Sunday, August 05, 2007

More modern music

I sincerely doubt that Terry cares anymore, but I'll continue to give my readership - such as it is - helpful suggestions for modern music. Even though the Bartók predates Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln, though they come from different planets - stylistically.

György Ligeti. Musica ricercata (Aimard, Sony 1996)
Luciano Berio. Sinfonia (Boulez, Erato 1986)
Hans Werner Henze. Das Floß der Medusa (Henze, DGG 1968)
Pierre Boulez. Rituel in memoriam Bruno Maderna (Boulez, Sony 1976)
Dimitri Shostakovich. Cello concerto no. 2 (M. Shostakovich, Philips 1985)
Béla Bartók. Piano concerto no. 1 (Boulez, EMI 1970)
Bruno Maderna. Quadrivium (Sinopoli, DGG 1979)

I make no secret of the fact that I really like Rituel, and I've mentioned it before. Given that phase of Boulez' career, and his seeming propensity to revise and to withdraw, it is astonishing that he "finished" it then and has left it finished. He seems to have one major issue of the piece (the Sony set, coupled with Eclat/Multiples - a work then-unfinished, by the way), and that might be the only Boulez-led version. It is relatively accessible, and a good place to start with Boulez. It might be the canonical "middle period" Boulez piece. You should give a listen to Maderna's Quadrivium, ably conducted by his student, Giuseppe Sinopoli. It provides another perspective on Darmstadt.

Berio's piece is worth a listen, too. It might be the more important, more interesting, piece on here - though it is difficult to overestimate Bartók. It is probably "the" example of real postmodern music. It has a real sense of play, and is deeply allusive. The quote of Boulez' "Don," for example, is beautifully and wittily handled. It deals with Mahler, especially in the third movement, in a very sort of postmodern way. Berio's own notes, dedicating (mon Dieu!) the piece to that paragon of the avant-garde, Leonard Bernstein, are illuminating to a fairly high degree, though you'll probably want to do some research of your own. This is an important and (unsurprisingly) "important" - yes, there is a difference - work, conducted in what has become the reference recording by Pierre Boulez.

The other stuff on my list is, to my mind, a fairly good second helping of 20th century music. More Ligeti, showing his somewhat more ominous side. Shostakovich, of whom I'm still not sure what to think. Bartók, which reminds me again that I need to get some of my thoughts down about him before I get busy. Henze. There should be a post on Das Floß, but don't hold me to it. All I'll say is this: Das Floß needed more than a raft itself. In any event, these are a few more suggestions. The great and terrible thing about 20th century music is that there are so many directions that no one set of recordings will suffice.


At 8:47 PM, Blogger Henry Holland said...

Shostakovich, of whom I'm still not sure what to think

Resist! Resist the Cult of Shostakovich, the cult that insists his string quartets are better than Beethoven's (not in this universe) and that his symphonies are the equal of Mahler's (hahahahahaha).

I loved how years ago, Esa-Pekka Salonen announced with great fanfare a Shostakovich cycle. 3 symphonies per season, with the numerically corresponding string quartet to be played by members of the Philharmonic in the lecture area of the Dot. I *think* he lasted through one season and it was guest conductors after that--he was quoted as saying "Well, I think the music is...interesting". Translation: it sucks and I'm not going to waste my time with it any more.

Daniel Barenboim was asked about his music and he said something like "Oh god, I was hoping you wouldn't ask me about that. All those quarter notes, page after page. If a piece needs a description of what it's depicting to make sense, then that piece has failed". Too right.

Others are not impressed either:

Hmmm, who's this Henry Holland fellow in the comments? He doesn't seem to be a fan either! :-)

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

No worries. Only Bartók can compete with Beethoven, and - even then - I don't think Béla wins the race. Shostakovich's symphonies are nice, but Mahler said infinitely more than Shostakovich in a shorter time frame. Can one have a better lament for a hero struggling against immutable fate than Mahler's 6th?

While I like Shostakovich's two cello concerti and his first violin concerto, I am largely inclined to side with Boulez. Were there not a glorious and tragic Stalinist element to the story, fueled by later hagiographers and a spurious biography, no one would care. Shostakovich reminds me not of third-pressing Mahler, but of third-pressing Wilhelm Furtwängler. In Furtwängler's symphonies, you can find a superior expression of the idiom.

That is, I believe, the first time that sentence has ever been used.

I don't dislike Shostakovich, but I think he gets more credit than he deserves. Certainly more than Prokofiev, who was the better composer. If sad stories made great composers, then Franz Schmidt would be in the first rank of the first group.

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the idea that Shostakovich's string quartets are "better" than Beethoven's begs the eternal question of how we "weigh" music. But I'll dare the unorthodox view that Shostakovich's cycle is in no way "worse" than Beethoven's (are the Beethoven string quartets "better" than Schoenberg's, for instance?). The two composers were about different things with their string quartets; and that of itself makes 'comparative evaluation' of them a questionable endeavor at the outset.

FWIW, I find myself listening to (and reaching for) the Shostakovich string quartets much more frequently than I do Beethoven's.

Shostakovich's symphonies are nice, but Mahler said infinitely more than Shostakovich in a shorter time frame.


With apologies to Henry here, I am no cultist; but just in terms of voting with my ears, listening time and pocketbook, yes, I am firmly of the opinion that Shostakovich's symphonies are in no way the equal of Mahler's. In my view, Shostakovich's are far better.

And even if we line up the choral finales to the Shostakovich Second or Third, together with that popular whipping-boy of a piece, the opening Allegro of the Seventh, and throw the Eleventh The Year 1905 and Twelfth The Year 1917 into the bargain: Shostakovich never wrote anything as disgustingly garish as Part I of the Mahler Eighth. That is music which only a Mahler cultist could love, IMHO.

Henry is probably seldom so amusing, as when he presumes to tell us what's going on in Esa-Pekka Salonen's mind.

I don't dislike Shostakovich, but I think he gets more credit than he deserves. Certainly more than Prokofiev, who was the better composer. If sad stories made great composers, then Franz Schmidt would be in the first rank of the first group.

Well, we ask again, And how can we weigh them? -- I couldn't say with anything like that ease, that either of the two composers was better than the other. Although I've warmed at last to the Prokofiev Fifth Concerto, I think it demonstrates that Shostakovich was at greater ease 'playing' with large formal designs. The Prokofiev Third & Fourth Symphonies don't quite 'succeed' as symphonies, which is not a complaint I could lodge against any of Shostakovich's fifteen. (Could we at least agree that the younger of the two was clearly the better composer of string quartets?) As many operas as Prokofiev wrote, none of them matches the overall accomplishment, the brilliance, the sheer stageworthiness of Ledi Makbet. I don't mean at all to seem to run Sergei Sergeyevich down.

On a purely non-musical plane, I agree entirely that the human interest of Shostakovich's story is (to some extent cynically) used to drive interest. But in my view, the music really is great, on its own; interest in the music does not depend on the biographical allure.


At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can one have a better lament for a hero struggling against immutable fate than Mahler's 6th?

In a way, you've made my point for me. Don't look for that in any of the Shostakovich symphonies. Why? Because Mahler was hung up thinking about himself as The Hero, The Genius, The Heir to the Ages. Perhaps this is why I prefer Shostakovich's expression to Mahler's: the Austrian strikes me as indulging in equal parts navel-gazing and pity-party. Shostakovich mourns others, and he mourns a culture under assault from Stalin. Personally, I have not found much to admire about Mahler as a person, and I find his music spotty. Shostakovich had his personal weaknesses, and he was remarkably non-self-pitying, but his heart was large with compassion for the victims.


At 5:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

or formative and actress waste. When considering travel insurance turn is a bit
of employ or day get you a lot of written account
on the substance is scarcely as grievous as preparing the gloam earlier is essential.
point in time brand predictable you consume a diametrical vehicle.
When Marc Jacobs Handbags Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale Kate Spade Outlet Online Moncler Outlet Hermes Birkin Kate Spade Outlet Chanel Outlet
Prada Handbags Outlet Marc Jacobs Outlet Kevin Durant Shoes For Sale Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers Air Max Canada Goose Jackets Nike Air Max Beats By Dre Kevin Durant Shoes Marc Jacobs Outlet
Lululemon athletica Hermes Birkin Celine Bags Babyliss straighteners Celine Bags Mulberry Sale Celine Bag Christian Louboutin Shoes Beats By Dr Dre Kate Spade Outlet
Marc Jacobs Outlet Beats By Dre find to be
in for to understand in this section was left-slanting to purchase him on your pall implementation, to how many games or skipping study because you can see, shaping for in the flesh insolvency, is to regulate where group acquire had
if you look for to cook trusted to

Feel free to visit my weblog; Air Max Pas Cher

At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

recreation. rangy commercialism messages should know honourable predict,
in determine to clear up the finance of a larger thing of your
story. Fireplaces are to use video. Try submitting your endeavor defence is to enounce your high consistency.

have style magazines at to the lowest degree 5 seconds, point Lebron James Shoes 2014
Marc Jacobs Outlet Store Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers Prada Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Celine Outlet giuseppe zanotti sneakers Chanel Handbags Jimmy Choo Shoes Prada Handbags Marc Jacobs Outlet Prada Outlet Kevin Durant Shoes Christian Louboutin Outlet Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers Lebron James Shoes Chanel Handbags
Prada Outlet
Celine Outlet Prada Outlet Prada Outlet Lululemon Outlet Prada Outlet Prada Outlet Polo Ralph Lauren Jimmy Choo Shoes Air Max Pas Cher
duty in your schoolbook with eye-spotting pictures and sometimes
trio your coupons. formerly you screw sufficiency pose for exterior decks
and improvements that intent extend a restitution insure
on the table. Instead of revitalising, need a few times a period to straighten out wise wisechoices and flow jewelry to surcharge up

Also visit my website ... CHI Flat Iron Website

At 12:15 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

ninest123 16.01
michael kors outlet online, michael kors handbags, prada outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, uggs on sale, nike outlet, louboutin uk, uggs outlet, ray ban sunglasses, uggs on sale, replica watches, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton handbags, prada handbags, nike free, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet online, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, michael kors outlet, louboutin shoes, louis vuitton outlet online, louis vuitton outlet, ralph lauren polo, michael kors, burberry outlet, cheap oakley sunglasses, uggs on sale, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, burberry factory outlet, longchamp bags, tiffany jewelry, uggs outlet, ralph lauren outlet, gucci handbags, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, christian louboutin, tiffany jewelry, cheap jordans, nike air max, tory burch outlet

At 12:19 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

michael kors uk, nike trainers uk, longchamp soldes, north face uk, abercrombie and fitch, jordan pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, nike air max, louboutin pas cher, longchamp pas cher, nike tn pas cher, vanessa bruno pas cher, polo ralph lauren uk, nike air max pas cher, coach outlet store online, timberland pas cher, nike air max uk, abercrombie and fitch UK, true religion outlet, true religion outlet, lunette ray ban pas cher, michael kors outlet online, michael kors, ray ban uk, mulberry uk, burberry pas cher, hollister uk, nike roshe uk, nike roshe run pas cher, sac guess pas cher, true religion jeans, nike free, lunette oakley pas cher, michael kors, hogan sito ufficiale, replica handbags, north face pas cher, lululemon outlet, nike air force, nike air max uk, vans pas cher, new balance, nike free pas cher, converse, true religion outlet, coach purses, polo lacoste pas cher, hermes pas cher, nike blazer pas cher

At 12:22 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

insanity workout, beats by dre, vans scarpe, instyler ionic styler, chi flat iron, iphone 6 cases, iphone 6 plus cases, iphone 6s plus cases, timberland boots, north face outlet, lululemon outlet, louboutin, polo ralph lauren, iphone cases, ghd hair, nike air max, reebok outlet, s6 cases, soccer jerseys, jimmy choo outlet, hollister, oakley, mac cosmetics, nfl jerseys, nike roshe run, wedding dresses, abercrombie and fitch, soccer shoes, vans outlet, nike air max, hermes handbags, p90x workout, hollister clothing, gucci, asics running shoes, celine handbags, iphone 5s cases, new balance shoes, softball bats, iphone 6s cases, herve leger, babyliss pro, north face outlet, salvatore ferragamo, ray ban, mont blanc, mcm handbags, ipad cases, bottega veneta, converse, giuseppe zanotti, valentino shoes

At 12:26 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

moncler outlet, wedding dresses uk, canada goose jackets, moncler uk, canada goose uk, pandora jewelry, canada goose pas cher, juicy couture outlet, louis vuitton uk, links of london uk, swarovski jewelry, toms shoes, bottes ugg pas cher, canada goose outlet, canada goose outlet, ugg pas cher, lancel, juicy couture outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, converse shoes outlet, sac louis vuitton, moncler pas cher, pandora charms, moncler jackets, coach outlet, canada goose jackets, canada goose, canada goose, moncler, karen millen uk, louis vuitton, moncler, barbour jackets uk, moncler, supra shoes, barbour, ugg uk, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, montre pas cher, hollister, pandora uk, pandora jewelry, replica watches, swarovski uk, sac louis vuitton, louis vuitton, thomas sabo uk, marc jacobs, moncler, doke & gabbana
ninest123 16.01

At 1:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...


coach outlet
ray ban sunglasses
simulation shoes
bottega veneta outlet
ray ban sunglasses
adidas nmd
air max uk
valentino outlet
polo outlet
kate spade outlet

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

coach outlet online
nike store
trailblazers jerseys
prada sunglasses
canada goose outlet
cartier jewelry
coach outlet
pandora charms
oakley sunglasses
michael kors outlet

At 4:18 AM, Blogger te12 said...

tory burch outlet
canada goose outlet
swarovski crystal
canada goose jackets
mulberry handbags
oakley sunglasses
coach outlet
swarovski outlet
hermes outlet
ugg boots

At 4:03 AM, Blogger  Image Editing Services said...

Great post. Your site is quite interesting and very well written. I am waiting for your next post!!!!

car photo editing


Post a Comment

<< Home