Academic journal article Notes

50 Jahre Neue Musik in Darmstadt

Academic journal article Notes

50 Jahre Neue Musik in Darmstadt

Article excerpt

50 Jahre neue Musik in Darmstadt. Various composers and performers. Col Legno WWE 4CD 31893, 2008.

Recently reissued but still bearing its original 1996 imprint date, this four-disc set documents fifty years of performances at the Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik in Darmstadt, an annual event that has become something of a pilgrimage for students and composers of new music since its inception in 1946. The performances selected for this multi-decade overview offer a good variety of works by composers both familiar and relatively obscure. Among the usual suspects are Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and, inevitably, John Cage. The latter's Variations I is played with charming good humor by the composer and David Tudor, and received by the audience with what sounds like audible delight, but may in fact be amused incredulity; Cage's appearance at the 1958 event was hugely controversial. Works by Luigi Nono (the unsettled but texturally lovely Polifonica-Monodia-Ritmica) and Morton Feldman (the painstakingly beautiful Durations 2) are included as well. Selections from slightly less familiar composers include a lively flute-and-tape work by Bruno Maderna, a string quartet by Mario Garuti, and a quintet titled Treize couleurs du soleil couchant by the French spectralist composer Tristan Murail. As an overview of world-class academic composition from the mid-twentieth century, this box is invaluable; as a listening experience, it is . …

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