Tag Archives: contemporary avant-garde

Arvo Pärt’s Kanon Pokajanen

It is no small irony that in an age that is condemned for being increasingly secular and materialistic, at least some of, if not the most significant and compelling music in Europe and America is, or has as its inspiration, … Continue reading

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John Tavener’s The Last Sleep of the Virgin; The Hidden Treasure

Like many contemporary composers, John Tavener uses music in the service of spirituality. He is a convert to the Russian Orthodox faith; the traditions of that faith have influenced his work as much or perhaps more than trends in music. … Continue reading

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Philip Glass/Signal: Glassworks and Music in Similar Motion, Live at Poisson Rouge

Philip Glass’ Glassworks had never been performed in New York until the contemporary ensemble Signal asked Michael Riesman, long-time music director of the Philip Glass Ensemble, to arrange it for live performance. (It was originally conceived for the recording studio.) … Continue reading

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Terry Riley’s Lisbon Concert

One of the high points of my music-listening career, right up there with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Irwin Hoffman performing the perfect Brahms Symphony No, 1, was the chance to hear Terry Riley in concert. For those who haven’t … Continue reading

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Morton Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet

I’ve remarked before on Morton Feldman’s propensity to shape sound with silence, a tendency he shares with Toru Takemitsu. Listening to Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet, a late work, written two years before his death in 1987, I realize that … Continue reading

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John Luther Adams’ The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies

Two things about John Luther Adams: Like other composers of his generation his path to composition followed some surprising twists — in his case, from rock bands to Frank Zappa to Edgard Varèse to Morton Feldman. Second, he lives in … Continue reading

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