I mean it could easily be romantic or 20th century, "3rd" stream or gregorian chants. I dont know if what I do really qualifies as being classical music, but I cant think of another category more fitting.
i've heard of 3rd stream...what are the fourth and fifth streams?
i've actually taken to calling this "art" music, since it is mostly music for its own sake. film music can be "arty" but it generally serves a greater purpose...even though it is an art form to create good film music.
which begs the question: is "art" music, (or "classical" music) still alive...or has it been marginalized into a small, dwindling corner of the music biz (read: academia)? this kind of music is very much an active listening experience, and 99% of what is produced these days requires only passive listening. even mozart, which i heard as a ring-back tone on a cell phone recently, has been demoted to just glorified muzak.
can you write relevant classical music these days? or does it have to be attached to images or binaural recording technologies?
The problem is almost no orchestras play new works. When is the last time you heard London or Chicago or Boston do any work more recent then stravinsky? Well maybe the Boston Pops might do some, well "pop" arrangements but never new compositions for orchestra. they all want to play Mahler and Strauss and Beethoven and Mozart and so on ad infinitum. I love those composers too but I wish there was an audience/forum for new composers
I do think it is possible, though. I bet if you just got in with the conductor, you could get something performed. In fact, many conductors seem to be pseudo composers. What if you teamed up with them? Then it WOULD get played.
I live in DC and Leonard Slatkin has been doing "modern" works with the NSO for the past few years. My understanding may be off, but I believe that every subscription you but has 6 performances of well known "classic" composers, and then the other is a "modern" work. I've only been to one of those performances, and it was kind of a cheat since it was basically a Beethoven piece someone had constructed from an unfinished sketch of his or something, but it was at least a modern arranger/composer. I believe that usually it's an actual "modern" piece though. My parents went to one and they quite enjoyed it.
This is Slatkin's last year and he has actually gotten some flak for basically forcing people to buy tickets to non-"classic" composers, but it's nice to see. I'm not sure if they've ever done "new" compositions by 2007 composers, but it's something anyway. I'll let you know more sometime in the next year when that performance comes around for my subscription.
Also, Slatkin refered to this "art" music as "whole music", being "music for its own sake". I believe that is exactly how he defined it as well. In the NSO's "portrait of a Composer" on Dvorjak, they pointed out that all of his later works were not "whole music" but were instead operas and the like since apparently Dvorjak wanted something in addition to music (namely words and story) in his later works.
So your question about writing "relevant classical music" is very good. I imagine you could ask the same question about pop music. What is the definition of relevance? Number of copies sold? I think you can write relevant music of all types, but you have to have an audience (or do you?), even if it's only 50 people at a high school. Do the handful of us count as an audience? Of course it's hard to get a work performed by a real orchestra, but GPO and Finale is a good alternative.
Anyway, nice topic. I look forward to hearing more from everyone. I'm a complete noob so feel free to let me know when I say something imbecilic.
the nashville symphony (also an NSO) included "2nd" works at all of the subscription concerts this year. "2nd" meaning, 2nd performances of pieces that had debuted elsewhere. i didn't attend many of them this year, but i would bet dimes to donuts they programmed those pieces as the second piece of the first half...almost guaranteeing people will be there to listen.
nashville happens to be a weird market in that, as musical as it is and as many great musicians live here, the general population, musically speaking, is quite conservative. in the last several years i have lost count how many times they have performed dvorak's 9th and orff's carmina burana. their palatte is, well...limited. there have been many more minimalist pieces performed the last couple of years...but the big ticket pieces are ALL old and composed by dead guys.
i applaud the Nashville Symph for being proactive in getting "modern" music performed...i'm curious to know how they follow up next season.
"art" music, or "whole" music, requires active listening. relavence is determined by the listener committing to listening (ostensibly because they find something worthwhile in the experience). pop music is totally relevant these days...so much so, that there is hardly room for anything else.
"art" composers of the 19th and early 20th century had little competition in the live performance media....but these days, we "art" composers have to compete with everything from britney spears to pro football...we may indeed see only 50 people at our next debut.
Dimes to donuts! haha nice expression, is that a Nashville colloquialism? I have only driven through Nashville a couple times, always seemed like such a nice city, maybe I should go there some time and digin a little ;)
Yes, you are right--it is next to impossible to get orchestral music played. But it is not too difficult to get chamber music performed. Find some local performers or small ensemble you like, and compose specifically for them. Ask them what styles they like to perform. Ask as many questions about their preferences are--and compose for the performers. If they like your music, they will find venues for performances.
I too prefer "art music" to classical or anything else. I think it does an excellent job of describing the purpose, as an ars gratia artis concept, rather than music for some other function, like entertainment, which I would probably call most "pop" music.
And to the state of of orchestras playing more recent music, I just about refuse to go to a concert with music written more than 50 years ago, unless it's something I really want to see, Like L'incoronazione di Poppea or Wozzeck (both of which were amazing), but Salonen does a pretty good job with his green umbrella series of exposing newer music to audiences here in LA, and the Opera is doing a set of lesser-known 1920's operas next season. Personally, I liked Seattle a lot better with regard to newer music, I could name at least four ensembles devoted strictly to playing newer music.
Well its the same as saying Kenny G is a jazz musician, its just not correct, and these misconceptions happen when we dont demand, when we dont question, when we no longer care. When I talk about what I do I usually say I compose orchestral music, seems closer then any description. But yea in the end its just words and that same silly sentimentality are why some words in our language also offend people
Actually when I went to see the Berlin Philharmonics they played "a new guys" music. They played music by Jonathan Harvey, the seven heavens I think the piece was called.. He actually came up to thank the orchestra after the concert. Don't know about the London orchestra or the others though.. It's too bad, alot of great "neoclassical" art music out there, and it isn't all weird. I mean, some composers think being "Stravinsky" is being as loud as possible. How much piccolo atonality can one man stand?!