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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The world is full of lists.

There could be more recommendations with descriptions on why precisely some piece of music has touched, moved, stimulated or resonated positively.

I would be very interested in going for a modernist and contemporary music journey where the people who recommend a piece of music would tell what the piece is about and why they are honestly excited about it.

If nothing more can be said of a modernist or contemporary piece, than something like: "An emancipation of dissonance is executed through heartfelt usage of the major 7th and the minor 2nd interval and then processed into a stream of wonderful orchestral colours" --- --- --- Let´s just say, there is more to modernism and contemporary music than the emancipation of dissonance, lack of pulse and the focus on tone colours.

Indeed it would be lovely to hear what excites people about the modernist and the contemporary! And if someone was able to even analyse or describe what kind of aesthetic movements there are nowadays on the modernist field, I would be most interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I will definitely be paying attention to this thread.

The vast majority of my classical listening is music from the Second Viennese school and newer. Mostly from the mid 20th century to the present.

My problem is, I do not have the musical language to precisely describe why some piece of music has touched, moved, stimulated or resonated positively with me.

Once I see some recommendations posted, I may get a better feel for what the OP is looking for, and I will chime in.
I think everyone are free to join however they want. My only wish is that something meaningful is said of the piece of music. You do not need to be able to analyse the music thoroughly or use specific terms. Just try to describe why you are interested in the piece.

What @composingmusic just did with the first post is great. Because he hears and sees so much in the music he posted, I feel encouraged and motivated to listen.

I don´t have enough time to listen to the piece carefully tonight but already I started my orientation by reading something on the composer and listening to a few minutes here and there, just to get a picture of the techniques used, the atmospheres, textures, processes and the drama. That music sure SOUNDED delicately good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'll start with Gérard Grisey's Quatre Chants pour franchir le seuil: the harmonic language and colour palette is simply extraordinary. It is the final piece in Gérard Grisey's output, and sadly he passed away before the premiere of the piece. Grisey worked on this piece from 1996 to 1998, and it was premiered in 1999 by Valdine Anderson and the London Sinfonietta, conducted by George Benjamin.

First, the ensemble enters with breathing sounds, and emerges into a muted, mid-low register space, where the voice appears in short bursts and individual held notes. A moment that I find particularly extraordinary is when the voice and trumpet enter simultaneously for the first time: the way the trumpet reinforces the voice is quite something. It's also fascinating how the different instruments and voice change roles throughout the pieces, and how textures are transferred from one group to another: the first movement prominently features descending patterns which are embedded into a very specific type of harmonic language. In the second movement, the texture is much more static, with longer lines in the voice – there are longer range ascending lines that move more slowly than in the first movement, and the vocal line is the fastest moving feature in the texture. There's almost a mystical feeling to this movement, which is reinforced by the low register and use of harmonies that incorporate beating (among other things).

Much of the texture of the third movement does feel like it connects to the first two movements, but it's been remade into something different. This creates a sense of connection, while also preventing it from becoming too predictable. There's sweeping gestures that move from high register to low register, but these also incorporate more localized upward moving gestures that could potentially refer to the second movement. Glittering percussion is used to punctuate phrases. About halfway into the movement, we get references to the second movement through harmonies and static chords that hark back to similar effects in the second movement (although here everything is in a much higher register). This gradually dissolves into a section with indefinitely pitched percussion, that morphs straight into the fourth movement without an interlude (as we've had between all of the previous movements). In the fourth movement, the energy intensifies until we get to a climactic passage with punctuating wind runs (these are also imitated in strings sometimes), held brass notes, and a very virtuosic soprano part. The energy gradually fizzles out and moves into a lower register – this then moves into the a section that cross-references earlier sections of the piece. Everything comes to a big dramatic pause, and then we a section with very slow descending lines. This section also comes to a big dramatic pause, which is followed by an epilogue with rich harmony that refers to various sections from earlier in the piece, and has some truly exquisite harmonies and colours.

There's so much more one could write about this piece, but I'd need to go write a proper scholarly article to articulate everything!

OK, so today I had the time to listen to Gérard Grisey's Quatre Chants pour franchir le seuil.

This is music to which you must have referred to as the French approach: everything must be heard. Yes, everything can be heard and the outcome is most delicate and refined.

Just like you, I found the long note sustained intervals with the soprano and the trumpet very appealing. Also all the ornamentation of the vocals is gorgeous and the vocal parts as whole were very well thought out.

Also I liked that there were distinct phases, and the quiet drum rolls (at least they sounded like that) were a repeating feature between the phases.

At first listening, maybe this piece of music was a bit too long for my likening -- maybe 30 minutes would have been enough not to make me lose my intensive listening focus at times. But this tells more about me than the music, maybe. And I might later think differently.

Thanks for the great link, @composingmusic !
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I listened to the Youtube link pieces today. Everything else I liked but the piece with the pianist hiccuping and burping was not to my liking. It was most irritating and I just could not continue listening to it! Sorry!

Need to come back to these works, but at this moment my favourite remains the Grisey piece.

(Then again, this thread is not about others posting and then me stating whether or not I liked what I heard.)
 
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