Author Topic: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?  (Read 13630 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline quintett op.57

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 465
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2007, 02:56:45 PM »
you should not find Arvo Part difficult, actually

Offline Maciek

  • Ban them all!
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 5200
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2007, 03:08:31 PM »
I'm not sure if any of Part is strict 12-tone: even the most 'modernist' pieces of his tend to suddenly throw in tonal chords or whatever. I guess the most obvious selections would be the first two symphonies, the cello concerto and Credo, but all of them have more in common with Schnittke than any kind of serialism. (And they're way less subtle and less fun than Schnittke, IMO.)

OK, then I guess I can safely pass... ;D

Don Giovanni

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2007, 09:17:55 AM »
I don't think you can call Nono's (or anyone else's) music political. Even The Internationale is not political as music.

Of course sound/music can't in itself be political. His incessant referencing of political figures and uprisings and his choice of texts leads me to classify him about as political as any composer can get.

Offline scottscheule

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2007, 09:03:12 PM »
Of course sound/music can't in itself be political. His incessant referencing of political figures and uprisings and his choice of texts leads me to classify him about as political as any composer can get.

I agree. 

And I don't see why music can't be political.  If, for instance, the low minor melody of the bassoons is intended to be the downtrodden proletariat, or something, that's obviously political.

Offline Maciek

  • Ban them all!
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 5200
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2007, 04:22:39 AM »
Well, if a low minor melody of the bassoons is what you meant all along, then I'm backing out. That, of course, would always be political. I can't think of a single low minor melody of the bassoons that wouldn't have made me think of the downtrodden proletariat and feel a sudden urge to start acting on their behalf! Why, I think the bassoon itself is simply the most political intrument there ever was!

Drasko

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2007, 04:57:42 AM »
And counterbassoon is then an obvious paradigm for the rotten bourgeoisie and other similar retrograde elements. 

Offline scottscheule

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2007, 06:52:14 AM »
Methinks I'm being mocked.

S709

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2007, 07:51:13 AM »
I've mentioned my ignorance in this field earlier - I'd really like to hear a recommendation of some of the earlier, 12-tone Part. Has anyone heard anything worth hearing? Or anything at all? ;)

The only piece of his that I am certain is 12-tone is Nekrolog from 1960. I like it, but not as much as later Part like Tabula Rasa. Nekrolog can be heard on this interesting CD "Searching for Roots" along with works by Tubin and Tüür. That CD also has Symphony No. 1 "Polyphonic" which I think is fully atonal... unlike the 'Pro et Contra' cello concerto, which ends with a Handelian passage after 3 minutes of aggressive atonal writing. I would say it is as fun as Schnittke.... :)
This CD has the concerto as well as Symphony no. 2 (the opening for squeek toys is not to be missed).
The CD also has one of Part's most modernist pieces: Perpetuum mobile, which is somewhat impressive.
The downside is that this also includes Part's socialist realist thingie "Our Garden".

« Last Edit: May 19, 2007, 08:07:26 AM by Xantus' Murrelet »

S709

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2007, 08:14:34 AM »
The suggestions so far have been very good, so I'll just add a bit randomly...

Babbitt: the disc with Philomel for soprano and electronics, Post-Partitions, Reflections etc. I think his music with electronics is the most interesting.

Crumb: Vox Baelaenae and Black Angels both make strong impressions.

Stockhausen: Gruppen is a huge and powerful orchestral work (well, 3 orchestras) that ends in a highly memorable 'extended cacophony' of sorts. The electronic "Etude" from 1952 is a short and wonderful intro to his electronic music. I would recommend Mantra too. Stockhausen has written a gigantic amount of music, it takes a long time to get to know him.. :)

Gubaidulina: 'In croce' for cello and organ, and 'Sieben Worte' are both good examples of the intensity her music often contains.


Greta

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2007, 09:02:27 AM »
Thanks so much for all these, it will take me ages just to get though the top recommended works...  ;D

I will start with Berio, I listened last night to his Schubert "Rendering" under Eschenbach/Houston and it was so lovely. Really neat what he did with that. I have the Sinfonia to listen to today, and Eindrucke, under Boulez. :)

Oh, and last night I listened to a piece by Niccolo Castiglioni, who has taught some younger composers, the piece was Sinfonia con rosignolo and I liked it a lot, very inventive and actually, I thought it pretty. I'd like to hear more of his.

I have put selected other works mentioned on my list to track down next.

When I hear some of those, I'll come back and report.  :D

Offline Maciek

  • Ban them all!
  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 5200
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2007, 12:05:05 PM »
And counterbassoon is then an obvious paradigm for the rotten bourgeoisie and other similar retrograde elements. 

Brilliant! ;) Now the meaning of all music finally becomes clear...

Methinks I'm being mocked.

Sorry, couldn't help myself... ;D (Somehow the thought of the downtrodden bassoons sighing a low minor melody expressing their sad state in the world and........................ etc.)

Offline scottscheule

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2007, 07:59:46 PM »
Sorry, couldn't help myself... ;D (Somehow the thought of the downtrodden bassoons sighing a low minor melody expressing their sad state in the world and........................ etc.)

Fair enough.  But if Beethoven can express the awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country, then Nono surely can express the exploitation of laborers.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5981
  • Posts: who's counting?
  • Currently Listening to:
    probably something somebody somewhere is snickering at...wait, Schoenberg! Definitely Schoenberg! (And, let's see, does he have a disciple or two...)...
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #32 on: May 19, 2007, 08:12:26 PM »
Fair enough.  But if Beethoven can express the awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country, then Nono surely can express the exploitation of laborers.

The first movement of Shostakovich's 7th symphony is infamous for its musical depiction of an army on the march.

Equally famous is Bartok's parody of this march in his Concerto for Orchestra. No question as to intent.

So, agree, composers aren't shy about using music to rouse a particular emotion...




Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Lilas Pastia

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2007, 05:48:44 AM »
A lot of that kind of music is experimental and as such is likely to age prematurely. Just my opinion, of course ;D

Composers who almost constantly churn out great music in a modern idiom (no paint-yourself-in-a-corner  'ism' here): Carter, Dutilleux, Gerhard. Argentinian composer Ginastera has also composed in a modern idiom (his Concerto for strings for example), but he didn't restrict himself to it.

Offline MDL

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 915
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2007, 05:42:38 AM »

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Gruppen, Carré, Momente, Trans
Luciano Berio - Sinfonia, Allelujah II, Coro
Anton Webern - Six Pieces for Orchestra, Five Pieces for Orchestra
Alban Berg - Wozzeck, Three Pieces for Orchestra
Milton Babbitt
John Cage
George Crumb - Star-Child
Iannis Xeniakis - Antikthon, Synaphai, Jonchaies
Elliott Carter - Variations for Orchestra, A Symphony of Three Orchestras
Edgar Varese - Arcana, Ameriques
Arvo Part - Fratres, Passio
Pierre Boulez - Pii selon Pli, Rituel
Luigi Dallapiccola - The Prisoner
Sofia Gubaidulina




karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2009, 04:47:05 AM »
Thanks so much for all these, it will take me ages just to get though the top recommended works...  ;D

And how have you been doing with these, O busy Greta:D

Offline jowcol

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 1229
  • The Sound of one hand clapping
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2009, 06:53:10 AM »
This may be a bit further afield, but during the mid-60s, some of the free jazz that came out was some of most rough, dissonant stuff (but exciting)  I've  encountered.  Late John Coltrane (Ascension, OM, and Meditations), Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, and Cecil Taylor (Unit Structures)  is some pretty uncompromising stuff, and has a visceral edge I don't get from a lot of the more self-consciously avante-garde works.



"If it sounds good, it is good."
Duke Ellington

Franco

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2009, 07:04:46 AM »
This set:

Southwest Chamber Music: Cage, Carter, Harrison, Partch, etc. [BOX SET]

... is a worthy place to begin, you can buy either the box or the CDs individually.  Charles Wuorinen was briefly mentioned earlier on this thread but should be reiterated as a very worthwhile "difficult" composer to sample.  The disk devoted to him in this set is excellent.

karlhenning

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2009, 07:06:44 AM »
This may be a bit further afield, but during the mid-60s, some of the free jazz that came out was some of most rough, dissonant stuff (but exciting)  I've  encountered.  Late John Coltrane (Ascension, OM, and Meditations), Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, and Cecil Taylor (Unit Structures)  is some pretty uncompromising stuff, and has a visceral edge I don't get from a lot of the more self-consciously avante-garde works.

Yes! And incidentally serves as a partial corrective to the notion that all that sonic edginess was an elitist imposition from pasty-faced Darmstadters.

snyprrr

  • Guest
Re: 'Difficult' Mid 20th c. Composers - Where to Begin?
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2009, 08:01:14 AM »
Cecil Taylor-vs-Klavierstucke I-XI

Of course, the free-jazzers aren't doing any real arithmatic. In this regard they are more like Penderecki than Xenakis. Classical pianists I know don't like Taylor. Even snyprrr can imitate avant piano explorations (albeit, not as well as Taylor, haha).

Isn't free jazz still just a matter of "counting" the beats so you don't get lost (not that that is always the easiest thing to do)?

I was just ever so slightly offended by Taylor's video, Oh, he thinks he can just "play"??? avant-garde music??? without calculations??? actually just sit down and play??? oh, with his funny little hat >:(???

You should hear this 10min. violin "thing" I did into the tape deck last week. Given a little editing and some reverb, I would be willing to pass it off as Polish avant-garde @1971!

No offence to the Polish avant-garde! ::) :P :-*

This is going to degenerate into an anti-improv rant. :-X