Introduction to dark classical vocals?
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Carlos3

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I've been an on-again, off-again classical listener for many years. My last bout was back when I was living with Singlepower SET OTL and enjoying the well known synergy of chamber music and SET amps.

Now I am on solid state again and I have a classical collection of 0 CDs. Even at the best of times, it was always a niche for me, almost an affectation.

With more time and perspective I think it comes down to the fact that my music listening is based on vocals. I rarely listen to instrumentals in any other genre of music.

I dont really have much experience with classical vocals, but this is probably something that I should have a look into. Question is, where to start?

I listen to darker music in general. My favourite bands right now are Opeth and Disillusion. I don't wany anything syrupy or flowery. I can't even listen to After Forever anymore, and Floor has a gorgeous voice. I jus can't get into it.

What little reference I can give as to what I like include the piece of Don Giovanni performed in Amadeus, and the darker parts of Mozart's Requiem Mass - though on the whole it was still too light or too soft for me. Not properly "classical," but I was a huge fan of Danzig's Black Aria.

So what would be the classical vocal equivalent of Shostakovich SQ #8?
 
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majid

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You could start with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar", named after the site of a Nazi mass grave. Symphony No. 14 is also preoccupied with death.

John Adams' "The Death of Klinghoffer" (after the Achille Lauro terrorist attack), there is a recording with only the choruses. "On the Transmigration of Souls", in memoriam 9/11.

Many of Bartok's choral works like "Bluebeard's Castle" or the "Cantata Profana" are quite dark.

Brahms' "Ein Deutsches Requiem", while not bleak, is infused with melancholy, but in a good way. Fauré and Duruflé's requiems are more elegiac than tragic. Then again, the last thing you want to do at a funeral is drive the survivors to depression and suicide...

Britten's "War Requiem" reflects the nightmare of WWI, in the words of Wilfrid Owen, a Welsh poet who died during the war.

Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" ("Songs on the death of children", his own daughter died afterwards, and his wife never forgave him for having jinxed her). Schubert's Lied "Erlenkonig" is in the same vein.

Pergolesi or Vivaldi's "Stabat Mater", expressing the Virgin Mary's pain after the Crucifixion. Try also Bach's "Actus Tragicus" and the "Passion according to St Matthew", and Charpentier's "Office de Tenebres". There is a huge body of religious music in a tragic tone, specially in medieval times. Famine, war and pestilence do not inspire towards jollity...

Prokofiev's "October Cantata". His opera "The Fiery Angel" is also haunted by themes of hysteria and occultism.
 
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Doc Sarvis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by majid
You could start with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar", named after the site of a Nazi mass grave. Symphony No. 14 is also preoccupied with death.

John Adams' "The Death of Klinghoffer" (after the Achille Lauro terrorist attack), there is a recording with only the choruses. "On the Transmigration of Souls", in memoriam 9/11.

Many of Bartok's choral works like "Bluebeard's Castle" or the "Cantata Profana" are quite dark.

Brahms' "Ein Deutsches Requiem", while not bleak, is infused with melancholy, but in a good way. Fauré and Duruflé's requiems are more elegiac than tragic. Then again, the last thing you want to do at a funeral is drive the survivors to depression and suicide...

Britten's "War Requiem" reflects the nightmare of WWI, in the words of Wilfrid Owen, a Welsh poet who died during the war.

Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" ("Songs on the death of children", his own daughter died afterwards, and his wife never forgave him for having jinxed her). Schubert's Lied "Erlenkonig" is in the same vein.

Pergolesi or Vivaldi's "Stabat Mater", expressing the Virgin Mary's pain after the Crucifixion. Try also Bach's "Actus Tragicus" and the "Passion according to St Matthew", and Charpentier's "Office de Tenebres". There is a huge body of religious music in a tragic tone, specially in medieval times. Famine, war and pestilence do not inspire towards jollity...

Prokofiev's "October Cantata". His opera "The Fiery Angel" is also haunted by themes of hysteria and occultism.



Timely post - I listened to Shostakovich # 14 last night - it is extremely dark indeed, but very beautiful. All of your suggestions are great.

He may also want to try Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. Not dark in the same way, but certainly infused with a resignation to the reality of death and the cycles of nature.
 
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I would also investigate the music of Arvo Part, a contemporary Eastern European composer who writes a lot of choral pieces inluenced by late medieval music.

Also, any Stockhausen choral you can get a hold of is worth the listen, and likely to be dark.
 
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Oliver :)

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Hm, dark classical...

Mahler's Symphony No 1 springs to mind..
.. and I just the other day got this excellent Telarc recording of Orff's Carmina Burana (no necessarily dark, but *fierce*).
 
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Wagner. While his music is generally sublime, it ranges from the joyous and bright to the grim and dark. Anything dealing with villains in the Ring cycle is going to be heavy and dark. "Sanft schloß Schlaf dein Aug'," from Das Rheingold is as heavy and dark as anything you'd ever want. Also, "O Fortuna" is the incredibly hackneyed and overplayed dark introduction to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.
 
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Dark Classical Vocals? Try Carmen by Bizet. That Habanera is as dark as they come.

Si tu ne m'aime pas, je t'aime, si je t'aime, prend garde à toi!
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by PSmith08
Also, "O Fortuna" is the incredibly hackneyed and overplayed dark introduction to Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.


Dude, get the Telarc recording!
I was so incredibly sick of this piece - but now I even put it on my iPod, and classical is sparse on the lil' bugger.
 
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PSmith08

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My favorite Burana is Jochum's '68 outing with Fischer-Dieskau. I'll check out the Telarc disc, and I want the Thielemann DVD-A, but most of the Burana leaves me cold. So much of it has entered the popular imagination that most people know it before they hear it.
 
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Deleted.

Jeffery
 
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Try Mozart's Requiem (Mackerras). I think the work is rather sad and dark but very energetic. Definately worth a listen IMHO.

I second the Carmina Burana recommendations as well. Campra's Requiem is also very dark and an excellent CD to add to any collection.
 
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Cherubini's Requiem in C Minor
 
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Carlos3

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Thanks for all of your input everyone.

Any though thoughts on more "fierce" pieces. Checking these out, most are sad and dark. I'm looking more for angry and dark. 'O Fortuna' kind of has the savage flavour.

Anything leap to mind?
 
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Lady Macbeth of Shostakovich
 
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Try Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck. Plenty of anger in there, but not, perhaps, the most melodic. Look for the DG recording with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
Andrew
 
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