Top 10 modern classics

Guest Wed 2nd April 2014

Daunted by contemporary music? Look no further...

Time is often the best judgement of art’s longevity; however much the critics heap adulation of a new play, book or piece of music, if it doesn’t start a life there and then, it’s future can’t be guaranteed. The history of music is littered with pieces that were heard just once – and have never seen the light of day since. Here’s a list of 10 pieces, composed since 1982, that have established a hold on the repertoire and in some cases notched up a fair number of recordings. It’s not exhaustive, but it does speak eloquently of what ignites public appreciation…

Adams Alsop

No 1

Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986)

Bournemouth SO / Marin Alsop

'This attractive Adams disc presents several...' Read review


Tavener The Protecting Veil

No 2

Tavener The Protecting Veil (1988)

Steven Isserlis (vc) LSO / Gennady Rozhdestvensky

'First impressions of The Protecting Veil are of a consonant...' Read review


No 3

MacMillan Veni, Veni, Emmanuel (1992)

Evelyn Glennie (perc) Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Jukka-Pekka Saraste

'Now coming up to 40, James MacMillan has...' Read review


No 4

Maxwell Davies An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise (1985)

Atlanta SO / Donald Runnicles

'The release of this all-British programme coincided with the...' Read review



No 5

Turnage Blood on the Floor (1993-96)

Ensemble Modern / Peter Rundel

'The title comes from a painting by Francis Bacon (whose distinctive facial features are bizarrely recalled in the composer’s own), while the music ranges widely in its references and...' Read review


No 6

Adès Asyla (1999)

BPO / Rattle

'In not much more than 18 months, EMI has now recorded 19 works by Thomas Adès...' Read review


No 7

Ligeti Violin Concerto (1990/92)

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (vn) Ensemble Modern; Hessen RSO / Peter Eötvös

Read review


No 8

Lieberson Neruda Songs (2005)

Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (mez) Boston SO / James Levine

'Not so long ago, “lush” and “romantic” were...' Read review


No 9

Whitacre Sleep (2000)

Polyphony / Stephen Layton

'Eric Whitacre came relatively late to classical music; he was converted by Mozart’s Requiem...' Read review


No 10

Pärt Passio (1982)

Tonus Peregrinus / Anthony Pitts

'Arvo Pärt’s Passio is a shining beacon among countless late-20th century...' Read review


© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2014