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Author Topic: Madness is contagious!  (Read 4600 times)

Carol Haynes

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Madness is contagious!
« on: May 08, 2006, 07:32:22 AM »
I have been studying Beethoven recently as part of my uni course.

Listening to one of his late works (Grosse Fugue Op 133) is enough to drive anyone insane - he plainly was when he wrote it.

If you are feeling unstressed and want to be stressed give it a listen (not helped by the fact the attached file is a midi version - but it adds to the effect) ...

(It plays in Windows Media Player or any other MIDI aware sofwtare you might have onboard!)

rjbull

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 08:17:37 AM »
I have been studying Beethoven recently as part of my uni course.

Listening to one of his late works (Grosse Fugue Op 133) is enough to drive anyone insane - he plainly was when he wrote it.

Beethoven would have been deaf by then (I think), so he would have been under great stress.  Music of all things is subjective and personal; maybe you just aren't susceptible to classical music?

Ravel composed his famous Bolero near the end of his working life.  He apparently died of Alzheimer's disease, or something similar, and there's some thought that Bolero is as repetitive as it is because he was already affected.

What university course are you doing?


Carol Haynes

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2006, 08:40:07 AM »
No I love classical music (and Beethoven is a strong contender for my favourite composer) but the Grosse Fugue was written right at the end of his life when his music became more and more abstract. Some performers consider is virtually unplayable and if you listen long enough you begin to see why! Beethoven went deaf early in life so almost all his greatest works were written when he was unable to hear much at all. It beggars belief that great works like the last 5 symphonies were written entirely in his head!

I am doing a degree in Humanities with Music (for fun really - and it is mostly music). At the moment I am studying a third year course on compositional methods which makes it quite a wide ranging arts course too. You can see the course outline here.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2006, 08:41:42 AM by Carol Haynes »

rjbull

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2006, 09:31:28 AM »
his music became more and more abstract. Some performers consider is virtually unplayable

I take it they don't like Stockhausen, Boulez or Xenakis, either  ;)

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I am doing a degree in Humanities with Music (for fun really

Looks interesting, but well above my level.  Musical notation is just tadpoles on telephone wires to me   :-[

"For fun" sounds euphemistic, hard to do an OU degree on top of a job and everday life.  Oh, well, you might meet someone agreeably rich at the summer school  :D




Carol Haynes

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2006, 09:58:50 AM »
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I take it they don't like Stockhausen, Boulez or Xenakis, either

LOL - actually it isn't a question of like or dislike just the complexity of what is expected. Stokhausen is actually probably one of the easier options as it is all programmed into synths and recorded on to tapes in advance.

If you want to try something horrendously difficult to play (and to listen to) try some Berio or Ferneyhough ;-)

Redhat

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2006, 06:32:57 PM »
Try listening to Sway or Dizzie Rascal, that will p**s you off  ;D

(UK Garage, for those unaware  :Thmbsup: )

zridling

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2006, 09:44:05 PM »
What a great degree, Carol! I think one of the reasons Beethoven is more highly regarded and studied over Mozart is that he did compose so many different things at so many different levels - even atonal pieces. (If you listen to Mozart for a while, you can predict where he's going, for example.) Sadly, many piano students have never sat down and read his compositions, just read the sheet music from start to finish (takes all day depending on how fast you read music). If they would, they'd marvel at what he accomplished.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2006, 03:21:26 AM »
Yes I agree Beethoven was the kiddie ;)

Having said that whilst Mozart is less obviously innovative to the modern ear if you look at what he produced in his short and troubled life it is truly astonishing, and if you compare what he did to what came before it is even more amazing as he was so innovative. When you also consider that he seemed to compose in his head and then just write it down .... (usually just one copy with very few corrections) whereas Beethoven's music often took many years to reach completion.

The trouble is it is difficult to look at these things with hindsight.

Harrie

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2006, 08:41:10 AM »
Interesting thread.  I don't know much about Beethoven (and forgive me for going off topic a little bit), but when I saw you say, Carol, that he was clearly insane when he wrote that work, the first thing that popped into my mind was Samuel Barber, an American composer.  Actually, I don't think he ever was so far as I know, but his Piano Concerto is such intense, insane, dramatic, unbelievable music!  I always think of insanity when I hear it.  And I do love it so much.  It's absolutely fantastic.  But very weird! 

Carol Haynes

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2006, 05:48:18 PM »
Sorry can't listen to Barber without weeping ...

Just got back from a concert conducted by Valery Gergiev. Shostakovitch Symphony number 8.

Never heard it live before but Gergiev manages to rip the heart from you and stamp all over it. Absolutely wonderful evening!

rjbull

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2006, 10:27:18 AM »
Sorry can't listen to Barber without weeping ...

He wrote things other than the Adagio for Strings  :)

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Just got back from a concert conducted by Valery Gergiev. Shostakovitch Symphony number 8.

Was that the one they played on Radio 3 last Friday?

I've heard before the idea that Mozart composed "like he was taking dictation from God," and that Schubert was the only composer who came close to that facility and fecundity of invention (this was before Bach got so popular).  In a literary parallel, H.Rider Haggard apparently wrote by pacing up and down, dictating to an amanuensis - and never needed to change anything.  By contrast, there's a story of Oscar Wilde at a houseparty.  They all met at lunch.  "What have you been doing this morning, Mr. Wilde?"  "I put in a comma."  They met again that evening at dinner.  "And what did you do this afternoon, Mr. Wilde?"  "I took it out again."  Hard work on the road to perfection...



Carol Haynes

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2006, 10:46:48 AM »
LOL _ great story! Oscar is one of those people who never fail to amuse (even if a lot of the stories are probably made up) but I'm not sure he would have been easy to deal with in person.

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Was that the one they played on Radio 3 last Friday?

Not sure. My only criticism of the whole concert was I have never seen anyone look so uncomfortable in evening dress as Gergiev. He has the sort of appearance that means he looks really quite fanciable (in a Lady Chatterly sort of way) ... but he looks peculiar in a penguin suit!

See http://images-eu.ama...NIF6.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg for the best piccy of him ...

That by the way is by a long way the best recording of the Rite of Spring available today (IMHO) and I'd suspect it won't be surpassed until you can have 3D holographic dancers in your living room. Brutal and full of energy - with surprising melodies and textures I've never heard before from other conductors.

PS. I know Barber wrote other things - it was a bit of a joke  :Thmbsup:

rjbull

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2006, 01:45:38 PM »
My only criticism of the whole concert was I have never seen anyone look so uncomfortable in evening dress as Gergiev. He has the sort of appearance that means he looks really quite fanciable (in a Lady Chatterly sort of way) ... but he looks peculiar in a penguin suit!

You mean, he looks the kind of rough trade that appeals to bored tweedy ladies?

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See http://images-eu.ama...NIF6.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg for the best piccy of him ...

Hmmm...  has he been around long enough to be the original of Mr. Worf?  ;)

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That by the way is by a long way the best recording of the Rite of Spring available today

I've heard it, but don't know it well.  I love Petrushka and the Firebird.

By the way, congratulations to Mouser for founding the best British bulletin board in America  :D


mouser

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2006, 01:51:50 PM »
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congratulations to Mouser for founding the best British bulletin board in America

we're in cyber space here, not america ;)

Carol Haynes

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2006, 03:10:06 PM »
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You mean, he looks the kind of rough trade that appeals to bored tweedy ladies?

Only if you think I'm bored and tweedy ...

Just two things - life is too short to be bored, and I have never worn tweed in my life ... but yes he does look a bit rough and tumblish (wishful thinking ;))

rjbull

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Re: Madness is contagious!
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2006, 04:23:47 AM »
Only if you think I'm bored and tweedy ...

Well, we can't tell a lot from your avatar...

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Just two things - life is too short to be bored

The process of earning a living rarely agrees with you   >:(

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he does look a bit rough and tumblish (wishful thinking ;))

:D