What music for you is fun to play?

On this forum, we debate and discuss our compositions, and talk about the works of the greats. I think there is a dimension of music which is underappreciated, and that is, for those of us who play an instrument, is there any music that you have performed (your own, or works by others), that fits so well into the fingers/lips/whatever that in addition to the pleasure you get out of hearing the sounds you produce, is enjoyable from the perspective of being fun to play? If so, how about providing a link to a live performance and explaining why you think so. I have a few ideas on this and will share if others express interest in this thread -

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  • I play flute, and there are two composers I love when it comes to the actual sensation of playing, Telemann and Locatelli. I find them both soothing and invigorating, and more fun to play than to listen to.

    I adore the Telemann Duets. Here's a sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G6tZsQgF1c

    And the Locatelli Flute Sonata in G minor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XC3zDCeru8

    I also enjoy playing the flute music I have written, as I've composed them by starting out with a kinesthetic seed of where my fingers want to go. Here's one of them (this time with me doing the playing): https://soundcloud.com/salley-gardens/fanflair-for-concert-and-alto

  • Hi Janet, thanks for posting. I listened to the full performance of the Duets, they are quite lovely. I also listened to the opening of the Locatelli. I don't think I've ever heard anything by them before, so you introduced me to some new composers, thanks! I've always had a love of Baroque, and these are fine examples. Your own work I also enjoyed, and I can hear the Baroque influence in it, with some modal twists, very nice piece. Your fingers led you well!

  • Dvorak. Particularly his sixth symphony. He writes lush parts for viola often in countermelody with the celli.

    Currently rehearsing the seventh.
  • Michael, you play viola? I *adore* viola. Violin had been my "second" instrument for several years... until I met Viola.

  • Hi Janet

    I seem to swap between violin and viola every ten years. Just started back on viola. There are twelve of us in the orchestra so we make a mighty sound!
  • I love this topic, I hve played Holst's Suite for Military Band in Eb on numerous occasions. I've played the cornet solo part, trumpet 1, and flugelhorn parts. With wind players, his suites just fit so well and every time we play them we feel like we are playing something of importance to our instruments. It's a level of respect and honor to the work. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AKIGs59nRc8

    And just for fun, I love playing marching band garbage that I can just let loose and wail. It's always fun taking parts up an 8va scaring everyone, lol. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rsx5y4wvwU

    You mentioned pieces of our own, I have a work that has been performed several times for solo flugelhorn but I don't have a live recording for some odd reason. I wrote it specifically for flugelhorn so that it could only be played on the instrument. It fits the horn very well in technique and expression.

    But what gives me the most joy for some odd reason is when I learn some demon composed étude that has no musical based whatsoever, just technique. If I can play it smoothly without sounding like I put effort into it, it makes this brass player smile.
  • Thanks for posting Rodney. I listened to part of the Holst and the full second link. Particularly I noted the second link is a lot of fun! As far as etudes are concerned, I remember playing some of Chopin's when I was a young pianist (instead of what I am now, a slightly less young pianist). They are fiendish in spots!

  • Always remember hearing the Holst Suites on a Telarc recording from the early 80's. Cleveland winds under Fennell with the "famous" Telarc bass drum.

    The crescendo in the chaconne at 1'20" is one of those hair stands on end moments

  • I get an immense enjoyment out of playing ragtime, which fits very well in the fingers - there are a lot of octave-based melodies in it with the thumb and little finger striking the octave, while the inner fingers play arpeggiations of a chord in between the octave - it feels like you are really using your whole hand, and the ragged time is physically challenging, almost like the workout Rodney mentioned he enjoys when playing an etude. Also, the left hand does a lot of jumping around with an oompah style bass in many cases where you just have to develop a "feel" for where it has to go - ragtime is fast enough that you don't have time to look! Here's a nice rag by Joseph Lamb, who many ragtime aficionados (including me) consider to be the second greatest ragtime composer after Scott Joplin. Ragtime Nightingale, in the spirit of this forum, is very classical in sound. Lamb's music is harder to play than Joplin's I find, because it tends to range farther to the extreme ends of the piano, and involves larger chords (by which I mean they contain more notes). As far as a piece by me which I enjoy playing because of the physicality of it, I am pleased with how 30-Second Symphony came out. I tried to make it driving and enjoyable and it also I think it fits well in the fingers. It has octaves too, plus other things.

  • I take great pleasure performing, especially for the burlesque show where I have access to some kick ass musicians and singers. Check out my arrangement of Whatever Lola Wants.


    By the way, we all have burlesque names. I'm Dick Van Wailin.


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