Who do you consider to be the GOAT amongst classical music composers?

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Here is one of my former music professors from Western U, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, last month with the Vienna Philharmonic and Gergiev conducting, with Tchaikovsky's work for cello and orchestra.
Tchaikovsky is one of the Mr. Christmas figures in classical music.

I met Tsutsumi a couple of times in Toronto about ten and eight years ago, he seemed to remember me from the days at Western U in the early seventies, when I attended his weekly piano/cello masterclasses which he conducted with my piano professor. I played for him only once in those masterclasses, a rather subdued performance of a Beethoven work. In those days, he would say hello to me when we passed each other in the hallways. His career is obviously still in high achievement phase.

 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
This being the end of the Beethoven birthday celebration year, I re-listened just now to the classic recording of the Beethoven cello sonatas which Tsutsumi recorded in 1980 with his colleague at Western U, Ronald Turini.
This has become my favourite recorded set, even more than the Starker/Sebok set from 1959. That earlier set featured Tsutsumi's principal teacher, Janos Starker, and the piano professor of my own piano professor, Sebok, both Starker and Sebok taught at Indiana University.
Tsutsumi brings a meditative, interior approach to these works, and provides insights unavailable elsewhere.

 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
And the spirit of Christmas is still with us, much more significant than the political world, and here is Tchaikovsky's Christmas masterpiece arranged for keyboard by Pletnev, and exquisitely performed by another great pianist.

https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELPvL9HCKJI
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I first heard Tsutsumi play cello in 1967, my piano professor at Western U (I was still in high school) arranged for me to sit in on the rehearsal for a performance of the Saint Saens Cello Concerto with the local London Symphony Orchestra. I can still hear the tones of that rehearsal.

Here is Tsutsumi's most successful student at Western U, who was principal cellist of the London Symphony (later Orchestra London) for more than forty years, even today (now known as London Symphonia). She was a fellow music student of mine at Western. This performance is with the same London orchestra playing that same concerto in which I first heard Tsutsumi play the cello 54 years ago.

https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc13zYrbNjc
 
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Rubens

Hall of Fame
Apparently there's a piece by Mozart that was recently discovered. Premiered yesterday:


Frankly the piece sounds horrible to me. I hope it was a mistake.
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Here is more background on this newly discovered work of Mozart. Cho did incredibly intense preparation for the world premiere.

 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
The great classical actor Christopher Plummer passed on recently. Plummer was best known as a stage actor, based principally throughout his long career in the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival, from 1956 to 2012. A long run indeed.

Plummer appeared there every year from 1956 to 1962 in a couple of plays per year, after which the demands of his film career took him away most years. During those same years, Glenn Gould was music director of the Festival series of classical concerts. Plummer and Gould were the two biggest names of the Festival during this golden era at Stratford, and became personal friends.

In the 1960 season, Plummer appeared in two Shakespeare plays, King John (as a secondary but colourful character) and Romeo and Juliet as Mercutio.
Here is a clip with Plummer's idol, John Barrymore, as Mercutio. Plummer would later portray Barrymore on stage to win a Tony award in 1997.


Also in that 1960 Stratford season, Gould performed the Beethoven "Geist" (Spirit) Piano Trio, Beethoven's greatest, with Leonard Rose and Oskar Shumsky. They perform here at Stratford on the same main thrust stage used by the Shakespeare productions, demonstrating the Beethoven dramas in sound.
Beethoven and Shakespeare represent two of the greatest and most dominant creative artists ever.
Unfortunately, the applause is edited out of the final movement conclusion.

 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
This is a Mozart anniversary year, and Europe is determined to perform the great works of this genius.
The pandemic could not stop this performance from happening, a celebratory experience of Mozart's final piano concerto, an elegiac composition.
A rising pianist and a 93 year old conductor.

https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wBPv1y-kd0
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I do love this score from Claude Debussy (Afternoon of a Faun) https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvnRC7tSX50
The famous Japanese composer Takemitsu was heavily influenced by Debussy. At the 3:30 point in the following composition, "Archipeligo S", Takemitsu quotes the main theme from Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun". Probably a hidden tribute to the French composer, often happens in classical music.


https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I6FZsCfUn0
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Takemitsu composed a major work for Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, the cello professor whose weekly masterclasses I attended at Western University in the early 1970's.

Here is the Japanese premiere performance from 1984. This is a masterwork which defined a new direction for Takemitsu's work, introducing tonal thematic structures as a basis for his explorations.

Tsutsumi also performed this work the same year with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by his former fellow music student Seiji Ozawa.

https:www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoSxykGXp-U
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Gould had a grudging respect for Mozart, and recorded this classic performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto #24 in 1961 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (under the pseudonym of the CBC Symphony Orchestra). Gould planned to record the Mozart #22 with Karel Ancerl and the Cleveland Orchestra in 1974, but Gould suffered a stroke and Ancerl passed on that year. It is better to complete such projects when they are possible.

 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Mozart composed many works to order for soloists, including this first great clarinet concerto for what was then a new instrument.

This clarinettist uses the original basset clarinet which Mozart composed this work for, with stronger low notes.

Click on "Watch on Youtube"

 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Our outstanding violin professor at Western U back in the seventies was Steven Staryk, who was concertmaster of four major orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic under Beecham, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw under van Beinum, the Chicago Symphony under Martinon, and the Toronto Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis. When I heard in the early seventies that Staryk was interested in teaching at Western U, I began a petition drive to ask that he be invited, and within a few years he joined the faculty. At Western, he formed a notable quartet with Tsutsumi on cello, Ronald Turini on piano, plus Gerald Stanick violist. Those were the days.

 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Amazing what you can find on the internet.
At Western U, where I studied in the seventies, some of the faculty members formed a group, aptly named Quartet Canada, which performed with success for a number of years.
They were Ronald Turini piano, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi cello, Steven Staryk violin (all three world known soloists), and Gerald Stanick violist.

Click on each movement to get about one minute of this recording, marvelous performance of Brahms.

 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Here is the Quartet Canada from Western U in the rarely heard piano quintet of Richard Strauss...you can get the first minute of each movement in these excerpts.

 
Gould had a grudging respect for Mozart, and recorded this classic performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto #24 in 1961 with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (under the pseudonym of the CBC Symphony Orchestra). Gould planned to record the Mozart #22 with Karel Ancerl and the Cleveland Orchestra in 1974, but Gould suffered a stroke and Ancerl passed on that year. It is better to complete such projects when they are possible.
Not too shabby for a self-professed Mozart hater, Lol. I was expecting something more idiosyncratic with crazy tempos. This is very nice. Fingerwork is incredible and he's definitely a natural Mozartian! Can you imagine if he lived another 20 yrs and did the cycle? Wow.
 
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Mozart composed many works to order for soloists, including this first great clarinet concerto for what was then a new instrument.

This clarinettist uses the original basset clarinet which Mozart composed this work for, with stronger low notes.
Lovely! The clarinet sounds a little less 'powerful' (for lack of a better word) than modern clarinets, or is it the recording? The strings sound luscious and nice acoustics too. I think Czech/Bohemian orchestras and musicians are so underrated. I've never heard a bad recording and they seem to have a very high taste level with nothing superfluous or attention seeking, just beautiful music. Too bad they don't get the same publicity/recording contracts as German, Austrian, British, or American orchestras.
(3rd mvt is one of Mozart's greatest concerto mvts!)
 
Our outstanding violin professor at Western U back in the seventies was Steven Staryk, who was concertmaster of four major orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic under Beecham, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw under van Beinum, the Chicago Symphony under Martinon, and the Toronto Symphony under Sir Andrew Davis. When I heard in the early seventies that Staryk was interested in teaching at Western U, I began a petition drive to ask that he be invited, and within a few years he joined the faculty. At Western, he formed a notable quartet with Tsutsumi on cello, Ronald Turini on piano, plus Gerald Stanick violist. Those were the days.
Hmm... sorry Dan, but I can't say I particularly enjoyed this recording :(... no offense to your former teacher! It's just tough to listen to an older, muted, mono sounding recording when I've been conditioned to listening to the modern digital version with Perlman and the Vienna Phil. Itzhak (goat violinist?) has that special flair that's damn near impossible to beat! And he exudes even more charisma and magic during live performances! The Mozart violin sonata cycle with Barenboim is pretty damn special too (and I'm not a huge fan of Barenboim)...

Playlist
 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Hmm... sorry Dan, but I can't say I particularly enjoyed this recording :(... no offense to your former teacher! It's just tough to listen to an older, muted, mono sounding recording when I've been conditioned to listening to the modern digital version with Perlman and the Vienna Phil. Itzhak (goat violinist?) has that special flair that's damn near impossible to beat! And he exudes even more charisma and magic during live performances! The Mozart violin sonata cycle with Barenboim is pretty damn special too (and I'm not a huge fan of Barenboim)...

Playlist
Yes, I heard Perlman live in 1973, he performed the Paganini caprice cycle, very impressive.
 
Research shows huge surge in Millennials and Gen Zers streaming classical music

"Mozart and Bach are the platform’s most popular classical composers, while streams of female pianists including Khatia Buniatishvili and Martha Argerich soared during that three-month period ... as young people turned to classical music as a means of finding solace, reassurance and relaxation in an uncertain time."


Wow, who would have thunk it. Furthermore, they have excellent taste in composers and pianists! :)
 

NLBwell

Legend
Research shows huge surge in Millennials and Gen Zers streaming classical music

"Mozart and Bach are the platform’s most popular classical composers, while streams of female pianists including Khatia Buniatishvili and Martha Argerich soared during that three-month period ... as young people turned to classical music as a means of finding solace, reassurance and relaxation in an uncertain time."


Wow, who would have thunk it. Furthermore, they have excellent taste in composers and pianists! :)
That's because a lot of the classical pieces on Youtube don't have ads on them. That's why I've been listening to more classical music lately (and the fact that they sound much better on my refurbished Marantz than on the other stereo). I get irritated when Youtube puts ads in the middle of albums. If they were 15 second ads, that would be fine - it's good for them to make money - but they put 1/2 hour ads in and I have to constantly stop what I'm doing to go back to the other room and click to turn them off.
 
That's because a lot of the classical pieces on Youtube don't have ads on them. That's why I've been listening to more classical music lately (and the fact that they sound much better on my refurbished Marantz than on the other stereo). I get irritated when Youtube puts ads in the middle of albums. If they were 15 second ads, that would be fine - it's good for them to make money - but they put 1/2 hour ads in and I have to constantly stop what I'm doing to go back to the other room and click to turn them off.
I haven't seen an ad on any YT video in years. I use Firefox and have the uBlock Origin and AdBlock for Youtube ad-ons installed, with automatic updates set to Yes. Try it and let me know if you're still getting ads.
 
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Gary Duane

G.O.A.T.
Research shows huge surge in Millennials and Gen Zers streaming classical music

"Mozart and Bach are the platform’s most popular classical composers, while streams of female pianists including Khatia Buniatishvili and Martha Argerich soared during that three-month period ... as young people turned to classical music as a means of finding solace, reassurance and relaxation in an uncertain time."


Wow, who would have thunk it. Furthermore, they have excellent taste in composers and pianists! :)
I would have thunk it because I work with young people every day of my life, and they are super open to anything they like once they are introduced to it. What is changing: For those of use who are much older we think in terms of going to concerts first, then getting recordings. I started with mono LPs, the stereo, the open reel, the CDs. I skipped cassettes. They have always sucked.

I have every recording I own converted to MP3s, which I then can listen to on earphones. But I don't. I don't listen to them because what is now streaming is better. It's better because there has been another evolution in recording technology, so live performances are now just unbelievably good.

That's what my students are listening to. Even before Covid they did not have the money or opportunity to go to concerts, and even if you have that money, you have to live someplace where the best in the world come to play. Not in the Ft. Lauderdale area, for sure. But they all have computers, all have earphones, and that's how they listen - the same as what I do.

Until you have listened to something like this:


You have no idea what you are missing. It's so old, almost 300 years old, but it sounds so new because they are on top of everything. I get lost in this stuff for hours every day. We had NOTHING like this. With Covid it's become even more important.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
I would have thunk it because I work with young people every day of my life, and they are super open to anything they like once they are introduced to it. What is changing: For those of use who are much older we think in terms of going to concerts first, then getting recordings. I started with mono LPs, the stereo, the open reel, the CDs. I skipped cassettes. They have always sucked.

I have every recording I own converted to MP3s, which I then can listen to on earphones. But I don't. I don't listen to them because what is now streaming is better. It's better because there has been another evolution in recording technology, so live performances are now just unbelievably good.

That's what my students are listening to. Even before Covid they did not have the money or opportunity to go to concerts, and even if you have that money, you have to live someplace where the best in the world come to play. Not in the Ft. Lauderdale area, for sure. But they all have computers, all have earphones, and that's how they listen - the same as what I do.

Until you have listened to something like this:


You have no idea what you are missing. It's so old, almost 300 years old, but it sounds so new because they are on top of everything. I get lost in this stuff for hours every day. We had NOTHING like this. With Covid it's become even more important.
I have heard a number of those Bach live performances on Youtube from the Netherlands Bach Society...they are all good and seem to be oriented to authentic performance.
 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Are there any current living classical composers that appeal to people?
Yes, here is a recent composition by Ron Royer premiered in 2013, which grew from a project we arranged for a regional symphony orchestra. Recorded in 2017, and still is getting much air time on radio.

 

Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
LOL. It's not that big of a deal though. We have jazz, folk, rock, R&B, soul, pop, and whatnot. It's not like he killed music.
Yes, no need for target practice on Schoenberg, actually Schoenberg and Gershwin were close friends and neighbours in Hollywood, they played tennis against each other on a regular basis.

Here is Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm Variations" from1934, which shows a strong influence from his friend Schoenberg in several of the variations, also a strong pentatonic and Chinese style in some of

them. This is a Viennese orchestra, Schoenberg's hometown.

 
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Dan Lobb

G.O.A.T.
Here is one of my former music professors from Western U, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, last month with the Vienna Philharmonic and Gergiev conducting, with Tchaikovsky's work for cello and orchestra.
Tchaikovsky is one of the Mr. Christmas figures in classical music.

I met Tsutsumi a couple of times in Toronto about ten and eight years ago, he seemed to remember me from the days at Western U in the early seventies, when I attended his weekly piano/cello masterclasses which he conducted with my piano professor. I played for him only once in those masterclasses, a rather subdued performance of a Beethoven work. In those days, he would say hello to me when we passed each other in the hallways. His career is obviously still in high achievement phase.

It appears that Tsutsumi will not allow himself to be grounded by the pandemic. In addition to playing with the Vienna Philharmonic in November, he has planned another concert at Suntory Hall in Tokyo, where he will perform the three Brahms Cello Sonatas.

 
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