Thursday, September 16, 2004

Great (Musical) Endings

Lynn Sislo has a list of five musical works whose endings she holds to be sublime. Well, since she specifically states that she wants to see others' choices for same, how can I refuse? (Besides, I've been wanting to write about music again, and this is as good a "hook" as I've found yet.)

In no particular order:

Rachmaninov, Symphony No. 2 in E-minor. Last time I listened to this work, I was in tears by the end. If you're not of Romantic leaning, the end of this symphony will probably sound like unending bombast. If you are, though -- your heart will nearly explode from your chest.

Berlioz, Romeo et Juliet. This symphony flirts with opera all the way through, but at the end it becomes almost entirely operatic as Friar Laurence swears the Montagues and the Capulets to eternal friendship.

Brahms, Symphony No. 2 in D-Major. The trumpet and trombone sections get a big payoff at the end here.

Vaughan Williams, The Lark Ascending. When I heard this piece at a concert, it somehow felt wrong to clap when it was done, since a contented sigh was all the expression called for.

Kalinnikov, Symphony No. 1. Another big, brassy end to a big, brassy and lyrical Russian symphony. Kallinikov is a little-known composer who was only beginning to show promise when he died.

Hanson, Symphony No. 2. Hmmmm...I wonder what it is about second symphonies having wonderful endings....

Wagner, Tristan und Isolde. Rivers of ink have been spilled about this one. But there's a reason why.

OK, that's enough for now (especially since Lynn only listed five, and as usual, I exceeded the parameters of the assignment).

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