometimes present problems for the listener especially with sopranos. In fact cheaper equipment sometimes seems to have it's own compression which can help.
Compression of dynamic range should not be mistaken for other forms of compression such as that of frequency range.

In the case of Ruby Hughes it was probably her own performance, in the sense of interpretation, which limited the dynamic range, that is to say led her to restrain her vocal power in the climax - but sometimes it is difficult to tell if engineers have intervened.
In short she did not 'have a dynamic range', rather she employed a certain dynamic range for the purposes of her performance.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 18:45:36 GMT
Basilides says:
The best part of Boehe's Odysseus is the last part.

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 18:52:41 GMT
Basilides says:
Has it not occured to anyone to compare Roussel and Martinu despite my hints?

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 19:44:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2010 19:49:02 GMT
Basilides says:
It also occurs to me that it is interesting to compare Nielsen with Strauss. There are passages in Don Juan and Heldenleben which in certain ways are not so far from Nielsen's most optimistic, extrovert and 'conquering' music, and so the difference that the very different orchestrations make can be clearly heard. As I've said, I don't like Nielsen's thin and harsh orchestration much because it's just not a very attractive sound, it lacks warmth, whereas Strauss on the other hand, with no less optimism and extroversion, and confidence of conquest, feels entirely natural and comfortable.
However, as we know 'form is content' so clearly there must be a difference in their optimism and extroversion at least as it finds expresson in the music. It lies partly no doubt in the presence or sense of 'resistance to be overcome' in Nielsen, but it's more than that and I guess that is what makes him significant.
But it's also interesting to compare the passage in Heldenleben in which Strauss characterises his critics, and the very uncharacteristic passage which has caused much bemusement in Nielsen's 6th.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 23:13:20 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 19 Nov 2010 23:16:10 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 23:13:22 GMT
L. J. Wilson says:
B. Raval,
Checked out Arleta, - quite a bit on spotify, she's looking a bit mumsy now, but what a voice. Just the thing to go with a late night drop of the McCallan. Her voice brings me to mind of Maria del Mar Bonet, the Mallorcan artist with an even more stunning voice, - if you've not heard her you are in for a treat, check her out on YouTube.
Currently awaiting the Chandos recording of Glieres 3rd symphony by Downes/ BBC Philharmonic, this dates back to 1991 but I've managed to miss Gliere completely thus far.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 01:04:02 GMT
Piso Mojado says:
No. Should it have? (re Has it not occurred to anyone to compare Roussel and Martinu despite all Basil's hints and best efforts).
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