Monday, September 08, 2008

Renaissance Research "Conservatory Project" Assignment On 20th And 21st Century Classical Music And Opera: Readers' Listening/Studying Choice

Choose two pieces of 20th or 21st century classical music of similar length and characteristic; preferably works using texts. Listen to the two works very carefully and try to study their texts [and the translations of the texts] and their musical scores while listening. Then write a five page essay comparing your findings, impressions, and feelings about the two works.

For example, compare Pierre Boulez's Pli Selon Pli and Henryck Gorecki's Symphony #3 [Symfonia pieśni żałosnych]-- both of which are about an hour long and feature an orchestra and a soprano soloist singing poetic texts.

[Readers who don't yet respond to classical music with texts can compare two works such as Igor Stravinky's Vesna svjaščennaja and Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Earth Dances.]


A famous composer is reported to have described Pli selon pli as "pretty monotonous and monotonously pretty". Do you know who it was?

A contemporary American critic/composer had similarly unkind words about the popular Gorecki symphony. Do you happen to know who it was?


[Awaiting (better late than never):

The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory (The Cambridge History of Music)

Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past [Paperback] by Christopher Hatch]


Header images: Joan Miro "Red Sun" of 1948; Stephen DeStaebler "Wing-Arm Woman" of 1992; and Magdalena Abakanowicz "Winged Brother" of 2005-06.

Photo credits: (c) Copyright controlled by the artists and image publishers. Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Stephen DeStaebler and Andy Brumer; and Magdalena Abakanowicz and Galerie Patrice Trigano via All rights reserved. With thanks.


[Answers: Igor Stravinsky and Greg Sandow]


Post a Comment

<< Home