paul secor

Least Favorite Classical Music Instrument

44 posts in this topic

31 minutes ago, JSngry said:

I'm trying to think of an instrument that hasn't been used in "classical music"...

Steel drums? Kalimba? Various African harp/lutes like the kora? Football referee's whistle (as used by Grant Green at Oil Can Harry's)? Many others from black community. Think outside the box.

MG

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Fender Rhodes? MIDI saxophone? Of course there might be "classical" compositions involving those instruments, but most people would not consider them typical for a classical setting (=classical instruments). 

Lately, some topics here seems to derail rather quickly. 

Anyway, I've never warmed to the harpsichord. And, oh - I am also very fond of Glenn Gould's Bach interpretations, espescially the French suites where he doesn't have to worry about counterpoint. :)

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16 minutes ago, Daniel A said:

Lately, some topics here seems to derail rather quickly. 

 

Yeah - great, ain't it?

MG

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Not certain, but pretty sure that you can find composed music from the last 50 or so years that uses most of the instruments refr need above. Might not be considered “classical” music by the more traditional minded categorizers, but if people gonna get upset about labels to the point of erasing lineages altogether, oh well.

 

categorizers

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Vegetables!

 

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The Mozart Clarinet Quintet and also his Clarinet Concerto are strong favorites of mine.

The Brahms Clarinet Quintet is another favorite.

 

When it comes to jazz clarinet, I very much like the clarinet in pre-bop music. Johnny Dodds, Edmond Hall, Pee Wee Russell, and Benny Goodman are some I like. Lester Young on clarinet is marvelous.

But in Bop, Hard Bop, West Coast,  post Bop, I am not all that positive about the clarinet. I appreciate the skill of 

Buddy DeFranco but find his playing rather cold. Tony Scott sounded better, to me, on baritone sax. A modest number of tunes on clarinet by Jimmy Giuffre, Art Pepper, and Phil Woods are nice, but preder the latter 2 on alto.

 

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On ‎8‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 4:08 PM, Peter Friedman said:

The Brahms Clarinet Quintet is another favorite.

Yup, the Brahms is lovely -- and a definite exception to my otherwise low view of clarinet.

But oddly enough, almost all of my absolute favorite Schoenberg works include a healthy dose of clarinet, specifically his three "mid 20's" opus-numbered 'wind-centric' chamber works...

  • Serenade, Op. 24 - for clarinet, bass clarinet, mandolin(!), guitar, violin, viola, and cello - plus a bass vocalist (on one movement only)
  • Wind Quintet, Op. 26 - for standard wind-quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon
  • Suite, Op. 29 - for sopranino clarinet in Eb, standard Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, vioin, viola, cello, and piano
  • ...plus Webern's arrangement of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony #1 (Op. 9) - for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano

THAT'S my desert-island list of Schoenberg works right there.  I've never been able to get into his string quartets anywhere near as deeply as these wind-heavy chamber works (the list above).  And how it is that they ALL have a substantial amount of clarinet -- and instrument I otherwise find pretty much a negative mostly -- is really a puzzle.

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Maybe electric guitar for me ... just heard its flat flat flat dead unresonating sound in Stockhausen's "Gruppen", where within all the breathing instruments it really seemed to be a very bad choice. He could have used a koto or something, but then I guess he wanted some of the "effects" (delay and such) that probably at the time he thought he needed a guitar for?)

I have a similar reaction to the guitar in Schnittke's "Requiem" ... but I guess I need to listen to that again.

On the other hand, I really do enjoy the Kairos disc "Sgorgo Y . N . oO" with music for guitar by Pierluigi Billone - but that's solo, so to my ears completely different.

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3 hours ago, king ubu said:

Maybe electric guitar for me ... just heard its flat flat flat dead unresonating sound in Stockhausen's "Gruppen", where within all the breathing instruments it really seemed to be a very bad choice. He could have used a koto or something, but then I guess he wanted some of the "effects" (delay and such) that probably at the time he thought he needed a guitar for?)

I have a similar reaction to the guitar in Schnittke's "Requiem" ... but I guess I need to listen to that again.

On the other hand, I really do enjoy the Kairos disc "Sgorgo Y . N . oO" with music for guitar by Pierluigi Billone - but that's solo, so to my ears completely different.

I hope to be seeing Stephen Mackey in a few weeks: http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/engage/event?id=633

I've not at all minded his works with electric guitar. Not sure if this performance will have him playing or not, though.

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I’m with Daniel on the Harpsichord thing. I find nothing sonically redeeming about that instrument at all. 

I grudgingly accept the first few seconds of Fixing A Hole, but that’s my limit. 

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On 8/10/2018 at 0:11 PM, Balladeer said:

Oboe

Oh no.  Oboe.

 

So tough to play well, that it can't be done.

Edited by BeBop

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46 minutes ago, BeBop said:

Oh no.  Oboe.

 

So tough to play well, that it can't be done.

!!!

Ken McIntyre?! 

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Erin Hannigan says that's not her problem.

 

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14 hours ago, JSngry said:

I hope to be seeing Stephen Mackey in a few weeks: http://www.nashersculpturecenter.org/engage/event?id=633

I've not at all minded his works with electric guitar. Not sure if this performance will have him playing or not, though.

Don't know him, but I've had questions about my post since the second I hit "submit" -- it's really about context, I mean I love traditional jazz guitar, I enjoy plenty of rock and r & b (Jimi rulz!), I enjoy dealing with the likes of Fred Frith and other improvisers, but then to name one, Derek Bailey has an exceptionally beautiful (and natural, at that) sound ... there are others, John Russell, Pascal Marzan etc. etc. So it's about the setting/frame, and maybe even about the piece -- but the coupling of electric guitar and orchestra, based on what I heard, totally doesn't work for me (but I still found the two back-to-back performances of "Gruppen" - a few days ago at Lucerne Festival, with pieces by Messiaen and Nono in between, three concerts in quick sequence - a great experience ... I was just wondering "why?", and with the amazing Michiyo Yagi and her - amplified - koto still ringing in my head strongly, after two great concerts heard at Météo festival in Mulhouse in late August, I asked myself even more why Stockhausen, who was drawn to asian art, at least in parts, wouldn't have found a better solution ... maybe someone should do an improved version of "Gruppen" :g )

 

Other than that, I don't think there's an instrument I really dislike. Harpsichord, in the right hands (and with the right instrument*) is gorgeous (just heard Pierre Hantaï on Sunday, playing the "Musical Offering" with the Savall gang, and boy, his harpsichord sounded much more like an orchestra than the seven six other dudes together!) ...

Flute, maybe -- at least I'm not on the lookout for flute sonatas and concertos and stuff, though I just found a new Bach disc that works like a charmer (Laura Pontecorvo/Rinaldo Alessandrini, >click<) ... and then there's the Varèse piece and more that's close to being a favourite, so there's that.

Harp goes quite well with me these days, but it took me a while ... Dorothy Ashby must have been of big help :tup - but I also heard some in concert, of course, either in richly orchestrated stuff by the likes of Holliger, Kurtág etc., or also in more traditionan orchestral settings, and once even in solo (a piece by Holliger, too). (Plus, there's Zeena Parkins!)

--

*) though I am in the process of learning how to cope with the industry instruments that were played in earlier decades ... not there yet with Landowska, but working on Ruzickova and Walcha quite successfully, and Kirkpatrick is reat good!

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I was steered to Ruzickova's Bach set by Moms Mobley and it has been one of the best recommendations I've ever gotten.

Mackey is an very interesting composer. I've been checking him out for a few years now. His works that include his guitar are just as well-constructed as his works without, imo, and that's what I look for in "classical" music, the construction, and, of course, the actual playing.

Flute, my god, check out Gazzelloni. Dolphy did!

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I think my thing with the Harpsichord is similar to how I feel about the B3 in Jazz. 

Sonically they don’t fit in with all the other instruments traditionally used in their respective genres. 

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2 hours ago, JSngry said:

Flute, my god, check out Gazzelloni. Dolphy did!

Oh, I have, and I do dig! It's more like... baroque chamber music with flute (that's not crazily good, as it often will be -- even on recorder -- with the right people involved)

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