If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On: The Music Thread: What Are You Listening To?

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Scepticalscribe

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Twitter went a little nuts today for awhile over some tweet that Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is an exemplar of elitist, exclusive, classist music. I decided not to explore at that particular time why the New York Philharmonic apparently was engaged in this conversation (or a podcast that was the basis of the conversation). I may look that up later when I'm more in the mood for such a discussion. However, I decided that I felt badly for ol' Ludwig, who is not around to defend his composition, and so I have been listening to assorted performances of that symphony tonight. I don't really care if it's elitist. It's ripping good music.

I suspect that this may be because classical music has become identified with "middle class" leisure pursuits in some of the countries of western Europe - and, clearly, above all, in the US.

This was not the case in the former communist countries of central & eastern Europe, where classical music was seen as part of the state's cultural identity, hence classical performances were priced so as to be affordable for everyone, and appreciation of a country's classical legacy was hard-wired into the educational system and cultural landscape; attending concerts across eastern Europe, or the old Soviet Union - certainly, the Russian parts - opera houses and jazz halls were full of people of all ages - literally three years of age to ninety - and all social backgrounds, and musical learning, knowledge and expertise was prized and respected in those cultures.

Anyway, this is a supremely and silly - not to mention, uneducated and uninformed - accusation, especially if directed at Beethoven (or Mozart, for that matter); they are not appropriate targets for such an accusation, as both were political "progressives", or - dare one say - possibly even radicals.

@SuperMatt mentions Wagner (and we are back to the old argument of separating the dancer from the dance, in the words of Yeats, or the artist from his art), but, Beethoven - in political terms - was a passionate radical; witness his re-dedication of the Eroica symphony (No 3, which - originally - had been dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, a dedication that was furiously scratched out when the Corsican crowned himself Emperor, making it abundantly clear that the secular, egalitarian, and liberal goals of the revolution could be dispensed with, and discarded, at will).
 
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SuperMatt

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I suspect that this may be because classical music has become identified with "middle class" leisure pursuits in some of the countries of western Europe - and, clearly, above all, in the US.

This was not the case in the former communist countries of central & eastern Europe, where classical music was seen as part of the state's cultural identity, hence classical performances were priced so as to be affordable for everyone, and appreciation of a country's classical legacy was hard-wired into the educational system and cultural landscape; attending concerts across eastern Europe, or the old Soviet Union - certainly, the Russian parts - opera houses and jazz hals were full of people of all ages and social backgrounds, and musical learning, knowledge and expertise was prized and respected in those cultures.

Anyway, this is a supremely and silly - not to mention, uneducated and uninformed - accusation, especially if directed at Beethoven (or Mozart, for that matter); they are not appropriate targets for such an accusation.

@SuperMatt mentions Wagner (and we are back to the old argument of separating the dancer from the dance, in the words of Yeats, or the artist from his art), but, Beethoven - in political terms - was a passionate radical; witness his re-dedication of the Eroica symphony (No 3, which - original - had been dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, a dedication that was furiously scratched out when the Corsican crowned himself Emperor, making it abundantly clear that the secular, egalitarian, and liberal goals of the revolution could be dispensed with, and discarded, at will).

I don’t want to spend time attacking Wagner. I was just trying to say that Beethoven definitely should NOT be a target. Plus, the argument of classical music somehow being elitist? In almost every part of America, the classical music station is public - no commercials, and supported by the community instead of corporations. It is pop music that’s corporate.

As for becoming a performer of classical music, there are some financial barriers to entry: instruments can be expensive, and you need a private teacher if you want to make a career of it, Good music teachers in the schools can help with this by spotting talented youngsters and connecting them to private teachers, finding them an instrument, etc. if they don’t have the means. That was the case for me as a child, allowing me to have a professional music career. I don’t think that’s the case everywhere though. It’s also quite “uncool” to perform classical music as a kid, which is a shame and deters some talented musicians too.
 

lizkat

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Listening into the wee hours to Angela Hewitt, moved on from JS Bach's Well Tempered Clavier volumes and some Messiaen piano works to her recording of Bach's Six Partitas.

angela hewitt -  js bach-  the six partitas.jpg
 

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Los Temperamentos – Entre Dos Tiempos


Baroque music from Latin America…

Once in a while something comes along that just lifts you, makes you happy and alive.
Absolutely stunner of an album.

Here's a taste…
 
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Mein eigenes kleines Bayreuth…

Trying to get above and beyond the godawful politicking and economic Russian roulette our government is playing with the EU.
Reminding myself beauty exists and as long as I have that I might be OK.
As things are going I may end up humming half forgotten melodies one day as the electricity finally sputters out.

Anyway… on topic:

So far enjoying the New York Met's Wagner week. Links
Certainly one of the best Tristan und Isolde I have ever experienced yesterday. Simon Rattle conducting. I just wish that the NY audiences could just sit on their hands, just for say a second or so after something. That Liebestod was astonishing and needed to die away slowly… just give it time to sink in… wipe away your tears and then sure applaud and shout to all high heaven.
*sigh*

Right now enjoying a fine, sumptuous Tannhauser. (Reprehensible in many ways he may be, but Levine certainly knew his way around Wagner. Oh, heh! Takes one to know one I guess!)

Tomorrow the Ring kicks off. and ending Sunday with Parsifal.

I am not a huge Wagner fan. At all. I still largely agree with Rossini, "Wagner’s operas contain wonderful moments but terrible half hours."
But those moments do come quite fast and often enough.

Anyway… stepping outside on to the streets and in to shops I have a feeling the world is mad. At least here there is some calm.

PS.
Here is the most astonishing Liebestod ever… just… ever!

Jessye Norman and Herbert von Karajan
One of his last performances and certainly one of her most exquisite.
Rarely will you hear and see such emotion.

 

Scepticalscribe

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Los Temperamentos – Entre Dos Tiempos


Baroque music from Latin America…

Once in a while something comes along that just lifts you, makes you happy and alive.
Absolutely stunner of an album.

Here's a taste…

Where can one obtain a copy of the actual CD?

That sounds lovely; I adore Baroque music, and (well, as it happens, I have several, at least of the Jordi Savell CDs) love that Latin Americna take on - or, interpretation of - Baroque music.

Thanks for sharing; terrific choice.
 
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Arkitect

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Where can one obtain a copy of the actual CD?

That suds lovely; I adore Baroque music, and (well, as it happens, I have several, at least of the Jordi Savell CDs) love that Latin Americna take on - or, interpretation of - Baroque music.

Thanks for sharing; terrific choice.
So far I have only found it available for listening on Spotify, Amazon (Streaming) and Tidal.

Here is a link to their site. There is if I count correctly 4 albums available.

Jordi Savall and Les Voix Humaines / Le concert des Nation: I am also a great fan — and for Beethoven year 2020 they have released the Beethoven symphonies 1—5. Apparently 6—9 will follow soon.



I have always enjoyed HIP (Historically informed performance) ever since the early days of Harnoncourt and Concentus Musicus Wien and these are excellent performances.
 
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Scepticalscribe

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Los Temperamentos – Entre Dos Tiempos


Baroque music from Latin America…

Once in a while something comes along that just lifts you, makes you happy and alive.
Absolutely stunner of an album.

Here's a taste…
I have listened to the 'tempting tasters' on this album, - absolutely lovely - and, at least two of the tracks (different interpretation, obviously), appear on the Jordi Savall (Bailar Cantando) CD, which I have; I love this sort of music.

However, I loathe the rentier model of music, (and far prefer to have my music on my own system, such as in a CD).
So far I have only found it available for listening on Spotify, Amazon (Streaming) and Tidal.

Here is a link to their site. There is if I count correctly 4 albums available.

Jordi Savall and Les Voix Humaines / Le concert des Nation: I am also a great fan — and for Beethoven year 2020 they have released the Beethoven symphonies 1—5. Apparently 6—9 will follow soon.



I have always enjoyed HIP (Historically informed performance) ever since the early days of Harnoncourt and Concentus Musicus Wien and these are excellent performances.
Thanks very much for the link; much appreciated, & must pay a visit.
 

SuperMatt

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I cannot wait for the pandemic to be over. When it is, I recommend people attend historically informed performances live and in person. I’ve done some through the magic of the Internet and recording at home, and the outcome was pretty good... but it’s much more special to hear the music of Bach or Monteverdi on historic instruments, directed and performed by those who studied to try and follow the techniques used in the 18th century.
 

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I cannot wait for the pandemic to be over. When it is, I recommend people attend historically informed performances live and in person. I’ve done some through the magic of the Internet and recording at home, and the outcome was pretty good... but it’s much more special to hear the music of Bach or Monteverdi on historic instruments, directed and performed by those who studied to try and follow the techniques used in the 18th century.
👍👍👍
And not just 18th C and earlier… it is a revelation to hear 19th C and 20th C.

There is an excellent Mahler Totenfeier by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

That being said I still have a fondness for the plush big sound orchestras…
We are incredibly fortunate to have all this at our command.

"The best of times, the worst of times…"
 

SuperMatt

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👍👍👍
And not just 18th C and earlier… it is a revelation to hear 19th C and 20th C.

There is an excellent Mahler Totenfeier by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

That being said I still have a fondness for the plush big sound orchestras…
We are incredibly fortunate to have all this at our command.

"The best of times, the worst of times…"

I did a Mozart Requiem with “period instruments” and I liked it - it didn’t have the overly dramatic “movie music” treatment that Mozart gets with massive orchestras.
 

Arkitect

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I did a Mozart Requiem with “period instruments” and I liked it - it didn’t have the overly dramatic “movie music” treatment that Mozart gets with massive orchestras.
That is true. I find what they may lack in oomph and volume they make up for in texture and detail. Sometimes it is like listening to a piece with a new pair of ears. :)
 

lizkat

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Martha Argerich back in 1979, having at Bach's English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807. Possibly a bit overcaffeinated but anyway it's done with conviction (and may well convey that even Bach might have said a piano would beat a clavier and a harpsichord). It snaps me out of any downturn in mood.

 

Arkitect

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Martha Argerich back in 1979, having at Bach's English Suite No. 2 in A minor, BWV 807. Possibly a bit overcaffeinated but anyway it's done with conviction (and may well convey that even Bach might have said a piano would beat a clavier and a harpsichord). It snaps me out of any downturn in mood.

In my book Martha Argerich can do no wrong. 👍👍👍
 
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