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#2019726 - 01/23/13 04:03 PM Spirtual pieces...
JoelW Offline
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Where are some of the most 'spiritual' pieces you know? Chopin's 62/1 nocturne just about does it for me.

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#2019753 - 01/23/13 04:36 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
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If you define "spiritual" we'll be able to answer better. grin

But whatever it means, I'm pretty sure I'll agree on that Nocturne. thumb

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#2019768 - 01/23/13 04:54 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
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Spiritual in the non-religious sense of the word.

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#2019789 - 01/23/13 05:26 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
bennevis Online   content
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As Chopin has already been accounted for, let me give examples from a few other composers (avoiding slow movements from sonatas):

Bach: Aria from the Goldberg/Anna Magdalena Notebook
Mozart: Rondo in A minor, K511
Schubert: Moment musical D780/6
Brahms: Ballade Op.10/4
Rachmaninoff: Etude-tableau Op.33/3
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2019791 - 01/23/13 05:28 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Orange Soda King Offline
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Anything marked "Allegro con brio" smile

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#2019798 - 01/23/13 05:32 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Orange Soda King Offline
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But if you don't limit to piano pieces, I'd go with lots of great choral works. But I'm really biased with that too, haha.

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#2019801 - 01/23/13 05:36 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Schubert's Lieder.
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#2019932 - 01/23/13 09:15 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: bennevis]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Bach: Aria from the Goldberg/Anna Magdalena Notebook
Mozart: Rondo in A minor, K511
Schubert: Moment musical D780/6
Brahms: Ballade Op.10/4
Rachmaninoff: Etude-tableau Op.33/3

Nice list!!
I don't know about the Anna Magdalena, but the others -- yeah.

Good job particularly mentioning the Schubert, because it's not thought of very much and it's a great example.

Even though I'm still not sure what "spiritual" means. ha

P.S. You really deserve to have a computer. smile

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#2019933 - 01/23/13 09:16 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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Quartet for the end of time.

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#2019936 - 01/23/13 09:18 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Orange Soda King]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
But if you don't limit to piano pieces, I'd go with lots of great choral works....

But that would be too easy!

For starters, just about any choral work of Bach.
Most movements of the Brahms Requiem.

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#2020353 - 01/24/13 01:23 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]
LadyChen Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Most movements of the Brahms Requiem.


What do you mean, *most* movements? Which one isn't?? crazy

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#2020367 - 01/24/13 01:37 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: LadyChen]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: LadyChen
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Most movements of the Brahms Requiem.

What do you mean, *most* movements? Which one isn't?? crazy

Good question.
And you're right.

But, one reason I put it as I did, was.....well, for example, look at Orange Soda King's post. smile
(Which I assume was a joke.)
Most of the next to last movement doesn't seem to me to fit with what we're talking about, although as I've said I still don't know what that really is. ha

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#2020399 - 01/24/13 02:22 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
JoelW Offline
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I almost forgot. The beginning of the Polonaise-fantasy and especially the end of the op. 49 Fantasy.

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#2020410 - 01/24/13 02:37 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
DonaldLee Offline
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Bach-Busoni Chaconne.
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Currently working on:
Brahms Op. 118
Mozart Sonata K. 576
Bach Prelude and Fugue in b-flat minor (WTC Book I)
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#2020411 - 01/24/13 02:37 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
btb Offline
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My guess is that the “spiritual” context in music is ...

“Of or pertaining to the intellectual and higher endowments of the mind; mental; intellectual.”
(From Wikipedia)

But then individual tastes differ ... some loathe
Bach and Chopin but go dilly about "happy-clappy"
from a pew ... others might question the criterion
"higher endowments of the mind" depending on the
parties involved.

For my own part there are times when even a cowboy wants to blubber ... it could be just a passage or perhaps the passion of the pianist ... recently
Debussy's "La Mer" had me gasping for air with tear-filled eyes ... don't tell anybody else.

Regards, btb

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#2020412 - 01/24/13 02:38 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: debrucey]
DonaldLee Offline
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Posts: 168
+1 for Quator pour la Fin du Temps!!
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Brahms Op. 118
Mozart Sonata K. 576
Bach Prelude and Fugue in b-flat minor (WTC Book I)
Balikerev Islamey



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#2020456 - 01/24/13 03:15 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
beet31425 Offline
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OK, I'll bite:

Bach: Goldberg Variations (complete); WCT I: C major, C# minor, D# minor, F minor, B minor; WTC II: D major, D# minor, E major; first section of Bb partita and E minor partita; unfinished fugue from Art of the Fugue;

Mozart: slow movement from C major sonata K.545

Beethoven: op.109-111. Large sections of op.106, for me. op.126/3.

Schubert: Should we say every sonata slow movement, or just say everything?

And on and on. Almost everything by Messiaen. But perhaps not so much Debussy (even though he is one of my favorites)?

-J
_________________________
Schubert Immersion: Bb Impromptu; C# minor and Ab Moments Musicaux; accompanying four songs (Suleika II, Rastlose Liebe, Du Liebst Mich Nicht, Im Fruhling); listening intensely to Die Schne Mllerin and Winterreise

Chopin: first Ballade; Mozart: D minor concerto;

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#2020484 - 01/24/13 03:32 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Franz Beebert Offline
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If we do not limit it to piano music, then I would say just about anything by Bach and Schubert is spiritual, resigned music. Late Beethoven(especially the string quartets and last five sonatas), Brahms late piano pieces, almost anything by Kurtag, and perhaps a few pieces by Chopin.. Although, in my opinion there is always a little bit of crime and conflict in Chopin, he never becomes completely "spiritual" and "wise" in the same way as Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and even Brahms.

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#2020489 - 01/24/13 03:40 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joel_W
Spiritual in the non-religious sense of the word.


I don't think you can define "spiritual" by saying what it is not. You need to be more precise by saying what you mean - if you know what you mean.

Just as beauty is often in the eye of the beholder - already often proven on this forum with similarly open-ended questions - if you don't provide your definition of "spiritual," you will get responses that range from the Goldberg Variations to "Good Night, Irene."
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#2020496 - 01/24/13 03:46 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: BruceD]
beet31425 Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
You need to be more precise by saying what you mean... if you don't provide your definition of "spiritual," you will get responses that range from the Goldberg Variations to "Good Night, Irene."


Maybe getting a wide range of responses isn't a bad thing? Maybe the OP's intent was less "let's arrive at a consensus on what spiritual music is", and more "what does 'spiritual music' mean to different people here-- let's see the variety of results".

-J
_________________________
Schubert Immersion: Bb Impromptu; C# minor and Ab Moments Musicaux; accompanying four songs (Suleika II, Rastlose Liebe, Du Liebst Mich Nicht, Im Fruhling); listening intensely to Die Schne Mllerin and Winterreise

Chopin: first Ballade; Mozart: D minor concerto;

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#2020510 - 01/24/13 04:02 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: beet31425]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
[...]
Maybe getting a wide range of responses isn't a bad thing? Maybe the OP's intent was [...] "what does 'spiritual music' mean to different people here-- let's see the variety of results".

-J


Then, perhaps, he should have said so.

- "Deep River" is a spiritual.
- The fifth movement of Berlioz' "Symphonie fantastique" and Gluck's "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" are "spiritual" because they deal with spiritual beings (ghosts, witches, etc.).
- Maybe "The Entertainer" is spiritual to some because it lifts their spirits.

and

"The Concert Spirituel was one of the first public concert series in existence. The concerts began in Paris in 1725 and ended in 1790[...]The series was founded to provide entertainment during the Easter fortnight and on religious holidays when the other spectacles (the Paris Opera, Comédie-Française, and Comédie-Italienne) were closed. The programs featured a mixture of sacred choral works and virtuosic instrumental pieces."


So ...?
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#2020514 - 01/24/13 04:08 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: BruceD]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: beet31425
[...]
Maybe getting a wide range of responses isn't a bad thing? Maybe the OP's intent was [...] "what does 'spiritual music' mean to different people here-- let's see the variety of results".

-J


Then, perhaps, he should have said so.

- "Deep River" is a spiritual.
- The fifth movement of Berlioz' "Symphonie fantastique" and Gluck's "Dance of the Blessed Spirits" are "spiritual" because they deal with spiritual beings (ghosts, witches, etc.).
- Maybe "The Entertainer" is spiritual to some because it lifts their spirits.

So ...?


If you think it's a waste of time to post here, why do it?

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#2020515 - 01/24/13 04:09 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Offline
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Who said it was a waste of time?
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#2020516 - 01/24/13 04:09 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: BruceD]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Joel_W
Spiritual in the non-religious sense of the word.


I don't think you can define "spiritual" by saying what it is not. You need to be more precise by saying what you mean - if you know what you mean.



Or perhaps just look at my examples if you want a feel for what I mean.

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#2020519 - 01/24/13 04:12 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: BruceD]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
Who said it was a waste of time?


Well, "So...?" seems to imply that you think it's a rather pointless topic. Though it may be pointless, this is a forum. We're here to talk about whatever comes to mind. It doesn't have to be dense subject matter.

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#2020606 - 01/24/13 05:40 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
FSO Offline
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Originally Posted By: Joel_W
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Who said it was a waste of time?


Well, "So...?" seems to imply ...

Sorry...I hate to butt in, but "seems to imply"? I don't know what his/her (sorry...your name *seems* clear but I shouldn't wish to assume.. laugh ) intent with the "so" was, but, um...I'd hate to see someone anywhere from mortally offended to mildly affronted (yourself included...I mean, if s/he *did* mean as you say {which, I'm afraid to say, I'm not sure *was* the message}...well, then perhaps there might have been more tactful ways of putting it, but isn't it important to appreciate what others consider a "waste of time" and respect that? Maybe I'm wrong, but, um...we can't *all* be on board with *everything* and perhaps BruceD simply felt that his/her own opinion wasn't being represented enough and felt a tad chastised by your previous communications {as I'm sure both of you may have felt}...I mean, um, he came in to try and clarify "spiritual" which isn't truly, in and of itself, a bad thing {for people like Mark C}...and I don't mean to have a go at you laugh But...I don't know, it's hardly my place but I just feel it'd be *so* easy for everyone to get along all the time...fool's hope, I know laugh )...
And BruceD...pretty much the same to you...but the other way aroun...you know laugh Oh...and vagueness such as "so" breeds vague interpretation; people may fill in the blanks incorrectly if you're unclear...it's very...spiritual...
Sorry for sticking my oar in laugh
Xxx
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Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2020658 - 01/24/13 06:56 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Joel_W
I almost forgot. The beginning of the Polonaise-fantasy and especially the end of the op. 49 Fantasy.

Hey, you want to mention the end of the the Fantasy but not the Lento Sostenuto middle section? smile

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#2020661 - 01/24/13 07:01 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: FSO]
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted By: FSO
[...]Sorry for sticking my oar in laugh


Stick your oar wherever you like; it's a free forum.

The "So?" after some (facetious) examples, was an invitation to the OP to articulate his definition of "spiritual"; his examples don't clarify in any way to me what he means by the word.

A dialogue, discussion or even answers to the question don't seem to have any meaning when the term of reference is vague and possibly interpreted differently by many.
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#2020756 - 01/24/13 09:46 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: BruceD]
FSO Offline
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Originally Posted By: BruceD

A dialogue, discussion or even answers to the question don't seem to have any meaning when the term of reference is vague and possibly interpreted differently by many.

You're talking about requiring a reference point...but with abstract nouns and emotions it's quite difficult...see, there's nothing we can *point* to when we make the sound "spiritual"...um...that's why we have to settle on vague awareness of what's meant...I mean, what's sadness *precisely*? Distilling away all possible definitions to exclude anger, other negative emotions...the necessity to *define* or be lost to confusion isn't strictly true...I mean, um, spiritual; relating to the spirit in some way...so, not physical or mental but this other...stuffness that fills in the invisible cracks...frankly I think anyone'd have a hard time depicting such a notion...but does it *really* matter if we're talking about different things, as long as we're in the right area? The conversation isn't meaningless, I don't think; we just all get a different interpretation...a bit like music...please, um, I'd love some counter-positions to think on. I agree that the first post was a *tad* brief, but such is the way of the internet and, progressively, the world, unfortunately; it's not really anyone's fault...I don't think.
X
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Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2020760 - 01/24/13 09:52 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: BruceD]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
A dialogue, discussion or even answers to the question don't seem to have any meaning when the term of reference is vague and possibly interpreted differently by many.

I, on the other hand, am used to trying to answer questions without being clear what they are ha but it's better when they are.

Originally Posted By: FSO
....with abstract nouns and emotions it's quite difficult....that's why we have to settle on vague awareness of what's meant....I mean, what's sadness *precisely*?

Sadness, while complex, is a lot clearer than "spiritual."

P.S. Too many dots. grin

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#2020773 - 01/24/13 10:02 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]
FSO Offline
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Registered: 04/03/12
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Sadness, while complex, is a lot clearer than "spiritual."

...I agree... laugh
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#2020784 - 01/24/13 10:20 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: FSO]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: FSO
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Sadness, while complex, is a lot clearer than "spiritual."

...I agree... laugh

Cool!
How about the "too many dots" part? grin

BTW, I do too many dots too.... ha

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#2020791 - 01/24/13 10:45 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]
FSO Offline
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Registered: 04/03/12
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Loc: UK, Brighton
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

How about the "too many dots" part? grin

But without my dots I'm...pointless... laugh
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Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3

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#2020798 - 01/24/13 10:55 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: FSO]
JoelW Offline
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Originally Posted By: FSO
[quote=Mark_C]
Sadness, while complex, is a lot clearer than "spiritual."


Don't you think there's a reason why I used "spiritual" rather than "sad"? If I meant sad, I would have said "sad".

So what if "spiritual" is vague.. it means whatever you take it to mean I guess. (even if it's complex sadness) wink

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#2020799 - 01/24/13 10:57 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Mark_C Online   content
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You misunderstood -- we didn't at all mean you might have said sad instead of spiritual. We were just talking about some words.

Originally Posted By: Joel_W
So what if "spiritual" is vague....

Maybe you're right, because heck, it looks like we do sort of know what you were asking about. grin

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#2020800 - 01/24/13 11:00 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You misunderstood -- we didn't at all mean you might have said sad instead of spiritual. We were just talking about some words.


Whoops, my bad. I retract. I guess I should have read FSO's post first. It's just sort of difficult to read FSO's posts. (no offense) smile

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#2020802 - 01/24/13 11:02 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
FSO Offline
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Sorry Joel, um, sadness was an example; I don't think anyone in the world considers spirituality and sadness to be congruent. Also, I agree with your lattermost point; I'm not truly a fan of clinicism (clinicalness doesn't give the accurate *feeling*, which I hold to be more important than accuracy) as it goes.
Xx
Edit: Sodding...intercepting...grr laugh No offence taken Joel; I know my manner is a tad opaque.


Edited by FSO (01/24/13 11:05 PM)
Edit Reason: Grr :D
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#2020805 - 01/24/13 11:12 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Opus_Maximus Offline
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Chopin Polonaise Fantasie and Beethoven 111 have always been the most spiritual pieces to me..

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#2020811 - 01/24/13 11:38 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
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I find a lot of Debussy spiritual too.
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#2020950 - 01/25/13 06:55 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
bennevis Online   content
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Registered: 10/14/10
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Originally Posted By: Joel_W
Originally Posted By: FSO
[quote=Mark_C]
Sadness, while complex, is a lot clearer than "spiritual."


Don't you think there's a reason why I used "spiritual" rather than "sad"? If I meant sad, I would have said "sad".

So what if "spiritual" is vague.. it means whatever you take it to mean I guess. (even if it's complex sadness) wink


If you want spiritual, try 'spiritual minimalism', as exemplified by Arvo Pärt: Fratres for example, or for piano, Für Alina.
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2020996 - 01/25/13 09:07 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: beet31425]
SlatterFan Offline
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How can I define what "spiritual" means to me, in the context of music? Some say that the power of music is that it can express what is difficult or perhaps impossible to express in words. To me, spiritual music exemplifies this and lies in a region that is very far removed from what could be described in words: intensely yet gently focused in its tranquility, and encouraging deep reflection in many of its listeners.

Originally Posted By: beet31425
Beethoven: op.109-111. Large sections of op.106, for me. op.126/3.

Especially, for me, the last movement of op. 109 (the theme and variations in E major).

Originally Posted By: beet31425
Schubert: Should we say every sonata slow movement, or just say everything?

Especially, for me, the first movement of D894 (the late-ish one in G major).

Originally Posted By: beet31425
But perhaps not so much Debussy (even though he is one of my favorites)?

I see what you mean about Debussy. I think he gets closest in his two sets of Images, especially Hommage à Rameau and Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut.

I add to the list:

Chopin - Andante spianato, Op. 22 and Prelude in F sharp major, Op. 28 No. 13

Ravel - Jeux d'eau, Une barque sur l'océan and La vallée des cloches

Albéniz - Jerez from Ibéria, Book 4

Granados - Danza española No. 8 ("Asturiana") and El Ángel de los Claustros from Escenas Poéticas, Book 2
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#2021202 - 01/25/13 03:57 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Strictly speaking I think you could also listen to or internalize a religious piece in a spiritual way. Somebody here for example stated he/she felt moved by religious pieces (like Gregorian Chants) without being religious himself/herself. I am the same.
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#2021292 - 01/25/13 05:57 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: SlatterFan]
beet31425 Offline
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Originally Posted By: SlatterFan

Originally Posted By: beet31425
Schubert: Should we say every sonata slow movement, or just say everything?

Especially, for me, the first movement of D894 (the late-ish one in G major).
Yes: 1000 times yes!


Originally Posted By: SlatterFan
I add to the list:
Ravel - Jeux d'eau...
Not for me. I've been thinking a lot about this piece. (I'm working it up, and playing it for a masterclass in a few days.) I absolutely love it, but it seems to me far removed from music that describes the human condition. This music is a glimpse into the perfect glittering world of the naiads and water-sprites. It doesn't concern the earth-bound sufferings and meditations and brief moments of transcendence which I think of as the subject of "spiritual" music. imo. smile

-J
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Chopin: first Ballade; Mozart: D minor concerto;

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#2021309 - 01/25/13 06:23 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: beet31425]
Mark_C Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
Not for me....This music is a glimpse into the perfect glittering world of the naiads and water-sprites....

Oh -- this isn't also about spritetual pieces? grin

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#2021329 - 01/25/13 07:13 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: beet31425]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
) I absolutely love it, but it seems to me far removed from music that describes the human condition.
-J
I think most of Ravel's and Debussy's music could be described this way.

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#2022685 - 01/28/13 08:19 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: beet31425]
SlatterFan Offline
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Originally Posted By: beet31425
Originally Posted By: SlatterFan
I add to the list:
Ravel - Jeux d'eau...
Not for me. I've been thinking a lot about this piece. (I'm working it up, and playing it for a masterclass in a few days.) I absolutely love it, but it seems to me far removed from music that describes the human condition. This music is a glimpse into the perfect glittering world of the naiads and water-sprites. It doesn't concern the earth-bound sufferings and meditations and brief moments of transcendence which I think of as the subject of "spiritual" music. imo. smile

-J

Sorry for my delayed reply. Angela Hewitt has described Ravel as an "incurable romantic", which I think hits the nail on the head. To me, Jeux d'eau is a meditation on the play of water and every measure is infused with human warmth. On a personal note, early in 2010 I was feeling at an all-time low in my life, but after I heard this performance by pianist87 in the Member Recordings section, I felt restored and rejuvenated, such was the warmth and beauty of the music and the playing. Listening seemed to transport me away from my problems and took me to a calm place where I was cleansed somehow. Right when I needed it, music helped me and demonstrated its worth to me as a very important mode of expression and communciation. Now that you have used the term, in retrospect I would call it a transcendent experience.

Enjoy playing this gem at the masterclass.
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#2022700 - 01/28/13 08:42 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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Incurably romantic? Hmmmm.
To me Ravel is all surface. Pristine, cultivated, remarkable surface, but surface nonetheless. The closest he got to romanticism was Gaspard, and that was only intended as a caricature. Of all composers I can't think of one who wore his heart on his sleeve less than Ravel.
This isn't a criticism, it's what makes him great.


Edited by debrucey (01/28/13 08:46 AM)

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#2022702 - 01/28/13 08:44 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: FSO]
Ian_G Offline
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Originally Posted By: FSO
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

How about the "too many dots" part? grin

But without my dots I'm...pointless... laugh


A miracle! Do post more often, FSO, beacon of Brighton. The minutest critique of your, um, writing style, as was unfortunately leveled above, has tempted the sword away from the sheath, and crisis was very probably only averted by the tell-tale boil of my Twinings.

To the spirit, then! Liszt was a professional spiritual pieces man. One of my old teachers said that it was a "look-at-me" kind of piety, and that's unfortunately a popular tune with people who know a little, but our business is to rejoice. Oh, speaking of that, Shostakovitch. Op. 87 is a big prayer.

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#2022743 - 01/28/13 10:15 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: debrucey]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
Incurably romantic? Hmmmm.
To me Ravel is all surface. Pristine, cultivated, remarkable surface, but surface nonetheless. The closest he got to romanticism was Gaspard, and that was only intended as a caricature. Of all composers I can't think of one who wore his heart on his sleeve less than Ravel.
This isn't a criticism, it's what makes him great.
I agree completely except maybe for the last sentence which I'd have to think more about.

I find very little in the piano music of Ravel(or Debussy) that deals with human emotions. I'd still easily put both of them in the top 12 composers of piano music, but I think their music is far different from the music of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms. Liszt, Rachmaninov, etc. all of whom I think continually express human emotion in their music.

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#2022755 - 01/28/13 10:35 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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Which sentence did you disagree with? You don't seem to differ in opinion to what I said.

Although actually I don't think Debussy is in the same camp as Ravel here. Debussy was quite an emotional person and I think this shows in his music. Ravel's veneer of artifice ran throughout almost every aspect of his life. These two are lumped together far too often, I think they are fundamentally different composers.


Edited by debrucey (01/28/13 10:41 AM)

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#2022773 - 01/28/13 11:18 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: debrucey]
bennevis Online   content
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Ravel never lost his childhood 'innocence' (and I don't mean just his 'Mother Goose suite' - after all, Debussy also had Children's Corner), unlike Debussy. One can imagine him also, in some ways, being closer to Les Six, who reacted against the Impressionist movement typified by Debussy.

And in the piano music, Ravel revelled (pun intended) in the virtuosic aspects of pianism, even modeling his Jeux d'eau after Liszt's Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este. Hardly any of his solo piano music is accessible by pianists below advanced standard, unlike Debussy's. One can't imagine Debussy modeling any of his music after Liszt, nor deliberately composing something harder than Balakirev's Islamey, even though he was a better pianist than Ravel.

Of course, Ravel was also fully capable of composing impressionistic music, like his Daphnis et Chloe.
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#2022780 - 01/28/13 11:28 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: debrucey]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
Which sentence did you disagree with? You don't seem to differ in opinion to what I said.

Although actually I don't think Debussy is in the same camp as Ravel here. Debussy was quite an emotional person and I think this shows in his music. Ravel's veneer of artifice ran throughout almost every aspect of his life. These two are lumped together far too often, I think they are fundamentally different composers.
The sentence I wasn't sure if I agreed with it was "... it's what makes him great."

What are some examples of Debussy's piano music that you think are about human emotions? (My own list would be very short)



Edited by pianoloverus (01/28/13 11:31 AM)

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#2022782 - 01/28/13 11:30 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: bennevis]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Ravel never lost his childhood 'innocence'...

Ravel's string quartet came up on the radio Saturday morning (just before the Met b'cast!), and to me it sounded like the very model of adult sophistication.

Would agree with debrucey, I didn't hear any 'heart on the sleeve', but that is in no sense a criticism of an incredible piece of music, one that held my attention from beginning to end.
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#2022787 - 01/28/13 11:38 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
BDB Offline
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Rosemary Brown's music!

(Eeny meeny, chili beany, the spirits are about to speak!)
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#2022790 - 01/28/13 11:43 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
debrucey Offline
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L'apres-midi d'un faune, although the characters aren't human, is still a very emotional and human depiction of sexual lust and adolescent discovery. When Ravel writes a love story (such as Daphnis et Chloe) the characters are two-dimensional and chaste. There's plenty of sex in the original story, but Ravel doesn't deal with any of that. The closest he got to depicting eroticism is the duet of the cats in L'enfant et le sortilleges, and that scene is more comical than it is erotic. The same goes for L'heure espagnole, any eroticism depicted is done so with a comical, farcical element. It's almost as if he has no frame of reference for depicting such emotions so they just become caricatures. Of course, this isn't actually a deficiency in these pieces, it's part of their conception from the outset. It comes in part from Ravel's childlike disposition, but also from his obsession with dandyism, and presenting a refined and calculated artifice, in his life and his music, that was above such animal notions of sex and emotion.
There is a very interesting paper called 'Dandy, Interrupted: Sublimation, Repression, and Self-Portraiture in Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe' which talks about this sort of stuff. You can read it here: http://people.virginia.edu/~mjp3h/Puri-Dandyism-Article.pdf

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#2022821 - 01/28/13 12:50 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Debussy on religion and spirituality:

"I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another".

"When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvellous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpeted earth, ... and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. ... To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! ... that is what I call prayer".
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#2023258 - 01/29/13 04:31 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: debrucey]
SlatterFan Offline
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Originally Posted By: debrucey
Incurably romantic? Hmmmm.
To me Ravel is all surface. Pristine, cultivated, remarkable surface, but surface nonetheless. The closest he got to romanticism was Gaspard, and that was only intended as a caricature. Of all composers I can't think of one who wore his heart on his sleeve less than Ravel.
This isn't a criticism, it's what makes him great.

Ravel might agree with you, and from what I have read he was far more interested in the craft of composing than expressing emotions. But I think much of his music tells a different story. For example, whatever his intentions were when he composed Gaspard de la Nuit, genuine romanticism is there, especially in Le somber and chilling Gibet(!) and the more menacing aspects of Scarbo. I already felt that about Ravel before I heard him play, and then his piano roll recordings confirmed it: reserved in some aspects perhaps, but still emotional.

However much Ravel denied being a romantic, and however we see things about his personality and life that confirm this, taking his music on its own terms, it is romantic and emotional and occasionally "spiritual" to some of us. I'm sure that it isn't a unique phenomenon, that some people are able to express qualities in their art that they could never reveal in the rest of their lives, giving the best of themselves and reaching beyond themselves, whether consciously or not.

This touches on a subject that has been debated on this forum a few times: whether it is beneficial, or always beneficial, to know a lot of background information about a composer's life, personality, and the circumstances surrounding the creation of their works. At times like this I wonder if it can be a hindrance. For decades last century lots of people were taught that Chopin was this frail, delicate creature who composed mostly delicate, ornamental music, and I wonder how much that stereotyping hindered people's appreciation of Chopin's art? So when I see Ravel's music described as "all surface", I wince. To me there is more to be discovered and felt in Ravel's music than that.
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#2023275 - 01/29/13 05:40 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
wr Offline
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I hear most of Ravel's music as being extremely intense emotionally, but under equally extreme control.

As far as it being "spiritual", that's up to the performer and listener as much as it is the composer, IMO. Personally, I think any music at all can be spiritual, and likewise, any music at all may not be. It doesn't have anything to do with what the composer or anyone else thinks it is supposed to be. It ultimately depends on individual perception, I think, rather than on cues in the music that prompt the listener to hear it as "spiritual".

Which isn't to say that there isn't some music that seemed to engender what people think of as some sort of spiritual state. There is lots of it. I think late Beethoven was where I first got clued in to that sort of thing, but it is present in many other composers, from Bruckner to Scelsi and beyond.

But it's sort of like having spiritual training wheels, using music in that way. I think it is a more interesting spiritual exercise to try to be open to the spiritual in places where you don't expect it, and maybe even in music you think is vulgar junk. Stuff that is culturally branded as being "spiritual" is, in a way, too easy (not to mention that it won't have the same effect on everyone).

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#2023279 - 01/29/13 05:57 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: bennevis]
pianojosh23 Offline
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Registered: 11/11/08
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Originally Posted By: bennevis
Liszt's Les jeux d'eau a la Villa d'Este.


Speaking of which, i've always found this piece to be extremely 'spiritual.'

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#2023375 - 01/29/13 10:37 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
Kuanpiano Offline
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Whatt, has nobody here been affected by the melodic bits of the Piano Concerto in G, or the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand?
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#2023383 - 01/29/13 10:55 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: SlatterFan]
pianoloverus Online   content
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Originally Posted By: SlatterFan
Originally Posted By: debrucey
Incurably romantic? Hmmmm.
To me Ravel is all surface. Pristine, cultivated, remarkable surface, but surface nonetheless. The closest he got to romanticism was Gaspard, and that was only intended as a caricature. Of all composers I can't think of one who wore his heart on his sleeve less than Ravel.
This isn't a criticism, it's what makes him great.

Ravel might agree with you, and from what I have read he was far more interested in the craft of composing than expressing emotions. But I think much of his music tells a different story. For example, whatever his intentions were when he composed Gaspard de la Nuit, genuine romanticism is there, especially in Le somber and chilling Gibet(!) and the more menacing aspects of Scarbo. I already felt that about Ravel before I heard him play, and then his piano roll recordings confirmed it: reserved in some aspects perhaps, but still emotional.

However much Ravel denied being a romantic, and however we see things about his personality and life that confirm this, taking his music on its own terms, it is romantic and emotional and occasionally "spiritual" to some of us. I'm sure that it isn't a unique phenomenon, that some people are able to express qualities in their art that they could never reveal in the rest of their lives, giving the best of themselves and reaching beyond themselves, whether consciously or not.

This touches on a subject that has been debated on this forum a few times: whether it is beneficial, or always beneficial, to know a lot of background information about a composer's life, personality, and the circumstances surrounding the creation of their works. At times like this I wonder if it can be a hindrance. For decades last century lots of people were taught that Chopin was this frail, delicate creature who composed mostly delicate, ornamental music, and I wonder how much that stereotyping hindered people's appreciation of Chopin's art? So when I see Ravel's music described as "all surface", I wince. To me there is more to be discovered and felt in Ravel's music than that.
For me the pieces in Gaspard paint beautiful, horrifying, or scary images but contain little emotion. In all of Ravel's piano music I see little about love, sadness, desire, joy, spirituality, etc. I feel the same about almost all of Debussy's piano music. OTOH I think the piano music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Liszt, Rachmaninov, etc. is filled with depiction human emotion.

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#2023489 - 01/29/13 02:29 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]
FSO Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C

Oh -- this isn't also about spritetual pieces? grin

I'm sorry but if nobody else is going to speak up...you *will* be held accountable for your crimes, faerie funny though they may be.
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#2023502 - 01/29/13 03:13 PM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: Mark_C]
ChopinAddict Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Not for me....This music is a glimpse into the perfect glittering world of the naiads and water-sprites....

Oh -- this isn't also about spritetual pieces? grin


I think sprite-ual would be easier to pronounce! grin
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#2023829 - 01/30/13 04:45 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: wr]
SlatterFan Offline
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Registered: 08/13/09
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Originally Posted By: wr
I hear most of Ravel's music as being extremely intense emotionally, but under equally extreme control.
I agree.

Originally Posted By: wr
I think it is a more interesting spiritual exercise to try to be open to the spiritual in places where you don't expect it, and maybe even in music you think is vulgar junk. Stuff that is culturally branded as being "spiritual" is, in a way, too easy (not to mention that it won't have the same effect on everyone).
Absolutely!

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
For me the pieces in Gaspard paint beautiful, horrifying, or scary images but contain little emotion. In all of Ravel's piano music I see little about love, sadness, desire, joy, spirituality, etc.
The emotion I feel in Ravel's music is closest to sadness, with some love and desire mixed in, but these tend to permeate the music in a very constrained way rather than being expressed directly, in a very different way from most other composers of that era. It is difficult to put into words, but I feel in Ravel's music yearning and loneliness, associated with feeling somewhat isolated and disconnected from life; a fascination and appreciation of the beautiful, horrific, scary, interesting, etc.; and thus an attempt to connect and no longer be isolated and lonely. Someone who is somewhat on the outside looking in. I think there is a childlike nature as well, as others have pointed out: someone who hadn't fully grown up, which contributed to the feeling of isolation and disconnection. I'm sure other composers felt some of these things too, but Ravel is the one who particularly seems to capture them in his music.

I think that part of what makes Ravel's music special is that listeners can enjoy the fascination and appreciation of the beautiful, horrific, scary, interesting, etc., and have a fine experience, with or without feeling emotion within the music.
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#2028008 - 02/06/13 10:48 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: JoelW]
pianomandb95 Offline
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Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 12
Loc: England
I think this is pretty spiritual... But maybe in more of a religious way;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7HdQ1dRV7Q

Valentina is amazing!


Edited by pianomandb95 (02/06/13 12:04 PM)
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