Category: Modern Classical

Berg’s Violin Concerto: A Fusion of Serialism and Bach

Berg’s Violin Concerto: A Fusion of Serialism and Bach

One of my favorite pieces of 20th century music is Alban Berg’s hauntingly beautiful Violin Concerto.  The Violin Concerto is in 4 sections, with no break between them.  We’re only going to look at the last section, where an unusual Bach chorale speaks to us in a 20th century voice.  Berg combines serialism from modern […]

Caroline Shaw – Between the Acts

Caroline Shaw – Between the Acts

Last month the Ciompi Quartet generously and expertly performed Caroline Shaw’s “Entre’Acte” for the students and parents of the Mallarmé Youth Chamber Orchestra at the University of North Carolina. I have no preference for contemporary classical music, and indeed I’ve argued in these pages that jazz is the genuine classical music of the American twentieth […]

Music for Airports

Music for Airports

Music for Airports For several years I’ve been teaching film and science-fiction and feeling vaguely guilty about abandoning “real” literature. I realize that my standard explanation—that I’m exploiting rare exceptions to the rule of student literary disinterest—are false, and that in truth I’m drawn to this material because it lets me consider the historical disruption […]

Crumb: A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979

Crumb: A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979

Mysterious and other-worldly, George Crumb’s A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979 is one of those wonderful contemporary works that appeals to student composers, performers and audiences alike. Composed in early 1980 for pianist Lambert Orkis, the Little Suite was inspired by early 14th-century Nativity frescoes painted by Giotto in the Arena (also Scrovegni) Chapel […]

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