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Thread: "Avant-garde" classical + vocals recommendations?

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb "Avant-garde" classical + vocals recommendations?

    I really don't know classical music, so I don't know which styles to refer. I want some contemporary or modern classical anyway, whatever it means.

    So I don't know whether it should be impressionism, modernism, surrealism, expressionism, post-romanticism, atonalism, spectralism... and should it be called lieder, chamber music, operetta...

    But one great example of the thing I'm looking for, besides some new styles, is this position: A woman sings dramatically and maybe in a weird way, and a man is on the piano, also playing dramatically.

    This next link is my primary example, though there's church organ. Any other instruments go as well, like some little chamber orchestra. But piano is what I'm mostly looking for, because I've heard that kind of music sometimes. I just don't know what it was. Once it was in a program that was about Finnish modernism. There was a male pianist and a female singer. Romantic, stereotypical, haha, but who cares.

    Jacula - (1972) Tardo Pede in Magiam - 1 - U.F.D.E.M. (9:02):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEyWQGx3rac
    Do you have any classifications for this song - what style could it be?

    And by "avant-garde", I don't mean "art" like ambient, but I prefer complex and compact structures.


    Here's some other examples, mostly avant-prog (but of course I need recommendations that don't have drums, unless you happen to know some). Actually these are also recommendations for you. I really hope that you listen to these songs. I would also like to know the style of the music that I'm recommending or that you're recommending, because it makes searching for new music easier.

    U Totem - (1990) U Totem - 1 - One Nail Draws Another (14:54):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sl1dQkxIdaI

    Most of you maybe know this. It has nice piano in the latter part. What is the style in 5:12 - 5:08? Reminds me a bit of Conlon Nancarrow, which is actually quite close to what I'm looking for.
    Henry Cow - (1975) Beautiful as the Moon - 4 - Terrible as an Army with Banners (7:02)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=374qf7xCFkY

    This is also very very close to what I'm interested in. Listen 1:25 - 2:27. It is quite jazzy, yes, but... sometimes the line between jazz and classical can be vague, as you know.
    Present - (1985) Le poison qui rend fou - 1 - Le poison qui rend fou, Part 1: Ram Ram va faire "pif paf" (15:25):
    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=uBHGmlRjP2k

    This is also close, maybe even closer than others. The beginning, of course, though the symphonic rock part is nice, too. A bit simple, but mostly working well.
    Quasar Lux Symphoniæ - (1996) The Enlightening March of the Argonauts - 3 - The Resonance of the Throne:
    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=L0y7OFaUmpU

    This is very close too, the beginning. I don't know the style of the latter part (or the beginning), but it's nicely playful, besides being dramatic. So all kinds of recommendations are welcome!
    Arrigo Barnabé - 1980 - Clara Crocodilo - 5 - Infortúnio
    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=_0LPG0lQ5cU

    Like said, many styles go. This is a bit more folky one, and barely classical at all (?). I'd like to know what you say about this music style... what it is?
    Ensemble Havadià - (1981) Ensemble Havadià - 1 - Finale
    http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=PGINW3SpOMk


    Thank you!
    Last edited by Progressive; Jul-15-2010 at 15:03.

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    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    As on my phone I unfortunately cant listen to the examples posted in great quality, however guessing from the descriptions you might enjoy this:
    Henze - Voices

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    It's not really considered "avant garde," but from the description given it sounds like you might enjoy Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire." I'd provide a link to a YouTube, but I'm at work now and can't access that site.
    It features a female vocalist singing in a style called sprechtstimme which is kind of a combination of speaking and singing. She is accompanied by a small mixed chamber ensemble. It is a collection of shorter movements, mostly about a minute or two long if I remember correctly.

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    But one great example of the thing I'm looking for, besides some new styles, is this position: A woman sings dramatically and maybe in a weird way, and a man is on the piano, also playing dramatically.
    Rotfl, that's hilarious description. I can't stop laughing.

    Try songs by Second Viennese School bastards, they will give you good insight in lieder genre - Berg ones are more romantic, Schoenberg varies between expressionism and OKIURSAJA, Webern is total freak. Decide which of them you like the best and you will know where to look for more music like this.
    Last edited by Aramis; Jul-15-2010 at 15:35.

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    I just thought of another piece you might enjoy which could legitimately be called avant garde, which is Stockhausen's Stimmung.
    There is no instrumental accompaniment. It features a small ensemble of vocalists singing into microphones that are tuned to an inaudible B-flat drone, which creates some interesting and subtle effects with the overtones of the singers' voices.

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    BTW, Pierrot Lunaire is a nice band http://rateyourmusic.com/artist/pierrot_lunaire maybe taken it's name and some style of that song.

    Thank you! "Pierrot Lunaire" seems to be exactly what I want. So this is Atonal and Serialism, and Expressionism? And not modern, it's from 1912 :O Have to get more Sprechtstimme :P And wow, these sound so different (actually it makes me sad, because now I have to check all the versions):
    "Pierrot Lunaire by Schoenberg part 1":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A-feObF-lc
    "Schönberg conducts Pierrot Lunaire (1/4)":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utm1HH16uwM

    Hans Werner Henze's Voices seems to be nice, too, though maybe a bit too much musical theatre (in some parts reminding me of Arrigo Barnabé, like here "Henze Voices Prt 2 Electric Cop" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2WeOGq2pPE at the end. But I'll check the complete work on a better time, like the others mentioned here. So this was just a "we're in it" post. Though, it's tough to go through all Webern, Berg or... Second Viennese School bastards... I guess. Do they have vocals and where? And what's that "OKIURSAJA" anyways? At least Alban Berg sounds great, and Webern a bit mild, not energetic, but I guess I heard the wrong song, since you said it is total freak.

    Haha, Stimmung is nice and funny, reminding me Demetrio Stratos' vocal experimentatio. Demetrio Stratos - Criptomelodie Infantili: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kxIWWW1_GQ makes you laugh but there's other kind of music on that album.
    Last edited by Progressive; Jul-15-2010 at 16:40.

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    Senior Member SuperTonic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progressive View Post
    So this is Atonal and Serialism, and Expressionism?
    It is Atonal and Expressionistic, although I think this was completed before Schoenberg developed his 12-tone technique, so I wouldn't call it serial. I'd call it free atonalilty if I had to classify it.

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    Milton Babbitt:

    Philoemel (1st half)
    Philoemel (2nd half)

    There are some piano versions of his vocal works as well.

    And Morton Feldman: Three Voices (excerpt)
    At last to guess, instead of always knowing. To be able to say “ah” and “oh” and “hey” instead of “yea” and “amen. ” ~ Wings of Desire

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    Sounds like you might be up for some Georges Aperghis.

    And do you know Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs? That's one of many songs by Cage.

    Romitelli's An Index of Metals is a sort of chamber/video opera for soprano and ensemble that's not too edgy, but it's still nice. (Professor Bad Trip is on order, so I can't say anything about that.)

    Otherwise, look for the singers to find more cool pieces. Cathy Berberian, Joan La Barbara, Diamanda Galas, Silje Johnsen.

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    Check out Luciano Berio, his relationship with singer Cathy Berberian fostered many unique & inspired vocal pieces ... Recital I, Sequenza III ... Circles, Folk Songs ... Epiphanie, Laborintus 2 & Sinfonia



    This disc has outstanding historical performances of Circles & Sequenza III by Berberian.



    Another classic recording, marvellously deranged performance of Recital I, and she's very expressive in the more mainstream Folk Songs.



    Sinfonia's verbal & vocal pyrotechnics beautifully captured on this disc, it also has an excellent Folk Songs and one of Berio's more striking orchestral works.

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    working on it.. but thanks!

    do you happen to know any Finnish ones?

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    Not Finnish... but Swedish...



    Various Baltic-area composers:



    Truly unique:






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