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Thread: Who will be remembered?

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    Default Who will be remembered?

    I know it's impossible to predict the future, but in your opinion which composers who are alive today will be (in about 100-150 years time) remembered and revered and considered musical giants along with, say, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner, Brahms, Tchaikovksy, Schoenberg and Stravinsky?

    With the current knack of recording so much music from so many composers today, we might have a bigger knowledge of our current era and composers. I wouldn't be surprised if the older generation of composers whose music has been recorded multiple times on mainstream classical labels such as Deutsche Grammphon, EMI, Decca and so forth are a big part of "remembered names," but what about the lesser known composers of today who haven't yet made it big in the "mainstream" record labels? Like Matthias Pintscher, Magnus Lindberg, Unsuk Chin (despite releases on DG, she is nowhere near as well known as someone like Boulez), Isabel Mundry, Brett Dean and so forth. It would be interesting to see who appears in the textbooks as the "greats" of the 21st century in a century's time.

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    Dear COAG, you can in fact predict the near and distant future. I predict with certainty that the sun will rise tomorrow. I also predict with a fair degree of certainty that the sun will in some millions of years deplete its fissionable material and er ... become a green and blue stripy sort of sun, or a white giant, a red elf or a black hole .... thingy.
    As to which composers will be considered as 'stellar', I can safely predict that history will be the judge. Alright, I'll stick my head out and say


    [Didn't predict a sudden power outage ...]

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    Member MrCello's Avatar
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    I'll let you know in 50 years.

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    I think it's a fun thread and an interesting discussion. It reminds me of looking back a past sports drafts and seeing big names get passed over for nobodies. At the time they seemed like sound picks. The thing here is most of us won't be around when these statuses are established but it's still fun to speculate. To use another sports analogy, I think the greats in composing have parallels to the greats of baseball. You have your Ruths, Gehrigs, and Cobbs (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven) and you have your Mantles, Williamses, and Mayses (Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and Shostakovich). Although baseball has statistics to measure players against each other, there's always room for argument. "But Ruth didn't have....." or "If only Lou lived....." type comments apply to music also and we all make them. Your group ones are canonized by most and people will defend them against the group 2s and 3s with any argument that assists their points. "Sure, Trout is great but he's no Ruth!" can be replaced by "Modern composer X is interesting but come on! We're talking Bach here!"

    I think as time passes, the music scene becomes more diluted. It's like a pyramid, built in reverse. The more time passes, the wider the base gets, and the wider the base gets, the more likely people are to focus on the tip. It's smaller and easier to comprehend, and there's much less room for interpretation.
    Then, look at modern lists ranking greatest movies or rock stars. You have the same old war horses at the top (Citizen Cane, The Godfather, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bach, Beethoven,...) and then rankers are allowed to sprinkle in their edgy and controversial picks (Eminem, Nirvana, Fargo, Pulp Fiction). When you see these lists, there's always a small selection of more recent picks near the top, but the bottom of the lists are always filled with modern or contemporary selections. It's almost as if it's an unwritten rule that the greats can't be toppled and everyone must understand this before playing. I don't see much difference in classical music and there are countless posts here that point to this. It's ok if Stockhausen is your "favorite" composer. Just be careful to highlight "favorite, not best" and "in my humble opinion".
    Last edited by scratchgolf; Dec-02-2014 at 14:44.

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    I know nothing about baseball, but, scratchgolf, that is a great analogy.

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    Let's simply see how things unfold. There may be great pieces still unwritten at this point by one or more of these "unknowns" that will reveal themselves within the next 50 years or so.

    I'm relying on you contemporary music experts to tell the less informed, like myself, what these pieces eventually are.
    Last edited by hpowders; Dec-02-2014 at 14:50.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hpowders View Post
    Let's simply see how things unfold. There may be great pieces still unwritten at this point by one or more of these "unknowns" that will reveal themselves within the next 50 years or so.

    I'm relying on you contemporary music experts to tell the less informed, like myself, what these pieces eventually are.
    Become an expert yourself. Use your ears to tell you what you like and stop depending on others. Don't be the guy at the concert who waits for others to stand first. If the music moved you, shoot out of your seat and clap enthusiastically. Too many people look left and right before taking a step forward.

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    Things change, and in recent times things change rather fast. I would suggest that the big names of the future will not be from the same lineage as those with whom we are familiar as the stars now (e.g Beethoven, Mahler, Shostakovich), but will instead come from where today's branch of the classical genre is most popular. Thus I would suggest (with some reservation) that the likes of John Williams and Karl Jenkins will be further up the ladder of remembrance than Mark Anthony Turnage or Brett Dean.
    There may come a time when Youtube won't let us do this...

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    Senior Member Stavrogin's Avatar
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    I'll go out on a limb and say that (at least) the following living composers will be considered giants 100 years from now:

    (in no order)

    Arvo Part
    Steve Reich
    Krzysztof Penderecki
    Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that. - Claudio Abbado

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    COAG, I think you have asked the wrong question.

    The right question is "who of all the composers working today are worth listening to today?"

    And you probably already know the answer to that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scratchgolf View Post
    It's ok if Stockhausen is your "favorite" composer. Just be careful to highlight "favorite, not best" and "in my humble opinion".
    Well he was the greatest composer of our time

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    Gotta agree with Reich.

    One that we're not looking for is Tan Dun. He's not so popular with the likes of us because, I suspect, of his crossover-i-ness, but I also suspect that a generation of Chinese composers are going to consider him one of their inspirations, and in fact he has had some interesting ideas about instrumentation and performance.
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    Twelwe obvious possible candidates for at least a good amount of international reputation, not mentioned yet, would be

    - Sofia Gubaidulina
    - Per Nørgård
    - Kaija Saariaho
    - PeterMaxwell-Davies
    - Pierre Boulez
    - Charles Wuorinen
    - George Crumb
    - Sergei Slonimsky, symphonist etc.
    - Wolfgang Rihm
    - Valentin Silvestrov
    - Helmuth Lachenmann
    - Tristan Murail

    I´m pretty sure though, that taste & elitist faculties will have developed a lot by then - & it´s not a list based so much on their direct innovation as an ambitious, multi-facetted work & an individual, composing voice.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Dec-02-2014 at 17:18.

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    One obituary of Mahler famously said: "We cannot imagine that his music will long outlast him."

    I don't think we can tell today what will survive tomorrow; we don't have the benefit of perspective to sort through everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    One obituary of Mahler famously said: "We cannot imagine that his music will long outlast him."

    I don't think we can tell today what will survive tomorrow; we don't have the benefit of perspective to sort through everything.
    Wow! I put that right up there with "unsinkable Titanic"!!
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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