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#2072126 - 04/27/13 01:38 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
xcvbnml Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 21
I didn't read the whole thread because I found all the bickering about it being bad because its so difficult somewhat aggravating, but here are my two cents.

There is nothing wrong with a piece being over-the-top and difficult. A show of virtuosity is exciting and impressive for the performer and the audience. However, virtuosity on its own is not what music is for. Would I want to hear a whole recital of islamey's and prokofiev toccatas? No. Would I want to hear a whole recital of ravel pavane's and such? No. Islamey paired with more sensitive and musical pieces is an amazing and exciting show of what can be done at the piano.


I loved islamey from the first time I heard because its so startlingly unique. I have too this day never heard a piece that sounds anything like it, and it is a nice breath of fresh air among the other romantic literature. The middles beauty is made all
the more beautiful by the bombast of the outer sections. I find the music very creative and not pedantic in the least.

And back to the difficulty... Virtuosity is fine! I would argue that islamey and the brahms Paganini variations are the two most technically difficult solo pieces in the standard repertoire. Yes, op.106, gaspard, etc. are overall more difficult to learn, interpret, and so on -- however, from a pure technique and fingers standpoint they are no islamey. I saw the Liszt sonata being discussed -- after working on it I can say that the technical difficulties don't come close. Again -- the overall learning and performance might take more from a pianist, but not their fingers. It is fun to see someone try to pull of something like islamey. Music can do some much but let us not forget that it is also entertainment, and islamey played well is about exciting as a piece can be. Listen to berezovsky if you disagree.

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#2072130 - 04/27/13 01:44 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: xcvbnml]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: xcvbnml
Yes, op.106, gaspard, etc. are overall more difficult to learn, interpret, and so on --

I don't find Mendelssohn's Sonata No 3, Op 106, that difficult.

Hint: don't refer to pieces without naming the composer.
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Polyphonist

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#2072135 - 04/27/13 01:49 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Polyphonist]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19797
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Hint: don't refer to pieces without naming the composer.

For something like "Op. 106" it's probably OK, even though maybe a trillion other composers did write 106's. grin

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#2072144 - 04/27/13 01:59 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Hint: don't refer to pieces without naming the composer.

For something like "Op. 106" it's probably OK, even though maybe a trillion other composers did write 106's. grin

How many more seconds would it have taken to write "Beethoven"?

How do we know he even meant Beethoven? grin
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Polyphonist

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#2072151 - 04/27/13 02:10 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Polyphonist]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19797
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
How many more seconds would it have taken to write "Beethoven"?

How do we know he even meant Beethoven? grin

Actually I think the problem wasn't leaving out the composer but that he said the op. number rather than "Hammerklavier." I don't know why someone would want to do that, even though people do that kind of thing a lot.

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#2072165 - 04/27/13 02:38 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
xcvbnml Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 21
This forum doesn't cease to amaze me -- what an odd community. How in the world if you know anything at all about the piano repertoire do you have to take time to correct me about Op.106? When people discuss the most difficult pieces "Beethoven's" Op.106 is almost always a frontrunner -- and when an Op.106 is placed alongside Gaspard and Islamey it is so obvious which 106 is being referred to that it requires no qualification. If you actually knew half of a thing about what you were ever discussing Polyphonist you wouldn't have to ask if I meant Beethoven or not.

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#2072171 - 04/27/13 02:44 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: xcvbnml]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: xcvbnml
This forum doesn't cease to amaze me -- what an odd community. How in the world if you know anything at all about the piano repertoire do you have to take time to correct me about Op.106? When people discuss the most difficult pieces "Beethoven's" Op.106 is almost always a frontrunner -- and when an Op.106 is placed alongside Gaspard and Islamey it is so obvious which 106 is being referred to that it requires no qualification. If you actually knew half of a thing about what you were ever discussing Polyphonist you wouldn't have to ask if I meant Beethoven or not.

My point is not that I didn't understand which piece you meant. My point is that the lack of clarity may be a problem for those less knowledgeable than our brilliant xcvbnml.

By the way, I'd guess that my knowledge of the piano repertoire is far more extensive than yours.
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#2072172 - 04/27/13 02:44 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: xcvbnml]
Mark_C Offline
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Hey Poly, it wasn't any big thing! I think Poly was just having a little fun with it.

FWIW I don't understand why you wouldn't call it how it's usually called, which is "Hammerklavier." But that's no big thing either. smile

I also don't understand why people would say (as they sometimes do) "Op 27 #2" instead of Moonlight Sonata. Especially since I don't always necessarily remember if it's #1 or #2. ha
Just as I don't get why people often say those opus numbers when they're talking about the Chopin Nocturnes, rather than "Db major Nocturne" or "C# minor Nocturne," especially since I usually don't particularly know which is #1 and which is #2. grin

But please don't worry about it. We speak about our preferences, sometimes we're just having fun -- and it's no big thing and certainly nothing personal.

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#2072185 - 04/27/13 02:55 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
Numerian Offline
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Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
Wasn't 106 by Mendelssohn an opus postumous? I thought he forbade publication of his teenage piano sonatas and his family ignored his wishes after his death.

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#2072191 - 04/27/13 03:09 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
OT about op.106:

I just asked the all-mighty, all-knowing oracle of modern times... Google.
I typed in "op.106", and the first three hits were about the Beethoven Sonata.
But then came hits dealing with the Mendelssohn Sonata, a Sonata by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and other works not for piano. But most hits were about Beethoven.

I also did a Yahoo search for "op.106". Beethoven came in front; but the second hit was about the String Quartet by Dvorak; which is not even on the first page of the Google Search Results. And other works appeared.

When you google or yahoo "Hammerklavier", the first hits are about the instrument. At least in Germany.

So: Just saying op.106 might in fact be confusing without context. But in this case, context is useful. I immediately thought of Beethoven when I read xcvbnml's post. He/she was talking about famous hard piano pieces.

Anyway: Sorry for off-topic rant.
I listened to Islamey for the first time today; and the main theme reminds me of the Sindbad theme from Sheherazade (Rimski-Korsakov). Nice, and with "oriental" touch. But lots of notes.
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#2072196 - 04/27/13 03:22 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
bennevis Offline
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Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5262
As one who has a hard time with numbers (which is why I've never owned, nor ever wanted to own, a cell phone), I initially thought that the Op.106 mentioned - which is quite a high number - to belong to a very prolific composer, maybe someone like Niels Viggo Bentzon. But then, I didn't know whether Bentzon's Op.106 is indeed one of his several piano works, maybe from The Tempered Piano. Or maybe one of his symphonies.

So, I was stumped...... frown
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#2072199 - 04/27/13 03:25 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
BruceD Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 18131
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]
I also don't understand why people would say (as they sometimes do) "Op 27 #2" instead of Moonlight Sonata.[...]


My first thought was Chopin, not Beethoven.
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#2072205 - 04/27/13 03:32 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: BruceD]
Polyphonist Offline
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Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: BruceD
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
[...]
I also don't understand why people would say (as they sometimes do) "Op 27 #2" instead of Moonlight Sonata.[...]


My first thought was Chopin, not Beethoven.

Another annoying one is Opus 53, which is also a well-known piece for both composers.
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Polyphonist

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#2072208 - 04/27/13 03:36 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Polyphonist]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19797
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Another annoying one is Opus 53, which is also a well-known piece for both composers.

Yeah -- and what do we do about those OCTAVES in Op. 53? grin

BTW, I think Mendelssohn's "Op. 106" was a very conscious obeisance* to Beethoven's, wasn't it....

* good word smile
I learned it from "The Raven."

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#2072218 - 04/27/13 03:45 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6166
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

FWIW I don't understand why you wouldn't call it how it's usually called, which is "Hammerklavier." But that's no big thing either. smile


Until fairly recently, I would have referred to it as Beethoven's 29th sonata.
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#2072220 - 04/27/13 03:46 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Another annoying one is Opus 53, which is also a well-known piece for both composers.

Yeah -- and what do we do about those OCTAVES in Op. 53? grin

Practice! grin

Originally Posted By: Mark_C
BTW, I think Mendelssohn's "Op. 106" was a very conscious obeisance* to Beethoven's, wasn't it....

He probably wanted people to start confusing it with Beethoven's... haha
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Polyphonist

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#2072224 - 04/27/13 03:50 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Polyphonist]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19797
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....what do we do about those OCTAVES in Op. 53? grin

Practice! grin

Which Op. 53? ha


(both)

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#2072227 - 04/27/13 03:52 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
Damon Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6166
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....what do we do about those OCTAVES in Op. 53? grin

Practice! grin

Which Op. 53? ha


(both)


Not Haydn.
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#2072365 - 04/27/13 07:09 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
patH Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 578
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....what do we do about those OCTAVES in Op. 53? grin

Practice! grin

Which Op. 53? ha


(both)

But, but, but...
If you do two op.53, you get one op.106, don't you?
2 x 53 = 106

grin
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#2072388 - 04/27/13 07:52 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
argerichfan Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/15/06
Posts: 8900
Loc: Pacific Northwest, US.
Originally Posted By: Mark_C

BTW, I think Mendelssohn's "Op. 106" was a very conscious obeisance* to Beethoven's, wasn't it....

Same opening rhythm certainly.

Now if someone is going to pull an Opus 61, well then it could be either Beethoven or Chopin, and funnily, Elgar's violin concerto is also Op 61!
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#2072390 - 04/27/13 07:58 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Polyphonist]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7891
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: xcvbnml
I would argue that islamey and the brahms Paganini variations are the two most technically difficult solo pieces in the standard repertoire. Yes, op.106, gaspard, etc. are overall more difficult to learn, interpret, and so on -- however, from a pure technique and fingers standpoint they are no islamey.

I don't find Mendelssohn's Sonata No 3, Op 106, that difficult.



Mendelssohn's op. 106 is part of the standard rep? Who knew?

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#2072392 - 04/27/13 08:03 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7647
Loc: New York City
The topic of discussion for the past 20 posts stemmed from that comment... grin
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Polyphonist

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#2072421 - 04/27/13 08:52 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Polyphonist]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7891
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
The topic of discussion for the past 20 posts stemmed from that comment... grin


And...?

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#2072507 - 04/27/13 11:21 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: patH]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19797
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: patH
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
....what do we do about those OCTAVES in Op. 53? grin
Practice! grin
Which Op. 53? ha

(both)
But, but, but...
If you do two op.53, you get one op.106, don't you?
2 x 53 = 106grin

Nice!
I think 53 being 1/2 of 106 was subliminally part of why I thought of the Op. 53's. smile
(Although I had no idea.)

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#2072661 - 04/28/13 07:37 AM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Nikolas]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7891
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: wr
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Well, I think that Stravinsky did a lot more than just to juxtapose Russian folk music tunes together... So, yes, I dislike Islamey much more than Petrushka.

I should note, however, that from the three major ballets of the same era by Stravinsky, I'm most fond of the Rite of Spring.



And the Rite is full of bits and pieces of folk tunes. I forgot where I saw it, but somebody went to the trouble of identifying a lot of them - they are not original inventions by Stravinsky, but borrowings. Maybe, since this is the 100th anniversary year of the piece, that analysis will get some attention.
Of course I know that the Rite is filled with such tunes. But as far as taste is concerned I largely prefer it than Petrushka or The Firebird... :-/

I'm not sure there's any reason to keep discussing this. Maybe my comments were a bit 'harsh' and one sided. Lets try this: "Generally speaking, music with ethnic elements do not appeal to me".



Well, I guess the question then is "why doesn't it appeal to you?", since so much of classical music is infused with that sort of stuff, in varying degrees of directness. I'm not trying to pick on you, but I think it's an interesting thing to discuss in the context of an "Islamey" thread.

I enjoy Islamey, and find it quite strange that it seems to turn a lot of people totally off. It seems pretty much in the same territory as Liszt's Rhapsodie Espagnole, or that of any number of other 19th century composers doing arrangements of ethnic or popular material.

Is it that kitsch seems to be lurking in the background in that sort of music (a reasonable worry, I might add).

Quote:


But there is a question that nobody has replied and needs asking I think:

[b]"What's so amazing about Islamey?" Meaning. Does anyone think that this is a huge masterpiece (like moonlight sonata, for example), or something just as "good" (whatever "good" means).

I think replying to that might solve all the issues with Islamey! wink


I don't think Islamey is a huge masterpiece, but it is hugely entertaining to my sensibilities, without insulting my apparently lowly intelligence too much. And that's enough for me. I don't imagine for a minute that it is supposed to be a serious and authentic representation of the source material that Balakirev heard, but then, I don't expect that out of other classical appropriations of non-classical material, either.

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#2072749 - 04/28/13 11:04 AM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: wr]
Damon Offline
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Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6166
Loc: St. Louis area
If we must continue to compare Balakirev to Liszt, I think the "Grand Galop Chromatique" is a more respectful comparison, please. smile
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#2073510 - 04/29/13 02:27 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Mark_C]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
How many more seconds would it have taken to write "Beethoven"?

How do we know he even meant Beethoven? grin

Actually I think the problem wasn't leaving out the composer but that he said the op. number rather than "Hammerklavier." I don't know why someone would want to do that, even though people do that kind of thing a lot.

I, for one, can't spell the damn thing. laugh

Originally Posted By: xcvbnml
This forum doesn't cease to amaze me -- what an odd community. How in the world if you know anything at all about the piano repertoire do you have to take time to correct me about Op.106? When people discuss the most difficult pieces "Beethoven's" Op.106 is almost always a frontrunner -- and when an Op.106 is placed alongside Gaspard and Islamey it is so obvious which 106 is being referred to that it requires no qualification. If you actually knew half of a thing about what you were ever discussing Polyphonist you wouldn't have to ask if I meant Beethoven or not.

I am not a huge fan of the piece, and despite being able to play it, would never have known that was the opus number if Mark and Poly hadn't said it.

It would kind of be like me saying, "Hey, man, do you know when we'll see 1P again?"

And then someone figures out, "What, you mean Halley's Comet?" wink

Originally Posted By: Mark C
I also don't understand why people would say (as they sometimes do) "Op 27 #2" instead of Moonlight Sonata. Especially since I don't always necessarily remember if it's #1 or #2.

Seriously? It's #2? I can never remember that, either.. and I always get it confused with the numbering system.. "Piano Sonata #14" (I believe)?

Quote:
I enjoy Islamey, and find it quite strange that it seems to turn a lot of people totally off. It seems pretty much in the same territory as Liszt's Rhapsodie Espagnole, or that of any number of other 19th century composers doing arrangements of ethnic or popular material.

I almost want to say I don't get it, either, but then.. I'm not a big fan of the Liszt piece. I guess a lot of it depends on what you listen to the music for, and whether that piece has that particular element or it is lacking?
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#2073656 - 04/29/13 05:21 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: wr]
Nikolas Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5300
Loc: Europe
wr: I think that Islamey is a bit too simple for me, along with the rather strong (fake) ethnic elements... I happened to (re-)listen to the rite of Spring tonight and this is why I'm posting. That masterpiece has SO many different things going on that are brilliant, that it's impossible to compare it with Islamey. Polytonality, Polyrhythms, orchestration, time signatures to name but a few... In Islamey you get the same thing over and over again, in the same tonality, the same rhythm, etc... :-/

(BTW, I don't really enjoy too much Liszt either, except for some late works (and the sonata) that linger the more 'atonal' stuff and get further away from ethnic elements)
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#2073658 - 04/29/13 05:24 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Goomer Piles]
Orange Soda King Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/09
Posts: 6070
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky, United S...
Regarding "fake" ethnic music, that's a large reason I'm not a big fan of American composers making arrangements of "folk tunes" to try to sound stylistically like another culture. I really like authentic ethnic choral music, such as music by the composer Leo Brouwer. smile

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#2073788 - 04/29/13 09:10 PM Re: What's so bad about Islamey? [Re: Orange Soda King]
mermilylumpkin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/13
Posts: 121
Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
Regarding "fake" ethnic music, that's a large reason I'm not a big fan of American composers making arrangements of "folk tunes" to try to sound stylistically like another culture. I really like authentic ethnic choral music, such as music by the composer Leo Brouwer. smile


This is a really interesting point. Perhaps that's why I wasn't instantly engrossed with Islamey. I wonder if in order to be write a piece that encompasses the musical complexities of a culture, you have to intimately know that culture as your own. I think it's the same reason native Southerners write the best Southern fiction or anyone can imitate their own culture best, really. Or else it's a bit shallow somehow because you don't "own" that culture and have little strands of it pushing through your subconscious.

I thought the contrast with the Petrushka recording -- which I loved -- was an interesting one. To me Petrushka seemed to have lots of different layers and textures and complexities, whereas Islamey sounded like it was grinding on the same theme again and again. With a lot of Russian classical music, I often feel like I get to the place in the music when it gets REAL Russian. I don't know what defines that Slavic sound, but it's like it's there and it's organic and Petrushka has it and lots of other great pieces of music have it too.

Islamey was very nice, but not something that really captured me and did me in, in the artistic sense.

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