Author Topic: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers  (Read 66324 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1450
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #120 on: April 29, 2014, 04:03:11 PM »
he was rightfully trashed by composers in my opinion.

::) So much so that all who dedicated pieces or movements to him rushed to disown those works, and never wasted an opportunity to trash him, especially on camera.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline EigenUser

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3328
  • Mahler's 9th - "Deadlifts in the midst of life"
    • Ligeti's Laboratory
  • Location: Northern VA
  • Currently Listening to:
    Bartok, Ligeti, Ravel, Gershwin, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Feldman, Messiaen, Haydn, Ockeghem, Adès, Mahler, Ohana, Webern, Boulez, Varese, Beethoven, Berg, Scriabin, Tippett, Takemitsu, Vaughan-Williams
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #121 on: April 29, 2014, 04:12:05 PM »
Cage always seemed rather vapid & empty-headed to me .. just like the stuff he put out there. He talked a lot but his composing just doesn't add up to much .. he was rightfully trashed by composers in my opinion.
Meh... I don't think he was rightfully trashed. I like his ideas on music, but not his music. I think of him as a musical philosopher more than a composer. Based on what I've heard from him (unless I'm totally misunderstanding him), it seems like he'd almost agree.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8046
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #122 on: April 29, 2014, 04:17:49 PM »
Wonderful book on John Cage. It is a great complement to James Pritchett's.



My copy arrived last week and I've read about the first 100 pp.  Excellent book. 

Offline torut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #123 on: April 29, 2014, 05:04:14 PM »
Meh... I don't think he was rightfully trashed. I like his ideas on music, but not his music. I think of him as a musical philosopher more than a composer. Based on what I've heard from him (unless I'm totally misunderstanding him), it seems like he'd almost agree.
I used to feel the same way. The books and articles about/by him were fun to read and interesting, but I didn't understand what are the merits of his music. But recently I heard many compositions by Cage from different periods, and now I appreciate & enjoy his music. I guess that one of the problems is that his writings were too good: his critics were occupied by his words too much. You should try to forget what he said (about "philosophy" or the methods) and listen to the music itself.

Offline torut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #124 on: April 29, 2014, 05:09:40 PM »
Cage always seemed rather vapid & empty-headed to me .. just like the stuff he put out there. He talked a lot but his composing just doesn't add up to much .. he was rightfully trashed by composers in my opinion.
Which composers trashed him?

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17506
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #125 on: April 29, 2014, 11:40:06 PM »
Which composers trashed him?
Daniel Asia.  ::)
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 57926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #126 on: April 30, 2014, 04:13:36 AM »
Cage always seemed rather vapid & empty-headed to me [...]

Thanks for conceding that the failing is your own.
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

Offline torut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #127 on: April 30, 2014, 08:54:06 PM »
Daniel Asia.  ::)
I read the huffingtonpost article. :) It is full of hyperbolic words trying to pretend that his personal preference is an eternal truth. It is interesting to see the old cliché:
Quote
In a few years time, Cage will be a small footnote to all of this, remembered if at all, for his self-advertising, whimsy and smile, and love of mushrooms. But for his music, not a chance.
... while Sonatas and Interludes survived for over 65 years and new recordings keep being released. I just checked Amazon and found this. (to be released on May 13.) Is this a new release or a reissue?


Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 57926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #128 on: May 01, 2014, 03:20:11 AM »
I read the huffingtonpost article. :) It is full of hyperbolic words trying to pretend that his personal preference is an eternal truth.

Yes, no matter the rolling years, there seems always to be someone naïve enough to parade his opinion as Universal Artistic Axiom.  And here on GMG, the amusement of reading someone (with whose blinders that opinion neatly aligns) posting, Yes! It's the Truth! Hallelujah!  ;)
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

Offline Artem

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 937
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #129 on: May 01, 2014, 05:58:56 PM »
This page and previous one could fit well with the Cage thread in the composers section, I think.

Offline zamyrabyrd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 4047
  • selig sind
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #130 on: June 06, 2014, 02:43:13 AM »
These three books on Debussy seemed interesting and companionable so I got myself a triple present: "Images, The Piano Music of Claude Debussy", "Claude Debussy" by Paul Roberts and "Debussy in Proportion" by Roy Howat. The first I discovered on a youtube masterclass.

ZB
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 57926
  • Et quid amabo nisi quod ænigma est?
    • Henningmusick
  • Location: Boston, Mass.
  • Currently Listening to:
    Shostakovich, D. Scarlattii, Stravinsky, JS Bach, Liszt, Martinů, Haydn, Henning
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #131 on: June 06, 2014, 03:46:38 AM »
These three books on Debussy seemed interesting and companionable so I got myself a triple present: "Images, The Piano Music of Claude Debussy", "Claude Debussy" by Paul Roberts and "Debussy in Proportion" by Roy Howat. The first I discovered on a youtube masterclass.

ZB

Mm, most interesting, thanks.
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

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6933
  • Raoul Dufy, "Tragédie, Comédie"
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #132 on: June 13, 2014, 05:31:07 AM »
Not at all. The letters in Nattiez's book cover 1949-1962 (admittedly too early to be an indicator of how their friendship would develop in later years) and all are very amicable and enthusiastic throughout.
After having talked about the Boulez-Cage correspondence a couple of months ago, and much to my surprise, a French on-line seller of scores and music books was offering the original French edition at a decent price:


I ordered it, and got confirmation it had been shipped just a couple of hours later. Looking froward to receiving it soon... :)

Added this other book (unknown to me up to now) to my order:


Pierre Boulez in conversation with François Meïmoun on the music and literature that influenced him early on in his career....
ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
„Gibt es kein Hinüber?
Sind wir schon da?
Wie konnt' es geschehen?
Sind wir schon drüben?“

Offline petrarch

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1450
  • Luigi Nono (1924-1990)
  • Location: Boston, MA
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #133 on: June 20, 2014, 02:39:08 AM »
Added this other book (unknown to me up to now) to my order:


Pierre Boulez in conversation with François Meïmoun on the music and literature that influenced him early on in his career....

Looks quite interesting, thanks.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline torut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #134 on: June 22, 2014, 11:19:03 AM »
Thanks to all for introducing those interesting books. I updated the OP. I just read Par volonté et par hasard (1975), interviews with Boulez by Célestin Deliège (translation). The book was published a long time ago but it was a very good read. He talked about his compositions (Sonatine for flute and piano ~ ...Explosante-Fixe...); composers (Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Stravinsky, Berlioz, Debussy); chance operation, improvisation; poets (Mallarmé, Char, Cummings); conducting, etc.

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6933
  • Raoul Dufy, "Tragédie, Comédie"
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #135 on: June 23, 2014, 11:22:44 AM »
petrarch, torut...I've now read the Meïmoun book of conversations with Boulez (it's less than 100 pages long), and yes, it is interesting. It deals with a very specific period in the composer's development (roughly from his arrival in Paris in 1943 through the early years of his involvement with the Renaud-Barrault troupe). In a nutshell, one could say, it describes the progress of Boulez from being exposed to modernity--embodied by Honegger in the last years of occupied Paris--to being involved with the avantarde--in the late forties.

We can read about his well-known dislike for Leibowitz, about Messiaen, etc., but also about less known stuff such as an early admiration for some Jolivet works (the Danses rituelles and Mana), his--not very positive--views on Sartre, his early literary tastes (as a teeneager, he had set a Théophile Gautier poem to music), etc. All in all, a pleasant but by no means "indispensable" read.

As for the Boulez-Cage correspondence, I haven't read it yet, but this does seem a "definitive" edition, an expanded and revised reprint of Nattiez's early 90s edition, and is profusely illustrated. It's a Schott - Paul Sacher Foundation release from 2001, and the letters are presented in the original languages they were written in: French for the most (with Cage quite competent in the language), English (with Boulez's rather tentative at this time) or a mixture of both. I'm surprised this publication is not more widely available.

torut, I've ordered the Deliège book (used)...thanks for the tip!  ;)



And finally, to add yet another book to these pages, this will reach me this week from Italy:



This is a reprint of Massimo Mila's mid-80's study of Maderna. Mila was probably, along with Fedele d'Amico, the most distinguished music critic in Italy in the second half of the 20th century. From the reviews I've seen, Mila's book is regarded (in Italy, at least) as the standard bibliographic contribution to Maderna...





« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 12:06:22 PM by ritter »
ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
„Gibt es kein Hinüber?
Sind wir schon da?
Wie konnt' es geschehen?
Sind wir schon drüben?“

Offline torut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #136 on: June 23, 2014, 10:32:04 PM »
petrarch, torut...I've now read the Meïmoun book of conversations with Boulez (it's less than 100 pages long), and yes, it is interesting. It deals with a very specific period in the composer's development (roughly from his arrival in Paris in 1943 through the early years of his involvement with the Renaud-Barrault troupe). In a nutshell, one could say, it describes the progress of Boulez from being exposed to modernity--embodied by Honegger in the last years of occupied Paris--to being involved with the avantarde--in the late forties.

We can read about his well-known dislike for Leibowitz, about Messiaen, etc., but also about less known stuff such as an early admiration for some Jolivet works (the Danses rituelles and Mana), his--not very positive--views on Sartre, his early literary tastes (as a teeneager, he had set a Théophile Gautier poem to music), etc. All in all, a pleasant but by no means "indispensable" read.
Was the interview by Meïmoun done around 2010? I am curious how Boulez's thoughts on various things have been changed since 1975. He had really strong, sometimes harsh, opinions. I guess there have not been much changes ...

Offline ritter

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6933
  • Raoul Dufy, "Tragédie, Comédie"
  • Location: "La Villa y Corte"
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #137 on: June 24, 2014, 01:25:44 AM »
Yep...the book is from 2010...the curious thing about it is that Boulez is talking about his experiences from more than 60 years earlier...The opinions are strong, but the tone is very polite and correct... ;)
ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
„Gibt es kein Hinüber?
Sind wir schon da?
Wie konnt' es geschehen?
Sind wir schon drüben?“

Offline torut

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1012
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #138 on: June 24, 2014, 07:07:13 PM »
Yep...the book is from 2010...the curious thing about it is that Boulez is talking about his experiences from more than 60 years earlier...The opinions are strong, but the tone is very polite and correct... ;)
Thank you. Although I have reservations about some of his assertions, his thoughts are interesting and worthwhile nevertheless.

Not related to Boulez, this book mentioned in Myaskovsky thread looks nice. (Thanks to vandermolen & J.)

Nikolay Myaskovsky: The Conscience of Russian Music by Gregor Tassie


Offline vandermolen

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19995
  • Location: Rotherfield, Sussex, UK
Re: Books about 20th/21st Century Composers
« Reply #139 on: July 30, 2014, 09:46:55 PM »
I like the Lebrecht book but it is very opinionated. I wrote to him saying that I thought that he was wrong to be so dismissive of Honegger's 5th Symphony and he replied saying that he would listen to it again - so at least he is open to other opinions.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).