Interesting question. Back in the 80's and 90's I used to listen to quite a bit of what were the contemporary British composers - Knussen, Benjamin, the Matthews Brothers Colin and David etc...
I have Knussen Symphonies 2 and 3 plus opera 'Where the Wild Things Are' all on Unicorn vinyl, plus Benjamin Piano Sonata on I think Nimbus vinyl. (He was lucky enough to study with Messiaen).
However, my listening habits have changed in recent years, and I nowadays find that my two biggest areas of interest are: sacred music (anything goes - from Medieval to contemporary minimalism) and 20th Century still, BUT I became a convert to the Polish post-war composers (and Eastern European).
In other words, I explored a lot of Ligeti (Wergo vinyl as well as general CD's) and my 'Polish quartet' of Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Gorecki and Panufnik.
Personally I found that I really connect with this 'Polish Post-War School', so here are a few suggestions. I know they are not exactly news anymore, as Tagalie says, and only Penderecki is still alive:
So, when you have done your homework thoroughly as instructed above by Parla, then you may of course explore the following:
Penderecki - Symphony 3 on Naxos 8.554491. In my opinion, a great piece. As good as Lutoslawski Symphony 3 even.
Penderecki - Symphony 2 and 4 - Naxos - 8.554492. 4 is interesting. 2 is a bit Brucknerian.
Ligeti - the Ligeti project 2 onTeldec - Berlin Phil/Nott, includes Lontano (great piece and short) Apparitions, Atmospheres and San Francisco Polyphony ( all goodies).
Boulez conducts Ligeti on DG - concertos for cello, vioin and piano - Ensemble Intercontemporain - et al...
Lutoslawski - a good series on Naxos - one of my favourite works is this: Preludes and Fugue for 13 solo strings (this CD) Naxos 8.555270. Also of course as Naupilus says the Symphony 3, (not on this CD) which became the work that really brought Lutoslawski wider recognition towards the end of his life.
Panufnik - well any of the symphonies, especially Sacra, Mistica or Di Sfere -a good CD is the last two under Atherton with LSO - a CD transfer from the original vinyl, and I still have Sinfonia Sacra on Unicorn vinyl - Monte Carlo Orchestra - I forget the conductor offhand!
Panufnik's daughter Roxanna is also a composer - though I am yet to make her musical acquaintance.
Ligeti Requiem (mine is on Wergo vinyl) a modern masterpiece, in my opinion of course.
Touching story to end: apparently Penderecki went to visit Gorecki in hospital the day before he died back in November 2010, and promised an 80th birthday concert. That should I think be due next year for Gorecki 2013 - so let's hope it comes off!
Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...
My shed served as a smoke room (until I gave it up).
Seeing as we're having a friendly chat, may I ask you about your current photo naupilus? As a Time Team fan, I've noted that there appears to be a remarkably preserved archaeological site in the photo (no satellite dishes, tv aerials, cars, people). So where is it?
No smoke in my home I am afraid since I gave up the sheesha...
The photo is of the city of Aït Benhaddou, Southern Morocco. If you are a fan of the movies it has appeared quite a few time; one of the most famous films being Gladiator. My wife and I backpacked thorugh Morocco (I have a powerful love of deserts so I dragged my 'mountain range' wife through the Sahara that trip). The photo is mine - my other major hobby.
I have been circling the Panufnik symphony cycle that has been coming out on CPO but not tried anything. Which symphony would you recommend as a first listen?
It's a nice picture but its not a patch on Dartmoor and that sheep in the background has got a large lump (maybe two) on its back and should be taken to the vet straight away it should.
Sorry for intruding, but I happen to somehow appreciate the Panufniks.
For the father's Symphonies, you may start probably with his most "popular", namely the no.3 "Sinfonia Sacra" or, for something more innovative and inward the no.6 "Sinfonia Mistica".
For the daughter, who is almost totally devoted to choral music, I found the Spirit of the Saints quite captivating. It exists along with other words of the also visually charming Roxanna on a CD of Regent. Another interesting and very religious work is the Padre pro prayer from a CD of Sixteen on Coro with works of MacMillan and Todd.
Good hunting (and haunting with this kind of music you explore...).
Parla wrote:For the daughter, who is almost totally devoted to choral music,
Well live and learn.. I'd never heard of Ms. Panufnik.
Pause for thought.
Hi Naupilus and Parla.
Yes I would go with Parla's rec. to listen to Sacra first. It has got great clarity. The opening movement starts with a wonderful fanfare for four trumpets and is in three sections. The 2nd is based on a Polish hymn tune. The first time I heard it I was really impressed with how clear and clean the structure is.
I also forgot to mention that Symphony 7 by Panufnik the 'Metasinfonia' for organ and strings is good stuff and also Symphony 8 the Sinfonia Votiva, which I have on vinyl coupled with Sessions' Concerto for Orchestra - really good performance that LP - Boston Symphony Orchestra. My Symphony 9 on CD I haven't yet listened to!
Symphonies 5/6 reflect the composer's fascination with geometrical and numerical factors. Again, good stuff.
Overall I really do feel that he was an important contemporary symphonist (not quite so contemporary I suppose as he died in 1992 I think).
Happy listening Naupilus!
Mark & Parla
Thanks for the pointers. I have a song by Roxanna (part of the fantastic NMC Songbook) but maybe I will look at her choral work.
I suspect Panufnik will have to take a place on the list for the future - right now my priorities are trying to get a grip of the piles of discs I acquired over Christmas.
Hi Naupilus - I'm sure you wil enjoy him when you do get around to exploring him!
Parla - you smooth talker with the ladies you! I can't keep up with you. One moment you are speaking to the singing students in the Paris or wherever conservatoires -'Votre tessiture est formidable, Ladroldedame', the next you are posting 'love in classical music' as a topic, and now you are on the charm offensive praising Ms. Panufnik.
Does your wife know about this behaviour?
Mark, you "can't keep up with me"? With ladies, you have to be like the translation: You should not be faithful, but you should be always nice! As for my wife, she struggles to get my nicety, since she's fed up with my meticulous fidelity.
As for Roxanna (Panufnic) , I just praised her visual charm, not her compositional skills, but that's the fascinating thing about perception.
Who knows? You may find her a "new great" composer, after all...
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