Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Classical Compositions of… the 1800s (the decade, that is. Also, this is Totally-Not-a-Middle-Period-Beethoven-Poll)

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It ain't easy giving the lie to the genius theory of artistic creation when faced with this, the first in a long series of decade-by-decade polls devoted to classical, Romantic, modern and contemporary Western notated music.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 in F major, ‘Pastoral’, Op. 68 (1807-1808) 5
Ludwig van Beethoven - Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 (1803) 2
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 23 in F minor, Op. 57 (1805-1806) 2
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1807-1808) 2
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59/2 (1806) 1
Johann Nepomuk Hummel - Trumpet Concerto in E major (1803) 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, Op. 53 (1803) 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 (1805) 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - Choral Fantasy in C minor, Op. 80 (1808) 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27/2 (1801) 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59/3 (1806) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 (1807) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69 (1808) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Trio No. 5 in D major, Op. 70/1 (1808) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Trio No. 6 in E-flat major, Op. 70/2 (1808) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat major, Op. 74 (1809) 0
Carl Maria von Weber - Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 19 (1806-1807) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59/1 (1806) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 (1805-1806) 0
Ferdinand Ries - Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 115 (1809) 0
François-Adrien Boieldieu - Harp Concerto in C major (1800-1801) 0
Franz Joseph Haydn - Mass No. 13 in B-flat major (1801) 0
Franz Joseph Haydn - Mass No. 14 in B-flat major (1802) 0
Franz Joseph Haydn - The Seasons (1801) 0
Gaspare Spontini - La Vestale (1807) 0
Giachino Rossini - Demetrio e Polibio (1806) 0
Louis Spohr - Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 26 (1808-1809) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 (1801) 0
Ludwig van Beethoven - Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56 (1804-1805) 0
Muzio Clementi - Piano Sonatas, Op. 40 (1802) 0


pomenitul, Thursday, 31 October 2019 18:51 (two weeks ago) link

I look forward to hearing all about how I've left out the essential (I probably did, too).

pomenitul, Thursday, 31 October 2019 18:53 (two weeks ago) link

All these Beethovens and no Fidelio. Are operas excluded?

justfanoe (Greg Fanoe), Thursday, 31 October 2019 18:59 (two weeks ago) link

Oh geez. 'Pastoral', but I don't really know more than a handful of these.

jmm, Thursday, 31 October 2019 19:00 (two weeks ago) link

Nope, I'm just being a pedant about it because the final version is from 1814. It will be included in next week's poll.

xp

pomenitul, Thursday, 31 October 2019 19:00 (two weeks ago) link

Oh, and, Beethoven aside, almost no one has heard (of) these works, jmm. They're mere foils, for the most part.

pomenitul, Thursday, 31 October 2019 19:03 (two weeks ago) link

hard to top Eroica. will say that my fav quartet on the list is his no. 7, and i don't really know his concertos all that well.

kanye kendrick frank kendrick frank kanye (voodoo chili), Thursday, 31 October 2019 19:19 (two weeks ago) link

I actually quite like Boieldieu's Harp Concerto, not least because it's such an underrated instrument:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XCFGww8AOE

pomenitul, Thursday, 31 October 2019 19:25 (two weeks ago) link

A (spotify) playlist of these is prob too much to ask for, right?

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 1 November 2019 12:29 (two weeks ago) link

I'm afraid I only have Apple Music, but I can suggest a few recordings.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 12:33 (two weeks ago) link

Esp for the non-Beethoven stuff that would be great (wouldn't know where to start otherwise), but no pressure, I know it's asking quite a lot.

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 1 November 2019 12:45 (two weeks ago) link

Going with 'Appassionata' (Piano Sonata #23)

Josefa, Friday, 1 November 2019 12:53 (two weeks ago) link

same

ciderpress, Friday, 1 November 2019 12:55 (two weeks ago) link

The nice thing about all these second and third rate composers is that recordings of their works tend to be so few and far between that you don't need to go through the headache-inducing process of comparing endless takes on the 'Eroica' or whatever. There's likely better out there in most cases but these are the ones I've heard (just the conductors for convenience's sake):

Carl Maria von Weber - Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 19 (1806-1807) – Roger Norrington
Ferdinand Ries - Piano Concerto No. 4 in C minor, Op. 115 (1809) – Uew Grodd
François-Adrien Boieldieu - Harp Concerto in C major (1800-1801) – Leo Hussain (see YT link upthread)
Franz Joseph Haydn - Mass No. 13 in B-flat major (1801) – Helmuth Rilling
Franz Joseph Haydn - Mass No. 14 in B-flat major (1802) – Helmuth Rilling
Franz Joseph Haydn - The Seasons (1801) – René Jacobs
Gaspare Spontini - La Vestale (1807) – Riccardo Muti
Giachino Rossini - Demetrio e Polibio (1806) – Massimiliano Carraro
Johann Nepomuk Hummel - Trumpet Concerto in E major (1803) – Alison Balsom
Louis Spohr - Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 26 (1808-1809) – Robin O'Neill
Muzio Clementi - Piano Sonatas, Op. 40 (1802) – Pietro de Maria

(I half-take back what I wrote, there are more alternatives than I expected.)

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 13:32 (two weeks ago) link

well that's my listening for today sorted

i don't care if it makes me "basic", i love love love beethoven's fifth, i love the ridiculous james brown codas on all the movements except the third, i love how totally all-time the melodies are. i mean i just saw a really good performance last weekend but even if i hadn't, it'd be the fifth

i'll try to listen to some more before voting but i don't really see anything changing my vote

nominations for compositions you've missed? anton reicha's "36 fugues", unless there's some revised version that's going to show up on a later list.

tantric societal collapse (rushomancy), Friday, 1 November 2019 13:41 (two weeks ago) link

Am not familiar with Reicha's 36 Fugues and I fucking love fugues. Thanks for the tip.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 13:45 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks so much Pom!

Le Bateau Ivre, Friday, 1 November 2019 13:45 (two weeks ago) link

And I do agree that the 5th is absolutely incredible and has yet to buckle under the weight of the palimpsest-like meanings that have been ascribed to it over the centuries.

xp my pleasure, LBI!

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 13:47 (two weeks ago) link

dunno if i'll get round to listening to all the ones i don't know so well from this list but i have to point out that Beethoven's Violin Concerto is fucking amazing

Xia Nu del Vague (Noodle Vague), Friday, 1 November 2019 13:49 (two weeks ago) link

Hell yes. The prick who sneeringly dismissed it as a 'tympani concerto' or whatever after its premiere can go fuck himself.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 13:52 (two weeks ago) link

The central movement is transcendent, I like to think he was just too out there to be appreciated by his cloth-eared contemporaries on this one

Xia Nu del Vague (Noodle Vague), Friday, 1 November 2019 13:55 (two weeks ago) link

LVB, Op 131, C#min — my favourite late quartet; an opening Adagio that feels like darkness descending, a bonkers Scherzo where the wheels seem always about to fall off, and that amazing galloping final movement with its almost Eastern-sounding passages and the soaring trill at the end that's the high point of the whole piece. I haven't listened to it in a while — thanks for reminding me how much I love it!

dinnerboat, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:12 (two weeks ago) link

We're not quite there but it will be among the strongest 1820s contenders, no doubt about it!

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:18 (two weeks ago) link

*there yet

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:18 (two weeks ago) link

Shit, sorry — I misread the title. A vote for Pastoral, then.

dinnerboat, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:21 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, my instinct is to go Pastoral as well

Frederik B, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:24 (two weeks ago) link

No love for the piano trios? The so-called 'Ghost Trio' features an appropriately spooky middle movement that inspired Samuel Beckett to write (compose?) a television play.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:30 (two weeks ago) link

Pastoral is the most vividly cinematic music for me - it creates an entire film in my head.

jmm, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:31 (two weeks ago) link

I'll take a listen to the piano trios :)

Frederik B, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:55 (two weeks ago) link

I'm partial to the Trio Wanderer set fwiw.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 14:57 (two weeks ago) link

Top 5 here are waldstein sonata, eroica, pastoral, 5th, op. 59 #1

Why’d you leave out op. 27#1? I love that piece best of all the “opus twentysomething” sonatas

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 1 November 2019 17:08 (two weeks ago) link

No idea tbh, maybe because I assumed no one would vote for it anyway (in which case I should have excluded far more than I did). I agree that it holds up better than the Moonlight Sonata.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 17:25 (two weeks ago) link

I also love the designation 'Quasi una fantasia', which Sibelius later took up in his 1st Symphony.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 17:26 (two weeks ago) link

pom thank you in advance for this project which will be truly educational for me

president of deluded fruitcakes anonymous (silby), Friday, 1 November 2019 18:16 (two weeks ago) link

My pleasure, silby! I hope one decade per week isn't too rapid a pace.

pomenitul, Friday, 1 November 2019 18:23 (two weeks ago) link

Didn't we all play Clementi when we took piano lessons? I sure did. I went back and listened to some of it recently and honestly I think it holds up well.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 1 November 2019 18:29 (two weeks ago) link

a decade a week is definitely too rapid but I love lists and I'll file these away

president of deluded fruitcakes anonymous (silby), Friday, 1 November 2019 18:57 (two weeks ago) link

I like this thread idea. I'm not voting but I look forward to the discussion and results.

wasdnuos (abanana), Friday, 1 November 2019 20:07 (two weeks ago) link

I'll mainly be listening and reading during this period, but I don't need much excuse to make a playlist and hurriedly created this one before bed last night. (pomenitul's recommendations where I could find them, but kinda arbitrary otherwise.)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2EYlQf53HQG7HmGpmCwmw0

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Saturday, 2 November 2019 02:41 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks, Nag! Much appreciated.

pomenitul, Saturday, 2 November 2019 09:38 (two weeks ago) link

Btw what are everyone's favourite recordings of the Beethoven picks?

pomenitul, Saturday, 2 November 2019 09:39 (two weeks ago) link

Op.27 “Moonlight” Sonata: Rudolf Serkin, Ivan Moravec, Ronald Brautigam
Op. 53 “Waldstein” Sonata: Alfred Brendel (his first one, on Vox), Pollini, Stephen Kovacevich, Arrau
Op. 57 “Appassionata” Sonata: Sviatoslav Richter, Ivan Moravec
[for the ones you should have included: Alfred Brendel’s 90s recordings of Op. 27 #1 and the almighty Op. 32 trilogy.]
3rd, 5th and 6th symphonies: I always come back to Pierre Monteux on London Decca. The most satisfying cycle I know. For a recent fast and stinging approach, Mackerras.
4th piano concerto: Ivan Moravec or Stephen Kovacevich
Violin Concerto: Isabelle Faust
String Quartets: Vegh Quartet (their stereo ones on London Decca), Takacs Quartet
Trios: I have several I like but no resounding favorite
Cello Sonatas: Richter/Rostropovich
[you should have included the awesome Op.30 trilogy of Violin Sonatas! Here I like kremer/argerich and dumay/pires. Not sure if Faust/Melnikov have recorded these but if they have it probably slays).

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 2 November 2019 12:50 (two weeks ago) link

I love the Op. 30 trilogy, but I tried my best to preempt Beethoven overkill. And Faust/Melnikov have indeed recorded it – by far one of my favourite violin/piano duos, alongside the other two pairs you mention!

pomenitul, Saturday, 2 November 2019 14:36 (two weeks ago) link

Waldstein vs Symphony 5 atm

No language just sound (Sund4r), Sunday, 3 November 2019 11:43 (two weeks ago) link

I've been listening to the 1954 Stokowski recording of Pastoral on NML. A really pleasant listen.

No language just sound (Sund4r), Sunday, 3 November 2019 13:10 (two weeks ago) link

will give these a fair listen but I gotta say symphony no 5 is gonna be hard to beat

esempio (crüt), Sunday, 3 November 2019 13:46 (two weeks ago) link

I ended up going with the so-called 'Kreutzer' sonata (with Kremer/Argerich in mind) because it, too, deserves our love.

pomenitul, Monday, 4 November 2019 09:05 (two weeks ago) link

I'll mainly be listening and reading during this period, but I don't need much excuse to make a playlist and hurriedly created this one before bed last night. (pomenitul's recommendations where I could find them, but kinda arbitrary otherwise.)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2EYlQf53HQG7HmGpmCwmw0

― Nag! Nag! Nag!, Saturday, November 2, 2019 3:41 AM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Thankig u! <3

Le Bateau Ivre, Monday, 4 November 2019 17:19 (two weeks ago) link

Would you prefer two weeks instead of one for the remaining polls or is the current pace fine? Let me know.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 5 November 2019 10:44 (two weeks ago) link

I think this poll series is absolutely awesome but I just don’t have the time to seriously listen to even a tenth of this list or of the rock/metal tracks poll going on :(

Siegbran, Tuesday, 5 November 2019 11:04 (two weeks ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 00:01 (two weeks ago) link

Ludwig van Beethoven - Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69 (1808)

this is really good - thanks, Spotify playlist

Josefa, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 14:30 (two weeks ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 7 November 2019 00:01 (one week ago) link

aw man i forgot to vote. Symphony No. 5 for me.

esempio (crüt), Thursday, 7 November 2019 00:35 (one week ago) link

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1807-1808) 2
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55 (1805) 1
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27/2 (1801) 1

c'mon y'all!!

esempio (crüt), Thursday, 7 November 2019 00:37 (one week ago) link

I did vote for Symphony 5 in the end. As much of a cliché as it has become, it is a perfect composition imo.

No language just sound (Sund4r), Thursday, 7 November 2019 02:40 (one week ago) link

Heh, I didn't expect Hummel to make a dent out of all the non-Beethoven selections, but I'm glad there was at least one exception to the rule.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 November 2019 08:40 (one week ago) link

Onwards to part 2:

Wherein We Vote for Our Favourite Classical Compositions of… the 1810s

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 November 2019 08:54 (one week ago) link


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