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Which other composers influence you most as a composer?

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Old 11-10-08, 11:13 PM
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Default Which other composers influence you most as a composer?

Which other composers have the most creative influence on you as a composer or give you the most inspiration? Does it tend to be composers in a particular style or are your influences more diverse? Or do you perhaps feel you are influenced by no-one who has gone before and are breaking new ground?
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Old 12-10-08, 04:44 PM
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Contemporary and modern music. Various ethnic musics. Medieval music.

Recently it's been:


Stravinsky because he was so protean.

Carnatic and Hindustani music.

Tristan Murail.

Julian Anderson.

Robin Holloway.

Oliver Knussen.

Thomas Adès.

Stealing orchestral ideas from a range of twentieth and twenty-first century composers.

György Ligeti.
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Old 08-11-08, 11:11 PM
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Default Influences on my compostion

I think I am a bit out of date, I did not enjoy minimalism, and have very little access to postmodern trends; I live far from any metropolis. Schoenberg, Berg, Messiaen, and Boulez are the cornerstone of my art. I spend most of my practice time playing Bach. Architecture theories give me more ideas as does music theory. I have an extensive education in theory. Books such as "Music as Philosophy", Michael Spitzer, and "Meter as Rhythm" - Hasty, and "Allegory in Bach's Vocal Music" (forgot who wrote this fabulous book) inform me and often I use ideas from them in formulating the structure of a work. I also use a lot of ancient ideas transposed into sound systems; for example I just wrote a piece for a bass player that used a description of an ancient Korean ritual as the basic organizing principle. I designed a special theory for this piece.
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Old 10-11-08, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by birabior View Post
I think I am a bit out of date, I did not enjoy minimalism, and have very little access to postmodern trends; I live far from any metropolis. Schoenberg, Berg, Messiaen, and Boulez are the cornerstone of my art. I spend most of my practice time playing Bach. Architecture theories give me more ideas as does music theory. I have an extensive education in theory. Books such as "Music as Philosophy", Michael Spitzer, and "Meter as Rhythm" - Hasty, and "Allegory in Bach's Vocal Music" (forgot who wrote this fabulous book) inform me and often I use ideas from them in formulating the structure of a work. I also use a lot of ancient ideas transposed into sound systems; for example I just wrote a piece for a bass player that used a description of an ancient Korean ritual as the basic organizing principle. I designed a special theory for this piece.
Hi birabior,

I've noticed in the past that some people dispute the existence of postmodern trends, as you appropriately put it, in music, claiming it's all just 'modern' or 'contemporary'. I don't agree with them, and I am not a fan of postmodernism in the arts, which so often seems to substitute 'playfulness' or 'irony', for genuine ideas or ability. It's often just an excuse for regurgitating the past and inviting the audience to view it though an 'ironic' lens. As an ongoing trend, this is a very poor excuse for art, if you ask me.
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Old 11-11-08, 09:40 PM
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Default more opinions on "Postmodern"

I used to agree with your position. Then I read a book: "Themes of Contemporary Art visual art after 1980" - Jean Robertson & Craig McDaniel which changed the way I see art. The satiric and the ironic have no appeal to me. And I don't really enjoy criticism. But there is a lot more than those themes in our "postmodern era". The book has a beautiful history of graphic art and is divided into themes e.g. identity, the body, and spirituality. After reading it many things I found incomprehensible now seem to have meaning and I have sympathy for their intent. Many of these ideas apply to music.
I still think that reactionaries and revolutionaries spin together in an endless cycle. The transformers and innovators are people who stand for something. Schoenberg was not against tonality. The innovations of Bach and Beethoven were done in the effort to express their convictions. Brahms great harmonic “revolutionary” inventions were not conceived as against anything. But the people who stand against make a lot of noise and get attention.
A lot of music is never heard, the society does not really support composers. Today there seems to be a search for identity. This is nothing new. I see many artists reevaluating themselves in the context of their relationships, rather than trying to express themselves as individuals. In music the relationship to the past is subject to political ideas, and under scrutiny. When I was at Berkeley Earl Brown declared that the whole intent of classical music was to invent the "New". I disagree; everyone has his or her own intent. Mine is to express my vision, to honor my ancestors with works of beauty, and to foster peace in the world. Composing is my trade - my vehicle. I use any technique that suits my content, old, new, and I don't believe anyone invents a new system - our ears have been saturated with our culture and tonality is ingrained in our being. Inventors take their ideas from chaos selecting what they need form “the primordial pool”. Jung says he could (if he had the time) find an accurate history of humanity from our dreams. This includes the evolution of the species. (Article in S.F Jungian Journal – current issue).
To find the music of our era that appeals to you will take a lot of time and sifting. It chaos out there.
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Old 12-11-08, 11:49 PM
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I think I am a bit out of date, I did not enjoy minimalism, and have very little access to postmodern trends; I live far from any metropolis.
You're not alone in disliking minimalism! Far from it. If you want to hear quality music that might be considered postmodern, I can recommend anything by Thomas Adès.
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Old 20-04-09, 01:03 PM
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I feel that "minimalistic" music (i dont like to call it that) works better for me when it comes to express my most inner and profund feelings.

When it comes to influenses i have plenty- most important though is that they experiment and havent been trying to fit in to the mold of its time. For that reason i can love Prokoffievs classical symphony as much as Pärts tintunnabuli.

The weekness and the strong side about minimalistic and modernism music is that demands a lot from the listener. This makes for a maybe to much elitistic aproach.
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Old 21-04-09, 04:59 PM
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Hi Anders - good to see you.
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Old 15-05-09, 03:35 PM
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Default Real quality British Music

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Originally Posted by Herzeleide View Post
You're not alone in disliking minimalism! Far from it. If you want to hear quality music that might be considered postmodern, I can recommend anything by Thomas Adès.
I'm awfully sorry to disagree about the qualities (which I think are absent) of the music by Mr. Adès. He's writing "eager to please" music, and it's not even well done, most of the time. There are -fortunately- British composers who really write great and personal music, such as Jonathan Harvey (almost everything he composed is of high quality indeed), James Dillon, Simon Bainbridge, Michael Finnissy, and some works by Christopher Fox. At least those people compose their real own music without any "compromises" and yet very beautiful, at least to listeners ready to be a little open-minded.
One other interesting quote about influences. Pierre Boulez once said : "Personality is the art of disguising your influences"...
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Old 15-05-09, 05:51 PM
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I'm awfully sorry to disagree about the qualities (which I think are absent) of the music by Mr. Adès. He's writing "eager to please" music, and it's not even well done, most of the time.
How is it not well done?

His use of the orchestra is marvellous and he has very much his own sound. Every note he writes attests to an extremely fine ear. His music is finely paced, with great dramatic import; the way in which other types of music are either integrated or quoted in his music feels very natural. The accusation that he's writing 'eager to please' music is unfounded calumny. But then again I guess you think that anyone who doesn't toe the avant-garde party line will be guilty of this. Some of the composers you mention (like Bainbridge) are of a minor order compared to Adès, and I think Harvey's output is inconsistent. Adès's music is like that of an early twentieth-century composer being able to draw upon everything from that century in its entirety - he particularly owes quite a bit to Ligeti.
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