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Thread: Discussion for "Exploring Contemporary Composers"

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    Default Discussion for "Exploring Contemporary Composers"

    Several of us thought it might be fun and educational to have a thread where members can explore contemporary composers in more detail than is generally done in other threads. There are threads dedicated to modern and contemporary composers such as:

    21st Century Listening Chain
    21st Century Classical
    Exploring Modern and Contemporary Music (older thread)

    In these threads members post works by various composers. In the new thread we would pick a contemporary composer and post works, listen to the music, and discuss the music or the composer over a reasonable time period. We would then move on to another composer. All the discussion would be in a single thread perhaps called Exploring Contemporary Composers.

    There seems to be interest in this idea, and several members sent a few thoughts in PMs.

    Go slow (> 1 week per composer?)
    Participation may be erratic for some given time constraints
    Simply posting videos (or links) is less interesting
    Pose questions to elicit opinions from others
    Select a composer and leave some time before starting that composer so people have a chance to listen

    Thanks for the initial feedback. I think all of these are useful.

    So please make suggestions, give comments, and encourage others. When we have a better sense of what the new thread will be, I'll start it and we can begin exploring.

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    I plan to start the Exploring Contemporary Composers thread with a description of the thread (general intent, any guidelines, a link to this thread - Discussion for "Exploring Modern Composers", etc.). The second post will be an index where I will list composers, give a link to the initial post for each composer, and maybe show the range of posts for that composer. I will update that post as we proceed.

    Clearly people want to go somewhat slowly. I would suggest roughly 2 weeks/ composer, but I don’t think we have to be rigid about that. Maybe when it’s time to move on, we move on.

    One thing many of us realize is that it can be very difficult to talk about music especially for those of us who don’t have a music background. Still, I like the idea of questions eliciting opinions and thoughts. So I think people should feel free to pose questions hoping to get more discussion.

    I don’t think we have to have many guidelines – just post thoughts, questions, opinions, music, pertaining to the composers.

    Please add make any suggestions you feel would be helpful. Also some time in this thread we should pick maybe the first two (or so) composers.
    Last edited by mmsbls; Dec-18-2017 at 18:21.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    i think if we had a few composers at a time, it would be more interesting to compare the styles, etc., rather than having only one composer for a week or more, which could get boring to those nit interested in that particular composer. We are dealing with 20th century and beyond, which is not the same as focussing on a composer like Mozart, Brahms. Tastes on different modern/contemporary composers can vary quite wildly.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    I’ll be happy to join in but I’m not great at describing what I’m hearing and don’t have a musical background. Always ready to try something new though!

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    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Fun and educational! My opinion is to stick to 1 composer at a time. These days a composer is often in several styles all at once. Also there are solo pieces, chamber music of all sizes, and orchestral music and beyond.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    i think if we had a few composers at a time, it would be more interesting to compare the styles, etc., rather than having only one composer for a week or more, which could get boring to those nit interested in that particular composer. We are dealing with 20th century and beyond, which is not the same as focussing on a composer like Mozart, Brahms. Tastes on different modern/contemporary composers can vary quite wildly.
    I'm less sure about that. This runs the risk of not seeing each composer individually, but as one of a group of homogeneous "modern composers".

    By focusing on one composer, we get to know specific composers, to listen to the cream of their work and talk about it. That is a step toward actually getting beyond the formless 'modern music' discussions.

    Discussion will very likely bring in other composers for comparative purposes, but to better understand the composer in question. A week is not a long time for such purposes. It shouldn't be boring to learn new things and to prompted and motivated into a little investigation in order to contribute information. If I find that the chosen composer really doesn't interest me at all, I will just refrain from contributing for that week.
    Last edited by eugeneonagain; Dec-18-2017 at 22:28.

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    Senior Member LezLee's Avatar
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    I agree about one composer at a time, otherwise there’ll be all sorts of tangents gone off on and almighty chaos!

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugeneonagain View Post
    I'm less sure about that. This runs the risk of not seeing each composer individually, but as one of a group of homogeneous "modern composers".

    By focusing on one composer, we get to know specific composers, to listen to the cream of their work and talk about it. That is a step toward actually getting beyond the formless 'modern music' discussions.

    Discussion will very likely bring in other composers for comparative purposes, but to better understand the composer in question. A week is not a long time for such purposes. It shouldn't be boring to learn new things and to prompted and motivated into a little investigation in order to contribute information. If I find that the chosen composer really doesn't interest me at all, I will just refrain from contributing for that week.
    I guess I could see it going in crazy directions if there isn’t a more ordered approach.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Senior Member Balthazar's Avatar
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    One week seems an awfully short amount of time. Unless someone is retired, a student, or on the dole, that is hardly enough time to listen to a few marquee works at best.

    For me, at least two weeks would be preferable. Or, if the multiple composer suggestion is taken up, name 3 or 4 composers for the month and people can pursue the paths that most interest them.
    Last edited by Balthazar; Dec-19-2017 at 01:22.
    "We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
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    Senior Member LezLee's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely more than a week. When we did a Monday Symphony on Amazon, most of us needed more time.

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    I will gladly be a part of the thread (I hope I can find the time). To me, one week or two weeks are both fine. A proposal: Salvatore Sciarrino.

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    I'd favor 3 or so weeks per composer--that would give time for repeated, if not comprehensive, listening.

    Sounds great whatever you decide, though.
    Last edited by Blancrocher; Dec-19-2017 at 02:02.

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    I think we should have at least 2 weeks per composer, and I'd be open to 3 weeks. As I said earlier, I think we don't need a specific policy. We could say at least 2 weeks, and if there's still discussion or requests for more time, we could refrain from starting a new composer.

    I don't think anyone has to feel like they have to or ought to contribute. If they don't have time, are less interested in a composer, or just don't get around to listening/participating, that's all fine. People are free to go back and listen to composers later.

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    This is an excellent idea for a thread, and is one that I'll be following closely.

    We already have composer guestbooks, so I see that what will make this series unique is that we will be listening and commenting in real time.

    I echo what other members have said concerning being given enough time to listen. Personally, I have about 10-15 hours available per week for serious listening, and this has to cover all eras, genres and non-classical music. So for me, I would prefer a longer period, one month per composer, to give me enough time to engage properly.

    I have noticed on similar threads such as the contemporary listening chain, posters are like me in that they will pop in periodically. The danger of too short a period, such as one or even two weeks per composer, is that members will drop in, leave details of their favourite performances, then move on, without enough time for any discussion to develop. This is still good, I am enjoying the current Martinu thread for example, but a series such as the one being proposed has the scope to be much more informative and interesting than what has gone before.

    I am more of a taker rather than a giver on this forum. Mainly, I listen to recommendations of other members. I think that I am, perhaps, part of a silent majority. Your suggestion of asking questions about the composers and their works is therefore a very good one so those such as myself who fall into this category can help to contribute and stimulate more information and discussion.

    Many times, members post a work, either as a link or not, without any comment. My feeling is that this sort of activity should be discouraged in this series of threads because it doesn't mean anything more than that the poster has maybe heard the piece once. At the same time I do recognise that many of us, especially myself, are not articulate in explaining what they like about a work, but I would suggest that posters make a stab at saying something, even just a few words, in what should be a friendly and encouraging environment.

    My final thought is that we need one person to control the series, to prevent it from fading away, in the way that realdealblues (& Bix before) has done so successfully with the Saturday Symphony series.

    I'd love a thread on Gubaidulina!
    Last edited by Tulse; Dec-19-2017 at 14:22.

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    Senior Member Melvin's Avatar
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    My vote is for 2 weeks per composer
    1 week is too short for me; Because of school, a week flies by like a day. It would be too hard for me to keep up.
    3 weeks would be nice, but perhaps too long to keep the momentum and interest high, plus with two weeks we would be able to move from composer to composer a bit more quickly. (But 3 weeks would give plenty of time for busier users to participate; maybe certain composers could warrant extra time)

    I love this idea for a number of reasons

    Firstly, it would improve on some aspects of the other 21st listening threads. I loved the listening chain, because it was nice to have the participation of people collectively listening to and commenting on your selected piece. Problem was, choosing a single piece often does not do justice to the full breadth that a particular composer may offer.
    And with the current listening thread, its hard to go out on a limb when people are posting so many things.

    Secondly, I love this idea because it would be like a crash course for introducing participants to a wide variety of composers in a rather quick yet thorough fashion. Like a college class where we will get the chance to be guided through the listening of many composers whom we may not other wise venture to listen too.

    Me, I am open to hearing anything, but if one truly dislikes the current composer, they can always come back for the next composer.

    I would like to systematically delve into as many contemporary composers as possible, and with a good enough pace to be able to absorb and appreciate each. When do we start?

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