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post #16 of 57
Thread Starter 

I must introduce a brilliant living french composer. His name is Pascal Dusapin. I find his music very spiritual, he was influenced by Xenakis early on in his career but I can also hear a big Mahler influence. No sign of Debussy or Ravel here..  not that I can hear anyway.  I love his opera "Romeo and Juliet", but would recommend his "Solo's for Orchestral" cycle to anyone who enjoys new and challenging symphonic works.

 

dusapin 2.jpg

  

dusapin 1.jpg

post #17 of 57


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

 

I better get this guy in quick! though he seems to want to live forever....

 

Elliott Carter,  age 102!!  and still pro-active! He is my favorite American composer, though his style will not be for everyone. He is one of the few composers to successfully carry on a pure atonal style carried on from the likes of Webern and Schoenberg. Though his much later works have showed a more mellower approach... though I wouldn't go as far as to say they involve anything resembling melody (in the normal western sense).

His "Symphonia" is one of the greatest symphonic works of the last century and deserves mention.   

 

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awww bless! 

 

 

…and he's not in seclusion, either. I've actually seen him out at concerts since he turned 100…sump'n else…
 

 

post #18 of 57
Thread Starter 

Clearly there is a lot of fondness for Mr Steve Reich here, but what about Mr Philip Glass? I'm fond of both but must admit to liking Mr Glass a little more. Some of his more recent operas have been quite brilliant. I suppose Reich should be taken more seriously as a composer, as he doesn't do soundtracks for every other film that requires a simple but haunting soundtrack.  Both pioneers of "Minimalism" but who was first....? and who is the best??

 

any thoughts?

 

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post #19 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

Clearly there is a lot of fondness for Mr Steve Reich here, but what about Mr Philip Glass? I'm fond of both but must admit to liking Mr Glass a little more.



I haven't followed Glass carefully for years now, but my view based on what he was doing in the 1990s is that he had lost it completely: he was just turning in quick commissions based on the same scale arpeggios that he had completely exhausted in the 1970s and 1980s. If we're looking back and saying which of the two was more important at the outset of the minimalist revolution, then it is a close call between the two, but I'd always pick "Music for 18 Musicians" over "Music in Twelve Parts". I also think that Reich has that experimentation with triggered sampling to his credit, whereas all Glass did was write the same music with more strings. Moreover, phasing is a more interesting technique than additive/subtractive process. So, for me it's a pretty comprehensive victory to Reich in a head-to-head.

post #20 of 57

For better or worse, Philip Glass will forever be defined by "arpeggio overdrive", which both is and is not fair. He's written some beautiful music in which the method isn't so in-your-face, but he became such an assembly-line composer at one point in his career that he's now well branded. As for Reich, I think Music For 18 Musicians is the bigger landmark (and the piece that's on heavy rotation amid the rest of my music collection), but I'm not sure that beyond that I listen to much of his music. He definitely breaks more with classical-music tradition proper than Glass does, though.

post #21 of 57
I used to love Glass. I was lucky to see Satyagraha in Seattle. North Star was my first introduction to minimalism and I need to find a copy of it again. His quartets are lovely.

But when a friend called it egg-beater music, I could completely see what she meant. It seems like Glass is using a number of signature motifs, stylistic flourishes, but not doing much interesting as a composer. I found his fifth symphony unlistenable.

Reich, on the other hand, always surprises and pleases.
post #22 of 57

Re: Glass and Reich.  I think both have exhausted the stylistic territory they've pegged themselves into.  Reich's "post-phase" works (most notably "Different Trains", "The Cave") are characterised by emulating speech patterns: this was grand breaking at the time, and as the burgeoning computer technology gave him more and more tools, he was able to produce something as sonically virtuosic as "Three Tales".  Yet it was still old wine in increasingly slick bottles.

 

And it is not wine that has aged well -- Reich is very intent to throw Judaism in your face, not caring how off-puttingly smug he might come across.  I for one is deeply repelled by "The Cave" and "Three Tales".   By contrast, Glass is less likely to let extra-musical matters to influence his compositions.  Even though his crafts are now old and derivative, there is still a reassuring quality, a certain "luminosity" that invites rather than imposes.  In short, Glass is a seducer; Reich (at least late Reich) is a preacher.

 

Re: LugBug1's question about who pioneered "minimalism": probably La Monte Young, in particular his "String Trio" of 1958.


Edited by FalconP - 6/22/11 at 8:55pm
post #23 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by FalconP View Post
Reich is very intent to throw Judaism in your face, not caring how off-puttingly smug he might come across.  I for one is deeply repelled by "The Cave" and "Three Tales".   By contrast, Glass is less likely to let extra-musical matters to influence his compositions.  Even though his crafts are now old and derivative, there is still a reassuring quality, a certain "luminosity" that invites rather than imposes.  In short, Glass is a seducer; Reich (at least late Reich) is a preacher.

 

Re: LugBug1's question about who pioneered "minimalism": probably La Monte Young, in particular his "String Trio" of 1958.

 

I take Reich's didactic pieces for well-intentioned attempts to use contemporary music as a means to discuss ideas, and I don't think that he is unduly Judaic in "The Cave", where at least he attempts to have a balance with the Islamic view of the story. I don't agree with the "Dolly" section of "Three Tales" and find it pompous to compare genetic cloning with the nuclear bomb, but I actually find that it's the video sections that are the greater problem. Does he really need to pander to Beryl Korot to the extent of pinning his music to her visuals?

 

Speaking of visuals, I sometimes wonder whether Glass would have got anywhere with Einstein on the Beach had it not been for Robert Wilson making him look good. Now that's a piece I'd like to see live.

 

La Monte Young is like the Snark for me ... I've been keeping my eyes open for a work of his on CD ever since I stupidly failed to buy the boxed set of the The Well Tuned Piano on the one occasion that I saw it.

post #24 of 57

I failed to sit through the well tuned piano like a dozen times. Even 1cd is difficult.

post #25 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ynoskire View Post

I failed to sit through the well tuned piano like a dozen times. Even 1cd is difficult.



lol, if I had a dollar for every CD that I own but can't bear to listen to I'd be able to afford The Well Tuned Piano now ! beyersmile.png

post #26 of 57

On the subject of justly-tuned piano: any opinion on Terry Riley's The Harp of New Albion?  The only recording there is seems to be the Celestial Harmonies one performed by Riley himself.  It is said to be not very good.

post #27 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by FalconP View Post

On the subject of justly-tuned piano: any opinion on Terry Riley's The Harp of New Albion?  The only recording there is seems to be the Celestial Harmonies one performed by Riley himself.  It is said to be not very good.



I don't really have a considered opinion on Harp of the New Albion. I have Riley's version, and I don't know whether it's a good or bad representation of the work, but it's pleasant if you aren't too bothered by all the dissonance produced by tuning the piano that way. It has the feel of Keith Jarrett improvising at an out-of-tune instrument: certainly not disagreeable, but not a work that I can immediately say is good, such as Salome Dances For Peace. It's certainly worth buying, though, because there's nothing quite like it.

 

Incidentally, Lou Harrison's piano concerto makes excellent use of an alternatively tuned piano if that's what you're looking for.

post #28 of 57
Thread Starter 

Thought this might be a good place to celebrate John Adams who has already been mentioned earlier on in the thread.

 

Obviously, both Reich and Glass had a major influence on Adams, especially in his earlier works such as "Nixon in China" which I think is one of the greatest opera's from the latter part of the 20th Century. Adams seems to have took Minimalism as a foundation for his work and then built upon it using more complex layering rather than phrasing, but with more "Romantic" era influences rather than 20th century. Although I would say that Stravinsky has been a key figure in his often brilliant orchestrations.

 

Some essential recommendations:   ("Naive and Sentimental Music" has already been recommended otherwise I would display it here) 

 

 

chamber.jpg

 

 

nixon.jpg

 

el nino.jpg

Any thoughts on Adams? is he a brilliant composer, or a magpie?? I personally think he is very talented and although he may not be the most original composer of our times, I would say that he certainly is one of the greatest orchestral writers.    

post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post


 

Any thoughts on Adams? is he a brilliant composer, or a magpie?? I personally think he is very talented and although he may not be the most original composer of our times, I would say that he certainly is one of the greatest orchestral writers.    


Agreed. His orchestrations are superb, although he was obviously very influenced by Stravinsky's Symphony in Three Movements. I'm not keen on his writing for voice, and I think he has wasted too much time on vocal works. I also think tht he is another composer who eventually got rather turgid writing for the concert hall. That said, Harmonielehre, Grand Pianola Music and Shaker Loops are all huge favourites of mine. I also think that Phrygian Gates is pretty special as well ... of his purer minimalist works.

 

post #30 of 57

Adams can be pretty uneven.  I love his Violin Concerto and the orchestral piece El Dorado.  But that "Alleged Dances" string quartet thing is not something I'd like to listen.

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