Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Classical Compositions of… the 1980s – Part II (1985-1989)

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Before the Fall…

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Steve Reich – Electric Counterpoint (1987) 4
Gérard Grisey – Les espaces acoustiques (1974-1985) 3
Morton Feldman – For Bunita Marcus (1985) 3
Sofia Gubaidulina – Symphony, ‘Stimmen… Verstummen…’ (1986) 2
Kaija Saariaho – Du cristal… (1989) 1
Harrison Birtwistle – Earth Dances (1986) 1
Alfred Schnittke – Viola Concerto (1985) 1
Sofia Gubaidulina – String Quartet No. 2 (1986) 1
Galina Ustvolskaya – Symphony No. 4, ‘Prayer’ (1985-1987) 1
Brian Ferneyhough – La chute d’Icare (1988) 1
Arvo Pärt – Te Deum (1984-1985) 1
Toru Takemitsu – All in Twilight (1987) 1
Brian Ferneyhough – Etudes transcendantales (1982-1985) 1
Toru Takemitsu – Dream/Window (1985) 1
Witold Lutosławski – Piano Concerto (1987-1988) 1
Jonathan Harvey – String Quartet No. 2 (1988) 0
Kaija Saariaho – Nymphéa (1987) 0
Kaija Saariaho – Petals (1988) 0
Wolfgang Rihm – String Quartet No. 8 (1987-1988) 0
Luciano Berio – Sequenza XI (1988) 0
Luigi Nono – La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura (1988) 0
Magnus Lindberg – Kraft (1983-1985) 0
Morton Feldman – Coptic Light (1985) 0
Tristan Murail – Time and Again (1985) 0
Morton Feldman – Palais de Mari (1986) 0
Richard Barrett – Ne songe plus à fuir (1985-1986) 0
Sofia Gubaidulina – String Quartet No. 3 (1987) 0
Jonathan Harvey – Song Offerings (1985) 0
John Tavener – The Protecting Veil (1988-1989) 0
Horațiu Rădulescu – String Quartet No. 4, ‘infinite to be cannot be infinite, infinite anti-be could be infinite’ (1976 0
Galina Ustvolskaya – Piano Sonata No. 6 (1988) 0
Galina Ustvolskaya – Piano Sonata No. 5 (1986) 0
Elliott Carter – String Quartet No. 4 (1986) 0
Chaya Czernowin – Dam Sheon Hachol (1988) 0
Brian Ferneyhough – String Quartet No. 3 (1987) 0
Arvo Pärt – Stabat Mater (1985) 0
Alfred Schnittke – String Quartet No. 4 (1989) 0
Alfred Schnittke – Cello Concerto No. 1 (1985-1986) 0
Gérard Grisey – Talea (1986) 0
György Kurtág – Kafka-Fragmente, Op. 24 (1985-1986) 0
György Kurtág – …quasi una fantasia…, Op. 27/1 (1987-1988) 0
Horațiu Rădulescu – Intimate Rituals (1985) 0
Henri Dutilleux – L’Arbre des songes (1985) 0
Helmut Lachenmann – String Quartet No. 2, ‘Reigen seliger Geister’ (1989) 0
Helmut Lachenmann – Ausklang (1984-1985) 0
Heinz Holliger – Gesänge der Frühe (1987) 0
György Ligeti – Piano Concerto (1985-1988) 0
György Ligeti – Piano Etudes, Book 1 (1985) 0
György Kurtág – Officium breve in memoriam Andreae Szervánszky, Op. 28 (1988-1989) 0
Alfred Schnittke – String Trio (1985) 0


pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 00:53 (two months ago) link

Honourable Mentions

Bent Sørensen – Angels’ Music (1988)
Bent Sørensen – Shadowland (1988-1989)
George Benjamin – Antara (1987)
Giacinto Scelsi – String Quartet No. 5 (1985)
György Kurtág – Requiem for a Friend, Op. 26 (1986-1987)
Hans Abrahamsen – Lied in Fall (1987)
Henri Dutilleux – Mystère de l’instant (1989)
Horațiu Rădulescu – Byzantine Prayer (1988)
Isang Yun – Chamber Symphony No. 1 (1987)
Michael Finnissy – Red Earth (1987-1988)
Michaël Lévinas – La cloche fêlée (1988)
Morton Feldman – Piano and String Quartet (1985)
Per Nørgård – Violin Concerto No. 1, ‘Helle Nacht’ (1986-1987)
Richard Barrett – I open and close (1983-1988)
Salvatore Sciarrino – Lo spazio inverso (1985)
Sofia Gubaidulina – String Trio (1988)
Ștefan Niculescu – Octuplum (1985)
Valentin Silvestrov – String Quartet No. 2 (1988)
Witold Lutosławski – Chain II (1984-1985)
Witold Lutosławski – Chain III (1986)
Wolfgang Rihm – String Quartet No. 7, ‘Veränderungen’ (1985)

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 00:53 (two months ago) link

bumped the tenney thread the other day and everything

expert list though! couldn't even claim 30% familiarity so I should just be taking notes

Milton Parker, Thursday, 7 May 2020 01:18 (two months ago) link

Sorry! I do take explicit requests.

I will sadly admit to having never heard a Tenney piece that stuck with me. My loss.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 01:46 (two months ago) link

Before anyone asks: I neither dislike John Adams nor care for his earlier stuff. He'll show up soon.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 01:53 (two months ago) link

ha, glad you said something :)

budo jeru, Thursday, 7 May 2020 01:58 (two months ago) link

It's pretty crazy that it was less than 3 years between "Electric Counterpoint" & "Little Fluffy Clouds".

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Thursday, 7 May 2020 02:25 (two months ago) link

Based on the stuff I already know this is between Stimmen...Verstummen and Kafka Fragments, but there is stuff here I have needed to catch up on n for a long time, such as Grisey

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 7 May 2020 02:37 (two months ago) link

It's between Schnittke's 4th Quartet, Grisey's Les espaces acoustiques and Gubaidulina's Symphony for me, probably the latter.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:21 (two months ago) link

schnittke's cello concerto is, as musicologists put it, 'bloody bonkers m8'

The Cognitive Peasant (ogmor), Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:39 (two months ago) link

i had not heard the gubaidulina symphony until sometime last year and it is so stunning

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:46 (two months ago) link

It’s absolutely fabulous, especially when its dedicatee, Natalia Gutman, is playing the cello part.

Fun fact (maybe): Pärt’s Stabat Mater and Schnittke‘s String Trio were both written to mark the 50th anniversary of Alban Berg’s passing.

xp

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:50 (two months ago) link

Voted Galina 4

we have no stan but to choice (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:51 (two months ago) link

All this Schnittke
So much ignored Adams

Grisey “L’espaces” is a lot of bullshit but it’s highs are the highest

we have no stan but to choice (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:56 (two months ago) link

lol fgti bringing the anti-spectralist bantz. It goes without saying that these lists are all quite subjective and leave out pieces that would be deemed utterly essential by others. I also have a rather obvious Eurocentric bias.

As for the Gubaidulina, one my greatest regrets as an occasional concert goer is that I'll likely never get to see it performed live. And see is key here, as the piece features a dance-like cadenza that is meant to be played in silence by the conductor, with their bare hands.

Beside Gennady Rozhdestvenskys's, there's a great recording by the late Reinbert de Leeuw on a difficult-to-find Schoenberg/ASKO Ensemble boxset.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 12:59 (two months ago) link

Oh and before I forget, do let me know which Adès titles you’d like to see in the coming decades, fgti.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 13:16 (two months ago) link

Noooo I adore Grisey! It's just a LOT OF MUSIC. And I'm by no means an Adès expert I'm just over-familiar with certain of his works ("The Tempest" and the violin concerto)

we have no stan but to choice (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 7 May 2020 13:33 (two months ago) link

Noted!

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 13:50 (two months ago) link

dream window might finally be my takemitsu vote

sleight return (voodoo chili), Thursday, 7 May 2020 18:00 (two months ago) link

It’s a good ‘un.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 18:07 (two months ago) link

Halfway through Lutoslawski's piano concerto and I impulse voted for it. I just didn't want to vote for Feldman twice in a row for the same trick, good as the trick was.

Revolutionary Girl Utrenja (Tom Violence), Thursday, 7 May 2020 19:24 (two months ago) link

A couple of other really great works from that time:

Chris Dench - sulle scale della Fenice (flute)
Toru Takemitsu - Rikyu
And James Dillon started going with his Nine Rivers cycle.

Voting for Etudes Transcendentals though I love Kurtag, Holliger, Nono, Radulescu. I thought For Philip Guston was from this period but it was written in '84.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 7 May 2020 20:12 (two months ago) link

My favourite, most obscure composer of that era is Klaus K Hubler

https://youtu.be/z1TAk9PUKaQ

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 7 May 2020 20:22 (two months ago) link

Dillon is great and I enjoy what little I’ve heard of Dench’s music as performed by the Elision Ensemble. I’m aware that Barrett (whom I greatly admire) draws upon Hübler’s music as regards instrumental technique, but I haven’t really explored his output yet. Thanks for the reminder.

pomenitul, Thursday, 7 May 2020 21:39 (two months ago) link

I didn't know Hubler had died :-(

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 7 May 2020 22:12 (two months ago) link

A lot I haven't heard. Like the Ligeti etudes, Electric Counterpoint, and For Bunita Marcus. The Grisey might be greater than all? I should do more listening. The revival of the Branca-metal thread reminded me that he was left totally out of the 80s polls but I am OK with it. Good to branch out to more heady Euro music.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Friday, 8 May 2020 17:40 (two months ago) link

Yeah I feel bad for not including Branca but I’ve always viewed him as sui generis and oddly out of step (in a good way) with most of the names we’ve seen so far in this series.

pomenitul, Friday, 8 May 2020 18:01 (two months ago) link

Fuck me, I forgot Schnittke's Psalms of Repentance.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 12 May 2020 01:29 (one month ago) link

I like how this series is prompting me to dig out physical disks I that I didn't always get much mileage out of early on. I heard and dug that Murail and most of those Ferneyhough as a result of last weeks listening. Saariaho is next. I have an Ondine box which, for whatever reason, I don't remember much about. More listener error, no doubt...

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Tuesday, 12 May 2020 02:23 (one month ago) link

No, wait, I guess I preempted the Ferneyhough somehow. Freaky.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Tuesday, 12 May 2020 02:27 (one month ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 00:01 (one month ago) link

“These are not the Feldmans you are looking for”.

Went with Grisey in the end.

Jeff W, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 11:17 (one month ago) link

I don't know enough of these to vote, just the Pärt tracks, Nono, and Berio

sleeve, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 20:16 (one month ago) link

Doesn't matter, you should vote anyway.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 20:17 (one month ago) link

voted for the piece i would most like to get around to listening to for the first time

budo jeru, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 20:22 (one month ago) link

That's the spirit!

pomenitul, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 20:24 (one month ago) link

Went with Gubaidulina's sole Symphony in the end.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 20:24 (one month ago) link

voted for electric counterpoint bc it was the first reich I heard, I've absolutely rinsed it over the years, and it's been such a wildly influential/crossover track

The Cognitive Peasant (ogmor), Wednesday, 13 May 2020 23:38 (one month ago) link

remember this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aIxE6b4hLw

The Cognitive Peasant (ogmor), Wednesday, 13 May 2020 23:39 (one month ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Thursday, 14 May 2020 00:01 (one month ago) link

ok that Reich is seriously the most insipid thing in his catalog and I am actively pissed about this result

Milton Parker, Thursday, 14 May 2020 01:55 (one month ago) link

Brand recognition rules supreme. It's not my favourite Reich either.

pomenitul, Thursday, 14 May 2020 01:58 (one month ago) link

pretty interesting result spread otherwise though

/<3

Milton Parker, Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:01 (one month ago) link

A shame Kurtág got nothing, though – this is his strongest half-decade.

Anyway, I'd like to bump virtual fists with whoever voted for Gubaidulina's 2nd Quartet.

pomenitul, Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:03 (one month ago) link

Unfortunately, I didn't get around to doing any new listening for this one, and didn't know most of the options. I voted for For Bunita Marcus since I saw a magical performance of it at the Music Gallery in Toronto 16 or so years ago. I do like Electric Counterpoint a lot, both by Metheny and by Greenwood, but I had already voted for his best piece in the late 70s poll and didn't feel like this was enough of a stylistic departure to give another vote to? A Youtube commenter made a comparison to Discipline-era King Crimson, which I can see.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:22 (one month ago) link

Oh haha, crap, I somehow missed that Sequenza XI was the guitar sequenza, which I had thought was from the 90s. That piece is spectacular, earth-shattering, etc. (and yeah, def ranks above EC). Shift one vote to that one.:(

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:24 (one month ago) link

Haha, I started a thread about it 18 years ago; you'd think I'd remember: Luciano Berio - Sequenza XI (for guitar) (perf Eliot Fisk)

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:25 (one month ago) link

I should've specified the instrumentation for each Sequenza, although in some cases several versions exist.

pomenitul, Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:38 (one month ago) link

I was the other vote for verstummen

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:44 (one month ago) link

*tacit high five, which soon becomes a meticulously choreographed mystical hand dance*

pomenitul, Thursday, 14 May 2020 02:46 (one month ago) link

Ah! I tried to start some desperate last-hours listening in last night, but got a) impatient by how everything I tried seemed to start with soft, slow openings, taking too much time to get going*, and b) soon distracted by other matter that came up, so that I forgot to vote after all. The combination of which means you might possibly consider there to be a phantom "1" after Ustvolskaya's 6th sonata.

*) not really too much time obv, just too much compared to what time I felt I had

anatol_merklich, Thursday, 14 May 2020 06:26 (one month ago) link

I was the only schnittke voter, his popularity & reputation has dropped massively in the last few decades it seems, shame imo

What's (Left), Thursday, 14 May 2020 12:49 (one month ago) link

what's wrong with being insipid?

The Cognitive Peasant (ogmor), Thursday, 14 May 2020 12:54 (one month ago) link

Schnittke remains top-tier imo. I considered voting for the 4th SQ, one of his most under-appreciated works. The final movement in particular is a spectrogram of pure pain and it still guts me every time, even though I've heard it enough times to know that it provides solace in extremis only to steal it away from the listener.

pomenitul, Thursday, 14 May 2020 12:55 (one month ago) link


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