home studios equipment staff/friends booking/rates for sale forum contact

Capnreverbs discourse on modern string quartets and composer

Moderators: kerble, Electrical-Staff

Capnreverbs discourse on modern string quartets and composer

Postby capnreverb on Sat Oct 23, 2004 12:17 am

Since some of you have asked me to elaborate, I will start this thread and start listing some composers and what they sound like/do. I'm gonna stick to string quartets and chamber music cause that's what I like and know. This is going to take a while so I will do it in installmants. I would appreciate it if you are to bring in guys that I have not mentioned yet that you tell us a bit about him/her, not just "Messian is cool!" or "Feldman is minimalist crap". If you all have any questions about any 20th century guys, I will try to let you know what I know.

Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988) - Early stuff is ok standard disonent stuff like a more extreme bartok. However, he had some kind of mental breakdown which changed his musical course. What follows is what he is known for. His later stuff is what would best be called a dense minimalist. Themes slowly develop and spread like dissonant water. A whole movement can go by and you realise the piece has totally shifted or grown and you not sure how or when it happened. It can sound kind of forbodding and harrowing at times, and can drive some people nuts. Maybe a more emotive flowerly dissonent italian version of Feldman.

Alois Haba (1893-1973) - Czech composer that sounds a bit like Bartok. Uses a lot of folk tunes as his source (what most of these guys did). He is one of the first guys to use semi-tones, and whats cool about his use is that it is often quite subtle and often quite pretty. Fans of shostakovitch or bartok or hindemith might like the stuff.

George Rochberg (1918- ?) - American composer who starts of as an acedemic type doing the usual 12 tone stuff that was in vogue. His first string quartet is one of the few 12 tone ones that I think is pretty darn likeable. However, his third is the one that makes my jaw drop. I guess the story is something like this. His son dies at an early age which makes Rochberg rethink what he is doing. He decides that doing 12 tone is just a restricting as any other way so he decides to just do what he wants. What we get is one of those magical string quartets that drifts in out of tonality in such a beautiful way. Melodies cascade from silence and dissonance. It's not the happiest piece ever written, but it sure packs an emotive whallup.

Alfred Schnittke (1934 - a few years ago) - Well, he's one of the modern heavyweights. He's the most important modern Russian composer to follow Shostakovitch and Stravinsky. Beautifully disonent, with a good sense of humour. He's not afraid to take on historical sacred cows and cross referances a lot of others past musics. His quartets are good but his titan of chamber music is his piano quintet. Written as a homage to his mother when she died, this is one of the most beatifully depressing works out there. The way he uses disonence and sound shrapnel is about perfect. There is one part where the strings sound like a swarm of bees attacking a sparce piano. Jawdroppingly mighty. And the end, lets just says it's perfect- the most wonderfully simple piano melody drifts out into the silence.

Quincy Porter (1897-1966) - My favorite to some degree in terms of the strring quartet. He had the same teacher at Yale as Charles Ives and studied with Ernest Bloch (I'll get to him later). Not as adventerous or modern as most American guys like Ives and Sessions, he just simply wrote some amzingly pretty quartets. He is primarily known for this medium. He is probably the 20th century king of the contrapuntal. The liner notes to one of my lps says it best "..... the contrapuntal texture, the free flowing lines of which reveal the influence of 16the century vocal melody in their step wise smoothness and in the use of certain melodic formulae; an extraordinary sense of string sonority, as well as a complete grasp of all idiomatic devices; a sensous, opaque kind of harmony". Fans of the far fucking out would probably find him a bit boring, but if your into magically perfect string quartets, he might be your guy. Warning, most of his stuff is not on cd and it will take a while to track down the vinyl.

Ok, this is taking longer than I thouight, so i will add some more later.
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby capnreverb on Sun Oct 24, 2004 7:10 pm

Hilding Rosenberg - Swedish 1892-1985. I am a big fan of this guys quartets. He is Sweden's most important/influential early 20th century guys. Along the lines of honneger or hindemith, it's not groundbreaking stuff, just consistant. Not a whole lot differant than what was going on at the time (20's - 40's) in the non avant garde realm of calssical music. It has that nordic emotional detachment, but it's very well written stuff and shows a guy full of strong melodic ideas who was not afraid to throw in a few atonal wrenches into the machine. A less dark swedish shostakovitch.

Darious Mihaud - French 1892-1974. Not so known for his string quartets, they sure are good, and there are quite a few of them. One of the bigger figures in 20th century french music, his style i s very pretty, very melodic, and very french. His quartets seem like an updated version of debusy's (the greatest late 19th century SQ). Not a whole lot of a nod to the avant garde, expect very top notch lyracal melodies and thouroughly thought out development of ideas.

Bohuslav Martinu - Czech 1890-1959. Another guy that likes to use folk songs as source material. Not very avant garde or atonal, just real strong melodies over nicely rhythmic pieces. I love his SQ's and think he is great. Like a happy shostakovitch or a less confronataional/dark honnegar or hindemith. Really great stuff that won't change your world but might change your mood for the better. he's got a great sence for feal and resolution.
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby alexdamon on Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:03 pm

im sorry..i dont remember asking you to elaborate....but ya know what?
go for it anyways!
maybe i just missed out on some thread somewhere.
User avatar
alexdamon
tv clown
tv clown
 
Posts: 220
Joined: Sat Apr 10, 2004 12:21 pm
Location: pensacola, florida

Postby geiginni on Sun Oct 24, 2004 11:28 pm

I asked for the elaboration, and I sincerely appreciate it.

In fact, as soon as I get some time I'm gonna head out to the Tower on Wabash to look for some of these recommentdations. Particularly some Haba, Scelsi, Martinu and Schnittke. I like what I've heard of Milhaud, but have not dived too deep yet.

I like melody. I need stuff I can listen to while I work. It's getting harder to appreciate the twelve tone/serial excercises as I get older.

What is your opinion, if any, of Erno Dohnanyi (1877-1960)? Looks interesting. Have yet to take a listen.

Please keep the recommendations coming!

Salut, Capnreverb!
User avatar
geiginni
Man with Encyclopedic Knowledge
Man with Encyclopedic Knowledge
 
Posts: 5130
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 5:33 pm
Location: Mediating the Strong Force

Postby Andrew L. on Mon Oct 25, 2004 1:09 am

This is great. Thanks for taking the time. I hope you’ll keep it up.
Andrew L.
Eternal Bosom of Hot Love
Eternal Bosom of Hot Love
 
Posts: 3318
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: Alien Residency

Postby wiggins on Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:34 am

yes thanks!!!
User avatar
wiggins
treaty of versailles
treaty of versailles
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2003 12:53 am
Location: Atlanta

Postby Niko on Mon Oct 25, 2004 8:59 am

Yes! So nice of you Capn! Salut, indeed.
Niko
monsignior
monsignior
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2004 9:03 am
Location: Finland

Postby Cranius on Mon Oct 25, 2004 9:34 am

capnreverb wrote:Bohuslav Martinu - Czech 1890-1959. Another guy that likes to use folk songs as source material. Not very avant garde or atonal, just real strong melodies over nicely rhythmic pieces. I love his SQ's and think he is great. Like a happy shostakovitch or a less confronataional/dark honnegar or hindemith. Really great stuff that won't change your world but might change your mood for the better. he's got a great sence for feal and resolution.


Someone recommended Martinu to me recently. I've heard some really interesting synchopated jazz-influenced pieces. Very happy indeed. The jazz pieces show a playful synthesis of parisian jazz-styles and have a weird stiff elegance. I've also got some piano and violin works with some strange harmonic mirroring which are little less comfortable. My favourite orchestral work by him is Thunderbolt P-45, a homage to the WWII fighter, with it's looping and vertiginous passages emulating aerial speed and acrobatics.

Apparently he does some really good improvisation-based harpsichord workouts but I've yet to hear any.
User avatar
Cranius
World's Greatest Writer
World's Greatest Writer
 
Posts: 10334
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 5:29 am
Location: Bethnal Green, Tower Hamlets

Postby Dylan on Mon Oct 25, 2004 10:31 am

Yes, this is good. I haven't met anybody recently who's into this stuff, so my exposure to the field has been limited. I will try to check out some of these composers, but it may take a while.

geiginni wrote:I like melody. I need stuff I can listen to while I work. It's getting harder to appreciate the twelve tone/serial excercises as I get older.

You may not like the Scelsi pieces. I find they need to be in the foreground to get the full effect.
No time, no time...
Dylan
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
 
Posts: 1958
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: The Square

Postby capnreverb on Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:43 pm

Before i go into the next installment lets cover a few things that you might or might not know. If you feel like I'm talking down it's not intentional.
Location has a whole lot to do with how a composer is going to sound. These are stereotypes and there are always going to be folks that break the mold. but, generally brits sound like brits, germans like germans, and french like french. this especially true about guys from the former eastern block, since they often use similer folk melodies and a have a fondness for dance rhythms.

the darker keys:
germans - heavy and dark, often depressing. themes are grand and subtlety is kept to a minimum. like german/austrian expressionist art, emotions are on the sleeve.

brits- a lot like the germans, but minus the overwhelming darkness but just as serious. i find a lot of english composers lacking warmth and a bit too dry. it's like english comedy and food. alan rawthsorne and ralph vaughan williams are two great exceptions.

russians - just as dark as the germans, but a grander scope of emotions. also, usually a bit more rhythmic. the russians always have a little light at the end of the tunnel, where the germans usually don't. the russians can often be very pretty in thier desolation.

eastern block (checks,ukranians,romanians, etc.) a lot like the russians, but more of a reliance on folk melodies. there is also a lot of nationalisms in their works. i think some of the best string quartets of the pre 50's are from here. I think that along with the americans, the eastern block guys were more comfortable picking and choosing from all of what was going on at the time.

The happy keys

french - stuff always seems bright and lyrical. the sun is always shining and the wine cubbard is full. pretty with little woe. you can almost always tell when something is french. messian is the odd man out in the picture.

italians - a lot like the french, with a bit more somber elements and a harder lean on virtuoisity.

spanish - somewhere between the above two, but with that spanish folk music elements showing up.

The others

nordic - like the weather and light there, the music is often quite placid, emotioanllay distant, and spacial. it all seems to come from a totally differant world than the rest of europe. if ice could make music. often is very detached, but usually very pretty, but not in a french lyracal way, more in spiritually calm way.

usa - like all our culture here it's the kitchen sink. everything is representated and all cultures/styles/schools ripe for the picking. there is an individualism in american composers that is often missing from the europeans, a sort of a go it alone mentality. because a lot of american composers are without the cultural baggage of some of the europeans, american music usually just references itself, and often seems to have evolved out of nowhere. the fact that u.s. composers where generally seen as lesser thans by the european there is a sence of isolationisim in t music and also an " I can do it any way I want to" mentality.

mexico and south america - some great stuff, and a lot of homage to folk melodies of the area. also, the beat and rhythm are usually a bit more pronounced.

the far east - like a lot of what they have done with western culture, its usually a cherry picking of western musics mixed with their own cultures music and sensabilities. often some of the stuff is the most interesting because the culturtal perspective is so differant.
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby capnreverb on Mon Oct 25, 2004 6:54 pm

Earnst von dohnanyi - 1877-1960 (Hungarian) well he's quite french sounding and is not as somber as his countrymates. heres a fellow who for the most part ignored any of the avant garde/modern leanings of his time. he's got a lot more to do with brahms than with bartok. his second SQ is probably his best, and is quite nice in a late 18th century kind of way. Overall, i am not very impressed with his stuff.

Gabriel Faure - 1845 -1924 (french) another guy that didn't quite get the memo that the 1800's were over and there was some new fish to fry. Basically a contemporary of debussy, ravel, and satie, it's easy to here why he was not a fan of what those guys were up to. if you like pleasant late romantic french guys than he is your man. the last piece he wrote before he died, his lone SQ, is a nice piece but nothing amazing. His bercquese for violen and piano is one of the greatest little 5 minute pieces ever written. if thats all he ever did, then he might have been god.

Zoltan Kodaly 1882-1967 (hungarian) Bartok's shadow is so huge that it would be hard for any of his countryman to climb out of it. Kodaly is a victim of this. His stuff is quite good, but lacks the impact in terms of emotion and intellect of Bartok. So, think of him as a less ambitious Bartok. The folk melodies are there, but not the painfull search of self and tonality of Bartok.

Speaking of Bartok, I just assume you know where he's at. Along with Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Shostakovitch, (messian is the wrench in the spokes in this arguement, as always) he's pretty much at the top tier of importance and influence in the first half of the 20th century. Many folks have made the arguement that after Beethoven's late SQ's, Bartok's are the only other litmus test. If you do not own the Bartok SQ's, seek them out. They are amazing. They are dense perfection that at times are unbearable. Really quite a grand statement.

Oliver Messiaen 1908 - 1992 (french). A titan of modern music that really fits in with no other style or school. a very religous composer, his music is quite an undertaking in its scope. a lot of it is quite atonal, but in a way that belongs to no 12 tone school or neo-classical influences. describing his style is quite hard because there are really no comparisons. he wrote a lot of piano and organ music, and some of it is difficult listening. his piece entitled "quartet for the end of time" written while in a nazi prison is one of the most important 20th century works and is a must have. basically a desert island disc of hoplessness with a weird ray of hope sewn in it. also, his symphony "Turangalila" is a must have. I knew a guy once who said his friends and him used to trip acid and listen to it all the way through. It's a neat piece.
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby capnreverb on Mon Oct 25, 2004 7:56 pm

Silvestre revueltas 1898-1940 (mexican) wow! a freind of mine who shares my love of sq's turned me on to him. all it took was about 2 minutes of listening for me to call and say to him "dude, you've been holding out on me!". great stuff. I would best describe him as the mexican bartok. super emotive, very dense but melodic and super rythmic. magic! and, is also a big fuck you to all assholes who say spic music sucks and sounds all the same. "VIVA SILVESTRE REVUELTAS!"

Erwin Schulhoff 1894-1942 (Czech) hey, look when he died, he's jewish, guess what happened to him? ............................. yes, he got chucked in the ovens by good ol' hitler. (the great german painter anselm kiefer said that the germans basically kiiled it's artistic soul when it killed all the jews-and schulhoff is a great exmaple of this theory). breathtaking in allmost all aspects, his work is not grounbreaking but it sure is majestic. his 1st SQ jumps out of the fucking speaker in it's immediacy. he tried on a lot of hats during his short life (serial, neo classical, whatever) and no matter what he did, it all sounded so good, and sounded like him. if you are a fan of pre 50's SQ's, his are a must have. Allmost all of his stuff is top shelf, and is all readily available. I think even the Kronos do his 1st SQ.

Alan Hovhaness (1911-2000) American. I was going to write my opinion, but when i googled him to find out when he died i found this description that was spot on.
1. An important but marginalised 20th Century American composer. A 'true original' who foreshadowed future musical techniques and aesthetic values. Rejecting the vogues of Americana, serialism and atonality, he pioneered contemporary development of archaic models and (like Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison) melded Western models with those of the East, making him a pioneer of East-West 'fusion' decades before the term 'World Music' had been coined.
2. Pioneered 'ad libitum' aleatoricism in 1944, some 15 years before the European avant garde.
3. As early as the 1940s, his employment of ever-shifting melodies over static harmonies, plus use of rhythmic cycles, pre-empted the Minimalist movement of the late 1960s.
4. The visionary and mystical nature of some phases of his work, often intoxicating in its directness and simplicity, rank him as the musical progenitor to the later, so-called New Age-ists and Spiritual Minimalists, such as Arvo Pärt and John Tavener
5. His significance remains overlooked by musical academia, partly because scholars have not looked for radical developments within post-War tonal music, still less in music of great beauty with audience appeal.
Anyways, his stuff is pretty cool. and has a very nice searching spiritual element to it.

Henry Cowell (1897-1965) American. Some might say that Ives is the most important U.S. composer but I would lean towards mr. cowell. Not only was he john cages teacher, he was the first guy to do prepared piano. historically, he was one of the first americans to really champion new music in this country through his writtings and concerts. his own works are very individual and some of the best of the 20th century. where Ives, Ruggles and Sessions often seem a daunting listen, Cowell finds a way to make the avant garde listenable without sounding cliched. his string quartets are amazing, his prepared piano stuff glorious and his piece "homage to iran" one of my all time favorites. he's a really interesting guy to read about who led a very interesting and varied life (including a stint in jail for innapropriate realations with a male minor that was later cleared).

Probably the most important person in 20th century music was a teacher and not a composer. It will blow your mind to learn all the names of folks who studied with her - nadia boulenger. It's really hard to believe that one person had this much influence over modern music. from walter piston to phillip glass to elliot carter. check her out at http://www.nadiaboulanger.org/
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby geiginni on Tue Oct 26, 2004 9:29 am

capnreverb wrote:If you do not own the Bartok SQ's, seek them out. They are amazing. They are dense perfection that at times are unbearable. Really quite a grand statement.


Capn,

Perhaps you could recommend a CD set of his SQ's to me? I have the set columbia put out in the late 60's with the Julliard Quartet, but it is on vinyl and thus I cannot "take it with me" - as it were. I have not been able to devote adequate time with them since I've got a big pile of vinyl waiting to be listened to (my late Beethoven SQ's are on CD as well as vinyl - so they get their time). What I need is a separate listening room where I could lock myself away for 2-3 hours a day.

Your recommendation is appreciated.

Thanks,
User avatar
geiginni
Man with Encyclopedic Knowledge
Man with Encyclopedic Knowledge
 
Posts: 5130
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2003 5:33 pm
Location: Mediating the Strong Force

Postby 909one on Sat Dec 04, 2004 1:28 pm

Hey Captain.
Speaking of string quartets, your posts just made me notice that I still have your late Beethoven String Quartets on vinyl that you lent me before I moved. Sorry, I need to get that back to you.
Donny
909one
seminarian
seminarian
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2004 11:07 pm
Location: Chicago

Postby capnreverb on Sun Dec 05, 2004 1:08 pm

909one wrote:Hey Captain.
Speaking of string quartets, your posts just made me notice that I still have your late Beethoven String Quartets on vinyl that you lent me before I moved. Sorry, I need to get that back to you.
Donny


yo Donny, you also have my ry cooder cd with that indian guitar player. I'm sure you have some other shit of mine to. all you people taking advantage of my generous nature! you should come up to milwaukee and jam with my new group. two upright bass players, drums or two, mccoy sometimes and Hal Rammell.

anybody else on this board in driving distance of milwaukee that's into free improvisation is welcome to play too!

geiginni wrote:
Capn,

Perhaps you could recommend a CD set of his SQ's to me? I have the set columbia put out in the late 60's with the Julliard Quartet, but it is on vinyl and thus I cannot "take it with me" - as it were. I have not been able to devote adequate time with them since I've got a big pile of vinyl waiting to be listened to (my late Beethoven SQ's are on CD as well as vinyl - so they get their time). What I need is a separate listening room where I could lock myself away for 2-3 hours a day.

Your recommendation is appreciated.

Thanks,


I have two version.

I have on cd the Emerson String Quartet who do a fine version. I have on vinyl The New Hungarian quartet doing it which is fine also, with the somewhat lo fidelity recording adding to the overall darkness of the pieces. I used to own a Julliard Quartet version that i thought was top notch, not the best fidelity, but dynamite. Generally you can't go wrong with any performance by the Julliard.

since I'm returning to this after a break i will add a few more.


Arthur Honegger- 1892 - 1955- french, but sounds more like a german in terms of emotion and density. in some ways a nice combo of the two differant cultures. He is one of the giants of pre 50's classical music. while not terribly avant garde, and certainly not breaking any real new ground in terms of risk taking, what you get is a top notch composer doing stuff in the neo romantic/neo classsical vein. if you like shostakovitch or bartok when he's not at his most difficult, you would like honegger.

Paul Hindemith - 1895-1963 - german - Many believe he is one of the main innovators of musical modernism, but i think that is quite a stretch. In a lot of ways he's like Honegger or any other of the 20-40's cats dealing with Stravinsky's neoclassicism, except that he was one of the best at it. I found this quote about him that' spretty good.

"He very quickly moved away from this toward a neoclassicism that owes nothing to Stravinsky. Where Stravinsky worked variations primarily on Mozart, Hindemith looked more to Bach"

Still, you often see his work lumped on the same cd's as Hindemith, Bloch, etc,. and it's really not that differant. But, his stuff is top notch for the time, and for what it was, he is one of the best. He is very german sounding and really hated the 12 tone/serialist stuff.

As long as we are on the neo-classical/neo-romatic bend, we will run through a few more.

Ernest Bloch - 1880 - 1959 - swiss(but often seen as a "jewish" composer-whatever that means). Known mainly for his somewhat dull and very popular orchestral music, his chamber stuff is quite top notch. In fact his string quartets are some of the bettter of the first half of the 20th century. Elements of Bartok and Sostakovitch, in some ways a nice combo of the two. It's melodic stuff with enough density/rhythm/dissonence to keep it moving along. It won't change your life or challange you, but it's quite good.

Ernest Toch - 1887-1964 - austrian- in the 20's he was as important as bartok and schoenberg and ran in some pretty hevy circles. But after he fled hitlers ovens in the 30's and moved to america he became primarily known for teaching and hollywood music crap. his stuff is quite good, and fans of neo-classical/neo romantic stuff will find his stuff exceptionally good.

Walter Piston - 1894-1976 - usa - one of the heavyweights of pre 50's 20th century american music, his stuff is quite good, all be it a bit emotioanally detatched, and sounds a bit like his native state maine (that is if Maine could have a sound). I like his chamber music quite a bit, but it may be a bit too dull and dry for some. He was a prominent teacher and some of his students included Elliott Carter and Leonard Bernstein. I found this quote on google that might be helpfull.

Piston's music is beautifully crafted and technically assured, qualities which, combined with his reputation as a pedagogue, have occasionally given the mistaken impression (as is also true of Hindemith) that he is little more than a conservative, dry, academic composer. As Gerard Schwarz says of him, "...it's clear that he is not dull or academic, but incredibly imaginative and innovative. He was a master, an inspired composer."

here are some guys that are very well known that you should have a closer look at

verdi - i hate opera, and would usually skip right past anything this guy ever did, but he wrote one string quartet and it is truly magical. Written in 1874, so it's not modern sounding at all, it might be one of the best of the 1800's. Its a string quartet that grabs you immediatly, so pretty and melodic and um, dynamite!

prokofiev- yeah, evrybody and their brother has heard his orchestral stuff ad nausem, but his chamber music is the booooooommmmmbbbb!
his string quartets and violen sonatas are some of the best. A bit more daring and darker than his symphonuc stuff, it holds up well against anybody of the first half of the 20th century. top notch stuff.

bruckner - unlike wagner(who is often lumped with) and Mahler (next in line historically) he actually wrote some chamber music. his string quartet is one of the best chamber works of the 1800's. Not a lot differant than Brahms, just better.

ralph vaughan williams - while he may be englands biggest name of pre 50's music, his string quartets are quite exceptional and very worth seeking out. all of his chamber music is good, but these quartets really stand out. like most of his work, they are not very "modern" sounding, but they stand out as some of the best of the time.


ALSO, collecting this stuff is fun and easy. Since record collector dorks ignore all classical (except "hip" stuff like xenakis and cage) you can usually get this kind of stuff on vinyl for 1-3 bucks. you would be surprised how cheap and plentifull this stuff is at the used record stores since no one really cares about it. you can really build up a good collection on the cheap. also, some of the budget new cd's like Naxos carry real good versions of this stuff for like $5 new on cd.
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby Dylan on Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:08 pm

capnreverb wrote:also, some of the budget new cd's like Naxos carry real good versions of this stuff for like $5 new on cd.

Speaking of that, have you heard any of the Maxwell-Davies quartets on Naxos? They're doing this crazy sponsorship of him where he writes a series of quartets, each one having to come in on a deadline.
No time, no time...
Dylan
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
 
Posts: 1958
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: The Square

Postby TheMilford on Mon Dec 06, 2004 12:34 pm

WOW!

Thanks for taking the time to write this stuff. I find it very helpful.

I was wooed by Bartok's SQs a while back and have been listening to Part and Satie lately.

I would like to branch out and this is just the info I needed.


Cheers,
User avatar
TheMilford
Master Of The Computer
Master Of The Computer
 
Posts: 4738
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:16 am
Location: Sunset Park

Postby capnreverb on Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:34 pm

Dylan wrote:
capnreverb wrote:also, some of the budget new cd's like Naxos carry real good versions of this stuff for like $5 new on cd.

Speaking of that, have you heard any of the Maxwell-Davies quartets on Naxos? They're doing this crazy sponsorship of him where he writes a series of quartets, each one having to come in on a deadline.


No I have not, but it sounds like a real cool thing. The cd stores here in Milwaukee blow cockroaches when it come's to classical.

So lets continue.

Here are some of the more far the fuck out guys-

Seems as everybody knows John Cage and Stockhausen (the kings if modern hipdom). if you don't, google the fuckers.

A lot of this stuff needs to be seen with a bit of an open mind. In some ways you need to see this stuff as just cool noise, or a soundtrack to an event that is happening to you, or as a story where you have to fill in the majority of the "thematic" content. Some of it just sounds really fucking cool for cool sounding sakes. And some is just heart wrenching in a way that only this kind of music can be.

Morton Feldman - 1926-1987 usa. some heavy stuff here. i like to think of him as the beter john cage. while they dealt with a simaler pallet, feldman was not afraid of feeling or emotion (something cage avoided like the plague). Some of his stuff can be pretty taxing and slow, asking a lot of the listener, but a lot of times it's worth it. Things like Rothko's Chapel are pure genious. Patience should be expected, and often rewarded.

george crumb - 1929 -now usa. black angels is a must have of modern music, one of those pieces that is way out there but grabs you immediatly (please avoid the kronos version). some pretty far out stuff that ranges from ultra quiet to very dense and disonent. while very out there, he seems to have a logic or thread that is somewhat easier to follow than others. Sometims he seems to me like what charles ives would have become if ives became insane and obsesed with space, timbre, dynamics, noise, silence and extended instrumental technique. (guess i should cover Ives at some point). I would also recommend eleven echoes of autumn.

charles wuorinen - 1938 - now -usa. I guess he's a 12 tone guy, at least thats what his website says, but he's pretty far removed from berg and shoenberg. He often turns up on the same cd's as cage and the like. He's a bit more more "classical" than the ultra moderns, but his stuff is far out enough that if you like the more extreme avant garde, you might like him. Almost like a schnitke minus a bunch of notes and whole lot more space. I have a string quartet and a violin sonata that are both very good.

Milton Babbitt - 1916 - now -usa. Want some music that nobody gets, he's your man. I don't know what the fuck this guy is trying to say. If you want to hear mathmatics used as the source for composing, then he's your guy. I serioulsy think this guy uses a computer stuck on random for his compositions. I'm being harsh, but at least cage has a sense of humour about removing identity from music. waaayyyyy oouuuuuutttttttt if you want some waaayyyyy ouuuuuttttttttt for wayyyayyyyyy ouuutttt sakes.

I think Babbitt or Elliot Carter are to the music intelectuals what Josef Beuys is to the art intelectuals - it's the secret handshake to the cool people crowd.

Elliot Carter - 1908 -now - usa. another guy I don't get. he's got a lot of stuff out there, and none of it I have liked. sometimes its too dense for me to fathom. sometimes it just seems like an intelectual exercise. Mr. Carter has a very unique voice, and no one is quite like him. A lot of his works are very difficult to listen too, very dense and thick with a logic that usually eludes me. Unlike babbit who is pretty pointless, carter is someone worth checking out, if only for the pure befundlement of it all. He definitly is a rogue on his own tip, and has been on that tip for over a 50 years. I guess it's not his fault, but i read somewhere that the gratefull dead gave him a bunch of grant money.

stefan wolpe- 1902 -1972 german/usa- sort of an enigmatic guy who's students included Morton Feldman, Ralph Shapey, and David Tudor. He seems to be some sort of bridge between the neo classicists and the minimalist/american out guys like cage and feldman. While not the most disonent/dense stuff ever recorded, it's very abstract in a pleasing way that a lot of simalar stuff isn't. in some ways i think he was more successful than cage or feldman at their schtick. everything i have is quite good, including some jazz inspired piece i have being performed by al cohn of all people. i found this nice quote on google- Elliot Carter wrote about his teacher wolpe , "Comet-like, radiance, conviction, fervent intensity, penetrating thought on many levels of seriousness and humor, combined with breathtaking originality marked the inner and outer life of Stefan Wolpe, as they do his compositions."

ill get to xenakis, ligeti, boulez, lutotawski, penderecki, lazaroff, foss, and berio some time. if some one else (dylan?) want's to get into these guys first go ahead.
User avatar
capnreverb
bum runner
bum runner
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2003 7:07 pm
Location: milwaukee

Postby Dylan on Tue Dec 07, 2004 11:58 am

capnreverb wrote:ill get to xenakis, ligeti, boulez, lutotawski, penderecki, lazaroff, foss, and berio some time. if some one else (dylan?) want's to get into these guys first go ahead.

You're doing a hell of a job, cap'n. I might take up Scelsi at some point, but your descriptions are much better than mine could be. Are you coming up with stuff off the top of your head, or do you actually know when these guys were born?

Scary.
No time, no time...
Dylan
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
Supreme Commander at the Forefront
 
Posts: 1958
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 8:56 pm
Location: The Square

Postby TheMilford on Tue Dec 07, 2004 12:30 pm

capnreverb wrote:george crumb - 1929 -now usa. black angels is a must have of modern music, one of those pieces that is way out there but grabs you immediatly (please avoid the kronos version). some pretty far out stuff that ranges from ultra quiet to very dense and disonent. while very out there, he seems to have a logic or thread that is somewhat easier to follow than others. Sometims he seems to me like what charles ives would have become if ives became insane and obsesed with space, timbre, dynamics, noise, silence and extended instrumental technique. (guess i should cover Ives at some point). I would also recommend eleven echoes of autumn.


Ok, I'll bite... why not the Kronos Quartet version? ...I have not heard others but I have this version and really enjoy it, as well as some of the other stuff on the disk.

I have these records from Crumb:
http://www.georgecrumb.net/rec/cri218.html
and
http://www.georgecrumb.net/rec/col35201.html

I'm not sure I like them as much as the Black Angles disc... would you recommend the CRI release of Black Angels?

Cheers,
User avatar
TheMilford
Master Of The Computer
Master Of The Computer
 
Posts: 4738
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:16 am
Location: Sunset Park

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: JohnnyDoglands and 11 guests