Contemporary Composers On Contemporary Music

Authors:Elliott Schwartz, Barney Childs, Jim Fox
Publisher: Da Capo Pre
Keywords: contemporary, music, composers
Number of Pages: 510
Published: 1998-03-22
List price: $21.00
ISBN-10: 0306808196
ISBN-13: 9780306808197

Book Description:

Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music first appeared in 1967 and immediately became a standard for those with an interest in what--in our time--has come to be known as "music of our time." Even three decades ago it was a bit disingenuous to call some of these interviews and essays "contemporary"; it’s been a while since Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924), Claude Debussy (1862-1918), or Erik Satie (1866-1925) could properly be thought of as contemporary or even recent. A better title back then and certainly now might have been 20th-Century Composers on 20th-Century Music. Still, Debussy’s section is invaluable, not least for its humor, and if there are a few musical frauds represented in these pages, there is also plenty of useful information and insight into the thought processes of significant composers of the last few decades. But a number of important composers, including Philip Glass, are noticeably absent while far more obscure musicians get the full treatment. The editors’ tastes run to serialism, electronic music, and other more dissonant, less traditionalist, and less tonal trends. And since the range of contributors is broad, the quality of the essays and interviews is at times inconsistent. Still, particularly with this expanded edition, Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music remains an important work for those concerned with what the editors call "new attitudes" in serious music. --Sarah Bryan Miller

This anthology of essays, interviews, and autobiographical pieces provides an invaluable overview of the evolution of contemporary music—from chromaticism, serialism, and indeterminacy to jazz, vernacular, electronic, and non-Western influences. Featuring classic essays by Stravinsky, Stockhausen, and Reich, as well as writings by lesser-known but equally innovative composers such as Jack Beeson, Richard Maxfield, and T. J. Anderson, this collection covers a broad range of styles and approaches. Here you will find Busoni’s influential "Sketch of a New Esthetic of Music"; Partch’s exploration of a new notation system; Babbitt’s defense of advanced composition in his controversial "Who Cares If You Listen?"; and Pauline Oliveros’s meditations on sound. Now updated with fifteen new composers including Michael Tippet, György Ligeti, Gunther Schuller, Ben Johnston, Sofia Gubaidulina, and William Bolcom, this important book gathers together forty-nine pieces—many out of print and some newly written for this volume—which serve as a documentary history of twentieth-century music, in theory and practice. Impassioned, provocative, and eloquent, these writings are as exciting and diverse as the music they discuss.