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Thread: What are 5 works from the Modern Era (1945-present) that you view as MASTERPIECES?

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    John Cage: Sonatas and Interludes (1946-48)
    Terry Riley: In C (1964)
    La Monte Young: The Well-Tuned Piano (1964-)
    Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (1974–76)
    Simeon ten Holt: Canto Ostinato (1976-1979)

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Shosty's Avatar
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    Hard not to cheat here! here are my favorites:

    Shostakovich String Quartet no. 8 (1960) and Symphony no. 10 (1953)
    Mesiaen Turangalila Symphony (I was going to pick Quartet for the End of Time but that was composed pre-45)
    Takemitsu Requiem for String Orchestra (1957) and November Steps (1967)
    Steve Reich The Desert Music (1983)
    Rautavaara Cantus Arcticus (1972)

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    My nomination went to Britten's Peter Grimes. That was rapturously received at the time

    Agreed, this was the last opera to go into standard repertoire of most houses.

    Whether or not John Adams Nixon In China and Doctor Atomic are masterpieces will be determined in the next century.

    The Shostakovich 10th symphony is a masterpieces in my opinion not matched by any other symphony (including his own later ones) since the composer died 1975.
    Last edited by larold; Mar-26-2020 at 15:00.

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    Senior Member 20centrfuge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larold View Post
    My nomination went to Britten's Peter Grimes. That was rapturously received at the time

    Agreed, this was the last opera to go into standard repertoire of most houses.

    Whether or not John Adams Nixon In China and Doctor Atomic are masterpieces will be determined in the next century.

    The Shostakovich 10th symphony is a masterpieces in my opinion not matched by any other symphony (including his own later ones) since the composer died 1975.
    “Nixon” is generally viewed as part of the standard opera rep now and I, personally, think it’s one of a handful of the most important operas of the 20th century alongside the likes of Bartok’s Bluebeard, Peter Grimes, Wozzeck, etc

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I am in no way qualified to judge whether a particular work is a masterpiece but I'll play for fun.

    Bartok - Concerto For Orchestra
    Lutoslawki - Symphony No.3
    Ligeti - Violin Concerto
    Stockhausen - Gruppen
    Charles Wuorinen - Piano Quintet
    Concerto for Orchestra doesn't quite make the date cutoff--composed 1943. I know this because I checked Bartok on the wiki before making my list

    Looks like the only piece Bartok composed in 1945 before his death was his third piano concerto--a good one but not one that I consider one of his best.

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    Senior Member DaveM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromides View Post
    The post-WW II years witnessed a flourishing of artistic 'movements' within music composition - and one of these was works for tape or musique concrete.
    Maybe so, but that doesn’t make ‘works for tape’ classical music.

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dizwell View Post
    Britten: Peter Grimes (if I'm not allowed that because it was mostly written in 1944, then Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream)
    Tippet: Midsummer Marriage
    Tavener: Song for Athene
    Vaughan Williams: Symphony No. 8
    Shostakovich: Symphony No. 14
    Hard to argue with that list ...........

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    why can't I delete posts?
    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Mar-26-2020 at 20:53.

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Thank you centefruge20 - you have given me a right royal headache!

    After a little cogitation, my list is ...........

    Messiaen - Des Canyons aux Etoiles (1974)

    Simpson - Symphony no. 9 (1987)

    DSCH - Symphony no. 15 (1971)

    Britten - War Requiem (1962)

    Berio - Sinfonia (1968)

    Because of your tight remit on just 5, I had no room for any string quartets or chamber scale works!!!
    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Mar-26-2020 at 21:30. Reason: typo - said Simpson 1 instead of Simpson 9

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    OK, let's give it a try...:

    Pierre Boulez: Répons
    Arvo Pärt: Tabula Rasa
    Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel
    Henryk Górecki: Symphony No.3
    Henri Dutilleux: Tout un monde lointain...

    There's a lot of major late 20th century names that I'm just not familiar enough with to comment on with any authority; Stockhausen, Cage, Ferneyhough, Carter, Henze, Takemitsu, Kurtág, Ligeti etc... shame on me... but I'm working on it, I swear. A lot of this music is very complex, I can only process one thing at a time...

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    HenryPenfold: If it were 10, what else would be in your list?
    Last edited by 20centrfuge; Mar-26-2020 at 21:53.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 20centrfuge View Post
    HenryPenfold: If it were 10, what else would be in your list?
    Some more Britten, some Ligeti, Birtwistle, ​and string quartets like PMD, late DSCH and Schnittke .......

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    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromides View Post
    Yeah, I could do so; TC has had similar threads in the past to this one here. One was about 1911 through the present. Another was about 20th or 21st century music or both.
    If I do start a thread, I might focus on the past 40 years (e.g. 1980 to present) so members won't be able to shoe-horn Shostakovich into their replies.
    I did the opposite, looking at 1945-75. Although some big names from that era are still living, such as Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, George Crumb, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ned Rorem, and John Corigliano, it no longer seems like part of the current era. (I think all the composers I just mentioned are over 80.) I think that makes overall evaluations a little more fair. Shostakovich is certainly part of that earlier era, and just as certainly not a contemporary composer. Even Stravinsky was still active then, as well as Hindemith, Poulenc and Copland (and Britten, as many have mentioned already). W.W. II is now too long ago to think of this as the "post-war" era.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    OK, let's give it a try...:

    Pierre Boulez: Répons
    Arvo Pärt: Tabula Rasa
    Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel
    Henryk Górecki: Symphony No.3
    Henri Dutilleux: Tout un monde lointain...

    There's a lot of major late 20th century names that I'm just not familiar enough with to comment on with any authority; Stockhausen, Cage, Ferneyhough, Carter, Henze, Takemitsu, Kurtág, Ligeti etc... shame on me... but I'm working on it, I swear. A lot of this music is very complex, I can only process one thing at a time...
    I'm still working on the 1900-1950 part, myself, and may never get here. I can only name five pieces total from this era that I like and they don't seem to fit in this thread. I second your Gorecki which is amazing, and, aside from that, only know and like Strauss' Oboe Concerto (1945), Finzi's Clarinet Concerto (1949), Poulenc's Sonata for Flute and Piano (1957), and... Star Wars! (1977).

    But this serves to subscribe me to the thread so I can learn more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howlingfantods View Post
    Concerto for Orchestra doesn't quite make the date cutoff--composed 1943. I know this because I checked Bartok on the wiki before making my list
    Revised in 1945. I'm assuming this is the version we all know? I'm not positive. Close enough for me. I love the third piano concerto. It's not as challenging from a technical standpoint, and this was deliberate because Bartok composed the piece for his wife to perform. Although Gyorgy Sandor premiered the work in 1946.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

    - Yip Harburg

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