all 29 comments

[–]KeitaEdelstein 4 points5 points ago

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You've been choosing all of my favourite symphonies lately! This is my favourite Messiaen piece by a long shot, and I really enjoy the performance by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.

The Ondes Martenot became one of my favourite instruments after hearing this. It's brilliant how it can be so haunting and beautiful, then change timbres completely with the press of a button, I'd love to try one out one day.

EDIT: I like the new format for the Piece of the Week, so I'll give it a go. I've been going on and on about this piece lately, but it's my current favourite so why not:

Nomination: John Adams - The Dharma at Big Sur.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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Feel free to contribute any thoughts/observations!

Next week will probably have to be a different genre, unless there's overwhelming demand for another symphony.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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I've selected Beethoven for the new Piece of the Week, partly as a concession to former users of /r/classyclub, but don't worry - I will definitely keep this piece in mind for the future. Or if you want to nominate another piece this week, feel free to do so.

[–]KeitaEdelstein 0 points1 point ago

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That's no problem, I trust your decision!

[–]radd_it 3 points4 points ago

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:insert Futurama reference here:

listr provided as a convenience, downvote to have it removed.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 2 points3 points ago

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[–]edwigefeuillere 1 point2 points ago

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"Brothel music", according to Boulez. But Stravinsky really didn't like it:

“Messiaen’s Turangalila is another example of plus d’embarras que de richesses.” He described its style as “a mixture of Léhar and gamelans. Like the War Requiem, it contains passages of superior film music (‘Charlie Chan in Indochina’) as well as traces of yesteryears of oneself.” Stravinsky objects to Messiaen’s “attempt to stretch small and inelastic patterns into large ones. At first contact the quality of Messiaen’s ideas, especially rhythmic, is more arresting, but attention rapidly dissipates in the crude routine of the continuing procedure: repetition con crescendo with an ever-wider spread of octaves, though there is already a plague of octaves throughout. These attenuating episodes expose a naiveté that the first statements often successfully conceal […] What Turangalila needed […] was a very cold douche of the most intensive self- consciousness. It’s not easy to imagine anything more inane than the Joie du sang des étoiles, with its stage directions to the conductor, ‘dans un délire de passion’; or to imagine a more vapid melody than the one for ondes Martenot […] in the Chant d’amour II, compared to which Godard’s Berceuse is noble. Little more can be needed to write such things than a large supply of ink.”

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 5 points6 points ago

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a very cold douche

being the key phrase there.

[–]Fumbles329 -2 points-1 points ago

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Well screw Stravinsky and Boulez, I'd rather listen to Turangalila-Symphonie than any of either's works.

[–]Threedayslate 2 points3 points ago

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Ultimately both composers liked Messiaen's work. Boulez owes a huge debt to Messiaen, who was his teacher and a strong influence on Boulez's own writing. And from the source above:

Once having heard some of the later music, [Stravinsky] expressed a qualified enthusiasm for it, adding that “one of those great hymns of his might be the wisest choice of all our music for the deck-band concert on the Titanic of our sinking civilization.”

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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Boulez owes a huge debt to Messiaen

Case in point.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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[–]SchoenBach 1 point2 points ago

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Thanks for sharing the piece. I had been obsessed with it a few years back, and enjoyed rocking to the fifth and last movements.

[–]Whoosier 1 point2 points ago

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This was the first piece by Messiaen I ever heard and I immediately loved it and still do. Unfortunately, I find pretty much all of his other music--even Quartet for the End of Time--uninteresting by comparison, as much as I've tried.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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Really? But there's so much good stuff!

[–]Whoosier 0 points1 point ago

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I'm open to suggestion! I used to buy whatever Messiaen CD had just gotten a good review (e.g., Illuminations from Beyond, Catalogue d’oiseaux, Canyons aux Etoiles) hoping to repeat the Turangalila experience (which is on my iPod, for which I set a very high bar), but nothing has worked.

[–]MirthB 1 point2 points ago

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Apparition of the Eternal Church! Made me pretty obsessed with him and French organ music in general. Pretty much all of his organ music is the cat's meow.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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I'm open to suggestion!

Everything. Seriously.

[–]Whoosier 1 point2 points ago

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As the young folks might say, OMG!

[–]midgrid 1 point2 points ago

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This is one of my favourite pieces of the twentieth century. I attended an exceptional live performance a few years ago given by own of my university's student orchestras; the playing was superb, but what I remember most (apart from the ondes martenot breaking and having to be repaired between movements), was, in the brief pause between the Introduction and the first Chant d'amour, a man in the front of me turning to his female companion and, in the loudest whisper that I have ever heard, asking "What the hell was that?" Evidently he was expecting an accessible Romantic piece...

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 2 points3 points ago

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Ha! The "Symphonie" part is slightly misleading, I suppose. I often see people who are obviously very regular concertgoers but who don't actually seem to have checked the programme before they arrive - they just turn up and listen to whatever happens to be on. It's quite odd.

[–]Leoniceno 1 point2 points ago

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I took a trip to Seattle this year, for the sole purpose of seeing them perform Turangalila. It's one of those pieces of music that can totally consume me.

At the Seattle performance, there was irrepressible applause after the climactic fifth movement, and a ten-minute standing ovation at the end. It was brilliant.

[–]I_AM_STEPHEN_HAWKING 3 points4 points ago

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Nomination: Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op.111: Sviatoslav Richter (24:00)

I'm a pianist, one of my favorite composers is Beethoven. In this piece, the contrast and balance between the stormy allegro and the subsequent arietta is striking. The arietta has a variation that sounds like jazz and ragtime. Uchida has said that the variation sounds like a cheerful boogie woogie. Alfred Brendel said that "perhaps nowhere else in piano literature does mystical experience feel so immediately close at hand".

[–]edwigefeuillere 0 points1 point ago

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I thought the boogie woogie quote was by Stravinsky... But either way, András Schiff disagrees.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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Congratulations - this is now Piece of the Week #11!

[–]TheFemaleProgFan 0 points1 point ago

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I love the works of Oliver Messiaen.

[–]iglookid 0 points1 point ago

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Thanks for this! The symphony is beautiful, but I'm still mesmerized by the ondes Martenot!

Learnt about this instrument only after seeing this. Any other recommendations with ondes Martenot in them?

I'm still trying to figure how it works. For instance, she doesn't seem to be using the keyboard much.

[–]scrumptiouscakes[S] 0 points1 point ago

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Messiaen's Fête des belles eaux is probably the other most famous piece for Ondes Martenot. Glass harmonica is another equally strange instrument you might find interesting - Mozart wrote a few pieces for it.

[–]iglookid 0 points1 point ago

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Thanks! Will look at these. :)