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The Halley Concertos

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When you think of Halley's Fourth and Fifth Concertos, what real life work, classical or otherwise, comes to mind?

For me, Rand's description of the Fourth instantly reminds me of Rachmaninov's Symphony #1. Defiant, to say the least.

For the Fifth, Jean Sebilus' Symphony #2 -- or -- Igor Stravinsky's 1919 Firebird Suite. Both of thses have finale's which are so exhilarating that they overwhelm me beyond words.

I am interested in other's ideas, partly because I am fishing for works I might have missed.


Edited by JMeganSnow
Corrected mispelling of proper name
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I don't have much exposure to a wide variety of music, but nevertheless off the top of my try these instrumentals:

Helloween: "Malmsuite in 1001 D-Doll" (on the album "Master of the Rings")

Ayreon: "Chaos" (on the album "Universal Migrator Part 2 - Flight of the Migrator", which is my favourite album among my whole collection.)


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For the Concerto of Deliverance, I would pick Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto, the Emperor Concerto. It is grand and heroic, and completely thrilling.

Something occurs to me as I read through this thread: Ayn Rand's choice of the concerto form as opposed to the symphony. Both are orchestral works on a large scale, usually in 3 movements. Whereas a symphony is the whole orchestra playing together, a concerto is written for a solo instrument, who is supported or accompanied by the rest of the orchestra, i.e. piano concerto, violin concerto, cello concerto, etc. I have always preferred the concerto form because it showcases the talent of the soloist yet has the richness of the full orchestral accompaniment. I wonder if this emphasis on the individual was behind her choice here.

Can anyone post page number references for her descriptions of the two concertos? It's been a while since I read AS and I would like to go back and reread those parts.

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Thanks for the tips. There are several things here that I have not heard before so I will dig them up.

I am glad to see there is another Opeth fan here. I like their originality a lot.

Jupiter is one of the better planets as done by Holst, I have not listened to him for a while though.

I agree that it is significant that Rand chose the piano concerto for these works rather than the symphony -- I love piano concertos (I play a bit myself) but I can't find one that quite fits the descriptions of Haleys yet. Earl is right Beethoven's 5th is probably the closest but I don't think it is quite there as the Haley fifth. Still searching.

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According to the passage above, the Fourth was Haley's last. Was there also a Fifth?


The publishing company(?) said that he had only written four and retired; however, when Dagny reaches the Gulch she understands why this is not true.

edit: the post is very brief, but I figured I'd add a spoiler tag. Although much of the major items of the book has been given away through the media, with the recent increase in AS popularity, minor, yet meaningful things like this have not.

Edited by RussK
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  • 1 month later...
According to the passage above, the Fourth was Haley's last. Was there also a Fifth?

The description posted above was the 4th Concerto. The description of the 5th Concerto occurs twice in the novel: First when Dagny is introduced to the reader in Chapter 1, and once in the final scene of the last chapter.

In my mind, I thought that the 4th was Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 in Bb Minor. As for the 5th, I had Stravinsky's finale of the Firebird Suite in my mind.

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I may be making this up, but I thought I'd read that Halley's concertos were supposed to be homages to Shostakovich's pieces, which, at the time of writing Atlas Shrugged, were getting similar responses to Halley's concertos in the book.

If I am just making this up, then I think more to the point, Shostakovich's music is a very pertinent example of Ayn Rand's preferred art aesthetics, and is even more relevant since, at the time, it was new music. In the late 50s, Shostakovich was debuting quite a few concertos (particularly for piano and cello), was utilizing his newly-found style of post-romanticism in the context of a soviet Russia which he despised. Sadly, he didn't live up to this grand image for very long, as in 1960 he officially joined the Communist party, despite their banning the majority of his works within the country of Russia.

Regardless, I think that if you want to hear some very Halley-esque music, in the tradition of what is described in Atlas Shrugged, you may want to check out the following Shostakovich works:

Opus 110: String Quartet No. 8 in C minor (1960)

Opus 102: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major (1957)

Opus 103: Symphony No. 11 in G minor The Year 1905 (1957)

Opus 107: Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major (1959)

It is a great idea to pick up the complete String Quartets from this composer, as they are what he's best known for, and arguably his most brilliant collection of works.

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By far, the very best piece of inspirational music i have ever heard is the following theme by Steve jablonsky:

This is, in my mind, exactly what was meant for Halley's 5th concerto. Something that captures the essence of man's rise to the height of acheivement.

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