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Topic: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

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  1. #1

    Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    Right now I am listening to Symphony nr.8 of Shostakovich, in C minor........ Great work, by the way. Why do they always stick to those markings, C minor, D major or else while the whole piece isn't. It is a picture of the WWII, the continuation, the horror of the suffering caused by s........ etc. Why do those writers always stick to some tonal identification, while the piece really is something else.....? We never speak of, this picture by Van Gogh is in A major. Why not this work marked as Symphony in Death, Destruction and Suffering.....

    Raymond

  2. #2

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    Composers have written symphonies for ages using different styles and key-related sections within their works. To explain your question in depth would take a lot of space Raymond, but let's just say this.....for now.

    A tonal work written in only ONE key would be very monotonous. A well-know composer, walking along a New York street once told a student walking with him, "I reviewed your score today and have to admit that if you knew how to modulate (change keys within a large work), you would be a great composer. As it is, don't ever give up your day job."

    Take it from there........

    Jack
    Jack Cannon--Toshiba laptop, 2.8 GHz CPU, 1.5 GB RAM, GPO4-JABB3-Auth. STEINWAY-Gofriller CELLO-Stradivari VIOLIN-COMB2-WORLD, FINALE 2009/11, RME Digiface, Cardbus, V-Stack---Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 8, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express.--MacBook Pro 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  3. #3

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    That is not the point.... the point is why do they always state a tonal identification, while the composer walks along all different tonal systems. Shostakovich used all in his works, from the old fashioned systems to 12-tones. In his works it is not important, but the idea behind it all, is the "key" of his works. Impressionism is a better word. He pictured all kinds of situations during the Stalin period, the WW-2, the death of Stalin, the escape from socialistic society with all limitations, etc... he was forced to compose to the liking of the socialist party, a bodice. And still he remained himself, Dimitri Shostakovich...... and then C minor doesn't say anything.

    Raymond

  4. #4

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    I'd suggest this old fashioned practice of adding the key to the title is both a practice that 'just caught on' and was copied on down through the years, and also a means to vary titles, and give the piece a sense of variation within the titles as well. Instead of just 'Concerto No. 1', 'Concerto No. 2' - add the key to the title (which would normally change).

    And of course, the key is the one the piece starts in, and might finish on perhaps.

    So personally I think it just became an accepted naming convention, and if all the great composers were doing it, you'd do it too.

    Such are my mundane thoughts on the matter...
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  5. #5

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    Raymond: were you to take the time to do an in-depth analysis of these works, you would realize that the keys they profess to be in DO apply. Simply because the tonal language is enlarged and stretched beyond the boundaries of common-practice, does not mean that those key relationships are non-existent.

    If Schostakowitch says a symphony is in D minor, you can bet there is a good solid foundation for that claim.

    And as for Prokovievv, his music is already far more traditionally tonal than Schoskowitch's ever was, so key relationships apply even more strongly in his music.

  6. #6

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    Why not this work marked as Symphony in Death, Destruction and Suffering.....
    Dear Raymond,
    If I rightly understand your question, I see that it makes sense just from an hystorical point of view.
    To me, all this was started with the invention of "tone poems" in XIX Century.
    Before that, only few composers named their works after the feeling they were inspired of (Dittersdorf with his Symphonies After Ovid -- splendid! --; LvB with the "Pastoral", JSB ... glorifying the gifts of a cup of coffee... you name it...)
    Enjoy your Symphonies. Name them yourself as they speak to your heart.
    Have a Happy Easter.
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  7. #7

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    Quote Originally Posted by fabiolcati View Post
    Before that, only few composers named their works after the feeling they were inspired of


    really? 19th century?

    Brush up on your music history Fabio. Music that was both named for, and meant to describe, specific events or feelings existed in large quantity FAR before the 19th century.

    la Battaile?
    les oyseaux?
    so much of J.P.Rameau's keyboard music?
    Vivaldi The Seasons?
    the list would just go on and on and on.

    "descriptive music" is nothing new, and has been around for considerably more than 200 years.

    And I repeat that if Schostakowitch named his symphony "in D minor" or "in C", there is a solid harmonic reason for it, regardless of whether you see it or not.

    Why give an absolute descriptive title to a work? "symphony of destruction"??? really?

    because Schostakowitch preferred to keep the images to each listener's imagination. Why impose a program on a work that isn't absolutely programmatic?

    So his 8th symphony was written during the war, and it is a pessimistic work. Does it HAVE a program? No. SO why impose one with a programmatic title?

    Notice that his 7th symphony DOES have a programmatic title. Technically, so do his 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 12th, and 13th symphonies.

    So why are you criticizing Schostakowitch exactly? Or other composers who also give keys to their works? Is the music any less effective for not having a programmatic title? is it any less musically affecting for having a key signature?

  8. #8

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    It's perfectly fine to dump the age old convention of key's and call the piece whatever you want.
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  9. #9

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    Quote Originally Posted by qccowboy View Post
    really? 19th century?

    Brush up on your music history Fabio. Music that was both named for, and meant to describe, specific events or feelings existed in large quantity FAR before the 19th century.

    la Battaile?
    les oyseaux?
    so much of J.P.Rameau's keyboard music?
    Vivaldi The Seasons?
    the list would just go on and on and on.

    "descriptive music" is nothing new, and has been around for considerably more than 200 years.
    Sir–, I wish to thank you for having made my thoughts more clear.
    I totally agree with you about the existence of descriptive music before January 1st 1800 -- or is it 1-1-1801? When those b...y Centuries starts or finish?
    And, yes, "Music History for Dummies" is a too concise book to rely on. Any sugggestion for replacing it?
    Best regards.
    Fabio
    Arrigo Beyle / Milanese / Lived, wrote, loved -- Stendhal
    Being Italian is a full-time job -- B. Severgnini

  10. #10

    Re: Symphony in A,B minor, C minor, D minor, E major.........

    So his 8th symphony was written during the war, and it is a pessimistic work. Does it HAVE a program? No. SO why impose one with a programmatic title?

    The Eight Symphony, written in 1943, contemplates the horrors of war and yearns, not for victory, but for peace. "In the work", Shostakovich wrote at the time of composition, "there was an attempt to express the emotional experience of the people, to reflect to terrible tragedy of the war." In the posthumously published Memoirs, Shostakovich claimed that the Eight Symphony was an even more subversive work than his critics knew. "The Seventh and Eight symphonies are my Requiem", he revealed, and not just a requiem for those who perished in the war, but also for his fellow-countrymen killed on Stalin's orders before the war. .....

    Quoted from the CD booklet.
    Maybe not "program music" but certainly reflecting "mood."

    Raymond

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