Thursday, May 24, 2018

Classical music of the past 100 years [6] 1968-1977

Too many listeners of classical music think that over the past 100 years or so, nothing worthwhile has been composed. In this recurring series, I will be posting one composition per year from 1918 until 2017, with every selected composer featuring only once (and not necessarily with their imo best work). I'm aiming for composers who represent the more modern age, skipping many famous names from before 1918 who also composed in this time slot (such as Sibelius and Richard Strauss). Overall I wanted to get a reasonable mix of symphonies, concertos, other orchestral works, chamber music, solo instrumental compositions, and vocal creations, but excluding opera altogether. I have grouped the works per period of ten years, with one post per month for each subsequent decade. Youtube links are not included as they tend to disappear with time - they are easily googled anyway. If you like classical music, but are reluctant to explore the 20th and 21st century works, this series of posts might give you a bit of a nudge to start listening.
  • 1968 Stockhausen - Stimmung
  • 1969 Berio - Sinfonia
  • 1970 Kabeláč - Symphony 8 'Antiphonies'
  • 1971 Crumb - Black angels 
  • 1972 Tippett - Symphony 3
  • 1973 Maderna - Oboe concerto 3
  • 1974 Englund - Piano concerto 2
  • 1975 Silvestrov - Silent songs
  • 1976 Dutilleux - String quartet 'Ainsi la nuit' 
  • 1977 Berkeley (M) - Oboe concerto
The sixth helping introduces two of the biggest names of modern classical music along with others that really deserve more attention. Stockhausen and Berio are surely two of the main composers of the past century. Stockhausen, perhaps most notorious for his helicopter quartet, also composed etherical compositions like Stimmung. Berio's Sinfonia, with its ample Mahler quotations, is a symphony which most classical music listeners should be able to appreciate. Other modern takes on the ancient symphony form are presented by Czech composer Kabeláč (a reaction to the end of the Prague spring) and Britain's Tippett. Both employ vocals, with the Tippett even literally quoting Beethoven's 9th. Another old composition form, the concerto, is represented by two totally different works for oboe and orchestra, one by Italy's Maderna and one by Britain's Michael Berkeley, son of composer Lennox Berkeley, and one for piano by Finland's Englund. Then we have two very different string quartets, by American Crumb and Frenchman Dutilleux. Finally, a personal favourite of mine, the subdued and very moving song cycle Silent songs by Ukraine's Silvestrov. As always, I hope you explore these and find something you like.

Copyright statement: image in public domain.