Maybe there could be an open thread where people can share new pieces they have discovered recently, and anyone is welcome to comment on. Not just anything you’ve just listened for first time, but new music you’ve discovered and liked. And certainly they don’t need to be rare pieces by unheard-of composers. Maybe this new thread manages to kill the one on How to Get Started with Wagner, if it gets to divert the energies into something more productive...
I could start with a couple of works.
Saint-Saens’ Second Piano Concerto. Op. 22. I don’t usually listened to many concertos, mainly those by Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven. But I did give this one a try recently. And I sort of really like. It must be the piano concerto in the repertoire where the orchestra has the smallest role, there is very little of it! And so it has a very light and congenial character, with nothing of the dialectic and drama of orchestra versus soloist. Often it sounds more like chamber music. It starts with a long solo on the piano, that reminds of some sort of Bach’s toccata.
The other is Schnittke’s third string quartet.
This one has me sort of possessed. I think it is an amazing piece, although not an easy one, and I’m still exploring it.
Postmodern on one side comes to mind: the whole musical drama is a sort of extended comment on other music, Orlando di Lassus’ Stabat Mater, Beethoven's Grosse Fugue and Shostakovich’s famous signature motif. Possibly other things too. The first two are very prominent. It is very satisfying having Beethoven's main fugue theme placed in a properly contemporanean work, where it feels at home. All the themes, and some others by Schnittke come and go, transform, metamorphose into one another…. There is a very intense lyricism and poignancy at times through the music.
The other term that comes to mind is Cubism which, as far as I know, is not used for music at all. But the clearly defined melodies and thematic material gets constantly cut by sharp and angular bursts of dissonance and furious rhythms, like deforming the classic flow of the music and its melody by right angles and sudden breaks.
The quartet also has some of the most beautiful and strange sonorities I’ve ever heard in a string quartet. All in all a very satisfying work. Anyone knows it?