Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Duckworth's '20 Sounds'

I've been reading William Duckworth's "20/20: 20 New Sounds of the 20th Century." It amounts to a useful education on modern music, featuring Duckworth's usual erudition and clear writing.

When I checked this book out the library, I couldn't wait to see which works made the list; I sat down in the library and looked at the book for a few minutes before leaving the building.

Here's the list:

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, Claude Debussy
Maple Leaf Rag, Scott Joplin
The Rite of Spring, Igor Stravinsky
Pierrot Lunaire, Arnold Schoernberg
The Concord Sonata, Charles Ives
Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin
Bolero, Maurice Ravel
Quartet for the End of Time, Olivier Messiaen
Appalachian Spring, Aaron Copland
Sonatas and Interludes, John Cage
Mysterious Mountain, Alan Hovhaness
In C, Terry Riley
Drumming, Steve Reich
I Am Sitting in a Room, Alvin Lucier
4th String Quartet, Ben Johnston
Einstein on the Beach, Philip Glass
Perfect Lives, Robert Ashley
O Superman, Laurie Anderson
Miserere, Arvo Part
Atlas, Meredith Monk

Duckworth explains in his introduction that while he polled other composers to help him compile the list, at the end of the day he had to choose works which meant a lot to him personally. Most of the works are excerpted in a companion CD. The list seems to be rather weighted toward Americans and toward experimental composers.

I like much of the music on the list, although I was disappointed Schoernberg was included. I suppose we are stuck with him. My biggest disappointment, however, was that nothing by Prokofiev made the list.

1 comment:

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