Who's your favorite composer?

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Cucco, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Both to record and to listen to...

    My favorites to record are:
    Beethoven - such rich textures in the woodwinds and brass with complex harmonies that really show what a recording system is capable of
    Brahms - He's my favorite to use "coloured" gear on. Tube mics and pres with a decent amount of saturation
    Rachmaninoff - This is what the piano should sound like
    Liszt - See above
    Mahler - a love/hate relationship - usually tests the limits of my equipment
    Mozart - It's so easy to make Mozart sound good

    My favorites to listen to are (in order):
    R. Strauss
    J.S. Bach (none of the others)

    Composers I hate to record/listen to:

    Haydn - BBBOOORRRIIINGGG (zzzzzzzz....)
    J. Strauss - Oh for the love of GOD, we know you like waltzes, we get it...
    J.P. Sousa - See above but insert marches in place of waltzes.
    C.P.E. Bach - beyond boring, downright annoying
    Cowell - this is music?
    Chopin - Kopprasch wrote a bunch of Horn Etudes, but you don't see me playing them in concert. Why are Chopin etudes SO special?

    Just some thoughts...

  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    :shock: :shock: :shock:

    Chopin is mastery of a solo instrumental idiom the likes of which the world had never seen and may never see again... said with respect, of course :)
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Interesting topic, and I'm not surprised to see Beethoven right up there at the top, Jeremy!

    I like most of the big traditional names, and there's a few I don't quite "Get". Some of the traditional "Trio" music of the romantic era bugs me; usually the overwrought piano, cello and violin stuff, but that could be just me. I think I've just come to dislike that particular "sound" after hearing so much of it in my college years. (Too many recitals....) :? A few Mendelssohn works come to mind, although he's also written some gorgeous stuff.

    My "desert island" list keeps changing these days. Fortunately, I get to hear a wide variety of stuff, so I haven't settled into just one or two composers, even after all this time. I've recently heard some Hans Gal choral pieces that just blow me away (even after all the work that went into our recordings), and Beiber, as well. Poulenc always seems to keep my interest as well. For Baroque music, there's a ton of lesser-known composers I'm getting to know better, as well: James Oswald, Boccherini, and of course those two heavyweights: Corelli & Vivaldi. Some of it is fluff, but there's some meat on those bones as well, at least in certain works.

    I swear to god, though....If I never have to record another Haydn symphony.....I think i've done at least 70 of them over the years, and they truly have all blended into one huge mosh of sound in my brain.....

    Over the last two years, I've been involved in recording some cutting-edge "New" music (The series is called "Fresh Ink" - duh!) and some of it is quite wonderful, some of it is really quite, um....dull? I'll restrain from naming any names (since they're all still alive). Much of it I confess that I do not "Get" at least at first listen. (Modern music, etc. :? ) A lot of it "looks good on paper." A lot of it seems to be very very "inside" type of stuff. One must read the program notes, know something about the subject matter (usually a human rights topic, or a mood or something generally intangible - why does new music always have to BE AOUT something, btw?) and the sonority of most new stuff is truly difficult to get past.

    When I get asked how the music was, I may occasionally say: "Well, let's put it this way: It's NOT something the audience is going to walk out of the hall humming the main theme." (Good luck FINDING one...)

    But of course if I'm mixing and editing the pieces, I do get a chance to live with them, learn even more about them, and sometimes really grow to like them. Not too long ago, I got a visit from one of the composers (backstage, at my rig) just after his piece was performed. (he was a most polite and wonderful man to deal with, btw.) Seems the pianist had missed a note in the last 2 or 3 measures, and the composer was DESPERATE to put that note back in before it went out on the air in the broadcast. He sent me a copy of the score, pointed out where the same passage was played earlier (WITH the correct note), and hoped I could use that one. I did, it worked, and the world continued to turn on its axis. He was thrilled, and I simply shrugged, but happy for him. Considering what the piece actually sounded like - what was going on in addition to the piano part - it's arguable that anyone would have noticed, save the composer. Ah well.....to each their own.

    I still like Mozart in general (every time I hear the big ones - esp the Requiem and a few others, I'm still amazed at his talents). Even the 3+ hr operas are astounding - hard to figure out how he crammed "too many notes" into such things and still had them remain anywhere NEAR interesting, yet he did, and they are. (Kinda like the "musical junk food" (or crack cocaine?) of his era, I suppose!) I get to record Cosi fan tutte almost every other year, ditto for Marriage of figaro and Don Giovanni. They could ALL use a bit of trimming and cuts, but damnit all, they still pack 'em in.

    How about more modern guys like Coplan, Bernstien, Ligeti, Menotti and even real current ones like Adams....anyone have any thoughts? Favorits? Least favs?
  4. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Record :

    Sergei Rakhmaninov : Piano music, a joy with the right pianist
    Dietrich Buxtehude : The true master of baroque organ
    Segei Prokofiev : Master of rythmic intensity
    Franz Schubert : Intrisic simplicity
    Olivier Messiaen : Interesting sound world
    Bela Bartok : Those string quartets sizzle

    Listen : a partial list
    D. Shostakovich
    G. Mahler
    H. Rosenberg
    B. Bartok
    V. Holmboe

    Hate :

    I don't hate any music as long as the artist and the enviroment is decent.

  5. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Questionable subject to be sure. There are so many good pieces of music, and some geat people have written them. But there are some stinkers that cannot really be modified by opinion.

    Haydn symphonies may not be very interesting but his chamber music is another matter entirely. Little jewels of string quartets and the lute chamber music is desert island stuff. Listen to Quatuor Mosaiques playing the Opus 20 string quartets, some of the finest chamber music ever.

    The piano repertoire would be nothing without Chopin and Rachmaninov, these two are on my desert island composers, Richter playing the Chopin concertos, Demidenko and Richter on the Rach preludes and etude tableaux, Pletnev for the nocturnes, Richter and Pogo for the Chopin Scherzos etc

    Anything by JS Bach, Magdalena Kozena for the Erbarme dich, mein Gott, Hopkinson Smith for the lute suites, Starker and Wispelwey for the cello suites, Hilary Hahn for the violin partitas and sonatas, Phillipe Herrewege and Collegium Vocale for the choral works, etc etc

    Music that has moved me the most in the last few years is Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir, this is an astonishing piece of music, get any recording you can of it and listen.

    Dvorak chamber music, Fischer Dieskau and Moore and others with Schubert leider, it goes on and on ...

    Anything by Ravel, especially the string quartet, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Alborada del Gracioso, any Spanish Piano music with Alice Rocks playing it, on and on .....

    Gilels playing the Beethoven sonatas, Berlin Phil with Abbado for the symphonies, the glorious chamber music and string quartets ...

    Song, spanish, german, english, american, Barbara Bonney singing Grieg, Solvegs song, Anthony Rolf Johnson on Quilter Shakespeare songs, ....

    Maria Joao Pires on Mozart chamber music ...

    Puccini and Verdi Opera, Mirella Freni and Pavarotti with Karajan for Boheme and Butterfly, Angela Georgiou in Traviata, Callas in Tosca, ....

    There is another five pages for me, so its a difficult question to answer. :)
  6. GuitarTim

    GuitarTim Guest

    I can't go on at length like you guys, but then my tastes are different as well, I think.

    I like Dvorak, R. Strauss, Mussorgsky. I also like Bach, Mozart, the usual suspects, but Dvorak's "From the New World" really turns my crank...
  7. bap

    bap Member

    I do more playing and listening than recording and, as an accompanist [collaborative artist], do not always get to choose what I play. We make the most of what we have to work with!

    The Martin Mass for double choir is marvelous, though many of his duo [instrument w/piano] works have not won me over. Haydn Opus 76 Quartets are amongst my favorites.

    I listen to, and enjoy, many things.
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I think we're all a tolerant bunch regardless of how we may sound here..... We HAVE to be broad-minded and open to new things every time out. There's certainly much more to like than dislike.

    By its very nature, this "recording business" means a new experience every time out, and it's never the same thing twice. Even when I know a work and have heard it many times over, there's often something new to notice.

    And even in the worst of circumstances, it's all usually over in about 2 hrs or so, and we're usually paid for our troubles.

    How bad is THAT, eh? :cool:
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    You know, the funny thing is - no matter how much I may dislike a piece or composer, I never really mind recording it.

    Case in point, I hate J. Strauss with a passion. Yet, recently, the college here in town did their entire second half of the concert as Strauss waltzes. It's not like I wanted to take my own life, but it certainly would be better than me popping on an LP of Strauss waltzes.

    That being said, there are those that say "I love all music because it's music..." While I appreciate the sentiment, I can't really believe that's true. Flipping the radio station, as much as I enjoy listening to music, I will find stuff that just doesn't captivate me and I have to flip again. I respect all music b/c it is music, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

    Dave: I agree Haydn's chamber works are far better than his symphonies. And if we look at history and see the reasons behind his various compositions, that just makes good sense too. Since his symphonies were sort of a regular duty and his chamber works were done out of sheer passion. That being said, I still find Haydn's work lacking the brilliance of both Mozart's and Beethoven's chamber pieces.

    As a child, I hated Mozart. The older I get, the more I appreciate his work and just downright love it. As far as Beethoven is concerned - I firmly believe that there is a fine line between absolute genius and genuine insanity. Beethoven's works tread on that fine line and do it beautifully.

    And no matter how much anyone says about Chopin, I just can't get into his music. Particularly his etudes. My sentiments echo Robert Schumann's about Chopin's music - "It is mindless prattling..." (Of course these are simply my opinions and I do know that Chopin is dear to many of you...)

    I'm curious about Tchaikowsky. No one here has listed him. That's interesting to me. While I enjoy playing and recording his works, I often find that Tchaik wrote works almost to hear the sounds not to express emotions.

    Just 2 more cents...
  10. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

  11. bap

    bap Member

    I love Mozart as well. He didn't feel that Haydn had much to teach him but was very respectful of Haydn's string quartets. It took him [Mozart] a long time to write his quartets due to Haydns skill in this genre.

    The 'Mozart Effect' has been beneficial to my cat's mental capacity.
    Mozart is his favorite composer.

    Schubert is another favorite of mine - I don't mind the length of many of his works.
  12. Costy

    Costy Guest

    I'll step up for P.I. Tchaikovski. He is not my most favorite though.
    In my opinion you got to dig for the right record to enjoy listening
    to it. Those records are usually made by some of the best Russian
    orchestras/conducters. The same counts for Rachmaninov, Stravinsky,
    Shostakovitch, Glinka, Prokofiev, ecc. Just what I think...

    I love most Rachmaninov, Bethoveen, Paganini, Stravinski. Love to
    listen I mean.

    I think, I also can join the J.Strauss hate-club...

  13. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Ok, here's a modified diversion of the thread; instead of who you "hate" (hate is such a strong word ;-) )

    How about which composer you don't "GET". While there's much of Bartok I DO like, there's a lot that absolutely leaves me cold. (Including those awful Microcosmos piano studies they made me work on. HIDEOUS, IMHO. Didn't get it at all, and it made no sense to me. )

    Ligeti, on the other hand is endlessly fascinating, yet there's much of his stuff I also "don't quite get."

    And J. Strauss.......yeah, it's tough defending that one, alright.

    THere are others that I don't quite "Get" - most of them the really "modern" types. How bout you?
  14. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Bring on the contemporary stuff here!!!! I'll sign up for the Tchaikovsky hate club. I find his stuff repetitive and boring in the extreme (try counting the number of times the theme is repeated exactly in the last movement of the second symphony for example... Ugh :? ) The guy writes an ok melody, but the music is boring as hell.

    I like Arvo Pärt, Michael Daugherty, Christopher Rouse, Joseph Schwantner, Ian Krouse, and John Adams to name a few... Of the older stuff- some Brahms, Stravinsky (yes, he isn't modern anymore), some of Schoenbergs stuff (especially Transfigured Night or the orchestration of the Brahms Piano Quartet), Late Mozart has its genius, "Latin" Classical- Rodrigo, Turina, Ginastera, etc... Some of Bach's stuff is heavenly... There is so much good music out there to listen to- much of it unknown. There is a ton of great Modern stuff out there. To think that all of it is unlistenable is to be uninformed of what is out there. Babbit may have said "Who cares if you listen" (well, paraphrased), but there are a lot of composers since then that write music that is enjoyable and approachable by anybody.

  15. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Just a quick aside....I had the "pleasure" of doing some of Michael Daugherty's recordings. He wriites some very good music but he is not very nice to work with. The recordings I was doing for him HAD to be done at 2:00 am in the morning (his requirement) since we we doing them in a chapel at the college I worked for and there was too much traffic noise during the day. I was also doing some construction supervison during the same period of time which meant that I had to be at the 6 am meetings and I had concerts to record at night. Michael was a task master and was never satisfied with anything. I guess that is good for a composer but not for a recording session that is going on into the wee hours of the morning. When he finally left for Michagan there was a big sigh of relief here. Lots of other stories but not for public comment.

  16. IainDearg

    IainDearg Guest

    I have to give a bit shout for Sibelius. Strange no-one else has though of him. :shock:
  17. bap

    bap Member

    Speaking of Michigan, I like a lot of William Bolcom's music and have enjoyed playing some of William Albright's stuff. When I first got to Ann Arbor [as a grad student] I approached Albright about performing his 'Stipendium Peccati' for organ, piano, and percussion. He got me the big performance hall and I included it in a chamber music recital. My teacher hated it [a strong word!] as it was minimalist and very, very wild. Albright, God bless him, told me he had written it during a particularly sinful time in his life.

    Any John Zorn fans around here? I have much admiration for his work.
  18. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    In general, the more musicians in the group, the less interested in recording I become. Big forces are usually a mess, physically, acoustically, politically, ... and so is the music.

    Small force chamber orchestras, chamber music, lieder, small choral or vocal groups are where some of the most exciting acoustic music can be heard and recorded.

    Unfortunately, our local station, like many round this country, think "classical" music is "orchestral" music and consequently put way too much of it to air. Its a real shame. They are planning a "bigger than Ben Her" performance of one of Havergil Brians choral symphonies with multihundred choristers (groan, hands over ears) and multihundred players in the orchestra (double groan, ear plugs in), I will be running fast in the opposite direction. Too many people, and it becomes a circus, no good for microphones.

    Symphonic music is a live experience, squeezing a recording of it out some loudspeakers or mono clock radio is lunacy.

    Get Barbara Bonney in a room with a lute, and thats where I will be with my mics and possibly a bottle of wine. :)
  19. ptr

    ptr Active Member

    Do You imply that You Ozzies are going to perform the "Gothic" in Brisbane? Whoooza - I've only heard it in the less than optimal Naxos/Marco Polo recording..

    When? - Am I to late to plan a holiday down under? :lol:

    I quite agree that its more rewarding to record smaller ensembles in good rooms! Listening I'm not sure, I've had som fantastic listening experiences tuning in to orchestral concerts on the 50 year old tube Luxor radio I that my gramps left me. You know, much of the illusion of recorded music stems from your mind!

  20. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    I had a hard thinking about this. Find that I really like some pieces of most composers and not other pieces by the same composer. Often tend to like the pieces I have had good experiences of, such as playing together with some really great players.

    Just a choice here:

    Nino Rota, just about everything. Mostly film music (Godfather theme, Amarcord). Great contra bass concerto. We played this one a few years ago.

    Rossini - the ouvertures!

    Britten - his piano concerto. (Perhaps because we played this, and I tell you, at times, we were all in love with the piano solist. Purely platonic of course.)

    Brahms - his symphonies. Seems to be favourites among most musicians.

    Lars-Erik Larsson. For example his Vintersaga (Winter Tale?) or Förklädd gud (Disguised god).

    Bach - aah, his treatment of voices in fugues, his MS scorebook for Cello.

    The list goes on and on and on. Seems I like almost all music except for some of the very modernistic stuff, Schönberg and so is mostly off me.


Share This Page