Author Topic: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers  (Read 18609 times)

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Offline sanantonio

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #40 on: March 10, 2014, 12:04:51 PM »
Thank you for many suggestions. I would like to check the books about individual composers.
Regarding overview-type books, has anyone read this?

Music in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
Joseph Auner



There is an accompanying book Anthology for Music in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries with this description.These names are unfamiliar for me, except the first two.

I have not seen that book before - it is rather new, published in May, 2013.  That would be the most recent book of this sort that I am aware of.  Not prohibitively expensive either.  Hmm, Wishlist worthy.

Offline torut

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #41 on: March 10, 2014, 06:13:02 PM »
Amazon.com has no review or "look inside" feature for these books. I found the table of contents from the publisher's site. I am afraid that the book may not cover recent composers enough because its range is quite wide, actually starting from the beginning of 20th century. The only names new to me are Still, Oliveros, Davidovsky and Chen Yi. (I wish more not-well-know, recent composers were included.)

MUSIC IN THE TWENTIETH AND TWENTY-FIRST CENTURIES

1. Introduction: A Sense of Possibility
Part I: From the Turn of the Century to the First World War
2. Expanding Musical Worlds at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
3. Making New Musical Languages
4. Folk Sources, the Primitive, and the Search for Authenticity
Part II: The Interwar Years
5. New Music Taking Flight after World War I
6. Paris, Neo-Classicism, and the Art of the Everyday
7. The Search for Order and Balance
8. Inventing Traditions
Part III: The Second World War and Its Aftermath
9. Rebuilding amid the Ruins
10. Electronic Music from Magnetic Tape to the Internet
11. Trajectories of Order and Chance
Part IV: From the 1960s to the Present
12. Texture, Groups, Loops, and Layers
13. Histories Recollected and Remade
14. Minimalism and its Repercussions
15. Border Crossings

ANTHOLOGY CONTENTS

1. Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 3, fourth movement
2. Claude Debussy, Estampes, Pagodes
3. Arnold Schoenberg, Pierrot lunaire, No. 1, Mondestrunken
4. Alban Berg, Wozzeck, Act 3, Scene 3
5. Charles Ives, Symphony No. 4, first movement
6. Igor Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring, Introduction
7. Kurt Weill, Lindbergh’s Flight, Introduction of the Pilot
8. Igor Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms, second movement
9. Maurice Ravel, Piano Concerto in G, first movement
10. Arnold Schoenberg, Piece for Piano, Op. 33a
11. Anton Webern, Symphony Op. 21, second movement
12. Béla Bartók, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste, first movement
13. Aaron Copland, Billy the Kid, “Street in a Frontier Town”
14. William Grant Still, Africa, second movement, Land of Romance
15. Benjamin Britten, War Requiem, Requiem aeternam
16. Dmitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 8, third movement
17. Pierre Boulez, Le Marteau sans Maitre, No. 5, Bel Édifice Et Les Pressentiments
18. Pauline Oliveros, Traveling Companions
19. Mario Davidovsky, Synchronisms No. 6 for Piano and Electronic Sounds (1970), excerpt
20. Kaija Saariaho, Noa Noa
21. György Ligeti, Continuum for Harpsichord
22. Elliott Carter, String Quartet No. 5: Introduction, Giocoso, Interlude, first movement
23. George Crumb, Vox Balanae, excerpt
24. Chen Yi, Ba Ban
25. Steve Reich, Violin Phase
26. John Adams, Doctor Atomic, Act 1, Scene 3, “Batter My Heart”

Offline sanantonio

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #42 on: March 10, 2014, 06:22:14 PM »
After seeing the contents I have no need for this book.  Thanks.

Offline torut

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #43 on: March 10, 2014, 06:32:11 PM »
After seeing the contents I have no need for this book.  Thanks.
The title is a little deceiving. This is the first book I saw that includes "Twenty-First Century" in the title, which caused high expectation, but there should be already many good books for this kind of contents.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #44 on: March 11, 2014, 03:57:24 AM »
Thanks for your research on this title!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline 7/4

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #45 on: March 11, 2014, 05:31:13 AM »
Pauline Oliveros may still be active in NYC.  The last name is unknown to me.

Kingston, NY

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Offline sanantonio

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #46 on: March 11, 2014, 05:53:01 AM »

Offline torut

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #47 on: March 11, 2014, 12:01:16 PM »
Thank you for information about the composers. I want to check their music. (They must be excellent, because the names are listed among the greats, right?  :))
I am now hearing William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony. This is nice. It sounds like Gershwin.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #48 on: March 11, 2014, 01:58:44 PM »
It is nice.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Cato

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #49 on: March 11, 2014, 02:27:12 PM »
Amazon.com has no review or "look inside" feature for these books. I found the table of contents from the publisher's site. I am afraid that the book may not cover recent composers enough because its range is quite wide, actually starting from the beginning of 20th century. The only names new to me are Still, Oliveros, Davidovsky and Chen Yi. (I wish more not-well-know, recent composers were included.)

Like our resident GMG composers!

And it is amazing that such an anthology lacks well-known composers with unique styles e.g. Scriabin, Hartmann, Messiaen, Nono, Stockhausen and many others (completely ignoring xenharmonic composers Harry Partch, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Julian Carrillo, Easley Blackwood, Ben Johnston etc., but includes Davidovsky and Oliveros (?).

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #50 on: March 11, 2014, 04:50:58 PM »
It's interesting that this topic was posted literally the day that I bought "The Rest is Noise", which I see was already mentioned. I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed. It's a great book, but I think that my hopes were so high that nothing Ross wrote could have satisfied them.

I think that the most enjoyable musical biography I've read has to be "Gyorgy Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds". It actually isn't a biography at all, rather it is a collection of several essays about the composer. Unfortunately it is extremely pricey ($85). Luckily, my university's library has it. You will learn things about Ligeti and his music that you simply won't learn elsewhere. Especially interesting is the article on fractals and chaos theory and the effect that this new science had on the composer (written by renowned mathematician Heinz-Otto Peitgen, also a close friend of Ligeti).

Bela Bartok's son Peter wrote a really touching biography of his father called, well, "My Father". It doesn't read like a biography, which I actually really like about it. It is more like each page is a rummage through a chest of old memories -- lots of pictures. The last 30 pages or so are translations of letters sent from Bela to Peter.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #51 on: March 11, 2014, 05:16:25 PM »
Generally .. people outside of the niche tend to view classical music this way.
All too true. Karl wasn't the one being asked to picture.

Offline petrarch

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #52 on: March 11, 2014, 05:38:56 PM »
Experiencing Stravinsky: A Listener's Companion (Robin Maconie)

[/font]

I have that one and more than once tried to read it. I like Maconie's book on Stockhausen, but this one pales in comparison to the books already mentioned (Walsh's two-volume biography, and Stravinsky's Late Music, all three very good reads).

Way back in the day, Griffith's was an essential element in my introduction to modern music. A couple of weeks ago I browsed the latest edition at B&N and enjoyed the updated chapters. I have mentioned this before I think, but my favorite is still La musique du XXe siècle, by Jean-Noël von der Weid. I think there is a 2nd and possibly 3rd edition of the book.
//p
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Offline torut

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #53 on: March 11, 2014, 10:20:04 PM »
Like our resident GMG composers!
But we have a great board "Composing and Performing."  :) I enjoyed some of the member's music there.

Quote
And it is amazing that such an anthology lacks well-known composers with unique styles e.g. Scriabin, Hartmann, Messiaen, Nono, Stockhausen and many others (completely ignoring xenharmonic composers Harry Partch, Ivan Wyschnegradsky, Julian Carrillo, Easley Blackwood, Ben Johnston etc., but includes Davidovsky and Oliveros (?).
Yes, I thought the selection looked a little unusual, maybe unbalanced.

Offline torut

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #54 on: March 11, 2014, 10:30:49 PM »
I have mentioned this before I think, but my favorite is still La musique du XXe siècle, by Jean-Noël von der Weid. I think there is a 2nd and possibly 3rd edition of the book.
Is there an English version of the book?

I have forgotten that I read this book a long time ago. It is also a little old (1st edition in 1975, and 2nd edition I have has a short chapter that covers up to 1986.) This is rather short book (230 pages), but there are many examples of scores and figures, like how to manipulate music parameters using integral serialism (looks like mathematical puzzle book), graphic scores, flow chart for electrical music, etc. I forgot the details but I remember that it was fun to read.

The New Music: The Avant-garde since 1945
Reginald Smith Brindle


Offline torut

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #55 on: March 11, 2014, 10:42:31 PM »
It's interesting that this topic was posted literally the day that I bought "The Rest is Noise", which I see was already mentioned. I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed. It's a great book, but I think that my hopes were so high that nothing Ross wrote could have satisfied them.

I think that the most enjoyable musical biography I've read has to be "Gyorgy Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds". It actually isn't a biography at all, rather it is a collection of several essays about the composer. Unfortunately it is extremely pricey ($85). Luckily, my university's library has it. You will learn things about Ligeti and his music that you simply won't learn elsewhere. Especially interesting is the article on fractals and chaos theory and the effect that this new science had on the composer (written by renowned mathematician Heinz-Otto Peitgen, also a close friend of Ligeti).

Bela Bartok's son Peter wrote a really touching biography of his father called, well, "My Father". It doesn't read like a biography, which I actually really like about it. It is more like each page is a rummage through a chest of old memories -- lots of pictures. The last 30 pages or so are translations of letters sent from Bela to Peter.
I didn't know that Ligeti was interested in fractals and chaos. Interesting. Did he incorporate fractals into his music? (Like statistics and Xenakis's music?)

Offline sanantonio

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #56 on: March 12, 2014, 03:51:21 AM »
Regarding experimental music, Michael Nyman wrote a pretty good book.   This book was written before his career as a composer.




Offline EigenUser

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #57 on: March 12, 2014, 04:21:30 AM »
I didn't know that Ligeti was interested in fractals and chaos. Interesting. Did he incorporate fractals into his music? (Like statistics and Xenakis's music?)

I am not all too familiar with Xenakis, but if I understand correctly he used statistics directly and mathematically. Ligeti studied to become a scientist (only going to the conservatory after being turned down by the science academy because he was Jewish during 1930s Europe) and he could have written notes, durations, dynamics, etc. according to some mathematical output using fractals, but he doesn't. Instead, he takes an intuitive approach and interprets mathematical and scientific ideas more artistically. For example, consider his (awesome  ;)) piano concerto. There isn't any formulaic writing that can be found in Xenakis (with statistics), but rather an artistic interpretation of chaos theory. In the fourth movement, a few motifs are presented in a sparse, plain style. I like to think of this as "the overall picture" of the Mandelbrot Set. As the work progresses, the same motifs are heard. However, they are sped-up and fragmented. To me, this is like what happens visually if you keep zooming in on the Mandelbrot Set plot. It keeps multiplying (self-similarity)!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEw8xpb1aRA
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline 7/4

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #58 on: March 12, 2014, 01:16:47 PM »
Regarding experimental music, Michael Nyman wrote a pretty good book.   This book was written before his career as a composer.



Oh yes! It was a good introduction for this teenager in 1976. :)

Offline sanantonio

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Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #59 on: March 12, 2014, 02:19:14 PM »
Oh yes! It was a good introduction for this teenager in 1976. :)

The second edition brought it more up to date. 

[EDIT] - Actually the second edition was NOT updated.  My mistake.  The only new material are new prefaces.  However, the need was felt that because the book had been out of print and unavailable for so long that a new generation of readers would benefit from having it readily available.  The book captures that generation around Cage and Cardew and focuses on the period before Minimalism, and for this reason, there really was no need to include chapters on composers from the later decades.

I just wanted to make this note in order to stop someone who already had the original book from buying the 2nd edition thinking there was new material.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 05:20:59 AM by sanantonio »

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