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What I'm listening to (classical version)

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What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:57 am

I'm listening to a piece of classical music that represents a portrait of a person from Wisconsin. It's by a composer born in the 19th century in Europe.

I'll be suitably impressed if any of the (handful?) of classical music fans here can figure out what it is.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby Detritus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:58 pm

Hmm, are you thinking of one of the pieces by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor about Hiawatha? Violin sketches, a cantata, an overture...but Hiawatha wasn't actually from Wisconsin, Longfellow notwithstanding.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:29 pm

Hey, that is a most excellent guess. But no, I'm referring to something else.

It is one of four musical portraits. The others in the set are of people from California, Paris, and Brussels.

(I think that Google won't be all that helpful, even with this much information... but I could be wrong!)
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby Detritus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:40 pm

kurt_w wrote:Hey, that is a most excellent guess. But no, I'm referring to something else.

It is one of four musical portraits. The others in the set are of people from California, Paris, and Brussels.

(I think that Google won't be all that helpful, even with this much information... but I could be wrong!)

TMI, Kurt, although not with the usual meaning. But I don't want to spoil it for other players.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:50 pm

Oho, very good.

Did you have to guess at the composer, or did the list of places alone do it? I tried some google searches without the composer's name, and the piece wasn't coming up, at least in the first few pages of results.

But maybe your google powers are greater than mine.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby massimo » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:58 pm

Hadn't heard of your piece, but Google did end up revealing the answer. Interesting, will give a listen on Spotify later.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:08 pm

There's a nice performance of it on Youtube here.

I find it interesting that the title of the piece is "The Wisconsonian". At first, I thought that was a typo on the CD liner. But it seems to be the normal spelling for this piece ... and more than that, google suggests that a lot of people use "Wisconsonian" instead of "Wisconsinian".
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:14 pm

i thought I am a Wisconsinite.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby Detritus » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:53 pm

kurt_w wrote:Oho, very good.

Did you have to guess at the composer, or did the list of places alone do it? I tried some google searches without the composer's name, and the piece wasn't coming up, at least in the first few pages of results.

But maybe your google powers are greater than mine.

Googled "classical music" california brussels paris wisconsin. Not on the first page of hits, but on the second page I hit paydirt with the transcript of some reminiscences regarding the Pro Arte Quartet. The search is a bit harder than need be, I think in part because the composer, in his infinite wisdom, tried to title the Wisconsin portion in English instead of his native French, and ended up with "The Wisconsonian." So unless the searcher (or someone writing a page) correctly misspelled "Wisconsin," it would be hard to find.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:37 pm

Detritus wrote:The search is a bit harder than need be, I think in part because the composer, in his infinite wisdom, tried to title the Wisconsin portion in English instead of his native French, and ended up with "The Wisconsonian."


Yeah, that is a bit odd. Why is it "La Californienne" but not "La Wisconsinienne"?

Maybe given the way we mangle names like "Prairie du Chien", Milhaud didn't want to risk it.

One nice thing about this thread is that it led me to discover Yi-Wen Chao's Youtube videos (I was listening to a CD of the Milhaud piece, but when massimo mentioned listening to it online, I went looking on Youtube and found that link).

She has a nice video of one of my favorite pieces for viola: The "Elegie" of Belgian romantic composer Henry Vieuxtemps. Her performance is really quite good, if a bit restrained, up until the last minute, when it becomes much more powerful and dramatic.

Nicely done. If anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the great (but under-publicized) viola repertoire, the Vieuxtemps Elegie is a good place to start.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:25 am

Another quiz:

I'm listening to a piece composed by a relative of Grieg, based on a theme written by a relative of a barber.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby massimo » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:21 pm

I give up, but Grieg is one of my top 5 so I'm interested to know. Ole Bull?
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby kurt_w » Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:33 pm

massimo wrote:I give up, but Grieg is one of my top 5 so I'm interested to know. Ole Bull?

Ooh, interesting idea. But no.

The composer is Johan Halvorsen, who was married to Grieg's niece (or so Wikipedia claims).

The piece I was listening to is his Passacaglia, a duo originally for violin and viola but often played by violin and cello. The Passacaglia was on a theme by Handel, so it's sometimes called the "Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia".

There is a violin-viola performance by Itzhak Perlman and Pinchas Zukerman here.

Julia Fischer plays it with some cellist here.

And there is a somewhat freaky music-video version here by duoW (explanation here).
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby massimo » Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:07 pm

Nice, Kurt. I'm listening to the videos you linked though reading more about ol' Ole. I wasn't aware of his failed colonial venture in America or eventual connection to Madison, WI. I wonder how many Norwegians in WI and MN can trace their lineage back to New Norway.
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Re: What I'm listening to (classical version)

Postby massimo » Wed Oct 08, 2014 12:12 am

...and now having done the research, somewhat delighted to learn that the site of Ole's lavish state-side, cradle-robbing wedding took place at the eventual governor's mansion, now known as Knapp house, where I attended numerous lectures during my grad school years.

PDF link.
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