Sunday, January 07, 2007

Philip Glass -String Quartet #5

This is the first work of contemporary music I remember being interested in. I was 13 or 14 and in my English teachers room before class. Knowing that I was a pianist he showed me some of the tracks from the kronos quartet’s recording. I even remember the track, it was the 4th movement of the 5th, and in listening I paused, “wow, that’s gorgeous, and…. interesting… and…. contemporary (?)” how could contemporary music be all three of these things? I couldn’t understand, but I was fascinated.

I went about hunting down some more Philip glass recordings, even listening to my English teachers cd in full. To be honest I was disappointed. I didn’t get all the repetitions I didn’t understand why he insisted on repeating the same phrase 4 times in a row, and so I sort of dropped my hunt for classical music recordings, and read about it instead. I remember being frustrated for years because I really wanted to get my hands on some Steve Reich, but I wasn’t able… within my means. (20 dollar CDs were out of the question, especially for something I might hate)

Im still feeling far too limited, I have practically the complete works of reich and enough (read: a ton) of glass and a lot of adams, dutilleux, I know some stockhausen, a little boulez and xenakis, and I enjoy late Coltrane quite a bit, I love me the George Crumb, my only riley is In C and the only La Monte Young piece is his well tuned piano, Im enjoying the aggressiveness of John Zorn and Animal Collective, along with the surrealism of The Dirty Projectors, Godspeed you Black Emperor and Broken Social Scene Meridith Monk has some wonderful pieces, I am familiar with a little Nyman and I love Berio’s symphonia, Messiaen is usually cool, John Cage’s prepared piano warms my heart, I also enjoy his tape works but Varese bores me, and is there anything at all interesting in Feldman’s string quartets? The Kronos Quartet is always reliable source of interesting music, Aphex Twin, Bjork and even (this is clownsilly’s fault) The boards of Canada have my interest, A Silver mount Zion, Red hot chili peppers and Nirvana often keep me company as do Sonic Youth and Radiohead. I may be in love with Michael Gordon and Julia Wolf. I love Arvo Part’s atmospherics and the Books subtle humor. I only know Ligeti’s etudes, and they honestly disappointed me. Theres a ton more out there though, that I haven’t gotten to.

Any suggestions?



Eirik said...

Murcof, Brian Eno, Alva Noto, Morton Feldman and Arve Henriksen. Most of these are Not classical, but got loads of inspiration from classical music.

Don't really know how I stumbled upon this blog..

Anonymous said...

Henryk Gorecki (Polish) is worth looking up. He is not my cup of tea but his 3rd Symphony is one of the few works that can make me cry.

Arvo Part is compulsory. A bit difficult to get into but here is a list of my favourites (seems to correspond with what is most popular)

String Quartet 5
Tabula Rasa
Fur Alina
Spiegel im Spiegel

Benjamin Britten and Strvinsky still sound contemporary to me. Not surprising in the case of Stravinsky I suppose.

Try his Symphony in 3 Movements. Britten's War Requiem like no other music and has the most frightening climax.

Cheers from Andrei Sharko