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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
Posts: 854
Loc: UK, Brighton
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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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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Registered: 05/25/12
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Loc: USA
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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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
_________________________
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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#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 Offline
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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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Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 784
Loc: Brighton, UK
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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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2606
Loc: Manchester, UK
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
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/10
Posts: 168
Loc: Germany
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 Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
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Loc: New York City
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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Registered: 01/18/06
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Loc: Manchester, UK
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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Registered: 10/14/10
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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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"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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#2022780 - 01/28/13 11:28 AM Re: Spirtual pieces... [Re: debrucey]
pianoloverus Offline
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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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Registered: 08/13/09
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Loc: Brighton, UK
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
Posts: 607
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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Registered: 05/06/10
Posts: 2151
Loc: Canada
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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