Author Topic: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces  (Read 6352 times)

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Greta

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Lately I've been listening to lots of new music, and found that a lot of works that really resonate with me fall into this category.

I originally had "post-minimalist" in the subject title, to me it was the closest description, but they don't really fit there well, and I don't know what to call them.

Maybe future history will crown this group with a proper name of their own because they certainly have cultivated a distinctive and unique voice.  :D

Some characteristics of their music:

-Generally composed post 1990, employs large forces, colorful, lush orchestrations, use of rhythmic devices/meter changes for effect, includes a lot of syncopation, repeated notes, scale runs, mostly tonal yet atonal tendencies, impressionistic slow movements, incorporates elements of jazz and dance rhythms, accessible, often quick appeal even to layman

-Descriptive words: Kinetic, bustling, agile, showy, creative, jubilant, virtuosic, brassy, witty, accessible

-Influenced by: Stravinsky, John Adams, Bernstein, Ravel, Hindemith, Messiaen, Lutoslawski, to name but a few

-Some of the strongest pieces in the genre inspired by cities and urban life

This group includes:

Richard Danielpour
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Michael Torke
Jennifer Higdon
Magnus Lindberg
Michael Daugherty
Christopher Theofanidis
Aaron Jay Kernis
(and some of John Adams)

Listed in order of my favorites.

Favorite works:

Richard Danielpour - Urban Dances, Cello Concerto
Esa-Pekka Salonen - Foreign Bodies, L.A. Variations, Insomnia
Michael Torke - Color Music (esp. Green and Bright Blue)
John Adams - the Two Fanfares, Lollapalooza, Slonimsky's Earbox
Jennifer Higdon - CityScape, Concerto for Orchestra

And I know there are many more I haven't heard yet. I'm always looking to discover new composers, so who are some that you like in this, our current, period?
« Last Edit: June 18, 2007, 11:00:04 AM by Greta »

Offline Guido

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2007, 01:44:21 AM »
Post Minimalism usually refers to people who incorporate minimalistic elements into their work, but are generally 'less mnimal' than minimalists (usually incorporating more definite melodies, and often older forms too). I would not call Danielpour a post minimalist - his works are Mahlerian and very romantic in form and content if not always in sound. John Adams is usually considered post minimalism. (eg. violin concerto) Magnus Lindberg certainly isn't post minimalistic...

Perhaps you are looking for the word neo romantic?
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uffeviking

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2007, 02:44:25 AM »
This group of composers call themselves Post Minimalists and here is label specialising their output:

http://www.tracelab.com:80/

uffeviking

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2007, 02:45:57 AM »
Meet one of my favorite post-minimalists:

http://www.voxnovus.com:80/member/Dean_Rosenthal.htm

Greta

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2007, 10:55:46 AM »
Yeah, I don't know what to call them. ??? But they definitely make up a distinct group, and I'm extremely fond of their music.

I went back and edited the subject title.

I agree post-minimalist isn't a good fit, thought they use a lot of minimalistic elements. But neoromantic doesn't seem right either, Wikipedia assigns that term to Mahler himself. I've seen "The New Romantics" suggested before as a name, but don't feel they have much in common with the Romantics....

I guess we'll have to create our own name, since history hasn't yet.  ;D
« Last Edit: June 18, 2007, 11:02:41 AM by Greta »

Mark G. Simon

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2007, 12:27:49 PM »
Meet one of my favorite post-minimalists:

http://www.voxnovus.com:80/member/Dean_Rosenthal.htm

Dean Rosenthal. I've been wondering what he's been doing lately.

pjme

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2007, 12:35:24 PM »
http://www.mnl-paris.com/presentation.html

Unfortunately (ah, those French/Parisians!!) only in French. But "Musique nouvelle en liberté" (New music in freedom)is an interesting organisation,sponsored by the city of Paris and founded by composer Marcel Landowski and writer/journalist Benoit Duteurtre.Every year new works are commissioned and played , always in combination with the standard repertoire.

Several of the composers listed on the website write (not only) colourful orchestral works. Composer/conductor Laurent Petitgirard of the Orchestre Colonne, actually does program a contemporary work in each concert. www.orchestrecolonne.fr.

Thierry Escaich, Guilhaume Connesson, Nicholas Bacri, Thierry Lancino, Roland Gagneux are definitely names to explore.
Connesson's Supernova really is thrilling and so are Escaich first organconcerto and first symphony.

For something very special,explore Jean Louis Florentz' oeuvre. This wonderful artist (composer, ethno musicologist,he studied Natural sciences and Arab litterature) died far too young (1947-2004). He leaves a small but fascinating series of (basically consonant) works , inspired by Nature and Religion.
Big orchestral canvases that combine slow  extatic incantations and exuberant explosions. The music is difficult to describe: heady mix of Villa Lobos, Messiaen !(Berlioz...!?)

L'ENFANT DES ILES opus 16
L'ANNEAU DE SALOMON opus 14

Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire
direction : Hubert Soudant

1 CD Forlane / DOM — 16832

and

L’ANGE DU TAMARIS opus 12
LE SONGE DE LLUC ALCARI opus 10
LES JARDINS D’AMENTA opus 13

Yves Potrel (violoncelle)
Yvan Chiffoleau (violoncelle)
Orchestre National de Lyon
direction : Günther Herbig
(Le Songe de Lluc Alcari)
direction : Emmanuel Krivine
(Les jardins d’Amènta)

1 CD MFA / RADIO-FRANCE. MFA 216023
(HM 73)

ASUN Opus 7 (formerly known as Requiem pour la Vierge-1986-88) may well be his masterpiece.
pour soprano, ténor, baryton, chœur d’enfant, chœur mixte et orchestre
I have a tape of the first performance ( alas, no recording yet) .


Belgian composer Luc van Hove (1957) also writes very accessible music . explore his concerti ( "stacked time" for electric guitar& orchestra, a symphony etc)
 Luc Van Hove. Chamber Music (vol. 1), Prometheus Ensemble o.l.v. Etienne Siebens, Rene Gailly CD87 164 ( out of print)
- Symphonic works, Vlaams Radio-Orkest o.l.v. Etienne Siebens, Megadisc MDC 7823/24

Dutch composer Peter Jan Wagemans's works regularly stirr up controversy. from his website:

Peter-Jan Wagemans (1952) is among the most important composers of the Netherlands. He can be regarded as the counterpart of his more famous colleague Louis Andriessen.
Whereas Andriessen however is focused largely on American music, Wagemans is an outspoken European artist whose aim is to develop en renew the European tradition.

This brings him in conflict with both the avant-garde and the minimalist styles in the Netherlands. Wagemans does not see himself as a traditionalist.
Further development of the musical heritage is his goal, but to be successful, all aspects, both of structural, emotional and communicative nature has to be in balance.

See (and listen) at http://www.peter-janwagemans.com/index.html

there are many more artists to be discussed...may be tomorrow?

Peter













uffeviking

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2007, 01:02:25 PM »
Dean Rosenthal. I've been wondering what he's been doing lately.

He's been in touch with me off and on. Looks as if he is making progress with his composing; he sent me one of his works. Interested, Mark?

uffeviking

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Re: Favorite Post-Minimalists and Their Works
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2007, 01:05:40 PM »
Yeah, I don't know what to call them.

Why not call them what they call themselves? post minimalists!  8)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2007, 12:57:38 AM »
Michael Torke - Color Music (esp. Green and Bright Blue)

I like Torke.  :)
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2007, 01:45:36 AM »
I don't wish to get into a definitional dead end, so I'll just list some of my favorite post-1990 orchestral works:

Adams: Naive and Sentimental Music - a lot like his earlier Harmonielehre, but less minimalist
Lindberg: Aura; Cantigas; Fresco - slow-moving, powerful, in-yer-face sonic avalanches
Tüür: Violin Concerto - it rocks!
Rouse: Trombone and Flute Concertos; 2nd Symphony - appropriately gritty neo-romanticism
Penderecki: 3rd Symphony - fun, loose symphony in post-Shostakovich mode
Sallinen: 8th Symphony - autumnal Nordic poignancy
Carter: Symphonia - strong stuff for both ears and mind
Schnittke: 8th Symphony - this is how life looks when it's all gone
Lutoslawski: 4th Symphony - powerful elegiac final statement

I have to say that, with a few exceptions, I haven't found self-styled "Neo-Romanticism" to be all that interesting.
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Kullervo

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2007, 08:03:36 AM »
Greta, if you are interested in colorful orchestral works, you may find Tristan Murail to your liking.

This disc is a good introduction.

Greta

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2007, 12:36:34 PM »
Quote
Rouse: Trombone and Flute Concertos; 2nd Symphony - appropriately gritty neo-romanticism

How could he have slipped my mind, do'h! His Cello Concerto is fantastic too.

I also forgot to mention Michael Gandolfi. I heard his Gardens of Cosmic Speculation on the radio and would like to hear more of him.

Quote
Sallinen: 8th Symphony - autumnal Nordic poignancy
Tüür: Violin Concerto - it rocks!

These are two composers I always have heard good things about. :)

Quote
Penderecki: 3rd Symphony - fun, loose symphony in post-Shostakovich mode

I miust get ahold of this. I love his 2nd Symphony and so much of his work but hadn't got around to this one yet.

Quote
Lutoslawski: 4th Symphony - powerful elegiac final statement

Yes, that's a great one. His 3rd and 4th rank very highly with me.

Quote
you may find Tristan Murail to your liking.

Another name I hear a lot. I see he shares some things in common with Ligeti, I think I would like his music.

I also thought of some others whose music I'm curious about:

Steven Stucky, Augusta Read Thomas, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Kalevi Aho, Kimmo Hakola, Brett Dean, Tobias Picker, Oliver Knussen

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2007, 11:25:32 PM »
Steven Stucky, Augusta Read Thomas, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Kalevi Aho, Kimmo Hakola, Brett Dean, Tobias Picker, Oliver Knussen

Years ago I heard Simon Rattle conduct Knussen's 3rd Symphony in Chicago. It's an enchanting work, I think - one mvt. in a sort of "atonal romantic" style. The only recording I know of is on a disc by RPO/Ashkenazy made when they were visiting Moscow, coupled with Walton's 2nd and something by Britten. Well worth looking for.

I have a trombone work by Read Thomas played by Christian Lindberg (coincidentally coupled with the Rouse cto). Haven't listened to it yet, but your post gives me an excuse to do so.

BTW, I like Penderecki's 3rd a lot better than his 2nd. I also think Lutoslawski's 3rd is one of the great symphonies of the 20th century, I only didn't list it because it's pre-1990.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2007, 11:27:32 PM by Spitvalve »
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Offline not edward

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2007, 02:05:29 AM »
Years ago I heard Simon Rattle conduct Knussen's 3rd Symphony in Chicago. It's an enchanting work, I think - one mvt. in a sort of "atonal romantic" style. The only recording I know of is on a disc by RPO/Ashkenazy made when they were visiting Moscow, coupled with Walton's 2nd and something by Britten. Well worth looking for.
There's a (presumably oop) disc on Unicorn-Kanchana that has the 2nd and 3rd symphonies, plus sundry shorter works. I'd guess after the disc with the horn concerto it's the most essential Knussen out there. (For myself, I admire the delicacy of Knussen's writing more than I love the music that results--with the exception of the horn concerto, which is a superb piece.)
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Offline Brian

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2007, 07:12:04 PM »
Big and colorful?

Timothy Kramer's "Party Favors" is terrific.  8)  Saw the world premiere here in Texas.

Offline jowcol

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2010, 01:50:16 PM »
I just have discovered Jennifer Higdon's Concerto for Orchestra, City Scape, and Blue Cathedral and enjoy them very much.  I've tempted to start a dedicated thread to her, but wasn't sure how it would be sustained-- so I decided to revive this old thread where she was mentioned.

They are very nice works-- lots of color, rhythmic vitality.  Some really beautiful, introspective moments.  (Not sure if I'd go as far as elegaic or valedictory-- in case Vandermolen is reading this).  Some interesting tuned percussion interludes.  A nice balance that is not "accessible for its own sake", but is something you can enjoy without someone having to tell you why its good for you.

Anyway-- I saw a mention of Torke on this thread.  I'd tried him as well. There is a lot to like, but he's a bit too relentless happy for my tastes.  Too much happy always makes me depressed.
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snyprrr

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Re: Favorite Current Composers Who Write Big Colorful Orchestral Pieces
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2010, 09:41:22 PM »
The OP makes me want to say Guilty Pleasures, haha, and then I gots to thinkin'...



I remember going through the New World catalog, with names like Olli Wilson, Asia, Zwilich, Harbison, etc., you know all the names, and this is when "Classical" muisc was for the first time really start to sound like totally integrated to the times, like Torke, and all the "hip" (no, not that HIP, cool hip!) stuff that was being added to music that even young, pop oriented people could get into (witness Gorecki!).

I notice this trend from about 1974-6 to 1991-93. I'd call it the Golden Age of Something! I don't know,... something! Then, in the '90s, we really have Nonesuch-type artists making the crossover. Wooow,... I'm having a flashback......ooooooo....

ok, I'm back.

I think the '90s are a special time. I don't particularly go for all this exciting new (Argo, New World, CRI, ECM, Catalyst, etc...) young stuff, but, it does help to hear, and study, and see what's going on,... or not. I personally let music die with the Messi-Luto-Xena-Lig generation. I like what they said about serious music, and, though I don't waaant to say it, they wrote looots of big splashy stuff. I digress,... I'm having a nostalgia attack.

The OP seemed to channel John Adams for me, a composer I have only heard a few things from. He seems to be the most popular co mposer, no? PBS? I don't know, I just haven't gotten excited by Adams, Danielp, Asia, Harbis, Zwilich, Larson, etc,... mabye because there's so many of them, and you could make sooo many cool cds of 3-5min pieces by all these people mixed together, and you'd have a great mix tape, and, and,...

Ades? "The" Bad Boy o' Music? oh my

Remember in the '90s it was... Nyman... Bryars... Tavener... Volans (Argo...)

Tan Dun...Vasks...Golijov...Ingram...

When you look into it, I think most of us have lived through the absolute commercialization of the classical music indusrty, and, I'll just arbitrarily start the date at 1991, which, to be fair, seems correct. Ok,...1989. My point is, since the cd, we were ALL there when the Gorecki hit (where were you when Kennedy?...). We were all there when the latest Kronos, the latest Adams, Glass, Reich, Argo, etc... WE ALL WENT TO THE RECORD STORE STILL!! It was a... gulp, here we go,... a different world.

The great push of history was going to get one last great shot from the cd. The Great Equalizer. Like the Internet.

Are the types of people who are composers today different from the types of people who were,... oh, nevermind....



The OP makes me want to go on a New World buying spree, but, thankfully, I did that once. I just need to go listen to some of that splashy stuff.

btw- Sallinen's Nordic, he's still "Serious", no matter what. He's my "Last Compser", haha.