Author Topic: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)  (Read 3961 times)

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Offline Mirror Image

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Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« on: December 02, 2013, 05:42:34 PM »


Best described as eclectic, Turnage's highly energetic style is infused with influences from jazz, rock, and European modernism. His output includes symphonic, chamber, and operatic works, all of which demonstrate a keen sense of drama, and an ability to clarify the most complex of textures. He is best known for his opera, Greek, which has received frequent productions, including one televised by the BBC.

Born in Essex in 1960, Turnage studied at the Royal College of Music -- most notably with Oliver Knussen -- and then at Tanglewood with Gunther Schuller and Hans Werner Henze. Henze's influence led to an opera commission for the 1988 Munich Biennale. The result of that commission, Greek -- based on Steven Berkoff's incendiary play of the same title -- was an unqualified success, and it established Turnage on the international scene. In October 1989, Turnage began a lasting relationship with the City of Birmingham Symphony and its conductor, Simon Rattle, with the premiere of his Three Screaming Popes. After a four-year term as Composer in Association with Birmingham, Turnage took on a similar role at the English National Opera, where he also became Artistic Consultant to their Contemporary Opera Studio. 1996 saw the London premiere of his jazz-inspired Blood on the Floor by Ensemble Modern, and in 1997 his works, Twice Through the Heart and The Country of the Blind, opened the 50th Anniversary Aldeburgh Festival.

[Taken from All Music Guide]

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Turnage seems to not have his own thread, so I figured I would start one. I'm relatively new to his music, although I did hear the orchestral work From the Wreckage several years ago which I thought was pretty darn good. What is everyone's opinion of his music? Any works you recommend I listen to next?
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cilgwyn

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 06:13:50 AM »
And on the cover of the December IRR Magazine,which popped through my letterbox today! :) (Single copies are available from IRR and Newsstand,by the way,if don't way to pay for a subscription).
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 10:19:26 AM by cilgwyn »

Offline lescamil

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 06:28:14 AM »
One of the more interesting composers today, for sure. His musical style is a unique one. Other than the occasional jazz influences, he really doesn't fit in with anyone else. He can write pieces that are lighthearted and playful, like his concert opener Scherzoid, or something massive and serious, like his recent "symphony" Speranza. I don't know a huge number of his pieces, but I've been impressed with most that I've heard. I'll forgive him for his recent piece Hammered Out, though, heh, which caused a stir at a recent Proms because of what it is influenced by (I'll leave that to you to look up on your own).
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Offline amw

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 11:29:45 AM »
Oliver Knussen ... Gunther Schuller

IMO if you know those two you don't really need to hear any Turnage.

That said I think Three Screaming Popes was a rather Mirrorimageian piece, if memory serves.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 05:54:40 PM »
IMO if you know those two you don't really need to hear any Turnage.

That said I think Three Screaming Popes was a rather Mirrorimageian piece, if memory serves.

I'm sure Turnage is his own man, amw. I keep reading that he has a unique style, so I'm going to remain open-minded. As for Three Screaming Popes being a Mirrorimageian work, I'm now confused. ??? :)
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2013, 07:37:59 PM »
One of the more interesting composers today, for sure. His musical style is a unique one. Other than the occasional jazz influences, he really doesn't fit in with anyone else. He can write pieces that are lighthearted and playful, like his concert opener Scherzoid, or something massive and serious, like his recent "symphony" Speranza. I don't know a huge number of his pieces, but I've been impressed with most that I've heard. I'll forgive him for his recent piece Hammered Out, though, heh, which caused a stir at a recent Proms because of what it is influenced by (I'll leave that to you to look up on your own).

I'm really interested in hearing Speranza. I heard some of it via Spotify and it sounded interesting. Of course, I liked From the Wreckage which I heard many years ago. That piece has this underground, sleazy, back alley sort of darkness to it, which the trumpet provides this kind of mood throughout the work. He certainly isn't afraid of going in new directions and even if he falls on his face, he seems like he continues to get right back up again and carries on unscathed.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 09:14:20 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline lescamil

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2013, 11:28:28 PM »
I listened to the premiere of Speranza when it was live on the BBC and I was engaged through the whole 45 minute work, which doesn't happen often for a lot of 40+ minute pieces written recently. Turnage's sense of color and orchestration really comes out in this piece, particularly with his use of percussion. I really like the way he uses the cimbalom in the work. It may be one of those instruments that is a "flavor of the month" for many contemporary composers (when it comes to folk/ethnic instruments), but he really does use it well. He also uses the duduk quite well in the second movement, a rarer instrument still in classical music (but not in film music).
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 06:48:51 PM »
The 'Mirrorimageian' work in question:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/HMWSy9mfxSs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/HMWSy9mfxSs</a>

It's certainly a strange little hairball of a work. Many jagged contours and dark-edged corridors this music travels down. I certainly don't find anything objectionable about it. It's a twisted work like the paintings the music portrays by Francis Bacon.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2013, 07:10:49 PM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 06:50:32 PM »
I listened to the premiere of Speranza when it was live on the BBC and I was engaged through the whole 45 minute work, which doesn't happen often for a lot of 40+ minute pieces written recently. Turnage's sense of color and orchestration really comes out in this piece, particularly with his use of percussion. I really like the way he uses the cimbalom in the work. It may be one of those instruments that is a "flavor of the month" for many contemporary composers (when it comes to folk/ethnic instruments), but he really does use it well. He also uses the duduk quite well in the second movement, a rarer instrument still in classical music (but not in film music).

Interesting. Can't wait to hear the work in its entirety.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2013, 07:00:47 PM »
And on the cover of the December IRR Magazine,which popped through my letterbox today! :) (Single copies are available from IRR and Newsstand,by the way,if don't way to pay for a subscription).

Nice! Do you know any of Turnage's music, cilgwyn?
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2014, 10:22:37 AM »
I had the EMI disc of Turnage conducted by Simon Rattle. It was OK stuff, but not good enough to keep in the permanent collection.

Lately I'm thinking about exploring him again. I see the LPO label has 3 discs of his music. Any thoughts on those?
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2014, 06:43:42 PM »
I had the EMI disc of Turnage conducted by Simon Rattle. It was OK stuff, but not good enough to keep in the permanent collection.

Lately I'm thinking about exploring him again. I see the LPO label has 3 discs of his music. Any thoughts on those?

I think Turnage is an interesting composer, but his music isn't substantial to me in any way. I did like the new LSO Live recording and I think Speranza is the finest work I've heard from him so far. The last movement of this work is quite emotional and really seemed to let his guard down which appealed to me greatly. I can't recommend any of those LPO discs, because I only own one of them (the one without all the vocal works) and that recording didn't contain one work that did anything for me.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2014, 08:14:26 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. The disc I'm considering has concertos for viola, violin and clarinet on it, plus a couple of short pieces. It's the 3rd and final CD in the LPO series. I rooted around on the Internet, and it seemed to get good reviews.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2014, 08:30:22 PM »
Thanks for the feedback. The disc I'm considering has concertos for viola, violin and clarinet on it, plus a couple of short pieces. It's the 3rd and final CD in the LPO series. I rooted around on the Internet, and it seemed to get good reviews.

Okay, well that's the CD I own from that LPO series and I found none of the music enjoyable to be honest. Again, there's just no substance in the music, but you may enjoy it. As I mentioned, that LSO Live recording (w/ Daniel Harding) contains the best Turnage work I've heard yet: Speranza.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2014, 09:03:42 PM »
As I mentioned, that LSO Live recording (w/ Daniel Harding) contains the best Turnage work I've heard yet: Speranza.

Hmmm...may have to rearrange my cart.
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2014, 10:33:08 AM »
I found a bit of Speranza on YouTube. The overall impression was positive. It reminded me somewhat of Magnus Lindberg, while being emotionally a bit more unbuttoned than that composer. Research continues...
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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2014, 01:21:10 PM »
You can either skip the trombone concerto- or buy my extra copy- $8 free shippi ng!! UK-$9 ;)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2014, 06:13:06 PM »
I found a bit of Speranza on YouTube. The overall impression was positive. It reminded me somewhat of Magnus Lindberg, while being emotionally a bit more unbuttoned than that composer. Research continues...

Yes, the last movement is especially moving. I think the Lindberg comparison is an apt one as both of them seem 'paint' if you will with large brush strokes, which in this case would be the orchestra. :)
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2014, 10:31:56 AM »
Okay, well that's the CD I own from that LPO series and I found none of the music enjoyable to be honest. Again, there's just no substance in the music, but you may enjoy it. As I mentioned, that LSO Live recording (w/ Daniel Harding) contains the best Turnage work I've heard yet: Speranza.

First listening

I couldn't decide which of these discs to get, so I wound up getting both  :)

The LPO disc is attractive because of the variety of works on it. I can't quite figure out my reaction to it yet. Turnage has a sound of his own - a kind of mellow stridency, if that makes any sense - and I find that interesting to listen to. The level of craftsmanship is high, and at any particular time, the music is attractive. My problem on first listen is that it doesn't seem to go anywhere or add up to much. The music is often very busy, but episodic, and develops in a fretful kind of way, as if the elements are disconnected. In short, it's superficially attractive but kind of puzzling, and doesn't leave much behind in the memory. The same applies to From the Wreckage, although I feel more of a sense of purpose coming from that work.

Speranza is different: much more of a unified and serious concept, and I can see myself coming back to it repeatedly. It's basically a symphony with 3 slow mvts. and 1 fast one, with some sonic spice provided by the use of exotic instrumentation (duduk). It may go on a bit longer than it has to, but at least it seems to be going somewhere, more so than the other pieces I heard.
 
So, that's my first-listening report!
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Mark-Anthony Turnage (1960 -)
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2014, 06:53:31 PM »
Cool, Velimir. Speranza is the only Turnage work I can say with certainty that I enjoy. The music from him I've heard didn't leave much of a impression.
“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.” - Dmitri Shostakovich