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MacDowell

Discussion in 'Repertoire' started by BrokenFingers, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. BrokenFingers

    BrokenFingers New Member

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    I didn't think much of MacDowell until very recently... when I started listening to him :lol: So I was wondering what you guys thought of his music. His style is very fiery and different, but I like it very much, he has some genius works which unfortunately aren't really that popular.

    Here's two examples if you aren't already familiar with the composer. Not really an A-list(lol) composer, but a good one with very intriguing pieces.

    2nd Modern Suite
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYrg2akg ... re=related

    4th Piano Sonata
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaQxmZGw ... re=related
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I have only ever played his Woodland Sketches, which are kind of cute. Never heard anything else. At least I don't think so. Maybe I've heard some symphonic works, I dunno....
     
  3. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    One of my favourite composers; definitely not as droll and unoriginal as many critics make him out to be (I suspect they only gave a superficial listen). At the very least near the top of the second-tier composers in my opinion, as he had his own voice, and spoke with it very greatly. Most only know his cutesy, charming pieces in sets like Woodland Sketches and immediately dismiss him as a miniaturist. No one could be more wrong.

    I particularly like his Sea Pieces (op.55) for the raw heroic power they possess. Even though they are rarely more than two to three minutes long, they cogently express things that people like Dubois and Meyerbeer could never do in an entire symphony, using a style very different from Debussy's and yet having the same impressionistic tendencies. Things like the middle of A.D MCDXX and In the Depths stick in the mind very distinctly. full of the lower register and extravagant heroism found nowhere else.

    As for the 'Keltic' above, I can never forget the climax of the third movement; how it brings back the first movement in a heroic daze so suddenly and yet so obviously; turns out that the much-repeated musical phrase of the finale was actually part of the theme of the first movement (personally, it was one of the most surprising moments of the music I've heard). The way that Macdowell fashions his programmatic sonatas are also very different from Eroica onwards; gems like the theme of Norse tiring itself out in the finale into a waltz are an example. Well worth listening to, especially his later works from the Eroica onwards.
     
  4. Affinity

    Affinity New Member

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    A small little bump, but I guess it's Macdowell's 150th birthday today. I don't think anyone notices though.
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    This is a shame, if it is true. If no where else, then here in America, there should be some sesquicentenial celebrations with all-MacDowell concernts. Hopefully, in some academic center somewhere in the USA, there has been a year-long featuring of his works. Just this month I decided to add his 4th sonata to an all-American recital to be performed in the future. Perhaps at least at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire there is acknowledgement. Aaron Copland composed his "Appalachian Spring" while there.
     

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