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Thread: Classical, etc music

  1. #181
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I have just now gotten as far as Hildegard von Bingen.

    Stepping back a minute: Since I have skipped mountmccabe listens to a band a day week I have been missing out on crazy music listening schemes. I mean, sure, there have been various occasions but they come and go and aren’t as immersive.

    So I am listening, incrementally, to (Western) Classical Music. More or less chronologically by composer's birth. Not every composer, not every piece but I think I am getting a good selection. I have organized playlists by Wikipedia's classifications but I think I am mostly going to ignore those classifications other than as a way to split up playlists.

    I started with Kassia, a Byzantine composer born around 805. She is one of the earliest composers for whom we have extant, decipherable scores. So I started with her Troparion of Kassiani. I then went back, mostly, for some (anonymous) Gregorian chant.

    This was inspired by a post somewhere noting that the way to get into _____ era of music was to first immerse yourself in earlier eras. Figure out where things were so you can more easily hear the changes. And I can say that the Hildegard von Bingen I am listening to now sounds beautiful and melodic after listening to all Gregorian chant yesterday, etc. and I haven't even really looked into the text and how it works with the music.

    If you want to listen along to Medieval music you can.

    Represented composers:
    Kassiani
    Nokter Balbulus
    Godric
    Hildegard von Bingen
    Leonin
    Perotin
    Adam de la Halle
    Petrus de Cruce
    Walther von der Vogelweide
    Alfonso X El Sabio
    Philippe de Vitry
    Guillaume de Machaut
    Jacopo da Bologna
    Franceso Landini
    Solage
    Leonel Power
    John Dunstaple

    Then it is on to the Renaissance! I am not sure how long I will keep going; the Late Baroque period starts to get ridiculous as we reach composers who were prolific and are regularly recorded today (including Vivaldi, Handel and Bach.)

    So I am sticking to this chronology, with clear exceptions. This applies to recorded audio that I choose to play for me for every situation other than working out at the gym. So this does not apply to live music; I am still going to go see Robyn Hitchcock in a few weeks, etc. And I am not going to make my wife, visiting friends, etc. listen according to my terms, even if I am picking the music.
    Last edited by mountmccabe; 04-04-2013 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Added in AdlH
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  2. #182
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    A late add to that list was Adam de la Halle. I am glad he got added because listening today I heard what is now one of my favorite songs.

    He worked in the late 13th century. Polyphony was starting to get somewhere, such as this:



    De ma dame vient, the tenor is singing an old Gregorian plainchant (in Latin) and over that higher voices sing in French.

    Singing in a crazy language, check! Multiple languages, check! Complex polyphony in the lead vocals, check! IT IS ALL MY FAVORITE THINGS.
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  3. #183
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    ^ very nice. I often sleep to this:




    Also, not to stray from topic, but this is beautiful:


  4. #184
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    This is taking a lot longer than I expected. I ended up spending about two weeks with Medieval music. The playlist is just over 400 tracks; I probably listened to a little more than that. I really wish Spotify still gave duration!

    The Adam de la Halle piece above was my favorite. I also really liked Hildegard von Bingen. Leonin and Perotin and the development of polyphony was great. Philippe de Vitry was very good. Guillaume de Machaut was fantastic, I will definitely continue to listen to his motets and Messe de Nostre Dame. Then there was a bit of a lull until John Dunstaple and the start of the Renaissance.

    He is a near contemporary of Guilluame Dufay. Several of his masses start off my foray into Renaissance music. Composer list:

    Giullaume Dufay
    Jean Ockeghem
    Alexander Agricola
    Josquin Desprez
    Jacob Obrecht
    Nicholas Gombert
    John Taverner
    Christobal de Morales
    Claude Goudimel
    Thomas Tallis
    Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
    Orlande de Lassus
    Andrea Gabrieli
    William Byrd
    Thomas Luis de Victoria
    Carlo Gesualdo
    John Dowland
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  5. #185
    The Encyclopedia bmack86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    This looks fascinating and I will have to delve into some of the Medieval stuff soon.
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  6. #186
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I culled the Medieval list down to this slightly more manageable Best of Medieval playlist.

    Dufay had some good stuff (such as his Missa se la face ay pale) but what I listened to from Ockegham and Alexander Agricola didn't do much for me. Josquin des Prez has been fantastic, starting with his Missa Gaudeamus. After hearing that I added in quite a bit more from him and am enjoying.
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  7. #187
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    A late add to the list is Adrian Willaert. I started with some of his ricercares, contrapuntal instrumental works for keyboard. It is the early to mid 16th century and we are finally starting to develop some instrumental forms.

    Willaert is also famous for helping develop polychoral music. He was maestro di cappella at Basilica San Marco di Venezia and was inspired by the large opposing choir lofts. Or, rather it was difficult to get all the singers to sing together (they did not use conductors at the time) so he wrote antiphonal music for alternating 4-part choirs (so 8 total voices) with one set on each side.

    Interno_di_San_Marco.jpg

    Right now I am listening to his Dixit Dominus (Psalm 110/109) and it's hypnotic; I swear time is just crawling.

    This Venetian PolyChoral Style grew to the massive works of Giovanni Gabrieli, et al... but that's quite a bit later.


    Speaking of which, try these pieces:

    Qui Habitat by Josquin des Prez, a canon for 24 voices, six SATB choirs.

    (note the singers filling the aisles of the hall)

    Deo Gratia by Johannes Ockeghem, a canon for 36 voices. See a version of the score, listen to a recording on Spotify... and actually that entire CD is great; it has a Qui Habitat as well as Spem in Alium by Thomas Tallis (in 40 parts), a Magnificat by Thomas Luis de Victoria and more)
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  8. #188
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Also if I was more involved in Wikipedia I would take some time to edit the profiles of some of these composers. You can only have one "most influential" or "most important" composer between Josquin des Prez and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, not half a dozen.
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  9. #189
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I have reached my last composer of the Renaissance, John Dowland.

    My least favorite music thus far has been the madrigals, songs, chansons, etc. That is to say what many people think of as Renaissance music, lutes and whatnot. Funny fancy clothes and frivolity. But that is not what John Dowland's music is. I mean, yes, he wrote lute songs and some instrumental works for lute (and some similar instruments). But his songs are not frivolous, they are not light. They are melancholy and with the right approaches can be amazing. Also his songs are set to English texts so I actually know what they're saying.

    John Dowland - Lute Songs, Lute Music with Francesca Torelli is a lovely album. Her version of "In this trembling shadow cast" is gorgeous. This set also contains "Come Heavy Sleep," "In Darkness Let Me Dwell", "Sorrow Stay" and, of course, "Flow My Tears".

    Another favorite version of Flow My Tears is by Rogers Covey-Crump (tenor) and Jakob Lindberg (lute).

    This one has Paul Agnew on vocals with Christopher Wilson on lute



    By the end of the day I bet I will have gone over 100 tracks from Dowland for the day.
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  10. #190
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    The plan is to move on to the early Baroque next.

    Giovanni Gabrieli
    Jacopo Peri
    Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck
    Claudio Monteverdi
    Sulpitia Cesis
    Gregorio Allegri
    Girolamo Frescobaldi
    Orlando Gibbons
    Heinrich Schutz
    Francesca Caccini
    Samuel Scheidt
    Jacob Van Eyck

    From Jacopo Peri and Claudio Monteverdi I will get to listen to the earliest extant operas, Erudice and Orfeo.

    Or I may take a break and allow music from other eras, saving the focus on the Baroque for later.
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  11. #191
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    And since I'm trying to space out YouTubes so that these pages load well I'll put this in another post.

    Spotify playlist links thus far:

    Best of Medieval

    Best of Renaissance

    Early Baroque, full
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  12. #192
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I did not move on to Early Baroque, just for the record. Or rather I started but then decided there was too much non-early music building up that I wanted to listen to. I have listened to selections from hundreds of classical CDs released in 2013 and I want to keep that up.

    Also on Friday I am going to Lincoln Center Festival's staged performance of Stockhausen's Michaels Reise um die Erde, Act 2 of Donnerstag, opera 4 of Licht. I am quite excited!
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  13. #193
    Lurker nellsonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I'm enjoying this thread. I haven't seen or thought about some of these names since I took Music History for my music degree from an early music nut back in the 80's. I've been listening to lots of Gesualdo lately, courtesy of the King Singers on Spotify. How was that Stockhausen? It must have been quite a scene. Do you live in NYC?
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  14. #194
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    The Stockhausen was great. The music was often beautiful and the staging was amazing. I really liked Michael's belt of mutes. Just seeing what it took to stage that one act of one opera the cycle blows my mind.

    Gesualdo did not stick out for me during my listen through the Renaissance but I did not hear that Kings Singers CD. Maybe I will go there when I try him again. And before I started I did not know the music of a lot of those composers and there were more I had not even heard of. It was a fun project but I am not sure when I will pick it up again and tackle the early Baroque.

    And yes, I live in Manhattan. Lincoln Center is a short walk from my apartment; I am taking advantage of that as often as possible. Mostly Mozart is going on right now and I am hoping to make it up for a couple concerts such as Rossini's Stabat Mater. And beyond LC there are so many other opportunities to hear live classical music it is overwhelming.

  15. #195
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I was going to post this in the records thread but I guess it all goes here, too. The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded sound had 22,000 LPs at NYPL at Lincoln Center

    I came away with 8 record sets for $8.



    Desprez - Missa ave maris stella, Four Motets - Hunter/U of Illinois Chamber Choir (Nonesuch)
    Cavalli - Messa Concertata - Cattini/Orchestra Dell'angelicum di Milano (Musical Heritage Society)
    JS Bach - The Art of the Fugue (trans for orch by Vuataz) - Scherchen/Radio Orchestra of Beromunster (London)
    Pergolesi - La serva padrona - Carteri & Rossi-Lemeni, Giulini/Orchestra of Teatro Alla Scala (Seraphim)
    Verdi - I vespri siciliani - Arroyo, Domingo, Milnes & Raimondi, Levine/NPO (RCA)
    Wagner - Parsifal - Thomas, London & Hotter, Kappertsbusch/Bayreuth (Philips)
    Kodály - Háry János - Ustinov, Melis, Pálocz & Szonyi, Kertesz/LSO (London)
    Prokofiev - War and Peace - Kibkalo, Vishnevskaya & Klepatskaya, Melik-Pashayev/Bolshoi (Melodiya)

    I am most thrilled about the '62 Kna Parsifal and most excited to hear the Bach transcriptions.
    Last edited by mountmccabe; 08-09-2013 at 04:17 AM.

  16. #196
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    So, Mr. Mountmccabe, I'm sure you've already heard Paul Hindemith's music but I myself am just now learning about how great it is.

    This piece takes a minute to get going.

    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 11-17-2013 at 06:55 PM.

  17. #197
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    I am a big fan of Hindemith. I actually just got a chance to see his one-scene chamber opera Hin und zurück as part of a recreation of the entire chamber opera program he curated at Baden-Baden in 1927 (the Milhaud piece was my favorite).

    Symphony: Mathis der Maler is fantastic work.

    I think my favorite of his is the suite from Nobilissima Visione (I have not yet found a recording of the full ballet). This is the second movement:

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  18. #198
    VigoTheCarpathian
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    So, Maestro Mountmccabe-- I have a question:

    Having now attended more Hindemith and perused some backstory: it appears that some of his music was influenced by and composed in the manner of Bach 'et aliae counterpoint while some other pieces shaped in the theme of Arnold Schoenberg's minimalism.

    Schoenberg invented a system for his minimalism called "Twelve-tone": "The technique is a means of ensuring that all 12 notes of the chromatic scale are sounded as often as one another in a piece of music while preventing the emphasis of any one note through the use of tone rows, orderings of the 12 pitch classes."

    This is the only Schoenberg piece i've entertained(over and over again):



    While I find it beautiful, I fail to comprehend the "twelve-tone" nature of it. Are you aware of any Schoenberg compositions which might serve a better example? Am I missing something--as typical of myself?

    Question stands for anyone...
    Last edited by VigoTheCarpathian; 11-28-2013 at 12:44 AM. Reason: Question stands for anyone...

  19. #199
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Verklärte Nacht is a great piece but it is very early in Schoenberg's career, twenty or thirty years before he formalized his twelve-tone system. Try the Variations for Orchestra from 1928:

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  20. #200
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    That said depending on your musical ear and training you may not be able to hear much difference. One way, I guess would be to show you a score so you could count up the notes and see the even distribution. As opposed to most common practice period music which will have a main emphasis on the tonic and secondary emphasis on important intervals (such as the perfect fifth) and other notes of the major scale (assuming the piece is in a major key).

    But that may be getting ahead of things. So, hey, background. Which is mostly about Wagner and not really directly related! And features sweeping simplifications. I am an amateur.

    Music from the Common Practice Period generally followed rules of tonality (along with plenty of other rules). This music is what most people think of when they hear "classical": baroque, classical and romantic music from roughly 1600 to 1900. Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms.

    With tonality music focused on a key, a note, a chord. Other chords would resolve into the dominant. Dissonance would quickly resolve into consonance. [The two parts of this YT video are another good introduction with musical examples).

    Why? Math.



    Simplifying and skipping ahead a long ways we get Richard Wagner and his opera Tristan und Isolde. The Tristan chord has a wikipedia page (it gets very technical, the background section is a good focus). It is a dissonance that is held and then "resolves" into another dissonance.



    [The video position indicator tracks the position on the bit of music quite well]

    Other composers used dissonance and harmonic suspension bending the rules a little as it's a great way of building tension, of teasing a little. But Wagner drew that shit out for an entire opera; there's no resolution until the fucking third act. He depicted this in the action of the opera as well; there is a big act two love duet that builds and builds... until the lovers get interrupted by her fiancé, etc.



    [They move around for a bit and then just after 50:00 they join hands as the music rushes... but everything is still dissonant. This isn't a classical love climax, the resolution is pushed further away. They join hands again at 52:30 as the music builds more and gets closer to a climax but the music fails to reach that resolution and they are driven away again as King Marke comes in.]

    Other composers started to consider and experiment with ways of composing music without following the old rules of tonality, etc.

    So Schoenberg is forgoing resolution in the same sense, he's forgoing the focus on one note and thus the associated harmonics. Everything is in play and you have development in different ways.
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  21. #201
    Lurker nellsonic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Classical, etc music

    Here's a great online contemporary classical station for your edification and enjoyment: http://www.wqxr.org/#!/articles/q2-music/

    Been hearing some old favorites and making new discoveries. I guess I'm in that frame of mind, since I'll be at Disney Hall for the Minimalist Jukebox Festival these next two weeks rather than on the Polo Grounds.
    Last edited by nellsonic; 04-12-2014 at 01:02 AM.
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