Sunday, December 09, 2007

Free music on Classical Cat

I recently posted about Alex Ross' list of 12 top classical music works since 1980. For your convenience, here is the list again:

Steve Reich, Different Trains
John Adams, Nixon in China
Kaija Saariaho, L'Amour de loin
Sofia Gubaidulina, Offertorium
Gérard Grisey, Les Espaces acoustiques
Arvo Pärt, Da pacem domine
Louis Andriessen, De Stijl
Thomas Ades, Asyla
Georg Friedrich Haas, in vain
Michael Gordon, Decasia
Magnus Lindberg, Kraft
Osvaldo Golijov, St. Mark Passion

After my original posting, Cleveland composer Jeffrey Quick weighed in, "Should I admit that I've only heard of 83% of the composers and have only heard 41% of the pieces? This sounds like a fair musicological assessment of overall activity, but the fracturing of style also means a fracturing of audience, which means that many people only listen within their own subgenre. Not sure that's healthy, but it is what is."

Actually, I think Quick does rather well. I've only heard one of the pieces (8 percent), although I have heard of 75 percent of the composers and have listened to music by 42 percent of them.

He addresses an important question though: How does even the well-meaning listener "keep up"? It's not like we get much help from the radio, even from satellite radio.

With that in mind, I took a look at Classical Cat, a site that provides free downloads of performances of classical music.

I could not find ANY of the pieces Ross mentions. I did find work from two of the composers Ross mentions, Arvo Park and Louis Andriessen.

12 comments:

Phillip said...

Hi Tom! I hadn't seen this list, is this in his book? Anyway, a few thoughts pop into my head:
No Reich since 1988. No Adams since early 1980's. No Glass at all. No Carter at all. No Boulez at all. (These aren't value judgments on my part, just observations). One could probably pick several Ades pieces for the list, but it looks like Ross was trying to have a diverse list of composers. Still, what leaps out at me, and here I WILL make a value judgment: No Ligeti?!

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