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Offline berliszt

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Question about contemporary music
« on: March 08, 2018, 05:48:04 AM »
Hello GMG!

I'm a young classical music lover who has not really attempted getting in to much music written after, say, 1990. I've been spending some time on a general music forum where, while classical music is not popular at all, the more knowledgeable members do listen to quite a bit of it (if not as much as other genres. I have noticed, however, that while these posters are frequently championing new music that is relatively (compared to the standard rock fare) accomplished, it is never new 'classical' music that is being championed. It got me thinking: seeing as there is at all times only a certain amount of talent in the world, and seeing as classical music is among the music that is the least heard, is all (most of) the talent going into other musical genres instead because, obviously, you can only be influenced by what you hear?

I ask this as someone who is not familiar with most of the music a site like that champions. I guess the reason for my question is I'm wondering (acknowledging that a lot of musical appreciation is subjective, but asking more as far as compositional talent, vision, and realization) if there are many (or any) exceptional composers writing music today, and if so who they are? Or am I indeed better off looking elsewhere for great modern music?


Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 06:50:58 AM »
Welcome!

Give this a try, let me know what you think:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/0hkAjfHuiVg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/0hkAjfHuiVg</a>


Fair disclosure:  I studied with Charles Wuorinen.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 09:03:52 AM »
The classical music world is more backward looking in its focus than other genres, which is a barrier new music must surmount. Post-1990 composers who have made an impression on me are (in no particular order) Salonen, Sallinen, Vasks.

Offline Kentel

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 01:42:14 PM »
Classical music is the least heard, and within the realm of classical music, contemporary classical is the least heard, hence the leasted of the least heard music. It's pretty elitistic, like contemporary art I'd say, and it requires a strong desire to explore new musical territories, which few people are eager to do.

I agree with the selections above (maybe not Vasks and Pärt though). Among the most famous living composers we should also mention Per Nørgård, John Adams and Toshio Hosokawa. There are many others, here I'd suggest two very interesting younger composers : the Dane Simon Steen-Andersen and the American Aaron Cassidy whose works, I think, are very good (original and finely crafted, two very rare qualities).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6B5zLaHiU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5Zt6vgvSMo

Offline Brewski

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 01:57:52 PM »
Classical music is the least heard, and within the realm of classical music, contemporary classical is the least heard, hence the leasted of the least heard music. It's pretty elitistic, like contemporary art I'd say, and it requires a strong desire to explore new musical territories, which few people are eager to do.

I agree with the selections above (maybe not Vasks and Pärt though). Among the most famous living composers we should also mention Per Nørgård, John Adams and Toshio Hosokawa. There are many others, here I'd suggest two very interesting younger composers : the Dane Simon Steen-Andersen and the American Aaron Cassidy whose works, I think, are very good (original and finely crafted, two very rare qualities).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pd6B5zLaHiU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5Zt6vgvSMo

Hello, Kentel, and thanks for this post.  Excellent suggestions, all of them. (I am quite a fan of most of the composers you mentioned, especially Nørgård and Hosokawa.)

PS, welcome to GMG! If you like (encouraged but not required), feel free to post something about yourself in the Introductions section.

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Offline North Star

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2018, 02:17:06 PM »
Welcome back to GMG Kentel!
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline Kentel

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 02:27:16 PM »
Thanks guys, nice to see you again :) , actually I couldn't reactivate my old account, I guess it's lost. Never mind, I can be a newbie again  :).

Another contemporary composer I really enjoy listening is Leif Segerstam : many people joke about the huge amount of symphonies he wrote, but they are in fact pretty good... I get never tired listening to his cold woodland legendary/faery-like orchestral textures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faMFoG314tc

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2018, 03:10:42 PM »
Hello GMG!

I'm a young classical music lover who has not really attempted getting in to much music written after, say, 1990. I've been spending some time on a general music forum where, while classical music is not popular at all, the more knowledgeable members do listen to quite a bit of it (if not as much as other genres. I have noticed, however, that while these posters are frequently championing new music that is relatively (compared to the standard rock fare) accomplished, it is never new 'classical' music that is being championed. It got me thinking: seeing as there is at all times only a certain amount of talent in the world, and seeing as classical music is among the music that is the least heard, is all (most of) the talent going into other musical genres instead because, obviously, you can only be influenced by what you hear?

I ask this as someone who is not familiar with most of the music a site like that champions. I guess the reason for my question is I'm wondering (acknowledging that a lot of musical appreciation is subjective, but asking more as far as compositional talent, vision, and realization) if there are many (or any) exceptional composers writing music today, and if so who they are? Or am I indeed better off looking elsewhere for great modern music?



Nice to see another Australian around here!

One of the best things you could do to learn about the new music scene here is to check out things posted by the Australian Music Centre on their website or on their social media accounts (like facebook, twitter). You might see there that for example the composer Liza Lim is very active recently having received a Don Banks award and also will have an extended percussion ensemble work performed at Darmstadt during their summer course.

If, from there, you look at Liza Lim's twitter you might see that she has recently made shoutouts to the composers/musicians working in New Music who are women/support women for International Women's Day. All those people are amazing in the new music scene here and internationally.

Once you have seen those twitter shoutouts you could check out those very people on SoundCloud and YouTube and find that there is an enormous wealth of other composers and performers in new music across the globe with whom they regularly collaborate. Basically, this snowball effect means that in no time at all you will have some familiarity with a small part of what is happening right now in music. Not only that, but these composers and musicians will probably seem a bit more 'real' to you as you will find out that you can even get in contact with them yourself and see their performances.

Getting in touch with New Music in this way is an incredibly uplifting and humanistic experience that I hope you will enjoy as much as I do. :)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 03:12:32 PM by jessop »

Offline Cato

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2018, 04:54:11 PM »
Hello GMG!

I'm a young classical music lover who has not really attempted getting in to much music written after, say, 1990. I've been spending some time on a general music forum where, while classical music is not popular at all, the more knowledgeable members do listen to quite a bit of it (if not as much as other genres. I have noticed, however, that while these posters are frequently championing new music that is relatively (compared to the standard rock fare) accomplished, it is never new 'classical' music that is being championed. It got me thinking: seeing as there is at all times only a certain amount of talent in the world, and seeing as classical music is among the music that is the least heard, is all (most of) the talent going into other musical genres instead because, obviously, you can only be influenced by what you hear?

I ask this as someone who is not familiar with most of the music a site like that champions. I guess the reason for my question is I'm wondering (acknowledging that a lot of musical appreciation is subjective, but asking more as far as compositional talent, vision, and realization) if there are many (or any) exceptional composers writing music today, and if so who they are? Or am I indeed better off looking elsewhere for great modern music?

Given the amount of "sung,"  "chanted," "rapped," spat, or growled sludge sold as "genius" and "the next great thing" by the Popular Music Deities for whatever niche market, and given that our 21st-century Sahara of the Bozart keeps expanding, one must go on a quest to find the exceptional composers.  In earlier eras they were (usually) lionized: Mediocrity and worse reign today.

But your quest has brought you to the right place!   0:)

Welcome!

Give this a try, let me know what you think:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/0hkAjfHuiVg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/0hkAjfHuiVg</a>


Fair disclosure:  I studied with Charles Wuorinen.


Karl
is too modest: give these works of his a try!

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/n-95rYkIbmE" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/n-95rYkIbmE</a>


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/tN3aMOrzEb8&amp;t=45s" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/tN3aMOrzEb8&amp;t=45s</a>








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- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline berliszt

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2018, 03:41:52 AM »
Thanks all for the replies and recommendations I will be listening to them when I get free time over the next few days!

Offline Crudblud

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2018, 04:52:43 AM »
As Cato says, there is good music lurking if you have the patience to look for it, but it can be hard going. However, I do believe that popular music can still produce works of worth. I have enlisted the help of a friend who is an expert in these things, and she recommends me albums regularly. It has to be said that overall I have yet to find among these an album that I like in its totality, but some of them do present interesting ideas (Tune-Yards' Whokill, for example, seemed to me a catalogue of interesting ideas that do not ever really come together to form anything meaningful). I guess my general beef with popular music, especially now that hip-hop is dominant, is that so much of it has become simplified to the point of barely even communicating—there is no balance between music and text, it's all text.

In classical music I'm quite jaded. I feel like a lot of the "big cool pieces" I've heard from this time period are little more than retreads of spectralism, or they devolve into people making sub-Lachenmann scratchy noises in lieu of substance. The "not so cool" stuff is even more retrograde—how many "21st century" Beethovens and Rachmaninoffs do we need? (Never mind that if Beethoven was of my generation he would not be composing as if he had been born in 1770, nor Rach the 1870s.) I'm sure there are new and exciting things being done somewhere by someone, but the distinction between drawing upon past musics and repackaging them wholesale seems to have been eroded to the point of meaninglessness, and I don't know if I have the patience to carry on with Cato's quest.

Offline Cato

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2018, 05:00:19 AM »
Thanks all for the replies and recommendations I will be listening to them when I get free time over the next few days!

A few more:

Sampo Haapamaeki says "Yes, Virginia, there is quarter-tone accordion music!??? ??? ???

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/5gvRGRa_koU" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/5gvRGRa_koU</a>

Lera Auerbach: Gogol

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Jkt1LetdbcM" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Jkt1LetdbcM</a>
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2018, 02:16:36 AM »
Hello GMG!

I'm a young classical music lover who has not really attempted getting in to much music written after, say, 1990. I've been spending some time on a general music forum where, while classical music is not popular at all, the more knowledgeable members do listen to quite a bit of it (if not as much as other genres. I have noticed, however, that while these posters are frequently championing new music that is relatively (compared to the standard rock fare) accomplished, it is never new 'classical' music that is being championed. It got me thinking: seeing as there is at all times only a certain amount of talent in the world, and seeing as classical music is among the music that is the least heard, is all (most of) the talent going into other musical genres instead because, obviously, you can only be influenced by what you hear?

I ask this as someone who is not familiar with most of the music a site like that champions. I guess the reason for my question is I'm wondering (acknowledging that a lot of musical appreciation is subjective, but asking more as far as compositional talent, vision, and realization) if there are many (or any) exceptional composers writing music today, and if so who they are? Or am I indeed better off looking elsewhere for great modern music?

I have been interviewing/profiling living composers on my blog since 2014 and have posted over sixty so far.  The music they are creating is very exciting and worthwhile and covers a wide stylistic spectrum.

https://fdleone.com/category/profiles/

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2018, 03:06:35 AM »
During the last few years I have discovered the wonders of contemporary music and it's been a revelation. Just recently I bought a Valentin Silvestrov Naxos disc (Moments of Memory II) and I just love that CD! I don't know what it is, but contemporary classical music sounds often much more "sparkly" and "fresh" than older classical music. It's like a tv picture with better contrast and more vibrant colors. The use of instruments and orchestra is so different. Another recent purchase is James Whitbourn's music on Naxos. Perhaps not a great as the Silvestrov disc, but nice stuff nevertheless. I bought Schwantner too recently. I feel like knowing so little about this area of music, but that makes it so interesting. I explore and learn slowly.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2018, 08:41:45 PM »
It's like a tv picture with better contrast and more vibrant colors.

Not on my TV screen. :)
“I really would like to go to Marmorkirken. It was there that I heard music for the first time, and that experience is like a heavenly vision for me.” - Rued Langgaard

Offline berliszt

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2018, 05:05:24 AM »
I finally had some time to sit down and listen to the recs, so the last few hours that's what I've been doing. I'm not musically trained and I have a poor memory, which makes it difficult to follow the musical argument on a first listen, but here were my first impressions:

Wuorinen Archaeopteryyx: This one I only grasped to a extremely superficial degree, but very colorful and simply sonically pleasurable.

Cassidy String Quartet #2: Never heard anything like it but was very impressed!

Steen-Anersen Piano Concerto: Favourite so far, but with reservations (e.g repetitive at times, electronic start overstaying welcome), but fantastic instrumental imagination and colour, and I loved the Op. 101 revelation!

Segerstam Symphony No. 288: Another excellent piece, have to admit I was a tad prejudiced based on his ridiculous productivity, but wonderful orchestration and just beautiful throughout: gotta love the Finnish atmosphere in 'updated' orchestration!

Henning Out in the Sun: Type of intricate polyphony that I generally struggle to follow, but attempting to was stimulating and even though it'll probably take me a few listens, it sounded great so that will be a pleasure!

Henning Annabel Lee: Same as above, but liked this one even more. Very engaging and alluring music. Bravo!  :)

Haapamaki Velinikka: This was AMAZING. Thanks so much for sharing this, I can't believe I've never even heard of this composer! The quest took me to the right place indeed...

Auerbach Gogol: Sounds very promising!

Overall a massive success and I couldn't ask for a better introduction to contemporary classical. I'm greatly looking forward to exploring further now (and will look into what others suggested above), so thank you all very much!

I'm also going to see two concerts of works by Unsuk Chin next month which I'm sure will be another treat!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 05:10:06 AM by berliszt »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2018, 05:13:37 AM »
Thank you indeed for your kind reception of my work!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2018, 05:27:43 AM »
I finally had some time to sit down and listen to the recs, so the last few hours that's what I've been doing. I'm not musically trained and I have a poor memory, which makes it difficult to follow the musical argument on a first listen, but here were my first impressions:

Wuorinen Archaeopteryyx: This one I only grasped to a extremely superficial degree, but very colorful and simply sonically pleasurable.

Cassidy String Quartet #2: Never heard anything like it but was very impressed!

Steen-Anersen Piano Concerto: Favourite so far, but with reservations (e.g repetitive at times, electronic start overstaying welcome), but fantastic instrumental imagination and colour, and I loved the Op. 101 revelation!

Segerstam Symphony No. 288: Another excellent piece, have to admit I was a tad prejudiced based on his ridiculous productivity, but wonderful orchestration and just beautiful throughout: gotta love the Finnish atmosphere in 'updated' orchestration!

Henning Out in the Sun: Type of intricate polyphony that I generally struggle to follow, but attempting to was stimulating and even though it'll probably take me a few listens, it sounded great so that will be a pleasure!

Henning Annabel Lee: Same as above, but liked this one even more. Very engaging and alluring music. Bravo!  :)

Haapamaki Velinikka: This was AMAZING. Thanks so much for sharing this, I can't believe I've never even heard of this composer! The quest took me to the right place indeed...

Auerbach Gogol: Sounds very promising!

Overall a massive success and I couldn't ask for a better introduction to contemporary classical. I'm greatly looking forward to exploring further now (and will look into what others suggested above), so thank you all very much!

I'm also going to see two concerts of works by Unsuk Chin next month which I'm sure will be another treat!

Are you talking about Metropolis New Music Festival concerts of Unsuk Chin? If so, I'm hoping to be there as well. If you ever want a complimentary ticket for one of those MSO concerts I'm happy to provide one.

Offline Ken B

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Re: Question about contemporary music
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2018, 05:44:19 AM »
Try some Michael Nyman or Douwe Eisenga. Youtube.
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he is warm for life.