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December 10, 2010

Best 20th century Symphonic

I would like to share with you my favorite pieces of music. I love all classical and cultural music that span through hundreds of years, from Tomasso da Celano, J.S.Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and to the contemporary classic music.

So i present to you:
John Adams: Harmonielehre (1985)
The composition's title, German for "study of harmony," also the title of a book by Arnold Schoenberg, hints at the work's combination of Schoenberg's harmonic principles with those of minimalism.
Adams has stated that the piece was inspired by a dream he had in which he was driving across the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge and saw an oil tanker on the surface of the water abruptly turn upright and take off like a Saturn V rocket.[1] This dream and the following composition of the piece ended a writer's block Adams had been experiencing for a year, and the movements reflect his situation, representing, respectively, liberation (I), spiritual sickness (II), and grace (III).

Sergei Rachmaninov - Symphony no.2
Rachmaninoff was not altogether convinced that he was a gifted symphonist. At its premiere, his Symphony No. 1 (conducted by Alexander Glazunov in 1897) was considered an utter disaster; its criticism was so harsh that it sent the young composer into a bout of depression. Even after the success of his Piano Concerto No. 2 (which won the Glinka Award and 500 rubles in 1904)[1], Rachmaninoff still lacked confidence in his writing. He was very unhappy with the first draft of his Second Symphony but after months of revision, he finished the work and conducted the premiere in 1908 to great success. The work earned him another Glinka Award ten months later. The triumph regained Rachmaninoff's sense of self-worth as a symphonist.

Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird Suite (1910/1911/1919/1945)
This is by far the best known of the 3. My ascent to love of classical music started with Tchaikovsky's symphonies, Rimsky-Korsakov's suites from ballets and really took a permanent place in my life after listening to Stravinsky's music.
The ballet centers on the journey of its hero, Prince Ivan. Ivan enters the magical realm of Kashchei the Immortal; all of the magical objects and creatures of Kashchei are herein represented by a chromatic descending motif, usually in the strings. While wandering in the gardens, he sees and chases the Firebird. The Firebird, once caught by Ivan, begs for its life and ultimately agrees to assist Ivan in exchange for eventual freedom.
Next, Prince Ivan sees thirteen princesses, with one of whom he falls in love. The next day, Ivan chooses to confront Kashchei to ask to marry one of the princesses; the two talk and eventually begin quarreling. When Kashchei sends his magical creatures after Ivan, the Firebird, true to its pledge, intervenes, bewitching the creatures and making them dance an elaborate, energetic dance (the "Infernal Dance"). The creatures and Kashchei then fall asleep; however, Kashchei awakens and is then sent into another dance by the Firebird. While Kashchei is bewitched by the Firebird she tells Ivan the secret to Kashchei's immortality - his soul is contained inside an enormous, magical egg. Ivan destroys the egg, killing Kashchei. With Kashchei gone and his spell broken, the magical creatures and the palace all disappear. All of the "real" beings (including the princesses) awaken and, with one final fleeting appearance from the Firebird, celebrate their victory.

I hope you enjoyed listening to these classical music treasures!

Later Edit: Shostakovich and Prokofiev. (you can't mention 20th century symphony without them!) I will select the best material I can find on them soon for your listening pleasure and of course mine.

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