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PYF Symphonies, ballets, operas, etc Anonymous 08/05/2022 (Fri) 21:14:52 No. 7691
Someone in another thread proposed talking about high culture. Having tried to cultivate an appreciation for these things over the last seven years, I'm no expert, but I have some favorites and a "top 50" list which is a good entry point, and illustrates some of the language in which music of this kind communicates: https://archive.vn/IjVLL A prefatory remark about getting into this sort of thing: there's a lot of context that's absent if you just listen to a piece on youtube. This is even true of symphonies: >[Beethoven's] Symphony No. 5 in C minor from 1808 has gone down in music history as the Symphony of Fate. It is a central work for the Beethovenfest, which this year has as its motto "Fate." [When asked about the opening motif of the Fifth Symphony, Beethoven] is said to have replied: "This is the sound of fate knocking at the door." You wouldn't guess that from listening, but if you listen once and then again with context, you probably get more out of it the second time. Some compositions are explicitly topical. Liszt's Faust Symphony, for example, is presumably not any sort of opera or ballet, but: >Liszt wanted to illustrate in music the essence of three main characters from Faust. Because of this I'd say the piece is a perfect example of program music (music that describes an idea or story). >Liszt chose to dedicate a movement to explore each character. The movements are: >1. Faust (Allegro, Quick), the disillusioned doctor whom the devil tempts into worldly powers and passion >2. Gretchen (Andante, Walking pace), a sweet, innocent maiden >3. Mephistopheles (Scherzo), the devil, an evil trickster And you get more out of it by learning the musical vocabulary in which these people thought: >Liszt doesn't give the devil any original themes. He just takes Faust's themes and mutilates them into gleefully wicked parodies to show Mephistopheles acting through Faust. It's good to search for background information about these things. Maurice Ravel's "Daphnis and Chloe" — A ballet. Having the visual component that a symphony lacks, there are passages you might describe as "whimsical", with the wacky trombone noises and things I would associate with Danny Elfman's style of movie scoring. The experience is probably lessened if you're only listening. Bruckner's 6th Symphony struck me as the score to an epic adventure movie. I appreciate the masculinity of Bruckner's style in general. Very powerful, towering themes, imo. Beethoven's 9th — Ode to Joy, my dudes. Gustav Holst's "Planets" cycle is an easy entry point for anyone who wants to start somewhere, because even more than Wagner or anybody else, Holst's "Mars" has not only inspired the music to every space battle you've ever seen, but has been directly ripped off, usually without even the pretense of originality, probably in the hundreds of times. (CF Barbarian Horde from the Gladiator Soundtrack, or "Under Siege" from the Hyrule Warriors soundtrack.) Mozart's "Magic Flute" — An Opera. It has the charm of a Disney movie. It probably IS a Disney movie in some incarnation. I actually had a hard time sitting through it when I started trying to get into this sort of thing, but webbum related gives you a taste of what you're in for. Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" I appreciate mostly for the Christmas nostalgia, tbh. So now I'll turn the floor over to you, dear anons. What's your favorite, and what should anybody listen to at least once?
I mentioned Messiaen in some music thread a while back and him being my favourite composer hasn't really changed, particularly his Quartet for the End of Time, which he wrote as a prisoner of war during WW2. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVojbUao2ww&list=PL8oAJzPXGW51pG9YuP3Y-RTWznVVxUjs3&index=1) There's an aimless sort of wandering quality to the first movement that I've never seen accomplished in any other piece of music; among other things Messiaen uses isorhythms to make it feel like time has just been suspended. the piano repeats a 29 chord sequence over a rhythmic pattern using 17 notes. These numbers are both prime (being coprime would've sufficed), so the two patterns don't ever sync up during the piece, and you're left with this bizarre case of listening to the same thing repeatedly yet it's always malleable, unsettled, and wandering about. overall the quartet is a great listen if you're feeling depressed, especially the popular 5th mvt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbijWH_NB60&list=PL8oAJzPXGW51pG9YuP3Y-RTWznVVxUjs3&index=5) I've also been a really big fan of Shostakovich, his music was written under Stalin's totalitarian regime and the isolation and contempt he held was expressed incredibly through his music, especially in pieces which he wrote but never published since they would've put his life in danger, like Symphony no. 4 or his Violin Concerto. Though I think my favourite moment in all of his works is at the end of his Symphony 5, mvt 3 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtTaDwMpdkQ&t=773s) where he has the harp (playing harmonics), the celesta and the violins accompanying those two. the combination is such a unique sound, this blend of eerie, ghostly, sad and elegaic emotions all at once. the movement ends with a picardy third which feels a bit clichéd and overdone by this point in the 20th century, but it's still comforting and we have to understand the symphony was written in the context of his work having been denounced harshly in the Pravda for being too "complex" "formalistic" etc...
>>7699 oh the shostakovich link broke cause it was in parenthesis. should be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtTaDwMpdkQ&t=773s
>>7699 Messiaen seems to have been quite a character! https://youtu.be/uFt2szkRiGI I can't say I enjoyed much of what I heard, but I understand why it sounds that way: he was painting.


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