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demzilla Donating Member (300 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-27-04 11:26 PM
Original message
What are your favorite obscure works?
One of the great pleasures of classical music is stumbling across a little-known gem, often by a famous composer, and realizing that you like it as much or more than most of his well-known stuff. Here's a list of some of these pieces that I have found -- perhaps not always technically the composer's best - some of these are indeed guilty pleasures -- but infectious nonetheless:

1. Dvorak Symphony No. 6. Plenty of zip, distinctively Dvorak.
2. Bruch Concerto for Two Pianos (the Vox Berkofsky/Hagan version -- the Lebeque sisters suck). Bruch is usually pretty boring, but I like this piece.
3. Mendelssohn Symphony No. 2 "Lobgesang" (choral). The main theme will lodge itself in your brain. Dum-dum-dee-dum-dum-dum, dum-dum-dee-dum . . .
4. Raff (usually long-winded and dull) Symphony No. 3 "Im Walde" You might be tempted to laugh once in a while, but that's part of the Raff experience.

I'm sure I'll come up with a few more later, but this is a start.
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Princess Turandot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-28-04 12:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. That's easy with opera...
so many were written which were never recorded in modern times, or recorded just once and not well publicized. Mascagni's opera 'Iris'..Verdi's Stiffelio, which after its premiere in 1850, didn't get revived until the late 1960's. The work fell afoul of critics, may have involved some censorship and got re-written by Verdi into a different opera called 'Aroldo'in which the tenor lead is recast from a Protestant minister to a real-life Crusader. The score was misplaced and it wasn't until the 1960's that what's thought to be a reasonably complete score was compiled. Phillips did a nice recording of it in the late 70's with Carreras in the tenor lead, and the Met did it in the '90's.

I like to 'collect' obscure operas by composers whom I like. Donizetti for example wrote 70+ operas, many of which have yet to be recorded. A British recording company called Opera Rara currently records these lesser known works by mostly Bel Canto composers, as well as operas by composers I've never heard of. They are pricey but nicely done.

Another lovely opera which is not performed much is Verdi's Nabucco.
The music is gorgeous, but the plot is virtually non-existant, so it isn't appealing to opera companies.
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non sociopath skin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-04-05 03:53 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. There are some lovely lesser-known Rossini operas too ...
... just bought a recording of La Scala di Seta in the January sale and it's great fun.

I love French operetta music and there are ALWAYS new discoveries there too. Just listening to everything Offenbach wrote would probably be a full-time job for several years ...

The Skin
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ironflange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-28-04 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. Here are a few
Havergal Brian Symphony No. 7. Brian is becoming a little less obscure; this piece is as good as anything by anyone else.

Haydn Symphony No. 70 in D. My favorite of his symphonies, a real oddball. Muscular first movt, mysterious contrapuntal second, loud dissonant minuet, finale (also contrapuntal) in D minor, the only one of his symphonies to do the minor key finale thing.

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2. Maybe not all that obscure, but it's too bad that it's so eclipsed by #1, because I think #2 is a much better piece.

Shostakovich 24 Preludes for Piano. Not the Preludes & Fugues. Each of these pieces is a tiny gem, wonderful tidbits of Dmitri at his very best.

Beethoven Choral Fantasy. Not his best, but great fun to do live. I was in the choir for this one once, what a hoot!

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demzilla Donating Member (300 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-01-05 03:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Beethoven's Choral Fantasy
Forgot that one! Sort of a run through for the choral symphony. Think I'll go dig out my copy and listen right now. (I heard so much Beethoven when I first got into classical music that I tend to ignore him now; same with Wagner.)

I'll have to try the Haydn. The older I get and the more music I listen to, the more I appreciate Haydn.

Additions to my list:

Rodrigo, Concerto Heroico.

Resphigi, Ancient Airs and Dances.
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are_we_united_yet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-14-05 01:05 AM
Response to Reply #4
22. self delete
Edited on Sun Aug-14-05 01:06 AM by are_we_united_yet
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curse10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-29-04 08:07 PM
Response to Original message
3. Pachelbel's Canon
I kid!!! I kid!!!!!!!!!! :P
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FuzzySlippers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 11:24 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Hmmmmm......I don't think I've ever heard that.
:P
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regnaD kciN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-05 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
18. I don't!!! I don't!!!!!!!!!!
I actually first discovered that piece in the days before practically anyone had heard of it, in the early '70s, on an LP from the Musical Heritage Society (mail-order outfit). I liked it so much that I went around at college playing it for all my classical-loving friends. Apparently, a lot of other people must have done the same, because, by two to three years thereafter, it had become one of the most overplayed works in all of classical music.

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Mira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-11-09 09:42 PM
Response to Reply #18
33. Fancy finding you here, as I'm poking around.
The FIRST time I heard Pachelbel's canon was one of my peak life experiences.

That's all I can ever say about that.
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demnan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-03-05 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
5. Kronos Quartet
does a few of my favorites:

White Man Sleeps which is kind of a fun African-inspired number by Kevin Volans and Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind by Osvaldo Golijov. I find the music of Osvaldo Golijov to be incredibly moving, especially Yiddishbbuk.

I don't know if this counts but I love traditional Japanese music also.



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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 10:44 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. I adore Dreams and Prayers
of Isaac the Blind! I missed them when they were here, I was so pumped to go see them but I had a rehearsal and could not go. What a cool piece.
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Fleurs du Mal Donating Member (511 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
7. Schnittke, Rautavaara, Lutoslawski
Schnittke - Concerti Grossi, string quartets
Rautavaara - Cantus Arcticus
Lutoslawski - Partita For Violin And Orchestra
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0rganism Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-07-05 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. Woohoo! Another Schnittke fan! I thought I was the only one...
Three cheers for the obsolescence of orchestral composition! ;)

I also have a liking for Lutoslawski, especially Mi-Parti.
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Fleurs du Mal Donating Member (511 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-09-05 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Schnittke is very good
No question my favorite modern composer.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-10-05 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. No, I like Schnittke, too
I had never heard of him until a guest pianist with the Oregon Symphony (I no longer remember which one) performed his piano concerto.

I ran right out the next day and bought a CD.
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curse10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
8. Schulhoff, Concertino for flute, viola and bass
Telemann, Fanatasias
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FuzzySlippers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-18-05 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. I have the music for the Telemann Fantasias.
I think they're among the most interesting of the Baroque repertoire for flute.
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-06-05 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
10. I don't know how obscure
it is but it was new to me today and I really was moved by it. Wind Octet with Percussion by Arvo Part. Very nice piece, I had to stop what I was doing and listen to it.
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-28-07 08:30 AM
Response to Reply #10
25. Mmmmm.. I love everything by Part. Beautiful stuff!
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-17-05 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
11. Macrokosmos
George Crumb
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-28-07 08:32 AM
Response to Reply #11
26. And his Ancient Voices of Children. And Black Angels.
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Mr. McD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-22-05 12:46 PM
Response to Original message
17. Heinichen, Johann David (1683-1729) Dresden Concerti
These pieces represent his only surviving set of concertos; they were discovered only a few years before they were recorded in 1992.

Heinichen served as Kapellmeister in Dresden, from 1717 until his death, a position Bach aspired to but never achieved.

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regnaD kciN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-31-05 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Those are especially enjoyable works...
...mainly becaues Heinichen practically throws "everything but the kitchen sink" into each work. The first movement might feature a solo violin, the second a woodwind trio, and the finale fanfares from hunting horns. You really have no idea what's coming next...sort of a Baroque funhouse ride.

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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-18-05 05:07 AM
Response to Original message
20. Georges Bizet, L'Arlsienne Suites #1 & 2
The Menuet in Suite 2 is particularly beautiful
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La Coliniere Donating Member (581 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-22-05 12:03 AM
Response to Original message
21. Perhaps not that obscure, but...
the "Turangalila Symphony" by Olivier Messiaen is a piece that all classical music lovers should acquaint themselves with. Over the top? Yes, but that's why I love it. I know of no better mood enhancer than this piece.

Sibelius Symphony #4. One of the saddest and darkest pieces ever written. Go for it!

Poulenc's Concerto for Organ, Tympani, and Strings. What a gas!
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are_we_united_yet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-14-05 01:05 AM
Response to Original message
23. Martinu's Concerto for piano, two string orchestra's and timpani
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-21-07 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
24. 2
Nice!

I played the vinyl version so often it turned grey and you could almost hear the other side.
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Karl_Bonner_1982 Donating Member (701 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-04-08 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
27. Well Beethoven's 2-2 (2nd mvt. of 2nd symphony) is pretty good
...And the 2nd (and 4th) are pretty obscure by today's standards.
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MikeH Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-13-08 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. I also like Beethoven's 2nd and 4th symphonies
I particularly like the peaceful and bucolic second movement of Beethoven's second symphony.

The late Karl Haas, the longtime host of the radio show Adventures in Good Music, had a monthly feature called the Mystery Composer Quiz, in which it was our job to identify and name a composer based on his/her works and some biographical information. Karl Haas would start with some obscure works and move to better known works, and finally a clincher.

One time he chose Beethoven as the mystery composer. He had to dig up some really obscure works of Beethoven in order to hide his identity as a composer at the beginning of the program. For the clincher at the end of the program, he chose the final movement of Beethoven's 4th symphony. He purposely chose the 4th symphony as it was perhaps his least frequently performed symphony.
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norepubsin08 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-27-08 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
29. "Alleluia" by Fransesco DiMajo 1483
When I was in an international boychoir, I worked on that piece for 4 months until we had it right. I love.
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dickthegrouch Donating Member (838 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-28-08 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
30. Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb"
Takes some getting used to, but is stunning after the first few repetitions. (You have to enjoy dissonant suspensions, as I do, to really get this piece).
I sang it in High School and it still brings tears to my eyes.
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-10-09 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
31. I've just added a new fave to my "obscure" list...
Babadjanian Piano Trio in F# minor

If you're a Naxos subscriber, you can listen to a wonderful recording here: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.225...

The second movement will make you weep.
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david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-01-09 07:59 PM
Response to Original message
32. Beethoven, 21st Piano Sonata, Op. 53, in C Major, Waldstein.
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