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[personal profile] drplacebo
Starting this week, I'm reposting directly here by popular request.

It's Forgotten Masterpiece Friday!

If you listen to much NPR, you've heard a tune by Louise Farrenc (1804-1875), at least in some sense. I'm not about to accuse Don Voegeli of plagiarizing the theme music he wrote in 1976 for NPR's All Things Considered from Farrenc's second piano quintet, because that quintet had been out of print since 1895 and was not recorded until the 1990s. But the main melody in the catchiest of all radio themes is identical, note for note, to one of the main themes in Farrenc's quintet.

During her lifetime, Louise Farrenc was known mainly as a pianist; she achieved considerable fame on the concert stage by 1830 and in 1842 won an appointment as professor of piano performance at the Paris Conservatory, becoming only the Conservatory's second-ever female professor. But she was arguably an even better composer than performer, producing a considerable number of great chamber works and three symphonies, and was one of only a handful of women who succeeded in having their compositions performed outside their home countries. Unfortunately, even though Farrenc overcame prejudice against women composers to the extent that she became a favorite of many musicians, her music never gained traction among the wider public. Gender was not the only reason; she had the extra handicap of being a French composer who primarily wrote instrumental music at a time when the French public was totally fixated on opera. As her contemporary Saint-Saëns complained at one point, anyone who wrote instrumental music in Paris had to put on concerts themselves and invite friends and the press! Like many other 19th century French composers of instrumental music, her music fell out of the repertoire by the turn of the 20th century and only began to return to concert halls in the 1990s.

Farrenc composed two piano quintets in 1839-40, both using the "Trout" scoring of violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. This week's piece is the first of those quintets. Perhaps not surprisingly, the quintet features a virtuosic piano part, but this is no mere piano show piece! In fact, it may be even more striking how completely the piano is integrated into the ensemble -- Romantic chamber music at its finest. Don't miss the absolutely breathtaking scherzo!


I. Allegro
II. Adagio ma non troppo (11:27)
III. Scherzo: Presto (17:46)
IV. Finale: Allegro (21:19)

drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
It's probably a little unwieldy to copy all my past Forgotten Masterpiece Friday posts into this group, but I'll start posting them here in the future. For now, I thought I'd link directly to a few favorites on my journal. I can also now confirm that all the Forgotten Masterpiece Fridays on my DW journal are visible to the public.

Howard Hanson, Symphony No. 1 ("Nordic")

Wang Xilin, Symphony No. 1
* An early work from a still-active composer sometimes known as the Chinese Shostakovich.

George Bristow, Symphony No. 3
* A very early American symphony that was well ahead of its time in orchestration.

Ethel Smyth, Double Concerto
* Interesting combination of solo instruments: horn and violin!

Walter Rabl, Clarinet Quintet

Sheng Lihong, Ocean Symphony
* Literally the composer's only composition for which he received sole credit; but for a first and last effort, what a piece!

Amanda Maier, Violin Sonata
* Mutually influential with Brahms's 3rd violin sonata; the two composers simultaneously sent one another early drafts!

Kunihiko Hashimoto, Symphony No. 1
* The second movement is essentially a Japanese Bolero that ends with taiko drums being used in the percussion section.

Intro post

May. 13th, 2017 12:36 pm
drplacebo: (Default)
[personal profile] drplacebo
Hi, everyone! I'm a violist and composer based in Sacramento, California, USA. Music isn't my primary job, but I play viola in a semi-professional orchestra and am principal violist in a community orchestra. I also play violin occasionally, played piano through college, played low brass in high school, and have done a fair bit of choral performance (true bass, definitely not baritone).

If I had to pick three favorite composers, both to play and to listen to, it would be Brahms, Schumann, and Shostakovich; you can probably fill in a lot of my other favorites from there. I enjoy music from all eras from Renaissance to 21st century, though.

I also like exploring lesser-known composers from all eras. I've been fortunate in that the directors of both of my orchestras similarly enjoy going off the beaten path. One of the things I post every week on my own page is "Forgotten Masterpiece Fridays," where I present an unjustly neglected piece, usually by a lesser-known composer. (I think most of those posts should be visible to the public; if any are not, it's because I had to manually change permissions to public when I imported from LiveJournal and may have missed one or two.)

I'd love to chat with any other string players, composers, and especially anyone else who likes exploring lesser-known classical music.
espresso_addict: Two cups of espresso with star effect on coffee pot (coffee cups)
[personal profile] espresso_addict
Hello, everyone! I stumbled across this comm at random and was surprised to find it's so new. Looking forward to interesting discussions, but meanwhile... My three favourite composers are JS Bach, Stravinsky & Steve Reich, and I also listen to a lot of contemporary classical, 20th century eg Bartok & a handful of earlier composers. I love contemporary opera, choral music, string quartets, cello, &c&c.

I've very recently started to play the piano again after a 30-year hiatus, but am finding it hard work on my own. I was also hoping to take up choral singing again, but find my voice -- always problematically placed between soprano & alto -- has shrunk to nearly nonexistence.
gramarye1971: a French horn resting on an open book of sheet music (French horn)
[personal profile] gramarye1971
Hello, all -- I'm a piano, French horn, and organ player who has dabbled (with little success) in double reeds, had a brief fling with a harpsichord, and has daydreamed about buying a hammer dulcimer and being the coolest kid at parties. I've also done my fair share of choral performance, starting as a soprano but now more comfortably in the alto/contralto range.

One of the best classes I ever took in college for broadening my music horizons was a seminar on medieval and Renaissance music, which sparked my love for polyphony and composers like John Dunstable, Guillaume Du Fay, and Giovanni Perluigi de Palestrina. Primarily, I'm a sucker for baroque music, especially the organ works of Dietrich Buxtehude and J.S. Bach and the harpsichord work of François Couperin. In the classical period I look mostly to Beethoven and Haydn, and from the later years I gravitate towards Chopin (mainly his nocturnes), Elgar, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky. Operas of choice include Turandot, Cavallaria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, and Don Giovanni, and I'll always make time to listen to Carmina Burana or Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

Especially happy to chat with other organists, fans of early or late polyphony, or people who listen to something like Mozart's Requiem on a crowded bus and pretend that they're in an action movie right at the part where something epic is about to happen.
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[personal profile] kotturinn
Another clarinettist here. Also piano (rustily) and recorders. Fairly eclectic tastes mainly, I think, because I'll give anything a listen once - some do turn out to be just once.

Currently ear-wormed by a mix of Hindemith, Franck and Ravel. having played bass clarinet in pieces by the first two last night with Ely Sinfonia (http://www.elysinfonia.co.uk/home/).

For anyone within range of Cambridge UK, with an interest in 20th and 21st century music, the upcoming Cambridge Philharmonic concert (Adès, Adams, Ives) looks rather a treat (http://www.cam-phil.org.uk/posters/2017-05-20.pdf).
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[personal profile] used_songs
I play the clarinet. I'm trying to .learn to play the violin (and the banjo). My favorite composers to play are Hindemth, Poulenc, Shostakovich, Stravinski, Mozart, and Bach. As far as the classical music I usually listen to, it's a lot of fairly contemporary stuff. I like John Cage, John Adams, the Arditti Quartet, Maya Beiser, the Kronos Quartet, Mika Yoshida, yMusic,Bang on a Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, Caleb Burnham, Tarab Cello Ensemble, Steve Reich, Roomful of Teeth, and others. I also love opera.

I just really love music.
lilacsigil: 12 Apostles rocks, text "Rock On" (12 Apostles)
[personal profile] lilacsigil
Hi! I used to play piano and then took up the cello at age 12 so that I could play in ensembles, which I loved. Unfortunately psoriatic arthritis means I can't play the cello and had to take a very long break from piano. I've recently started playing piano again after almost 20 years not playing and it's a hard slog but it's so great to be making music again.

My favorite composers are Chopin and Bach, for a bit of variety, but I also love Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Hi! I'm a musician -- cellist and singer -- who loves classical music. Love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Strauss waltzes, chamber music. Not fond at all of Mendelssohn, because of how he treats cellists -- as if they're there only to do sound effects with sixteenth notes, causing repetitive motion injuries. But I'm open to other classical as well. Stravinski! Benjamin Britten! (bring it on!)
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[personal profile] ghostwire
Welcome to the community!

Please, feel free to introduce yourself.
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