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#2032024 - 02/12/13 06:06 PM Schnabel the composer?
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
While I know since long that Schnabel also composed during his life, I didn't really look into his music much until now. Having started looking into it now, it does seem rather individual and worth checking out more. Any thoughts? Any recommended works to listen to?
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#2032368 - 02/13/13 09:38 AM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
No impressions whatsoever on Schnabel the composer? smile It is well known that he was a close friend of Schoenberg. Also, Roger Sessions and Ernst Krenek both commented on seeing signs of genious - with the former, Schnabel often discussed composition, while Sessions was eager to find out more about piano playing from Schnabel.
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#2301519 - 07/12/14 12:56 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Reviving an old thread that attracted no response at all. Recently, the 3 symphonies by Schnabel - all extremely large-scale works, long, dense, endlessly taxing for conductor and orchestra - were made available on youtube, which gives us an opportunity to get a better picture of him as a composer. This is by no means easy-listenable background music. The music seems to evolve and evolve, in a way that I find compelling and natural, but completely without recognizable thematic material. The Largo of the 2nd symphony develops slowly but surely, reaching very powerful climaxes for anyone willing to spend 17 minutes listening to it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYr-NA6_jao



Here is Helen Schnabel performing selections from his "7 pieces", the last pieces he finished before his death:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIBEJ4qgkA0






I also find the Violin Sonata a very strong work, here the first two movements are performed very well by Paul Zukofsky and Ursula Oppens:




Any thoughts, impressions? This music doesn't quite sound like anything else, to my mind.


Edited by fnork (07/12/14 01:01 PM)
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#2301905 - 07/13/14 04:36 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Aw, come on! Let's give this old fellow one more chance as a composer! Nothing here that merits a comment...?
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#2301957 - 07/13/14 07:10 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5899
Loc: Down Under
Wow, that was really interesting! Loved the 2nd movt of the violin sonata, and the Andantino piano piece. I'll try the symphony when I have more time. Like you, I knew he composed, but I don't think I'd ever heard any of his music before.
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#2302010 - 07/13/14 10:29 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
jeffreyjones Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/31/10
Posts: 2290
Loc: San Jose, CA
Unfortunately, most music of that period - even from famous composers - hasn't aged well and rarely gets played now. Schnabel was a great pianist, but his music will never be popular. Such is the cycle of things. At the time Dussek was considered quite forward-looking, but now we hear his great sonatas as mere period-noise..

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#2302127 - 07/14/14 08:02 AM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7753
Originally Posted By: fnork
Aw, come on! Let's give this old fellow one more chance as a composer! Nothing here that merits a comment...?


Okay, if you insist... smile

Actually, I listened to the movement from the symphony and the piano piece yesterday and was starting to think about what to post, when a piano concerto by Krenek that I'd never heard before beckoned to me from the YouTube side-bar, and...

So now I'm listening to the violin sonata while I type, and I like it just fine. The ideas are really good, I think, and he obviously knows how to compose and keep things interesting. I'd be perfectly happy to listen to a live performance by good performers.

I thought the other pieces were worth hearing. And, BTW, it seems to me that the movement from the symphony does have thematic material. I heard a repeated motif right at the beginning, which then seemed to morph into all sorts of variants.

I remember that I heard some of Schnabel's music many years ago, and it simply didn't register at the time, other than "OK, I've heard some of that music of his I've been wondering about." I guess my ears are more attuned to his sort of writing now, because now I think it is much more interesting.

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#2302167 - 07/14/14 11:00 AM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: wr]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Originally Posted By: wr
I thought the other pieces were worth hearing. And, BTW, it seems to me that the movement from the symphony does have thematic material. I heard a repeated motif right at the beginning, which then seemed to morph into all sorts of variants.

Yes, I think you're absolutely right! I should have put it differently - I mostly meant to say that while there may be motifs that are in use and that are transformed, it's not so much something that the ear catches onto and remembers as a tune or a motivic idea. The music is just too dense and full of events. The Largo movement might be alright, but try some of the fast movements...heh.


Quote:
I remember that I heard some of Schnabel's music many years ago, and it simply didn't register at the time, other than "OK, I've heard some of that music of his I've been wondering about." I guess my ears are more attuned to his sort of writing now, because now I think it is much more interesting.

I understand this very well, and I think I'm also much more receptive of this now than I would have been five years ago. Now, having much more knowledge on 20th century repertoire, a better understanding of the ideas of Schoenberg and his followers (and Schnabel could be mentioned among them, in a way), I feel much more receptive to this music. The violin sonata is a piece I'd like to do, if I find a violinist interested in this daunting task. Next thing up though is to learn some of the 7 piano pieces (posted above).
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#2302296 - 07/14/14 04:37 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: jeffreyjones]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Originally Posted By: jeffreyjones
Unfortunately, most music of that period - even from famous composers - hasn't aged well and rarely gets played now. Schnabel was a great pianist, but his music will never be popular. Such is the cycle of things. At the time Dussek was considered quite forward-looking, but now we hear his great sonatas as mere period-noise..

Well, I for one think it's extremely unfair that music of this period get so little attention - I get surprised on a daily basis discovering new composer names slightly closer to our times which I have hardly heard of, or seen programmed anywhere. Just as Mendelssohn revived Bach's works, and French musicians in the late 19th century revived their native baroque masters, we must investigate all that has ended up being bypassed, and question whether this is just or not. That's what I'm setting out to do at least, and naturally it means encountering a lot of music that simply isn't worthwhile. But with quite a few composers, I feel the opposite. Schnabel's music ought to be heard more - doing some piano pieces in the next couple of weeks, even juxtaposing it with some Hindemith (op 36 nr 1) in one concert, which is nice considering they were chamber music partners!

What I find interesting with a lot of 'disciples' of the Schoenberg school (if we now can call all of them 'disciples') is that they all do sound very different. Berg, Webern, Schnabel, Skalkottas, Eisler, Kirchner - not one of them sound at all alike.
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#2302647 - 07/15/14 04:15 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Posting the massive first symphony - have been listening to the other two more, but hope to digest this huge piece soon too:







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#2302650 - 07/15/14 04:19 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7178
Loc: France
I thought he was mostly a gardener, highly preoccupied by the germination of musical notes wink
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#2303114 - 07/16/14 05:18 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: Olek]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Originally Posted By: Olek
I thought he was mostly a gardener, highly preoccupied by the germination of musical notes wink

How true! Seems I got it all wrong!
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#2303115 - 07/16/14 05:19 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Meanwhile, here comes Symphony nr 2:







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#2303116 - 07/16/14 05:24 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
beet31425 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 3709
Loc: Bay Area, CA
fnork,

Thanks for posting these, and bringing them to our attention.

You're the real thing.


-J
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Beethoven: op.109, 110, 111

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#2303120 - 07/16/14 05:32 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
How happy I am to hear that these postings are appreciated by someone! There's more coming, I've also been in touch a bit with the Schnabel foundation (actually, relatives of Artur) who seem to confirm that the pieces I'll be doing in Finland and Sweden next month are performed for the first time here. Am going to look into some other piano pieces, lieder and chamber works later on - apart from the violin sonata, a piano trio exists.
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#2303485 - 07/17/14 06:31 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Here comes Symphony nr 3....The finale re-uses a theme from the finale of his piano concerto, written many decades earlier - and indeed, the final movement opens with a piano solo, which is pretty odd for a symphony.







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#2305604 - 07/22/14 08:11 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Haven't done any Schnabel postings in a while! Here comes yer daily dose, this time a movement of a string quartet:



He wrote five quartets in total - sadly this is the only excerpt available on youtube so far.
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#2306001 - Yesterday at 02:37 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
gynnis Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/14
Posts: 66
Loc: Florida, Connecticut
interesting alternative to the second Viennese school.
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#2306051 - Yesterday at 04:31 PM Re: Schnabel the composer? [Re: fnork]
fnork Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/04
Posts: 1709
Loc: Helsinki, finland
Precisely my initial impression too! Schnabel understood Schoenberg's ideas as well as anybody else during those days, but he developed a very personal style out it. I have been marveling at his creative powers for quite a while now - the symphonies are dense, full of events, and perhaps not easy for everyone to follow, but I love what I'm hearing there.
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