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More useful: what contemporary classical is great?

Just as in metal: let's look at the A+ stuff, not the trivial crap or composer-of-the-day.

What are the contemporary classical works that really touch your heart/soul/brain/guts?

There seem to be some interesting musicians at work:

http://www.carterwilliams.us/

I think this guy was inspired by some death metal; at least, I can hear a lot of early Incantation in his work.

I believe Arvo Pärt wrote great new classical pieces. His work sometime fall short of being truly "contemporary" for it still owes a lot to previous traditions. Youtube has an interesting video of him analyzing his own "Für Alina" piano piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c08i_9gumJs. The music certainly touches my heart, brain and soul... guts, not so much. Only Bruckner gets my guts.

Pärt and fellow "sacred minimalist" John Tavener have made some very pleasant music, but it's more sonic wallpaper than serious art.  I've made the comparison to those stupid coffeshop world beat comps before, and I'll make it again: this is music that's designed to sound like "medieval music" (i.e. background chanting from a film score), but it lacks the raw power and drama of the real thing. 

What do you mean by contemporary, 50s or 70s onward? I'm much more familiar with the earlier part of that century (filled to brim with excellent stuff IMHO), but I've found some more recent works to my liking too. Out of the A+ stuff, I'd have say the Ligeti piano études (compares very favorably with the great études from past eras) and maybe Carter's Night Fantasies (though I'm not sure that it'd be well liked around here) and some of Xenakis' chamber music works.  I don't have the time right now, but I'll try to upload some of this stuff later.

In my opinion, the best stuff to come out of the modernist movement was spectralist music, which takes as its principle the mathematical structures of sounds in order to determine how to deploy them.  This strikes me as less arbitrary and closer to the great musical traditions than most modernist music, which completely fails to observe the reason for the existence of traditional musical systems.

Notable composers include Radulescu and Grisey, also Stockhausen wrote a piece called Stimmung which kind of falls into this category, and is totally awsome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB8UiPc2FwY Gerard Grisey - Partials
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76rOkb04nwk Dumitrescu - String Quartet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pzeXBuzl8Q Stockhausen - Stimmung
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK0thKb6nvk&feature=related Radulescu - Piano Concerto


ECM New Series is usually a seal of quality for contemporary music. The so-called "New Series" focuses on classical music from any epoch, but mostly recent. The ECM label itself is mainly dedicated to jazz artists. One could easily argue that it is not really jazz because it does not "swing". ECM has an aesthetic of its own, the aesthetic of its founder, Manfred Eicher.

Obvious answer: Luc Lemay's work.  He could be composing more brilliant orchestral pieces as we speak, but he can't be bothered.  He's too busy writing a new Gorguts album with a bunch of homosexual nerds.

Thrashymachus

If there is any evidence that Luc Lemay is talented with orchestral composition, I haven't seen it.

If there is any evidence that Luc Lemay is talented with orchestral composition, I haven't seen it.
His myspace has some of his classical works, have you checked them out?



Well, at least Azagthoth is there to compensate

Indeed.  I think those are the only two names I recognise.

I thought the music was relatively interesting, though not a patch on most of the Metal I listen to.

It helps if you link it:

http://www.myspace.com/luclemay7

I quite enjoyed that. Even though it was a flute concerto, it sounded sort of dark and melancholic.

The production job is absolutely perfect, though. Sounds natural because of the limitations, but it makes the music sound darker than it normally would.

I'll need to look more into modern classical, and Hell, even older romantic and baroque classical music. I've only listened to the "popular" classical artists, like Bach, Beethoven, Dvorak, etc.