Saturday, October 22, 2016

It's Canonic: Addendum

One of the very best things about this blog is the commentariat who always make valuable contributions. The comments on the canonic posts are an excellent example, so this will constitute an addendum of works that I should have mentioned in both my posts on 20th century orchestral music.

To the pieces listed as forming part of the canon of orchestral music in the first half of the century should be added a couple of pieces by Benjamin Britten that I forgot (and included in a later post), the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and the Sea Interludes, adapted from the opera Peter Grimes. I have been convinced that some pieces by Leonard Bernstein, the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and the Prelude, Fugue and Riffs should be included. And by George Gershwin, the Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Concerto and An American in Paris.

As expected, there was a lot more discussion about the second half of the century as it is just a bit too close to us to have much perspective. Here are pieces and composers I just plain missed:
  • James Mcmillan (I don't have any pieces to suggest yet, but a number of comments have convinced me that I need to get to know his music)
  • Arvo Pärt --I don't know how I missed him! Here are some memorable and canonic works of his: Tabula Rasa, Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten and the string orchestra version of Fratres
  • Krzysztof Penderecki: Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima and his later work Polish Requiem
  • John Adams: Shaker Loops
  • Einojuhani Rautavaara: Symphony No. 7
  • Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel
There were more suggestions and more composers, but these ones I was particularly convinced by. This is all guesswork, of course. A hundred years from now maybe everyone will be listening to Harry Partch and Conlon Nancarrow!

For our envoi, a few clips. First Gershwin's An American in Paris:

Arvo Pärt, Tabula Rasa:

John Adams, Shaker Loops:

and Morton Feldman, Rothko Chapel:


Jives said...

that Gershwin is just pure joy, isn't it?

Bryan Townsend said...

You know, it really is.