Classical Music

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by TaySte_2000, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    After reading about Anthony Jackson I got myself some Olivier Messiaen, its interesting to say the least. I was wondering if either you (Steve) or Michael have any favourite pieces of classical music that you'd like to share with us.

  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Add me to the Messiaen fan-club - Quartet For The End Of Time is a spectacular piece of music. So good that I ended up stealing the vinyl version off my school when I left (they had two copies... oh, OK, that's no excuse, I should return it next time I'm in Berwick... or at least buy it for them on CD...)

    anyway, that's a great bit of music.

    Another fave of mine, that I was turned onto by Michael is 'Delusion Of The Furies' by Harry Partch - I'm sure Michael will chip in with more or Mr Partch, but he wrote very idiosyncratic chamber works for home-made instruments, nearly always coupled with dance productions, it seems. Other-worldly sounding strangeness, beguiling and rather scary at times.

    And I really enjoy a lot of JS Bach - the violin sonatas, double concerto, cello suites and all the organ works that I've heard have really done the trick for me.

    But I sort of stopped listening to much so-called classical music when I left school, after AS level music put me off orchestral music big time. I've been meaning to spend some time getting back into it again, but keep getting drawn away by punk bands and free improv... :D

  3. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    I’m actually one of those weirdoes who has a bit of trouble differentiating between what qualifies as “classical” and what doesn’t, but I think I know what you’re asking, TaySte 2000. I like to listen to all kinds of music from all over the world and from many different eras. Some of the disks in my CD player these days that might be considered “classical” are:

    Haydn: Keyboard Sonatas, Paul Galbraith
    Alban Berg: Lyric Suite
    Bach: English Suites (Murray Perahia), Goldberg Variations (both of the Gould recordings and the Angela Hewwitt), Lute Suites (Galbraith again)
    Beethoven: Complete String Quartets, Medici Quartet
    Gyorgy Ligeti: Piano Concerto, Works for Piano, Lontano, Atmospheres, San Francisco Polyphony, Concerto Romanesc, Chamber Concerto, Lux Aeterna (OK, so I like Ligeti.)
    Harry Partch: Delusion of the Fury (As Steve mentioned. Is this classical music?!), Casto & Pollux, Cloud Chamber Music, On the Seventh Day the Petals Fell in Petaluma
    Bartok: Music for strings, Percussion and Celeste
    Stravinsky: Concerto for Two Pianos, Violin Concerto in D, Rite of Spring
    Varese: Ionisation, Poeme Electronique
    Chopin: Waltzes
    Mozart: Piano Concertos (lots of them)
    Conlon Nancarrow: Studies for Player Piano
    Morton Feldman: Vertical Thoughts, Rothko Chapel
    Steve Reich: Come Out, Six Pianos, Piano Phrase

    I’m also a fan of Messiaen, but there’s noting of his in rotation at the moment. Maybe I should change that...
  4. On the subject of classical music I was wondering if you guys had any tips for a beginning tapper. I just picked up "Moonlight" Sonata in C#m and I"m not having that much trouble with it It's just trying to figure out which notes to omit and how to play as many in a chord as possable.
  5. Bach is my favorite. I've been working on the solo violin and cello works for about 10 years. Hopefully, I'll do some new recordings soon. I have some old ones at
    Here are the MP3's:

    - Dave
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    My favourites are the "Turangalila Symphonie" and "Des Canyons aux Etoiles" - I always thought that movement 5 of the Turangalila would make a great bass riff or tune!! ;)

    My current rotation on Messiaen is the last piece he wrote before he died, when he thought he was getting glimpses of what lies beyond death.

    So there is a new CD of this, just out, from the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Simon Rattle - "Eclairs sur L'Au-Dela" .

    I saw the same "team" perform this piece at the Royal Albert Hall in September, as part of the Prom Concerts. :)

    Very interesting music - one movement is the sound of 25 different birdsongs transcribed and played simultaneously - each with its own tempo!!

    I'm not sure it has replaced the Turangalila as my favourite, but I'm still really getting used to it.
  7. I wasn't going to post anything about my new Bach Bass page because there's not much more there than there was before. Goldberg Variation No. 1 is now there. I wasn't going to post the site until I had some more stuff recorded but I had already done this much of the site so I thought I'd put it up. I'm going to try to get some more Bach recordings up soon. As soon as they're recorded, at least.


    - Dave
  8. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Believe it or not, you can hit all of them on a standard 24-fret 4 string! You won't necessarily be able to sustain them as on a keyboard, as some consecutive notes must be played on the same string, but otherwise the piece fits surprisingly well on the bass guitar. You don't even have to transpose.

    Have you heard Stu Hamm's version on "Radio Free Albemuth"?
  9. Do you take the cello pieces up an octave to the written pitch? The violin sonatas are great treble clef sight reading practice. I use the presto from the first partita for a warmup, you should check it out if you havent played it before.
  10. I play the Cello Suites as-written as if it was written for the bass. That is, the notes sound an octave lower than written. So, it's an octave below a cello. I love the sound of the low C.

    I've played all of the cello and violin works. Some just better than others. :D
    I've played the Presto many times. Though, not so much lately. I'll practice that and try to post an MP3 sometime.

    The violin works are played two octaves lower than written. They only go down to a low G though.

    - Dave
  11. Bassart1

    Bassart1 Guest

    Jun 26, 2003
    Nice website and nice playing Dave! Good music is timeless. (Not in a rhythmic sense of pun intended. Been reading too much Aubrey/Maturin ;) )
  12. Thanks! I'll let you guys know when I have some new stuff up.

    - Dave
  13. Great! I'll try even harder now. :) I'm working on the first Contrapunctus from The Art of Fugue right now. I'm doing each voice separately. I know a guitarist, Jozsef Eotvos, who has done the AoF but did two voices at once. This is one of my favorite Bach CD's, I highly recommend it:

    This guy doesn't understand the word "impossible". Perhaps because he's Hungarian but I'm sure that if he did understand the word, he would laugh in it's face. Gentleman, BEHOLD!! ... The Goldberg Variations, for classical guitar, no overdubs!


    Oh yeah, here's a pic of Michael playing the Prelude from the first Cello Suite at iMusicast. What a treat that was! That was the first Bach piece I ever learned.


    - Dave
  14. The prelude is a great first piece for sure.

    Looks like that guitar player does some things with 8 string classical. I've heard a lot of really cool stuff on 8 string.

    Anyone ever tried any Chopin stuff on the bass? I've been meaning to check out some scores and see what would work. The Mazurka in F#m would be a sweet one but I haven't had a chance to check the ranges.

    Something that's not really 'classical' but still very cool on the bass is Scott Joplin stuff. Most of it is in a narrow enough range that it should work on a 4 or 5 string bass too. Of course it would have to be tapped unless you did overdubs but it makes great practice material.
  15. Hey Dave,

    I watched that broadcast! That was an amazing version. Michael has that piece down to a "t"!

    It's one of my favorite pieces I've heard done on the bass. John Patitucci does an awesone version on Heart of the Bass. I just love that cd.
  16. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks so much, guys!

    Beautiful playing, Dave.
  17. TaySte_2000


    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    Can some one recomend some Olivier Messiaen either a piece or a particular performance or arangement, I'm finding some of it very wierd and not that enjoyable so I'm wondering what you guys (Bruce in particular) would recomend.

    BTW I'm currently playing the Four Seasons with a woodwind section, it's really fun. just though I'd share.

  18. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    My favourite piece of his is the Quartet For The End Of Time, but I think you're going to find it all pretty weird... ;)

  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I already mentioned my favourite pieces in this very thread!!

    I like it because it is "weird" - as in interesting, unusual - like nothing else!! :)

    Definitely hard listening - as opposed to Easy Listening!! ;)

    But worth it, for me - I find it incredibly inspiring and often I just listen to the textures and sounds (timbres) in pieces like Chronochromie - rather than the actual melodies/harmonies - I find it amazing how with all our technology, the most complex sounds we can hear, are created by large groups of people playing acoustically!!

    The quartet that Steve mentions, is probably the 'easiest' , introduction, but is very atypical of his music, as it was composed in a German Prisoner of War camp during WWII - and was limited by the instruments and players, he had available to play a concert within the camp !

    To me, Messiaen is more typically a big, contrasting, musical "collage" - putting huge slabs of sound, often in several keys and time signatures simultaneously - up against quieter, more delicate evocations of nature.

    Vivaldi - it aint!! :D