Favorite Climaxes

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby pml » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:52 pm

Hi Sixtus,

A lot of performances of Hildegard I’ve heard have been rather sterile, which is why I chose to mention Abelard instead (today my memory has dredged up the name of the piece, his “Planctus David”). If you have to know a climax is there in order to appreciate it though, it's probably not a climax (except for the performers themselves or those in on the secret)...

I might be blind, as I can only see a fairly unexceptional leap of a fourth, although the range for that one word is impressively wide; but I think you'll find the first antiphon for Palm Sunday, Hosanna Filio David, has a (trumpet call) leap of a perfect fifth... and the Amen of Credo III has an octave leap (p.943). If anyone knows of a leap greater than a octave in the Gregorian repertoire, it would have to be fairly exceptional!

As for the Graduale Romanum, a PD version would be very nice. I suspect the beautiful 1961 print you've cited may be off-limits – the © date inside is 1938, so we could probably claim "Urtext" for Canada and EU - but what about US renewals? Surely it would have been renewed... Carolus?

In fact, many of the items on that website - the Kyriale, Antiphonale, chants for the Passions - would be worthy items to go along with the Liber that we already have.

If these aren't fit for IMSLP consumption, there must be missals from pre-1923 still around (despite numerous attempts in many places to eradicate the old books, post-Vatican II).

Regards, PML

EDITED TO ADD: Discovered on that website a letter from Denise D Garrett of the Library of Congress, who found no evidence of a renewal on either the Solesmes Liber Usualis or the Graduale Romanum. I think I’ll do a bit of splitting of the file (given that it does include a number of discrete sections) as it is on the large side.
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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby sbeckmesser » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:51 am

I didn't trust the "greatest leap" claim when I heard it in my first history/analysis course and I see now that my doubts were justified (I didn't believe my teachers were familiar with the entire chant repertory). But such was the effectiveness of my education that I remember that specific example after several decades.

In any case, I think knowing a climax is coming in any piece can only heighten the effect, as in the buildup to the V/I cadence in the Rosenkavalier trio that I listed as one of my favorites. Harmonic signals of its arrival are present for a good minute before it happens. Surely if we had not been told that the Haec dies leap was special in some way, it would have come as perhaps a surprise but not something to be expectantly awaited. Mahler, for one, works this expectation game when he deliberately withholds climaxes after repeated buildups, as in the first movement of his 9th symphony.

--Sixtus

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby sbeckmesser » Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:01 am

pml wrote: Discovered on that website a letter from Denise D Garrett of the Library of Congress, who found no evidence of a renewal on either the Solesmes Liber Usualis or the Graduale Romanum. I think I’ll do a bit of splitting of the file (given that it does include a number of discrete sections) as it is on the large side.


The Liber from that site has all the explanatory material in English rather than IMSLP's all-Latin-all-the-time version, making it also a prime candidate for inclusion at IMSLP, assuming that it is, because of the failure to renew the copyright, in the PD.

I hope in your splitting of the original files that you can retain as much of the original PDF table of contents as possible. The original site probably would look askance at the removal of their appeal for funds on p.1 of the Liber.

--Sixtus

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby pml » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:49 am

Let's just say I've rearranged a few pages here and there, but nothing terribly controversial...

http://imslp.org/wiki/Template:Gregorian_Chant

(Will get around to the Vesperale Romanum (Paris, 1913) a bit later.)

However, there is no extant copyright in a public domain work, nor any original work involved in scanning an already published document, so there wouldn't be much ground for complaint.

(Sorry for derailing the thread - perhaps a moderator might move off the discussion of volumes of Gregorian Chant section off to another thread?)
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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby kongming819 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 5:15 pm

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the climaxes in Mahler's 6th.
Among others already mentioned in the forum, here are some of my favorites (if I don't mention where in the piece, assume it's somewhere in the piece):
The second hammer blow in the finale to Mahler's 6th
The ending of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
The near-ending of Shostakovich's 4th
The ending of Mahler's 2nd
The last minutes of Scriabine's Poem of Ecstasy
The Mambo and Cool Fugue from Bernstein's West Side Story (Symphonic Dances)
Fêtes from Debussy's Trois Nocturnes
Danse Macabre and Danse Bacchanale, Saint-Saëns
Ravel's Ondine
Griffes' Fountain of the Acqua Paola
End of the 2nd (Turandot) movemento of Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphoses
End of the Firebird
climax in Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Restatement of the 1st movement theme in the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony
Some parts from Mahler's 3rd
Joie du sang des étoiles from Messiaen's Turangalila (spare me the crude humor)
the conclusion of the 2nd movement of the Yellow River Piano Concerto based on Xian Xinghai's Yellow River Cantata
the transition between Blanziflor et Helena and O Fortuna in the ending of Orff's Carmina Burana
Midnight [EDIT] and Apotheosis from Prokofiev's Cinderella Suites
2nd movement from Shostakovich's 10th
the many climaxes in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini
the 1st and 3rd movements of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances
the end of Respighi's Pines of Rome (who doesn't love this?)
The shipwreck part of the 4th movement of RK's Scheherazade
Fugue no. 24 by Shostakovich
2nd movement from Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet
the climax of Peter Schickele's (PDQ Bach's) 1712 overture (because it's effing hilarious)
that's pretty much all I can think of...

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby aldona » Wed Feb 17, 2010 12:14 pm

kongming819 wrote:I'm surprised no one has mentioned the climaxes in Mahler's 6th.
Among others already mentioned in the forum, here are some of my favorites (if I don't mention where in the piece, assume it's somewhere in the piece):
The second hammer blow in the finale to Mahler's 6th
The ending of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring
The near-ending of Shostakovich's 4th
The ending of Mahler's 2nd
The last minutes of Scriabine's Poem of Ecstasy
The Mambo and Cool Fugue from Bernstein's West Side Story (Symphonic Dances)
Fêtes from Debussy's Trois Nocturnes
Danse Macabre and Danse Bacchanale, Saint-Saëns
Ravel's Ondine
Griffes' Fountain of the Acqua Paola
End of the 2nd (Turandot) movemento of Hindemith's Symphonic Metamorphoses
End of the Firebird
climax in Vaughan William's Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis
Restatement of the 1st movement theme in the 4th movement of Tchaikovsky's 4th Symphony
Some parts from Mahler's 3rd
Joie du sang des étoiles from Messiaen's Turangalila (spare me the crude humor)
the conclusion of the 2nd movement of the Yellow River Piano Concerto based on Xian Xinghai's Yellow River Cantata
the transition between Blanziflor et Helena and O Fortuna in the ending of Orff's Carmina Burana
Midnight [EDIT] and Apotheosis from Prokofiev's Cinderella Suites
2nd movement from Shostakovich's 10th
the many climaxes in Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini
the 1st and 3rd movements of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances
the end of Respighi's Pines of Rome (who doesn't love this?)
The shipwreck part of the 4th movement of RK's Scheherazade
Fugue no. 24 by Shostakovich
2nd movement from Shostakovich's 8th String Quartet
the climax of Peter Schickele's (PDQ Bach's) 1712 overture (because it's effing hilarious)
that's pretty much all I can think of...


I think you're "over-climaxed"!!

aldona
“all great composers wrote music that could be described as ‘heavenly’; but others have to take you there. In Schubert’s music you hear the very first notes, and you know that you’re there already.” - Steven Isserlis

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby Raftuniversity » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:39 am

the end of "Figlio del Cielo" from Turandot

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby ZacPB189 » Wed Jul 14, 2010 5:45 pm

*Any Bruckner Adagio has a great climax and the ending of the Te Deum and Reqiuem
*Mahler 2, the ending of Mahler 3. The 3rd Hammer Blow of Mahler 6. Mahler wrote it so that the first blow was the strongest impact and the third was the weakest (which Richard Strauss didn't aproove of).
*The ending of the Hans Rott Symphony in E-Major
*The ending of the 1st movement in Holst's 1st Band Suite
*Elgar's Coronation March, Pomp and Circumstance March 1 (and the Coronation Ode), and Sursum Corda
Last edited by ZacPB189 on Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby madcapellan » Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:24 am

Rather "interesting" lists from above. I suppose a lot of it depends on your definition of climax (although I'm not sure that defends some of the pieces mentioned, but I digress).

For high points coming at the end of a piece, Tchaikovsky is the undisputed king. Capriccio Italien, Marche Slave, and the 1812 Overture have three of the greatest fast endings ever written. The level of excitement and emotion at these endings is practically unmatched anywhere else in the repertoire. You could also add Romeo and Juliet to the mix (the final B natural with no timpani is immensely effective and forceful), although the high point no doubt comes before the coda. Also, on a far different note, the Sixth Symphony's finale certainly has one somewhere. You could put it at the suddenly fast section in the middle that ends on a C major chord. I also enjoy the Fifth's ending, which is at a suddenly slower tempo than before.

In similar veins are two moments that occur in the finales of Piano Concertos by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov (1 & 2, respectively). The piano plays a quick cadenza, and after they finish there is complete silence. Then there is a forceful restatement of the second main theme. Obviously the Rachmaninov was inspired by the Tchaikovsky, but that doesn't make it any less effective.

Shostakovich seemed to follow this a bit, but put his exciting climax in the development section of the first movement instead of at the end. These sections in his symphonies take on a life of their own. It started with the Fourth, and is present in the Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth symphonies. I actually prefer the A major theme in the brass in the Seventh Symphony (after countless bars of E-flat major with no preparation whatsoever), but when the ostinato finally stops after 10 minutes or so, there admittedly isn't a section quite like it anywhere else. The Seventh isn't a great symphony, though, despite those effective moments. Each of the development section in the other four mentioned symphonies are peerless in the symphonic repertoire.

Thanks to the Wagner parts, I've also noticed that Wagner has quite a few dramatic climaxes, even if they're technically for show. I personally enjoy the end of the Forest Murmurs from Siegfried Act II (although since it's taken from two scenes with lots inbetween, the separate orchestral piece of it is probably more effective). However, my favorite so far is a mistake. On the Solti recording of Die Walküre at the end of Act I, Siegmund hits a B-flat that is both off key and a huge mistake (the written note is A, part of a B major 7th that resolves to E minor). But it's wonderful at the same time, because it's delivered so forcefully, and the dissonance adds to the emotion. I'm surprised it was kept in, although I would have kept it if I was Solti despite its obvious wrongness.

I'm not sure Mahler really belongs in this conversation, although if he does, it's probably for the quiet ones as opposed to the loud ones. The end of Das Lied von der Erde is no doubt ethereal, but I'd say the ending of the first movement, Das Trinklied vom Jammer der Erde, is even better. A simple F to E in the violins, followed by a dark A minor chord. Simple, but incredibly effective. I'm not sure the hammer blows in the Sixth Symphony are as effective as Mahler probably wanted, but the quiet pizzicato ending, while often a disaster on paper, can be amazingly effective if executed correctly. It's almost like the snapping off of a switch. I already mentioned the excuse-me ending of the first, a superb joke even if it isn't really a climax. I'm not sure the quiet endings to the last movement of the Fourth Symphony, and the first of the Ninth really count either, but they're certainly better than the by the numbers E-flat chords that the Second and Eighth end with. Although on that note, the slow ending of the Third (which I thought had to be fast at first when I saw it, without looking at the rest of course) comes as close to expressing the ideas that Mahler wanted to in his extensive programs to his symphonies.

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby allegroamabile » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:52 pm

I enjoyed reading your post, madcapellan.

One I would like to add is the near the ending of the first movement of Beethoven's Sixth Symphony. It occurs before the big clarinet solo featuring articulated triplets. The violins and violas restate the melody played immediately before by the clarinet in a forte fashion while the winds play a repeated pattern of quarter notes then an half note until it is soley quarter notes. At this point, the strings are ascending and descending with a quarter note then triplet pattern. I find this significant because I found that there are many romantic symphonies that have a climatic section near the end of the first movement, which is one of the qualities that make this one of the first romantic symphonies written.

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby Gesamtkunstwerk » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:03 pm

If you want the end of Mahler's first to be climatic, really bring out the timpani. Even so, it's still abrupt (almost like an anti-climax), and I think we can forgive Mahler because it was his first symphony and he probably thought it would sound like a strong climax, as it looks on paper, although I believe this could be true if it were executed differently. Nevertheless, I sometimes wish he had just ended it with a big, loud D major chord.

I like the end of the ninth; it's very effective and moving in its own way.

Oh, and Il Pini di Villa Appia...drool!!
Last edited by Gesamtkunstwerk on Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby ZacPB189 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:28 am

Honestly, I think Mahler wanted that "stab-die" at the end. Sure, a massive unison D would sound nice there, but it doesn't have the "My secret fortune that only I know about is located at the *abruptly dies* :lol: " affect that Mahler utalized in many of his early pieces (just listen to the very end of Das Klagende Lied) and his 5th and 7th Symphonies.
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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby sbeckmesser » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:38 am

ZacPB189 wrote:Honestly, I think Mahler wanted that "stab-die" at the end. Sure, a massive unison D would sound nice there, but it doesn't have the "My secret fortune that only I know about is located at the *abruptly dies* :lol: " affect that Mahler utalized in many of his early pieces (just listen to the very end of Das Klagende Lied) and his 5th and 7th Symphonies.


A long held chord at the end of Mahler 1 would eliminate the motivic content of the original ending, which is a wide falling interval (an octave). The melodic content of many (most?) of the melodies in the whole symphony consists of wide falling intervals, usually a 4th. The first intervals you hear in the first three movements are a falling 4th and these are brought back in the final movement. And by #49 in that movement you are hearing octave drops too. I prefer the original ending, both for its ability to sum up the melodic content of the whole symphony in two chords and by its rhythmic finality -- no tenuto or fermata that might tempt a crass interpreter into misbehavior. The mind boggles thinking of what someone like Maazel would have made of a held chord.

--Sixtus

PS: I've always found the stab-then-die-slowly at the end of the New World symphony to be ineffective, at least as it is usually performed. I wonder how Dvorak actually intended it to go?

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby Gesamtkunstwerk » Fri Aug 06, 2010 7:08 am

sbeckmesser wrote:The melodic content of many (most?) of the melodies in the whole symphony consists of wide falling intervals, usually a 4th. The first intervals you hear in the first three movements are a falling 4th and these are brought back in the final movement. And by #49 in that movement you are hearing octave drops too. I prefer the original ending, both for its ability to sum up the melodic content of the whole symphony in two chords and by its rhythmic finality

True. Thematic consistency is an important part of great compositions. (I honestly did not notice this familiar motive, but I did notice and love the effect of progressively leading up to it with ascending notes in D major: D-F#-A before the big drop from high D. What a great effect!) However, the last falling octave can still be the most pronounced of all the similar figures in the rest of the symphony, since everything else does after all build up to that point which concludes the entire piece.
Last edited by Gesamtkunstwerk on Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Favorite Climaxes

Postby allegroamabile » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:36 am

sbeckmesser wrote:PS: I've always found the stab-then-die-slowly at the end of the New World symphony to be ineffective, at least as it is usually performed. I wonder how Dvorak actually intended it to go?


I agree that it is usually performed ineffectively, though I think Dvorak wanted there to be more decrescendo on the last chord of the piece. If it were held to "a niente", I think it would serve as a more satisfying ending.


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