Author Topic: The other minimalists  (Read 19349 times)

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Offline Lethevich

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The other minimalists
« on: December 05, 2011, 11:32:58 AM »
Does anybody have any suggestions for neat minimalist/post-minimalist composers outside of the 5-10 big names? (Glass, Feldman, Andriessen, etc.)

I've been enjoying New World Records' 3 disc retrospective of Julius Eastman for a while. The music is startling because it seems to come from nowhere, but has an engaging punch to it. Its use of the pop style combined with the nagging repetitions of American minimalism prove surprisingly innovative. The Holy Presence of Joan D'Arc sounds startlingly like music by later film composers, except this is a real piece with a long arc rather than a scene painting. It also has the rawness and unrefined nature that can make pop compelling. Very sadly most of the composer's music has been lost.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prfD5o9d-aI (for ten cellos)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_QGQcKq1ik (for four pianos)

(Not embedded because I don't neccesserally want this to become a Youtube thread.)
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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2011, 11:37:02 AM »
Did Eastman compose that first piece to be performed for Dreyer's film? Or just use it as inspiration?

Also, thanks for sharing. I'm a minimalist at heart.  ;D
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 11:39:11 AM by TheGSMoeller »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2011, 11:39:44 AM »
Did Eastman composer anything for an orchestra or a chamber orchestra?
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2011, 11:51:41 AM »
Did Eastman compose that first piece to be performed for Dreyer's film? Or just use it as inspiration?

The booklet notes have an entry for each piece, but they are quite scanty - they don't mention the film, but do say:

In his introduction, Eastman calls the piece "a reminder to those who think they can destroy liberators by acts of treachery, malice, and murder... [L]ike all organizations, especially governments and religious organizations, they oppress in order to perpetuate themselves. [...]"

A lot of his music seems to have a protest or dissident basis to it.

The shouts in the performance of the second linked piece for four pianos, presumably to keep everybody in time or perhaps because the work has an element of aleatory, are quite startling.

Did Eastman composer anything for an orchestra or a chamber orchestra?

Only one piece on the disc is for ensemble (If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? (1977) for violin, two french horns, four trumpets, two trombones, tuba, piano, two chimes and two basses). Wikipedia lists a few works for chamber ensemble, and several pieces for unspecified instruments, although knowing how "available" the manuscripts are to record I presume may be an ordeal for anyone involved:

The Moon's Silent Modulation (1970) for dancers, vocalists and chamber ensemble
Femenine (1974) for chamber ensemble

I can't comment on If You're So Smart yet, as I'm infatuated by the multiple piano pieces, and Joan of Arc (the first part of the piece is for solo voice).
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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2011, 11:55:36 AM »
Learning for the first time that this is what all organizations do (oppress in order to perpetuate themselves) . . . .
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Offline some guy

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2011, 12:36:21 PM »
I wish you had gone ahead and named all ten.

Hal Budd
John Luther Adams
Jim Fox
LaMonte Young
Tony Conrad
Sachiko M
John Cage
Eliane Radigue
Simeon Ten Holt
Tom Johnson
M. Behrens
Rosy Parlane
Ellen Fullman

(These are some other minimalists, not the.)

Offline lescamil

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2011, 12:45:10 PM »
Even though I argue that it has been almost 30 years since he stopped being a, um, minimalist, Louis Andriessen is one of the best out there. I'll leave it at that though, because even he doesn't like being called that, even when referencing pieces like De Staat and Mausoleum, which have obvious repetitive phrases, but with much thornier harmonies than the minimalists we all know and love. I like his brand of minimalism much more than his compatriot Simeon Ten Holt, though, who can bore me to tears with his pieces.

I'll throw in another vote of confidence for Julius Eastman. Unfortunately, I only know his works for multiple pianos. I'll have to check out some of his other works. Has anyone else heard Eastman's performance of Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King, by the way? It's a riot, literally!
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2011, 01:16:50 PM »
Love De Staat!

I was on a major Simeon ten Holt kick a few years ago but the lack of variety in his available compositions has made me tire of his music somewhat.

Ingram Marshall I've recently been tentatively exploring. It's perhaps easy to view as a little new agey (one of the "gamalan guys"), but his soundworld is individual; often when I play a piece of his, it's simultaneously more relaxed, but also more undulating in volume and intensity than I expect, and as a result a piece that I have mentally catalogued as "a quiet one" can surprise me with a swell that rises higher than I expect, or an "intense" work can have a remarkably calm heart to it. Music that is hard to pin down can only be a good thing. He writes very attractively for string quartet too (Evensongs on New Albion), which gives brownie points for me, as it's one of my favourite instrument combinations.

So far a composer such as, say, LaMonte Young, has been more hit and miss for me - he wrote some really creepy and creaky stuff.
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Offline lescamil

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2011, 01:23:39 PM »
I heard an arrangement of Ingram Marshall's Fog Tropes II for brass on a September 11th memorial concert on the 10th anniversary, and it was a pretty neat experience, especially alongside some contrasting works by Golijov (not the typical hyperactive Latin festival music) and Schnittke. Fog Tropes pretty much sums up what I have heard of his. It's nice for certain times, I suppose.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2011, 02:02:10 PM »
Only one piece on the disc is for ensemble (If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich? (1977) for violin, two french horns, four trumpets, two trombones, tuba, piano, two chimes and two basses). Wikipedia lists a few works for chamber ensemble, and several pieces for unspecified instruments, although knowing how "available" the manuscripts are to record I presume may be an ordeal for anyone involved:

The Moon's Silent Modulation (1970) for dancers, vocalists and chamber ensemble
Femenine (1974) for chamber ensemble

I can't comment on If You're So Smart yet, as I'm infatuated by the multiple piano pieces, and Joan of Arc (the first part of the piece is for solo voice).

Interesting, thanks Sara. 8)
« Last Edit: December 05, 2011, 02:08:01 PM by Mirror Image »
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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2011, 09:29:22 PM »
outside of the 5-10 big names? (Glass, Feldman, Andriessen, etc.)


I wish you had gone ahead and named all ten.

(These are some other minimalists, not the.)

Ack, now you've got me. What ARE 'The 10'?

10 Glass
09 Reich
08 Young
07 Riley
06 Andriessen
05 ten Holt
04 Nyman
03 Bryars
02 Eno/Budd/Oldfield,... really, there AREN'T 10, haha, they do mush a bit, no?
01 Part/Tavener/G,... gulp, McCar

Please give me the remai


I'll be honest, I have been looking for some primo Minimalism for whatever purpose I have,... and Feldman has no impetus for this. Lethe recommended ten Holt, whom I wilted from, and I'm still searching for that Logan's Run/Dr. Who stuff,... perhaps I do seek it in the OTHER classical realm of minimalism of the time,... Tangerine Dream, haha! No? Someone else? I really liked Goblin, and the Phantasm sountrack. Perhaps something like Goblin's Dawn of the Dead sountrack, but smoother, like the intro of Tubular Bells (yes, I'm OBSESSED with the perfect horror music :o :o). Picture Feldman's Piano & String Quartet meets Part's Festina Lente: THAT'S what I want! Amin-F forrever, man! ::)

Something that sounds like 1977!

Offline Lethevich

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2011, 05:50:23 AM »
Don't make me ;__; Urge to make lists... increasing... But yes, I was thinking of names that wouldn't appear on many "X classic minimalism albums" lists, or specifically, perhaps for all the composers who are unlikely to get enough conversation going for a dedicated thread.

David Lang seems to be a name mentioned a lot as a notable post-minimalist, but I've yet to look into him. He does seem to have less of a "err, really?" kind of vibe to him than Michael Gordon, etc.

John Luther Adams, I only know two albums of. Four Thousand Holes is nice, but a bit wooly and sentimental. The shorter piece on that album was the opposite, restrained and almost boring. I must give it another try sometime. The Place We Began was cool, and despite being a Xenakis style (I think) method of overlaying tracks, its sound is much closer to ambient pop like Eno. Not sure that I could listen to it as other than background music, though.
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Offline TheGSMoeller

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2011, 06:13:09 AM »

David Lang seems to be a name mentioned a lot as a notable post-minimalist, but I've yet to look into him. He does seem to have less of a "err, really?" kind of vibe to him than Michael Gordon, etc.



You should give David Lang a good listen, I have yet to experience a dull piece of his. Lang's Little Match Girl Passion is one of the best recent compositions I've heard, and his Naxos disc featuring Pierced is a great compilation of his work.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2011, 06:29:01 AM »
Playing the Naxos Pierced disc. I was wrong, I am vaguely recalling the rhythm of this, so I've heard it at some point. It's extremely cool, not just in sounding more asymmetrical than straight minimalism, but in its "shifting" kind of sound, written almost as though the music is rocking side to side. A nice, creaky, chamberish sound too. Like grandma's house on acid ;D
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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2011, 06:59:03 AM »
Playing the Naxos Pierced disc. I was wrong, I am vaguely recalling the rhythm of this, so I've heard it at some point. It's extremely cool, not just in sounding more asymmetrical than straight minimalism, but in its "shifting" kind of sound, written almost as though the music is rocking side to side. A nice, creaky, chamberish sound too. Like grandma's house on acid ;D

Do I have a percussion piece by him called Born to be Wild, which, er, is one of those uber-pretentious?...narrating the lyrics over a /Sprockets'-type beat? That David Lang? Oh.


I'll recommend what's on my list: Lukas Foss SQ No.3 (New World), which is supposedly a more hard edged minimalism. I've only heard the sample, but I'm really interested. It's probably not what I was describing earlier, but it sounds like a requirement.

Offline Luke

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2011, 10:56:26 AM »
I was going to suggest David Lang, too, if he wasn't on that top 10 already. Very cool stuff, and the Little Match Girl disc is enthralling. Count this as seconding the above, then.

For multiple pianos, try Graham Fitkin (the double disc of Hook, Cud, Mesh, Log, Line and Loud - the last three are for multiple pianos - is the one you need. Intricate, absorbing music, at its best.)

Offline Luke

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2011, 11:01:26 AM »
I was going to suggest David Lang, too, if he wasn't on that top 10 already. Very cool stuff, and the Little Match Girl disc is enthralling. Count this as seconding the above, then.


BTW, the Bryars/Lang collaboration Amjad on GB discs (it's mostly Bryars, too be honest) ticks many, many boxes especially as it is mostly Bryars' own dark,slightly haunted rendering of Swan Lake. Speaking as a 20+disc Bryars completist, I have to admit that this is one of my secret favourites of his, though it shouldn't be a first port-of-call.

Offline Lethevich

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2011, 11:04:35 AM »
*is considering never using the phrase "top 10" again - it's too dangerous*

For multiple pianos, try Graham Fitkin (the double disc of Hook, Cud, Mesh, Log, Line and Loud - the last three are for multiple pianos - is the one you need. Intricate, absorbing music, at its best.)

Are you reading my mind? ;D Music for multiple pianos, ideally 3-5, is rapidly becoming one of my favourite setups - orchestral textures but with a perfect unity of sound. Thanks for the rec!

I've just noticed what I might have found so potent about Eastman's Evil Nigger piece (dude, you wanted a reaction, you got one - I ran out of ways to avoid typing its name ;D) - the main theme, of sorts, which is counted in and acts as a transition between sections sounds very close to Dies Irae - I don't know if it's intentional.
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Offline Luke

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2011, 11:17:01 AM »

Are you reading my mind? ;D

Nothing so spooky, I think I read you mentioning the multiple pianos earlier... But then yes, put the Fitkin at the top of your list, he made a speciality of this sort of piece for a while.

Music for multiple pianos, ideally 3-5, is rapidly becoming one of my favourite setups - orchestral textures but with a perfect unity of sound. Thanks for the rec!

Not exactly what you asked for, but try Ravel's tiny 15 bar Frontispice for piano 5 hands (!). It's a weird marvel of a piece, and actually protominimalist in some ways. It builds up an incredibly complex web of cross-rhythms by the accretion of ostinati in standard minimliast fashion, although obviously before-the-fact. It is really Ravel's most intricate, mindboggling piece, in some ways.

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Re: The other minimalists
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2011, 11:17:07 AM »
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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