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20th Century Classical Music

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Huayna Capac357, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Huayna Capac357

    Huayna Capac357 Deity

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    I've been wanting to listen to 20th Century classical music recently, and as CFC has many people informed on classical music, I thought it'd be a good place to ask for some recommendations. What are some particularly good, famous, influential, or just personal favorite pieces or composers from the 20th century? Thank you very much.
     
  2. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    I'm not too educated on that period, but John Cage and Arnold Schoenberg immediately come to mind.
     
  3. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    Aaron Copland. Many pieces you've probably already heard, like Fanfare for the Common Man (played at every Olympics tv broadcast, at least in the USA). Also Appalachian Spring, Rodeo, etc...

    I like Gustav Holst (The Planets) also.

    Also Carl Orff "Carmina Burana". You've probably heard snippets themed into movies, etc...
     
  4. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Carmina Burana is excellent, same with Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky Cantata.

    Dvorak's The New World nearly fits, but is excluded by seven years.
     
  5. classical_hero

    classical_hero In whom I trust

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    There is also Rachmaninov, since much of hs work is after 1900, but he generally classified as a being romantic, which is normally from the previous century. Also lets not forget John Williamson.
     
  6. North King

    North King blech

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    Do you want strictly music from the 20th century, or do you just want post-19th century? :p
     
  7. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Whoops, I forgot Shoshtakovich and the excellent Leningrad Symphony.
     
  8. North King

    North King blech

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    Okay.... Well, we'll keep this very roughly chronological, ish. I'll do my best. Anyone can probably find stuff that they like in this post.

    And since this turned into an absolute MONSTER of a post, I'll split it up for your convenience:


    Spoiler This music sounds more like what we normally associate classical music with. It is conventionally pretty and yet innovative. :
    Copland was a good suggestion. To him I'd add Bernstein, who is an absolute genius, original, very modern, and still a wonderful listen:


    Link to video.

    Honestly, you can't go wrong with him. His works span musicals, opera, symphonies, practically everything you could think of. Plus he is a fantastic conductor. To watch him conduct anything is a joy in and of itself.

    No, I'm serious. Go look at him conducting something.

    Samuel Barber is the obvious candidate for sappy-sweet drool-over-how-pretty-it-is classical music.


    Link to video.

    More of his stuff that I've liked (may be your thing or not depending on whether you like solo voice):


    Link to video.

    You've probably heard Stravinsky. If not, this is a must:


    Link to video.

    The early Arnold Schoenberg is actually surprisingly lovely, given what he started doing later on.


    Link to video.

    Mahler is another one of the early modernists:


    Link to video.

    Shostakovich was one of the most famous Soviet composers, and he was spectacularly good at points. Difficult to listen to for some, but I challenge you to not find beauty in some of what he does:


    Link to video.

    Vaughan Williams is one of those composers of which we say, "Music might have gone in a different direction if everyone imitated him instead of Schoenberg."


    Link to video.





    Spoiler On the other hand, not all the stuff the 20th century came up with was pretty. It's honestly hard to know where to start here. :


    ...Well, let's just dump you right in the middle of it.

    Schoenberg was the one who started off the whole world of twelve-tone music. Arguably, he was the best at it.


    Link to video.

    A lot of the Eastern Europeans were innovative. Penderecki:


    Link to video.

    Ligeti has some really fascinating sounds:


    Link to video.

    This one was used in 2001. :p


    Link to video.

    Messiaen was one of the greats. And he composed this bad boy in a Nazi PoW camp:


    Link to video.

    Xenakis is a Greek composer, really well known for what he did with pure percussion and rhythm (though he did plenty of other stuff, too). This particular one is generated mathematically; had to analyze it a long time ago:


    Link to video.

    Everyone knows John Cage as "that one wacky dude who wrote 4'33"!" Which, for those of you not in the know, is a postmodernist piece which basically consists of the pianist walking out to the piano, bowing to applause, and sitting at the piano for four minutes and thirty three seconds, doing absolutely nothing. The audience provides the sounds, etc. But he also did some interesting stuff, like being one of the first to really explore sounds like the prepared piano:


    Link to video.

    Seriously, that stuff is just a piano with a couple minor tweaks that you could do at yourself. There is no other sound in there.

    Bela Bartok is one of those odd composers who you can't really tell if you're thinking his music is pretty or ugly. Either way it's kind of awesome:


    Link to video.

    Crumb's Black Angels is considered a defining piece of the modern classical world. It's really cool (and no, it doesn't sound the same all the way through, so if you're very curious, continue on after you've hastily turned down your speakers after the first three seconds!):


    Link to video.

    Now, my friend, we get into really wacky stuff. Salvatore Sciarrino is avant garde as they come:


    Link to video.

    ...

    yeah, for real.

    Now, some slightly less wacky stuff, Einstein on the Beach, by esteemed American composer Philip Glass!


    Link to video.





    Spoiler Now, since you slogged through that, I feel obligated to provide you with some nicer stuff towards the end. :p :


    Choral music in particular has typically remained very sweet throughout the century, and yet very distinctly 20th century. Moreover, I am a choral music nerd, so I'd never make a post like this without just laying it on you anyway:


    Link to video.

    The most famous contemporary choral composer, Eric Whitacre, started in the 20th century, so I'll just go ahead and post him!


    Link to video.

    And last but not least, one of the more interesting developments in contemporary music is the idea of minimalism.

    Holy crap, I made a pun.

    Anyway, here's an interesting one:


    Link to video.




    That's it for now. Sorry that it's so long... you did ask a very broad question. I tried to hit most of the big movements in the century. Hopefully your eyes don't just glaze over at the length.
     
  9. _random_

    _random_ Jewel Runner

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    I had an assignment for music history a while back to listen to 40 pieces of 20th century classical music and give brief descriptions of them. I can post the whole thing if you like, but here are some highlights:
    Spoiler :

    Link to video.
    A cool little tribute to the Baroque Period with the sort of intentional dissonance you'd expect of a modernist composer.

    Link to video.
    A nifty Requiem mass that combines the traditional text with war poetry of Wilfred Owen.

    Link to video.
    Part of John Cage's brilliance was his ability to create great pieces out of mundane instruments.

    Link to video.
    A very amusing opera about the end of the world.

    Link to video.
    Crumb's experimental use of electronic amplification allows the softer sounds to fit in with the music. Plus it has a pretty kickass title.

    Link to video.
    (Technically 21st century) An operatic retelling of the Civil War based on poetry of the time.
    This is what Penderecki does when he's trying to scare the musical poop out of you:

    Link to video.
    All of those crazy dissonances manage to converge on a simple C-Chord.

    Link to video.
    Originally performed on the grounds of Auschwitz. This is what the world ending sounds like.

    Link to video.
    I think North King already posted this, but such ingenuous ugliness ought to be posted again.
    This is what Penderecki does when he's trying to do something beautiful and spiritual:

    Link to video.

    I realize there's a lot here, but I hope it helped.
     
  10. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    Shostakovich was my first thought when I returned to this thread. How could I forget him? He's brilliant overall, although his opera "The Nose" is one of the weirdest weirdnesses I've ever seen.
     
  11. Boundless

    Boundless Deity

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    You can't get much better than Stravinsky for some serious serialism. It's a bit atonal, but his ballets (especially The Rite of Spring) is brilliant. If you like Gershwin, me and you need to talk. I love Phillip Glass for a bit of minimalism.
     
  12. North King

    North King blech

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    Maybe I'm reading what you mean here wrong, but Rite of Spring isn't serialist. :p Most of it is polytonal or primitivist in harmony, and the rhythms are almost all primitivist.
     
  13. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    Freddy Mercury. David Bowie. :mischief:
     
  14. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    John Adams' Nixon in China

    /thread
     
  15. vbraun

    vbraun Raytracing

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    I'm going to list a bunch of notable composers that did their thing in the 20th century. 20th century music is extremely diverse and the history is actually extremely interesting, imo.

    Richard Strauss
    Gustav Mahler
    Arnold Schoenberg (and the rest of the Second Viennese School)
    Igor Stravinsky
    Maurice Ravel
    Claude Debussy
    Béla Bartók
    Sergei Prokofiev
    Dmitri Shostakovich
    Gustav Holst
    Percy Grainger
    Edward Elgar
    Benjamin Britten
    Ralph Vaughan Williams
    George Gershwin
    Aaron Copland
    Leonard Bernstein
    Jean Sibelius
    Paul Hindemith
    György Ligeti
    Olivier Messiaen
    Toru Takemitsu
    Pierre Boulez
    Karlheinz Stockhausen
    Terry Riley
    Steve Reich
    Phillip Glass
    John Adams

    This list is by no means comprehensive, but is pretty decent. I'm sure I'm missing some of the composers like Messiaen or Ligeti.

    I haven't listened to everyone of these composers. I've mostly stuck to the more tonal side of 20th century music.

    If you like this sort of music, I highly recommend the book The Rest is Noise, by Alex Ross. A very good read on the history of 20th century music.
     
  16. de Maistre

    de Maistre Comte

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    Speaking of 20th century choral music, I recently listened to and enjoyed Rachmaninoff's Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I recommend it if you're interested in choral music at all, and especially if, like me, you've never heard Orthodox music before.
     
  17. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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  18. LightSpectra

    LightSpectra me autem minui

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    My high school band teacher was taught by one of Stravinsky's disciples.

    That makes me a fourth generation carrier of the Stravinskyesqueness.
     
  19. Midnight-Blue766

    Midnight-Blue766 The filidh that cam frae Skye

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    Speaking of Russian classical music composers, what about Shostakovitch?
     
  20. SpiritWolf

    SpiritWolf Warlord

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