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08-10-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Axel
South Africa
Posts 80
Joined on 07-18-2009

Post #: 1
Post ID: 11335
Reply to: 11335
Aimez-vous Bartók?
fiogf49gjkf0d
Well, of course it should say "Aimez-Vous Brahms?" (the novel by Françoise Sagan), or also known as: " Lieben Sie Brahms?"
Actually my answer to this to be honest is: No, I don't.
Brahms, other then his Violin Concerto has so far not managed to capture my fancy - it's just something about his music... can someone help, what am I missing? Takes 4 years to write a piece of music (Symphony # 1) and it just seem to lack something... effortlessness?

Now, what about Béla Bartók? I been listening to his 'Concert for Orchestra' with Sir Georg Solti and the CSO (also know it by Reiner and CSO) and it just struck me that this should be something I'd like to hear with well set-up horns!

This music is pretty 'far out' as all of Bartók's really is, but in fact this one is the most accessible to me so far - it is dynamic as hell, from the most delicate passages to the outright 'screaming' ones. He uses the full force of orchestra reminiscent of Bruckner --- but hey, otherwise Bruckner is still pretty late classic and unfortunately always seemed to 'look over his shoulder' to his much admired, adored, 'vergöttert' Wagner...

So Bartók , Concert for Orchestra, anyone has listened on his horn-system to this one?

Axel
08-10-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 11342
Reply to: 11335
Something vs. anything.
fiogf49gjkf0d
I know some people who do not get Brahms. I am not one of them; even I am not a huge fun of his First Symphony. As any composer he has more and less interesting works, much more interesting in my view. In contrary with all my respect to Béla Bartók I am not a big admirer of his Concert for Orchestra. It is not that I do not like the work but I feel it is a bit too light for me and “about nothing”.

The Bartók's Concert for Orchestra is smart and effective, it is impressive and made to be impactful but I have a feeling when I listen it that it synthesized juts for sake of itself. I feel music is not some kind of medium that is composed and performed just for benefits of self-consumption. In fact in many case it does but I am not have a lot of interest in this music.

I would admit that if to fish deep some kind good-rendered symphonic expressionism of nothingness then it is possible to dig “something” but I personally prefer that “something of higher degree” would be initially imbedded with sufficient amplitude in the music to begin with.

Rgs Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
08-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Axel
South Africa
Posts 80
Joined on 07-18-2009

Post #: 3
Post ID: 11344
Reply to: 11342
Something about 'nothing'...
fiogf49gjkf0d
a very good take on ones 'motivation' of musical likes and dislikes.
In fairness I have listened to some rendition of Brahms’s 2nd piano concerto and it has something more for me, yet it might just simply be more 'accessible'? Maybe it has some sort of 'arabesque' / catchy melody bit that does something. However, I've tried to get into his 3rd Symphony by Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Wiener Symphoniker --- same thing again, something inside does not connect and then begins to 'resist'.

Which of Brahms' works would you find have that spark of "greatness" that comes across so I can get perhaps connected?

Now since we are with "greatness"...
When listening to Beethoven's 5th with Günter Wand and the Frankfurt Rundfunk Orchestra ---- that, in my ears just has it. In fact only with a less well-tuned system it might get 'filtered out', I know this because exactly that happened before. It is however so 'impressive' that even with an out-of-tune system it still has some more to it then just the ta, ta, ta, ta.... opening theme, LOTS more.

Now, the something about 'nothing' type of music -- and why do I think IMMEDITELY of Mendelssohn? He has some marvellously accessible works, his Violin Concerto, the 'Italian' Symphony, even the Fantasy Overture of Romeo and Juliet.
B U T, Mendelssohn is known to be self-confessed about JUST writing his music to be pleasantly entertaining without the intention of trying to say much of anything else. So what would he do to your 'depth perception" --- is he now shallow? Not exactly to me, but mostly light - certainly.

Having looked at it from this angle --- NOW HOW ABOUT most of Mozart’s early works?! All that music was written pretty much in the same vain then the just mentioned Mendelssohn, and then Händel and Hayden, AND Vivaldi?!
Other then Vivaldi's "Glorias" most of the rest is all not what I'd call "deep" in any fashion as does apply to early / mid Mozart. Works of genius, but not emotionally DEEP? In fact that was NEVER the intention at all - for all I would know.

You mentioned a while ago some works by Glazunov - or how about Borodin? They seem to have a similar effect on me as Brahms' Symphonies 1. and 3. I.E. I don't get them, like Borodin Symphony No.1, with Moscow Radio Large Symphony Orchestra and G. Rozhdestvensky, and the his String Quartets No. 1 and 2. ..... hm.

And it's not just these 'late romantic' Russian that give me a problem, you may add the Finish Sibelius to it, minus his Violin Concerto, and Finlandia --- well, frankly I'd go with Grieg any time of the day for it.

Lastly, could it be one connects mostly more easily to ones home-country's -classics-?
In my case, J.S. Bach, Händel, Hayden, Mozart, Beethoven, Bruch, ~ Mendelssohn, (not Bruckner or Brahms), Mahler, etc.
Practically ALL English composers give me some strange 'taste' yet again, while most -classic-, 'early romantic'  Russian (Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Mussorksky, Katschaturian...) composers I experience as pretty accessible.

BUT GREATNESS --- ?! Who then beyond Beethoven and late Mozart has those 'goose-bump' compositions?
Axel
08-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 11356
Reply to: 11344
The Furtwangler explained...
fiogf49gjkf0d
Frankly, I do not understand your reply. Greatness did not stop with Beethoven and late Mozart but it is not the point. There is an abstract definition of greatness and there is a specific definition of interest. All that I said that despite the Bartók's Concert for Orchestra might be a “great” but I do not have any deep-vested interest in this music. 

Furtwangler wrote during summer before his death in one of his letters that that many contemporary composers instead of demonstrating “what they compose” are demonstrating “how they compose”.  He meant that accent of creation does not highlight a musical piece as a repository of some kind sensation that is a part of natural existence  but rather the accent stress the function of creativity that is detached from the musical piece itself. Furtwangler explained that it is one of the major reasons why there is little lately great composition but there are so many composers. In my view the Bartók's Concert for Orchestra is in the same domain - a great mental creative exercise of a very talented music professional but the Concert lucks initials natural  meaning, the  meaning that the Brahms’ 2nd, 3rd and 4th symphonies do have for me.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
08-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Axel
South Africa
Posts 80
Joined on 07-18-2009

Post #: 5
Post ID: 11358
Reply to: 11356
"Greatness" and modern composers...
fiogf49gjkf0d
Firstly, no form of criticism was implied, why at all?
Bartók just seems to give you some form of 'empty notion' perhaps, as does Brahms with me. I discussed this subject earlier today with my audio friend who would share your take on Bartók but doesn't seem to get into Brahms either. He happens to be a trained pianist amongst some other more technical achievements.

Wilhelm Furtwängler would have said what you mention as he was well known to be a VERY structured and CLASSICAL oriented conductor only. He happened to share this opinion / mind-set with some other conductors of his period, for instance Bruno Walter who had to go pretty much out of his way to play his 'friends' music at all, - Gustav Mahler's - . Walter also had a disregard, call it contempt, for the Late Romantics and ~ Moderns.

It actually means NOTHING at all, and only is once again an expression of a personal preference or disinclination. Some critics also noted that HvK was not getting it right with anything much before Beethoven, couldn't do much with what followed him, - the Romantics, e.g. Schumann, Schubert, etc., then once again be more 'connected' to the Late Romantics, Debussy, Ravel, etc.
Listening to some Baroque music by HvK seems to support this :-( 
I could carry on but it's just to put Furtwängler's notions into context.

"Greatness" is on the one hand what other experts decide for us, but it is also a very personal assessment and it is this that I was referring to. If Brahms is one of THE great composers I have no issue of course, as little as I guess that you would have issue with Bartók. But it means little personally if you can not perceive this for your own self. (No good for a personal 'greatness transparency' check I'd say...)

Now I feel / perceive that Bartók’ s music is working on a VERY much more subliminal level then the typical Classical more structured composers. Bartók can stir emotional reactions, that can take one back to pictures and related feeling way back into childhood and then to other places during ones life also. If music 'connects' it can evoke such 'lost' feelings and notions, somehow re-connecting them into the present -- they are actually not lost, just temporarily forgotten.

So it may be that Brahms and others are doing it to one person, and yet other composers and their music to someone else. The "greatness" can of course only be appreciated or perceived if the music can reach you emotionally in the first place. If it does not, one can then resort to some sort of intellectual mind-game, like trying to 'explain' or rationalize the meaning of a great painting that actually means nothing to one on an emotional level.
Axel
08-11-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 11359
Reply to: 11358
There is no need to generalize non-generalizable.
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Axel wrote:
Firstly, no form of criticism was implied, why at all?
Bartók just seems to give you some form of 'empty notion' perhaps, as does Brahms with me.

I was not talking about Bartók. I told about the very specific Bartók's composition: the “Concert for Orchestra”

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
08-12-2009 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Axel
South Africa
Posts 80
Joined on 07-18-2009

Post #: 7
Post ID: 11361
Reply to: 11359
Generalizations and composeres
fiogf49gjkf0d
My original post asked: "Do you love Bartók?" - maybe you'd missed that?

It was eluding to the famous novel's title by F. Sagan. Bartók's concert was just one of his compositions I'd listened too when writing the OP.
Your response indicated to me that you don't - and mine that I have some problem with Brahms’ music.
Of course these are all "generalizations"!  Would you suggest to go over every movement and detail of a composer's work so as to “non-generalize”?

If you listen to Bartók's Violin Sonatas 1. & 2. or his Violin Concertos 1. & 2., etc., he will ALWAYS have this very ~ different sound. Very diffuse, internalized, dissonant, etc.

If listening to Brahms (his 'serious' music) Concertos, Symphonies, and on - he has his own distinguishable sound. There is a sense, when listening to his serious music, that he was always TRYING TOO HARD, and so does Bruckner by the way, TTH -> also trying to hard.

I NEVER EVER, would get this impression with e.g. Mozart, or Beethoven. They seemed to put it on paper once it was clear in their mind - AND THAT WAS IT. (and it shows in the music). They were absolute Masters, no fumbling and patching and fixing required, they worked hard OK, but I never get this cramped sense of ‘trying too hard’.

Once again there is some element of generalization here. If asked: Do you love Life? Would you then suggest to give a minute by minute rendering? That’s absurd.

Axel
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