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Sequenza21 Best of the Decade

It was a time of list-making and so they made a list–the most important new musical works of an otherwise shitty, miserable decade.  I’ll begin:

1.  La Pasión según San Marcos (2000) Osvaldo Golijov

5. The Little Match Girl Passion David Lang

10. Paradiso Jacob ter Veldhuis

Your turn.

Update 1:

3. September Canons (2002) Ingram Marshall – An incredibly powerful 9/11 remembrance made transcendent by Todd Reynolds’ performance.


Comment from Roger Rohrbach
Time: December 20, 2009, 3:16 pm

We’re talking decade? Then surely Lang’s The Passing Measures must be included.

And ‘Arpeggi’ by Jonny Greenwood & Thom Yorke, as performed at the Ether Festival 2005:

Comment from Christian
Time: December 20, 2009, 3:54 pm

Are we counting the new decade from 2010? That brings us back to the whole 2000 vs 2001 question

John Adams On the Transmigration of Souls and Dr. Atomic
Elliott Carter Boston Concerto and Dialogues
I agree with Jerry about David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion … would also nominate Lachenmann’s Little Matchgirl
David Rakowski’s Piano Concerto
Phil Kline’s John the Revelator
Oliver Knussen Songs for Sue

I’m sure I’m forgetting some … there’s been a lot of fine music this decade!

Comment from paul bailey
Time: December 20, 2009, 4:46 pm

in no specific order:

Jon Brenner: Chaconne I-VI
Steve Layton: Songbook: “Charlotte, Too Soon” (2006)
Lloyd Rodgers “The Black Book” (2001)
David Toub: this piece intentionally left blank (2006)

Comment from Matthew
Time: December 20, 2009, 4:52 pm

I’m not sure whether these qualify as the most important musical works for 2000-2009, but these are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

Thomas Adès – Concentric Paths (Violin Concerto)
Einojuhani Rautavaara – Manhattan Trilogy
Kaija Saariaho – Orion
Per Nørgård – Symphony No. 7
Beat Furrer – Konzert für Klavier und Orchester
Georg Friedrich Haas – In Vain
Lera Auerbach – Requiem for Icarus

Given another 10 years to reflect on this decade, I might generate a completely different list. It may have been a shitty decade by some measures, but it was amazing musically.

Comment from Paul H. Muller
Time: December 20, 2009, 5:10 pm

Arvo Part – In Principio

Comment from Steve Layton
Time: December 20, 2009, 5:11 pm

Hey there’s a Haas in there, good! And I’m including 2000, since we haven’t actually completed 2010 yet. Same as Matthew — nobody can say what’s the “greatest”; but these all stick in my ear and mind, and make me keep coming back to listen again and again:

Evan Ziporyn: Pondok (2000); Ngaben (2003)

Michael Gordon: Decasia (2001)

Georg Friedrich Haas: Natures Mortes (2003)

Andrew Violette: Rave (2001-03)

Jürg Frey: String Quartet #2 (1998-2000)

Jorge Liderman: That is already… (1999, but I don’t think premiered until the 00s)

María Cecilia Villanueva: Intonso (2001)

Paul Dolden: Entropic Twilights (1997- 2002)

Comment from Anthony Cheung
Time: December 20, 2009, 6:35 pm

some highlights for me:

Julian Anderson: Book of Hours
Georges Aperghis: Avis de Tempete
Pierluigi Billone: Mani de Leonardis
Unsuk Chin: Alice in Wonderland
Michael Gordon: Decasia
Georg Friedrich Haas: in vain
Philippe Hurel: Loops I-IV
Fred Lerdahl: Time After Time
Beat Furrer: Fama
Jonathan Harvey: Bird Concerto with Pianosong
Bernhard Lang: I Hate Mozart
Mauro Lanza: Aschenblume
Philippe Leroux: Voi(rex)
György Ligeti: Hamburg Concerto
Benedict Mason: felt|ebb|thus|brink|here|array|telling
Tristan Murail: Le lac; Terre d’ombre
Wolfgang Rihm: Jagden und Formen
Fausto Romitelli: An Index of Metals; Professor Bad Trip Lesson 3
Marco Stroppa: Miniature Estrose, book I

(I hope I don’t catch flack for going with Bernhard instead of David here)

Comment from Christian
Time: December 20, 2009, 6:40 pm


Thanks for including URLS to listening links. One of the things that’s terrific about this site is that these type of discussions always gives one new pieces to seek out!

I think Part and Liederman were terrific additions!

Comment from david toub
Time: December 20, 2009, 7:11 pm

I’m humbled-thanks, Paul.

Here’s my list:

Charlemagne Palestine: From Etudes to Cataclysms
John Prokop: New England, Late Summer (2003)
Mary Jane Leach: Xantippe’s Rebuke
Michael Gordon: Trance IV
Paul Bailey: retrace our steps
Kraig Grady: Beyond the Windows Perhaps Among the Podcorn
Dave Seidel: A Door Into Spring
Samuel Vriezen: 20 Worlds
Jukka-Pekka Kervinen: but as nothing (Canon #5)
Steve Reich: Double Sextet

Comment from Jeremy Beck
Time: December 20, 2009, 11:26 pm

John Adams: On the Transmigration of Souls (2002)
John Corigliano: Symphony #3, “Circus Maximus” (2006)
Michael Gordon: Decasia (2001)
Osvaldo Golijov: Ayre (2004)
Johnny Greenwood: Popcorn Superhet Receiver (2008)
David Lang: The Little Match Girl Passion (2007)
Kaija Saariaho: L’Amour de Loin (2000)

Comment from Seth Gordon
Time: December 20, 2009, 11:28 pm

Frankly, “important” I’m finding a bit of a stretch for just about anything. I suspect most of the lists above are just personal favorites of the listmakers. Hard to make a case for the importance of much, especially while we’re still in said decade. I’d say we need to be at least a decade removed before making any calls as to anything’s (if anything’s) importance.

After all, lots of “important” works of the 1930s and 1940s and 1950s and 1960s and 1970s turned out to be… not terribly important, in retrospect. I’d be more interested in looking at what everyone thinks are – now that we have some perspective – the most important works of the 90s.

That said, since the call was for “new musical works” without mentioning genre, I’ll side with Kid A & Amnesiac as being more “important” than anything listed above.

As to what I liked… well that’s here….

Comment from Eric Shanfield
Time: December 21, 2009, 2:47 am

My list kind of got out of hand. Sorry. There really was a lot of great music these past ten years. I urge you to check out anything you haven’t heard; a number of these pieces are sadly unavailable commercially but can be found on composers’ websites or by contacting publishers. Anyway, with no pretension to objectivity, here’s my 20 favorite “classical” compositions (whatever that means) of the decade, in alphabetical order by composer. Read it now; I will probably change my mind tomorrow.

John Adams: Guide to Strange Places (2001) for orchestra
John Luther Adams: Dark Waves (2007) for orchestra and electronics
Richard Ayres: No. 37B (2006) for orchestra
Oscar Bettison: O Death (2005-07) for six players
Sir Harrison Birtwistle: The Shadow of Night (2001) for orchestra
Elliott Carter: Boston Concerto (2002) for orchestra
Sebastian Currier: Static (2003) for pierrot ensemble
Tansy Davies: Tilting (2005) for orchestra
Donnacha Dennehy: Bulb (2006) for piano trio
Cenk Ergun: A Pig In Hell (2001) for chamber orchestra and CD
Michael Gordon: Dystopia (2007) for orchestra
Georg Friedrich Haas: In Vain (2000) for large ensemble and electronics
Bryn Harrison: Four Cycles (2002-05) for chamber orchestra
David Lang: Men (2001) for ensemble
Marc Mellits: Brick (2005) for orchestra
Andrew Norman: Unstuck (2008) for orchestra
Michael Nyman: Love Counts (2005) opera
Steve Reich: Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings (2005) for, well, you know
Esa-Pekka Salonen: Foreign Bodies (2001) for orchestra
Kevin Volans: Trio Concerto (2005)

Comment from Everette Minchew
Time: December 21, 2009, 12:00 pm

Ligeti – Hamburg Concerto
Beat Furrer – FAMA
Georg Friedrich Haas – In Vain
Carter – Dialogues
Wolfgang Rihm: Jagden und Formen

i am forgetting a lot of wonderful pieces. I know I am.

Comment from Roy Kalish
Time: December 22, 2009, 1:47 am

Robert Erickson:Auroras New World
Ge Gan-ru :Chinese Rhapsody BIS
John Adams: Dharma and My Father Nonesuch
John Adams: Dr. Atomic and Guide Nonesuch
John Adams:Transmigration
Steven Mackey: Tuck and Roll RCA
Kamran Ince:Symphonies 3&4,Domes Naxos
Zhou Long:Rhymes BIS
Mark Applebaum: Martian Anthropology Innova
Evan Ziporyn: Frog’s Eye Canteloupe
David Rakowski: Winged Contraption BMOP
Elliot Schwarts: Voyager Albany
David Ward-Steinman: 3 Concerti Fleur De Son
Christopher Rouse:Rapture etc.,Ondine
Philip Glass:Symphony no.8 OrangeMountain
Michael Daugherty:UFO Naxos
Margeret Brouwer: Aurolescent Cycles Naxos
John Cage:The Seasons ECM
Reza Vali:Flute concerto,etc Naxos
John Adams:Century Rolls Nonesuch
John Adams Naive and Sentimental Music Nonesuch
Steven Mackey:Deal and Banana Dump Truck Albany
Mackey and Bolcom Sax quartet concertos Innova
Michael Daugherty: Metropolis and Deux Naxos
Joseph Schwantner:Orchestral works Hyperion

Chamber and mixed chamber and orchestral:
Mark Applebaum: Sock Monkey Innova
Ge Gan-ru: Lost Style New Albion
Ingram Marshall:September Canons Nonesuch
Steven Mackey:Heavy Light New World
Chinary Ung 7 Mirrors New World
George Crumb: Volume Six Bridge
C. Curtis-Smith GAS Albany
Mario Davidovsky:Three Cycles Bridge
Robert Carl Innova
Kamran Ince:In White Innova
Robert Moran Innova
Tan Dun: Water Passion Sony
Ingram Marshall: Kingdom Come Nonesuch
Philip Glass:Orion Orange Mountain
Steven Hartke:Clarinet concerto,etc Naxos
Robert Erickson:Pacific Pacific Sirens New World
Terry Riley:Cusp of Magic Nonesuch

Cd’s ididn’t hear that would be on this list:
Derek Bermel Voices BMOP
Michael Daugherty:Fire and Blood Naxos
Philip Glass :Toltec Symphony Orange Mountain
Fred Lerdahl Orchestral works Bridge

Composer sets:
Henry Brant Collection:Innova
George Crumb Collection:Bridge
Leonardo Balada Naxos
Bright Sheng Naxos and Bis

This is not even complete
It’s been quite an amazing decade for American contemporary music.

Comment from Ian David Moss
Time: December 23, 2009, 1:12 am

Katrina Ballads FTW!

Comment from Taylor Brook
Time: December 23, 2009, 8:00 pm

it’s hard to make a best of the last ten years… I’m sure many things will come to my attention that I haven’t yet heard, but here are my current favorites (in no particular order):

Luc Brewaeys – Fiore con Bocca (opera)
Phillipe Leroux – Voi(rex) (chamber ensemble)
Helmut Lachenmann – Concertini (large ensemble)
Concerto for Baritone Sax and Orchestra – G.F. Haas
Gyorgi Ligeti – Hamburg Concerto
Anders Hillborg – Brass Quintet
John Luther Adams – for Lou Harrison (mixed ensemble

Comment from Sparky P.
Time: December 24, 2009, 4:12 pm

Here’s my list, a shortened version for now, but it’s a start:

Kevin Volans: String Quartet Nos.6 (2000) and 9 (2004), trumpet, vibes, ‘cello, piano (2008), Atlantic Crossing (piano concerto no.2)(2005)
David Toub, mf (thank for the props above, Dude!)
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Concerto Grosso (rev. 2003 (or so))
John Adams: Son of Chamber Symphony
Steve Reich: Dance Patterns (2004), Double Sextet (2007), Variations for Vibes, Pianos and Strings (2004)

I’ll think of others later…