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Showing 26-48 of 48 posts in this discussion
Posted on 27 Jan 2014 21:46:01 GMT
Mark says:
If you go by melody it's got to be Tchaikovsky

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2014 10:50:06 GMT
gille liath says:
I'll dare say Prokofiev! At least, he's my favourite. Shostakovich can be a bit grim and Stalinist; Tchaikovsky and his ilk do little for me; Stravinsky a bit too flashy; Rachmaninov can inspire me with an urge to kill (mainly the guy playing the piano). Prokofiev is one of very few serious composers who wrote music that is modern without being inaccessible to all but a small clique.

In other words: he could write a good tune.

Posted on 28 Jan 2014 11:51:14 GMT
Alex says:
The question "Who is the greatest Russian composer?" is not very correct. it is impossible to determine who is the greatest. And by the way is "the greatest composer"?
If you really want to know more about great Russian composers start with Maxim Berezovsky /1745-1777/ a men who was the Academician of Bologna Academy of Philarmonics and examined young Mozart.
You can listen to one of his work here
Then proceed to Bortnyansky, Vedel, Lvov

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2014 13:26:29 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jan 2014 13:30:42 GMT
gille liath says:
I wonder could your opinion by any chance be influenced by the fact you're Ukrainian? And did Led Zep rip off any of his work? ;)

You're obviously a patriotic chap, which makes it surprising you're willing to class him as Russian.

Anyway, as enthusiast says, it's just a bit of fun, mate. I don't know about anyone else but I listen to music for my own benefit - not the composer's.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2014 15:21:09 GMT
JayJayDee says:
Kapustin, Ras-putin justPutin.
What's the odds?
Big band or big banned?
Frying pan and fire come to mind.
The answer to the thread question is....
'Whomsoever is the favourite of our estimable leader at the current time.'

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2014 15:23:28 GMT
JayJayDee says:
Both Stalin and DSCH would give a broad ironic grin to hear you suggest that Shostakovich can be a bit grim and stalinist.

Much vodka would be consumed with tears as a mixer.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2014 19:59:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Jan 2014 19:59:56 GMT
gille liath says:
It's true, nevertheless.

(Obviously I'm using 'Stalinist' as cultural shorthand - not in a party-political sense.)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 16:47:10 GMT
JayJayDee says:
Interesting thought.

What characterises stalinism within musical content, then?
It's an interesting line of muse, gille!

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 16:57:20 GMT
Bruce says:
The fast movement of the 10th? ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 18:28:48 GMT
Leftin says:
JJD, Lez, and Nick: Thanks all! Have since remembered that I do have an lp of Shostakovich. Have you ever done the "charity shop classical music run"? I do it quite often, then find no time to sit down and listen to what I've bought. Will check it out when I get home later. Is it fair to compare Shostkovich with Sibelius? Many seem to link them stylistically.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 21:03:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2014 21:14:10 GMT
enthusiast says:
Very different but roughly contemporaneous (at the start - but Sibelius slightly earlier and stopped producing through alcoholism) and both followed from Tchaikovsky. Both wrote powerful symphonies. Sibelius very tightly constructed, rigorous. Shostakovich looser and superficially simpler. Don't listen - just put them on loud and let them work their magic on you slowly. Best starters for Shostakovich ... 1st violin concerto, symphony 5. symphony 10. For Sibelius ... symphony 2 or 5.

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 21:33:47 GMT
Leftin says:
Enthusiast: Thanks. Sibelius' Symphony 2 has grown on me, but 1 remains the one for maximum emotional impact. They're all exceptional, though. And Tapiola scares me to death, even though I grew up in a forest! :)

In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jan 2014 23:03:53 GMT
enthusiast says:
Absolutely on Tapiola, Leftin. Sibelius 1 is often said to show a strong influence of Tchaikovsky.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jan 2014 09:20:32 GMT
Bruce says:
Now Sibelius has some great tunes and all his symphonies would be in my top 100! :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Feb 2014 21:22:55 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Feb 2014 21:47:18 GMT
JayJayDee says:
As a teenager my father (a primary headteacher) asked me to suggest to him for use at his school, a piece of music that sounded like a fire .
I suggested that same movement from DSCH #10. This was long before every note of DSCH was lumbered with a Volkov-style image.

I came to accept sometime later that the Allegro may well have been DSCH's alleged portrayal of Stalin as a rampant beast, but surely it doesn't make his music 'per se' Stalinist? That implies some sort of support!
Somehow, enthusiast, I can't agree with the Violin Concerto as an ideal introduction to Shostakovich. Was it an early introduction for you?
It was a slow burner for me. Symphonies 5 through to 10 were what captured me before the 15th hit the scene. The First Violin Concerto has remained elusive although I have seen some fabulous live performances of it, and (after checking) find that I have a dozen versions including four by Oistrakh.
I am intrigued by your suggestion that Sibelius stopped producing compositions because of alcoholism. Such an accompanying hobby would have been de rigueur in most earlier composers!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 08:44:26 GMT
enthusiast says:
Yes, JJ - my introductions to Shostakovich were, in this order (amazing I remember) Symphony 5, Cello Concerto 1 (and 1st Symphony), Violin Concerto 1 and then Symphony 10. 5 was amazing but sounded "reactionary" (I was a teenager). The Cello Concerto slightly amused me because of its simplicity but I liked it and it intrigued me. The Violin Concerto was what really woke me up to the power of his music. I've always loved it.

In general, too, I feel that in the 20th Century it was often violin concertos that have functioned as the touchstones of their composer's music. Shostakovich was truly a great symphonist but even he found more freedom (to be, perhaps, himself) in this strong concertos. The symphonies are more wrought. I do know that this is very much a personal feeling.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Feb 2014 16:32:02 GMT
JayJayDee says:
I think many of us can remember the sequence of our fascinations with as important a figure as DSCH, and maybe the other top half dozen of our obsessions. And your suggestion about Violin Concertos as touchstones certainly explains your recommendation of the VC to Leftin. I think I got to know the 2nd Concerto before the First (purely by chance) because of it's placement on the B-side of Kondrashin's DSCH#6 (HMV-Melodiya circa.1969).
One thing is for sure, though. The Andre Rieu audience that wallows in the Jazz Suite Waltz would be wasting their time on his 4th Symphony or the Viola Sonata as a follow-up!

Posted on 3 Feb 2014 01:02:54 GMT
What about Hamish Alexandrovich McCunn??? The great master from the Moscow side of the Loch!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 07:58:02 GMT
enthusiast says:
Talking of the Shostakovich violin concertos, this disc - Shostakovich: Violin Concertos - is a wonder.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 08:09:03 GMT
I have Kaler on Naxos and Sitkovetsky on Virgin. To be honest neither of these concertos have really impinged on me but the mention of them arouses my curiosity so I'll play them tonight and will give an opinion later-something I'm sure you will await with bated breath hahahahaha !! :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 08:54:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Feb 2014 09:00:58 GMT
JayJayDee says:
Funny. I nearly mentioned the Khachatryan as a favourite, but felt that the Vengerov and many of the Oistrakhs were such good competition that it would be unfair to single one out.
The only problem with that disc is that it has no 'lead-in' time. (For me) this has been corrected by transferring it to hard drive (or another CD) and adding 5 seconds of intro silence.
I often wonder why companies assume that we need 10-30 seconds silence at the end of a disc but provide only a small fraction of a second at the beginning!
It is quite disconcerting to press 'Play' on the Khachatryan disc (and many others) and realise that the first bar has been played very quietly before a breath can be taken.
This transfer 'trick' also allows me to eliminate incorrectly added silences between 'attaca' movements, and to add 20 seconds silence after the first parts of Mahler 2 and 3.

It can also beneficially reduce Cage's masterpiece to 0' 33"

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Feb 2014 19:33:36 GMT
enthusiast says:
That is much too fast for the Cage, JJ. I often think that a slower account would help the music to breathe.

I reckon Khachatryan is worth singling out because he is a less familiar name and yet is astonishingly good. In the 2nd concerto I think he is preferable to Vengerov and enjoys better sound than Oistrakh. He is also incredibly powerful in the 1st but there is a lot more competition there, with many accounts that have something special to say.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Feb 2014 11:23:14 GMT
JayJayDee says:
Upon reading rave reviews, I bought the Khachatryan fairly soon after seeing Leila Josefowicz play the piece superbly 'live' and it occurred to me that a sign of an enduring work of art is when a new generation can breathe new life into a piece that (one thought) had been co-opted by an earlier gen.

As for the Cage piece I suspect that the jokes have possibly been exhausted in the past, but I do find that it works best for me without those repeats. Karajan always avoided repeats and would have done it in less than 3 minutes for sure....perhaps so as to take a bow just that bit earlier! My recording of JB's version is sadly spoilt by grunts and surface noise. (Which apparently was the whole point!)
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