Saturday, January 07, 2012


A reader challenged asked Joshua Kosman to come up with a list of CDs to help him become familiar with the orchestral music of the last 50 years - let's say that means back to 1960, though we're cheating a little there.

Joshua came up with a fine list, except that almost all of it is from the last 30 years and almost all of it is in, hmm, I'm not going to be able to come up with a good phrase to cover all of those guys 'n gals. Without having heard it, I think I'd pitch the Kernis symphony in favor of something by Saariaho, say, Graal  Theatre, even though that would make his list even more Finn-heavy, and I'd swap Magnus Lindberg's Seht die Sonne for the composer's fantastic Clarinet Concerto.

I'm kinda shocked that there's nothing on his list by Shostakovich.

And, really, you can't survey the orchestral music of the last 50 years without throwing in something big by a high modernist or two. Can't we get one of Carter's big essays out there? Some Stockhausen? Birtwistle? Wuorinen?



Steve Hicken said...

Thanks for linking to this, Lisa. Actually, the list isn't too bad, except for the overload of neo-Romanticiam and its ilk.

I believe that when you say X shouldn't be on a list you need to to nominate something to replace it. In that sprirt, I would lose both the Kernis and the Higdon (I like thewm both fine, but they're kind of grey), and replace them with the Carter Clarinet Concerto and Symphonia pairing (since we're sort of talking about CDs here as much as pieces, and the Saariaho disc you refer to, with Graal Theater, with Chateau de l'ame and Amers.

As for Adams, I guess attention must be paid.

Lisa Hirsch said...

I said exactly what you're saying! Fine list, except....

You're almost alone in being so down on Adams, and Naive & Sentimental Music is a good choice.

Steve Hicken said...

Yes; I keep giving him chances...

Henry Holland said...

You're almost alone in being so down on Adams

"Almost". :-)

Possible modernists:

Birtwistle: Either The Triumph of Time, Gawain's Journey or Earth Dances (the great Boulez recording)

Boulez: Repons (a ravishing score)

Pintscher: Five Orchestral Pieces

Kyburz: Voynich Cipher Manuscript

Saariaho: Orion

Lisa Hirsch said...


Nice choices!