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View Poll Results: Which group of C20 composers deserve the most acclaim?

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  • The post-romantics

    13 37.14%
  • The impressionists

    6 17.14%
  • The serialists

    3 8.57%
  • The modernists

    9 25.71%
  • The avant-garde

    3 8.57%
  • The minimalists

    1 2.86%
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Thread: Which group of C20 composers deserve the most acclaim?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Bach's Avatar
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    Question Which group of C20 composers deserve the most acclaim?

    Which group will pave the way to the future of music, write the best music and deserve the most attention.

    The post-romantics, including: R Strauss, Mahler, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich, Barber, Britten, Prokofiev

    The French tradition and impressionists, including: Faure, Debussy, Ravel, Dukas, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Vaughan-Williams, Howells, Delius, Respighi, Szymanowski

    The serialists: Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono, Milton Babbitt

    The modernists: Stravinsky, Birtwistle, Messiaen (again), Varèse, Bartok

    The avant-garde: Cage, Xenakis, Berio, Stockhausen

    The minimalists: Glass, Reich, Riley, Nyman, Górecki, Pärt
    Si vos agnosco is tunc vos es quoque erudio

  2. #2
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    I think that the serialists and modernists are the ones who will "pave the way to the future of music". What they did, was a huge innovation and they shall be remember for it. No doubt that forthcoming generations would be highly inspired by those movements, if the world wouldn't end in 2012 ehehehehe.

    Post-romantics probably will be more popular, but their contribution to music is much smaller.

  3. #3
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
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    Actually, I chose the impressionists. For such a short-lived style of music, it has certainly exerted a massive influence on all the subsequent styles; minimalism, twelve-tone, modernist, avant-garde--all have influences from the impressionists, and there is really no denying it. A lot of living composers are now beginning to revive the style; Erkki-Sven Tuur, Rautavaara (sort of), and doubtlessly several others.

    For all its previous unassuming nature, impressionism is, in my opinion, the music of today (which is equivalent to the music of the future considering when it was made, I suppose...).

    Post-romanticism was more of the end of common practice period; the serialists weren't pleasing enough to the ear; the avant-garde were too bizarre; and the minimalists are too often ridiculed.

    I suppose the modernists are another profound influence.

    So for me it's the modernists and impressionists, but primarily the impressionists.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

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    Another vote for "Impressionists," but you didn't see that one coming did you? Anyway, I chose them for the very reason that Debussy and co. created a very personal approach to composition that, in turn, influenced generations to follow. The idea of color and texture being just as important as the form or the notes is a very provocative one.

    I do disagree with your categorization of Prokofiev, Britten, and Shostakovich. Aren't these composers Modernists? I certainly don't hear Romanticism in their music at all. They're music is more hard-edged and modern to be considered "Post-Romantic," don't you think?

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    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    I think the 20C will be remebered as the century of dead ends. How many different 'invented styles have ever fizzled out quicker?

    The impressionists and the post-romantics will probably be the most tenacious historically but the group of composers that will be remembered most will be the Cinematic writers if only because their vehicle is so wide spread. John Williams and Nina Rota are house hold names now and as such their works circulate in vast quantities in indestructable mediums like CDs and Video /DVD. This gives them a robust chance to become immortal. It's another point altogether whether they deserve this recognition or not.

    My own personal opinion is that the 'Giant-orchestrationist' (if there is such a term) should be remembered mosts as the protagonists of the century which saw Americanism dominate the planet, nuclear bombs took hundereds of thousands of innicent lives and a man stood on the moon at the cost of a small counrty's budget for the whole century.
    FC

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    Quote Originally Posted by post-minimalist View Post
    I think the 20C will be remebered as the century of dead ends. How many different 'invented styles have ever fizzled out quicker?
    I couldn't disagree more --- "dead ends"? All of these styles continue to live on to our present period and have shown almost greater influence than another musical period in history. Why? The diversity found in the 20th Century is remarkable. There's nothing "dead" about Stravinsky's or Debussy's continuing influence on future generations of composers.

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    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    I didn't say that all styles were dead ends.

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    I think it's hard to make generalizations for the whole world, for example minimalism hasn't made quite the same impact here in France as it has in Anglo-Saxon countries, and avant-garde is still going strongly as the the only supposedly valid contemporary music.

  9. #9
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    Answering this question is difficult on a number of levels. First of all... I would agree with Mirror Image in questioning some of the attributions. Is Szymanowsky more of an Impressionist than a post-Romantic? I would surely question that. Early Schoenberg is certainly a poet-Romantic/late Romantic and one might argue that the pastoral nature of a great deal of British music is as much rooted in Romanticism as it is in impressionism. And what is avant garde... was Stravinsky or even Debussy any less avant garde than Ligetti in their time?

    The second challenge is that some of these movements are far more recent than others and have yet had the chance to prove their influence... or not. Minimalism seems like a dead end in music... as much as it was in art... or is it? What of the rediscovery of modal music ala medieval music that continues to be explored today? What of the impact of the so-called "holy Minimalists" (Gorecki, Part, etc...) upon the revival of contemporary choral composition?

    The third challenge I find is differentiating between the influence or potential wrought by a given style or manner vs the achievements of individual composers. For example... I ended up voting for the Post-Romantics simply for the reason that I found the composers within that group to be the most towering figures: Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, Rachmaninoff, Barber... and I would add early Schoenberg, Korngold, certainly Puccini (hey! I'm an opera fan here), Grechaninov, Granville Bantock, Rued Langaard, Roy Harris, Hovhaness, Zemlinski, Howard Hanson, etc... Whether the musical language in which they spoke reamains the most influential, however, is yet to be decided. It may just be that a composer such as Osvaldo Golijov, building on a vast array of styles and traditions, may prove the most influential in the long run.

  10. #10
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    Two observations. One, these aren't by any means all the groups of twentieth century composers. Two, this is Talk Classical, where most posters don't even know most of the composers of the last century, and the ones they do know tend to be the nostalgic ones, the post- and neo-romantics (which are romantic only superficially in sound and perhaps in mood--the real inheritors of the romantic tradition, in a philosophical sense, are the experimentalists--Ives, Cage, Cardew (early), Wolff, Haubenstock-Ramati, and later, Marclay, Yoshihide, Tone, Karkowksi, people like that).

    The group that deserves the most acclaim is the group that's alive now and writing new stuff. Not just writing older musics currently, but continually exploring things that have not been done before. But, of course, in any time that's the only group worth mentioning!!

  11. #11
    Senior Member PostMinimalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    The group that deserves the most acclaim is the group that's alive now and writing new stuff. Not just writing older musics currently, but continually exploring things that have not been done before. But, of course, in any time that's the only group worth mentioning!!
    I think the post refers to the 20th Century, not the 21st. You are right in what you say though, just it's not really relevant to this particular thread.
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  12. #12
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    It's true that Bach specified 20C, but I'm not sure that musical styles and trends follow the dates so neatly. When did the 20th century start, stylistically?* 1901? 1909? 1913? And the age we're in right now seems to be part of what started after WWII. Even though we have newer and more powerful tools, I don't think we're in a new era from whatever started back in the late forties, early fifties.

    *And what does "start, stylistically" mean?

  13. #13
    Junior Member Fergus's Avatar
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    I'm new to the term Post-Romantic and am not sure how to distinguish it from Romantic. The Wikipedia article on it is skimpy. It refers to Brahms as a Post-Romantic composer, though the Wikipedia page on Brahms calls him a Romantic composer. I'm also not clear on what Modernism is. The Wikipedia article doesn't focus on music, and when it mentions music, it brings up Minimalism, which in this thread is distinguished from Modernism. Among the examples of Modernists, the only one I'm familiar with is Stravinsky, but he composed in various styles, and I question whether the works I actually like by him (The Firebird and The Rite of Spring) would be examples of Modernism. So would someone please explain these two better for me?

  14. #14
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    I agree that these labels are fuzzy & approximate at best, so they shouldn't be taken too seriously.

    I'd say that the avant-garde deserves the most acclaim, because their works liberated music from the dogmatic restrictions of the past. I'd say that they were not concerned much with following a particular trend or style, but more with breaking down the barriers. They redefined the notion of what is music.

    I enjoy all music of the C20th, & I have much to discover since I am not that familiar with a few of the names listed. For example, I've just begun to discover the music of many of these composers in the past year, & some like Ligeti just recently...

  15. #15
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    I'd say the composers who should have most acclaim are the ones who avoided school-making, specially in the second part of the C20th, the likes of Messiaen, Schnittke, Birtwistle, Varèse, etc.

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