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Contemporary Concert Composers Who Impress You


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I'm curious to know what non-film, "concert music" composers who have been active in recent times people here find interesting. The parameters of the discussion can also encompass concert compositions by composers who are usually known for their film work.

I'll go first: John Adams. John Adams is a postminimalist composer probably best known for his political opera Nixon in China. Though he himself has never written a score for a high-profile film, composers such as Don Davis and, more recently, John Williams have been profoundly influenced by him. Here are some examples of his work:

The Death of Klinghoffer: Chorus of Exiled Palestinians (Listen to the end if you want to know from where the score to The Matrix came)

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I can't stand this sort of thing. Not so much the music (which wasn't for me, thanks), but proclamations of "this is where they got their idea from when scoring X movie blah blah blah".

I'm sorry, but to suggest that Don Davis was 'inspired' by The Death of Klinghoffer: Chorus of Exiled Palestinians when he composed The Matrix is folly and just plain daft.

I listened to some of the beginning and most of the the second half. The resemblance wasn't there as far as I'm concerned, so I'll swiftly and gladly return the artistic integrity of Don Davis right back to him, for the time being at least.

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I'm sorry, but to suggest that Don Davis was 'inspired' by The Death of Klinghoffer: Chorus of Exiled Palestinians when he composed The Matrix is folly and just plain daft.

Then you disagree with Don Davis because he said in an interview he wanted The Matrix to sound like John Adams. Go to the 8 minute mark and listen.

I didn't intend for people to just listen for the resemblance. If you just start searching through the music to find the part that sounds like something else, of course you're not going to get it.

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Well, some parts from the first Matrix sound like Harmonielehre. That's a fact. It's more dubious in the case of Klinghoffer.

There is nothing, either, in the recent Williams style that suggests an influence by John Adams' music. In any case, one track from Artificial Intelligence might resemble somehow that post-minimalist style.

Back on track, John Adams is, along with John Corigliano and John Williams, my favorite contemporary composer. Corigliano and Williams have their neo-romantic lush scores in common, although Adams is becoming more and more romantic with each new work.

Apart from those aforementioned composers, I really like Tan Dun (whose piano concerto -with less chinese elements as one might think-, premiered last month and available at NYPhil's website, is my favorite work of the year so far), Christopher Rouse (I can't wait to hear his Requiem, which premiere John Williams attended last year), James MacMillan, Toshio Hosokawa, Peteris Vasks, and a long etcetera.

Unlike film music, contemporary is in good shape.

Welcome to the board, Humpty. :)

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Matrix has also a lot in common with Short Ride on a Fast Machine.

John Adams can be cool. I also like Glass and particularly Nyman, but perhaps this thread is about no-film-scores-at-all composers, in which case I also shouldn't mention Goldenthal.

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Johan de Meij, Jan Van der Roost, Robert W. Smith, Eric Whitacre, David Maslanka, Alfred Reed and many more. :) Although they primarily write concert music for concert bands, they've all also been known to compose for symphony orchestra.

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There is nothing, either, in the recent Williams style that suggests an influence by John Adams' music. In any case, one track from Artificial Intelligence might resemble somehow that post-minimalist style.

There is a cue in War of the Worlds that was pretty much lifted from a passage in El Nino. I find many parts of John Williams' Soundings to be Adamsian. Certain portions of Catch Me If You Can show Williams' to have certainly been influenced by minimalism, if not John Adams specifically.

I also enjoy Corigliano, but he is more hit or miss with me, and I don't think I've ever felt fully satisfied with any piece of his I've heard. There is always something I find in his music which I feel to be lopsided and awkward. Adams' sense of unity and proportion is very remarkable, and in those qualities, he may stand by himself right now, even above Williams.

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There is a cue in War of the Worlds that was pretty much lifted from a passage in El Nino. I find many parts of John Williams' Soundings to be Adamsian. Certain portions of Catch Me If You Can show Williams' to have certainly been influenced by minimalism, if not John Adams specifically.

I also enjoy Corigliano, but he is more hit or miss with me, and I don't think I've ever felt fully satisfied with any piece of his I've heard. There is always something I find in his music which I feel to be lopsided and awkward. Adams' sense of unity and proportion is very remarkable, and in those qualities, he may stand by himself right now, even above Williams.

Oh, I had forgotten about Soundings, you're right at that! Yet it sounds more like sheer Williams than anything.

Anyway, comparing little passages doesn't lead to the conclussion of an stylistic influence, but just passing or temporary inspiration.

I can understand you about Corigliano, but there's nothing wrong with me in regards to the music's proportion, not in vain he has in mind all the structure before writing a single note. Some works of him like the Red Violin concerto or Trobadours might sound like "out of proportion" between its movements but, for instance, his Tournaments or the Piano Concerto are well cohered.

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John Williams, Michael Torke, John Corigliano, John Adams, Richard Danielpour, Christopher Rouse, Elliot Goldenthal...

Those are the ones on top of my head...

Excellent list there Miguel. I'd also like to add: Lepo Sumera, Kevin Puts, Schnittke's concertos. What is a great piece by Torke for me to check out?

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@Karelm,

I like Kevin Puts a lot. But so far I've only been able to get 3 pieces of this fabulous composer. Do you have any of his works?

Same problem here...

John Williams, Michael Torke, John Corigliano, John Adams, Richard Danielpour, Christopher Rouse, Elliot Goldenthal...

Those are the ones on top of my head...

Excellent list there Miguel. I'd also like to add: Lepo Sumera, Kevin Puts, Schnittke's concertos. What is a great piece by Torke for me to check out?

Torke has become my second favorite composer. I would strongly recomend you the following works:

Saxophone Concerto (the Gerard McChrystal recording)

Change of Adress

Overnight Mail

Book of Proverbs

Concerto for Soprano and Orchestra "Pentecosts"

Song of Isahia

Strawberry Fields (Opera in one act)

December for string orchestra

July for saxophone quartet

Percussion Concert "Rapture"

An American Abroad

You can learn more about Mr. Torke's music here. A few samples are also available... or you can pm me :dance:

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Another composer I like is Einojuhani Rautavaara. Is anyone else here interested in his music?

[/quote

I am also interrested , what a composer !!! I discovered angel and visitations , that sound like CE3K !!!

But to reply of the thread only one impress me a lot :

GYORGY LIGETI :lol:

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I love contemporary music, and yeah, there is a TON of good stuff out there right now, especially if you are a film music lover because the two worlds are kind of cross-pollinating each other.

John Williams, Michael Torke, John Corigliano, John Adams, Richard Danielpour, Christopher Rouse, Elliot Goldenthal...

Yes, I echo this list! It seems a lot of us like a lot of the same composers, which isn't a suprise...very funny story, I became good friends with Peio (scissorhands) not from hanging out here together, but from randomly running into each other on another music service where we both have totally random nicknames....we noticed we had the same film and contemporary composers on our lists, which was rare to find, we started talking and then, it dawned on him and he was like, "OMG!! Do you know who this is?!? From JWFAN!". It was hilarious!!

So yeah, all those mentioned pretty much I like, John Adams is waaay up there for me, and I guess my favorite...after that I am totally into Micheal Torke (yay Miguel!) and Richard Danielpour. LOVE their music!

The mention of Ellen Zwilich made me think of Jennifer Higdon and Joan Tower, definitely check them out if you like the above....both of their Concertos for Orchestra are excellent.

That covers Americans...

Another composer I like is Einojuhani Rautavaara. Is anyone else here interested in his music?

Yes, gorgeous stuff! :beerchug: Cool to see others that like him. There are sooo many good Finnish composers right now.

Love this trio: Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg. My favorite being the first. Salonen is also the long-time conductor of the LA Philharmonic but is leaving soon to focus on composing. I think his music is the most attractive of the three, colorful melodies and dance rhythms, huge orchestration. He was a proponent of Goldsmith's concert music as a conductor and admired him as a composer...and in a couple of his own pieces some rather Goldsmithian action writing shows up!

I like Kevin Puts a lot. But so far I've only been able to get 3 pieces of this fabulous composer. Do you have any of his works?

His Symphony No. 1 had a premiere in Houston last year and he was there and spoke but I wasn't able to go. :lol: I heard it was great! What would you recommend by him? I'm not familiar with his music yet.

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"Only music can make the audience believe what they see. Only music can make fantasy reality." - John Williams

Do you have a source for that statement?

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I love contemporary music, and yeah, there is a TON of good stuff out there right now, especially if you are a film music lover because the two worlds are kind of cross-pollinating each other.
John Williams, Michael Torke, John Corigliano, John Adams, Richard Danielpour, Christopher Rouse, Elliot Goldenthal...

Yes, I echo this list! It seems a lot of us like a lot of the same composers, which isn't a suprise...very funny story, I became good friends with Peio (scissorhands) not from hanging out here together, but from randomly running into each other on another music service where we both have totally random nicknames....we noticed we had the same film and contemporary composers on our lists, which was rare to find, we started talking and then, it dawned on him and he was like, "OMG!! Do you know who this is?!? From JWFAN!". It was hilarious!!

So yeah, all those mentioned pretty much I like, John Adams is waaay up there for me, and I guess my favorite...after that I am totally into Micheal Torke (yay Miguel!) and Richard Danielpour. LOVE their music!

The mention of Ellen Zwilich made me think of Jennifer Higdon and Joan Tower, definitely check them out if you like the above....both of their Concertos for Orchestra are excellent.

That covers Americans...

Another composer I like is Einojuhani Rautavaara. Is anyone else here interested in his music?

Yes, gorgeous stuff! :D Cool to see others that like him. There are sooo many good Finnish composers right now.

Love this trio: Esa-Pekka Salonen, Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg. My favorite being the first. Salonen is also the long-time conductor of the LA Philharmonic but is leaving soon to focus on composing. I think his music is the most attractive of the three, colorful melodies and dance rhythms, huge orchestration. He was a proponent of Goldsmith's concert music as a conductor and admired him as a composer...and in a couple of his own pieces some rather Goldsmithian action writing shows up!

I like Kevin Puts a lot. But so far I've only been able to get 3 pieces of this fabulous composer. Do you have any of his works?

His Symphony No. 1 had a premiere in Houston last year and he was there and spoke but I wasn't able to go. :beerchug: I heard it was great! What would you recommend by him? I'm not familiar with his music yet.

Of course, Stockhaussen was the most influent composer in post-war era! ...John adams and others were just students.

I'm curious to know what non-film, "concert music" composers who have been active in recent times people here find interesting. The parameters of the discussion can also encompass concert compositions by composers who are usually known for their film work.

I'll go first: John Adams. John Adams is a postminimalist composer probably best known for his political opera Nixon in China. Though he himself has never written a score for a high-profile film, composers such as Don Davis and, more recently, John Williams have been profoundly influenced by him. Here are some examples of his work:

The Death of Klinghoffer: Chorus of Exiled Palestinians (Listen to the end if you want to know from where the score to The Matrix came)

It's shame that this opera is still unrecorded and not played in US for being "antisemite"!!

Should we forbid Bach music and sacred pieces because New Testament is seen alike? :lol:

http://www.adl.org/main_Interfaith/newtestament.htm

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...mp;pagewanted=4

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John Williams is not, and never will be a concert composer!

Get this all straight in your heads now....

You get this right, Stefan, John Williams is a Concert Composer who happens to write a lot for film. He isn't a film composer.

after that I am totally into Micheal Torke (yay Miguel!)

Torke is my number two, right after Johnny :beerchug:

There isn't a single piece of him I don't like, and right now I only miss two of his recorded compositions on my collection (which I hope to have very soon :lol:)

The mention of Ellen Zwilich made me think of Jennifer Higdon and Joan Tower, definitely check them out if you like the above....both of their Concertos for Orchestra are excellent.

I've heard a Trombone Concerto by Higdon, and just loved it. So... should I check the Concerto for Orchestra?

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You get this right, Stefan, John Williams is a Concert Composer who happens to write a lot for film. He isn't a film composer.

Are you on Fantasy Island?

If we compare John Williams work for film and TV versus his work for the concert hall (and that excludes all his festival and olympic stuff), then it becomes very clear, very fast what John Williams main occupation is.

John Williams is a film composer, the Concert hall stuff is just a seedy by-product. It's him doing something different every now and then. Liuke a married man getting a blow-job in a dark parking by a 19 year old Albanian prostitute for €15 so she can buy some crack.

We all know it happens, but we don't talk about it.

Like his concert hall stuff

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You get this right, Stefan, John Williams is a Concert Composer who happens to write a lot for film. He isn't a film composer.

Are you on Fantasy Island?

If we compare John Williams work for film and TV versus his work for the concert hall (and that excludes all his festival and olympic stuff), then it becomes very clear, very fast what John Williams main occupation is.

John Williams is a film composer, the Concert hall stuff is just a seedy by-product. It's him doing something different every now and then. Liuke a married man getting a blow-job in a dark parking by a 19 year old Albanian prostitute for €15 so she can buy some crack.

We all know it happens, but we don't talk about it.

Like his concert hall stuff

Stefan, is that the sillyest comparission you could come up with? Come on, you can do better.

Williams, like most composers writting for film, has to bend to the film needs. Yet, in the last decade or so, his music for film is closer, and closer to his real music.

And as oposed to most so called composers working in Hollywood, Williams is a Composer. He happens to write for film. A lot. But he isn't a film composer. He is a Composer. Period.

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Miguel, with all due respect (and you know I have nothing but respect for you).

That is the biggest load of nonsense I have read since A.I's latest post!

MY comparison stands, and it's a very valid one.

John Williams trained up to become a film composer.

The vast majority of the music he has written is for film.

The vast majority of the music he performs in his own concerts is film music

The vast majority of the worlds population that know anything about John Williams know him through his film music.

The vast majority of people who call themselves John Williams fans are mainly interested in his film music.

To suggest anything else is either maddness, or elitst snobbery!

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John Williams is a composer.

Period.

That's a huge oversimplification!

No, that's exactly what he is

It depends on what you understand being a composer. To me it is a person who can create music that resembles his own imaginations and good orchestrations.

Williams was a composer all his life, and when starting to work at Hollywood he had to write in a language that plaesed expectations and the common taste.

but it is still Williams who is writing in that language.. so it is of course his music but he has to follow a certain style.. and that's the truth

and if you listen to his concert music.. that's HIM as he wants it to be the music.. without anyone telling him "like Korngold there" etc...

to me his concert music is more pure Williams than Hook or Raiders of the Lost Ark.. because he is writing them just out of his soul and heart.

And I also think that starting in the mi 90ies the true Williams stepped more and more in the foreground..

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Williams, like most composers writting for film, has to bend to the film needs. Yet, in the last decade or so, his music for film is closer, and closer to his real music.

And as oposed to most so called composers working in Hollywood, Williams is a Composer. He happens to write for film. A lot. But he isn't a film composer. He is a Composer. Period.

Absolutely. Particularly the part I highlighted.

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If you read the excerpts of Jerry Goldsmith's biography I believe it was made clear that he also thought of himself as a composer.

It's a shame he really didn't venture into the concert hall world more often. His "Music For Orchestra" is great.

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Miguel, with all due respect (and you know I have nothing but respect for you).

That is the biggest load of nonsense I have read since A.I's latest post!

No ofense taken whatsoever, and I too hold you in the highest respect, and treasure you as one of the dearest members in the place.

MY comparison stands, and it's a very valid one.

John Williams trained up to become a film composer.

You're wrong. Williams never trained to become a film composer. He studied composition, and for a long time he wanted to become a concert pianist. It was just later on, while a session pianist, that he begun to take notice as his older colleagues worked, and eventually, as a mean of living, starting to compose for film.

The vast majority of the music he has written is for film.

That means nothing. He's just a Composer who happens to write a lot to film.

The vast majority of the music he performs in his own concerts is film music

Because it became more famous than his concert music. That proves nothing.

The vast majority of the worlds population that know anything about John Williams know him through his film music.

Because the vast majority of the world population is dumb and don't goes beyond the obvious... You know that too, my friend.

The vast majority of people who call themselves John Williams fans are mainly interested in his film music.

Maybe I'm not a Williams fan, then...

To suggest anything else is either maddness, or elitst snobbery!

Call me an elitist snob if you like, then...

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:)

Of course, Stockhaussen was the most influent composer in post-war era!

Sorry, ONE of the most (influential, that is). And I don't see how that's related to Saxbabe's post.

It's shame that this opera is still unrecorded and not played in US for being "antisemite"!!

It's been recorded, TWICE. And it run in the US after it was premiered in Europe.

Yes, I echo this list! It seems a lot of us like a lot of the same composers, which isn't a suprise...very funny story, I became good friends with Peio (scissorhands) not from hanging out here together, but from randomly running into each other on another music service where we both have totally random nicknames....we noticed we had the same film and contemporary composers on our lists, which was rare to find, we started talking and then, it dawned on him and he was like, "OMG!! Do you know who this is?!? From JWFAN!". It was hilarious!!

Yeah!!! That was such a big happy coincidence! When I saw her list, it was impressive how many favorite composers we had in common. She happened to be... Saxbabe from JWFan. And we happened to have a similar focus on our lives. Ever since, we've become good friends and have broadened our interests to new and great composers, among other things.

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Williams, like most composers writting for film, has to bend to the film needs. Yet, in the last decade or so, his music for film is closer, and closer to his real music.

And as oposed to most so called composers working in Hollywood, Williams is a Composer. He happens to write for film. A lot. But he isn't a film composer. He is a Composer. Period.

Film music isn't real? I think you're being awfully presumptuous in stating that Williams only writes for film as a means to support himself and finds his true calling in concert music. If that were true Williams would have stopped scoring films around 1980.

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Williams, like most composers writting for film, has to bend to the film needs. Yet, in the last decade or so, his music for film is closer, and closer to his real music.

And as oposed to most so called composers working in Hollywood, Williams is a Composer. He happens to write for film. A lot. But he isn't a film composer. He is a Composer. Period.

Film music isn't real? I think you're being awfully presumptuous in stating that Williams only writes for film as a means to support himself and finds his true calling in concert music. If that were true Williams would have stopped scoring films around 1980.

You think whatever you want! I don't care!

Williams may find fun in scoring for film, but it is obvious that he finds even a more gratifying field the concert hall.

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It seems to me Williams enjoys scoring for both film and the concert hall and has gravitated slightly toward the concert hall in recent years. He clearly still loves film scoring, as Memoirs of a Geisha evidences.

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It seems to me Williams enjoys scoring for both film and the concert hall and has gravitated slightly toward the concert hall in recent years. He clearly still loves film scoring, as Memoirs of a Geisha evidences.

Williams wanted to "score" the book, as he also did with Angela's Ashes. The film gave him the excuse to do so.

As soon as the book was out he sent two copies, one to Spielberg, and another to Ma, to convince them to work with him on such a project.

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Korngold once said he couldn't write below his standard when scoring movies just because some people consider it a lesser musical art form. I think it's the same Williams. I believe he tries to write the best he can for each project, whether for film or for the concert hall. He clearly enjoys writing for the screen immensely, otherwite he would have stopped doing it a long time ago.

His film music is not a lesser manifestation of his true artistic indentity. I simply cannot believe that. And his film music is every bit as important as his concert music.

I would be devastated is Williams decided to stop writing for film, as much as I enjoy his concert music.

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I would be devastated is Williams decided to stop writing for film, as much as I enjoy his concert music.

Tu sabes que te adoro, e és o meu melhor amigo no mundo inteiro, mas eu não me importava nada que o Williams se dedicasse apenas a compor para salas de concerto... :)

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I would be devastated is Williams decided to stop writing for film, as much as I enjoy his concert music.

Tu sabes que te adoro, e és o meu melhor amigo no mundo inteiro, mas eu não me importava nada que o Williams se dedicasse apenas a compor para salas de concerto... :)

Concordo com você. :lol:

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