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 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 8:08 AM   
 By:   villagardens553   (Member)

Played this today for the first time in probably 20 years--and then played it again.

Absolutely wonderful. Robust, contemplative, a nice blend between the orchestral passages and the guitar solos (Christopher Parkening).

CD also includes a piece by Jack Marshall, as well as Albeniz's La Vega.

Highly recommend to Bernstein fans.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 8:21 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

The first time I heard this was played live by Parkening (Elmer conducting) at a EB concert in London.
Fell in love with it right away.
Ordered the CD right after the concert.
Have played it many, many times ever since.
One of my favourite classical pieces by a film composer.
Sublime.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   Alex Klein   (Member)

What I love about this work (and Bernstein acknowledges it) is that the composer doesn't veer away from his personal, filmic style. In other words, Bernstein doesn't try to be what he isn't (a boring academic composer) and instead blends his film music sound with the concert format. The result is extraordinary, and very original.

It's a shame no other film composers followed Bernstein on this. It would've been wonderful to hear what Morricone, Goldsmith and Williams could've done in the concert music world if they hadn't abandoned their filmic style in favor of pretentious and boring atonality just to please the academic snobs.

Alex

 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 10:45 AM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Some of Williams’s concert works are certainly like that, but a decent number are closer to his film music style… give the tuba concerto a try!

Plus, there are the composers who established their voice in the concert world first and didn’t change it much for their numerous film scores: Korngold, Rozsa, Alwyn, Arnold, Shostakovich, Goldenthal, and so many others…

Also, I’m not sure Goldsmith and Morricone fit your description so well, because both of them could also get very atonal and modernist in their film scores. I daresay Goldsmith’s concert works are actually less intense in that regard as Planet of the Apes, The Mephisto Waltz, or even parts of The Omen. Heck, even his very first Oscar-nominated score in Freud… in fact Goldsmith’s first (the Toccata for Solo Guitar) and last (Fireworks) concert pieces are very decidedly in an accessible tonal voice, so it’s really just the middle two (Music for Orchestra and Christus Apollo) that you’ve got an issue with, right?

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   eriknelson   (Member)

The new music director of the Berlin Philharmonic, Kirill Petrenko, is championing Korngold's Symphony in F Sharp. Years ago I bought the LP of the Symphony conducted by Rudolf Kempe. To my ears it bridges the gap between Korngold's filmic style and more formal classicism. There's a review of their concerts at Carnegie Hall in the New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/13/arts/music/berlin-philharmonic-carnegie-hall-review.html?searchResultPosition=1

Korngold’s symphony, his only completed exercise in the genre, was written in the wake of World War II, after its émigré composer had achieved Hollywood fame with the scores for films like “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”

A poignant jumble of modernism and nostalgia, Europe and America, “The Rite of Spring” and “Appalachian Spring,” the symphony is — like Mahler’s Seventh — a study in overripeness and unsettled mood. A silvery Scherzo sends out soaring filmic fanfares, as mystical harmonies breathe out of vigorous rhythmic activity. A big, sincere Adagio both mourns and rages. As with the Mahler, Petrenko kept the playing full, but airy and propulsive enough that the Korngold’s 50 richly scored minutes never felt too long or heavy.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   jb1234   (Member)

Some of Williams’s concert works are certainly like that, but a decent number are closer to his film music style… give the tuba concerto a try!

Plus, there are the composers who established their voice in the concert world first and didn’t change it much for their numerous film scores: Korngold, Rozsa, Alwyn, Arnold, Shostakovich, Goldenthal, and so many others…

Also, I’m not sure Goldsmith and Morricone fit your description so well, because both of them could also get very atonal and modernist in their film scores. I daresay Goldsmith’s concert works are actually less intense in that regard as Planet of the Apes, The Mephisto Waltz, or even parts of The Omen. Heck, even his very first Oscar-nominated score in Freud… in fact Goldsmith’s first (the Toccata for Solo Guitar) and last (Fireworks) concert pieces are very decidedly in an accessible tonal voice, so it’s really just the middle two (Music for Orchestra and Christus Apollo) that you’ve got an issue with, right?

Yavar


I don't have any particular affection for Christus Apollo (mostly because of the intrusive voiceover) but Music for Orchestra is one of my favorite Goldsmith works. The harmonic language is gnarly but you'd never mistake the composer. The final section sounds like an Jerry action cue from a movie of that era.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 1:14 PM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

"It's a shame no other film composers followed Bernstein on this"
-----------------------------------------
Apart from the others noted above, Lee Holdridge's concert works are absolutely exquisite and, I would argue, even better than a lot of his film work, which is saying something.
Highly recommended.

 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 3:45 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

Agreed Kev!

Yavar

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 4:11 PM   
 By:   James MacMillan   (Member)

There is one other performance of Elmer Bernstein's Concerto for Guitar available on CD; I'm unaware of it's current availability but it seems to be reasonably cheap on the second-hand market. On the Querstad label, the WDR Rundfunkorchester conducted by Rasmus Baumann with soloist Thorsten Drucker perform the work, maybe a bit more rough-edged than the EB-LSO-Parkening rendition but still worth investigating. The CD is titled, "Gee's Bend" after another composition which appears thereon, written, shall we say, by Michael Dougherty, for electric guitar. The CD is filled out by Malcolm Arnold's Guitar Concerto opus 67, more good stuff.

On the subject of Guitar Concerti written by composers involved with film, I think that Lalo Schifrin did one of the best of all; a bit of Four Musketeers thrown in there, but none the worse for that!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 24, 2022 - 5:00 PM   
 By:   Alex Klein   (Member)

Some good recommendations here that I wasn't aware of.

Thank you, Yavar and Kevin for the heads up!

Alex

 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2022 - 3:55 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)


It's a shame no other film composers followed Bernstein on this. It would've been wonderful to hear what Morricone, Goldsmith and Williams could've done in the concert music world if they hadn't abandoned their filmic style in favor of pretentious and boring atonality just to please the academic snobs.


I see it the other way around: I love it when film composers can "get loose" in their orchestral works and are not bound to write stuff that they have written countless times before. While I enjoy Bernstein's Guitar Concerto, I love Goldsmith's "Music for Orchestra" more, I find nothing about the piece "pretentious" and certainly not "boring".

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2022 - 5:59 AM   
 By:   KeV McG   (Member)

And here it is...








22 Minutes of JOY!!

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2022 - 10:11 AM   
 By:   James MacMillan   (Member)

On Youtube, there is this filmed performance of the third movement, with the L.A. Jewish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dr Noreen Green. The soloist, Max Brenner, plays the piece from memory...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWn9eXHVQp0

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2022 - 12:39 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

Love Bernstein's Guitar Concerto, indeed a very enjoyable work very much redolent with his own unmistakable idiom.

If you like it, you'll probably love the Guitar Concerto "Celtic Kingdoms" of his British near-contemporary, John Scott, a wonderful work that has never been released. I rearranged excerpts from the piece into a short tone poem on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8feuqSby8Q&ab_channel=bobbengan

The big romantic tune at its center is the best love theme that was never written for cinema.

- BB

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 25, 2022 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

High Praise Dept.: Jim Svejda, until his retirement the leading broadcaster at Classical KUSC FM, stated that as a contemporary guitar concerto the Bernstein was second only to the Rodrigo.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2022 - 3:06 PM   
 By:   James MacMillan   (Member)

High Praise Dept.: Jim Svejda, until his retirement the leading broadcaster at Classical KUSC FM, stated that as a contemporary guitar concerto the Bernstein was second only to the Rodrigo.


Hi PNJ - Yes, Jim Svejda was a good guy. Circa 2002, he did a two-part interview with Elmer on KUSC. Having no way of hearing it in the UK at the time, I e-mailed KUSC and asked if they could send me a CDR of the interviews and they duly did, which I most grateful for. I recall Elmer saying that he was aware of Mr Svejda championing the piece on the radio station and that he appreciated the attention it had been given.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2022 - 4:22 PM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)


It's a shame no other film composers followed Bernstein on this. It would've been wonderful to hear what Morricone, Goldsmith and Williams could've done in the concert music world if they hadn't abandoned their filmic style in favor of pretentious and boring atonality just to please the academic snobs.


I see it the other way around: I love it when film composers can "get loose" in their orchestral works and are not bound to write stuff that they have written countless times before. While I enjoy Bernstein's Guitar Concerto, I love Goldsmith's "Music for Orchestra" more, I find nothing about the piece "pretentious" and certainly not "boring".


I'm surprised nobody mentioned that guitar piece Goldsmith composed that was included on that BSX compilation.

 
 Posted:   Nov 29, 2022 - 4:30 PM   
 By:   Yavar Moradi   (Member)

I did in a Nov 24 post above. By the way, no offense intended towards Gregg Nestor who’s a great guy, but the original recording of that work by its dedicatee, Jerry’s friend Laurindo Almeida, is still the best. That album Contemporary Creations for the Spanish Guitar really deserves a premiere CD release.

Yavar

 
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