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[#] Sat Jul 06 2013 22:07:34 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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I have to recant some of what I wrote concerning Orff. I can't find anything to support that he burned older works because they were too much in the style of Wagner.

I can find support that he disowned most of his work previous to Carmina Burana, and that he sought to write music that was 'timeless', in that it didn't employ currently trendy musical techniques... which would mean he intended to write music that had an older feel to it. You can certainly feel that in Carmina Burana, from the choice of Latin used in most of it (yeah, there's some German, the bulk of it is Latin) to the use of open harmonies.

In this way, I suppose, I felt the music was sparse and simplistic. Certainly, Wagner's harmonies are in no way sparse, but very lush. While Orff also used some modern harmonies, the bulk of what you hear isn't that complex at all.

I have to try to recall where I heard that he had burned his older work and turned away from the styling of Wagner... it wasn't quite accurate.

As for why I don't care for Wagner, it doesn't have anything to do with his musical genius exactly, but because whenever I hear his music, I hear Nazi Germany. It is, perhaps, unfair, but I can't break the association enough to be able to enjoy the music on its own merits, and certainly my loss, but I just can't do it for some reason.

I suppose I don't hear that in Orff's music because it sounds more medieval to me, and lacks any sort of overtone from that period of time.

[#] Sun Jul 07 2013 11:08:37 EDT from Sig @ Uncensored

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Well, we can hardly claim that music imparts great meaning and significance, and then turn around and try to separate the music from an unpleasant context.
Dude wrote great stuff and was a total prick.

[#] Sun Jul 07 2013 15:35:33 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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What's *really* weird is how I don't feel this way when I watch "Munchausen", a movie that came out towards the end of the Nazi Germany era, even though the movie was commissioned by the propaganda minister and paid for by the government.

But then, Munchausen, while being very German, has enough humor in it that I can't really see it as 'Nazi', just 'German'. I also know that the screenplay was surreptitiously written by a Jewish man, so part of me kinda finds that interesting.

But then, Munchausen isn't musical, just fanciful.

[#] Sun Jul 07 2013 15:59:21 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Jul 7 2013 8:08am from Sig @uncnsrd (Uncensored)
Well, we can hardly claim that music imparts great meaning and
significance, and then turn around and try to separate the music from

an unpleasant context.
Dude wrote great stuff and was a total prick.

Yes you absolute *can* separate the music from an unpleasant "context." And the failure so to do only renders one as non-objective, and absolutely non-academic in his/her writing(s).

If one is writing about *music* then the discussion is about *music* and not the personal likes or dislikes of the composer. It is no more relevant to critize Wagner's anti-Semitism in a writing about his *music* than it would be to mention that he did not like broccoli or sushi. While those may indeed be true, in a discussion about his *music* they would be equally IRRELEVANT.

[#] Sun Jul 07 2013 17:24:50 EDT from Sig @ Uncensored

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I think you're the only one who insists on having a pure music conversation.

[#] Sun Jul 07 2013 23:35:53 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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I can discuss music for its own sake, and music from my own personal tastes.
There are plenty of examples of music that I consider technically masterful, but not the sort of music I'd care to listen to for enjoyment.

Wagner is a strong example of this for me. On technical merits, he deserves to be recognized as a master. He had some amazing ideas that we continue to use today (e.g. Pink Floyd used the leitmotif idea regularly in their own work). And when I hear other people use some of the concepts he helped promote, I tend to like them.

But I can't stand to listen to Wagner's music. I haven't even read anything he wrote... I didn't like the bulk of his music when I first heard it. It just feels spiritually broken to me, even though, on technical merits, it's fantastic.

I like Beethoven, who more-or-less destroyed the idea of writing a simple symphony forevermore (prior to Beethoven, a composer might have written over a hundred symphonies, but afterwards, often less than 10, never more than 20 as far as I know).
So, I know it isn't Wagner's lush harmonies or careful attention to detail in his compositions.

I like Stravinsky, whose music is far more modern than Beethoven. So I know it's not that Wagner was a more modern composer.

It's simply the images that Wagner gives me whenever I hear his music, regardless of whether or not he deserves for me to have those ideas in my head when I hear it. I won't fault him for it... but you cannot make me like his music despite his genius.

[#] Mon Jul 08 2013 17:58:16 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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But I can't stand to listen to Wagner's music. I haven't even read
anything he wrote... I didn't like the bulk of his music when I first

heard it. It just feels spiritually broken to me, even though, on
technical merits, it's fantastic.

I can cure you of the "spiritually broken" thing. Listen to these:

1. Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music (last 15 minutes of Die Waldure, Act III).
2. Isolde's Liebestod (last 15 minutes of Tristan und Isolde, Act III).
3. Love Duet, Siegmund and Siegliende, Die Walkure Act I, Scene 3.

Now let's listen to a couple purely orchestral Wagner masterworks:

1. Overture - Die Meistersinger
2. Overture - Fliegende Hoellander (Flying Dutchman)

If you still believe Wagner's music to be without spirituality, and sheer joy at times, these examples will fix that for you.

I fully agree that EVERY theater work the guy wrote during his "Nibelungen" period (basically 1850 until his death) requires a lot of work on the part of the listener. And many folks confuse that with "being boring." It's not. But absolutely it is not for everyone. It is, however, for a *lot* of people - after all, putting on a full production of The Ring guarantees the opera house one thing - a SOLD OUT series of performances. The San Francisco Ring a couple summers back was sold out a year ahead, and that was with a full cycle of tickets costing roughly TWO GRAND! For four nights, one seat. And I thought the Metropolitan Opera (NYC) was expensive. Sheesh!!!

[#] Mon Jul 08 2013 22:11:23 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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That's an awful lot of Wagner you want me to endure. I'd almost think
you're trying to brainwash me into liking it.

This said, here are the Youtube links I'll endure. I probably can't do
this all in one sitting:

That's almost 45 minutes worth of music. But I will do it. Just not
all at one time. Let me know if you have a problem with any of those,
and I'll swap for something else.

(But if I tear into Wagner afterwards, it's on you... and fair warning,
people rarely change their opinion in these forums).

[#] Tue Jul 09 2013 00:35:14 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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I use the Citadel text client so it would be a real chore for me to track down each of those links.

I recommend the listening in this order:

1. Meistersinger Prelude (overture)
2. Dutchman Overture
3. Wotan's Farewell and Magic Fire Music
4. Isolde's Liebestod (Tristan)
5. Siegmund/Sieglinde Act I love duet (Walkure)

[#] Tue Jul 09 2013 00:44:25 EDT from vince-q @ Uncensored

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That's almost 45 minutes worth of music. But I will do it. Just not

all at one time. Let me know if you have a problem with any of those,

and I'll swap for something else.

Actually it's closer to 1 hr 15 min. If it is significantly less, you've picked the wrong conductor(s). Or you've "cut into" the love duet in Walkure **way** late! The
"meat" of that scene starts with the phrase "Du bist der Lenz".

I really think you'll like the two overtures. Dutchman is really good - sets the scene with one of the best orchestral "seascapes" ever written. Meistersinger Prelude is just plain fun - everything folks that think they hate Wagner simply cannot believe he wrote it even after they hear it. It is... **joyful** and **playful**. Now there's two words you just normally don't connect with Richard Wagner!!

Yes - a lot of Wagner is loud. He favors the brass - particularly the Horns in F (for the Ring he actually calls for ***16*** players in the horn section at times). But he also writes exquisite softer stuff - but you are **not** ready for it yet.


Siegfried Idyll (a piece for chamber orchestra)
Forest Murmers (from Act II of Siegfried)
Good Friday Music (Parsifal)

I am going to use all caps for the next sentence - it is that important.



There are even Wagnerians that go through their entire lives and just "do not get" Parsifal. It is not an "acquired taste." It's like sushi. The first time you hear it you will either love it or hate it and you will **never** change your view.

So if you are new to Wagner, or trying to be new to Wagner, do ***not*** touch Parsifal.... yet.

[#] Tue Jul 09 2013 10:20:34 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Heh... you may underestimate me.

I studied music for four years, towards a degree in composition. My issue with Wagner was never with his technical merits, but with a general feeling I get when I listen to his music.

I've listened (and enjoyed) stuff that might make you go "WTF?".

(And for those who know, I'm not necessarily talking about A Certain Christmas Tune, either).

Here's a relatively low-brow, but avante-guard example of something I like:

[#] Tue Jul 09 2013 15:12:10 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Jul 9 2013 7:20am from fleeb @uncnsrd (Uncensored)

Heh... you may underestimate me.

I studied music for four years, towards a degree in composition. My


Please go to

Have a listen and let me know what you think. The files are secure - they're my creations as is the web site.

[#] Tue Jul 09 2013 18:10:53 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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You've obviously put a lot of time and effort into both of these.
Although I might sound a little harsh (I hope not) about the first
piece, I really do mean it constructively. I think it's good... but I
think you could do better.

For me, the first piece suffers from only one problem, but it's kind of
significant... almost eight minutes of the celtic drone might be asking
for much from the average listener. It puts me in mind of Treemonisha
by Scott Joplin; Joplin tried to adapt his ragtime music to opera,
and... well... the syphilis killed him before he had a chance to hone it
to something a little more interesting (which is something of a
tragedy... that man had to overcome amazing odds to get as far as he
did). Ragtime is great, as is celtic music, but you don't want to
overdo it in a classical piece, or the spice it provides becomes

Now, I realize
it's tricky... you've got this mood you want to convey,
with incantations and mystery, and a celtic drone can help convey that,
but you have to give the audience some breath occasionally.

I liked the second piece very well, though. I'm about 8 minutes into
it as I write this, and I hear a lot of variety, yet well unified as one
piece. It's interesting, really cool, and engaging. Returned to this
paragraph after 25 minutes into it, and the pipe organ has kicked in...
that's an extremely nice touch. Yeah, this piece has a lot of variety,
yet is clearly themed to keep everything unified, so it doesn't ramble.
Good work!

I wonder if you could do something with your HexenSabbat that might
significantly help it, after listening to Schwanda the Bagpiper's "Polka
and Fugue". Obviouisly, you aren't looking for a polka feel (that isn't
what I'm suggesting), but give it a careful
listen, say, here:

Notice how the fugue builds. As a double-fugue, it has two main
melodies that it uses throughout the entire piece. But, holy hell, does
it build from very humble beginnings to something massive and grand. I
often imagine a small child in a remote village doing some tiny thing
that winds up getting the attention of the village elder, who then takes
the child to the next lord up, who then goes to the next lord, and so
on, until the child is taken to the king of the whole land to show what
s/he did, and is celebrated the entire way.

It still has that weird polka-like feel, yet conveys something much
more grand and massive.

I bet you could do something similar with HexenSabbat to convey mystery
while the initiation builds to a massive conclusion before the hero sets
out to quest. And I bet you could still
keep that celtic feel (probably
wouldn't even need to use a fugue, either). Focusing on making it build
would probably prevent the music from overpowering the listener, and
instead draw the listener into the piece.

[#] Tue Jul 09 2013 22:34:31 EDT from vince-q @ Uncensored

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Thank you very much for all of that - please see your mail> room here at uncensored.

[#] Wed Jul 10 2013 14:34:52 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Heh, and thank you for not taking offense!

I wish I had written anywhere near as much as either of those two, but alas, I have half of my final project for college written (back in the 90s).

These were written for a pipe organ, to be performed in a church. I had a choral piece as well, but I can't find it. They were actually performed in a church, but I didn't get a recording of it, so I just have the midi files instead:

It's a prelude and fugue. The fugue is a double-fugue... two themes that you hear throughout the piece. In retrospect, clumsy in a lot of places, but I really, really wanted to write a fugue. The prelude was written after the fugue, but incorporates some bits from the fugue.

[#] Wed Jul 10 2013 19:43:32 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Hmmmm... I really really *really* know that the MIDI files suffer from the complete lack of ambience you'd have with a 'real organ in a real church building.' I can tell throughout both movements that you wrote these with church acoustics in mind, and having spent many years as organist in a rather major Episcopal church back east, I know almost precisely how your work would sound, and am pleased. Church music is, in my opinion, easy to write, and damnably difficult to write well. Believe me, I learned my lesson back in the late autumn of 2011 writing my Heroes' Requiem - latin text Requiem Mass for full orchestra, adult chorus, boy choir and SATB soloists. Sections are exquisitely beautiful, sections are horridly boring, most is in the middle. There is, of course, the recurring problem for any composer approaching a Requiem Mass - "just what do you *do* with the 'Dies Irae'?" Originally my approach was to handle it in six shorter sections. After doing that, I simply joined them into one continuous (20 minute) piece and saw the "Verdi Problem" for myself. It was then (and remains) absolutely not usable "in church" but only as a concert work. Oh well... ;)

Here - go listen to *this*....
Symphony #2, "Kaddish"

That is a lot 'lighter' than the 4th.

[#] Thu Jul 11 2013 09:41:49 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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It did sound much better in a real church. Also, the program I used screwed up some of the notes (but the gist of it is there). But, after a few years, I think the fugue is a tad dull in places, feeling like I am just going through a lot of variations without as much inspiration as possible.

Which is sorta funny, as I spent a crazy amount of time on it, compared to the prelude, which was written rather quickly by comparison. But then, the fugue was intended to be the music that summed everything else up. I intended to write the mass backwards, from the last piece you'd hear to the first, so that everything would come together at the end.

Heh... when I originally wrote the prelude, I wanted it to be challanging for the organist (not to be a dick, but just to keep him from being bored).
So, I had a section where both feet and both hands had to work at the same time. My organist told me he couldn't do it, that he needed at least one foot free, so I moved the upper pedal to the left hand (which still worked).

I also wrote optional male and female parts in the choir. Our top soprano asked me if she had to sing the optional part (not quite realizing it was optional), complaining that it was too high for her. I knew it was difficult, but I also knew some sopranos could hit it. I said, no, it was optional, and so we moved on. Kind of a shame, though, as it would have sounded nice, but again, I totally understood.

My composition instructor saw the key in which I wrote the choir parts, and immediately said, "Are you sure? This will be out of the range of most of your choir members." I said, "Yes, I'm sure, and no, it won't be a problem."

And it wasn't. I've sung in choirs for a long time, and I knew enough about vocal arrangement to ensure that all the parts would remain within range, regardless of what key I chose. It only meant that I had to be a little more careful about how I put together the melodies, but that apparently wasn't too hard for me. I think I wrote it in E flat major, or B flat major.

[#] Thu Jul 11 2013 09:43:36 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Dies Irae is such a recognizable Gregorian chant. I'm certain anyone here would recognize it the moment they hear it.

Which, I guess, makes it somewhat tricky to write your own Dies Irae if you don't want it to sound like the old chant. Heh, I guess you could go in the complete opposite direction, and make it soft and sensitive. That would be in stark contrast to the text, but that in itself might make it interesting.

[#] Thu Jul 11 2013 10:15:38 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Y'know, now that I think some more about what you've written concerning how someone said it sounded like Mahler's ghost wrote it, you should probably think about it another way.

The master composers all sounded like themselves. They spent a long time honing their craft to a point where, for them, the composition of music came second nature, and as such, when they wrote something, it had a sound like no other composer.

So, if this critic claimed that your music sounded like Mahler, you should have striven harder to find your own voice. You are obviously influenced by the composers before you, the ones you enjoy hearing, and so on. But at the end of the day, until you have your own sound, you're just copying the sounds of composers before you, no matter how nice that might seem.

Do what you will... maybe keep a copy of the Mahler-esque composition for your own needs, but I would argue that you should absolutely modify what you have, and see if you can add more of yourself to it somehow.

Or do something new. Something daring, different, but perhaps still decent to the ears if you want exposure, heh.

[#] Thu Jul 11 2013 12:43:26 EDT from vince-q @ Cascade Lodge BBS

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Do what you will... maybe keep a copy of the Mahler-esque composition

for your own needs, but I would argue that you should absolutely modify

what you have, and see if you can add more of yourself to it somehow.

Not to worry. Nobody else, including me, thinks it even vaguely resembles Mahler. My orchestration style is mine, and others have said it is masterful. I suppose this goes back to my extensive experience conducting in the pit for many a musical (broadway stuff but not in NYC). I quickly developed the ability to get 15 musicians to sound like 40 or more. There *is* a trick and not many know it. Tune the upper instruments ***slightly*** sharp and tune the lower instruments ***slightly*** flat. That causes an overtone (harmonic) blending in the 2nd to 4th harmonic (overtone) that increases the "perceived size" of the ensemble because of "acoustic beats" in the overtones that the human brain falsely interprets as a larger ensemble. I was taught that little trick by my instructor in conducting years ago, Dr. Donald Reinhart. The first time I "picked up the stick" for him was at a rehearsal for, of all things, Die Walkure in Philly. He had to go to a medical appointment and left me with the "job" of finishing the "run through" of Act I (the love duet that I am constantly wanting you to hear). Jon Vickers was the tenor (Siegmund) and I forget the name of the soprano. It was *not* Birgit Nillson - she was in that particular production, but as Brunnhilde and not as Sieglinde. Anyway - that was, and remains, one of the high points of my musical life - period - WHAT A THRILL!!!

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