Author Topic: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"  (Read 3702 times)

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Offline Uatu

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850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« on: October 29, 2015, 02:12:44 PM »
Cross-posting fron "General", I know, but I think that when I was a "beginner" this listing would have been a nice thing to have, so...1 more time! 
Almost 900 works listed...99 percent of which can be found on YouTube!  Each entry is formatted so that you can highlight a composer/work and right click on it to open a menu which will allow you to do a quick Google/Bing search (taking you to a YouTube clip, Wikipedia entry, etc...).

A Timeline History of 20th Century Classical and Electronic Music
http://stockhausenspace.blogspot.com/p/timeline-history-of-20th-century.html

Offline Androcles

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 04:19:37 PM »
A very interesting list. Some of of them might be useful pointers for beginners, others are probably a bit extreme, depending on your taste. There are a lot of pieces there I've never heard, and some I'm sure I never will, not least the following:

Arseny Avraamov: "Simfoniya gudkov" ("Symphony of factory sirens"), essentially a noise installation, employs navy ship sirens and whistles, bus and car horns, factory sirens, cannons, the foghorns of the entire Soviet flotilla in the Caspian Sea, artillery guns, machine guns, hydro-airplanes, a specially designed "whistle main," and renderings of the Internationale and Marseillaise anthems by a mass band and choir. The piece was conducted by a team of conductors using flags and pistols.

And, moreover, it is art in its most general and comprehensive form that is here discussed, for the dialogue embraces everything connected with it, from its greatest object, the state, to its least, the embellishment of sensuous existence.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 05:58:09 PM »
I disagree with the characterization of Schoenberg's mature style as atonal.  It's a nonsensical term that was invented to disparage something the critics didn't understand, and it's also applied more or less haphazardly to mark off individual perception rather than as a mark of any real element of harmonic construction.  I also disagree with the characterization of Neoromanticism as tonal.  It's not at all tonal in the traditional sense.

The sooner the term and the idea of atonality die, the sooner people will actually start hearing the music thus maligned as music.

Bah...that comes off as too negative.  Looks like a good list.  I hope that many people are aided in their explorations.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 06:05:24 PM by Mahlerian »

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 06:12:16 PM »
Interesting, but it doesn't seem a ballanced or representative overview of the last 116 years. It reads more like a list of everything by the composers you like and nothing by the composers you don't like or don't know. A better introduction to you and your taste than to the era for those largely new to it.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2016, 06:18:48 PM »
Interesting, but it doesn't seem a ballanced or representative overview of the last 116 years. It reads more like a list of everything by the composers you like and nothing by the composers you don't like or don't know. A better introduction to you and your taste than to the era for those largely new to it.

I do agree that (even as a lover of the Darmstadt and Second Viennese Schools) there should probably be more of the conservative music on this list, especially after 1950 or so.  It's not a matter of removing anything, just adding other things.

Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2016, 06:23:20 PM »
Can there really be 850 "essential" post-1900 works for a beginner? Isn't that impossibly daunting?
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Offline sanantonio

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2016, 07:04:03 PM »
I disagree with the characterization of Schoenberg's mature style as atonal.  It's a nonsensical term that was invented to disparage something the critics didn't understand, and it's also applied more or less haphazardly to mark off individual perception rather than as a mark of any real element of harmonic construction. 

Well, Schoenberg's mature music is not tonal.   So are you against these terms entirely, or do you have a different term you'd like to suggest?

Offline arpeggio

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Great list.  But with so many it ignores the growth of concern band music  >:(

Off the top of my head I can make a few suggestions.  Although there are some modernistic works, most of the great concert band works sound more tonal:

Holst: Two Suites for Military Band
Holst: Hammersmith: Prelude and Scherzo
Vaughn Williams: English Folk Song Suite
Vaughn Williams: Toccata Marziale
Granger: Lincolnshire Posey
Morton Gould: West Point Symphony
Persichetti: Symphony No. 6 for Band
Persichetti: Masquerade Variations for Band
Persichetti: Parable for Band. I read a biography of Persichetti were the author claims that Persichetti band works are his masterpieces.
Hindemith: Symphony in Bb
Schoenberg: Variations for Band. One of his late tonal works.
Dello Joio: Variants on a Medieval Tune
Mendelssohn composed an Overture for Band when he was around fifteen.
Husa: Prague 1968
H. Owen Reed: La Fiesta Mexicana
Dahl: Sinfonietta for Band

I can come up with many more, but this is a start.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 07:19:04 PM by arpeggio »

Offline jessop

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2016, 07:16:58 PM »
Well, Schoenberg's mature music is not tonal.   So are you against these terms entirely, or do you have a different term you'd like to suggest?
Many of his mature works certainly are not tonal, but it is fairly useful to view these works as using contrasting tools to music from the CP era (early 17th to late 19th centuries). Anyone who listens carefully to these compositions can perceive certain relationships between pitches and hear a kind of tension and release at different points in the music....but the term 'atonal' itself doesn't supply any information to what the music is....only what it is not.

Offline sanantonio

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2016, 07:36:10 PM »
Many of his mature works certainly are not tonal, but it is fairly useful to view these works as using contrasting tools to music from the CP era (early 17th to late 19th centuries). Anyone who listens carefully to these compositions can perceive certain relationships between pitches and hear a kind of tension and release at different points in the music....but the term 'atonal' itself doesn't supply any information to what the music is....only what it is not.

I don't like reducing music to labels.  That said, it is useful to describe music as being tonal or atonal for people who wish to use that as the most general way to find composers writing in a style they wish to investigate.  Sometimes, people who have studied a subject so much they can overlook the most fundamental quality it possesses.


Offline Mahlerian

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2016, 07:46:10 PM »
Well, Schoenberg's mature music is not tonal.   So are you against these terms entirely, or do you have a different term you'd like to suggest?

Tonal means different things to different people.  If they are using it in the technical sense as meaning the system of functional triadic harmony from the 17th through early 20th centuries, then sure, it's not tonal.

But that's not what a lot of people think tonal means, and that's not the way it's used by the people who are against "atonal" music.  If you think that pre-Baroque music is tonal and Debussy is tonal and The Rite of Spring is tonal, then Schoenberg's mature music must also be tonal, as it is not different vis a vis common practice tonality than any of these other things.  What people really mean when they say "atonal" is total chromaticism mixed with non-triadic harmony.  That's it.

As for whether it's helpful, I think the exact opposite.  It hinders understanding by putting up a mental barrier, as if the mature music of Schoenberg is somehow completely antithetical to the music of the past (or at least in terms of harmony), which is completely wrong.

Offline The new erato

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2016, 07:52:02 PM »
Can there really be 850 "essential" post-1900 works for a beginner? Isn't that impossibly daunting?
Of course there can't. Merriam-Webster: essential: extremely important and necessary. For a beginner ssaying 850 works are essential is begging them to find another interest. Forget about essential ands beginners, and this is interesting.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 07:54:16 PM by The new erato »

Offline Thatfabulousalien

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2016, 07:57:56 PM »
Can there really be 850 "essential" post-1900 works for a beginner? Isn't that impossibly daunting?

I think it works well as a comprehensive guide (while not perfect)
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Offline sanantonio

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2016, 08:09:09 PM »
Tonal means different things to different people.  If they are using it in the technical sense as meaning the system of functional triadic harmony from the 17th through early 20th centuries, then sure, it's not tonal.

But that's not what a lot of people think tonal means, and that's not the way it's used by the people who are against "atonal" music.  If you think that pre-Baroque music is tonal and Debussy is tonal and The Rite of Spring is tonal, then Schoenberg's mature music must also be tonal, as it is not different vis a vis common practice tonality than any of these other things.  What people really mean when they say "atonal" is total chromaticism mixed with non-triadic harmony.  That's it.

As for whether it's helpful, I think the exact opposite.  It hinders understanding by putting up a mental barrier, as if the mature music of Schoenberg is somehow completely antithetical to the music of the past (or at least in terms of harmony), which is completely wrong.

I don't really know what other people think when they hear the words "tonal" or "atonal" - which is why I don't like labels of any kind.  They are reductionist and only limit an understanding of the music.  If I were pressed I might say that Schoenberg was both an experimental and traditional composer.  So, if that sounds confusing, just listen to .... and name a few works.

But I was curious where you were coming from, and now you've answered, and I appreciate your answer.  Thanks.   ;)

Thread duty:

I haven't looked at the list, since I don't like lists, which are also reductionist.   :P

 ;)

Offline GioCar

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2016, 12:24:05 AM »
A good list imo. Any idea on what to put into it from 2011 onward?
Quite weird that that sort of OP has been sleeping here for almost a year, without replies...


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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 03:15:48 AM »
Of course there can't. Merriam-Webster: essential: extremely important and necessary. For a beginner ssaying 850 works are essential is begging them to find another interest. Forget about essential ands beginners, and this is interesting.

I think it works well as a comprehensive guide (while not perfect)

Not denying your points.  Still, the label is problematic.
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Offline James

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2016, 04:36:57 AM »
That said, it is useful to describe music as being tonal or atonal for people ..

Even Schoenberg disliked the term atonal, and he's right - it doesn't make any sense, there is no such thing. Preferred pantonal, which is a much more accurate & useful descriptor.
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Offline Ken B

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2016, 06:09:59 AM »
Can there really be 850 "essential" post-1900 works for a beginner? Isn't that impossibly daunting?

You know what I call a guy going through his first divorce? Beginner.

Karl's point is well taken. We hear a lot of huffing on GMG about snobs and elitists. What can be more so than a list larger than most people's entire collection called an essential list for beginners? For just one century to boot!

We have people here who have been listening to music on an industrial scale for decades, many of whom will not know all those pieces. Essential for a beginner?
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set him on fire and he is warm for life.

Offline Ken B

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2016, 06:11:53 AM »
Even Schoenberg disliked the term atonal, and he's right - it doesn't make any sense, there is no such thing. Preferred pantonal, which is a much more accurate & useful descriptor.

Pansinine.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2016, 06:21:36 AM by Ken B »
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Offline Ghost Sonata

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Re: 850 Essential 20th-to-21st-Century Works "for beginners"
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2016, 06:15:09 AM »
You know what I call a guy going through his first divorce? Beginner.

Karl's point is well taken. We hear a lot of huffing on GMG about snobs and elitists. What can be more so than a list larger than most people's entire collection called an essential list for beginners? For just one century to boot!

We have people here who have been listening to music on an industrial scale for decades, many of whom will not know all those pieces. Essential for a beginner?

Agreed, someone is over-enthusiastic.  Or needs to look-up the word 'essential.'

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