Classical Masters

For people who love opera, ballet, and classical music. A place to relax and enjoy the soothing sound of the masters. (Incept date, 0401.10)

Location: Earth
Members: 47
Latest Activity: May 10, 2017


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Discussion Forum

Gregorian chants

Started by LuRob. Last reply by Joan Denoo Jul 7, 2016. 1 Reply

Do you like this style of plain chant?This is monody, no acccompaniment and no abrupt changes in the melody.Continue

Hindemith, Mathias Grunewald, the Nazis, &c.

Started by James M. Martin Jul 4, 2012. 0 Replies

When I was a bachelor at a…Continue

Virtual Choir 3.0 - Water Night

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Tony Carroll Apr 2, 2012. 1 Reply

Words may not suffice here.  The average choir may be ... what?  Thirty, maybe 50 for a medium ensemble, and a large orchestra chorus might go one or two hundred.  Worthy of note, Eric Whitacre's…Continue

Tags: Water Night, Virtual Choir, Eric Whitacre

For Christopher...

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Loren Miller Dec 16, 2011. 2 Replies

I sometimes like to think I have a way with words here and there.  Today, having learned of the death of Christopher Hitchens, I find the words coming in fits and starts, but any attempt at giving…Continue

Tags: Dmitri Shostakovich, Christopher Hitchens

Is Music Dangerous?

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Loren Miller Aug 10, 2011. 3 Replies

It was a few years ago when I attended a Cleveland Orchestra concert which included Dmitri Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony.  Up to that time, I had been aware of his more popular works, such as his…Continue

Tags: Shostakovich Symphony No. 4, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Stalin, Shostakovich

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - Lux Aurumque

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Loren Miller Apr 5, 2011. 3 Replies

When is a choir not a choir ... yet still a choir?When is an ensemble not assembled, yet is assembled?Ask Eric Whitacre. Some time back, he was sent a link on YouTube of a woman, singing a single…Continue

Tags: YouTube, Lux Aurumque, Virtual Choir, Eric Whitacre

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir 2.0 - *** UPDATED ***

Started by Loren Miller Apr 5, 2011. 0 Replies

On 7 April, 2011, Eric Whitacre will release his latest Virtual Choir project, with the performance of his work, "Sleep."  This project involved the participation of no less than 2,051 voices from 58…Continue

Tags: YouTube, Sleep, Virtual Choir, Eric Whitacre

The Playlist Vault of Classical Masters on A|N

Started by Roy The Infidel. Last reply by Roy The Infidel Sep 22, 2010. 9 Replies

Archive of featured playlists on Classical Masters.Continue

Tags: masters, classical, playlist, vault

The OTHER Side of Eric Whitacre

Started by Loren Miller. Last reply by Loren Miller Sep 10, 2010. 2 Replies

Certainly, there is "Water Night," "Sleep," and the powerful "When David Heard."  To this day I shed tears listening to some of this stuff.And then ... there's Eric's OTHER side ... the side which…Continue

Conductors, Too

Started by James M. Martin. Last reply by Steve Snyder Jun 19, 2010. 16 Replies

I hope this group will welcome from time to time discussions of conductors, as in some circles they are almost the auteurs of the work, usually those who get the rosettes in the Penguin Guide.  But…Continue

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Comment by Loren Miller on March 10, 2016 at 10:04pm

Rich, to my knowledge, there are no such records of the premiere performance of the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony, though the scenario you describe strikes me as being within the realm of possibility.  On the other side, though, is Stalin's long-standing favoritism of Dmitri's work, and the subsequent efforts made to bolster the Soviet Union.  Here, I think specifically of the Seventh, the Leningrad Symphony, which was extremely important to Soviet morale during a critical time in WWII, which which drew worldwide attention.

The story of Shostakovich and Stalin is a murky tale which does not yield easily to analysis.  That said, it's not hard to know who came out on top in the final analysis ... and it was NOT the Soviet premier.

Comment by LuRob on March 10, 2016 at 9:53pm

Could anyone recommend a good recording of the Catholic Mass in B minor by J. S. Bach?

Comment by Rich Goss on February 25, 2016 at 9:26am

Loren, I heard that Stalin was seated at the premier of D Shostakovich's fifth.  The word was that if the divine leader didn't like the work, or thought it was subversive, the composer was going to disappear.  I wonder how are modern-day artists would stand up to pressure like that. 

Comment by Loren Miller on February 25, 2016 at 8:54am

I also very much enjoy the composers of the Baroque period, certainly Bach and Handel at minimum, but my focus always seems to fall back on the 20th century, particularly to the Russians, the French and the Americans who created such amazing works during the 1900s.  More recently, I have become fascinated with the political dynamics which impacted the music of the Soviet Union and most especially Dmitri Shostakovich, though there was hardly a Soviet artist of the 30s, 40s and 50s who was not subject to the mad irrationality of Stalin and his insistence on musical conformity.

That Mitya and others survived the Great Terror is astonishing enough, but that they produced such powerful and memorable works DESPITE that madness borders on inconceivable.

Comment by Randall Smith on February 25, 2016 at 7:44am

Kelly, yes, of course I like Handel and Bach. I also enjoy Vivaldi, Teleman, Quantz, and many others of the Baroque era. Are you familiar with Quantz's Concerto for Two Flutes in G Minor? Marvelous.

(PS: I won't be on A/N for 10 days as I'm headed to Florida)

Comment by Loren Miller on February 24, 2016 at 3:02pm

Well, speaking of that 18th Variation:

Leonard Pennario at the keyboard and Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops ... in what remains my favorite performance of this work.

Comment by Loren Miller on February 24, 2016 at 2:55pm

Rich, early in my subscription to The Cleveland Orchestra, there was an interesting incident.  I was seated in the front chairs, immediately in front of the cello section.  Once during a work, the first seat cello broke a string ... and kept RIGHT ON GOING like nothing had happened!  At the end of the movement, Maestro Dohnanyi allowed him time to restring and tune and they went on with the work.

Those guys are PROS!

Comment by Rich Goss on February 24, 2016 at 1:03pm

Thanks fellow classical lovers. Kelly, here's a little anecdote concerning the piece you're about to listen to.

I was at a pool party sitting around a table and somebody mentioned Niccolo Paganini.  I gave a little account on how he was he was the greatest violinist the world ever knew.  A lawyer sitting at the table, at the end of it said, "that's great.  I wonder why I never heard of him."  Never heard of Paganini!  How's that possible in an advanced country?  Who do you think is a great musician? 

Answer:  Pit Bull.  .I never heard of Pit Bull so I guess we're even. 

Paganini was so talented that many people believed that no human could perform virtuosic tricks so flawlessly.  He'd purposely break all but one string on his violin and then perform the entire work such that you couldn't tell the difference.

Getting back to Rach, the 24 caprices were a major opus of Paganini.  The title is variations on a theme, that being the first caprice (synonym of the word "whim") as you hear immediately in the work, all related to the previous but with slight variation. 

Now, here's the mind blower:  Legend has it that the score for the last caprice fell off the stand and Rach played it out wondering what it would sound like upside-down.  The result was one the most amazingly beautiful melodies ever written.  The only other melody to my mind of comparable beauty is the great theme of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. 

Enjoy, the more you know about the work you're listening to the greater the appreciation and enjoyment. 

Comment by Loren Miller on February 24, 2016 at 7:47am

And thinking of Rachmaninoff, I cannot ignore one of his last and most beautiful works, his Symphonic Dances.  They've been a favorite of mine since Eugene Ormandy and Philly introduced me to them over a quarter-century ago.

The Moscow Philharmonic and Yuri Botnari do credible service to the first movement here.  Enjoy!

Comment by Loren Miller on February 24, 2016 at 7:29am

Rich, that lovely sharing of the third movement's initial melody among the various instruments which you posted is among Rach's most beautiful moments.  Indeed, his second symphony is a wonderful blend of dark and brooding with the first movement, incisive and active with the second, romantically lyrical with the third and joyfully celebratory with the fourth.

Of his three symphonies, I think it's his best.


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