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View Diary: Thursday Classical Music, Opus D105: Behold, La Mer (42 comments)

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  •  Favorite piece of orchestral music, (10+ / 0-)

    and the first ever orchestral score I bought just to follow along and see how he got the effects he did.  It's amazing how spare but perfect his choices are... just breathtaking, especially the last minute or so of the first movement.  Jesus.

    It's worth listening to his early attempts at 'capturing' the sea, like "D'un cahier d'esquisses", literally "from a notebook of sketches".  This piece was basically part of a dry run for La mer's effects, and it has, structurally, some key similarities.  You can hear the composer just trying out new things.

    Though it's more an "island" piece than a "sea" piece, I'd also recommend the fantastic "L'isle joyeuse", his most virtuosic piano piece, and without doubt one of his best.  The tension at the end is almost unbearable, like the piano is going to explode from all the energy.  Even in this, Horowitz's comparatively restrained performance.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:07:22 PM PST

    •  Thanks, pico (10+ / 0-)

      Amazing, isn't it. I mean, I don't have a theory background, but Debussy pretty much demands you get out of the way and listen. Thank you for the links too - I love that DKos is good for both learning and teaching!

      -7.75, -8.10; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Dave in Northridge on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:10:27 PM PST

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      •  Likewise. I'd never heard (9+ / 0-)

        the Vaughn-Williams before.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:37:43 PM PST

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      •  Debussy is demanding. (10+ / 0-)

        On the one hand, he's one of those composers whose music you can just tune out and let it wash over you and go, "oh, that was pretty."  But it takes listening to get past all that and hear his music as compositions rather than pretty sounds.

        He's like the other extreme from Bartok.  Bartok is ugly sounds that you don't want to wash over you... and yet you can listen to a piece and quickly pick up the form and see where it's going, the whole beginning, middle and ending of it, more easily than you can with Debussy.

        I'd like to do a diary some day on Jeux, which is a tough, tough nut.  I started to write one one time and quit because I saw what a headache it was.  It's beautiful.  It sounds like firecrackers and things whooshing past you and over your head.  Hearing the musical dialogue in it takes more attention.

        •  re: Jeux (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dave in Northridge, pico

          a tough nut indeed. Absolutely requires the full attention of the listener. It definitely took several listens to sink in.

          Re: of the things I love about Bartok is he's capable of dropping a gorgeous melody in the middle of all this ferocious/angular/dissonant stuff. For example the 2nd string quartet, 1st movement (written during WWI). It starts off dissonant, and builds towards a climax for about 2 1/2 minutes. The cadence at 2:52 is completely surprising, and then this unearthly melody breaks out. But it only lasts for about 30 seconds or so, and it doesn't really quite come back. It's really striking, having nine minutes of bleak/tense textures interrupted by 30 seconds of beauty.

          Per the discussion in Dave in Northridge's previous Debussy post, Bartok is much more German (working out of themes, attention to form) than Debussy, whose music always seems kind of primordial to me, as if everything is through-composed and very little (especially the later stuff) is based off any sort of pre-existing form. (In fact, young Debussy was a big Wagner fan, and increasingly tried to distance himself from Wagner as he got older, presumably for both aesthetic and nationalistic reasons.)

          Views Differ On Shape Of Planet

          by nota bene on Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 12:04:57 PM PST

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