Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Contemporary Classical - worth contemplating

Anne Midgette wrote an excellent article recently in the Washington Post providing an introduction to new music for the novice. Contemporary Classical: A Primer explores some of the major trends, such as minimalism, neo-traditional, and alt-classical. As she explains:
If you’re a longtime orchestra subscriber, you may be passionate about Brahms but leery of the unfamiliar names and sounds that occasionally emerge onto concert programs. And chances are, whatever you like, you are equally passionate about what you don’t like. This is not a “best of” guide, but rather an aide to orientation: Whatever your individual taste, these are pieces worth exploring.

In addition to outlining the three trends, she also includes a list of suggested works at the end of the article that I found quite good (and even had some surprises for me).

Not all the composers are dead. They're not all European, and they're not even all male. And the music they're writing is far removed from the prickly dissonances of mid-Twentieth Century avant-gardists that everyone seems to assume is still the norm for new music.

So here's the question: what would you like to hear more of on WTJU? Minimalist composers like Steve Reich and John Adams? Neo-traditionalists like John Corigliano and Jennifer Higdon? Alt-classical composers such as Nico Muhly and Mason Bates?

Of course, if you listen to my program, "Gamut" you'll probably hear all of the above and then some. But there's a lot to like in new music, and someday, some of those work will be considered standards of the repertoire.

Anne Midgette provides a great place to start your musical exploration, and we promise to help you along your journey!

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