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Reader Poll: Do you like classical music with jazz influences?

Since the early 20th century, jazz always had a significant impact on classical music and classical pianists. Composers found the rhythms, the blue quality in melody and harmony, as well as the spontaneous improvisation immensely fascinating and irresistibly modern. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Erotic Piano Pieces  (Read 12391 times)
Rafant
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« on: December 28, 2004, 07:19:50 PM »

The most conspicuous example I know is the Liszt’s transcription of Isolde’s Liebestod (from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde). The starting delicate murmurs, the accelerating hearts, the crazy gallop towards the goal, the point of no return, the pulsating waves of mutual pleasure "in crescendo", the mayestatic climax, the vigorous shakes, and the resulting calm. Tenderness, passion, surrender, delight, all it is there in such a wonderful music, as it is in the orquestal piece.

Moszkowski also composed a lovely and virtuosistic transcription on his own, but without so clear “shakes”.

Grieg composed a Lyric Piece named “Erotik”, but I’m not sure of finding much erotism in it. There are other Lyric Pieces that could sound more erotic.

I suspect that several Chopin’s Nocturnes (see F# Op 15, No 2) could have a hidden erotic programme, but this maybe a risky statement.

Would you wish to contribute with more examples? Please do not mention the “Erotic (standing for Heroic) Symphony”, neither the Ravel’s “Bolero” (spanish speakers do understand), nor Stravinsky’s Firebird, since they are not piano pieces, less erotic ones.. Grin Grin
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dlu
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2004, 07:27:49 PM »

Alot of scriabin is "erotic." From what i've heard he was quite a horn dog...lol One of the CLIMAXES (hinthint) of his sonatas (no. 5?) is supposed to simulate an orgasm. I've even hear that Scriabin himself had orgasmswhile performing on stage...
I agree with the erotic allegations toward chopin as well....
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allchopin
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2004, 09:34:42 PM »

Please do not mention the “Erotic (standing for Heroic) Symphony”
Eroica
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Goldberg
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2004, 11:02:41 PM »

Alkan's symphony for solo piano, first movement.
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Awakening
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2004, 11:11:05 PM »

Some of Beethoven's sonatas remind me of sexual tension and relief.  With all that build up, explosive climaxes, and constant teasing of the ear, it's hard not to.  I'm listening to Waldstein right now, and parts of it are very "orgasmic." 
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maxy
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2004, 05:10:55 AM »

Mephisto Walzt  Grin
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donjuan
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2004, 05:52:32 AM »

I second Liebestod (Love in Death) from Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.  There are few pieces with similar effect..hmm maybe the melodic section of Chopin's G minor Ballade.  oh man, I love that piece
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alextryan
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2005, 01:22:47 AM »

Beethoven's Op2#2 always sounded like he wrote it after a tumble in a field with some beautiful girl.  All that bounding jubilant energy.  Those upward runs that sound like a pounding heart skipping beats.  Glad someone asked; I could never suggest that to my piano teacher.
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Schumann Lover
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2005, 09:12:37 AM »

Erotic piano pieces:

Debussy -- L'isle joyeuse

Liszt -- Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Scriabin -- Most of his music, especially Piano Sonatas No. 4, No. 5, Fantasy in B minor, Op. 28

Ravel -- La Valse
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galonia
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2005, 09:52:33 AM »

OK, just be careful with this topic if you're a piano teacher.  The former teacher of one of my friends discussed this sort of inspiration with him, and even went as far as asking my friend if he had ever had sex before.

This teacher has been charged with child molesting, and I don't know whether or not he is guilty, but I do know asking students who are underage about their sexual experience is not a good idea.  And probably a very dangerous road to take even with students who are of age.
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Floristan
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« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2005, 04:59:37 PM »

Scriabin.  His orchestral tone poem, "Poeme d'ecastase" is programatically erotic.  It's basic form is building to a climax, then backing off, building to a slightly bigger climax, backing off, etc. until the final really big climax.  Well, that's pretty obvious.  (I believe he also planned for this piece to be played with a light show and aromas/fragrance in synch with the music, to involve all the senses).

Scriabin's piano sonatas, to a greater or lesser extent, follow this same "erotic" format of repeatedly building to a climax and backing off, with each successive climax becoming fuller, louder, longer lasting until the big bang, as it were, followed by post-big-bang langour.  Plus his insinuating harmonies and the slippery-ness of his chromaticism seem obviously sensual, if not outright sexual. 
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pianowelsh
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« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2005, 05:31:14 PM »

I agree with the scriabin comment also some Liszt is like that partic Italian book of Annees perlige :onage
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Rafant
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2005, 08:43:33 PM »

Thanks a lot for your contributions. Slowly we are writing a mischievous catalog here. I wonder if some pianist would be willing to take it as a specialty. He/she would be known as the "Erotic pianist", I guess. Sure that advertising piano recitals containing such a music would rise a lot of attention at least, and perhaps the incomes, if not other things. Cheesy

Speaking seriously, I hadn't have the experience that piano music be sexually
exciting other way than by association. Certainly not the music itself. So sexually aroused teachers are not a risk if they limit their teaching to the music.

Since not always is obvious for me why some mentioned pieces pertains here, I'd appreciate always a brief explanation about their erotic nature.



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ted
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2005, 12:19:05 AM »

David Thomas Roberts states in the liners to his wonderful CD recordings that eroticism is a very fundamental part of his creative process. I cannot see it myself; that is to say there is nothing in the pieces which produces erotic associations in me as either listener or performer. As a matter of fact I don't think any piano music does this with me. I certainly form images and sensations, but they are arbitrary and frequently change from time to time.

Perhaps people with high testosterone levels and massive libidos will hear erotic things in music more often than those like me. After all, I scored 18% on a "How sexy are you ?" test and my eighty-three year old father scored ninety. I COULD deliberately construct erotic images for my music but only in the objective, descriptive sense, not in the directly pornographic.
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xvimbi
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2005, 01:01:03 AM »

David Thomas Roberts states in the liners to his wonderful CD recordings that eroticism is a very fundamental part of his creative process. I cannot see it myself; that is to say there is nothing in the pieces which produces erotic associations in me as either listener or performer. As a matter of fact I don't think any piano music does this with me. I certainly form images and sensations, but they are arbitrary and frequently change from time to time.

Perhaps people with high testosterone levels and massive libidos will hear erotic things in music more often than those like me. After all, I scored 18% on a "How sexy are you ?" test and my eighty-three year old father scored ninety. I COULD deliberately construct erotic images for my music but only in the objective, descriptive sense, not in the directly pornographic.

When hearing music, one feels certain emotions only if one already has associations between this music and the emotion. That it, somebody who made love to Bolero will probably feel aroused by listening to it, provided the experience was a good one. Somebody else who had a bad experience with Bolero might feel completely different. There is no such thing as "certain music evokes certain emotions" without having had the appropriate connection before.

I used a different example in another thread: to many people, Dixieland may sound like giddy music, whereas somebody in New Orleans might associate death with it.
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brsmpianist
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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2005, 01:50:25 AM »

I know a good one!!  The Dvorak Piano Quintet in AM... all four movt's but especially the second and third movt's... I think they are all so sensuous...
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whynot
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2005, 02:26:51 AM »

Granados "Goyescas" #3 El Fandango de Candil

Why sexy?  Part French, part Spanish, need I say more?  It's Bolero-style but much more interesting (well, hard not to be).  It goes on a bit, but sometimes that's a good thing.
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steinwayguy
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« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2005, 04:38:53 AM »

If we're talking about tension and relief, there is one piece that immediately comes to mind- Chopin's F Minor Ballade. Continuous thickening until some of the greatest sonority in the arpeggios, and then the coda. Oh, what a piece!
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theodopolis
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« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2005, 06:32:47 AM »

Erik Satie's Gymnopedies have a rather dubious background when it comes to this subject.
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Does anyone else here think the opening of Liszt's 'Orage' (AdP - Suisse No.5) sounds like the Gymnopedie from Hell?
Regulus Medtner
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« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2005, 07:05:13 AM »

Scriabin.  His orchestral tone poem, "Poeme d'ecastase" is programatically erotic.  It's basic form is building to a climax, then backing off, building to a slightly bigger climax, backing off, etc. until the final really big climax.  Well, that's pretty obvious.  (I believe he also planned for this piece to be played with a light show and aromas/fragrance in synch with the music, to involve all the senses).

These... stage directions (and some others) were also planned for the performance of Mysterium which would take place in the Himalayas. He would also have hang bells from the clouds, it's a shame he died before composing the piece. Roll Eyes

The admittedly sensual Poeme de l' Extase exists in piano transcriptions as well (not by Scriabin though). I've heard a two piano version which I quite liked.
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Floristan
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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2005, 07:14:23 AM »

Granados "Goyescas" #3 El Fandango de Candil

Why sexy? Part French, part Spanish, need I say more? It's Bolero-style but much more interesting (well, hard not to be). It goes on a bit, but sometimes that's a good thing.

Agreed!  There's a lot of sensual/sexy Granados, actually.
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Chrysalis
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2005, 12:53:00 PM »

etude opus 10:3 ; tristesse from chopin
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Rafant
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2005, 06:14:44 PM »

Is the presence of the succession tension-relief enough to qualify a piece as being erotic? One could imagine other situations in which such a tension-relief element is related to quite a different cause, for example, a fight, and of course, a storm, a favorite topic in music. And generally speaking almost any piece has at least one culminating point. So, I guess there must be somewhat else which determines the erotic nature of a piece. I agree this is reached through an intentional association with erotic elements different to the music itself.
But let's see how our catalog does continue "in crescendo"... increasing is the key subject here, isn't it? Wink




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pianopoet
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2005, 06:23:05 PM »

I had a good time reading all about your erotic tendencies towards music. Now, when I started learning Rachmaninov's b minor prelude, I imagined the coaxing of 2 lovers, (tender theme of beginning) and the intense lovemaking of the chords which result in the c major outburst which, in my mind, symbolised the orgasm. Hell, it worked! Only recently did I hear that it really portayed Rach's return from exile. I was a bit off but I had fun...
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pianowelsh
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2005, 07:05:16 PM »

Hi Granados ' Escenas Romanticas' is pretty unparalelled in this regard! He was said to have written it for a student of his who he was having and affair with whilst having a wife and 5 kids!?!?!? Shocked Finding a recording is difficult though!! Cry
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elmo
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« Reply #25 on: January 30, 2005, 09:06:24 AM »

Hi Granados ' Escenas Romanticas' is pretty unparalelled in this regard! <snip> Finding a recording is difficult though!! Cry

Alicia de Larrocha has a wonderful recording available (http://snipurl.com/cec4)
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pianonut
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« Reply #26 on: January 30, 2005, 07:24:37 PM »

i listened to alicia de laroche play and enjoyed it.  i must say, as a christian, that i think erotic music to me means not just two bodies but two minds working together.  i'm glad to be married because i think that music does have a deeper meaning when you think about something sort of intangible like love.

i hear naked notes when i play samuel barber's nocturne.  if you only play the left hand, the right hand is sorely missing.  when you put them both together, they work sensually (caressing different rhythms, harmonies, and stretches of the hand).  i never thought of this before i saw this site.  i kind of thought 20th century music was very cold.

cycles of life such as youth/exhuberance, falls/maturity, wisdom/children/knowledgethroughstudy, second wind (that's right now)/seeing things not just as they are from our point of view - but much better through another's eyes, and finally closing down/getting near death/dying.  that whole process is somewhat sensual.  i would say that giving birth and dying are two elements that are brought into composers music.  very serious music can be very sensual since it is "giving birth" to an idea slowly.  and, music written in a composer's last days (ie mozart's requiem) is very "erotic" if you want to call it that.

erotic can take on different connotations.  i think one, for me, is "the unknown."  some pieces of music don't have a simple structure or form and meander.  such as pieces written to describe water, rivers, oceans.  i like watching animal planet, too, and find movements of certain animals such as are in the cat family very purposeful to saving energy for the chase.  then there's the chase.  then retreat.  in piano, i see this too, with very difficult pieces-  a sort of saving of ones energy for the more difficult sections, but a very real need to relax at the exact same moment as all that energy is exerted (otherwise muscles become tense and cannot move fast).

i think younger students should save their sexual energy and piano is a good outlet for expressing all your feelings (passion, happiness, sadness, whatever) without danger.  "forbidden" in music isn't really "forbidden."  i try to always work my repertoire, and then something really really hard (sightreading or learning slowly).  it is doing something you haven't done before.

for professional artists, i notice that people such as Andre Riu put passion into everything.  that is personal ENERGY.  if you watch someone just impassionately playing a fast piece (or slow) it is boring.  i think energy, emotion, feelings, that must be the part that engages the audience into "your realm."  it's part teasing, part give and take (knowing what music they like, and what you like), and part letting go in some places without fear of mistakes and playing as fast and light as possible or as slowly and with much feeling as possible.  it is interesting to watch audiences.
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do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.
pianonut
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« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2005, 07:30:15 PM »

here's a ps.  what do you think of the sarabande in bach's english suite III?
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do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.
pianowelsh
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« Reply #28 on: February 01, 2005, 05:12:09 PM »

agreed pianonut - alot of Bach's slower movements especially courtly dance structures could be considered sensual. Thanks elmo I will try and obtain this recording. Cheesy
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Rafant
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« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2005, 05:54:57 PM »

Quote
here's a ps.  what do you think of the sarabande in bach's english suite III?

Certainly, I heard the Sarabande last night with your suggestion in mind, and found it very sensual, that's the exact word. Who would have thought that of a Bach's piece? The style sounds to me spanish and I can easily imagine a female spanish dancer or a couple dancing lovingly in the stage. It's quite a surprise! Thanks.
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pianonut
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« Reply #30 on: February 01, 2005, 07:52:25 PM »

the 'zarabanda' was first known as a fast and wildly erotic dance in mexico and spain (harvard dictionary of music) in the 16th century, accompanied by castanets and guitar.  it was banned in spain in 1583, but it nevertheless survived both there and in italy as a fast dance until the end of the baroque era!

glad you liked the sarabande idea.  i am quite crazy when it comes to music, and find that i will mull over things and look them up on the internet or in the library and get completely off topic of what i'm supposed to be doing for homework. now look what you've done!

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do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.
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« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2005, 08:54:36 AM »

Alkan's symphony for solo piano, first movement.

can you elaborate on why you think that piece is erotic?
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love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts
Rafant
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« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2005, 07:18:08 PM »

The Maurice Hinson's book on transcriptions and paraphrasis for piano lists that both the Stravinsky's Firebird as the Ravel's Bolero were transcripted for piano solo. So they pertains to our catalog, after all, at least with regard to their names. Wink

There are also piano transcriptions on Tosca's themes such as the Scarpia's Lust aria and Cavaradossi's "E lucevan le stelle" whose lyrics are clearly erotic.

In this same line we can add any piano transcription of Don Giovanni's "La ci darem la mano", again due to its lyrics.
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Mayla
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« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2005, 12:48:22 AM »

Rachmaninov:  Sonata No 2 Op 36

 Cool Grin

(I don't really feel like explaining it... Grin )
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lenny
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« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2005, 02:13:50 PM »

foxxy lady Wink

yes, most rachmaninov is very orgasmic at climax sections, is this the reason for you?
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love,peace,hope,fresh coconuts
Mayla
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« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2005, 04:37:44 PM »

  Lips Sealed Lips Sealed Lips Sealed Embarrassed Embarrassed Lips Sealed Embarrassed Lips Sealed Lips Sealed
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SteinwayTony
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« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2005, 11:50:03 PM »

Any Sarabande ever written.  Sarabandes are extremely sensual dances.
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dbrainiak914
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« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2005, 04:37:31 AM »

Ravel Bolero...  Cool... keep the steady rhythm... slow build up and a HUGE climax!

 Cool Cool Cool
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Lance Morrison
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« Reply #38 on: March 31, 2005, 04:58:08 AM »

Debussy is often considered very sensual.....his songs for voice and piano are often overlooked, but I would say that his most sensual work is probably his 3 songs from 1904, Fêtes galantes (sometimes referred to as book 2, since he wrote earlier pieces under the same title), featuring texts by his friend Paul Verlaine

I would also offer that Schönberg's song cycle Book of the Hanging Gardens also has a similar affect, but there is something very different between this music and Debussy's which is very hard to define. I've said before, that Arnold seems more instinctive yet more psychological, which Claude seems more self-conscious yet more sensual. I don't really know how else to put it. The music mentioned is great to compare because of this, and how both pieces seem to be related to the dream state, and of course how both composers, VERY different men, both wrote music which grew from the roots of Tristan....
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lfischer
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« Reply #39 on: April 01, 2005, 02:30:56 AM »

I had a good time reading all about your erotic tendencies towards music. Now, when I started learning Rachmaninov's b minor prelude, I imagined the coaxing of 2 lovers, (tender theme of beginning) and the intense lovemaking of the chords which result in the c major outburst which, in my mind, symbolised the orgasm. Hell, it worked! Only recently did I hear that it really portayed Rach's return from exile. I was a bit off but I had fun...

When I learned it, my teacher told me that it was all a buildup of tension/relaxation, with the main climax during that cadential passage. He also a lot of monty-pythonesque winking and nudging when he said 'climax' in the context of this piece.
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Etude
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« Reply #40 on: April 01, 2005, 02:46:37 AM »

Sorabji:  Le Jardin Parfume
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Ludwig Van Rachabji
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« Reply #41 on: April 01, 2005, 03:44:48 AM »

Sorabji:  Le Jardin Parfume

Yes, indeed. In fact, it is based on an erotic piece of literature by Sheikh Abu Abdullah Muhhammad ibn 'Umar al-Nefzawi.

I would consider a lot of Godowsky's shorter pieces erotic (and some incredibly beautiful), particularly his 4 poems - Devotion, Avowal, Adoration, and Yearning. I would also consider much of Chopin's music to contain hidden eroticism.
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thierry13
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« Reply #42 on: April 02, 2005, 12:09:06 AM »

Any slow smooth piece can be erotic, especially if you play it for a special girl Wink
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earthward
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« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2005, 06:52:06 PM »

Grieg composed a Lyric Piece named “Erotik”, but I’m not sure of finding much erotism in it. There are other Lyric Pieces that could sound more erotic.


I think "Erotik" possibly doesn't have the same connotation in Norwegian.  I think this piece is about love, tender emotions etc. 

The most erotic piece I can think of ... it's not a piano piece though... is "Erotica" by Madonna.  Cheesy "Erotic, erotic, put your hands all over my body..."  Wink It's hilarious. 
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Derek
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« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2005, 07:48:54 PM »

I've read that a lot of Scriabin's early etudes are "erotic." What the...!?  Whatever.   Sometimes I improvise well after an encounter with a girl, but the resulting music isn't, I don't think, "erotic."
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