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Tjh, your post makes good sense to me. Somer points from my side:
- The paradigm with the tall building has to do with the fact that one knows (in advance) what kind of building can be called tall (wherever he/she is: NY, Siberia etc.).
- In this vein, if one knows (recognises) that Bruckner's 4th is a great work, there is no problem if he/she considers it as the lowest of his Symphonies. Comparisons are not necessary, unless they express the personal preferences of the person involved. The important thing is that one is aware of the matter that Bruckner is a great composer and composed magnificent Symphonies of extraordinary proportions and scope. Likewise, for Schumann's Third or Beethoven's Sixth.
- Each great work of a significant composer can be greater than the other ones of the same composer for different reasons (the Ninth for the scope, innovation, choral part etc. The Sixth for its brilliant depiction of its program and a Finale that could be considered as the most divine orchestral piece Beethoven wrote etc.).
- A "musical analysis" might not convince you to change your preference for Beethoven's 6th, but it might help you see the others with another view and, eventually, listen to them in a new more involving way. Then, who knows, you may start loving the 7th (as much as the 6th or...).
yeap, I don't like Liszt, that is more straightforward
Parla, that's a more restrained and reasoned post. Thanks.
I think the weakest link in the Bruckner canon is No 2. Okay, it has a very nice slow movement, but the opening movement doesn't seem to get anywhere, The scherzo and finale can sound very crude if not played well.
It's also appropriate perhaps to mention No6, perfectly good symphony, it's just that last November's concert in Leeds Town Hall was half full. Nobody seems to like it!
For Schumann, we tend to get the Piano and Cello concertos at Leeds and not much else.
Clive thanks for your post. I will have a good look at your site re: Fischer and other recordings. That's a very interesting observation you make about the semi-staccato or semi-legato. I'll have to have a look at that also.
Meanwhile I had a listen this afternoon to Schumann's first symphony with thescore on IMSLP. Long time since I last heard it. I did find it a bit thickly orchestrated yes, but particularly liked the last movement.
Meanwhile, the Requiem for Mignon, a new piece for me, I thought was absolutely sublime. Youtube version with Edith Mathis. Again, the score is on IMSLP.
PS Clive - about a year ago I listened to different versions of Kreisleriana on youtube and felt that the Horowitz recording from 69 was the best. That's what I meant by 'nails it'! I didn't mean that he hammers the keys!
Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...
DSM, practically any work, if "not played well", can sound "crude", bad, wrong, whatever...I had an awful experience to attend a concert of Beethoven's Fifth from an amateur orchestra in Africa. People started living the hall even after the First movement! Those who did not know the work spoke about a horrible, noisy Symphony!
However, I can understand your feelings towards the Brucker's Second. From the Third and onwards, every single Symphony is a jewel of musical architecture of the highest order ("Musical Cathedrals"). Considering that the First is more charming and youthful, the Second sounds rather weak. The 6th is a favourite for many Brucknerites. It is a wonderful and great Symphony, but "squeezed" between the colossal Fifth and the last three, which are of monumental proportions.
So, back to Schumann?..What about his Chamber Music?
I think Schumann's chamber music is pretty good though it's something I don't pay attention to much. There are still lots of composers I have yet to explore, so I tend to focus on orchestral music , which itself is a very wide canvas.
Finally, listened to the first symphony - twice. First time, Kubelik with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Then the new Rattle version. I enjoyed the Kubelik, but the Rattle, which hasn't been well reviewed, absolutely knocked my socks off. Breathtaking precision and exhiliratingly paced.
As for the music itself, this was my first experience of Schumann's orchestral side. I would never have guessed that there was anything problematic with his orchestration. Much of it sounded like mid-Beethoven orchestration. There were also some interesting "forward" looking touches: a gorgeous brass chorale at the end of the second movement, for instance. (Is this the first unaccompanied brass chorale in the symphony? Someone must know.......) Also one or two patches of Bruckerian organ-style playing: one section playing together in contrast to another.
The symphony struck me as quite modest in proportion and ambition: not that far removed from a late Haydn symphony. (In Rattle's hands the first movement has a distinct Haydn feel). Much of this first movement is also pretty heavily indebted to Beethoven and Schubert (especially in the development). There is also a passage that makes me think "Ah, Tchaikovsky!" - the second subject, I believe: a lilting passage on oboe with pizzicato accompaniment. The second movement is especially lovely - with a secondary theme that sounds a bit like "Lawrence of Arabia". Schubertian, again.
I won't go on movement by movement.....Clearly and indisputably masterpiece, I would have thought.
Hurrah, a new fan! Welcome, Jane.
Hi Jane. I have to admit I didn't rave about the first symphony as much as you, but it might repay further listenings. I just felt that the woodwind in particular was a bit thickly orchestrated, and could havwe done with some 'lighter' scored moments. I'll have another listen...
I can share Paul's enthusiasm for a new "fan" of the Symphonies by Schumann, or at least of the First.
Rattle is not the ideal conductor for these works, since, except for his great precision, he is not focussing on certain other elements of Schumann's idomatic language. Therefore, if Rattle managed to make you thrilled, that's great news. Of course, the generally appreciated Bernstrein or even the more balanced Sawallisch might sound slow, heavy and even dull. Bernstein opted for some quite slow and broad movements (maybe only Celibidache has opted for that sort of approach) with great emphasis on the idiomatic "thickness" of orchestration rather than the precision and clarity of line, which was not Schumann's primary concern or asset. In their hands, the Symphony does not sound that much as "quite modest in proportion" or even in scope. It sounds as pure and clear Schumann who, occasionally, pays tribute to Haydn, Schubert and even Beethoven.
From the modern more modest recordings, P. Jarvi, on RCA, has done a pretty good job in trying to merge the tradition with the contemporary trend of a more "linear" Schumann.
Finally, while the First movement is the substantive, heavy one, it is the Finale (and the Scherzo to some extent) that makes the whole difference. It is one of these few cases where the gloomy and sombre composer gives us such a smiling, humorous and, at the same time, brilliantly musical piece in his Orchestral Music.
Now, let us know, Jane, where are you up to? The next one in chronological order, i.e. the no.4 (which, however, is like two different works, depending on the version you choose to listen. If you have to choose one, I am with Clara: choose the second one of 1851) or the next as for the edition, i.e. the no.2. They need a quite different introduction and approach.
So, again welcome.
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