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Androcleas View Drop Down
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    Posted: August 02 2018 at 13:57
I have mainly been into classical music for a long time (largely 20th century, although I like all periods). A friend challenged me to have a go at listening to progressive rock seriously, so I found the list on this site and have since been working my way through it. I've now listened to the first 75 or so albums. 

First impressions - there is a lot of very interesting stuff here. Classical - Bartok, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, but also Messiaen, Ligeti and certain other more recent composers - is probably more difficult to listen to (modernist classical is probably more challenging even than Henry Cow) and usually (though not always) has greater depth. But prog rock is more immediate and exciting. Has anyone else here moved from classical to prog rock? Any tips?

When I've got to the end of the first 100, I'll have another listen and post some more thoughts-  since some of these albums aren't too straightforward, I'd like to do them justice. So far, I'm most impressed by Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant and Anglagard. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Saperlipopette! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 02 2018 at 16:58
Originally posted by Androcleas Androcleas wrote:

But prog rock is more immediate and exciting. Has anyone else here moved from classical to prog rock? Any tips?
Not really. I haven't moved anywhere - just expanded. 

But do check out stuff like: 

Art Zoyd - I'd start with Generations Sans Futur (but any of their four first is pretty mind-blowing imo)
Univers Zero (I'd say any of their three first for starters)

-for somewhere in between Bartok, Shostakovich and Henry Cow... but quite unlike the one you've liked the best so far.

But you got some greats left to discover in the top 75-100 too + a lot I don't personally care for. 






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote austrianprogfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 02 2018 at 17:03
I too come from a classical background, though not so much modern classical; the Greatest Of All Time for me is Bach by a considerable margin, other favourites of mine include choral music of the Renaissance (Palestrina, Monteverdi etc.), Mozart, Schubert's songs and recently Beethoven's sonatas, and I do like me some modern classical now and then. Regarding prog, your sentence "Classical (...) is probably more difficult to listen to (...) and usually (though not always) has greater depth. But prog rock is more immediate and exciting" pretty much sums it up for me.

As for tips: King Crimson is definitely one of the most interesting bands of the genre, bandleader Robert Fripp even mentioned Bartok as a major influence. Although about everything they have released is brillant (apart from a few pop tunes like "Sleepless" and "Heartbeat" from the 80s, but don't be deceived - the majority of their 80s stuff is pop only on the surface), their 90s work is probably the most challenging. I particularly recommend the studio album "The ConstruKCtion of Light" (unpopular in the prog community, but of stunning complexity, especially rhythmically) and the live improvisation album "THRaKaTTaK" that even some KC fans consider unlistenable.
Both Magma and Van der Graaf Generator have some kind of "classical" feel to me; the great Magma albums are continuous compositions where the track timestamps are of little importance. Since they are both present in the Top 75, I'm surprised you haven't mentioned them; if you nevertheless liked their albums, they're worth checking out further (though the VdGG albums in the list are the best ones).
Talk Talk is a 80s band that made syth pop at first, but gradually developed a very individual aesthetic closer in spirit to classical music. Some people regard them as post-rock pioneers, some pigeon-hole them as prog, but they stand on their own really. The two albums made in this style are "Spirit of Eden" and "Laughing Stock". Later their frontman, Mark Hollis, released a self-titled solo album that is even more similar to the softer side of modern classical (e. g. Philip Glass, but then again it sounds nothing like Glass). Someone with experience in this kind of music maybe should start here with Talk Talk.

Edited by austrianprogfan - August 02 2018 at 17:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fredyair Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 02 2018 at 18:04
My modest recommendation would be Liquid Tension Experiment, and all the musical projects associated with those musicians, specially Jordan Rudess solo work.
Long live Progresive music!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Androcleas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2018 at 11:22
Hi. Thanks for the suggestions. I will have a listen to Art Zoyd and Univers Zero. I found Henry Cow (I jumped ahead to listen to Western Culture, when I saw people were saying it was 'difficult' music) quite interesting - so would like to try a bit more RIO. Thanks also for the King Crimson suggestions. I will check those out too. Magma was new to me and certainly not quite what I was expecting to hear on a prog rock list. I quite liked their music. They remind me of Stravinsky's Les Noces more than Carl Orff, I think, because they don't seem to have any of Orff's minimalist tendencies (that become more overt in his later operas). I guess with Magma, it just doesn't seem quite as original, when your reference point is 20th cent classical. Quite a few modern classical composers have done unusual things with choirs and instrumentation (Schnittke with his clusters and electric guitars springs to mind, but Ligeti too). I like Van der Graaf Generator, especially Pawn Hearts, but at times I find Peter Hammill's vocals a bit OTT. Tried Liquid Tension Experiment. They seem like a cross between Dream Theater and Mahavishnu Orchestra. Quite fun, but I'm not quite sure how much substance their compositions really have (this problem for me probably extends to DT too).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Androcleas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 03 2018 at 11:26
I must try Talk Talk too. I guess the thing I am a little wary of is when Rock groups try to rip off classical tunes (Bach, Tchaikovsky or whatever) with electric guitars and drums. That always sounds pretty naff to me... ELP worst offender so far.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 05:58
Originally posted by Androcleas Androcleas wrote:

I must try Talk Talk too. I guess the thing I am a little wary of is when Rock groups try to rip off classical tunes (Bach, Tchaikovsky or whatever) with electric guitars and drums. That always sounds pretty naff to me... ELP worst offender so far.

ELP didn't rip off classical tunes with electric guitars.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cristi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 06:35
I like it when rock/prog bands give a twist to classic tunes - i.e. Ekseption :)

another example


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 06:46
Originally posted by Androcleas Androcleas wrote:

Hi. Thanks for the suggestions. I will have a listen to Art Zoyd and Univers Zero. I found Henry Cow (I jumped ahead to listen to Western Culture, when I saw people were saying it was 'difficult' music) quite interesting - so would like to try a bit more RIO.

Henry Cow is certainly a good place to start if you are looking for complexity, as previously mentioned certainly also listen to early Art Zoyd & Univers Zero. Other bands who may be of interest are Thinking Plague (their leader Mike Johnson regularly mentions his modern classical influences), Aksak Maboul, Etron Fou Leloublan, Yugen, Miriodor, Rational Diet.
Ian



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lewian Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 09:40
Bloody captcha ate my posting (it always does that exactly when I forget to save it first Angry). I don't feel like elaborating again so I just list what I recommended:
1) Try 2000s Art Zoyd as well, not just the early stuff.
2) Tangerine Dream - Zeit
3) Some experimental music listened on progarchives that is half way between prog and "contemporary academic" ("classical" doesn't really fit that kind of music) is by Zoviet France, Asmus Tietchens, Fred Frith (Henry Cow guitarist), John Zorn.
4) Holger Czukay (Ex Can bassist and Stockhausen student as his Can bandmate Irmin Schmidt; Canaxis, Movies, Moving Pictures, Good Morning Story, and many more)
5) Can (their legendary hypnotic sound will take some getting used to for classic listeners but it is autonomous, unique and competent; Unlimited Edition shows what they can do but is a bit of an oddball album)
6) For more of such modern autonomous unique mesmerising music look to Sigur Ros and Swans.
7) Zappa! (Start with Uncle Meat)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 09:52
All good picks Lewian
Ian



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SonomaComa1999 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 14:24
I really want to move into classical, but I have no idea where to start. I've listened to Stravinsky's Firebird and Mussorgsky's Pictures, but I'm really just confused of how to listen effectively and critically. Good thing with prog is you have specific sub-genres where you can move to and fro.

I wonder if there's a Classical Archives lol
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fischman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 16:31
Originally posted by SonomaComa1999 SonomaComa1999 wrote:

I really want to move into classical, but I have no idea where to start. I've listened to Stravinsky's Firebird and Mussorgsky's Pictures, but I'm really just confused of how to listen effectively and critically. Good thing with prog is you have specific sub-genres where you can move to and fro.

I wonder if there's a Classical Archives lol


Actually, Classical also has sub-genres that can help you make sense of it as you introduce yourself to this very wide and varied world.  

You can think of the subgenres along two axes:  Time and Musical Form

Time periods are the easiest way to dip your toes in the classical waters.  While there is some blurring, you can generally think of classical music in the following periods:
Medieval
Renaissance
Baroque
Classical
Romantic
20th Century

The big names that make good entry points are concentrated in the:
Baroque (J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi)
Classical (Beethoven, Mozart, F.J. Haydn)
Romantic (Brahms, Dvorak, Tchiakovsky)

As you may have guessed, some composers straddle periods, but that's as good a starting point as any.

Then you can consider music type:
Chamber music (solo or small ensemble)
Symphony
Concerto
Tone Poem
Choral music

Most types of music exist in multiple periods.  

There are oodles of books out there designed to help the neophyte explore classical music.  Truth be told, most of them are pretty pedantic and/or dry.  Many are badly skewed toward the author's personal favorite composers and pieces.  But this one is written in digestable bits, has interesting anecdotes, and seems pretty free of bias.  Best of all, it'll point the newb in the right places to explore without being overwhelmed.  

https://www.amazon.com/Classical-Music-Greatest-Composers-Their/dp/0449910423
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 06 2018 at 17:47
Welcome to the website, Androcleas.   My first love was classical. I find that the "chamber Prog" of RIO (Rock in Opposition) type bands often appeal to me. Classics such as Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, Present, Vortex and more modern ones such as U Totem, Aranis, DAAU, Rational Diet, Volapuk and Far Corner.

Can check out U Totem here: https://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/u-totem

Also, I find that albums in Progressive Electronic can often appeal to that side of me. Franco Leprino's Integarti... Disintegrati is a favourite, and if you're adventurous, try Igor Wakhvetich.

Some others that I really like are Björn J:Son Lindh's Från Storstad Till Grodspad and Jean-Claude Vannier's L'enfant assassins des mouches is fantastic.

And while this is not in Prog Archives (I think it should be), William Sheller's Lux Aeterna is terrific in my opinion.



As for Carl Orff and Magma, most people don't know Orff beyond "O Fortuna".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Androcleas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2018 at 16:01
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

My first love was classical. I find that the "chamber Prog" of RIO (Rock in Opposition) type bands often appeal to me. Classics such as Art Zoyd...

I've just been listening to a few Art Zoyd albums on Youtube. Very interesting band that develops the 'Henry Cow' sound much further, and, in my view (at least on a first hearing) is more convincing. The excerpts from Haxan are very impressive. Reminds me a little, with its subject matter, of Penderecki's Die Teufel von Loudun. Quite different though, and very individual. Thanks for the tip.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Androcleas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 08 2018 at 16:38
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

As for Carl Orff and Magma, most people don't know Orff beyond "O Fortuna".
I guess I am thinking of something like his late opera Antigonae, the severe austerity of which is quite stunning, and very effective. Its probably actually a better piece than Carmina Burana. 'Austere' is not a word that comes to mind when listening to Magma. Orff and Magma seem quite similar to each other in their focus on intense ritualistic rhythms, but Stravinsky got there first.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Saperlipopette! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 01:54
Originally posted by Logan Logan wrote:

and if you're adventurous, try Igor Wakhevitch.
I'd say outside of the chamber-format Dr. Faust is one of perhaps only a handful of actually successful fusings of classical/avantgarde and genuine rock ever composed. Perhaps because Igor was an actual composer with an interest in dark, experimental rock and electronic music rather than a some guy in a rockband that had fond memories of his parents Bach & Vivaldi-records.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Androcleas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 09 2018 at 15:50
This Wakhevich chap studied with Olivier Messiaen! He seems to really be what a lot of people claim Magma to be. [Edit] After listening to Logos and bits of Faust, though, it does strike me that apart from in the more overtly rock-oriented sections, Iannis Xenakis has done much that is quite similar, with probably a more interesting musical personality. His 'Kraanerg' is fantastic and also combines electronic music with chamber orchestra. I once played Kraanerg to my mum when I was about 18. She said it was the worst music she had ever heard. LOL






Edited by Androcleas - August 09 2018 at 16:32
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote moshkito Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2018 at 07:30
Originally posted by Androcleas Androcleas wrote:

...
First impressions - there is a lot of very interesting stuff here. Classical - Bartok, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, but also Messiaen, Ligeti and certain other more recent composers - is probably more difficult to listen to (modernist classical is probably more challenging even than Henry Cow) and usually (though not always) has greater depth. But prog rock is more immediate and exciting. Has anyone else here moved from classical to prog rock? Any tips?
...

My thoughts would want you to always try the BOTTOM 100 first, since there is a lot more stuff that is not "song" oriented, and the compositions are likely more serious and interesting all around.

As an example, AD2's YETI and then DANCE OF THE LEMMINGS, are not song/hit oriented, and more into the development of the themes and taking the music somewhere else, as very well represented by the opening of Side 2 (the LP version) with the cartoon going up the steps and opening a door, and not handling it!. It kinda says it all for a lot of rock music! 

I am not a great fan of comparing a 4 minute piece to classical music, although one could easily say that there is an influence here and there when the keyboard player is classically trained, for example, but that does not mean the piece is any better ... sometimes, I find it just purely overblown and too fat at the edges for me.

For a better contrast, make sure you see/hear RACHEL FLOWERS, so you can see her piano and organ versions of Keith Emerson's works, and how one woman, makes a lot of this music come off exactly like classical music is meant to. When you hear TARKUS done on piano, you will sit there and go ... that's got to be one of the greatest piano pieces EVER written ... and just imagine the young composer trying to show his other 2 mates how to enliven the piece ... it changes your aspect of what MUSIC really is, that the majority of rock music is not.

Have fun ... there is a lot of music out there, and don't forget other countries ... if you think Japan, or China, has no classical music, you are not listening! And then, there's always the Pipes of Pan or the Missa Luba!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Saperlipopette! Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2018 at 09:13
Originally posted by Androcleas Androcleas wrote:

This Wakhevich chap studied with Olivier Messiaen! He seems to really be what a lot of people claim Magma to be. [Edit] After listening to Logos and bits of Faust, though, it does strike me that apart from in the more overtly rock-oriented sections, Iannis Xenakis has done much that is quite similar, with probably a more interesting musical personality. His 'Kraanerg' is fantastic and also combines electronic music with chamber orchestra. I once played Kraanerg to my mum when I was about 18. She said it was the worst music she had ever heard. LOL
I'm quite familiar with Xenakis and much prefer Wakhevich's personality (without any classical training or theoretical background I must admit I do think of the former composer as "overrated", but maybe I overrate my own listening skills). When the latter wants to rock out - its actually darker, eviler, more effective and heavier than pretty much all rock. And the riffing is genuine rock - even catchy. Nevertheless he manages to successfully incorporate it in a composition coming from a completely different tradition and approach. To my ears Xenakis was never did anything similarly radical to Faust, Hathor or Logos - Kraanerg is uncomfortable, nightmarish sounds that has almost has ended up becoming a avant-garde cliché or common ground if you will - while I've yet to come up with an equivalent to Wakhevich's most prolific work (perhaps selected Egisto Macchi).   
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