Carl Stross

Stradivarius violin talks to you

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On 7/1/2020 at 10:32 AM, Rue said:

OMG...are the Illuminati part of this too??? :blink:

Shhh, Rue you know we can't discuss this on MN, especially the ultra-secret esoteric Juzek Master Art connection!

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Phillip K.T. : if I hear you correctly you find Brahms' music to be contrived. ( My words, not yours)

I agree , some of his music comes across that way to me as well. For example some of his solo piano works, and bits and pieces in his compositions everywhere.

Yet when I hear his first symphony , the piano concertos, so many other compositions he blows me away. He can create an atmosphere, as for example in the adagio of his G major violin sonata that one doesn't find anywhere else.          Playing his chamber music is quite a challenge, but a very moving experience.  It can easily sound muddy or dragged down. 

It seems he is trying to expound on Beethoven without leaving the restraints of the classical period too much. There is something very German in his music I think, this complexity , ( too ) much emphasis on detail, gründlichkeit,  somehow lack of natural flow. Mozart was pretty well the opposite in many ways . His complete mastery came naturally - and yet from the "German" tradition as well.

 I am not a music scholar, just enjoy all kinds of music. Including both Brahms and Dvorak. Brahms is actually one of my favourites. He didn't write any bad music. There is some nobility to it. Sometimes he sounds tortured, maybe because he was often very unhappy.          Some of Dvorak's music is astounding - 9th Symphony, piano quartets, quintets, , romance for violin and orchestra,  romantic pieces, but he also wrote some very uninteresting second rate stuff. 

Just my 2 cents. 

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1 hour ago, hendrik said:

Phillip K.T. : if I hear you correctly you find Brahms' music to be contrived. ( My words, not yours)

I agree , some of his music comes across that way to me as well. For example some of his solo piano works, and bits and pieces in his compositions everywhere.

Yet when I hear his first symphony , the piano concertos, so many other compositions he blows me away. He can create an atmosphere, as for example in the adagio of his G major violin sonata that one doesn't find anywhere else.          Playing his chamber music is quite a challenge, but a very moving experience.  It can easily sound muddy or dragged down. 

It seems he is trying to expound on Beethoven without leaving the restraints of the classical period too much. There is something very German in his music I think, this complexity , ( too ) much emphasis on detail, gründlichkeit,  somehow lack of natural flow. Mozart was pretty well the opposite in many ways . His complete mastery came naturally - and yet from the "German" tradition as well.

 I am not a music scholar, just enjoy all kinds of music. Including both Brahms and Dvorak. Brahms is actually one of my favourites. He didn't write any bad music. There is some nobility to it. Sometimes he sounds tortured, maybe because he was often very unhappy.          Some of Dvorak's music is astounding - 9th Symphony, piano quartets, quintets, , romance for violin and orchestra,  romantic pieces, but he also wrote some very uninteresting second rate stuff. 

Just my 2 cents. 

When we are discussing aesthetic appeal, we can do nothing except explain ourselves.

Once we have agreed where a particular composer stands historically, then we can like or dislike his music as we choose.

I accept Brahms’ genius, as did Shaw. But Shaw thought it was wasted on a small mind, and me personally it just doesn’t speak to me. I think the entire first movement could be boiled down to the main theme stated in the final movement, which is about 45 seconds of incredible beauty surrounded by 45 wasted minutes.

So I agree with you entirely, about Dvorak too. The difference is that Brahms only wrote, I think, 14 orchestra works, and we are condemned to hear them all repeatedly. Dvorak wrote a lot of second class stuff, but he wrote so much that we can enjoy the great works And never bother with the mediocrities. Interestingly, as much as I love Dvorak, I’ve played his Requiem a single time, and thought it was dreadful. Shaw reviewed a Performance of Dvorak’s Requiem and also thought it was dreadful, but he thought Dvorak in toto had very little to say, And on that I disagree strenuously.

PS I think “contrived” isn’t the right word. I think Braum’s goals were different. Demonstrating his technical skill was more important than making music. Haydn and Mozart and Bach all had as much or more technical skills, but when you listen to their music you are not conscious that, “here the composer is doing X, isn’t he clever?” You only get a reaction to the music.

With Brahms, the device always seems to come before the musical expression.

Edited by PhilipKT

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1 hour ago, PhilipKT said:

When we are discussing aesthetic appeal, we can do nothing except explain ourselves.

........................................

With Brahms, the device always seems to come before the musical expression.

To me, Brahms, while his genius is undeniable, is the least romantic Romantic composer.  For instance, it's well known that he never wrote any operas, which, IMHO, to be effective, require writing deeply emotional arias that enchant the listener.  I simply don't believe that he had it in him to write highly evocative music such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky are known for.  I can enjoy listening to Brahms, but I can't lose myself in it.  :)

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21 hours ago, Rue said:

Oh!  Yes!  Of course!  

Lovely weather we're having! :D

Yes, it is beautiful and sunny, a tad bit warm. = (the Juzek Master Art is hidden in the pantry closet)

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7 minutes ago, Fossil Ledges said:

Yes, it is beautiful and sunny, a tad bit warm. = (the Juzek Master Art is hidden in the pantry closet)

Just the one ?

I am sure that Phillip has at least 50 stashed away and he keeps hyping the price up here awaiting the peak before cashing in . :lol:

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*gasp*  I never made the connection before!  Phillip IS the driving force behind the Juzek conspiracy! :o

19 minutes ago, Fossil Ledges said:

Yes, it is beautiful and sunny, a tad bit warm. = (the Juzek Master Art is hidden in the pantry closet)

Lovely. :) I have a MEETing with some MEnial INvestors coming up. THEy would love an outdoor venue. Way BACK when, we'd often get together outside, nice to have all that ROOM.

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17 hours ago, Violadamore said:

To me, Brahms, while his genius is undeniable, is the least romantic Romantic composer.  For instance, it's well known that he never wrote any operas, which, IMHO, to be effective, require writing deeply emotional arias that enchant the listener.  I simply don't believe that he had it in him to write highly evocative music such as Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Sibelius, and Tchaikovsky are known for.  I can enjoy listening to Brahms, but I can't lose myself in it.  :)

Yes, that is concise and well spoken. I always felt that he was perhaps more academic and not quite as much driven, jmho.

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43 minutes ago, Rue said:

*gasp*  I never made the connection before!  Phillip IS the driving force behind the Juzek conspiracy! :o

Lovely. :) I have a MEETing with some MEnial INvestors coming up. THEy would love an outdoor venue. Way BACK when, we'd often get together outside, nice to have all that ROOM.

I think Philip has more than fifty! He is, how you say, Ringleader! (allegedly), I read it on the Interweb...

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23 hours ago, hendrik said:

 ( ... )

Yet when I hear his first symphony , the piano concertos, so many other compositions he blows me away. He can create an atmosphere, as for example in the adagio of his G major violin sonata that one doesn't find anywhere else.          Playing his chamber music is quite a challenge, but a very moving experience.  It can easily sound muddy or dragged down. 

It seems he is trying to expound on Beethoven without leaving the restraints of the classical period too much. There is something very German in his music I think, this complexity , ( too ) much emphasis on detail, gründlichkeit,  somehow lack of natural flow. Mozart was pretty well the opposite in many ways . His complete mastery came naturally - and yet from the "German" tradition as well.

 I am not a music scholar, just enjoy all kinds of music. Including both Brahms and Dvorak. Brahms is actually one of my favourites. He didn't write any bad music. There is some nobility to it. Sometimes he sounds tortured, maybe because he was often very unhappy.          Some of Dvorak's music is astounding - 9th Symphony, piano quartets, quintets, , romance for violin and orchestra,  romantic pieces, but he also wrote some very uninteresting second rate stuff. 

Just my 2 cents. 

Glad you put "German" in quotes. Not to contradict what you wrote as others will understand the statement in the context of how many of us listen to music now.

Longing and restraint make Brahms a slightly stingy if not a pained and obviously struggling composer. As I grow older, these chamber pieces and the late Beethoven quartets are the pieces that get studied the most and tedious to teach. Most are exhausted after an hour of practicing 2 or three sections. No one wants to hear that they are dragging or getting ahead or too loud or soft. As a listener, it is necessary to give the pieces time to tease out the essence of how he is building up to a sometimes not so great payoff. I used think that way of Sibelius, but he's another guy that requires time and patience to work out subtleties. Many of Brahms' pieces were re-written many times - see piano quintet as it fits in these sets. I think many in his middle period is unapologetic and still innovative. Since Clara and Robert Schumann were mentors, one can see how disciplined the composing gets. The 4th symphony can be tiresome and bombastic - even for pianists.

The dilemma is in how one listens and performs the works. Over indulgence on the player's part robs the listener of the barren-ness of it all.

The first sextet then the second offer a good easing in point for unforlding my favorite parts of Brahms' butter. With those ideas established, the 1st two quartets, and the clarinet quintet ease into the undulations and uneasiness and turmoil of life. And while Dvorak's music appears develop with the age of the composer's age, broad, scenic and programmatic, Brahms is more a purist and stays within the bounds of his rules. Robert Schumann tends to play more with themes a la Schubert, that aspect did not trickle down to Brahms though his works do have more globally applied themes.

The simplicity of the 1st mvmt of the 1st violin sonata or the opening cello solo in the 2nd mvmt ( slow ) of Op60 piano quartet can be a bit ecstatic for some and surprisingly emotional for others. Some i have played with liken it to a form of musical asceticism. We thank thee for the meal we are about to consume.

Makes a huge difference who one plays with... at short music camps, Brahms gets a high satisfaction rate for those willing to tackle the obvious and impending struggles with their group. If one person slacks, it can be difficult for the others. In some instances, Brahms writes in the restraints shackling the players to difficult rhythms making an expressive performance difficult. I think of Joachim and his reputed restraint and expert technique and see parallels in Brahms' composing. So less vibrato? Some resolutions and harmonic changes are brutal so during rehearsals, it is often suggested.

Brahms has made it far easier for me to better play and appreciate Mahler ( the 9th and 10th are still whack and difficult ) while Bruckner and Wagner, though impactful require calls to a physical therapist. 

In performing these pieces or playing better instruments, it does require work to get the best out them. Not all play easily. The difficulty is in knowing what is there and to get the best out of what is there ( or possibly there. ) My difficulty with listening tests or comparisons is larger halls is that, near the limit ( solo repertoire, ) the pieces start to sound tonally similar at louder volumes. And while it is true that most soloists are competing with ( against? ) and orchestra or a piano, a majority of careers or pleasure is found in a different dynamic range. It is interesting to subjectively evaluate instruments. At least for me, it is. And the Brahms vln concerto opening and following are great contrasting sections. As a performer, making the contrast to the middle of that the 2nd page ( to violinists who own most ed. ) is so difficult. Smoother, quieter and coherent, the violin should be responsive and sizzle a bit. For someone given an instrument, sometimes the violin will choose the repertoire. As modern players go, this is where I give Repin the nod way over Vengerov. Though Repin can be boring to some, it seems like he can make most instruments work for him. Same teacher, but live, Repin's sound was remarkable. The new instrument ( ? ) appears to sound better than the Ruby. 

My pfennig x2.

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24 minutes ago, GoPractice said:

Glad you put "German" in quotes. Not to contradict what you wrote as others will understand the statement in the context of how many of us listen to music now.

Longing and restraint make Brahms a slightly stingy if not a pained and obviously struggling composer. As I grow older, these chamber pieces and the late Beethoven quartets are the pieces that get studied the most and tedious to teach. Most are exhausted after an hour of practicing 2 or three sections. No one wants to hear that they are dragging or getting ahead or too loud or soft. As a listener, it is necessary to give the pieces time to tease out the essence of how he is building up to a sometimes not so great payoff. I used think that way of Sibelius, but he's another guy that requires time and patience to work out subtleties. Many of Brahms' pieces were re-written many times - see piano quintet as it fits in these sets. I think many in his middle period is unapologetic and still innovative. Since Clara and Robert Schumann were mentors, one can see how disciplined the composing gets. The 4th symphony can be tiresome and bombastic - even for pianists.

The dilemma is in how one listens and performs the works. Over indulgence on the player's part robs the listener of the barren-ness of it all.

The first sextet then the second offer a good easing in point for unforlding my favorite parts of Brahms' butter. With those ideas established, the 1st two quartets, and the clarinet quintet ease into the undulations and uneasiness and turmoil of life. And while Dvorak's music appears develop with the age of the composer's age, broad, scenic and programmatic, Brahms is more a purist and stays within the bounds of his rules. Robert Schumann tends to play more with themes a la Schubert, that aspect did not trickle down to Brahms though his works do have more globally applied themes.

The simplicity of the 1st mvmt of the 1st violin sonata or the opening cello solo in the 2nd mvmt ( slow ) of Op60 piano quartet can be a bit ecstatic for some and surprisingly emotional for others. Some i have played with liken it to a form of musical asceticism. We thank thee for the meal we are about to consume.

Makes a huge difference who one plays with... at short music camps, Brahms gets a high satisfaction rate for those willing to tackle the obvious and impending struggles with their group. If one person slacks, it can be difficult for the others. In some instances, Brahms writes in the restraints shackling the players to difficult rhythms making an expressive performance difficult. I think of Joachim and his reputed restraint and expert technique and see parallels in Brahms' composing. So less vibrato? Some resolutions and harmonic changes are brutal so during rehearsals, it is often suggested.

Brahms has made it far easier for me to better play and appreciate Mahler ( the 9th and 10th are still whack and difficult ) while Bruckner and Wagner, though impactful require calls to a physical therapist. 

In performing these pieces or playing better instruments, it does require work to get the best out them. Not all play easily. The difficulty is in knowing what is there and to get the best out of what is there ( or possibly there. ) My difficulty with listening tests or comparisons is larger halls is that, near the limit ( solo repertoire, ) the pieces start to sound tonally similar at louder volumes. And while it is true that most soloists are competing with ( against? ) and orchestra or a piano, a majority of careers or pleasure is found in a different dynamic range. It is interesting to subjectively evaluate instruments. At least for me, it is. And the Brahms vln concerto opening and following are great contrasting sections. As a performer, making the contrast to the middle of that the 2nd page ( to violinists who own most ed. ) is so difficult. Smoother, quieter and coherent, the violin should be responsive and sizzle a bit. For someone given an instrument, sometimes the violin will choose the repertoire. As modern players go, this is where I give Repin the nod way over Vengerov. Though Repin can be boring to some, it seems like he can make most instruments work for him. Same teacher, but live, Repin's sound was remarkable. The new instrument ( ? ) appears to sound better than the Ruby. 

My pfennig x2.

Is that just your overly-wordy way of saying that you like Brahms, as if more words instilled greater value?

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38 minutes ago, David Burgess said:

Is that just your overly-wordy way of saying that you like Brahms, as if more words instilled greater value?

Strain your residual brain cells, did it?

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David seems to be in a grumpy mood. I enjoy reading the sincere views of enthusiasts, wordy or not. Much more edifying than a detailed explanation of why x is no good

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On 7/2/2020 at 2:26 PM, PhilipKT said:

When we are discussing aesthetic appeal, we can do nothing except explain ourselves.

Once we have agreed where a particular composer stands historically, then we can like or dislike his music as we choose..................................................................

.....................................................................................................................

PS I think “contrived” isn’t the right word. I think Brahm’s goals were different. Demonstrating his technical skill was more important than making music. Haydn and Mozart and Bach all had as much or more technical skills, but when you listen to their music you are not conscious that, “here the composer is doing X, isn’t he clever?” You only get a reaction to the music.

With Brahms, the device always seems to come before the musical expression.

In a way  my almost complete ignorance of music theory and composition theory might be a blessing in this case. Not being ironic. 

I remember how as a teenager a certain vinyl recording of violin middle movements from early romantic concertos gave me the goosebumps , many times. I think it was a more intuitive kind of listening. Then years later I found those performances not very inspiring or moving any more, having listened to a great number of the same with critical ears. And yet even though many of the later recordings were outstanding, none gave me that " rapturous" sensation I used to have. I regretted having lost that. Almost like a loss of innocence. Was it overly critical listening that killed it? Over familiarity?                                                                                              It never came back, and it won't any more I think, not in the same way. 

Now I  appreciate music differently,  appreciate more of the subtleties,  the technical mastery, the interpretive style, the flow, the cohesion, but the more primal, direct connection to - whatever it is that moves us - works in another way now. 

A performance a few years ago of Shostakovich'  8th quartet brought me to tears.                            In my teenage years I would not have "understood" - gotten -  much of it.

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On 7/3/2020 at 11:30 AM, Fossil Ledges said:

I think Philip has more than fifty! He is, how you say, Ringleader! (allegedly), I read it on the Interweb...

You mean he's becoming a Juzek Ringwraith?  I just knew those fiddles had to be dangerous.  If he starts babbling about his "precious", we'll know for sure.  :huh:;):lol:

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1 hour ago, hendrik said:

In a way  my almost complete ignorance of music theory and composition theory might be a blessing in this case. Not being ironic. 

I remember how as a teenager a certain vinyl recording of violin middle movements from early romantic concertos gave me the goosebumps , many times. I think it was a more intuitive kind of listening. Then years later I found those performances not very inspiring or moving any more, having listened to a great number of the same with critical ears. And yet even though many of the later recordings were outstanding, none gave me that " rapturous" sensation I used to have. I regretted having lost that. Almost like a loss of innocence. Was it overly critical listening that killed it? Over familiarity?                                                                                              It never came back, and it won't any more I think, not in the same way. 

Now I  appreciate music differently,  appreciate more of the subtleties,  the technical mastery, the interpretive style, the flow, the cohesion, but the more primal, direct connection to - whatever it is that moves us - works in another way now. 

A performance a few years ago of Shostakovich'  8th quartet brought me to tears.                            In my teenage years I would not have "understood" - gotten -  much of it.

I very much understand what you mean. When I was a little boy I remember specifically listening incredulously to the trumpet solo from Petroushka, Literally over and over and over. I would move the needle back a 16th of an inch on the record  to hear it again. Then my father came along and said to me, “notice how the trumpeter is playing that entire passage without taking a breath.“ And I was even more amazed, although I didn’t-And don’t, God be praised. I am a cellist and can breathe as I wish-understand the difficulty involved. My father had many many records that I listened to with that same sense of youthful awe. The Kodaly Duo was fascinating. Brandenberg 3 made me dance, and so did Haydn 104, But when I did so it would jiggle the needle on fathers Gerard, so I had to be careful.

 As I got older, the reaction changed, became deeper, and sometimes cynical, because I was a little bit more picky, for one reason or another. I don’t like fake or insincere music. I didn’t cry over music as a child; rather, I exulted. I was filled with a pure joy that I guess only children can feel, even when listening to something that wasn’t particularly joyful(remember Ernst Toch?) Now, I can cry.

I think in order to be moved to tears you have to have a certain amount of life experience, because only Music that goes very deep can evoke tears, and there must be some thing for the music to probe in the first place, even if you don’t know it’s there. The first time I heard the Shostakovich eighth quartet, I was shattered. When it ended I was exhausted.  I did not cry, but I was very deeply affected.

whats makes us cry? This is an entry from the blog on my website that deals with exactly that, it’s too long to share here, but I invite you to give it a read.

https://www.studiophiliptaggart.com/teaching-blog

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58 minutes ago, Violadamore said:

You mean he's becoming a Juzek Ringwraith?  I just knew those fiddles had to be dangerous.  If he starts babbling about his "precious", we'll know for sure.  :huh:;):lol:

Yesss, the Juzeks, much power, such precious...and with great power comes great responsibility. Whether these powers will be used for good or evil remains to be seen! (personally, I think the allure of any Juzek Master Art  tends to  push most mere mortals right over the edge).

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

I very much understand what you mean. When I was a little boy I remember specifically listening incredulously to the trumpet solo from Petroushka, Literally over and over and over. I would move the needle back a 16th of an inch on the record  to hear it again. Then my father came along and said to me, “notice how the trumpeter is playing that entire passage without taking a breath.“ And I was even more amazed, although I didn’t-And don’t, God be praised. I am a cellist and can breathe as I wish-understand the difficulty involved. My father had many many records that I listened to with that same sense of youthful awe. The Kodaly Duo was fascinating. Brandenberg 3 made me dance, and so did Haydn 104, But when I did so it would jiggle the needle on fathers Gerard, so I had to be careful.

 As I got older, the reaction changed, became deeper, and sometimes cynical, because I was a little bit more picky, for one reason or another. I don’t like fake or insincere music. I didn’t cry over music as a child; rather, I exulted. I was filled with a pure joy that I guess only children can feel, even when listening to something that wasn’t particularly joyful(remember Ernst Toch?) Now, I can cry.

I think in order to be moved to tears you have to have a certain amount of life experience, because only Music that goes very deep can evoke tears, and there must be some thing for the music to probe in the first place, even if you don’t know it’s there. The first time I heard the Shostakovich eighth quartet, I was shattered. When it ended I was exhausted.  I did not cry, but I was very deeply affected.

whats makes us cry? This is an entry from the blog on my website that deals with exactly that, it’s too long to share here, but I invite you to give it a read.

https://www.studiophiliptaggart.com/teaching-blog

I really like your blogs.   You're somebody else who should write some books.  :)

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