Discussion:
Peter Mennin anyone?
Add Reply
Ed Presson
2020-11-07 04:22:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.

Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.

Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?

Ed Presson
RiRiIII
2020-11-07 10:13:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
Perhaps the recording you heard back then was the 3rd Symphony by Mitropoulos and the NYPO from 1954?

https://www.discogs.com/Wallingford-Riegger-Peter-Mennin-Howard-Hanson-Dimitri-Mitropoulos-Eastman-Rochester-Symphony-Orches/release/11864041
Ed Presson
2020-11-09 21:10:41 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
Perhaps the recording you heard back then was the 3rd Symphony by
Mitropoulos and the NYPO from 1954?
https://www.discogs.com/Wallingford-Riegger-Peter-Mennin-Howard-Hanson-Dimitri-Mitropoulos-Eastman-Rochester-Symphony-Orches/release/11864041
I think you are right! I made a point to hear the Mitropoulos recording.
It not only rang a bell, but I found it better than the Schwarz recording on
my shelf.
Thanks, Ed Presson
Frank Berger
2020-11-09 22:20:28 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
Perhaps the recording you heard back then was the 3rd Symphony by
Mitropoulos and the NYPO from 1954?
https://www.discogs.com/Wallingford-Riegger-Peter-Mennin-Howard-Hanson-Dimitri-Mitropoulos-Eastman-Rochester-Symphony-Orches/release/11864041
I think you are right! I made a point to hear the Mitropoulos recording.
It not only rang a bell, but I found it better than the Schwarz recording on
my shelf.
Thanks, Ed Presson
The Mitropoulos Mennin #3 was released on CD by CRI.

https://www.newworldrecords.org/products/music-of-peter-mennin
RiRiIII
2020-11-13 08:27:09 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half
century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should
concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
Perhaps the recording you heard back then was the 3rd Symphony by
Mitropoulos and the NYPO from 1954?
https://www.discogs.com/Wallingford-Riegger-Peter-Mennin-Howard-Hanson-Dimitri-Mitropoulos-Eastman-Rochester-Symphony-Orches/release/11864041
I think you are right! I made a point to hear the Mitropoulos recording.
It not only rang a bell, but I found it better than the Schwarz recording on
my shelf.
Thanks, Ed Presson
Thank you for reminding us about Mennin so as to revisit recordings of his works.
Alex

Richard Masters
2020-11-07 21:51:50 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
Mennin wrote a terrific piano set in 1949, "Five Piano Pieces." They used to be popular (1950s and 1960s) with pianists who wanted to play modern music but didn't want to play too much dissonance. They disappeared with the advent of Bolcom, Corigliano, Liebermann, and other moderns who wrote inoffensive piano music.

The Mennin five pieces are very effective, and should be played more often.

RJM
JohnGavin
2020-11-08 23:33:15 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Masters
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
Mennin wrote a terrific piano set in 1949, "Five Piano Pieces." They used to be popular (1950s and 1960s) with pianists who wanted to play modern music but didn't want to play too much dissonance. They disappeared with the advent of Bolcom, Corigliano, Liebermann, and other moderns who wrote inoffensive piano music.
The Mennin five pieces are very effective, and should be played more often.
RJM
I remember that the Toccata from that set was performed quite often (when Mennin was a dean at Juilliard).
Neil
2020-11-09 12:39:40 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Richard Masters
Mennin wrote a terrific piano set in 1949, "Five Piano Pieces." They used to be popular (1950s and 1960s) with pianists who wanted to play modern music but didn't want to play too much dissonance. They disappeared with the advent of Bolcom, Corigliano, Liebermann, and other moderns who wrote inoffensive piano music.
The Mennin five pieces are very effective, and should be played more often.
RJM
The John Ogdon recording is available on the RCA set. https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Ogdon-Complete-Album-Collection/dp/B00I4L172C (disk4)
Lawrence Chalmers
2020-11-07 23:54:20 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
I am very fond of Mennin's music having imprinted on Mitropoulos' recording and later the 7th with the CSO. His Piano Concerto in a recording with John Ogdon is very exciting. I have all his symphonies in my library. I'd love new recordings of them. And OT a new recording of the Kirchner Piano Concerto that
he and Mitropoulos recorded.
Ed Presson
2020-11-08 22:13:06 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
I am very fond of Mennin's music having imprinted on Mitropoulos' recording
and later the 7th with the CSO. His Piano Concerto in a recording with
John Ogdon is very exciting. I have all his symphonies in my >library.
I'd love new recordings of them. And OT a new recording of the Kirchner
Piano Concerto that
he and Mitropoulos recorded.
Thanks to all who responded. I now have new Mennin paths to explore (when
I'm ready).

Ed Presson
number_six
2020-11-11 16:40:34 UTC
Reply
Permalink
I think the only Mennin in my collection is the Hanson-conducted Symphony 5 from Mercury.

It did not leave a memorable impression but I'll likely hear it again soon.
Dirge
2020-11-11 20:21:56 UTC
Reply
Permalink
Post by Ed Presson
Many decades ago when I was in my late teens, I'd sneak listens to the local
classical station when no one else was in the house. I knew nothing of
classical music other than I found it fascinating.
I was struck by a Mennin symphony; I have no idea which one. A half century
later I began buying an occasional Mennin CD hoping to recapture that
fascination.
Those on the shelf include Symphonies 3, 5, 6 (two versions), 7 (two
versions), 8, and 9. They are all impressive for their seriousness, and
violent energy. To me, they seem solidly constructed.
But, darn it, they remain stubbornly hard to like. Mennin eschews most
things that people find attractive in music: lovely harmonies, themes,
colorful orchestration. I listen to them with respect and grudging
admiration, but I don't return to them often.
Any Mennin fans out there? Maybe you can suggest what I should concentrate
on to get more pleasure (which seems not to be his concern) from Mennin
symphonies?
Ed Presson
I explored much of Mennin’s output about 20 years ago, but the only works that I ever return to nowadays are String Quartet No. 2 (1951) and “Variation Symphony” (1963). The String Quartet has its share of the relentless/driven/motoric music that is Mennin’s bread & butter, but it’s short enough not to quite beat you into submission. The slow music is rather Spartan but comes off well if played with enough hushed intensity. The Quartet was premiered by the Juilliard Quartet in the early ’50s and then recorded shortly thereafter for Columbia, but I’ve never heard the recording. The Kohon Quartet [Vox ’74] recording is more than serviceable, however, and it’s coupled with a surprisingly good account of Sessions’s String Quartet No. 2 (1951)—a much greater work than the Mennin, truth be told. The “Variation Symphony” has always struck me as Mennin’s most compelling work, and I rather doubt that the Martinon/CSO [RCA ’67] recording will be superseded.
Loading...