My favorite 21st century music

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diegobueno
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My favorite 21st century music

Post by diegobueno » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:07 am

I didn't know what to make of Fiji by Michael Torke when I first heard it. It took me several listenings before I began to like it, which engendered many more listenings over the course of which I really began to appreciate and love what's going on in this infectious music. It has become my favorite music composed in the 21st century.

The story is this: In 2012 I was organizing the Washington International Competition for composition (https://fmmcfoundation.org/current-comp ... mposition/) and one of the judges I had selected was Michael Torke. I met him at the hotel where he was staying and took him to Catholic University, where he would for the next several hours be holed up with the other judges with a pile of scores to pick the winner. He said this recording of his music by the Ensemble 10/10 had just been released and he gave me a copy. I had an incentive to give the music a real listen since it had been given to me by the composer himself.

My first reaction to Fiji was "WTF". It sounded like an all-day beach party with island drums and girls in bikinis dancing around in the sand. I figured I could live with that image :) but I wished there was more contrast. The music didn't seem to go anywhere, there were no dramatic contrasts. What I eventually realized, and I had to accept the restrictions of his sound-world in order to hear this, is that there is a wealth of contrast in this music. There are motives which link in counterpoint to other motives, and sometimes a motive which occupies the foreground in one place becomes the counterpoint to something else later. There is a wonderful melody at about the 5:00 mark that sticks in my head, and there is a culmination towards the end which supplies a satisfying climax. Later, as I read the liner notes to Torke's Concerto for Orchestra I realized that Torke had deliberately restricted his sound world so as to amplify the least amount of change.
Michael Torke wrote:Because we live in such a diverse, multi-cultural world, it seems that all music should be celebrated; tranches of repertory spanning centuries, covering every style and practice, are all equally valued these days. The only way a composer could hope to claim musical "real estate" of his own is to develop a strong personal style, one that takes up space. I believe this can only be accomplished by tightening the screws of architectural cohesion and tethering the musical expression to as limited of means as possible. Once that strategy has been established, unexpected freedom, caprice and voice can follow.
Fiji was composed in 2007.


Belle
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Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am
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Re: My favorite 21st century music

Post by Belle » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:22 am

I'm absolutely unable to see or hear any links which are provided now on CMG so I cannot hear anything of the work you've discussed. It's just a blank page. This seems to have happened since Lance fixed my new password, as I was recently locked out for God knows what reason.

I'm glad "Fiji" isn't beach parties and bikinis because that would be California, not Fiji - where my husband was born and grew up as a child of the British colonies. He lived there till he was 18 and experienced earthquakes, tidal surges, mosquitoes and a rather parochial life where the white population was largely separated from the local people (though he always speaks fondly of the Fijian people as 'a wonderful, gentle race'). The reward for those working for the British government was free housing and return paid trips by ship to the UK and Australia for regular holidays (two stints of nothing less than 9 months both in England and Australia!) as well as hand made shoes and clothes!! And servants.

diegobueno
Winds Specialist
Posts: 2392
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 2:26 pm
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Re: My favorite 21st century music

Post by diegobueno » Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:55 am

Hopefully your browser will take you to the proper Youtube link. I'm sure your mind will supply a totally different set of mental images.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGesimKbRUc

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