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Music of the "Sublime" (NOT the 90's band!)

rach2jlc

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Sometimes, not all the time, but infrequently music that is powerful to the point of being sublime is just what the doctor ordered. Had a long week at work with all sorts of crazy things (budget shortfalls, major cuts, construction delays in our new offices, etc etc etc) and so some vast, purgative classical music was excellent medicine.

Here are a few pieces I recommend when you need something to punch you in the stomach and make you right with the world:

1. Mahler
Symphonies no, 6, 7, 8, and especially 9. I love the 9... it makes me cry (almost). Get GOOD recordings of these, not budget, because Mahler played well has a disturbing energy that is wonderful; played badly, he's boring as hell.
2. Gorecki: Symphony no. 3: "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs."
3. Bruckner: Symphony no. 7
4. Tchaikovsky: Symphony no. 6 or Symphonic Poem Francesca di Remini.
5. Rachmaninof: Isle of the Dead

...these are just a few that popped into my mind. Feel free to list your own "cathartic" musical experiences. Peppy, light, happy Mozart Rondos need not apply!!!
 

bach

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Originally Posted by rach2jlc
Sometimes, not all the time, but infrequently music that is powerful to the point of being sublime is just what the doctor ordered. Had a long week at work with all sorts of crazy things (budget shortfalls, major cuts, construction delays in our new offices, etc etc etc) and so some vast, purgative classical music was excellent medicine.
mahler is pure magic if the circumstances are right. you have to be in the right mood, though. last night i listened to his symphony no. 2 (how could you not mention this?!!?), and it took me like 20 minutes after the finale to feel normal again. one of my best listening experiences. pretending to conduct/ making silly intuitive gesticulations/basically imitating the histrionics of bernstein is fun. +1 on his 8th symphony. i really have to get around to listening to symphonies nos. 5 and 9... but i just don't have the time right now. it's easier to enjoy pieces with which you're already familiar, if you know what i mean. never listened to brucker's 7th... but i looooooooove his 8th symphony. in addition, i'd recommend a couple wagner overtures- rienzi, die meistersinger von nurnburg, die walkure. also not an overture, but mild un leise from tristan und isolde. schubert- first movement of 8th symphony, first movement of 9th symphony. both are pretty intense, even if they're not extremely profound. shostakovich- symphony no. 5, last movement. see below.
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TIP: to embed Youtube clips, put only the encoded part of the Youtube URL, e.g. eBGIQ7ZuuiU between the tags. good thread. i love this type of music
 

King Francis

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Originally Posted by rach2jlc
Sometimes, not all the time, but infrequently music that is powerful to the point of being sublime is just what the doctor ordered. Had a long week at work with all sorts of crazy things (budget shortfalls, major cuts, construction delays in our new offices, etc etc etc) and so some vast, purgative classical music was excellent medicine.

Here are a few pieces I recommend when you need something to punch you in the stomach and make you right with the world:

2. Gorecki: Symphony no. 3: "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs."


+1

One of mine: the out-of-print recording of Tannhauser conducted by Sir Georg Solti.

You can either buy it used from Amazon (if any third-party sellers are available); or if you're lucky, your university library will have a copy on CD and you can rip it to your computer before returning it.
 

T&A

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Ultimate catharsis: Schoenberg Verklarte Nacht. It's even about transfiguration.

Think Schoenberg is all atonality? Think again. His early music is as Late Romantic as it gets. If you're into Mahler, give it a try.

Close second: Gurrelieder (especially the beginning). What Wagner would have wished he'd written.

Hot tip for the cratediggers: Frank Bridge String Sextet. It's jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
 

rach2jlc

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^Verklarte Nacht... GOOD ONE! I have a recording by Barenboim and Chicago that's great. I can't believe I forgot to mention this one.

There are also a few whacky late Scriabins that are pretty nice, too.
 

Manton

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For sublime, there is only the late Beethoven. Everything else is bubblegum pop by comparison.
 

rach2jlc

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Originally Posted by Manton
For sublime, there is only the late Beethoven. Everything else is bubblegum pop by comparison.

Must you always be so contrary?

Beethoven? Which Beethoven did you have in mind? It seems the 9th, probably one of the most rightly lauded pieces of all time, is a massive finale... almost an affirmation of life, the universe, and everything.

Mahler's 9th and the unfinished 10th are like some rail thin, fey Austrian whining, "Ehhhh.... zis pen ist soooo heavy, Ich kan baaarely write anaza line! But, I mast feeneesh!!"

And Bruckner's 7th? Hell, the Third Reich picked this one to announce Die Fuhrer's demise!
 

Connemara

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Gundula Janowitz singing "Biem Schlafengehen" from Strauss' Vier Letzte Lieder. I could listen to this over and over again and never tire of it. I have never encountered a better version of this movement and, believe me, I have looked. Her voice is the definition of sublime.
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rach2jlc

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^Have you listened to Schwarzkopf under Szell?
 

Connemara

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Originally Posted by rach2jlc
^Have you listened to Schwarzkopf under Szell?
I don't really like Schwarzkopf. I've never understood the obsession with her. She pales in comparison to Janowitz IMO, at least when we're talking about Strauss.
 

rach2jlc

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Originally Posted by Connemara
I don't really like Schwarzkopf. I've never understood the obsession with her. She pales in comparison to Janowitz IMO, at least when we're talking about Strauss.
I think a lot with Opera depends on who we grew up with or whose recording we became accustomed to first. For example, I like the Janowitz, but I grew accustomed to one of the Schwarzkopf recordings and so that's the one I tend to go to first. There are certainly some exceptions... but at the very top, it's hard to pick who is "better" and a lot comes down to small preferences or to our own moods. I have some Tebaldi recordings that actually aren't nearly as good as some other soprani, but I love them because I 'grew up' with them.
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by rach2jlc
Must you always be so contrary?

Beethoven? Which Beethoven did you have in mind? It seems the 9th, probably one of the most rightly lauded pieces of all time, is a massive finale... almost an affirmation of life, the universe, and everything.


OK, you want contrary? The 9th is the weakest of Beethoven's late works. The last movement is the weakest movement of the 9th.

The sonatas are better than the 9th. The quartets are better than the sonatas. Each progressive work keeps getting better than the prior. The only exceptions are the Hammerklavier, which is better than 109 and 110 (but not better than 111), and the last quartet, which is akin to Beethoven's "retirement" statement.

Arguably, 131 is better than 132, but I am not really so sure about that.
 

rach2jlc

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Originally Posted by Manton
OK, you want contrary? The 9th is the weakest of Beethoven's late works. The last movement is the weakest movement of the 9th. .
I KNEW you were going to say this. I just knew it. God help me, I know my manton. I agree about the Hammerklavier, though. I shall give the quartets another listen... it's been a LONG time since I've listened to them and so I honestly can't remember them enough to judge... In exchange, you should listen to the 2nd mvt of the Bruckner 7 again, conducted by Karajan and the Vienna phil. When you are finished crying all over your fancy suit, we can be friends again.
 

Full Canvas

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_
Sublime?

Everyone has an opinion. Much of the music already mentioned is, in fact, quite moving. For sublime, however, I suggest it would quite difficult to find anything more pure than the Chaconne from Bach's Partita #2 in D Minor for solo violin.

___
 

rach2jlc

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Originally Posted by Full Canvas
_ Sublime? Everyone has an opinion. Much of the music already mentioned is, in fact, quite moving. For sublime, however, I suggest it would quite difficult to find anything more pure than the Chaconne from Bach's Partita #2 in D Minor for solo violin. ___
Good one! But... I must ask... Played by who????
 

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