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Thread: Modern music for those who think they don't like it

  1. #1
    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    Default Modern music for those who think they don't like it

    By modern I mean 20th-21th century music that sounds very different from music of earlier centuries. Preferably not something like the impressionists or the more famous minimalists, because everyone already knows they don't sound like "random dissonant noise".

    Examples:

    Pierre Boulez - Dérive I

    Takashi Yoshimatsu - Threnody to Toki

    To clarify: Think of somebody who has heard some modernist music but has found it overwhelming and excessively alienating. He is however not somebody who wishes that composers were stuck in the 19th century - it's just that he wishes they wouldn't go totally crazy on all parameters of music at once. He is already quite familiar with Baroque, Classical and Romantic repertoire and is curious, but suspicious of newer music.
    Last edited by Dim7; Feb-28-2016 at 23:37.
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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    famous minimalists, because everyone already knows they don't sound like "random dissonant noise".
    The first time I heard Philip Glass I thought: This is some really strange modern music.

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    The first of Grisey's 4 Chants, once the back-and-forth between the singer and the ensemble mimicking her overtones gets going. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4bOcE_laMs&t=7m8s

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    William Schuman maybe? I'm still new to his music. Some of it I shut off pretty quick, and some of it I love despite it sounding like the kind of thing I'd shut off pretty quick.

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    Terry Riley - Shri Camel, not for the minimalism, but for the pleasantly weird tuning.

    On the same note, La Monte Young's Well-Tuned Piano, maybe just an excerpt to start. Maybe one of the parts where it somehow starts to sound like electric guitar feedback.

    And, I suppose, Harry Partch, let's say, the inevitable And on the Seventh Day.
    Last edited by Harold in Columbia; Feb-28-2016 at 22:32.

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  10. #6
    Senior Member SeptimalTritone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    By modern I mean 20th-21th century music that sounds very different from music of earlier centuries. Preferably not something like the impressionists or the more famous minimalists, because everyone already knows they don't sound like "random dissonant noise". For example:

    Pierre Boulez - Dérive I

    Takashi Yoshimatsu - Threnody to Toki
    Feldman is no more dissonant than Boulez, Yoshimatsu, and Takemitsu.

    Some of his pieces are quite long, but here are a few approx 30 min ones:

    Why Patterns? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8-gDhJTdko
    Coptic Light https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgS37X4P2hM
    Clarinet and String Quartet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiVhS20ES3k
    Piano https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XMzh34_wSc
    Patterns in a Chromatic Field https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-im03eVGWQ8 This last one is the only non 30 minute piece on this list, and is a longer Feldman piece, about as long as a Mahler symphony. However, it has a lot of really fun action. Try it for 15 minutes.

  11. #7
    Senior Member SeptimalTritone's Avatar
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    Also, needless to say, you really should check out Messiaen and Ligeti.

    Chronochromie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0b7mpiz-xc
    Quartet for the End of Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeSVu1zbF94 I know you'll love this one.
    Eclairs sur lau-dela https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA53UMx7dHY
    Sept Haikai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnMcor5Cyeo This one has Japanese influence, meaning that it's good (as a logical consequent).

    My familiarity with Ligeti is less strong, although Le Grande Macabre, the concertos, the requiem and Lux Aeterna, and Lontano are highly recommended.

    You may also like early avant-garde Penderecki, although he's a bit more "out there". Try Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, Polymorphia, and Symphony 1.

    Late Stravinsky (i.e. serial Stravinsky) has more triadic harmony than Schoenberg, and is a bit thinner in texture. This may make it worthwhile. Try the Septet, Requiem Canticles, Threni, and Agon (a bridge between neoclassical and serial Stravinsky).

    And finally, Varese's Ameriques and especially Deserts. Deserts is mostly orchestral, with a few electronic interpolations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q__g0tgC2wE and is an all-time classic.
    Last edited by SeptimalTritone; Feb-28-2016 at 23:05.

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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    Thanks for the recommendations, but keep in mind though that this thread is not (just) about me and what I would like. For instance I like Schoenberg's Piano Suite op. 25 but I would consider it a bit borderline, I would not necessarily recommend it for someone who's suspicious of modern music (except maybe the menuett).
    Last edited by Dim7; Feb-29-2016 at 01:34.
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    Senior Member Balthazar's Avatar
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    I would suggest Giacinto Scelsi. I found his work immediately accessible.

    Uaxuctum -- for something dramatic and a bit eerie.

    Quattro Pezzi (su una sola nota) -- for something Zen.

    Kshara -- (and other works for double bass) to showcase his creativity.
    Last edited by Balthazar; Feb-28-2016 at 23:39.
    "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
    And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh."
    -- Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dim7 View Post
    Thanks for the recommendations, but keep in mind though that this thread is not (just) about me and what I would like. For instance Schoenberg's Piano Suite op. 25 I would consider a bit borderline, I would not necessarily recommend it for someone who's suspicious of modern music (except maybe the menuett).
    I think lots of Schoenberg could be recommended to newcomers, with the proviso that the composer is left unidentified.

    Anyway, why has no one mentioned Stravinsky yet? (Oops, missed Septimal above)

    Octet for winds
    Concerto for piano and winds
    Duo Concertant
    Last edited by Mahlerian; Feb-28-2016 at 23:49.

  17. #11
    Senior Member SeptimalTritone's Avatar
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    Hmm... I can see why someone would prefer Boulez's Derive 1 and 2 to Schoenberg's piano suite. The harmony in the Boulez works, albeit dissonant with chromatic hexachords or whatever, is comparatively static compared to the very rapid harmonic shifts of the Schoenberg op 25. Remember that "derive" is French for "drift". Also, the Boulez Derive works have a much greater focus on timbre compared to a piano piece. Remember that while some may find Schoenberg's rapid harmonic shifts off-putting and random sounding, the fast harmonic shifts are what make it so wonderfully energetic, dramatic, and witty in a comparable way to Mozart and Beethoven (the tone row is the "voice leading glue" rather than the major or harmonic minor scale, and the tone row also serves as the motivic material in a classical/romantic sense).

    My recommendations were not based on not necessarily what I think you would have liked, but what I like, and what I think is reasonably accessible. I think that there's a great gold mine in late Schoenberg (i.e. stuff like the String Trio or Fantasy for Violin and Piano), Stockhausen, Xenakis, Cage, Ferrari, Parmegiani, Lachenmann, and Ferneyhough, but they are perhaps not the best places to start.

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    Five votes already. Some folk just can't help it. I know I can't.

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    Senior Member Chronochromie's Avatar
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    Last edited by Chronochromie; Feb-29-2016 at 00:24.

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    Senior Member Stavrogin's Avatar
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    Valentin Silvestrov and Peteris Vasks come to mind.
    Last edited by Stavrogin; Feb-29-2016 at 00:05.
    Listening to one another is an important thing in life. And music tells us how to do that. - Claudio Abbado

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    Retired TurnaboutVox's Avatar
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    So you're looking for music to help those who have stopped at late romanticism and / or impressionism, and maybe dipped their toes into minimalism, but haven't really got into expressionism and beyond, to venture beyond that?

    Maybe late Busoni, Reger's chamber music, later Ives, Bartok, Berg, Hindemith, Koechlin, late Bridge, Stravinsky?

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