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CLASSICAL  August 2000

CLASSICAL August 2000

Subject:

Re: The Symphony - An Interactive Guide

From:

"D. Stephen Heersink" <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 6 Aug 2000 12:29:25 -0700

Content-Type:

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Bill Pirkle wrote:

>There is a great website on sympnonies at this url (no www required)
>
>http://library.thinkquest.org/22673/

I rarely endorse websites (who cares, first of all; and most websites
aren't worthy of my endorsement anyway), but this website is very good
indeed.  It's section on composers is still under construction, I hope,
as there aren't many representatives.  (If I had to go for a short list,
the website and I would come up with the same composers, but that isn't
necessarily genuine breadth.)

For information about composers and their compositions, Dave Lampson's
Classical Net website is not only superior, but also provides us with
Dave's personal picks of his favorite recordings.  (No offense, Dave, I
prefer the preferences given in the Penguin Guide and by ARG critic and
fellow correspondent Roger Hecht.  [No problem, my recommendations were
built from personal experience as well as by looking at many reviews,
including ARG and Penguin, so there should be a lot of similarities.
-Dave]) It never hurts to have a plethora of good critics offering us their
wisdom, criticism, and appreciation; it helps to build good collections.

But this website above provides a good overview of classical music basics,
beginning with the sonata form, and building up from there.  I'm sure it's
no coincidence that my music appreciation course in college 29 years ago
also used Mozart's Jupiter Symphony as paradigmatic of the sonata form.
(Is this composition used by all textbooks in music appreciation courses?
I can understand why it is, but after listening to that composition twenty
some times in class, the Symphony has fallen into disfavor with me.)

Still, for many of us who have wished there was an easily accessed and
easily accessible resource to explain classical music and why it especially
bears fruit upon repeated listenings, this is a nice place to point them.
My only criticism, and it's relatively minor (and who am I to criticize
others when I can't even get my own website to do the basics?) is that the
"interactive" were a little more integrated.  For example, the explication
of the sonata form has a wonderful graph that ideally would light up as
each of its parts are being heard on the MIDI files.  Instead, the graph is
static, and one has to download each section of the sonata form and compare
it to the graph.  (Maybe my expectations of others is too high, but if
there's the talent to do what's already there, surely it cannot be too
difficult to make the graph interact with the music?).

In any event, the authors deserve praise and accolades.  It's a very good
website, and one that will repay even some of us lazier minds refreshment.

"D. Stephen Heersink" <[log in to unmask]>

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