Significant Variations for Orchestra.

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I forgot to say that I would

I forgot to say that I would like to get hold of Braunfels's work. His music is notoriously hard to come by, but I have long loved his string quintet (two cellos), a work that deserves to be established in the standard repertory.

Braunfels and Schmidt

Camaron - Thanks for the recommendations! Klein is the Theresienstadt composer I don’t know. Denisov too I know far less well than I should. I vaguely recall some 80s performances in London, and strangely enough his opera L’Écume des jours was on www.operavision.eu - totally free, by the way, and a boon to those of us who can’t travel much and are financially challenged! - earlier this year, in a Stuttgart revival. The opera’s taken from an absurdist play by Boris Vian, and was interesting. Musically, however, it didn’t entirely match my cloudy memories, which were of a composer resembling a less ferocious Schnittke (and I admire Schnittke a lot) in the way he stages encounters between modernism and styles from the past. I’m sure that is wrong, and in any case look forward to testing it!

 

The mention of ‘Es ist genug,’ by the way, can’t but evoke the chorale variations that close the Berg Violin Concerto.

 

We definitely have some overlaps. I couldn’t agree with you more about the Braunfels Quintet - that wistfully upbeat Rondo finale feels terribly poignant, a very hard-won release. The most accessible Phantastische Erscheinungen recording is by Dennis Russell Davies with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (CPO), which makes a small cut to the score and is coupled with B.’s Op.20 Serenade. There’s also a historic performance in mono on Profil, part of their complete Günter Wand edition but available on a single CD too. I hope Dutton’s survey of Braunfels’ orchestral music will reach the piece soon.

 

And Schmidt ‘s Fourth too - overwhelming. By the time the trumpet returns at the end I’ve forgotten what century the symphony began in, and never expect it. It’s as if under the impact of trauma a composer who could be quite lavish with notes - like Reger, indeed - is stripping everything to the bone, and the result resembles Suk’s Asrael from thirty years earlier. (And do you know Schmidt’s slightly later oratorio Das Buch mit Sieben Siegeln?) The parallels with Reger are striking - they were born a year apart and a certain kind of music history used to marginalize them, but both work with expanded tonality as fascinatingly and provocatively as Schoenberg, though in styles very different from Schreker's or Zemlinsky's, or - different tack again - Krenek. This was highlighted on one of the two (and no more, sadly) occasions on which I’ve heard the Schmidt in concert; in Manchester 1992 it followed Schreker’s Prelude to a Drama and Schoenberg’s Five Orchestral Pieces. This programme (played by the BBC Philharmonic under Adrian Leaper) remains one of the most intelligently planned I’ve ever heard. (My other Schmidt 4, with Yakov Kreizberg conducting the St Louis SO in 2007, was also terrific.)  The Variations on a Hussar’s Song are indeed big-boned and again quite prolix fun; I’ve not yet heard Schmidt’s work for Paul Wittgenstein, and will make sure I do.

 

Elliott Carter’s Variations for Orchestra belong on this thread.

 

I too will need to lean off for the moment - as you say, inconsistent participation is unavoidable. But many thanks for the pointers!

 

DST


 

der singende teufel wrote:

der singende teufel wrote:

...a composer resembling a less ferocious Schnittke ...

From the little Denisov I know myself that sounds quite correct to me...

 

der singende teufel wrote:

that wistfully upbeat Rondo finale feels terribly poignant

Yes! and isn't beautiful? And isn't there a strong resemblace, a beautiful echo to Schubert's own quintet too, that painfully rasing final rondo which some people have crazily claimed does not fit in?

 

der singende teufel wrote:

I too will need to lean off for the moment..

 

A pleasure talking to you DST, hope to see you back

Colourful Variations.

Interesting digression to the less known and not well established works (the "supplementary", as aptly DST put it), which "reward attentive listening" (as again DST stated it) in this field of Variations for Orchestra. No wonder that most of them belong to the past century.

It is intriguing that none has so far mentioned Ravel's Bolero: the supreme Variations in orchestral colour! 

I guess I might not dare to mention some of the quite virtuosic Concertante Variations for various instruments in the early 19th century, like for example the ones by Rossini (for clarinet or clarinet and String Quartet!), which might not reward but facilitate attentive listening.

Parla

Bolero: the supreme

I recall we discussed earlier that the composer’s assessment of his work may have some implications.

Supreme in (orchestral) colour.

I didn't call it the supreme composition. I just mentioned that it is the supreme Variation work in orchestral colour, based on the subject of this thread.

Ravel was not the only composer who had expressed (we cannot be sure what he actually believed about his work) negative thoughts about one of his works (e.g. Beethoven for his Septet or Saint-Saens for his Carnival of Animals). La Ronde des Lutins is one of the "supreme" works in violin virtuosity but it is not necessarily a great piece of music to make Bazzini quite proud of it.

Parla

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