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 Post subject: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 10:20 am 
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COLONEL
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On Saturday whilst checking through Facebook I came across the following video which interested me. It was in the Series, “Discovering Music”- BBC 3 Radio, and entitled “Mendelssohn’s Overtures”.
The video’s narrator was Stephen Johnson and the performers were the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Stephen Ellin.

I found it to be informative and interesting, except that the narrator, like so many broadcasters delivered his explanations too expressively and often added a mumbled aside---as they do!!! This meant that with my hearing impairment I had to strain to catch much of what was said. Oh how I wished that he’d spoken with the clarity of Sir Simon Rattle!

The musical samples were beautifully played, and I was rapt when it came to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “ The Hebrides” Overtures ---these being favourite pieces of music of mine!

Mendelssohn’s ability as a Symphonic poet was admirably demonstrated. Later we heard that although Wagner scorned the abilities and music of Jewish composers there were clear cases where he’d stolen from Mendelssohn’s ideas. These examples were demonstrated.

Finally what gave me much pleasure was the painting fronting this work---of Puck, Bottom and Titania, which was well done and very emotive.

Below is the link for the video in question. Enjoy!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p020bg44

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 6:49 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Thanks for the link Polly, though I noticed the BBC has followed the traditional miss-translation with "Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" ("Meerstille und glückliche Fahrt"), which I also notice regarding Beethoven's work on the same. "Calm sea" in English should actually be "Becalmed", which was of course something rather more worrying back then than just a calm sea!

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2015 10:16 pm 
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COLONEL
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Hi TMT,

Thank you for pointing out the BBC error! "Calm sea" and "the state of being Becalmed" are two very different "kettles of fish"!!! The latter being a navigational horror, especially if being close to a coast, ( with all its attendant dangers)--- it would engender far different ideas for the music than a "calm" sea, wouldn't it?

Perhaps the BBC rely on one of the automatic translators and they can be very hit and miss! Lately I have had to recourse to the Bing translation provided in Facebook, quite often when "conversing" with friends from elsewhere----you have no idea what a mish-mash evolves, and so many messages become a nonsense!! LOL.

On a wider front I still haven't found a reliable translater to put on my computer, as some are unreliable and my anti-virus takes exception to the best option. So I am in a dilemma! :)

I hope, TMT that you get to hear the Wagner that is stolen from Mendelssohn's ideas. Unlike similar CMM discussions/ examples with other composers, these are not at all obscure!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 7:31 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
I hope, TMT that you get to hear the Wagner that is stolen from Mendelssohn's ideas. Unlike similar CMM discussions/ examples with other composers, these are not at all obscure!

Regards,

Polly.

If you can elaborate on the specific Wagner and Mendelssohn pieces I'll be happy to offer an opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 10:00 pm 
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Wagner also stole ideas from Meyerbeer for his opera Rienzi, so this anti semite was not above usurping the intellectual property of another prominent Jewish composer..

He entrusted the conducting of his last opera Parsifal at Bayreuth to a Jew Herman Levi. Maybe his antisemitism was selective?

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2015 11:20 pm 
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Dear TMT,

You are currently NOT my favourite person as you threw down the challenge to name the themes of Mendelssohn that Wagner filched! Lacking your encyclopaedic knowledge of the major composers and their compositions I was faced with some very hard work ahead of me! :(

I pulled up the link and to my dismay the video announced that it was “unavailable”. Grrr!
So I scanned down a little lower and clicked on “Discovering Mendelssohn” and saw that one of the choices was this video---and yes---it did come up, and was playable.

I dragged the sound to around 47 minutes where the talk was about Wagner’s attitude to Jewish composers. Then at around 48 minutes there was a bit of “Fingal’s Cave” taken from just before the recapitulation----followed by the alleged copy by Wagner. Another piece of music of Mendelssohn’s, ‘Die Schöne Mel---? “ was played and Wagner took the idea of the flowing river and incorporated it into “The Valkyries”.

This video is long and as you may not have sufficient time or interest to use up the best part of an hour, I would recommend listening from around 47 minutes to the end. This covers the above points and you may get much more from it than I have, ( the narrator/ my ears!). It ends with a short but beautiful passage played by the Welsh National Orchestra in which the tone poet, Mendelssohn, uncannily describes the movements of the sea. Beautiful!!! :)

I am unable to be more explicit in reply to your question. I hope that this will suffice!

Afterwards I did try to call up the video from the link in the usual way and this time it behaved perfectly. If you have trouble with it I have described how I circumvented the problem.

Enjoy!

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 8:40 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
...I dragged the sound to around 47 minutes where the talk was about Wagner’s attitude to Jewish composers. Then at around 48 minutes there was a bit of “Fingal’s Cave” taken from just before the recapitulation----followed by the alleged copy by Wagner. Another piece of music of Mendelssohn’s, ‘Die Schöne Mel---? “ was played and Wagner took the idea of the flowing river and incorporated it into “The Valkyries”.

This video is long and as you may not have sufficient time or interest to use up the best part of an hour, I would recommend listening from around 47 minutes to the end. This covers the above points and you may get much more from it than I have, ( the narrator/ my ears!). It ends with a short but beautiful passage played by the Welsh National Orchestra in which the tone poet, Mendelssohn, uncannily describes the movements of the sea. Beautiful!!! :)

I am unable to be more explicit in reply to your question. I hope that this will suffice!

Afterwards I did try to call up the video from the link in the usual way and this time it behaved perfectly. If you have trouble with it I have described how I circumvented the problem.

Enjoy!

Regards,

Polly.

Thanks for directing me to the exact place to listen in the video. There were three examples of apparent Wagnerian borrowing demonstrated, but to be honest I didn't find these instances (if it was indeed conscious borrowing and not mere coincidence) to be of any great significance. It would be interesting to know to what degree Wagner allowed himself to be familiar with M's music given his opinions on all things Jewish, but that's really beyond the scope of this thread.

Whatever the case my own opinion of Mendelssohn has not been influenced by Wagner because I have made no effort to study Wagner's life and times because my opinion of his music is not that great, but then again neither is my opinion of Mendelssohn's music.

It's a matter of where you see M placed in the hierarchy of the great composers. Looking at CMM's Monster 127 Poll (which I see needs a new chart creating due to new votes), M has more than double the votes of W, but not enough to get into the top 7 of the Captain's Table. I would say that is a reasonable reflection of the situation (not that I agree with everything I see in the CMM poll!).

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 10:40 pm 
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Hi TMT,

"Each to his own"!!! I accept that you aren't enthusiastic about Mendelssohn's music----I don't know why, but there it is!

I differ, as I find his music very rewarding, without my other interests, such as Bach, Handel and Haydn, (to name a few) suffering in the slightest.

What I especially like is his gift of"painting" tonal images with uncanny accuracy. I don't think that anyone has bettered his description of the wild Atlantic (at Staffa).

He shares with Beethoven a gift for great orchestration and knowledge of what the instruments can do----and before you "burst a boiler", I hasten to say they differ greatly in their results. But both produce some lovely, and satisfying orchestral fabric and sound.

Furthermore, he had virtuoso abilities, and as you know brought on the organ scene in England greatly, by introducing the use of pedals so that Bach was playable. He also co-operated with major English organbuilders to produce the new instruments.

I haven't anything more to add at this point, because so far I haven't studied Mendelssohn's music in any great detail. I have enjoyed listening to some of his music, including "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Fingal's Cave", and viewing examples of his artistic talent, but will look into his life and works in greater detail as and when time permits.

Thank you for taking the time to answer the points in the above link.

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2015 10:54 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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pollyp78 wrote:
Hi TMT,

"Each to his own"!!! I accept that you aren't enthusiastic about Mendelssohn's music----I don't know why, but there it is!

I differ, as I find his music very rewarding, without my other interests, such as Bach, Handel and Haydn, (to name a few) suffering in the slightest.

All things are relative Polly, you may be enthusiastic but where on the Captain's Table would you place Mendelssohn? Higher than 7th? Did you indeed vote for him? :o

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2015 7:31 pm 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Rod Corkin wrote:
pollyp78 wrote:
Hi TMT,

"Each to his own"!!! I accept that you aren't enthusiastic about Mendelssohn's music----I don't know why, but there it is!

I differ, as I find his music very rewarding, without my other interests, such as Bach, Handel and Haydn, (to name a few) suffering in the slightest.

All things are relative Polly, you may be enthusiastic but where on the Captain's Table would you place Mendelssohn? Higher than 7th? Did you indeed vote for him? :o

And thus we are actually in complete accord... 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 4:20 am 
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Hi TMT,

In answer to your point about rating a composer it doesn't enter my mind when enjoying their music. Perhaps that isn't quite true, as always J. S. Bach is first in my affections, but it isn't at the forefront of my thoughts as I listen!

There is so much lovely music around, by different composers, and also much that I stumble upon that is new to me and delights me. How to weigh up the merits of one against another , when one aspect or another is what pleases , ---and yet a third or fourth with exquisite attributes that also delights, means that that I am absolutely defeated when it comes to aligning them in some sort of order. And there again, many are where they are because of the teaching or influence of illustrious others, both past and present.

Personally I don't think that listing these talented follk in order of musical aptitude has any value at all!

I did say that I meant to look into Mendelssohn's life and career as and when time permitted. Well strangely enough the following day Facebook had him as their "Composer of the Week" and I availed myself of the BBC video provided, (47.18), later that night. Battling my usual hurdles I was able to learn more about Mendelssohn, the man, but wasn't impressed with the effeminate portrait with which they fronted the link.

I Googled and learned much from some of the material dredged up. For instance I hadn't been aware that he had a violent temper, which exploded now and again. I did know that he had mood shifts which made him quite ill and in which he found solace in his watercolour painting. There is lots more to read up, and there is a wealth of information, so I will hopefully continue to learn more about what makes this composer "tick", and have a better understanding of his music.

Regards,

Polly.


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 9:12 am 
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JOVE THE MIGHTY THUNDERER
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Well I was reminded of an amusing instance that happened here a few years back. I wrote to the effect that I didn't rate Tchaikovsky as a top ranking composer, and was duly castigated by a certain CMM member, Florestan. I was then compelled to remind him that in a personal composer ranking that he had posted here some time before, Florestan himself placed T in a most lowly 21st place amongst the great and good. Sometimes people need to be confronted with themselves!

Anyway apologies for straying off topic, but In the modern era a least I don't think the comments from Wagner have any influence whatsoever on Mendelssohn's standing today. A great prodigy, a great composer maybe, but I can't think of any form of composition he undertook whereby he is not trumped by another composer, which probably explains his middling position in the hierarchy today. For the record Florestan placed Mendelssohn at an even more lowly position of 46 in the aforementioned ranking.

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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 9:46 am 
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pollyp78 wrote:
Hi TMT,

In answer to your point about rating a composer it doesn't enter my mind when enjoying their music........................

Personally I don't think that listing these talented follk in order of musical aptitude has any value at all!



I am in complete agreement.


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 9:50 am 
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Rod Corkin wrote:
..............T in a most lowly 21st place amongst the great and good....


21st is not lowly.
If I ranked composers, 21st would be well up in the list of composers whose music I enjoy and listen to a frequent basis.
221st is lowly


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 Post subject: Re: Mendelssohn's Overtures
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2015 6:43 pm 
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Phlogiston wrote:
pollyp78 wrote:
Hi TMT,

In answer to your point about rating a composer it doesn't enter my mind when enjoying their music........................

Personally I don't think that listing these talented follk in order of musical aptitude has any value at all!



I am in complete agreement.

I don't recall making any statement to the contrary. I listen to Morricone but the only person who has voted for him in the Monster poll is me, otherwise he'd be in the cursed Nil-Points Club!

Phlogiston wrote:
Rod Corkin wrote:
..............T in a most lowly 21st place amongst the great and good....


21st is not lowly.
If I ranked composers, 21st would be well up in the list of composers whose music I enjoy and listen to a frequent basis.
221st is lowly

It is certainly lowly in the context that was being discussed, but I'm sure the vast majority of CM fans (me included) could not name anywhere near 221 composers so I think you've taken things too far the other way. Even selecting 10 from the 127 names in the CMM Monster Poll has proved too bamboozling for most of the membership (in previous polls with fewer options the response was far better). Certainly for me 21st is pretty far from the 'top', and 46th is off the scale altogether. Feel free to use that for future reference!

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