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Thread: Recent Composer Discoveries for You

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    Senior Member Bevo's Avatar
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    Default Recent Composer Discoveries for You

    I'm curious as to what are some composers you've heard of (famous or not) yet never really took the time to really listen to. But once you did you really fell in love with their music. For me it was Telemann. I love that sound of Baroque with hints of Classical Era here and there. So what are some of yours? (And as a side question, who would you suggest whose music is similar to Telemann?)

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    I could list dozens and dozens. Since I began listening at about the age of 18, long before the era of free music, I had to mostly buy recordings (yes, there was the library, but having it in my own collection made it more interesting to me—it still does ) at local shops (selections were limited) and I disdained those cheap best of compilations, so my discoveries were relatively random (I didn't know which were considered to be the greatest works). Of course, I knew the biggest of the big names and in short time recognized a host of others, too. My experience of a large number of composers was limited to one or three albums. If the composer didn't click with me right away, I was less inclined to spend the money on trying another album. As a result, I went through decades not knowing about 80% of the music I am starting to know now. Add to that that at that young age, I was more interested in music that was obtuse, unconventional and modern, so the earlier composers were simply not as compelling to me. It took me about a decade to begin to broaden out (go back in history, basically) and start to explore the Romantic, Classical and Baroque eras with greater interest. Additionally, with the exception of a small number of pieces, it wasn't until the '90s that I really began to explore chamber and solo instrumental music.

    On that time scale, recent, to me, would be any composer I only really started getting into in the last decade or so.

    [Similar to Telemann: other Baroque composers, such as Bach, Handel, Albinoni, Vivaldi; and, particularly later Baroque, perhaps early Classical period, such as CPE Bach, maybe?]

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    My answer is actually broadly similar to brotagonist. For the first few years of listening to Classical music, I heard bits of Bach and dismissed it as pretty boring and uninteresting.

    Then I heard John Eliot Gardiner conduct Bach's Johannespassion at the Proms and realised what incredible music he produced in that. Since then I've listened to a lot of Bach and have really appreciated his work ever since.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bevo View Post
    I'm curious as to what are some composers you've heard of (famous or not) yet never really took the time to really listen to. But once you did you really fell in love with their music. For me it was Telemann. I love that sound of Baroque with hints of Classical Era here and there. So what are some of yours? (And as a side question, who would you suggest whose music is similar to Telemann?)
    Telemann was a great Baroque composer. He wrote for every single instrument of his day in concertos, suites, and chamber music.

    Answering your post, Michael Haydn would be my example. A great Classical composer overshadowed by his great brother Franz Joseph. But Michael was a very capable composer in his own right and were friends of the Mozarts. And the Mozarts certainly had a very high opinion of Michael's music - that was an approval that is good enough for me!

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    My appetite is so rapacious there aren't many composers I've heard of that I never took the time to listen to. Usually if I don't listen to them now they just haven't clicked yet.

    The closest examples might be the "modern" composers like Schoenberg or more contemporary composers like Boulez. These I postponed exploring because I didn't like what I'd heard about them, or I only listened to snippets to confirm what I'd heard about them, or I tried too hard later to like them intellectually. Now I enjoy them both very much on both an emotional and intellectual level after listening with a more receptive mind. I guess I was just ready for these composers finally after nearly 50 years of listening to classical music.

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    Senior Member Dustin's Avatar
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    George Enescu was a great recent discovery for me. I'm not sure of his classification but I'll say maybe late Romantic/early Modern? His octet for strings is the only thing I've heard so far but it is definitely worth hearing.

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    My most recent one: Arutiunian. I only knew his trumpet concerto, which has been recorded a few times, but the Chandos CD with his violin concerto (and other works) was an eye opener. Brilliant.

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    My recent discoveries have been the three "Bang on a Can" composers - David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon. I'd heard a bit of Gordon's music about 20 years ago and liked it but never followed up, and I'd picked up a couple of Lang pieces in recent years, but Wolfe's "Steel Hammer" recording from last year really caught me and started a serious (and very enjoyable) delving into their catalogues.


    In answer to the side question - whose music is similar to Telemann? More Telemann! He did write a lot of good music.

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    I hardly dare look at this forum for what it might do to my finances. The latest for me is Coates. I'm immersed in her world of SQs and symphonies.

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    This quarter it's Bax.

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    Senior Member Heliogabo's Avatar
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    Many years ago I used to discover new composers via a spanish review called Amadeus, it was a great review that came with a cd as a gift. The most important discovery there was Guillaume Lekeu. Now I discover composers here in TC above all. The most recent is Sorabji. But serendipia is always important in discoveries's subject; and two days ago I've found -without searching- a triple Sorabji's cd at my local cd store. I sampled it on my phone and decided to buy it. It is so amazing music.

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    Senior Member Heliogabo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dustin View Post
    George Enescu was a great recent discovery for me. I'm not sure of his classification but I'll say maybe late Romantic/early Modern? His octet for strings is the only thing I've heard so far but it is definitely worth hearing.
    You should try his symphonic dances and the works for piano and violin. They are just great!

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    Senior Member Dustin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliogabo View Post
    You should try his symphonic dances and the works for piano and violin. They are just great!
    Ok thanks I'll check them out!

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    Today I lost my Persichetti virginity. I listened his fourth symphony and Piano Sonata no. 9. Both works were great.

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    Following up with what has been said, I am least familiar with Renaissance composers because I still don't care for the style. After that, I don't know much Baroque music outside of Bach and Vivaldi. Not sure why I never tried others.

    Though I have started getting into Handel. I've tried some arias from operas, some harpsichord music, and some organ concertos. Great stuff.

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