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20th and 21st century classical music
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cookie_manager
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Post 2012-06-29 05:23   [Quote] 
I find the current exchange in "album for today" to be interesting and informative, but it will be deleted again soon. This music, so important to FZ's stuff, needs its own thread here (and I didn't find one).

20th and 21st century classical music is such a broad field that I don't really know how to kickstart a thread about it.

Maybe something a little bit Zappa-related:
I listened to selected Webern-works a few days ago, and was sure the versions of several songs with Christiane Oelze would be the most preferable for me. But then I found I definitely prefer the crisp analogue recording technique of the tracks in the sony box, even if I don't like the singer that much. Can somebody recommend 50s/60s recordings of Webern's middle-period songs? (or Webern in general)

Also: is somebody familiar with the "Le Domaine Musical (1956 a 1967) Vol.2"-box? Loved Vol.1, again last but not least for it's in-ya-face dry recording technique.

download-tip:
http://wolffifth.blogspot.de/
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cookie_manager
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Post 2012-06-29 05:35   [Quote] 
Oh - also... I know there are at least 2 or 3 people here who themselves compose modern classical/classical avantgarde stuff, if I understand right on a (quasi-)professional level. For instance I heard things by yetanother I found impressive. Everybody else active in that field: Show your face (I mean works). After all, it's part of what this thread is about Smile
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yetanother
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Post 2012-06-29 06:26   [Quote] 
cookie_manager wrote:
Also: is somebody familiar with the "Le Domaine Musical (1956 a 1967) Vol.2"-box? Loved Vol.1, again last but not least for it's in-ya-face dry recording technique.

I'm not really familiar with vol. 2, but I bought vol. 1 really cheap in Paris and it was worth every euro!

cookie_manager wrote:
download-tip:
http://wolffifth.blogspot.de/

Great link, thanks for the tip!

cookie_manager wrote:
I heard things by yetanother I found impressive.

Thanks so much, I'm flattered! Smile for anyone else interested in having a listen, the link is at the bottom of all my posts.

Of relevance to the thread, I recently had the privilege to see ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble, from New York) live and was positively blown away. They played two fantastic concerts in São Paulo this week (available on Dime here and here) and their leader and executive director, Claire Chase, played an equally fantastic solo flute recital today (available on Dime next week, when I get the time to transfer and edit the recording). Everyone in the group is a virtuoso, of course, but Claire is really on a whole other level of musicianship - I must say I had never seen anyone play like that, and believe me, I saw tons of musicians in my life. Which is all the more impressive if you consider that she's only 35! I do consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to meet and become friends with such an extraordinary artist (who is also a wonderful person). Here's a nice interview with her (together with Rebekah, their bassoonist, another extraordinary musician - as is evident from the solo bassoon piece included in the first concert I linked to above): http://www.theaviaryonline.com/1/post/2012/06/dragonflies-and-rock-stars-an-interview-with-claire-chase-and-rebekah-heller.html

Anyway, if any of you ever get the chance to see them live, even if the program consists solely of composers you've never heard of, believe me - you don't want to miss it!

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brainpang
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Post 2012-06-29 11:24   [Quote] 
I tried something like this thread on that Z Forum (which, of course got buried fast) so I'm gonna copy and paste the interesting bits here. Hope it is not too messy...

BP TO FERAL CATS: I remember you posted a list of composers whom you know Frank name-dropped. Can you find it?

I found this old article today:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... A9649C8B63
The group played those arrangements as a tribute to Zappa at Merkin Concert Hall on Wednesday evening. Included as well were works that Zappa found influential, by Gesualdo, Stravinsky and Conlon Nancarrow, along with Ira Taxin's pointillistic Brass Quintet (1973), which Zappa was known to admire. And there were scores by Stephen Barber and Don Van Vliet (better known as Captain Beefheart), musicians who worked with Zappa. "

FERAL (who is/was like 15!) writes:

From my look into the matter, he enjoyed/admired-

Varese
Stravinsky
Bartok
Webern
Nono
Boulez
Chopin (Only one interview says this, and I'm not sure how much I trust it.)
Takemitsu
Penderecki
Nancarrow
Partch
Ives
Feldman
Cage (This also depends on the interview, and time. I'd say Cage influenced some of Zappa's thinking, but Zappa's less ART about it...)
Ravel
Moondog

He was probably familiar with many, many more. It seemed to be a field he was fascinated with. There are others where he only liked select works, like Schoenberg.

Some people I seem to have skipped over-- He liked Lachennman and Antheil. I didn't list Satie because it seems that Zappa didn't pick Socrate to be played, someone else did. But who knows? Zappa probably would havve vetoed it if he didn't like it.

In the topic where I originally posted this, brainpang added Stockhausen and Berg to the list. Appropriate. In one of his interviews (I think it's the 'Mother Of All interviews') he says that he likes the sound of Bach. I briefly recall him saying kind things about Xenakis and Wolfe.

(BTW, in that topic you asked me where Zappa said he liked Moondog. One of my friends has a recording of Moondog's last concert with a quote from Zappa on the inside sleeve, praising Moondog's melodies.)

bp writes:
More on Gesualdo
I'm a musical moron but perhaps Frank heard what the unknown writer below expresses. Certainly seems like it would appeal to FZ to me.

From the liners to the Naxos "complete sacred music for 5 voices:"
"Each motet bears the obvious stamp of Gesualdo's individual musical language; even those motets that make minimal use of chromaticism exibit unusual part-writing which is at best faintly bizarre and at worse baffling."

MORE on NACARROW:

brainpang wrote:
The first time I read the name Conlon Nancarrow was when FZ stated it was an influence on the Uncle Meat album.

FeralCats wrote:
If Zappa knew about Nancarrow before 69, that's a real testament to how knowledgeable he was. Not many people did, right?

brainpang wrote:
Damn, now I really got to find that interview.
Did a little search and discovered that Columbia released (and deleted) a CN LP in 1969. But UM came out in March '69 so...
The next CN release came out in 1976 on 1750 Arch Records. That's the one I bought thanks to Frank's mention of it as an influence.

My guess is that Frank probably had a non-commercial tape of some of his works (maybe the ones destined for the Columbia LP? I'll have to find out the tracklist and see if I find a connection to the music on UM). It's common that these things get passed around amongst insiders. Or maybe I'm out of my mind and dreamed the whole thing?

EDIT: I bet FZ first heard it here...

On Mon, 19 Feb 2007, Thomas Gaudynski wrote:

>
> "In 1960, Merce Cunningham choreographed a work for five dancers titled
> "Crises." The decor was by Robert Rauschenberg, and John Cage arranged six of
> Conlon Nancarrow's STUDIES FOR PLAYER PIANO (In order 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 6) as
> material accompaniment.
>
> "Crises remained in the Cunningham Dance Company repertoire for five years.
> It was performed widely in the United States, and on a sixth-month world tour
> by the company in 1964. This prolonged exposure even to such a small part of
> Nancarrow's music has spawned a considerable, though rather arcane, legion of
> devotees.
>
> "The STUDIES FOR PLAYER PIANO found their way to the Cunningham Dance Company
> through the efforts of John Edmunds who, in the late 1960's, was with the
> American section of the New York Public Library. Edmunds had requested tape
> recordings from Nancarrow of the complete Studies and brought them to the
> attention of John Cage."

FOUND IT!

Zappa
By Dan Forte
Musician, No.19, August 1979
http://www.afka.net/Articles/1979-08_Musician.htm

MUSICIAN: Was Uncle Meat influenced by jazz at all?

ZAPPA: I don't think there are jazz influences in Uncle Meat. If there's any influence in Uncle Meat it's from Conlon Nancarrow. He's a composer who lives in Mexico, but was born in Kentucky. He writes music for player-piano that is humanly impossible to perform. He writes all these bizarre canons and weird structures – punches them out on player-piano rolls. The stuff is fantastic; there are a few albums of it. If you've never heard it, you've got to hear it – it'll kill you. Some of it sounds like ragtime that's totally bionic.

I also remember seeing an old United Mutations form reprinted somewhere. Frank scribbled in KAGEL (as in Mauricio...) on it.
Also scribbled in ALBAN BERG.

Must add HOLST, especially as he is quoted on AbFree.
And a friend who is far more knowledgeable than me, says he
heard "a muddle of Shostakovich and Gil Evans," in Zappa's work.
Don't know what piece(s) he was referring to but probably the early 200 Motels stuff.

Interesting what one can find.

http://www.solesides.com/winblad/david% ... o0601.html

Those are the Breaks
Mojo, 06.01
by Andrew Male

"At the end of the '60s, David Axelrod was one of the most respected producers and composers in America...."

"...Axelrod hooked up with Harold Land. One of the last hard-bop fugitives in a land of cool, Land played tough jazz for Central Avenue hipsters steeped in blues and R&B. For people like Axelrod, Land flew the West Coast ‘hard school’ flag."

"Zappa knew. Self-taught musicians and voracious devourers of knowledge, Zappa and Axelrod would discuss everything from the mountain-climbing prowess of Aleister Crowley to the inestimable importance of press officers. "He said, 'You've got to get PR.' I figured I didn't need it. Things were going well. He said, 'You’re making a great mistake.' Quincy [Jones] said the same thing."

"Allen Ginsberg wanted him to set Howl! to music and the producer's Blakean tone poems found fans in Sly Stone and Frank Zappa.
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brainpang
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Post 2012-06-29 11:38   [Quote] 
And a big thumbs up for Martin yetanothers music. I've listened a number of times. Fine stuff!
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pbuzby
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Post 2012-06-29 13:49   [Quote] 
yetanother wrote:


Of relevance to the thread, I recently had the privilege to see ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble, from New York) live and was positively blown away.


Most of them were at Oberlin around the time I was there along with another modern chamber group Eighth Blackbird who have been around a few years longer. Nice to see them getting recognition.
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cookie_manager
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Post 2012-06-29 21:23   [Quote] 
Thanks for adding all that.
brainpang wrote:
"I briefly recall him saying kind things about Xenakis and Wolfe."
Is it "Wolpe" or "Wolff"? (or is there a composer named Wolfe I just don't know?)

edit:
found "Ira Taxin's pointillistic Brass Quintet (1973)" (mentioned in that long post above) on Youtube... I wouldn't call it pointilistic (but quite massive)... it's a nice discovery nevertheless... never heard about that composer before.
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brainpang
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Post 2012-06-30 07:49   [Quote] 
cookie_manager wrote:
Thanks for adding all that.
brainpang wrote:
"I briefly recall him saying kind things about Xenakis and Wolfe."
Is it "Wolpe" or "Wolff"? (or is there a composer named Wolfe I just don't know?)

edit:
found "Ira Taxin's pointillistic Brass Quintet (1973)" (mentioned in that long post above) on Youtube... I wouldn't call it pointilistic (but quite massive)... it's a nice discovery nevertheless... never heard about that composer before.


That wasn't me writing that but I would hazard a guess it was supposed to be Wolpe....whom I know nothing about.
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cookie_manager
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Post 2012-06-30 09:09   [Quote] 
While looking up Wolpe in my database, I found there's indeed a Julia Wolfe, but it's very unlikely FZ refered to her.

There's quite some stuff in Wolpe's oeuvre after 1953 to his death that I can heartily recommend. Before that, his stuff is quite a mixed bag stylistically as well as quality-wise (my opinion), a phenomenon a little bit like Krenek in the '20- to '40s maybe.

my Wolpe Top 5 is:
Enactments (1953, three pianos)
Quartet #2 (1955)
Sinfonie 1 (1955)
Piece in two parts for 6 (1962, sextet)
Chamber Piece II (1964, chamber ensemble)

Wolpe studied briefly with Webern, if I remember right, and his later output, produced after his emigration into the US, somewhat paralled the 50s/60s post-Webern-developments in Europe - at least in my understanding. Some of those works turned out a little formalistic to my ears, others are quite vital and impulsive.
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brainpang
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Post 2012-06-30 09:10   [Quote] 
The ICE Cometh

Cage celebration...plus Boulez controversy

Gotta gotta grab tix...

http://www.millertheatre.com/Events/EventDetails.aspx?nid=1528
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brainpang
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Post 2012-06-30 09:12   [Quote] 
Gotta add the 16 year old Frank's letter to Varese:

http://wiki.killuglyradio.com/wiki/Zappa%27s_letter_to_Var%C3%A8se
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Post 2012-06-30 12:48   [Quote] 
FZ mentions Ruth Crawford Seeger in the letter to Varese. She's another composer who created a bunch of amazing works, and given that FZ talks about his "elaboration on the principle of Ruth Seeger's contrapuntal dynamics", it's not far fetched to assume he had serious interest in her stuff.
(this is in addition to the long "name-dropping"-post above)

this string quartet from 1931 might be her best-known work:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qemDvtQXLYA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hqz9Ch14Mpw

this is not bad either:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcmLTuYRdRA&feature=related
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brainpang
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Post 2012-06-30 12:53   [Quote] 
Thanks, I've never listened to her stuff....that I am aware of.

ALSO: in the Yellow Shark doc FZ says something like this when he's trying to inspire some of the EM to improvise:

"Remember, it all starts with John Cage..."

High Praise, indeed.
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brainpang
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Post 2012-07-01 09:46   [Quote] 
Are there recordings floating around of Webern music without the singing? Always wanted to hear it.
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Post 2012-07-01 20:21   [Quote] 
Did FZ mention Moondog’s music in some interviews?
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