Finest Melodies

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allegroamabile
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Finest Melodies

Postby allegroamabile » Sun Jan 24, 2010 6:45 pm

Here is what I think are some of the best melodies written.

Borodin- String Quartet No. 2 in D major: I. Allegro moderato
The Russians are definitely very talented at writing some of the most beautiful melodies, and it is prevalent at the beginning of this particular piece. This movement reveals that the homogenous sound of the strings can also be very colorful; in a way which a wind quintet can provide so easily.

Tchaikovsky- Manfred Symphony in B minor, Op. 58: II. Vivace con spirito
This occurs in the trio section, right after the light but dark vivace section. This part provides some relief for the listener from the heavy music that has been played throughout the long first movement. This is very similar to how an author presents comic relief for the reader in a dramatic novel. Right before the trio section, the first violins, who are playing all by themselves, swell on an f-sharp which leads to the melody I am describing. This theme exhibits Tchaikovsky’s lyricism but also reveals some of music he periodically writes which reflects on the Russian cultural attitude.

Milhaud- The Chimney of King Rene: VII. Madrigal nocturne
This suite composed for wind quintet in 1939 exhibits Milhaud’s very personal musical style in a special, intimate way, due to the use of the chamber ensemble. This melody I am pointing out starts the movement. The climax in the middle of the movement is very powerful, with the flute soaring triumphantly over the oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn. The tension leading up to the climax is also magnificent. I also love the simple ending that concludes this piece.

Tchaikovsky- Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32
The part I am mentioning is directly after the long clarinet solo, where the strings enter with mutes. It has that typical Tchaikovskian style that I cannot get over. The transition from the clarinet solo to the muted strings is just phenomenal.

Mozart- Mass in C minor, K. 427
The strings start out this piece creating an ominous atmosphere. Then the choir joins with the brass under them which creates an extremely haunting effect. A great piece of music by a great composer.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby dwil9798 » Sun Jan 24, 2010 7:24 pm

Wagner was a great melody writer, but I think my favorite of his would have to occur during the "Karfreitag Musik" of Parsifal. The strings divided play a rustling triplet pattern as the oboe intones the "Flowery Meadow"(von Wolzogen) motif. The horns provide harmony, and soon the clarinet provides a lovely counter-melody. The motif's title does not give justice to the music, though. There is not a more beautiful and well orchestrated piece melody ever written.

How about Richard Strauss' "von der Hinterveltlern" from "Also sprach". I mentioned this piece in another thread for its orchestration, but it is also quite a fine melody. There is nothing more beautiful than a solo viola, and that's how this melody starts. The melody is divided amongst the strings and supported by the organ. When the horns enter at the climax, its indescribable.

Probably the most obscure music on my list, Poulenc's "Les Animaux Modeles" suite from the ballet. Check it out, you will be blown away. Especially the second and fourth movements, which contain some really sublime melodies.

I agree with you allegroamabile, Borodin did write some really great melodies. "In the Steppes of Central Asia" is my favorite of his. When the two most important melodies combine near the end, it is simply awesome.
Last edited by dwil9798 on Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby steltz » Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:10 pm

As I read this post, I am listening to Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, the first movement -- the saxophone solo followed by the string section. Fabulous melodies!!!!! :D Though there is much of Rach I find repetitive, this is one of my all time favorites.
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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby allegroamabile » Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:37 pm

dwil9798 wrote:Probably the most obscure music on my list, Poulenc's "Les Animaux Modeles" suite from the ballet. Check it out, you will be blown away. Especially the second and fourth movements, which contain some really sublime melodies.


I checked that piece out, and it indeed blew me away. The beginning of the fourth movement is gorgeous. I love Poulenc's neo-classicism, especially in his Organ Concerto which is written around the same time as this piece. The last movement is beautiful also, very remincent of the last movement of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby vinteuil » Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:56 am

The trio from Schubert's D. 944 is an incredible melody indeed. As is the first song of An die ferne geliebte (and Mondnacht...same melody), but that's mainly in the accompaniment.
However, my favorite melody is the second theme of the first movement of Mozart's Coronation Concerto...gorgeous...
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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby dwil9798 » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:06 pm

allegroamabile wrote:
dwil9798 wrote:Probably the most obscure music on my list, Poulenc's "Les Animaux Modeles" suite from the ballet. Check it out, you will be blown away. Especially the second and fourth movements, which contain some really sublime melodies.


I checked that piece out, and it indeed blew me away. The beginning of the fourth movement is gorgeous. I love Poulenc's neo-classicism, especially in his Organ Concerto which is written around the same time as this piece. The last movement is beautiful also, very remincent of the last movement of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite.


Always glad to introduce people to new music. I've always been amazed at Poulenc's vast amount of influences. "Animaux" has undeniable jazz influences, but reminds me alot of Saint-Saens and Ravel. His Organ Concerto and Double Piano Concerto have definite Baroque and Classical influences, yet parts of "La Voix Humane" could be taken directly from Wagner and Tristan und Isolde. Very accessible composer. I've always wondered why he isn't played more.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby allegroamabile » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:53 pm

The melodies from Glazunov's Intermezzo Romantico are beautiful. It is a piece dominated by Tchaikovskian influences.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby dwil9798 » Sun Feb 21, 2010 11:13 pm

Started working on Saint-Saens 1st Piano Concerto, in D Major. The first movement's main theme is so simple, yet so powerful, it really pushes the piece forward.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby NLewis » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:09 am

Without digressing into melodic theory:

1). The best figurational melody can be found in Chopin's Etude, Op. 25, No. 12


Shape, in a given melody, is important in determining it's 'fineness'. A good melody, in my personal opinion, is one that contains a fairly restricted range (with a high and low point). In terms of melodic symmetry and 'perfection', I am forced to pick Mozart's Piano Concerto, K.467, II. In fact, Mozart is a prime example of perfection in melodic shape.

In terms of thematic development, I am going to point to Beethoven. Beethoven had tendencies to relentlessly repeat motives as a means to extend musical time and also action. I am going to point to Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 as the point example of a development of motif.

However, as a human-being (as oppose to an emotionless machine) I am forced to succumb to the beauties of melody with all analysis aside. Below I have chosen the composers I believe to have written the greatest melodies, and works (I will not mention the works above).

1). Ravel - Ravel was a master of melodic writing (among other things). My personal favorite melodies of his can be found in his string quartet. Specifically the first and second movement.

2). Debussy - Along the same lines as Ravel. Though I can not claim he is my favorite composer (I do not classify him as a great composer), his melodic writing can not be ignored. Most likely the Deux arabesques, L. 66 (Two Arabesques). Specially the first one.

3). Borodin - Polovitsian dances, and many of his string quartets.

4). Chopin -Op. 25, No. 1

Please mind, these are by no means my favorite composers. It is merely a fair and (hopefully) rationalized view of melody.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby Deinonychus » Sun Aug 01, 2010 12:13 pm

The main theme from Beethoven's Ode to Joy is incredible for its simplicity; although composed entirely of single steps it hos shape and, more importantly, movement to carry it.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby allegroamabile » Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:00 pm

A good melody, in my personal opinion, is one that contains a fairly restricted range (with a high and low point).


With that definition in mind, Rachmaninov would not be considered a good melodic writer? I would disagree because I find it rather easy to compose a melody with stepwise motion. I like to hear lines which do have broader range, add in a couple of non-harmonic notes to spice things up. I have brought Josef Gabriel Rheinberger up frequently lately, but I do find that does compose with a restricted range. He does this well though by adding underlining harmonic textures which pushes the music foward.

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby vinteuil » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:44 pm

NLewis wrote:Please mind, these are by no means my favorite composers. It is merely a fair and (hopefully) rationalized view of melody.

Hey, not many people would complain about Ravel (Daphnis), Chopin (Most pianists), Borodin, or Debussy as favorites.

Another somewhat obvious source are art songs. Fauré's Dans les ruines d'une Abbaye is a bit sappy, but nice. Schubert's Liebesbotschaft (or indeed, any of his lieder) is brilliant.
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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby Raftuniversity » Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:17 pm

the Korngold Lieder "Was Du mir Bist" and "Liebesbriefchen"

check them out

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Re: Finest Melodies

Postby aldona » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:08 pm

perlnerd666 wrote:The trio from Schubert's D. 944 is an incredible melody indeed. As is the first song of An die ferne geliebte (and Mondnacht...same melody), but that's mainly in the accompaniment.
However, my favorite melody is the second theme of the first movement of Mozart's Coronation Concerto...gorgeous...


So many gorgeous melodies in Schubert's music...many hidden away in the piano accompaniment of the songs...and many little-known gems awaiting those who patiently dig.

My most recent 'earworms';

2nd movement of Piano Trio in E-flat D.929
Alfonso's Cavatina from Act 2 of "Alfonso & Estrella"
The "Rosamunde" incidental music is full of beautiful melodies, from the slow introduction of the Overture to the Shepherd's Melody (clarinet solo! :D ), Chorus of the Shepherds, the 'Romanze' (Der Vollmond strahlt), all of the Entr'actes, etc.
Lieder: Frühlingsglaube, D.686, Nachtviolen, D.752, Auf dem Wasser zu singen, D.774, Nacht und Träume, D.827, Sehnsucht, D.879, Im Freien, D.880, Wiegenlied, D.867 (not the famous 'Cradle Song' but another heart-melting melody that is very little known), Frühlingslied, D.919 (another beautiful and almost-unknown song)
Partsongs: Der Gondelfahrer, D.809, Coronach, D.836

(List subject to change without notice - next week's list will probably be different!)

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: Finest Melodies

Postby NLewis » Tue Aug 03, 2010 10:55 pm

You are quite right when you say most people would not argue with me on those composers being my favorites. Ravel and Chopin are brilliant composers and among my favorite from those eras. However I find Mozart to be a boring composer because of his 'safe' writing, and symmetry. I think music is better when it is asymmetrical (organized of course), otherwise it is quite boring. Bach is an example of a composer I can't stand. If you take all of his works, reduce them to simple chords and then take away the superfluous ones you are left with the same thing... it's as though everything is just a variation of one work. But I'm digressing from the point...

My favorite composers are Shostakovich, Ravel, Chopin, Villa-Labos, Stravinsky, Martinu, etc.


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