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Challenges, Puzzles, and Exercises => Puzzles => Topic started by: Michel.R.E on June 12, 2019, 04:38:31 PM

Title: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 12, 2019, 04:38:31 PM
No musical excerpt, no recording (I'll add one measure of music later), only biographical information for now.

1) probably the longest work in this form at nearly 2 hours.
2) numerologically symbolic, with the numbers 9 and 13 recurring consistently throughout the work.
3) well-known composer.
4) never performed during the composer's lifetime.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: whitebark on June 12, 2019, 08:29:50 PM
Interesting puzzle .... haven't figured it out yet.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: RJB54 on June 13, 2019, 07:28:38 AM
I must admit that you've got me stumped.  :(
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 13, 2019, 07:50:17 AM
More hints:

5) While the work is nominally in 4 movements, it can be further subdivided into 27.
6) it took nearly 30 years to complete.
7) one could say it was an "audition piece".
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: sandalwood on June 13, 2019, 11:43:19 AM
I know someone with a keen interest in numbers and ciphers :)
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 13, 2019, 11:47:39 AM
take your best guess!
 ;)
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: sandalwood on June 13, 2019, 12:57:38 PM
OK! Bach, as far as I know is the best known to be fascinated with such codes and riddles.

but, then so is Mozart, isn't he?

Schumann also?

the author of Enigma Variations; him, too...

Who else? many more, probably...Ravel? Honegger?...
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on June 13, 2019, 05:32:26 PM
I first thought of Mahler's Tenth, but that doesn't fit the time frame or the number of movements.
 
Bach's Art of the Fugue came to mind, but that doesn't fit and was never finished.

Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: RJB54 on June 13, 2019, 05:47:45 PM
The 'audition piece' part means that this is probably wrong but other than that I could guess Berg and Lulu. Berg was obsessed with numerology and embedding numeric symbols in his music. Lulu is the only piece he wrote which is 2+ hours. It was left 'unfinished' at his death and wasn't 'completed' until decades later. But, as I said, I don't know how 'audition piece' would fit.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 13, 2019, 08:24:31 PM
remember the very first hint says "probably the longest work in this form at nearly 2 hours."
Lulu is an opera... there are LOTS of far longer operas.
 ;)
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: RJB54 on June 14, 2019, 02:56:15 AM
Right. I forgot about that one.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: whitebark on June 15, 2019, 12:01:36 PM
Well the composer isn't Beethoven or Brahms, for sure. Must be a person more exotic but still well-known. Messian perhaps?  He wrote a Concert a Quatre that was not finished in his lifetime. But I see that it is only 26 minutes long. So that's not it.

Jay
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 15, 2019, 12:31:50 PM
If you don't want to know the answer right away, don't listen to the 1st note of this piece, probably the best known first note in the entire repertoire.

Mystery Piece (don't listen if you want to keep guessing) (http://www.dosblanc.ca/music/examples/mystery_piece.mp3)
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Patrick O'Keefe on June 15, 2019, 09:41:25 PM
Hmm.  A well known composer.  A piece at nearly 2 hours long may be the longest of that form.  Took 30 years (!) to complete.  And the first note gives it away so the work must be pretty familiar (or have a notorious reputation).

Does the "30 years" include time between the original composition and the extraction of a suite or some similar trick?

There are some very long symphonies, but not by well known composers.
The longest concerto I know of is a mere 70 minutes and took only a few years to compose.
As you said, it's obviously not an opera, and I assume there are ballets well over 2 hours.
I've heard there is a string quartet lasting 5 hours so that's out.

Very odd.

Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 16, 2019, 12:05:59 AM
the various parts of the work are actually drawn from multiple sources during the composer's latter years  of his career.
so no suite.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on June 16, 2019, 10:39:58 AM
Sounds like it could be the beginning of the word "Kyrie."
 
So I was thinking a mass. But that would have more than four movements.
 
But it sure sounds like Bach's Mass in B minor.

Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Ron on June 16, 2019, 10:44:33 AM
Whatever it is, the first chord makes me want to hear more.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 16, 2019, 10:59:53 AM
Jerry is close.
It depends on how the movements of the mass are divided.
Four movements... nominally sub-divided into 27...

go on, make an edumacated guess!
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on June 16, 2019, 11:05:08 AM
I just added Bach's Mass in B minor to my previous post.
 
The key gave it away.
 
Thanks for an intriguing puzzle. I never knew that Bach hadn't heard it during his lifetime.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 16, 2019, 11:15:48 AM
For Ron, here's a beautiful performance of it.

Treated respectfully without going the whole "authentic" instruments crap.

The opening chords are absolutely magnificent, the suspensions, the resolutions, the tension in them. It's pure magic.

It's also a ridiculously long "Kyrie" 5-part fugue!!! I don't think it's the longest fugue or anything, but dammit, considering it's two words, it IS really long. And the 5 parts are just... it's impossible to put into words. This really is one of the great monuments of western art.

Bach B Minor Mass at the Proms 2012 (https://youtu.be/7F7TVM8m95Y)
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Ron on June 16, 2019, 11:44:28 AM
I bookmarked it so I can listen to the whole thing when I have an anticipated uninterrupted 2 hours. :)
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on June 16, 2019, 11:46:01 AM
That is a beautiful performance.
 
But while it may not use period instruments, it does use the period tuning of a half-tone flatter than today.
 
Cheers,
Jer
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: tbmartin on June 17, 2019, 10:36:30 AM
I had the joy of singing it once. Amazing work.
Title: Re: June 2019: name the work
Post by: Michel.R.E on June 17, 2019, 10:42:06 AM
Lucky you, Terence.
It's an amazing work indeed.
Rightfully considered one of the great pillars of western art.