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Thread: Contemporary Composers

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    Default Contemporary Composers

    Tonight I attended a performance of Circus Maximus by John Corigliano and earlier today heard music written by Simon Sargon for piano and clarinet. Circus Maximus was written for large wind symphony and the composer discussed the work from the stage prior to the performance which was played by the USC Symphonic Band. The first performance was by the symphonic band of the U of Texas in 2005. This work is The 3rd Symphony of John Corigliano. A few weeks ago I heard a premier performance of a chamber work written by Simon Sargon, who was in the audience and also heard the second performance in the US of the 2nd Chamber Symphony by John Adams in Dallas, performed at a group called Voices Of Change which focuses on playing newly written music. Are any of you hearing music currently being composed and performed? Years ago I heard the world premier of a work written by Igor Stravinski and he conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at this performance. I am not seeing much about new works in the forum.

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    Senior Member David C Coleman's Avatar
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    I must admit I haven't warmed to modern music too much. Since the advent of atonal, polytonal and dissonant music. I tend to shy away from it....I'm not saying that there is no value in it...And it maybe that it will have more of a place in the future...Rather similar to say Bruckner, Mahler and even Schoenberg is becoming more acceptable by the general public now..

    Also the advent of popular music has dampened down the impact of Art Music somewhat so it will have a bit of an uphill struggle!!...But I keep an open mind about it and will warm to it eventually I'm sure....

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    Senior Member Methodistgirl's Avatar
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    I have heard Paul McCartney do classical contemporary music with his own
    compisitions like Yesturday. It was absolutely beautiful.
    judy tooley

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    I have heard Paul McCartney do classical contemporary music with his own
    compisitions like Yesturday. It was absolutely beautiful.
    Just because it is arranged for orchestra, does not make it classical. If a Jazz peice was played on string quartet, it would still be jazz. If a Mozart quartet was played by a saxophone quartet, it would still be (ruined :P ) classical music. I've yet to hear a third stream (in the original and second meaning) that isn't one of three possibilities: X pieces with Y instruments. X Music with Y 'pasted' over the top in counterpoint or an A section in X style followed by a B section in Y style (etc.). The thing that makes it so difficult is that (take Jazz and classical) the styles are so different that any hint of a style instantly stands out.

    I should also add that getting a Classical melody and completely changing it so it is barely recognisable (say in a Jazz improv), does not justify it classical.

    And it maybe that it will have more of a place in the future...
    Doubtful. A lot of 20th Century composers distance themselves from a the general public and a good deal of musicians poorly because of atonality. If you look at any 20th century composer that the general public would know about, they are always tonal. Atonality is intrinsically natural, and is therefore understood by the world to a certain extent. There are the odd atonal pieces that draw a crowd, but they are more for the (single) emotional effect they produce. Take Penderecki's Threnody for example, it is very obvious what the emotion is, and it does produce it excellently, but if atonality tried to make beauty it would fail would a good deal of musicians and the general public. This is only because of the chaotic nature of atonality, it has no natural form. Though it still has it's roots in tonality (even quarter tone music often does), this cannon be heard, only understood.

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    Member Drowning_by_numbers's Avatar
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    I feel incredibly strongly about this topic. New and contemporary music are to very different ideas. Film composers write new music.. but it is not in a contemporary idiom. Just to make the distinction clear. I am talking about the latter.

    I am studying contemporary composition in the UK at a music conservatiore and I encounter a lot of the players there who do not like contemporary music, because it's all "atonal and stuff". I recommend that people who believe this should listen to Messiaen's quartet for the end of time.. the fifth movement for cello solo and piano. It is tonal. Well I suppose you should say modal for Messiaen.. in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. It was written while he was in a concentration camp about the apocalypse. It was one of the pieces that converted me to contemporary styles.

    I don't understand why contemporary art is so much more widely accepted than contemporary music. Artists just seem to understand that when you are looking at a contemporary painting you should be looking for new techniques, but this just is not the way musician see it? A painting that portrays violence and anger, and looks hideous would be much more accepted than a piece of music hoping to portray the same in a very graphic way.

    Since the wide spread culture of popular music classical music just doesn;t get a look in. So many musicians have never heard anything contemporary and it's so hard to break into this world with no experience of it. I struggle daily, but I am getting there. Why should music sound "nice" if it is portraying something horrible. Contemporary music has such freedom and just becuase you here one twelve-tone piece that is totally atonal and you don't like should not rule out everything that has been written in the last 100 years! That's exactly what I did until a few other things were forced upon me!

    Becky

    PS I would just like to add that while I love contemporary music, I still am very much wary of contemporary for contemporary sake.

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    Member Drowning_by_numbers's Avatar
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    I have just scrolled down in this forum and am staggered that there is no Messiaen or Stravinsky.. Ligeti? Berio?? But no Messiaen?? He did more for music than any other! In my opinion obviously..

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    I am studying contemporary composition in the UK at a music conservatiore and I encounter a lot of the players there who do not like contemporary music, because it's all "atonal and stuff". I recommend that people who believe this should listen to Messiaen's quartet for the end of time.. the fifth movement for cello solo and piano. It is tonal. Well I suppose you should say modal for Messiaen..
    It is far from 'tonal', but it has it's roots in tonality.

    I don't understand why contemporary art is so much more widely accepted than contemporary music. Artists just seem to understand that when you are looking at a contemporary painting you should be looking for new techniques, but this just is not the way musician see it?
    Music is more imposing than paintings and is this, easier to dislike.

    Why should music sound "nice" if it is portraying something horrible.
    Why should something sound "horrible" if it depicts something nice? And are you saying that tonal music can't sound horrible?

    [quoteContemporary music has such freedom and just becuase you here one twelve-tone piece that is totally atonal and you don't like should not rule out everything that has been written in the last 100 years[/quote]Forgotten who said it, but "serialist music had the seeds of it's destruction in its beginning".

    You know, no contemporary composer has actually seriously thought about using strong elements from (say) the romantic era. Far too many copy the style of a certain composer* I know of none that seriously try to create a new style within and style group.

    *This is certainly an excellent learning tool though.
    Last edited by Yagan Kiely; Apr-04-2008 at 14:15.

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    It is far from 'tonal', but it has it's roots in tonality.
    It is entirely based on his modes of limited transposition... a new kind of tonality, in my opinion.

    Music is more imposing than paintings and is this, easier to dislike.
    I don't agree with you, so we will have to agree to disagree on this. One chooses to look at a painting in the same way one chooses to listen to music

    Why should something sound "horrible" if it depicts something nice? And are you saying that tonal music can't sound horrible?
    I don't believe modernism, including atonality is horrible. I just see it as different, and I think everyone has the capacity to see this should they give it a chance. And no that is not what I said, I was just trying to show my point.

    [quote]Forgotten who said it, but "serialist music had the seeds of it's destruction in its beginning".[quote]
    Yes, that is true. Schoenberg set out to break down tonality. But Messiaen didn't, Stravinsky didn't, Ligeti didn't, Berio didn't.. I am simply asking why all twentieth cntury music in tarnished by the same brush as serialism? Twelve-tone music had a MASSIVE impact across the world.. and I myself use techniques like inversion and retrograde in my own work.. so do many composers. But I don't subscribe to total serialism, nor do many.

    You know, no contemporary composer has actually seriously thought about using strong elements from (say) the romantic era. Far too many copy the style of a certain composer* I know of none that seriously try to create a new style within and style group.
    Well I would like to know the foundation for this claim? Stravinsky -neoclassicism?? I use medieval counterpoint in my work, and I know many who do.. many use strcuture and form, like fugue.. it is from the past that we learn about the future. I passionately disagree with you about that one. And maybe bad composers purely copy?? The rest use influence form here and there.

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    It is entirely based on his modes of limited transposition... a new kind of tonality, in my opinion.
    You can't call it tonality if it is new. It has have a new name, otherwise people get confused as to which 'tonality' you are referring to.

    I don't agree with you, so we will have to agree to disagree on this. One chooses to look at a painting in the same way one chooses to listen to music
    Go to an art gallery and if you don't like a painting you keep going. In an auditorium if you don't like the piece you are forced to"suffer" through it until one that you may like. That doesn't exactly make you like the piece more, in face it strengthens your dislike for it.

    I don't believe modernism, including atonality is horrible. I just see it as different, and I think everyone has the capacity to see this should they give it a chance. And no that is not what I said, I was just trying to show my point.
    I don't see tonality as "nice" either.

    and I myself use techniques like inversion and retrograde in my own work.. so do many composers.
    Bach, Machaut etc.

    Well I would like to know the foundation for this claim? Stravinsky -neoclassicism?? I use medieval counterpoint in my work, and I know many who do.. many use strcuture and form, like fugue.. it is from the past that we learn about the future. I passionately disagree with you about that one. And maybe bad composers purely copy?? The rest use influence form here and there.
    Stravinsky is using elements but still forging a hugely different style. Was Mozart that different from Haydn? No. They were subtly different, ever since Beethoven everyone is required to be worlds apart from another composer regardless of influence.

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    You can't call it tonality if it is new. It has have a new name, otherwise people get confused as to which 'tonality' you are referring to.
    But most Messiaen addicts call it tonality? And I think we have avoided the confusion by clarifying the point many a time.

    Go to an art gallery and if you don't like a painting you keep going. In an auditorium if you don't like the piece you are forced to"suffer" through it until one that you may like. That doesn't exactly make you like the piece more, in face it strengthens your dislike for it.
    I was forced to look at many paintings I didn't like for my art A level, and to study them in much detail.. so how is it different in this circumstance. Besides if you here a piece the whole way through, and actually listen, then you have a right to criticise. If you here part of a piece, and quit, then you do not.

    I don't see tonality as "nice" either.
    Again, I was simply explaining my point. I understand what I said could be misinterpreted, and have clarified this once already.


    Bach, Machaut etc.
    I don't believe Bach used Stravinsky's rotation serial methods? Or the vast majority of Schoenberg's techniques? These were simply examples.


    Stravinsky is using elements but still forging a hugely different style. Was Mozart that different from Haydn? No. They were subtly different, ever since Beethoven everyone is required to be worlds apart from another composer regardless of influence.
    Hugely different? One hopes to make advancements, that is all. To Influence others. Why is that a bad thing? It seems to me that Bach had amazing new ideas that revolutionised music at the time, and he was around a bit before Beethoven??

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    But most Messiaen addicts call it tonality? And I think we have avoided the confusion by clarifying the point many a time.
    I really don't care what "Messiaen addicts" call it. They are biased (obviously). Tonality already has a definition. Messiaen didn't try and create a new definition to Tonality (otherwise he would not have called them what he did). I don't agree with Modality (as that already is taken either), but considering the other words he used, it is okay. Musically it is not tonal, musically it is not called tonality, I don't care what you want it to be.

    I was forced to look at many paintings I didn't like for my art A level, and to study them in much detail.. so how is it different in this circumstance. Besides if you here a piece the whole way through, and actually listen, then you have a right to criticise. If you here part of a piece, and quit, then you do not.
    Different scenario.

    Again, I was simply explaining my point. I understand what I said could be misinterpreted, and have clarified this once already.
    No you didn't.

    I don't believe Bach used Stravinsky's rotation serial methods? Or the vast majority of Schoenberg's techniques? These were simply examples.
    Bach certainly used retrograde and inversion, and at the same time. But unlike serialist, it is [sarcasm]slightly[/sarcasm] more complex.

    Hugely different? One hopes to make advancements, that is all. To Influence others. Why is that a bad thing? It seems to me that Bach had amazing new ideas that revolutionised music at the time, and he was around a bit before Beethoven??
    You completely missed my point. While Haydn's style is very similar to Mozart, and Bach's is to Handle, Beethoven to Brahms is completely different. Because of Beethoven's (eroica), every composer believe they have to invent a completely new style (while drawing of old). Music before Beethoven happened gradually, styles evolved. After Beethoven, every composer climbed a mini Mt Improbable rather than continuing to go up the hill. There are a lot of blanks left because of this. However, 20th Century styles has had a lot of it's holes filled, as with Classical and Baroque. Romantic and early 20th century leaves a lot to be desired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    Just because it is arranged for orchestra, does not make it classical.
    Of course it doesn't make it classical.




    Now.... if the songs were used in a movie....

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    Now.... if the songs were used in a movie....
    If classical music was played on classical instruments it is still classical. Sorry! you failed again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yagan Kiely View Post
    If classical music was played on classical instruments it is still classical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shsherm View Post
    Are any of you hearing music currently being composed and performed?
    Not at concert halls, but I'm trying to spend some time with Marc-André Dalbavie these days.

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