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Thread: A Contemporary Music Repertoire (a work in progress)

  1. #31
    Senior Member Trout's Avatar
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    Here's the new entry for Luigi Nono.

    I didn't listen/re-listen to everything there, but of the pieces I did, my favorite discovery was his late, beautiful piece dedicated to Pierre Boulez A Pierre. Dell'azzurro silenzio, inquietum.
    Last edited by Trout; Dec-23-2018 at 07:26.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Allerius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trout View Post
    Hi everyone,

    For the past year or so, I've been on and off working on compiling a large, but hopefully comprehensive, list of contemporary classical music. In fact, I'm still working on it, but I thought I would share my current progress in case anyone is interested.

    What is this list exactly? Well, in the most precise terms, it is simply an aggregation of works of the most-acclaimed contemporary composers that both critics and casual listeners seem to recommend. I did this through plenty of research across various forums, books, articles and reviews (including a drop of my own preferences). As I disclaim in the link, this list is obviously not scientific nor perfect by any means, but I hope it provides a good overview of contemporary classical music especially for novices.

    To breakdown its sheer vastness, I created a couple tiers to distinguish the most-recommended works:

    ⋆⋆⋆ means an essential work, among the most esteemed of the contemporary era
    ⋆⋆ means a fairly important work, good to know especially if you're interested in that particular composer

    Of the composers listed, am I missing any of their important works or your favorites? Do you disagree strongly with any of the star ratings (or lack thereof)? Or generally, if anyone has any questions or feedback, I'd be happy to hear!

    Edit: I should have made it more clear that there are tons of absent composers that I just haven't had time to include yet. Each composer entry takes many hours to complete thoroughly so I appreciate all of your patience.
    This is great! Thanks.
    “To do good whenever one can, to love liberty above all else, never to deny the truth, even though it be before the throne.” - Ludwig van Beethoven.

  4. #33
    marc bollansee
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    terrific initiative; may I suggest you consult my blogspot; it lists composers from all eras, but is specialised in contemporary composers, because it is my major interest; among your list only babitt is missing just because I do not fancy his work;
    my blogspot is: marcbollansee.blogspot.com

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  6. #34
    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    John Corigliano surely deserves to be included.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Are you sure about including Sessions as a contemporary composer? You previously said that your cut-off was "any composer that has a substantial or important body of work post circa-1975," but Sessions only composed three works post-1975 (albeit three very fine works). Arguably his most important works were composed in the '40s and '60s, and if you include him I'm afraid there will be grounds to list also Ginastera, Orff, Krenek, Tubin, Pettersson, etc. (whom I don't consider to be contemporary composers in the strict sense).

    Since I'm familiar with Ustvolskaya, I'll try to help you out with that one.

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    Senior Member Trout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Are you sure about including Sessions as a contemporary composer? You previously said that your cut-off was "any composer that has a substantial or important body of work post circa-1975," but Sessions only composed three works post-1975 (albeit three very fine works). Arguably his most important works were composed in the '40s and '60s, and if you include him I'm afraid there will be grounds to list also Ginastera, Orff, Krenek, Tubin, Pettersson, etc. (whom I don't consider to be contemporary composers in the strict sense).

    Since I'm familiar with Ustvolskaya, I'll try to help you out with that one.
    You're right, including Sessions was an oversight on my part. Scelsi is too, looking back on my list. I made this list a while ago, and I think it was originally supposed to be for post-war composers, but I later narrowed my focus to the contemporary "era."

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  12. #37
    Senior Member Trout's Avatar
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    New entry for Cornelius Cardew.

    I remember interpreting and performing a sheet of his Treatise for a modern music class I took. Super bizarre but very memorable experience. And now, in the context with the rest of his ouevre, it was interesting to read about how radically Cardew shifted from the avant-garde to Romantic agitprop.

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    Cardew was certainly an odd man. Coming from an art background, the graphical score of Treatise is both beautiful and interesting to analyze.

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  16. #39
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Cardew was certainly an odd man. Coming from an art background, the graphical score of Treatise is both beautiful and interesting to analyze.
    Cardew is an interesting case. He worked closely with Stockhausen for several years, but later became a radical Marxist-Leninist-Maoist and denounced the avant garde, his own prior works and especially Stockhausen, in decidedly violent language.

    On his own major work, which is based on Confucius: “No longer do I want to conceal the facts about bourgeois society, I want to expose them. My standpoint in criticising The Great Learning is the standpoint of the working class. For the working class The Great Learning is or would be if they ever got to hear it a piece of inflated rubbish which obviously has no role to play in their struggles; its role is to promote and consolidate bourgeois ideas in one guise or another amongst the intelligentsia.”

    http://ubu.com/historical/cardew/cardew_stockhausen.pdf

    Last edited by KenOC; Dec-24-2018 at 00:42.


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    Below is probably what I would list for Ustvolskaya:

    Ustvolskaya, Galina (1919-2006; Russian)

    - Concerto for Piano, String Orchestra, and Timpani (1946)
    - Piano Sonata No. 1 (1947)
    - Trio for Clarinet, Violin, and Piano (1949)
    - Octet [2 oboes, 4 violins, timpani, and piano] (1949-50)
    - Violin Sonata (1952)
    - Grand Duet [cello & piano] (1959) **
    - Composition No. 1 "Dona nobis pacem" [piccolo, tuba, and piano] (1970-71)
    - Composition No. 2 "Dies irae" [8 double basses, piano, and cube] (1972-73) **
    - Composition No. 3 "Benedictus, qui venit" [4 flutes, 4 bassoons, and piano] (1974-75)
    - Symphony No. 3 "Jesus Messiah, Save Us!" (1983)
    - Symphony No. 4 "Prayer" (1985-87)
    - Piano Sonata No. 5 (1986) **
    - Piano Sonata No. 6 (1988) ***
    - Symphony No. 5 "Amen" (1989-90) **

    There are still many, many more composers to go through but I see this being a valuable resource for contemporary music.

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  20. #41
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    I hope you also will consider Edison Denisov. I remember that he, Schnittke and Gubaidulina were the most talked about Russians of their generation. I don't understand why he has kind of been left out. If it's because he maybe repeats himself, the same can be said about many composers, and I regard that as a sort of signature.

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  22. #42
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    I like the new Ustvolskaya entry. It's amazing that that's 21/25 of the entries in her catalog. She was so self-critical that, in the end, all that remained were great (and occasionally masterful) works.

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  24. #43
    Senior Member Trout's Avatar
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    Thanks, I was planning on bumping this thread soon but you beat me to it.

    Yeah, I noticed a lot of publications even referred to her oeuvre as only being the 21 listed works. The 4 other works are in a mainstream, Soviet-style that I think bares little to no resemblance to her others. So it might be just as apropos to say she went 21/21 from her creative catalog and basically did my work for me.

    Also, as you probably noticed, I finished the Julius Eastman one as well. What a revelation Femenine was! I am listening to it for the 3rd time in the past couple days. Just beautiful. I'm still stunned that this was composed before Music for 18 Musicians.
    Last edited by Trout; Dec-26-2018 at 07:01.

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  26. #44
    Senior Member 20centrfuge's Avatar
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    This is going to be a super-valuable resource. Thanks for all the great work you've done. Make sure Van der Aa gets on there eventually.

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  28. #45
    Senior Member Trout's Avatar
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    Arrow

    I finished up the entry on Michael Nyman.

    He has been quite a bit more divisive than I foresaw. It seems that in the classical community, opinions on him are pretty lukewarm overall with quite a number of people loathing his work entirely. The degree of negativity is a bit unusual but not exactly unique since lots of contemporary composers have their fair share of detractors. (For the record, I'd consider myself a fan of much of his music, especially MGV.) The difference is, however, that Nyman seems to have a ton of fans elsewhere that have really bolstered his recommendations, especially his film scores.

    To correct a bit for this, I made a decision to increase the three-star threshold on all recommended film scores, not just his. Another justification for this is that film scores may not necessarily work on their own, so people recommending them may only be considering how the film score accompanies the film and not the score in isolation. The results of this new policy are that a couple Glass scores got demoted and the only three-star score on the list so far is Koyaanisqatsi, which makes sense to me.

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