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20th/21st Century Classical Composers
Who's out there with fresh music for strings?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (9 votes) 
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ELCB
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Alexander Litvinovsky! 

Just Being Contented SmileyI'm in love with "Le Grand Cahier" (Suite for Strings), so I was impressed enough to take a closer look at this composer's music.  

Litvinovsky - born in 1962 Minsk, Belarus.  A huge bio on Facebook - works include; Choir & Chamber/Symphony Orchestra, Christian Cantatas, Suites & Solos for Strings/Brass/Woodwinds (even guitar), Jazz, music for Stage productions and Electroacoustic music.  He's also written many originals in the style of 17th Century Capella & Consort music.

Here's a video with many brief glimpses of his music.

 

Here's a link to his tracks of music I enjoy from "The Magic Tree".  I love "With the Stream", "Time to go Boating" and "Daisy"!

https://www.youtube.com/channe.....1FMuKV4A 

Here's more, fun little samplings of his music from the Stage Production of "Dziady"

Here's a link to some of his Electroacoustic music. 

https://www.youtube.com/channe.....leVO1Q  

Last (for me right now) is "Le Grand Cahier" (Suite for Strings).  My favorites are #4, #7 & #8!  You can read an extensive commentary on Litvinovsky and info on this Stage Production in the video caption on YouTube. 

  

Confused Head Scratching EmoticonsI guess I need to learn more about the "Puppet Theaters" in this part of the World - from watching some of the videos, I'm seeing live actors - not "puppets"(?)

Alexander Litvinovsky has more CD's and many more glimps into his world of music on Youtube, but you may not find them all in 1 place - kind of a treasure hunt!

... I've already found music I'd like to learn to play - anyone else?

Black Cat Red Heart Smiley- Emily

 

It's starting to get to me (ought to be motivating) - all the prolific creators I find that are younger than I am!  Oh, well...

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AndrewH
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If you like Litvinovsky, you're likely to also enjoy the work of Nikolai Kapustin, who is best-known for his jazz-inflected chamber music.

Here's Kapustin's Trio for Flute, Cello, and Piano, composed in 1998. I first heard it at a chamber music festival two or three years ago.

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AndrewH
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One of my favorite living composers is Gabriela Lena Frank, whose work I discovered two years ago when my orchestra played her Elegía Andina. She draws from folk music traditions of her multicultural family background, which includes Lithuanian Jewish, Peruvian, and Chinese.

 

Here's Elegía Andina (not our performance):

 

Her best known piece is Leyendas: An Andean Walkabout for string orchestra. Here's the full piece.

 

"Coqueteos", the last movement of Leyendas, is often performed as a stand-alone piece.

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ELCB
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Hmm Thinking Here SmileyI finally found out why Alexander Litvinovsky might be so invested in composing  "Puppet" Stage production music (among his other venues).

Turns out "Puppetry" in Belarus is a BIG deal!  Not what you may think.  There is use of all forms, but my attention is drawn to the type that seems to resemble Japanese "Bunraku" - only many of the puppeteers are not disguised or in anyway hidden and the puppets can even be life-size!  The actors/puppeteers may appear in the shadows or costumed out on the stage - maybe even a separate identity from the puppet (similar to ventriloquist?) - very creative.  Then there are also autonomous actors on stage that interact with the other puppets and puppeteers - kind of an elevated form of "Sesame Street"!

Here's one example (a quick overview) of a classic production to see just some of the techniques involved (with some of Litvinovsky's music).

Anyway, "Puppet Theater" in Belarus is considered a highly regarded form of Art - so Litvinovsky's music compositions for these "Stage Productions" is highly lucrative.

If anyone can shed more light on this form of theater Art, let me know! 

 

The Smiley Puppet Smiley- Emily

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AndrewH
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Here's a composer connected to Dubai, where I grew up. Mohammed Fairouz was born in New York to an Emirati diplomatic family, split his childhood between Dubai and his parents' diplomatic postings around the world, and now draws from a wide variety of world music traditions. He currently lives in New York. He also has connections to Sacramento, where I live now; much of his piano music has been first performed here as he frequently collaborates with Sacramento-based pianist Lara Downes.

 

"Jibreel at Hira," the third movement of his string quartet "The Named Angels."

 

"For Egypt," the third movement of his Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin.

 

Here's his second symphony, in its entirety. (Played by an amateur orchestra in this video.)

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ELCB
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AndrewH -Thank You Smiley Emoticons

Thank you for sharing that information!  I'm really enjoying learning more about Classical composers working in our century and their music. 

 

https://img1.etsystatic.com/114/1/9506015/il_340x270.1009210187_klcj.jpg

- Emily

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GregW
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eh? does count as..?

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ELCB
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GregW - Hmm Thinking Here Smiley

Nice example, Greg - you could've included more by Thomas Newman

I admit I'm addicted to Film Music.   

John Williams is one of my all time favorite Film Music composers & since I seem to be focused lately on what might be good played on my "Mortimer", a good example can be found in his "Memoirs of a Geisha" soundtrack with several beautiful scores for strings. 

Alan Silvestri and Danny Elfman (of course) are super favorites of mine along with Hans Zimmer, but I've enjoyed the music composed by Thomas Newman in many films... and there are more!

I don't want to forget Shigeru Umebayashi's music.  I've played "Beauty Song" (Jia Ren Qu) but haven't gotten all the slides down (yet), from "House of Flying Daggers" - love ALL his music in this film! 

 

I thought about "Film Music" when I started this thread.  I didn't add it to the title since I believe there is Classical music composed/used in film, but not ALL film music is Classical - maybe some blurry lines here... or, maybe just a great topic by itself?

Classical Music vs Film Music - differences? 

https://pashamusic.wordpress.c.....t-forms/ 

 

giphy.gif- Emily

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AndrewH
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It's interesting you mention it... John Williams's film music is completely different from how what he writes for the concert stage.

For example, his viola concerto (composed in 2009), which I bought the sheet music for and am planning to learn when I'm done with the Walton:

(This is a viola and piano reduction; the only video of a concert performance with orchestra on YouTube unfortunately has terrible audio quality.)

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AndrewH
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I don't think of film music as a separate genre, as long as the music is composed for the film (as opposed to the recent trend of licensing unrelated popular music). Throughout music history, composers have written "incidental music" to accompany theater productions. One of Mendelssohn's most popular works is his suite of incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream. A whole bunch of famous overtures by other composers are taken from incidental music for plays. Film music just follows in that tradition.

Prokofiev's famous Lieutenant Kije Suite consists of selections from one of his film scores, as does his cantata Alexander Nevsky.

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ELCB
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AndrewH - 

I agree with you about John William's Film music vs his Classical... very different.

I didn't want to go off on too much of a tangent with Film Music, even though I'm a little nuts about it. 

I felt the article I found on the differences between Classical & Film music has helped me better understand them both.  Especially interesting about Opera influence.  Any thoughts to add to it?

That is quite the Viola Concerto - an ambitious undertaking!

Thumbs Up Approve Smiley

- Emily

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AndrewH
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I both agree and disagree with the article. I would mostly agree in that "classical" music is something played in concert halls, but I think the line is much blurrier between the two because so much of what we play as "classical" music today wasn't actually written for the concert hall and wasn't intended to stand on its own.

I don't think collaborative work necessarily makes film music not "classical" -- though none did it routinely, there are plenty of examples of classical composers leaving orchestration to others when they got busy. Also, the practice of film composing varies quite widely. It isn't accurate to say that it is always collaborative. It ranges from composers who write and orchestrate every note (John Williams) to composers who write in short score and have others flesh out the orchestration (Hans Zimmer) to even some who only write the main melodies and leave everything else to others (reputedly Danny Elfman for much of his career).

In the end it really comes down to the contexts in which we listen to the music. Of course film music that gets played in the concert hall has to be attention-grabbing enough and have enough complexity to stand on its own without the actual film behind it, and that isn't the case for all film music. Still, there is clearly some overlap.

(By the way: I spent a year studying film scoring in the certificate program at UCLA Extension to keep myself occupied while applying to law schools. I never tried to work in the field but do have a few friends who compose for films or video games.)

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AndrewH
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Continuing on... one of the most accessible currently-active composers of classical music is Stephanie Ann Boyd. She's written quite a bit for violin, which is her own main instrument.

 

Violin Concerto No. 1 "Sybil" (2015)

Amerigo Sonata for violin and piano (2015) -- this was her "50 State Sonata" project that won her some notoriety in the new music community. 50 different violinists, one from each US state, premiered it in their home states over a period of one year.

"Beyond the Gate" for string orchestra (2012)

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ELCB
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AndrewH -

It's refreshing to see the distinct style Stephanie Ann Boyd has - it's fairly soft/delicate to me.

I have great admiration for both Piano and Violin but it becomes apparent to me, especially with Stephanie's style, the piano has the potential to become overbearing/distracting.  

I don't understand, is there a belief that a violin performance can't stand on it's own?  Seems so much more could have been felt if the "Amerigo Sonata" had been a solo. 

Or, was it the intention of the composer to communicate this smothering I was feeling?

 

https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/9063/137106206.399/0_cd587_e9278f21_orig- Emily

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AndrewH
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A violin sonata really should not be thought of as violin with piano accompaniment -- ideally the violin and piano are equals. (The violin was never considered the lead instrument in a violin sonata until the 20th century; in fact, the earliest composers to write sonatas for violin and piano thought of the piano as the lead instrument with the violin as embellishment.)

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ELCB
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AndrewH - Thank you.

So, you don't believe the piano part of "Amerigo Sonata" was intentionally written to be overly aggressive? 

Did you sense it? 

The 1st reaction I felt was both should have been equal partners, but weren't.  It just distracted me from what I thought might have been an amazing experience.

...I suppose I should take into account hearing a recording vs live. 

I appreciate your opinion. 

 

Smiley No Teeth Smiley- Emily

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AndrewH
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Ah, I got the impression from the way you phrased it that you were expecting it to be mainly for the violin.

I didn't get the impression that the piano part was overly aggressive. That said, there are definitely some balance issues, which I think might be from one of two things: either a fully open piano lid in a relatively small room, or poor microphone placement or mixing. I don't think it's because of the piece itself.

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ELCB
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AndrewH -

Thanks! 

I wanted to make sure I wasn't completely missing what the composer might be attempting to express.

 

Image from Delightfully Manic- Emily

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