Classical Music Discussion

Mompou always fascinates me. It never quite crosses over to “I live this stuff,” but I’m always impressed by the compositions.

Funny comment about Picasso rearranging a Chopin etude. I love how Barber injects humane modernism into the Nocturne form. He doesn’t subvert it or make it dissonant, but lifts it 110 years into the future. IMO his Nocturne is graceful and most complimentary to Chopin … also modern AF.

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In searching “Anthony Wilson” (trying to find the new Cohearent Records “Hackensack West” album), I found this gem which I like very much. It’s unclear if this Anthony Wilson has anything to do with that Anthony Wilson (?), but I’m glad to have stumbled across this either way. :person_shrugging:

This one is a bit more avant-garde, but Caroline Shaw is a genius and her work here with Atacca Quartet is as well recorded and mastered as it is composed. Quite an intriguing listen that satisfies both the analytical listener in me as well as the me that just wants to melt into the music. :melting_face:

I’ve always loved the sound of cello, and this recording in particular resonates with me. It seems to be an obscure artist on an obscure label, and it briefly disappeared from Qobuz a few months ago (it’s back now) prompting me to order the first physical CD I’ve bought in probably 10 years, so that if it ever disappears again I’ll still have it close at hand.

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This might be a weird question, but what do you guys think about Mahler 3?

Wife bought tickets to watch the Seattle Symphony play it in the coming weeks. I love M5, some of his later stuff, but never really understood M3…

Not weird. I’ve only listened to the third a few times, and often in two sessions which I’m sure doesn’t help. I recall liking the last movement a lot, but not wanting to go through the time to get to it.

Now I’m going to have to listen again. :wink:

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I’ve again made it through part of Mahler 3 - I think it’s a difficult piece. Does not hang together in my head, but it does hang separately. It took a while for me to get into the first movement - I was ready for part 2 well before it arrived. I found the third movement, the scherzo engaging. Was listening late at night and turned it off shortly into the 5th movement. I’ve never been a big fan of the chorus in symphonic works, and the children’s choir is no exception. By turning it off, I mean I was jarred out of a half-sleep lethargy and ripped the Audeze LCDi4’s out of my ears.

I still look forward to gritting my teeth though a second try at movement 5, then having a triumphant relapse into Mahler bliss for the last movement. I like other Mahler symphonies - the 6th and 2nd, with the 1st close behind. The 5th is nice also. Of course these are my own personal, entirely subjective and relatively uninformed views.

I see on Wikipedia that Hindemith - about whom I am deeply ambivalent - borrowed from the 5th movement in an homage piece.

And in a shout-out to @Pharmaboy yeah I really like Barber too.

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Finished (mostly) the rest of Mahler 3. I find the 5th movement still unlistenable. Chorus aversion syndrome. OK, I can take it in Beethoven. The Glorious 9th would not be right without the chorus and solos in Ode to Joy.

But eeeek! The 5th movement of Mahler’s 3rd starts out with a fast tempo, cheery bell noises, and high pitched children’s voices singing. I got through that. Then the adults come in. I find the female vocals particularly grating. Operatic sounding vocals. Don’t get me wrong here either - I can take a fair amount of Opera. But that’s an expected focus and is generally tuneful. And G&S is actually clever and fun. This is just jarring.

My theory of why I don’t care for vocals in symphonies is that it’s an additional channel of information. In particular, if sung in a language that I don’t understand, then it’s information that I know is there, but that I can’t decode. The rest of the music is already full of themes, counterpoints, rhythms, inversions and other tricks. There is a balance in the orchestra. Human voice, on the other hand is designed to send a different type of information. (Note that I don’t mind Firesign Theater’s brief introduction of Dwight Yeast’s All Animal Whistling Chorus, which doesn’t convey extra information, but is ummm different).

The last - 6th movement is sublime. It starts out slightly sweet and turns both brooding and triumphant. Themes come, go and return. It builds to an actual climax crescendo at the end, does a few flourishes and quits.

I’d like to hear your comments after you see it live. Or perhaps you’ll listen to it before, and spend your evening watching crusty auto mechanics rant on YouTube instead.

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Which performance are you listening to?

I haven’t finished getting through all the Mahler symphonies and haven’t gotten to 3 yet, but I’ve generally liked Chailly and the Concertgebouw Orchestra or Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra for many of the Mahler symphonies I’ve tried so far, so I’ll try their 3’s later today.

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I’ve been enjoying the Chailly Mahler 3 this afternoon but it sounded familiar. Then after checking some old posts of mine in this thread, I realized that I’d tried a few Mahler 3’s back in 2020 and preferred Chailly over the rest.

The San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
The recording is very good, Performance was Sept 25, 2002, it’s a 96 Khz 24 bit FLAC. I think the tempo might generally be a little slow, but this works well on the Misterioso track (4th movement).

I’ve been listening via ROON and ROON ARC (in my office), so it must originate on Qobuz. The mastering date appears to be June 19, 2020.

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Orange is my favourite albums of hers.

You’ve probably heard them but Jonas Starker and Alisa Wailerstein also do excellent renditions of that piece. Apparently Kodaly himself said Starker did it most closely to how he heard it in his head.

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@pennstac @PaisleyUnderground Okay, finally made it through Mahler 3, first movement (Vienna / Boulez / Vienna Boys Choir).

Overall, it was better than I was expecting! The beginning part was a bit thick, but the pace and interpretation of the mid/latter part of the first movement was quite good. When I hear it live this week it’s Kahchun Wong conducting (I guess he trained under Masur), we’ll see how he does it.

The hardest part for me is that I like to see the impressionism and story behind it. That’s why I like Scheherazade, Symphonie Fantastique, or Pictures. Mahler 3 is like a thick abstract oil on canvas plus modern tid bits. I’m staring and staring but just can’t see how nature is speaking to him.

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Well there is a bit of story. Military tunes. The names in the first movement, particularly part 2 make me wonder if I should compare the progressions to Sumer is icumen in - one of the oldest tunes to which we have actual melody, and which is often done as a round - a format in which Mahler is well versed. (Note - I have not actually taken the time to do this, but Wikipedia has some melody for both…I’m just throwing BS based on naming, but heck, as BS is what I can do).

Maybe see translation of the words in the chorus part.

eclipsen solarium quant orb biggus dickus Aprille octavo

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First movement? You inspired me to listen to multiple versions of Mahler 3 (and also Mahler 1 and 2) over the weekend.

What I learned from all these comparisons is that my like or dislike of a Mahler symphony comes down to the conductor’s interpretation. I don’t like my Mahler to be slow. For example, Haitink’s first performance of M3 with the Concertgebouw, one of the all time great M3s according to “experts”, is just a little slow for me in the first movement. Maybe it’s because I’m still a Mahler newbie and I’m not ready to experience the angst. And yet Haitink’s Mahler 2 with the same orchestra was one of my favorites. Go figure.

On the other hand, Kubelik adds a little bounce to the music. One review of his M3 stated that Kublelik plays Mahler as if it’s folk music, and I love it. So far, his live performance on the Audite label is my favorite.

Bernstein’s first performance of Mahler 3 with the NYPO is definitely not folk music but is red hot and I like that a lot too, despite not being a fan of his M1 and M2.

I haven’t heard the Boulez yet. I read that this was one of the great M3’s, despite Boulez not being a natural Mahlerian.

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100%, I find the tempo to be a strong factor for my like/dislike even for other composers. Case in point, Dvorak 9 would suck without adequate pace especially in the 4th movement. Bruckner… eeek.

Mahler 5, Bernstein/Vienna, still my fav.

Working all weekend so only had a few hours w/ the system turned on, and even less time listening.

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Tactus Records is having a 50% off sale on these recordings via HBDirect.com

Is anyone familiar with any of these releases or their recording quality? Any recommendations?

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It was pretty good. Impressive brass/horns and percussion. Vocalist Julie Boulianne was very good.

I did fall asleep a few times though… but that could have been the big steak dinner beforehand.

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This right here is why I honestly prefer my hifi/head-fi system vs concerts at this point in my life. :wink: lol

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Mahler’s symphonies are, as a whole, an acquired taste. Yes, they contain moments of great beauty but how they hold together is…less convincing. I listened to the complete cycle several times (borrowed from the public library), before deciding on a purchase. They are important in the history of music, and must be heard by any lover of symphonic music. Personally, I much prefer Mozart, Beethoven, Bruckner, Brahms and Sibelius. Mahler’s vocal music is something else. ‘Songs of a wayfarer’ is a masterpiece, only an artist of the highest sensitivity could create such beauty. And thanks to headphones.com for providing a space to discuss our favourite topic.

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