This week I had the great pleasure of witnessing a world-premiere performance of a new solo violin partita, and it made me want to see the music for and check out more like it.
It hasn't always been my reaction to new music, though I'd like to think of myself as open-minded. When it comes to new music, I'd argue that classical music went off the rails for a while, and frankly it left audiences and even players reluctant to try anything new. If it's going to be a painful, ear-bending, non-meaningful experience in a completely foreign-to-most-humans musical language, no thanks! There are limits to the openness of my mind. If it's just noise, I can get that by standing next to the highway.
Yet plenty of wonderful and worthy "new music" was written in the last 50 years, and in the last century. The piece I heard Wednesday was Antón García Abril's "Partita No. 4," written for and premiered by Hilary Hahn. (Here's the review.) It occurred to me that a piece such as this, written in 2016, is a piece written in the second decade of the 21st century. Yes, we are in the second decade of the 21st century! Can one still really be calling Stravinsky "modern music"?
I've certainly played some 21st-century music; much of the newest would fall under the category of film music, fiddle music, teaching music, church music - not the "official" compositions written for an orchestra, though I've played a few of those as well.
How recent is the most modern piece that you have played? What was it, and by whom? I'm wondering how much 21st music people are playing, and what are some of the modern works you recommend, or that you have played? Please share in the comments section.
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