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Instrumental Music 2


Steve5380
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It seems that the thread "Instrumental Music" was judged too old (I'm much older and i still work!) and one must create a new one, so here it goes.

 

Every once in a while browsing in youtube, I get impressed by some performance, even if I have heard the music a hundred times.

Today it is the good old Appassionata (Beethoven's piano sonata No 23), played by Murray Perahia. 

 

What a MASTER of piano playing!  He gives a perfect show of how to correctly use the fingers in the playing.

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

After the music box and the bumble bee,

 

HERE IS A VIDEO EXCLUSIVE FOR J.S.BACH LOVERS.

 

Pianist Murray Perahia is interviewed by professor and piano coach Arie Vardi and gives a fantastic view into the music of the German composer.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you, Steve5380, for posting the clip with Murray Perahia.  Bach tends to sound mechanical and emotionless in lesser performers.  Perahia's skilful use of the pedal and phrasing makes more palatable to my relatively unschooled ears (although I quite enjoy Gould's dry and acerbic style too for the clarity in the exciting pieces) I also like what he said about the chorale being central to understanding and interpreting Bach's instrumental music.  Food for thought for musicians, many of whom just go by "feel", instead of solid research.

 

Are there clubs or societies in which we could just listen to music together and someone could educate/enlighten us about what to listen out for?  Classical music requires so much ear power and knowledge that it is daunting for amateurs.  There used to be a Mahler Society, does anyone know what happened of it?  What do they do?  I can't find them online anymore.

 

Now listening to chamber music.... it's something very new to me.  Remarkable how these musicians can sense each other so intimately,  

 

 

 

 

 

On 3/29/2016 at 1:25 AM, Steve5380 said:
 
Edited by lifeart
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lifeart,

 

I have exactly the same opinion you have about the way Gould plays Bach. It seems that Bach's music gives much leeway to great artists to the way they play it.

 

The video you posted is very interesting, an intelligent analysis of the quartet with good help of the piano.  I have never given sufficient attention to the music of Haydn after my childhood.

 

I don't know very much about specific resources to get educated in the listening of music.  One occasionally finds videos like the ones we posted, or master classes by famous artists.  I started with classical music as a child, and there were no videos in those days.  I never found that it required much ear power and knowledge to be a good listener, since it was natural to listen to this music. Nothing daunting, but enjoyable.   And I think that this is a practical way to approach it.  Unless we are professional musicians, the "knowledge" of music is only a byproduct of listening, What is positive is to play an instrument and learn music theory.   I believe that the ultimate goal of listening to classical music is emotional rather than intellectual.  Our musical ear gets formed with all the harmonic forms of the best classical music we enjoy.  Starting with the most simple, the pleasing composition of Mozart and Beethoven.  Then the romantics like Schubert, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin.  For this formation of our musical sense no explanations are needed, no comments by musicologists or other music erudite.  It is simply the feelings we get from the music, regardless of the structure of the compositions.  

 

I am not so sure if chamber music, vocal music, opera, are the best introductions to musical appreciation,  but instrumental music is, especially the piano. Orchestral music is also helpful, like the symphonies of Mozart, Beethoven.  And a combination of the two with concertos for instrument and orchestra.  Repeated hearing of these works give an effortless understanding of classical music.  And once this apreciation is there,  one can be confident that no other music will replace it,  nor will detailed sophisticated analyses change much what one likes and dislikes.    

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I listened to orchestral music in my youth.  Yeah, like you described, it was purely enjoyment of the music at an intuitive level.  The lush melodies of Tchaikovsky, the colorful harmonies of Debussy and the exciting rhythms of John Williams - they accompanied me through my youth.  I taught myself to read music and studied basic music theory.  But as I learn more music, I yearn to listen with understanding, to understand how it is all put together.  I believe that understanding will enhance the enjoyment.  And there is also much music which is simply meant to be accessed via the intellect first, in particular modern music

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Well... if you want to listen with understanding,  the way is to go to a conservatory and study harmony and composition.

After becoming more expert, the task of creating the music, that is, writing a composition, will appear much more simple.

And you may even attempt to write your own music. 

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Go to a conservatory?  Ha ha, I wish.  Which conservatory will accept a lao kok kok like me?

 

Musical composition is a different ball game from analysis. Composition, at least at the professional art music composer level,

requires imagination, a unique voice and a powerful drive to express one's thoughts in original music, not to mention the technical

knowledge of so many fields as history, harmony, styles etc.  I would love to compose but it's quite beyond me, save for simple ditties, 

LOL

 

I just want to listen like an educated listener. But oh well, I guess I should just be content with youtube clips.  It just amazes me that listeners 

in the days of the old composers could hear so much - they could actually follow the key changes and understand what the composer was "arguing"

through his music, often at the very first listening.  They don't have recordings, so they could hear a piece probably only once or twice in their lifetime!  

 

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Lifeart,  what is a lao kok kok kok ?  I hope it's something good.

 

I'll bet that you are an educated listener right now.  You enjoy the music.  It "talks" to you.  Good music you have often listened to appears "just right" to you. 

You follow the music of Schubert full of modulations into different scales and it gives you the emotional pleasure it is designed to give.

 

When I was a child my family listened to a radio station that played classical music.  We had a record player but few records because we were poor.  So most pieces I heard seldom, some only a few times, and they still registered in my mind.  Music for me has always been ABSTRACT,  without much ordinary meaning.  Even Chopin's funeral march in his 2nd sonata does not bring any dead to mind.  I would never think that Mendelssohn's nuptial march is such without reading the comments.  Tchaikovsky's pathetic symphony does not make me sad.  It is all ... just music.

 

I have listened to a few analyses of music, but  99% of the classical music I know I have not had "analyzed".  These analyses are also a matter of faith.  It's like comments people make of the Bible, trying to guess what the intention of its writers were.  But this does not mean that I don't find meanings in music.

 

In the first thread about instrumental music  I posted the final chorus of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion... what a divine music!  I find that it conveys exactly the right message, And if a musicologist wants to tell me a story that Bach did this-and-that while writing it, and was inspired by such-and-such,  and a thousand other details...   I don't care!  The man has to find something to say since he is making a living as a musicologist.  It is much hearsay, much speculation.

 

Of course it is nice to hear some analysis of music  (when it is well done),  but I don't find that such "education" is essential or even very helpful. TRUST YOUR EAR (that is, your musical center in your mind) to find the best music among the incredible variety,  and trust that what you perceive as the best music IS INDEED the best music.  Nobody needs to tell you why you should like this-or-that.

Edited by Steve5380
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Here is an example of music that appeals to the emotions.

It may not need any learning to fully appreciate,

although this piece has an interesting history.

In more than half a century since this recording was made, 

it is questionable if anyone got it any better than Van Cliburn.

 

 

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Yes, agree with you that music can be enjoyed on a purely subjective basis.  I do that most the time!  LOL

 

But I disagree that some "education" is unhelpful.  I find that I get more pleasure when I have more understanding. My ears become

more attuned and I hear more details that would have otherwise slipped me.  I also can follow the rhetoric of the composer better, the way

he develops his ideas, themes.  This certainly doesn't make me any less emotionally connected to the music.  In fact, more often than not,

it causes me to love the music even deeper, especially if it's masterfully crafted piece.

 

I guess not everyone likes to hear music this way, and that's certainly fine!  It's like literature, some like to just read the novel whilst others employ a

more analytical approach to better appreciate it.  

 

Yup, I knew and loved the Schumann since my younger days listening to lieder.  I"Widmung", German for dedication, is dedicated to the love of his life, Clara.

The ending quotes Schubert's  "Ave Maria", the highest tribute to a lady. Do give the original lied a try.  This is a instrumental music thread, so I shan't post a vocal clip.  

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I find the original lied of Schumann more emotional than the piano arrangement by Liszt. 

What a fine composer he was!  Practically all of his music is among my favorite. 

I play some on the piano, and I hope to learn most of it.

It is inevitable to learn about his life with Clara and his tragic end. 

Why bad things happen to good people?

 

I don't dispute that a good insight into the creation of a work of art, like the principles applied to the composition of a piece of music and the history of the composer, can add to the appreciation and enjoyment of this work.  I just consider that it is not essential, and it is best to come after one is familiar with the work.

 

In some cases I find that knowing too much about the music can take away some of its mysticism.

This happens to me when I learn to play a piece, and the "mystery" of it is revealed.

But in general, the pleasure to create the music by playing it makes up for the lack of "mystery". :)

 

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I'm currently studying as a music composer, and the music that I listen to are more bgm of games (because I want to compose for game music haha). I feel that they bring more emotions when paired with the animation/scenes in games. They often send chills down my spine and I aspire to do the same.

 

The choral and orchestral harmony here blows my mind away. :lol:

 

 

 

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crushedsoul, that's awesome!  hope to hear your music compositions someday here! 

 

music does indeed play a significant role in connecting the audience emotionally with the film (and game). 

the song that you posted "distant worlds" reminds me of the theme from "spirited away"....i prefer the vocal

version but out of respect for this thread, i shall post the piano version, played by the grandmaster of anime music himself

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

 

I'm normally against listening to snippets of Symphonies (they should be appreciated and enjoyed as a whole!) but... 

 

The ending of Mahler's 2nd Symphony (Resurrection) is just too epic!!! My new aural representation of an orgasm (don't kill me). 
 

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21 hours ago, eddyfai said:

I'm normally against listening to snippets of Symphonies (they should be appreciated and enjoyed as a whole!) but... 

The ending of Mahler's 2nd Symphony (Resurrection) is just too epic!!! My new aural representation of an orgasm (don't kill me). 

 

A splendid finale indeed, great exponent of Mahler's music.

 

I am more into small and simple. Here is a piece that I have listened to a thousand times, and I did sing it on the piano at least a hundred times. 

And every time my soul has an orgasm.  Just a percussion and a wind instrument (piano and voice), two handfuls of notes, and each time the Schubertly modulations come along my brain gets stimulated like on the first hearing.  The orgasm comes when close to the end the tonality changes from minor to major in the climax of the poetic emotions, to then return to the minor key to ejaculate the closing beats of the epic piece.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
11 hours ago, lifeart said:

 

I would like to!

 

I did like to go to live concerts.  But recently I realized that I get more value out of watching performances on youtube and a few other websites.

I find too much of an uncertainty in finding a live performance enjoyable, or even 'special'.

Many times I find instrumental music more interesting to experience in a close up video than from the distance in a concert hall.

I also find the quality of the sound much better in a studio recording, or a good video, than in the acoustics of a concert hall.

Of course, what is fascinating in a live concert is to be part of an audience silent and concentrated, in a collective experience of music created in real time.  This is nice, although not a "musical" advantage.

 

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Well I don't know what concerts you've been to render such thoughts about live concerts..  both live and recorded concerts offer very distinct experiences, and one can't just simply judge one as superior to the other.  

 

Sound from live concerts are authentic and instantaneous, as it transfers directly from the instrument to your ears via air.  Apart with the slight influences from the reverb of the concert hall, the resulting sound is crisp, untainted by any sound editing, the quality not affected by any digital or analogue processing.  In a live concert, one is fully immersed into the atmosphere of the concert hall and one may have the autonomy to choose what he wants to concentrate on, instead of being directed by the camera's focus.  However, the negative side to a live concert is that the unedited sound means that one will be able to hear the blemishes and imperfections of the music and technical slip-ups of the musician, but some view this as part of the authenticity of the music, which is important.  The viewing and listening experience is also affected depending on which part of the concert hall you sit and of course, better seats come at a higher cost.  

 

On the other hand, viewing good quality videos on youtube or discs mean that one can enjoy the music with a very customisable experience, for example adjusting the bass and treble levels, adjusting the volume, and replaying.  The sound quality also appears more 'refined' through editing, but one would argue that this would make no difference to virtual music, and what will be the point to instrumental music then?  Edited sound also means that the music is more perfect than it is, which could give false illusions to listeners and it'll also be detrimental to musical students.  Having a 'good' listening experience also depends on equipment, not only the your earpieces, but also all the equipment the music goes through in the process.  Just imagine, the sound has to first be received from a mic, then stored, then put under editing software (God knows how many there are..), then exported out, stored again, then to your earpiece.  The mentioned process is just a rough one and it should be much more complicated, but the main point is that so much equipment and transfers are required and each equipment has to be good in order to deliver a good experience, which will come at a cost as well.  

 

Thus, as you can see, both offer different experiences and advantages, and it really depends on the listener's priorities as to which he would prefer.  Personally, I like to go to live concerts to experience and catch out the true sound of the instrument(s), which I value a lot as a violinist.  However, concerts are not easy to come by and are definitely a one off thing, so when I want to listen or study a piece, I will need to go to youtube or buy a disc.  So it is really is a matter or personal priorities and preference.  

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“… anecdotal evidence and my personal scientific research suggests that there is a direct correlation between what a man does for a living and the way he fucks. Violinists, for example, they tend to come quickly – it’s all those arpeggios.” - Cynthia Taylor, Mozart in the Jungle (Season 1, Ep. 1)

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23 hours ago, funlovingboi said:

 

Thus, as you can see, both offer different experiences and advantages, and it really depends on the listener's priorities as to which he would prefer.  Personally, I like to go to live concerts to experience and catch out the true sound of the instrument(s), which I value a lot as a violinist.  However, concerts are not easy to come by and are definitely a one off thing, so when I want to listen or study a piece, I will need to go to youtube or buy a disc.  So it is really is a matter or personal priorities and preference.  

 

Nicely written discussion of the pros and cons of the concert experience.   

 

Eddy: love the quote about violinist orgasm speeds.  LOL

 

How nice we can form a music group! I could listen to you guys talk for hours!

 

 

 

 

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On 6/19/2016 at 10:49 PM, funlovingboi said:

Well I don't know what concerts you've been to render such thoughts about live concerts..  both live and recorded concerts offer very distinct experiences, and one can't just simply judge one as superior to the other.  

------

Thus, as you can see, both offer different experiences and advantages, and it really depends on the listener's priorities as to which he would prefer.  Personally, I like to go to live concerts to experience and catch out the true sound of the instrument(s), which I value a lot as a violinist.  etc. etc.

 

Your comments ring strongly of motherhood, and I would have written the same in the past, before I had some more experience.  

 

Much has been said about the "fidelity" of sound. I came to the conclusion that the important characteristic of sound in regard to music is how it impacts our musical center and our emotions.  All the rest is accessory and quite susceptible to snobbishness.  I have played the violin for many years, and I find that the "truthfulness of its sound" is far less important than the technique with which it is played.  I doubt that a Stradivarius sounds so much better than any other high quality violin.  And how "authentic" it sounds depends on where it is played.  Maybe the only "authentic" sound comes in an anechoic chamber, and a concert hall is far from it.  The quality of music recording today is very near perfect, with perfect pitch fidelity, low noise, low distortion.   About the complexity of the sound processing, it is questionable how this affects the musical message. Our auditory system is complex. Musical instruments are complex, like the action of a piano,  Yet they can convey personal nuances of the performer.  The erasures of imperfections in editing cannot be something negative,  like it is not negative the editing of a book to remove misconstructions and misspellings. 

 

I don't take seriously the frequent criticisms of attempts to create more perfect sounds.  A Fazioli piano is far superior to the one Chopin used, and all his compositions sound better on the newer piano.  Bach played on a modern concert grand is a more enjoyable experience than when played on a keyboard instrument of his time.  A symphony orchestra sounds better with state-of-the-art instruments than on the instruments of the days of the composers.  But it is interesting to hear the old less perfect instruments, mostly as a comparison.

 

Back to live concerts, I had, for example, some experience with a pianist I am a fan of,  Yundi Li. I have a good collection of his recordings.  Years ago I went to two identical concerts he performed in two different cities. In he first one he played on a brand new Steinway, with overwhelming sound, and it was a disappointment.  In the second, the instrument and acoustics were fine and it was a great musical experience.  Then later I attended a piano concert of Chopin he played, and again it was disappointing, with a tiny piano sound and the whole piece rushed trough.  In all three occasions however, I had a valuable experience of the "live concert" feeling, and this made it worth.  But from a MUSICAL point of view,  I rather listen to his recorded music, videos or mp3, to any other live concert. 

 

Summing up, the experience of live concerts and recorded music is different.  Each has its uniqueness, but from the point of view of musical enjoyment I find much higher value in recorded music.   No planning, no travel, no expense, no preparation, no uncertainty of how it will be,  all of which are not purely musical factors,  but valuable experiences nonetheless here and there...  better infrequent in my estimation.  

 

 

Edited by Steve5380
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Hey guys, just wanted to share inspirational music video. I find this artist is very distinctive of how he expresses his passion to make a campaign for better environment. Furthermore, his composition, articulation, and the dynamic is simply wonderful to describe the situation. The nocturnal accent, somehow reminds me with the first movement of Sonata quasi una Fantasia or Moonlight by Beethoven....

 

 

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Steve

 

It was my first time listening to the Sibelius concerto, being almost completely ignorant of the violin repertoire.  Wow!

Vengerov is such a physical player; his phrasing so clear and his articulation unambiguous.  For a beginner like me, such playing

is easy to appreciate.  

 

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1 hour ago, lifeart said:

Steve

 

It was my first time listening to the Sibelius concerto, being almost completely ignorant of the violin repertoire.  Wow!

Vengerov is such a physical player; his phrasing so clear and his articulation unambiguous.  For a beginner like me, such playing

is easy to appreciate.  

 

 

Sibelius violin concerto is indeed a wonderful piece for violin.  I watched part of Vengerov's performance, and when I closed my eyes I compared it with the interpretation by Jascha Heifetz.  The old master is still quite a few notches better.

 

When I watched Vengerov's performance with my eyes open I felt disgust for the dancing around he does.  Unfortunately I could not find a video of Heifetz playing this concert, but if he did like so many other pieces, he would be an example of how to keep good posture.  I suggest that you hear this piece played by many other excellent violinists.

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On 6/26/2016 at 11:44 AM, Steve5380 said:

When I watched Vengerov's performance with my eyes open I felt disgust for the dancing around he does.  Unfortunately I could not find a video of Heifetz playing this concert, but if he did like so many other pieces, he would be an example of how to keep good posture.  I suggest that you hear this piece played by many other excellent violinists.

 

Indeed, that's what I admire so much about the old masters, they have a no nonsense playing approach with stunning accuracy, clean sound and beautiful tone.  All the focus is brought to the music and the music only.  I particularly like David Oistrakh's playing, with the characteristic depth and richness of sound.  I'm always awestruck by his recordings.  

 

 

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18 hours ago, lifeart said:

Haha, Vengerov's movement may be a lot, but at least I'm convinced it's for the music.  On the other hand, Lang Lang the international piano

superstar simply makes me boil with his facial and bodily contortions. 

 

For the music?  How can the body movement translate into music?  Only the bow passing over the strings results in sound, which when it is well done, becomes music.

 

I agree about Lang Lang.  He is to be heard, not seen.  In comparison, Arthur Rubinstein was a model of good posture at the piano, and only his hands and arms moved around for the music and made him one of the best pianists.

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5 hours ago, funlovingboi said:

 

Indeed, that's what I admire so much about the old masters, they have a no nonsense playing approach with stunning accuracy, clean sound and beautiful tone.  All the focus is brought to the music and the music only.  I particularly like David Oistrakh's playing, with the characteristic depth and richness of sound.  I'm always awestruck by his recordings.  

 

I also hold David Oistrakh among the top violinists, at par with Heifetz.  The tone of his playing is always warm without sacrificing brilliance and always with perfect pitch.  Makes one appreciative of recorded music that preserves their playing forever.  

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Steve5380 said:

 

For the music?  How can the body movement translate into music?  Only the bow passing over the strings results in sound, which when it is well done, becomes music.

 

I agree about Lang Lang.  He is to be heard, not seen.  In comparison, Arthur Rubinstein was a model of good posture at the piano, and only his hands and arms moved around for the music and made him one of the best pianists.

 

For more physical players, their bodies are a reflection of their musical imagination, which in turn is further inspired by the body movements. The key thing is it shouldn't cause unnecessary tension which will do more harm than good

 

I love Oistrakh too!  

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some consider Schumann's piano concerto the most beautiful of all.

I would not single out one concert like that, but the beauty of this one, and in particular this interpretation, I think it is second to none. 

 

Here I prefer watching the video to attending the life performance.  As much as i would like to hear Grimaud in person, here at home it's easier to wipe off my tears and blow my nose in private instead of holding a composed face in the audience.

 

 

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Indeed the schumann piano concerto is one of the most beautifully written concertos!!  Such an intricate piece with great balance between solo and orchestra.  I particularly liked the second mvt, as it so delicately portrays the pure love he had for his wife.  It is even more wonderful that Clara Schumann premiered the work.  

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On 7/10/2016 at 10:42 AM, funlovingboi said:

Indeed the schumann piano concerto is one of the most beautifully written concertos!!  Such an intricate piece with great balance between solo and orchestra.  I particularly liked the second mvt, as it so delicately portrays the pure love he had for his wife.  It is even more wonderful that Clara Schumann premiered the work.  

 

Indeed, the piece is an example of optimum balance between piano and orchestra.  And watching this video one can imagine that it is Clara Schumann the pianist playing.  This concerto has many instances of what I find characteristic in Schumann's compositions: musical nobility. For example, the cadenza at 12:00 in the video, is a spiritual treat and she plays it like that. 

 

It is so interesting that Schumann produced such magnificence with just the classic musical resources similar to Beethoven, Mozart, not so innovative than other romantic composers like Chopin. Simple compositions for piano like his Kinderszenen are evidence of this.  Who knows what musical, spiritual depth inspired this man.  Perhaps that is why he lost his mind at the end...

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

Aside from the awesome singing delivered by the Les Mis cast, I don't think sufficient credit was given to the people inside the orchestral pit... 

 

I personally enjoyed the 'Final Battle' - where the instrumental 'voices' were most pronounced and climactic. Instrumentally, there were so many aspects to love: the robust sound of the bass trombone (or was it the tuba?) in the beginning of the scene, the melancholic oboe solo in the aftermath of the battle and the heart-wrenching violins as they carried away the lifeless Gavroche (the little boy) on a hearse :( 

 

Another twenty more years till they return again? haha

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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • 2 weeks later...
17 hours ago, Girlyformanly said:

I am surprised no one thinks Rach 2 or Rach 3 is the best piano concerto 

 

Well,  both of these Rachmaninoff's concerts rank high enough that they can be the favorite of many people.

 

I can only comment on why they are not my favorites, although I can enjoy some listening of them.

They are geared towards strong showmanship of pianism.  

There is nothing wrong with this, since most piano concerts aim at some of this too.

But their themes are stretched and wonder around like in a Wagner opera (contrary to his overtures).

I find that they make  good background music, that periodically calls the listener's attention with their most popular parts.

 

Schumann's piano concerto is a different experience.  It captivates from the first minute.  It has a deep musical message that attracts total attention.

The showmanship of technique is right there, but it is just an ornament, not its essence. The exhibition is about the wonderful musicality that can be created with a piano, not about the complexity which can be reached in piano playing.  It gives an emotional experience that persists long after the music has ended,  while the Rachmaninoff concerts leave behind a relief of the ears after hearing so much agitated sound.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Steve5380 said:

 

Well,  both of these Rachmaninoff's concerts rank high enough that they can be the favorite of many people.

 

I can only comment on why they are not my favorites, although I can enjoy some listening of them.

They are geared towards strong showmanship of pianism.  

There is nothing wrong with this, since most piano concerts aim at some of this too.

But their themes are stretched and wonder around like in a Wagner opera (contrary to his overtures).

I find that they make  good background music, that periodically calls the listener's attention with their most popular parts.

 

Schumann's piano concerto is a different experience.  It captivates from the first minute.  It has a deep musical message that attracts total attention.

The showmanship of technique is right there, but it is just an ornament, not its essence. The exhibition is about the wonderful musicality that can be created with a piano, not about the complexity which can be reached in piano playing.  It gives an emotional experience that persists long after the music has ended,  while the Rachmaninoff concerts leave behind a relief of the ears after hearing so much agitated sound.

 

 

I beg to differ. No doubt Schumann's piano concerto (my first concerto which I played) has a deep musical message, but it is Rach's piano concerti that gives me musical satisfaction. The tension of the music is the key to the whole piece. For me, Rach's concerti persists Long after. Well, to each his own.

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On 9/10/2016 at 0:57 AM, Girlyformanly said:

I beg to differ. No doubt Schumann's piano concerto (my first concerto which I played) has a deep musical message, but it is Rach's piano concerti that gives me musical satisfaction. The tension of the music is the key to the whole piece. For me, Rach's concerti persists Long after. Well, to each his own.

 

Given that you play piano concertos,  I can perfectly understand your preferences.  The Rachmaninoff's concertos offer a wealth of mastery playing.

I had a similar preference as a child.  I studied the playing of violin for many years and became quite proficient. I studied the Mendelssohn violin concerto and played it with piano accompaniment.  I also studied sections of Paganini's concertos 1 and 2,  As a teenager, while the Mendelssohn's was a joy to play, the Paganini's were a challenge, and my favorites to hear performed by the masters.  After starting college I left the violin completely and music performance became something of the past.  Today the Mendelssohn piece fills me with emotions. I never listen to Paganini anymore, but when I very rarely happen to hear his music I am pleased to recognize that its attraction is in the technical acrobacies more than its musical value. I still like it but it leaves me detached. 

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