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  1. 26 Sep '13 20:39
    This is an incredibly wonderful and serene piece of music written by a great master. Ralph Vaughan Williams does not get nearly the credit he deserves. Beautiful is not expressive enough to describe this music.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U6sWqfrnTs
  2. Subscriber Pianoman1
    Nil desperandum
    27 Sep '13 06:13 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    This is an incredibly wonderful and serene piece of music written by a great master. Ralph Vaughan Williams does not get nearly the credit he deserves. Beautiful is not expressive enough to describe this music.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U6sWqfrnTs
    So you don't agree with Aaron Copeland? He once famously remarked: listening to Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes!
    I like his symphonies, particularly the Sea Symphony and Sinfonia Antarctica, and his exploration of the English folk song tradition certainly places him firmly in the Nationalist tradition. His friendship with Holst was undoubteddly a great spur for him and a source of musical inspiration. I agree, Tallis Fantasia is wonderfully brooding and atmospheric. But, having said all that, I find I have to be in the right frame of mind to fully appreciate him. Don't know why, but he just misses with me. I feel like throttling that wretched lark every time I hear it on Classic FM....... (Nigel Kennedy did not convert me in his reading of it on the Last Night of the Proms)
  3. 27 Sep '13 09:05
    Originally posted by Pianoman1
    So you don't agree with Aaron Copeland? He once famously remarked: listening to Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes! I agree, Tallis Fantasia is wonderfully brooding and atmospheric. But, having said all that, I find I have to be in the right frame of mind to fully appreciate him. Don't know why, but he just misses with me.
    More like staring at a painting of a cow by Albert Cuyp!

    He's not absolutely, overall, a favourite composer of mine; but he was responsible for a fair number of the more sheerly lyrical passages in all music!

    When Sir Thomas Beecham expressed his reservations about RVW, he was challenged: "Surely you would not discount that wonderful Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis?" "Indeed not," replied Beecham. "But it is a pity that Vaughan Williams did not incorporate into all his compositions a theme by Thomas Tallis."
  4. Standard member Bosse de Nage
    Zellulärer Automat
    27 Sep '13 11:04 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    This is an incredibly wonderful and serene piece of music written by a great master. Ralph Vaughan Williams does not get nearly the credit he deserves. Beautiful is not expressive enough to describe this music.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U6sWqfrnTs
    Gives me the raptures.

    Though Jacky Micaelli's Agnus Dei makes my hair stand on end.
    Couldn't find it for you but this comes close: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhKeAAiKyvo

    Does this work for you? Track one: http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Corsica+Sacra+Sacred+Songs+Of+Corsica+Auvidis/7792880
  5. 27 Sep '13 11:20 / 5 edits
    Originally posted by Pianoman1
    Don't know why, but he just misses with me. I feel like throttling that wretched lark every time I hear it on Classic FM.......
    As an alumnus of the school RVW attended, I feel I am duty bound to come to this piece's defence.

    OK - it is not one of the great pieces of all time (notwithstanding its popularity) but it is one of the best in terms of writing for the violin. It brings out the best in the instrument. I often shudder when composers try and turn the violin into a percussive instrument, which it is simply not designed for.

    In Mars from the Planets, you are supposed to turn the bow over and hit the string with the wood. Now this is a wonderful piece, but if you have a decent bow, you either go to an antiques shop and try and find an old crappy one for a fiver and use this (swapping over to the real one when the music changes to playing with the hair) or you quietly apologise for what you are about to do to the poor thing and pray it doesn't leave too many marks.

    But in The Lark Ascending you can just allow the instrument to soar.
  6. 27 Sep '13 12:50
    Originally posted by Pianoman1
    So you don't agree with Aaron Copeland? He once famously remarked: listening to Vaughan Williams is like staring at a cow for 45 minutes!
    I like his symphonies, particularly the Sea Symphony and Sinfonia Antarctica, and his exploration of the English folk song tradition certainly places him firmly in the Nationalist tradition. His friendsh ...[text shortened]... FM....... (Nigel Kennedy did not convert me in his reading of it on the Last Night of the Proms)
    Much as I love Copeland I think such a statement comes from sheer envy. That said, although not everyone's cup of tea, I have always found RVW a brilliant composer, much underappreciated and neglected. I never understood how any composer could turn into such a lightning rod.
  7. 27 Sep '13 12:52
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Gives me the raptures.

    Though Jacky Micaelli's Agnus Dei makes my hair stand on end.
    Couldn't find it for you but this comes close: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhKeAAiKyvo

    Does this work for you? Track one: http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Corsica+Sacra+Sacred+Songs+Of+Corsica+Auvidis/7792880
    Wonderful indeed! I love sacred music in any form.
  8. 27 Sep '13 12:54
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    More like staring at a painting of a cow by Albert Cuyp!

    He's not absolutely, overall, a favourite composer of mine; but he was responsible for a fair number of the more sheerly lyrical passages in all music!

    When Sir Thomas Beecham expressed his reservations about RVW, he was challenged: "Surely you would not discount that wonderful Fantasia on a Th ...[text shortened]... y that Vaughan Williams did not incorporate into all his compositions a theme by Thomas Tallis."
    NO argument at all RVW indeed has some of the most serene music, yet the serenity seems to be misinterpreted as watching mud dry. I have come to love RVW despite the overall dislike by Beecham et al.
  9. 27 Sep '13 12:56
    Originally posted by Rank outsider
    As an alumnus of the school RVW attended, I feel I am duty bound to come to this piece's defence.

    OK - it is not one of the great pieces of all time (notwithstanding its popularity) but it is one of the best in terms of writing [b]for
    the violin. It brings out the best in the instrument. I often shudder when composers try and turn the violin i ...[text shortened]... 't leave too many marks.

    But in The Lark Ascending you can just allow the instrument to soar.[/b]
    Great insiders description on the intricacies of performing. What would music be without strings and strings without bows?
  10. 27 Sep '13 13:01
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    What would music be........strings without bows?
    Plucking awful, I should think.
  11. Subscriber Pianoman1
    Nil desperandum
    27 Sep '13 13:19 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Rank outsider

    OK - it is not one of the great pieces of all time (notwithstanding its popularity) but it is one of the best in terms of writing for the violin. It brings out the best in the instrument. I often shudder when composers try and turn the violin into a percussive instrument, which it is simply not designed for.
    I concede that point. Not being a violinist I perhaps have rushed too quickly to berate the piece. I shall withhold from any throttling of the lark...

    The col legno passage for strings in Mars you refer to is, I agree, masterfully conceived and with Colin Davis and the LSO spine-tinglingly executed.
  12. 27 Sep '13 16:12
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    NO argument at all RVW indeed has some of the most serene music, yet the serenity seems to be misinterpreted as watching mud dry. I have come to love RVW despite the overall dislike by Beecham et al.
    Actually I think the relatively low valuation of RVW on the part of a number of distinguished figures in music as well of some critics testifies to a common reaction on the part of modernists towards new work oriented towards tradition and folk idioms. I remember art critic Hilton Kramer dismissing the paintings of Hyman Bloom as "like finding gefilte fish at a fashionable party" - Bloom's only crime being to paint figuratively and to be (unlike Kramer, who was also Jewish) in touch with his ethnic and religious heritage.
  13. 27 Sep '13 17:51
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    Actually I think the relatively low valuation of RVW on the part of a number of distinguished figures in music as well of some critics testifies to a common reaction on the part of modernists towards new work oriented towards tradition and folk idioms. I remember art critic Hilton Kramer dismissing the paintings of Hyman Bloom as "like finding gefilte fish ...[text shortened]... and to be (unlike Kramer, who was also Jewish) in touch with his ethnic and religious heritage.
    Criticism of that kind, destructive, ethnically targeted is always awful and says more about the person writing it that the subject. I have always been aware of "connoisseurs" dislike of RVW, but dismiss these as envious lowlifes. I am especially galled by Beecham's stinging rebukes as well as Copeland's. How about Poulenc issuing a pre-release apology for his Dialogues des Carmelites being too tuneful! As if melodiousness is somehow a sin to be expiated on the altar of musical political correctness. I have slowly, but surely warmed up to RVW as well as Britten. Have you ever listened to RVW's delightful pieces for clarinet and piano based on English folk songs? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDui6I2Qo2E
  14. 30 Sep '13 09:46 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by scacchipazzo
    Criticism of that kind, destructive, ethnically targeted is always awful and says more about the person writing it that the subject. I have always been aware of "connoisseurs" dislike of RVW, but dismiss these as envious lowlifes. I am especially galled by Beecham's stinging rebukes as well as Copeland's. How about Poulenc issuing a pre-release apology ...[text shortened]... if melodiousness is somehow a sin to be expiated on the altar of musical political correctness.
    While I largely agree with your comments, I think one sometimes needs to be more generous to critics, in the same spirit as one might desire them to be more generous to artists. Kramer's criticisms of Hyman Bloom were concerned with ethnicity, but it was an ethnicity that both men shared (therefore, it was not an anti-semitic slur). Kramer was perhaps suggesting that Bloom's engagement with his ethnic heritage was sentimental or misjudged; and one cannot doubt that there are problematic ways in which one can engage with one's heritage, just as there are productive ones.

    As for RVW, some of his critics may have judged him to be purveying a sentimental, evasive or incomplete vision of Englishness. We may feel these criticisms are wrong, or we may feel they are irrelevant to our appreciation of RVW; but I think we should try to avoid dismissing them as merely the product of envy, when they may be the product of real and deeply felt differences in terms of aesthetic values and assumptions.

    Equally, we should be wary of critics who seek to police the boundaries of art - your comment about Poulenc is spot on - the idea that tonal language was somehow exhausted by the mid-twentieth century suggests the limitations of the critic much more than those of the composer.
  15. 30 Sep '13 11:25
    Originally posted by Teinosuke
    While I largely agree with your comments, I think one sometimes needs to be more generous to critics, in the same spirit as one might desire them to be more generous to artists. Kramer's criticisms of Hyman Bloom were concerned with ethnicity, but it was an ethnicity that both men shared (therefore, it was not an anti-semitic slur). Kramer was perhaps sugg ...[text shortened]... d-twentieth century suggests the limitations of the critic much more than those of the composer.
    As always yours is the voice of reason. Yet I still feel these critics were unkind to an extent further than artistic difference required. They seem like marching little Eduard Hanslicks in lockstep towards artistic destruction rather than honest criticism of aesthetic differences. However, indeed without criticism no one would ever improve nor strive for fixing the critiqued aspects of their art. Yet there are other critics who never seem to have found anything wrong with John Cage or Phillip Glass yet tore apart a genius like Charles Ives.