I'd like to get some discussion going on this one. To be honest, after Sibelius and Shostakovitch I am struggling to name them. The names don't exactly reel off the tongue easily do they? Well not to me they don't!
Sibelius - like all of them which are very different in mood - I have heard some unkind comments about no. 1 in my time being 'bad Tchaikowsky', 2 is majestic, 3 is taut and under-played, 4 is sombre, 5 heroic, 6 is my personal favourite as it has great clarity - 7 I admire but do not find its one-movement structure easy to follow.
Personal favourites of Shostakovitch would be - 5/8/10 and 15. I sat through an unforgettable performance back in the late 80's by the Philharmonia of 15 under Kurt Sanderling in the RFH.
Where do I go after that? Well Lutoslawski made a lot of headway towards the end of his life with 3 and 4, 3 in particular. 1 is also good but 2 is not for the faint-hearted - a mass of sound which seems to get forever bigger.
I notice that Penderecki is well on his way to his nine - there is even a CD of his eighth out. Well 1 is radical sound blocks, 2 drew harsh praise from some critics for turning the clock back to Bruckner, 3 and 4 are very interesting structurally. I don't know the rest. There is just something rather dark in Penderecki's psyche which I am not sure I quite get, and it runs right through his music from the enfant terrible of the early works like Anaklasis to the later symphonies and concertos.
After that I like Panufnik very much, but his minimal motivic material strikes some listeners as miserly. I have a preference for Havergal Brian (see other thread on his symphonies) who I personally think is neglected. Any other really decent British 20th C symphonists?
Apart from the odd work then like Berio's wonderful Sinfonia my knowledge of truly wonderful 20th C symphonists starts to dry up a bit!
Recommendations for those composers I need to explore?
Fraz Jo - disapntd. Bn ringin this grl al week. No ansr...looks lke she changed her mnd. O well...Ldwg...