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Malkuth

Classical music

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Cool Topic. Why did it stop?

If you want to love Beethoven, my advice is to go search out the "Herbet Von Karajan" (conductor) recordings of them. They are probably the best recordings you can get of them.

Try listening to Symphony No. 7, Movement II (Allegretto)

If you like Rach, I love this excerpt from the "Isle of the Dead"

I love a lot of Bach

Some Stravinsky (The Firebird suite is a gorgeous summation of the whole ballet)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FWq17CT6Cs

Some Debussy & Ravel helps keep the Doctor away (A Ravel a day... lol)

Prokofiev is Good

Shostakovich wrote some great stuff

Mahler had his good moments

etc

----

As a young composer I am quite torn about this issue as a result of my musical education.

If I'm completely honest, I find a significant amount of modern/post-modern music to be... Schizophrenic.

And there is an attitude that surrounds so much contemporary classical music which is that trite formulation that "If you understand it, you don't need it explained and if you don't understand it, then no one can explain it to you." the other pervasive attitude is this idea that "You must do something new" which generally translates to "something neither you, or anyone else really understands the point of".

The flip side of this coin is that I understand what modern composers have been trying to do intellectually. They understand that just as combinations of pitches produce a certain sensation/emotion, so too does Timbre (The sound of the instrument/note), whether or not the beginning and ending of phrases is predictable etc.... ie. Trying to expression Tension and Resolution (Conflict and Triumph over it) using different auditory faculties.

Impressionistic music, which has some gorgeous music in it (but also some not-so gorgeous music) did a lot of this "blurring" and the effect is that if you can't cognitively predict the start of the next phrase/period etc then the part of your brain which tries to do this goes "to sleep" and you are left processing the music cognitively in a different manner.

What I'd like to be able to do with my music eventually, is what a lot of composers, in my opinion, have failed to do... and that is to use all these various "effects" totally consciously and as an integrated part of the music to produce symbolically the values I am trying to express.

That said, listen to the Firebird Suite. It is so joyfully triumphant and none of these newly developed techniques would possibly be able to improve it, only detract from it.

It is a problem I find I think about everyday. How do I write music which isn't the work of a second hander (the analogy would be the work of Peter Keating in the Fountainhead) but also isn't this stupidly psuedo-intellectual foolery? When I work it out, I'll probably be ostracized by both the public who would rather more of the same, and composers who want the shocking and indefinably new. Oh well, that's their problem to deal with. lol

- Chris

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I am no art critic by FAR but I felt compelled to share what I felt about Beethoven's 5th

It is one of my favorites because I think it represents a struggle. It goes back and forth from grandeur to almost a pessimistic and loathing melody and I think the few brief moments of life and grandeur it offers is representative of the struggle man has in this current state.

My two cents :D

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Prokofiev has written some terrific, moving melodies. Spartacus, for example.

If you know music theory, you must have come across the method of analyzing a melody in terms of how it "plays" the scale of the key in which it is written. The scale can be played plainly and directly, or with embellishments, indirectly, slowly, etc. A melody plays its scale in some fashion along these dimensions of variation, and it lays emphasis on the major steps ( 3rd, 5th) or perhaps dallies on the 2nd or 7th, finally resolving to the dominant tone.

Classical music plays a melody with great detail to its progress: up some, down, back up, etc., as it moves through the scale, relating different paths to one another, adding, of course, the rich variability of harmony and accompaniment. So levels of music can be understood in terms of how they fulfill the task of doing this simple thing--playing the scale, but doing it ingeniously, and in ways that express the composer's chosen affect. The simplicity, in contrast, with which pop music of the last decades has, for the most part, chosen melody is so extreme that most songs are unbearably monotonous and repetitive.

Heroic and romantic music has aim, development, scope, and integrity (among other things.) These characteristics describe the music itself as it performs its task of "playing the scale," and they describe the characteristics of an adventurous, etc., life. That is how the music is "meaningful."

"I want to hold your hand..." though it isn't a bad melody at all, is so plain and simple, it conveys, by contrast, little more than one's enthusiasm for a good meal. That is the main difference between "classical" and folk or pop music, though there is a huge range of quality in both the music and the performers, outside classical music.

Coming up through the school music system, I heard and played classical music from elementary school age. It is a great way to be exposed to fine art, and teaches many valuable lessons besides the artistic ones.

I, myself, never think about the emotion of a piece of music. I'm not sure why. It seems made up of events, not feelings. Past acquiring an appreciation for classical music, one comes to discriminate performances, and past that, performers. Has anybody heard Arkady Volodoz (sp?) perform on the piano? He is absolutely superb!

Perhaps you'll post about your progress with this?

-- Mindy

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It is a problem I find I think about everyday. How do I write music which isn't the work of a second hander (the analogy would be the work of Peter Keating in the Fountainhead) but also isn't this stupidly psuedo-intellectual foolery?

- Chris

Start with a melody. Write a beautiful melody.

-- Mindy

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Malkuth,

I hope very much you find your right niche. You been making melodies a while now? I was wondering. Do you also take performance music in a particular instrument at school?

While we still lived in Chicago, we attended a number of the Music Now concerts of the CSO, as my partner’s younger son is a cellist sometimes invited to perform with them. Lots of different kinds of things being written, some making for quite fresh, interesting experience. Even though some were just applauded because they were over, it was neat to experience what is being composed today in classical music (absolute). In that series, they also explain, right before the baton, some of what is going on in the piece. There was pretty good attendance, which surprised us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here are a few of my favorite “modern” things.

– Dmitri Shostakovich (age 19, in 1925)

– (age 51, in 1957)

Sure on this Shining Night – Samuel Barber (age 28, in 1938)

– Richard Strauss (age 23, in 1887)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mindy,

In a 1997 interview with Samuel Barber, he said:

Many young composers start with songs—at least they did in my day. Writing songs just seemed a natural thing to do.

Once, in Rome, I spoke about songs with Richard Strauss. I said, “O, Herr Doktor, I wish you would write some more of them.” He replied, “One writes songs when one is young. I will never write songs again.” And then he wrote the Four Last Songs [at age 74, in 1948].

One of the Four:

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Sorry, I got this attached at the wrong part of the tree again.

Chris, (emanon, not Malkuth)

I hope very much you find your right niche. Do you also take performance music in a particular instrument at school?

While we still lived in Chicago, we attended a number of the Music Now concerts of the CSO, as my partner’s younger son is a cellist and is sometimes invited to perform with them. Lots of different kinds of things being written, some making for quite fresh, interesting experience. Even though some were just applauded because they were over, it was neat to experience what is being composed today in classical music (absolute). In that series, they also explain, right before the baton, some of what is going on in the piece. There was pretty good attendance, which surprised us.

Edited by Boydstun

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This is one of my favorite symphonies by my favorite composer (if I really had to pick just one composer). It is his Seventh, known as the Leningrad. Rand mentions this theater in We the Living.

Shostakovich “Leningrad”

Below is the story of its first performance, while the city was under siege. It is thought that Rand’s parents died during the siege, which took the lives of 750,000 residents.

Starvation, Loss, and Defiance

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On 1/2/2016 at 2:31 PM, Boydstun said:

This is one of my favorite symphonies by my favorite composer (if I really had to pick just one composer).

 

I’m finishing up Shostakovich and Stalin by Solomon Volkov, and came across some interesting things.  Conclusion: Shostakovich and Rand traveled in the same circles.  They attended the same high school, the Stoyunina Gymnasium, and were of course only a year apart in age.  Shostakovich, aged 11(!), had a piece of his performed at an assembly at the school, a memorial for some anti-Bolshevik figures who had recently been murdered.   This was in January 1918, and I haven’t gone back to check exactly when Rand’s family fled to the Crimea, so I don’t know if she was (or rather, could have been) there. 

The Lossky family were friends of the Shostakovich family.  The latter hosted the former for dinner immediately after they were ordered into exile, in the brief period before their departure when it was most dangerous to be seen interacting with them.  Quick background on Lossky, he was a distinguished philosophy professor that Rand took a course with, and spoke of later as being important in her development.  I’ll refer you Chris Sciabarra’s writings on the topic for details, the really important point being that she had to go well out of her way to take his course, and it was the last time he taught it before being exiled. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikolai_Lossky

Shoot, there was another data point, now I’m drawing a blank.  It’s an interesting book.  Quite grim, naturally. 

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1 hour ago, Ninth Doctor said:

This was in January 1918, and I haven’t gone back to check exactly when Rand’s family fled to the Crimea, so I don’t know if she was (or rather, could have been) there.

According to Barbara Branden's biography (beginning of Chapter 3) they left in Fall 1918. 

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Seventh

SB excerpt:

"As an aside, I’d like to mention that the professor for that course would have been Aleksandr Ivanovich Vvdenskii, not Nikolai Onufrievich Losskii, whom Rand had later recalled to have been the professor. Chris Sciabarra wrote a rebuttal to Milgram’s conjecture in his second edition of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. I read Dr. Sciabarra’s rebuttal before reading Miligram’s own case, but upon reading the latter, I found it to be the more likely. I should mention, however, that even if Sciabarra were wrong about the identity of the professor, because Rand’s recall was in error, and hence about what was in the course, it could still be the case that ideas of Losskii influenced Rand in the facets proposed by Sciabarra (B. Branden did not buy this, and I'm doubtful myself). Beyond that, what is always more to my own interest and sense of importance, is the correct logical relation of the philosophy of philosopher A to philosophy of B, and that is something that can be worked through (well or poorly) quite apart from any historical influence. (Consider also the posts of Chris Sciabarra in this thread.)"

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Posted (edited)

On 4/16/2017 at 9:58 AM, Ninth Doctor said:

Shoot, there was another data point, now I’m drawing a blank. 

Stuff I forgot: Shostakovich was acquainted with Zamyatin (though Rand probably wasn't), he had a school friend who sounds like a model for Leo in We the Living and who was executed, and Rand's middle sister attended the Leningrad Conservatory a year behind Shostakovich. 

I checked Anne Heller's Rand bio and found she claims that the Stoyunina Gymnasium was for girls only.  Maybe the sexes were kept segregated.  Or maybe Volkov has it wrong.  I lean toward the former.

I was pretty surprised late in the book that Shostakovich is documented (privately) saying/writing antisemitic things in the 1920's.  Obviously he completely changed his tune later (e.g. the Babi-Yar symphony).  

Edited by Ninth Doctor
clarification
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Posted (edited)

We already know who Leo was. I don't remember the last name, but the ARI people published an illustrated Rand biography several years ago with a photo of him; no need to conjecture. He went the way of Leo in the book and was executed in the 1930s, long after Rand emigrated.

Edited by Reidy
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1 hour ago, Reidy said:

We already know who Leo was. I don't remember the last name, but the ARI people published an illustrated Rand biography several years ago with a photo of him; no need to conjecture. He went the way of Leo in the book and was executed in the 1930s, long after Rand emigrated.

Yes I know.  But the character was likely a composite, since the "real" Leo (Lev Bekkerman) didn't have the war hero father.  Which the person from Rand's school, that Shostakovich knew, did. 

In any event, there's really not much to see here, no great revelation.  Maybe they (Rand and Shostakovich) were acquainted, maybe not. 

Here's the photo of Bekkerman:

4aa94efc4eedab3867e6862ea0e5a3a0.jpg 

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