I am somewhat amazed that Pliable has taken up the banner of Bruno Maderna: he has praised his interpretation of Mahler's 9th, and now he has a lengthy post about Maderna and Pierre Boulez' memorial composition, Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna (1974-5).* I am really impressed that Maderna, both his influence and his legacy, is being explored in such depth. The Darmstadt school has been, to a greater or lesser degree, either forgotten or transcended by critics and composers alike.**
Maderna, though, wrote music less obsessively rigid and more accessible, insofar as Darmstadt music is or was "accessible," than Boulez and music more sane than anything by Karlheinz Stockhausen. His Quadrivium (1970), performed on DGG's Echo 20/21 series by his famous student Giuseppe Sinopoli and (if I recall) the NDRSO forces required is a fine, fine piece. It is a shame that Maderna isn't more well known, but Boulez' Rituel at least keeps the memory there. Boulez worked in some very Maderna-esque percussion, which - though percussion and percussive sounds featured heavily in mature Boulez - wasn't exactly his thing.
An interesting piece, in any event, and an interesting project (i.e., raising Maderna's visibility).
*If you're interested in this piece, then you should check out the composer's recording on Sony, or Michael Gielen's interesting pairing with the Mahler 9th and Boulez' Notations.
**Though, there is a really bizarre article I'm thinking of in Contemporary Music Review, "Gay Darmstadt: Flamboyance and Rigour at the Summer Courses for New Music," which I might look into as time and access permit. If they can't contribute to modern music, gender studies seem like the next best thing.