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 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 5:34 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

I have been on quite the Goldsmith and Morricone kick...then I listened to Bernard's "Moby Dick/Sinfonietta" CD and was once again profoundly impressed. He truly was a great composer, period.

I am also a huge enthusiast of Bernard's Symphony no.1 (I have it on an excellent CD teamed with the Fantastiks).

I have yet to pick up the Souvenirs/Echoes, but it's in my queue.

Hope to hear from others in regards to their favorites as well as lesser known pieces. Check out this extremely cool piece for muted trumpets....it's so cool seeing Bernard working with the players.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVqlMklOboE

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 5:43 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

The piece in the video was composed by Carl Ruggles, for whatever that's worth. Great video though!

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 5:46 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

The piece in the video was composed by Carl Ruggles, for whatever that's worth. Great video though!

EWWWPS! Sorry. I actually thought it didn't sound terribly different in style to Bernard's Sinfonietta.

Anyhow, great to hear from you Onya and thanks!

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 5:51 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)

Honestly, I haven't really heard a lot of his concert music, though I did like Moby Dick and I've been meaning to listen to his opera of Wuthering Heights.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 6:17 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Honestly, I haven't really heard a lot of his concert music, though I did like Moby Dick and I've been meaning to listen to his opera of Wuthering Heights.

I highly recommend Symphony no. 1, it's got plenty of darkness to please the suspense fans. It also makes me wish there were more Symphonies, because that one has so much of the idiosyncratic, powerfully expressive nature of Bernard's style. The fact that it strains within the confines of the symphonic form only adds to its charm...it's boldness.

Plus, the Symphony stands up to both casual and intent listening.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 8:05 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I wish he wrote more symphonies too -- I love all of his concert music (that I've heard).

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Bernard was very Wagnerian in that he was an elite expert on dramatic scoring (we all know he could do light and everything in between as well) before he ever wrote Vertigo. His writing for contrabassoon, bass clarinet, harp are all so indelibly linked to his unique musical personality...he just comes across Wagnerian because he was an enthusiast, it was a language he liked.

Of course, Bernard had a special admiration for composers whom broke the rules, and rewrote them with their own signature. That figures, doesn't it? Bernard Herrmann stamped his fingerprint into music forever, his music is unmistakable.

Even on his 70s scores...who was more recognizable at that time?

A towering giant of music, one of the best composers since Richard Strauss imo (and btw that's high praise). I'm starting to hear a lot of that kind of great in other film composers now thanks to FSM.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 8:46 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Y'know who Herrmann liked more than Wagner? Joseph Joachim Raff, a composer who was part of Wagner's circle but was basically shunned because he dared to criticize Wagner's excesses. During his life, he was beloved by audiences and with Brahms and Wagner he was considered one of the three greatest composers of that day. After he died, critics on either side of that musical divide brutally attacked his reputation and wrote him off as a composer of salon music. Bernard Herrmann, on his own dime, recorded the first modern recording of a Raff symphony (and put together radio performances of symphonies as far back as the 30s). Thanks to him there are now multiple complete Raff symphony cycles from other conductors.

http://www.raff.org/records/herrmann.htm

I personally love Raff far more than either Brahms or Wagner. If I wasn't using my real name I'd probably be RaffAlmighty. smile

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 8:50 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Based on that, I'm going to check out Raff's work. If I find anything on Youtube.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 9:08 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)

Y'know who Herrmann liked more than Wagner? Joseph Joachim Raff, a composer who was part of Wagner's circle but was basically shunned because he dared to criticize Wagner's excesses. During his life, he was beloved by audiences and with Brahms and Wagner he was considered one of the three greatest composers of that day. After he died, critics on either side of that musical divide brutally attacked his reputation and wrote him off as a composer of salon music. Bernard Herrmann, on his own dime, recorded the first modern recording of a Raff symphony (and put together radio performances of symphonies as far back as the 30s). Thanks to him there are now multiple complete Raff symphony cycles from other conductors.

http://www.raff.org/records/herrmann.htm

I personally love Raff far more than either Brahms or Wagner. If I wasn't using my real name I'd probably be RaffAlmighty. smile

Yavar


That's really interesting, and certainly deserves further investigation. I know that Bernard championed Ives relentlessly, and he helped a lot of otherwise unknown composers see some daylight. He was philanthropic that way.

Interestingly, his biographer Steven wrote that toward the end of his life he always made it a point to honestly ask about the welfare of composers he jokingly belittled earlier in his career. I think Bernard's sense of mortality was present during Obsession; it's such a profoundly moving work, even more so considering his health at the time.

Okay, I'm off my own topic. Sorry! To me quite a bit of Bernard's music is artistic and could stand as a piece on its own, and that includes even tv scores like the otherworldly and sad Little Girl Lost. To me that composition has a place with masterpieces by Bartok.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 9:10 AM   
 By:   ZardozSpeaks   (Member)


Anyhow, great to hear from you Onya and thanks!


... but beware that OnyaBirri despises Opera.

No Wuthering Heights for him!

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 9:18 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Oh, thanks! I'm touched that you value my recommendation. There is a website (www.raff.org) you should explore which is perhaps the best site dedicated to any classical composer -- lengthy excerpts from all of his major works.

YouTube also has a ton of stuff, albeit not always the best performances (a lot of early Naxos/Marco Polo recordings of orchestral works which have long been superseded by superior performances on the CPO/Tudor/Chandos labels). Here are some good ones to get you started:



This was the first Raff symphony I ever heard, thanks to a public library copy (a decade and a half ago) of Raff's last four "seasons" symphonies conducted by Werner Andreas Albert on CPO (yeah, the guy who recorded four discs of Korngold concert works with the same orchestra for the same label). I thought the first movement was nice enough, but then the second movement just BLEW ME AWAY because of the theme that appears at around 15:52 in this video. I dunno...it seemed so far ahead of its time (this composer is 10 years *older* than Brahms!) and this long-lined melody spoke to my film-music loving mind of some epic mountain quest or something...I imagined it accompanying the Fellowship of the Ring instead of Howard Shore's rather boring theme (I love the Lord of the Rings scores, but his Fellowship theme is one of my least favorite elements of them).

His next symphony however I think I might like even more, because it's 100% awesome all the way through:


His Symphony No. 11 "The Winter" has an incredible first movement which is so far ahead of its time it IMO points towards Sibelius and Mahler:


Here's a rare live video performance of his work on YouTube (tempo is a little slow sadly), one of my favorite Raff movements, the second from the Symphony No. 10 "To Autumn Time", which depicts a "ghostly round-dance" -- I love the moment at 2:53 when I can just picture the spirits leaving their graves for a little Halloween celebration.

All but two of his eleven symphonies were programmatic (he was original part of the Wagner crowd, remember, and had no bias towards "pure" absolute music). He would have made an awesome film composer.

It's not my favorite Raff symphony, but here is Herrmann's historic Unicorn recording (now rare and OOP) of Symphony No. 5 with the London Philharmonic:


If you really want to get deeply into his music, professor Avrohom Leichtling wrote great essays on the symphonies (again available on raff.org) which function as some of the best classical liner notes ever, and really helped me gain even greater insight and love for this great composer:
http://www.raff.org/music/analysis/analysis.htm

Ok, one more for those who like concerti -- his first cello concerto was performed live in Minnesota and the full thing is on YouTube (the Tudor recording is far superior to this live performance, but I'm just excited that these are happening):


Herrmann's work as a conductor promoting others' own concert work cannot be overstated. Let's not forget he was Toscanini's counterpart at CBS!

Yavar

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 9:27 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)


Anyhow, great to hear from you Onya and thanks!


... but beware that OnyaBirri despises Opera.

No Wuthering Heights for him!


I haven't heard Wuthering Heights yet, but I've heard some pretty negative remarks about it. If one wants excellent opera by Herrmann, we have Citizen Kane (amazing!).

For the record, Beethoven is my favorite composer (especially his mid to late era works), but Wagner is my favorite artist. His vision of Gesamtkunstwerk still has massive repercussions. He was nearly the equal of Beethoven as a composer, but he had the theater for a heart.

And yes, Wagner can be excruciatingly boring at times. He was a very long winded, pompous, arrogant person which shows in the music. He was also a bit of a despicable, racist dick. That last doesn't show up in the music, fortunately. At least I hope it doesn't...I know some of his libretti could be construed as Nationalist.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 9:40 AM   
 By:   TacktheCobbler   (Member)


Anyhow, great to hear from you Onya and thanks!


... but beware that OnyaBirri despises Opera.

No Wuthering Heights for him!


I haven't heard Wuthering Heights yet, but I've heard some pretty negative remarks about it. If one wants excellent opera by Herrmann, we have Citizen Kane (amazing!).


Interesting. I'll have to keep those negative remarks in mind when I finally do listen to the opera, and I agree that the aria in Kane is stunning. On a somewhat unrelated note, I definitely recommend Newman's Wuthering Heights score for when you get the chance (there's a 40 minute re-recording from Elmer Bernstein that will give a general idea of the score).

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 9:48 AM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

Honestly, I haven't really heard a lot of his concert music, though I did like Moby Dick and I've been meaning to listen to his opera of Wuthering Heights.

I highly recommend Symphony no. 1, it's got plenty of darkness to please the suspense fans. It also makes me wish there were more Symphonies, because that one has so much of the idiosyncratic, powerfully expressive nature of Bernard's style. The fact that it strains within the confines of the symphonic form only adds to its charm...it's boldness.

Plus, the Symphony stands up to both casual and intent listening.


I'm also a fan of the Symphony. I hope that someday a major conductor will champion the work and include it in a concert. As far as I can tell it hasn't been performed (other than the recording) since its premiere in 1941.

Concerning Wuthering Heights, I listened to a broadcast of a performance given by the Minnesota Opera. It wasn't all that memorable other than Herrmann reusing themes from THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR. The same themes (as well as many other Herrmann film music cues) have apparently been used recently in the new Royal Ballet production of The Red Shoes. I would love to hear this.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   WagnerAlmighty   (Member)



Concerning Wuthering Heights, I listened to a broadcast of a performance given by the Minnesota Opera. It wasn't all that memorable other than Herrmann reusing themes from THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR. The same themes (as well as many other Herrmann film music cues) have apparently been used recently in the new Royal Ballet production of The Red Shoes. I would love to hear this.


The last I checked there was a decently reviewed 2 disc of it for around 20 US.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 3:31 PM   
 By:   DavidCoscina   (Member)

Big fan of Herrmann's concert works as well. I adore Moby Dick and spent a pretty penny acquiring the Unicorn release which was conducted by Herrmann himself. I find the Chandos recording obviously cleaner as it was released a few years ago, and the performance is very good but something in that Herrmann conducted one has a bit more drama to it

Would love to see it performed live one day. Maybe I will send in a request to the TSO.

 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 3:36 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

Unfortunately, I recognize the "Sounds of Spring" video picture for the Raff material. I didn't care for it. Seemed to go on forever and wasn't particularly composed to hold my interest forever. I'll try others tomorrow.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 4:04 PM   
 By:   Alfachrger   (Member)

Here is a 1949 recording of Herrmann conducting the CBS Symphony Orchestra playing Raff's 3rd Symphony "Im Walde".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7Nc2rws8so

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 30, 2018 - 4:36 PM   
 By:   Washu   (Member)

Hermann didn't compose any masterpieces in the concert arena - the cantata is possibly his best concert work so I am voting on that I guess. Obviously his film scores at their best are better than any of his concert work.

 
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