Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Classical Compositions of… the 1960s – Part I (1960-1964)

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Special, drawn out Covid-19 edition.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Terry Riley – In C (1964) 5
Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 (1960) 5
Karlheinz Stockhausen – Kontakte (1958-1960) 4
Krzysztof Penderecki – Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima (1960) 3
Benjamin Britten – War Requiem, Op. 66 (1961) 3
Milton Babbitt – Philomel (1964) 2
Olivier Messiaen – Chronochromie (1959-1960) 2
György Ligeti – Atmosphères (1961) 2
Henri Dutilleux – Métaboles (1964) 1
Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 10 in A-flat major, Op. 118 (1964) 1
John Cage – Variations IV (1963) 1
Benjamin Britten – Cello Symphony, Op. 68 (1963) 1
Toru Takemitsu – Coral Island (1962) 1
Pierre Boulez – Pli selon pli (1957-1962) 1
Conlon Nancarrow – Study No. 21, ‘Canon X’ (1961) 1
Sofia Gubaidulina – Chaconne (1963) 0
Krzysztof Penderecki – Polymorphia (1961) 0
Witold Lutosławski – Jeux vénitiens (1960-1961) 0
Krzysztof Penderecki – Anaklasis (1960) 0
Karlheinz Stockhausen – Carré (1959-1960) 0
Witold Lutosławski – String Quartet (1964) 0
Luciano Berio – Sequenza II (1963) 0
Luigi Nono – Intolleranza 1960 (1960) 0
Maurice Ohana – Si le jour paraît… (1963-1964) 0
Toru Takemitsu – The Dorian Horizon (1964) 0
Olivier Messiaen – Sept haïkaï (1962) 0
Peter Maxwell Davies – First Taverner Fantasia (1962) 0
Peter Maxwell Davies – Second Taverner Fantasia (1964) 0
Brian Ferneyhough – String Quartet No. 1 (1963) 0
Olivier Messiaen – Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum (1964) 0
Heinz Holliger – Sequenzen über Johannes I,32 (1962) 0
Earle Brown – Available Forms II (1962) 0
Earle Brown – Available Forms I (1961) 0
Alfred Schnittke – Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1 (1963) 0
Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat major, Op. 117 (1964) 0
Dmitri Shostakovich – Symphony No. 13 in B-flat minor, ‘Babi-Yar’, Op. 113 (1962) 0
Dmitri Shostakovich – String Quartet No. 7 in F-sharp minor, Op. 108 (1960) 0
Benjamin Britten – Cello Suite No. 1, Op. 72 (1964) 0
Benjamin Britten – Nocturnal After John Dowland, Op. 70 (1963) 0
Elliott Carter – Double Concerto for Harpsichord and Piano with Two Chamber Orchestras (1959-1961) 0
Galina Ustvolskaya – Duet for Violin and Piano (1964) 0
Giacinto Scelsi – Khoom (1962) 0
György Kurtág – 8 Duets for Violin and Cimbalom, Op. 4 (1961) 0
György Kurtág – 8 Piano Pieces, Op. 3 (1960) 0
Gustaf Allan Pettersson – Symphony No. 5 (1960-1962) 0
Giacinto Scelsi – String Quartet No. 4 (1964) 0
Giacinto Scelsi – String Quartet No. 3 (1963) 0
Giacinto Scelsi – String Quartet No. 2 (1961) 0
Giacinto Scelsi – Trilogy: ‘Triphon, Dithome, Ygghur’ (1957-1961) 0
Benjamin Britten – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Op. 64 (1960) 0


Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 13:44 (one month ago) link

I couldn't whittle it down. I hope you won't mind.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 13:45 (one month ago) link

Wait, 6 days?!

Vegemite Is My Grrl (Eric H.), Thursday, 2 April 2020 14:02 (one month ago) link

One week per half-decade so as not to lose steam. But if everyone would rather have an extra week, I'll keep that in mind for the upcoming instalments.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 14:09 (one month ago) link

Insane list.

I'd prefer a week per poll, too!

Weirdly hard for me NOT to want to vote for Shostakovich in this context.

Vegemite Is My Grrl (Eric H.), Thursday, 2 April 2020 14:27 (one month ago) link

i think the 2nd half of this decade is going to be much tougher for me
(assuming you include things i'm thinking of)

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:10 (one month ago) link

shosty quartet 8 it is, this is where i really stop knowing much at all

ciderpress, Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:15 (one month ago) link

Jon, as always, requests are welcome if you think I may forget your faves.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:35 (one month ago) link

Britten’s time at last. Toss up between the Cello Symphony and the Requiem

Jeff W, Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:36 (one month ago) link

Shostakovich SQ8, Kontakte, Threnody, Philomel, Atmospheres all so huge. Philomel is actually tempting. Fond memories of listening to it high in a field w my roommate during a traffic counting break in early 20s.

Sund4r, Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:51 (one month ago) link

I should clarify that I, too, meant Shostakovich No. 8.

Vegemite Is My Grrl (Eric H.), Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:57 (one month ago) link

As I mentioned in another thread, No. 8 is what started my obsessive-compulsive relationship with classical music in the first place, so I can't not vote for it.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 15:58 (one month ago) link

shosty no. 8, dorian horizon, threnody, polymorphia, britten's cello symphony are my main contenders. hard not to vote for no. 8 but i did just vote for his 10th symphony in the last poll and i see a lot of support for it so far.

idk any messaien from this period, gonna have to check that.

ooga booga-ing for the bourgeoisie (voodoo chili), Thursday, 2 April 2020 16:06 (one month ago) link

chronochromie might be my favorite Messiaen

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 16:32 (one month ago) link

It's an excellent pick!

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 16:35 (one month ago) link

for the late 60s, i pretty much know you have my shostakovich picks already in mind, so

Crumb - Night of the Four Moons, Echoes of Time and the River
Xenakis - Persephassa
Ginastera - Bomarzo

PS you are evil for not including Cantata Para America Magica in this one!!!

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 17:10 (one month ago) link

Never heard (of) it tbh. I hope that makes me a little less evil.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 17:27 (one month ago) link

Please do listen to it, it is amazing

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 17:29 (one month ago) link

Will do!

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 17:30 (one month ago) link

Steven Asbury conducts it along with Popol Vuh on a disc on one of those labels I get mixed up with each other - mode/neos/col legno

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 17:33 (one month ago) link

Sounds good, Asbury is ever reliable.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 17:43 (one month ago) link

Btw Jon, which of the Crumb and/or Ginastera would you most like to see in Part II? I may not be able to include all of them (Xenakis is definitely in, though).

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 2 April 2020 20:41 (one month ago) link

Kontakte

The Mandymoorian (Whiney G. Weingarten), Thursday, 2 April 2020 21:49 (one month ago) link

Night of the four moons, out of those two crumbs

But Bomarzo is the piece of whose insane originality people are least likely to be aware

If you’re asking me to choose, then Bomarzo, and Crumb can have his heavy hitters in the 70s (Ancient Voices, Music for a Summer Evening [one of the few times I’ve straight up wept at a concert], Black angels [which is ok and obviously super famous but not my favorite crumb]

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 22:23 (one month ago) link

Forgot to close the paren
)

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 2 April 2020 22:24 (one month ago) link

Dutilleux, maybe? (If only to avoid mentioning my usual suspects. LOL)

Quite a bit here I need to (re-)listen to so, yep, another playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/33DsZwpcvgLf5tZKyiMqH2
(A couple of things are completely absent for once but I'll search more thoroughly shortly.)

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Friday, 3 April 2020 00:48 (one month ago) link

Britten's Cello Symphony is a little bit fabulous. I *definitely* erred in largely ignoring BB over the years.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Friday, 3 April 2020 22:09 (one month ago) link

One of these days I'll listen to that crazy four-volume 'Britten conducts Britten' boxset in its entirety.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Friday, 3 April 2020 22:14 (one month ago) link

The “Britten the performer” box is also fantastic, conducting Mozart, Schubert, Bach, Grainger, Schumann and as pianist accompanying Rostropovich etc

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 4 April 2020 12:08 (one month ago) link

Probably my favorite performance of the Debussy cello sonata

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 4 April 2020 12:08 (one month ago) link

Love their take on the Arpeggione Sonata as well.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Saturday, 4 April 2020 13:06 (one month ago) link

I'm just voting for Atmospheres

ogmor, Saturday, 4 April 2020 17:33 (one month ago) link

An unfuckwithable pick.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Saturday, 4 April 2020 19:47 (one month ago) link

accidentally voted for shosty quartet #10 instead of #8, oops, so keep that in mind.

fauci wally (voodoo chili), Saturday, 4 April 2020 20:24 (one month ago) link

It's got a lot going for it and in some ways is even more unyielding than the 8th, presaging his imminent late style, so hardly a vote lost, really.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Saturday, 4 April 2020 20:27 (one month ago) link

The Borodin Quartet's first recording (reissued on Chandos) absolutely nails it.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Saturday, 4 April 2020 20:29 (one month ago) link

i do like both! but i did pull the trigger without double-checking, and 8th is a longtime fav

fauci wally (voodoo chili), Saturday, 4 April 2020 20:35 (one month ago) link

The competition is so strong that I will likely not vote for these but I encourage people to listen to the Britten Nocturnal and the Ohana piece if they want to check out guitar music on this list.

Sund4r, Saturday, 4 April 2020 21:42 (one month ago) link

At least Terry Riley made the list, if not Young, Reich and Glass.

aworks, Sunday, 5 April 2020 15:38 (one month ago) link

I don't Reich and Glass wrote anything major this early?

Sund4r, Sunday, 5 April 2020 15:39 (one month ago) link

*don't think

Sund4r, Sunday, 5 April 2020 15:39 (one month ago) link

Indeed they did not.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Sunday, 5 April 2020 15:42 (one month ago) link

Music in Similar Motion by Glass from 1969 is one of my favorites. How Now is also good. I'd need to check on early Reich.

aworks, Sunday, 5 April 2020 15:55 (one month ago) link

Reich's sixties works are somewhat notable - It's Gonna Rain, Come Out, Piano Phase, abd Pendulum Music. Although I'll admit the Seventies output is better for both Reich and Glass.

aworks, Sunday, 5 April 2020 15:58 (one month ago) link

I'll probably include the former in Part II. Reich's It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) are classic, but they fall outside of this series' purview.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Sunday, 5 April 2020 16:00 (one month ago) link

My enthusiasm for early minimalism blinded me to the change in convention re: decades. The Sixties were disruptive in many ways...

aworks, Sunday, 5 April 2020 16:37 (one month ago) link

On an unrelated note, Intolleranza 1960 is actually from 1961. My bad.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Sunday, 5 April 2020 16:51 (one month ago) link

Riley's Music from the Gift, which is a mix of group and solo performances from a jazz band and Riley playing around with tape machines, is a nice distinctive early hybrid piece. The DSCH SQ#8 was the last thing I heard live pre-lockdown, felt momentous

ogmor, Sunday, 5 April 2020 18:16 (one month ago) link

The most fitting examples of proto minimalism up to the point these polls have covered are by Bernard Hermann: Psycho, North by Northwest

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Sunday, 5 April 2020 20:32 (one month ago) link

Also Kind of Blue imo

Sund4r, Sunday, 5 April 2020 20:36 (one month ago) link

almost surely one of the shostakovich quartets, though I'm probably selling "In C" short -- every time I hear it, I think, stop having opinions about "In C" and just enjoy this wonderful music that happens to be "In C"

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 00:01 (one month ago) link

Shostakovich SQ8, Kontakte, Threnody, Philomel, Atmospheres all so huge. Philomel is actually tempting...

The competition is so strong that I will likely not vote for these but I encourage people to listen to the Britten Nocturnal and the Ohana piece if they want to check out guitar music on this list.

And in the end, Philomel is how I voted, which seems incredible even to me, with this competition. I'll try to say more about why when I'm more awake tomorrow.

Sund4r, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 03:27 (one month ago) link

The adaptation of ancient myth to the latest technology of the time was really striking, original, and effective imo. Although it is stark, the sound world is immersive, esp on headphones. The way it digs into Philomel's first-person experience of trauma through wordplay and dialogue between the singer (always trapped dead centre), her recorded voice echoing across the soundstage, and the 'pure' panned synthesized sounds is expressive and affecting. It singlehandedly disproves the idea of postwar serialism as dry, heartless academic exercise and I can't think of another piece like it.

Sund4r, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 21:54 (one month ago) link

That reminds me I have the Bethany Beardslee biog lying around somewhere waiting to be read.

anatol_merklich, Wednesday, 8 April 2020 22:54 (one month ago) link

Oh, nice.

I was excited to find this: https://mtosmt.org/issues/mto.11.17.2/mto.11.17.2.adamowicz.html . Hope to have some time to dig in.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 23:38 (one month ago) link

I'd love to hear Barbara Hannigan sing it.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Wednesday, 8 April 2020 23:55 (one month ago) link

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

System, Thursday, 9 April 2020 00:01 (one month ago) link

In an ideal world, every work would get at least one vote, but this'll have to do.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 9 April 2020 00:06 (one month ago) link

The Babbitt discussion and esp the analytical paper got me thinking about Paul in Santa Cruz. Was sorry to find that he passed last year. He is missed.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 April 2020 00:10 (one month ago) link

Forgot to vote *again*. Maybe imagine a '1' against that Pettersson symphony. (As possibly the most intriguing new-to-me thing with no votes.)

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Thursday, 9 April 2020 02:37 (one month ago) link

voted terry riley because i’m too lazy to expand my horizons in spite of all pom’s hard work.

budo jeru, Thursday, 9 April 2020 03:00 (one month ago) link

I don't blame you, In C is bottomless.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 9 April 2020 13:46 (one month ago) link

The Babbitt discussion and esp the analytical paper got me thinking about Paul in Santa Cruz. Was sorry to find that he passed last year. He is missed.

Oh man, no way, RIP Paul ;_;

The Corbynite Maneuver (Tom D.), Thursday, 9 April 2020 15:06 (one month ago) link

I had no idea. RIP.

anatol_merklich, Thursday, 9 April 2020 15:13 (one month ago) link

I'm listening to this album of his (most of it written after he got sick): https://open.spotify.com/album/5QBA3xpLrdk22dzkxn2J3S?si=Gr7-RRzAST6Dw2XzfiRqmw

(He linked it here when it came out.)

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 April 2020 15:47 (one month ago) link

I remember him from my brief stint as a lurker in the early days. RIP.

I had no idea he was a composer – thanks for the link.

Publius Covidius Naso (pomenitul), Thursday, 9 April 2020 16:01 (one month ago) link

Yes, really interesting poster, I had no idea about his life outside ILX.

https://news.ucsc.edu/2019/08/nauert-in-memoriam.html

*sob*

The Corbynite Maneuver (Tom D.), Thursday, 9 April 2020 16:22 (one month ago) link

Yeah, simultaneously heartbreaking and amazing.

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 April 2020 16:32 (one month ago) link

Listening to this version of In C for the first time. It rocks!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5MOMckrkn8

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Sunday, 19 April 2020 21:36 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

The Babbitt discussion and esp the analytical paper got me thinking about Paul in Santa Cruz. Was sorry to find that he passed last year. He is missed.

― Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 April 2020 bookmarkflaglink

Very sad to hear this :-( (read an obit just now: https://news.ucsc.edu/2019/08/nauert-in-memoriam.html).

We corresponded a little bit around 2005, he sent me a few CDs (including a piece of his). I was so glad he posted here on various composers just when I was beginning to discover and fall in love with that music for the first time.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 13 May 2020 16:48 (two weeks ago) link

Concerto in Slendro and Xenakis' Eonta are wonderful pieces from this period.

The one piece thing that I really love/didn't get a vote is Galina Ustvolskaya's Duet for Violin and Piano (1964). Savage piece.

xyzzzz__, Thursday, 14 May 2020 09:37 (two weeks ago) link

"Eonta" is fantastic.

Frank Bough: I Took Drugs with Vice Girls (Tom D.), Thursday, 14 May 2020 10:38 (two weeks ago) link


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