It’s been a year since I posted the list of most influential compositions (as nominated by Sequenza21 readers) since 1970. Over the course of several weeks last spring, what started as a simple top-ten list ended up topping 150 pieces. I learned a lot in the process, which is always welcome.

Now that a year has gone by, I’m posting the list again, because it’s worth another look. The original list has made some inroads into the music world consciousness, beyond the net. Our resident musicologist, Michael Dodds, has even incorporated it into the Contemporary Styles class he is teaching this term.

Drip by drip, the word seeps out.

I’d be curious to know if anyone has any new works to add. I find that even one year has added a lot to what I think of the pieces listed.

George Crumb: Ancient Voices of Children (1970)
John Cage: Songbooks (1970)
Gyorgi Ligeti: Chamber Concerto (1970)
George Crumb: Black Angels (1970)
Karlheinz Stockhausen: Mantra (1970)
Elliott Carter: String Quartet No. 3 (1971)
Tom Johnson: An Hour for Piano (1971)
George Crumb: Vox Balanae (1971)
Steve Reich: Drumming (1971)
Philip Glass: Music in Twelve Parts (1971-1974)
Morton Feldman: Rothko Chapel (1972)
Gyorgi Ligeti: Double Concerto (1972)
Charles Amirkhanian: Just (1972)
Andres Jolivet: Violin Concerto (1972)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Hymn to St. Magnus (1972)
George Rochberg: String Quartet No. 3 (1972)
Frederic Rzewski: Coming Together (1972)
Luciano Berio: Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra (1972-73)
Louis Andriessen: De Staat (1972-76)
Helmut Lachenmann: Gran Torso (1972-88)
Ben Johnston: String Quartet No. 4, “Amazing Grace” (1973)
Leonard Bernstein: Mass (1973)
Per Norgard: Turn (1973)
Steve Reich: Music for Mallet instruments, Voices, and Organ (1973)
Gyorgi Ligeti: San Francisco Polyphony (1973-74)
Brian Ferneyhough: Unity Capsule (1973-76)
Luciano Berio: Points on the Curve to Find (1974)
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 15 (1974)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Ave Maris Stella (1975)
Per Norgard: Symphony No. 3 (1975)
Frederic Rzewski: The People United Will Never Be Defeated (1975)
Henri Dutilleux: Ainsi la nuit (1976)
David del Tredici: Final Alice (1976)
Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach (1976)
John Williams: Star Wars (1977)
Henri Dutilleux: Timbres, espaces, mouvement (1977)
Peter Maxwell Davies: A Mirror of Whitening Light (1977)
Sofia Gubaidulina: Duo-Sonata (1977)
Joseph Schwantner: Aftertones of Infinity (1978)
John Adams: Shaker Loops (1978)
Morton Feldman: Why Patterns? (1978)
Tristan Murail: Treize couleurs du soleil couchant (1978)
Robert Ashley: Perfect Lives (1978)
William Duckworth: The Time Curve Preludes (1978-79)
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich: Chamber Symphony (1979)
Judith Weir: King Harald’s Saga (1979)

Philip Glass: Satyagraha (1980)
Sofia Gubaidalina: Offetorium (1980)
James Sellars: Chanson Dada (1980)
Joan Tower: Petroushskates (1980)
James Dillon: Spleen (1980)
Harold Budd/Brian Eno: The Plateaux of Mirror (1980)
Conlon Nancarrow: Studies Nos. 40, 41, 47, 48 (1980s)
Laurie Anderson: O Superman (1981)
Ezra Sims: Phenomena (1981)
Jaco Pastorius: Word of Mouth (1981)
La Monte Young: The Well-Tuned Piano (1981)
Horatiu Radulescu: Iubiri (1981)
Judith Weir: Thread! (1981)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Image Reflection Shadow (1982)
Steve Reich: Tehillim (1982)
Michael Finnissy: Banumbirr (1982)
Anderzej Panufnik: Arbor Cosmica (1983)
Oliver Knussen: Where the Wild Things Are (1983)
Steve Reich: The Desert Music (1983)
Salvatore Sciarrino: Macbeth (1983)
Witold Lutoslawski: Symphony No. 3 (1983)
Magnus Lindberg: Kraft (1983-85)
Morton Feldman: For Philip Guston (1984)
Salvatore Sciarrino: Hermes (1984)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 3 (1984)
Harrison Birtwhistle: The Mask of Orpheus (1984)
Arvo Part: Te Deum (1984)
Louis Andriessen: De Stijl (1984-85)
Morton Feldman: Piano and String Quartet (1985)
Judith Weir: The Consolations of Scholarship (1985)
John Adams: Harmonielehre (1985)
Gyorgi Ligeti: Piano Concerto (1985-88)
Gyorgi Ligeti: Piano Etudes (1985-1990)
Daniel Lentz: The Crack in the Bell (1986)
Per Norgard: Lin (1986)
Laurie Anderson: Home of the Brave (1986)
Michael Finnissy: String Trio (1986)
Witold Lutoslawski: Chain 3 (1986)
Janice Giteck: Om Shanti (1986)
Harrison Birtwhistle: Earth Dances (1986)
Carl Stone: Shing Kee (1986)
Iannis Xenakis: Keqrops (1986)
Morton Feldman: For Samuel Beckett (1987)
Galina Ustvolskaya: Symphony No. 4 “Prayer” (1987)
Lois V Vierk: Simoon (1987)
Gyorgi Kurtag: Quasi una fantasia (1987)
Toru Takemitsu: Twill by Twilight (1988)
Wolfgang Rihm: Depart (1988)
Larry Polansky: Lonesome Road: The Crawford Variations (1988-89)
David Rakowski: Piano Etudes (1988-)
Bunita Marcus: Adam and Eve (1989)
Lee Hyla: String Quartet No. 3 (1989)
Art Jarvinen: Murphy-Nights (1989)

Gyorgi Ligeti: Violin Concerto (1990)
John Cage: Four2 (1990)
Iannis Xenakis: Knephas (1990)
Pauline Oliveros: Crone Music (1990)
Martin Bresnick: Opere della Musica Povera (1990-99)
Julia Wolfe: Four Marys (1991)
John Cage: Five3 (1991)
Robert Ashley: Improvement (1991)
Milton Babbitt: Mehr Du (1991)
John Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer (1991)
Meredith Monk: Atlas (1991)
Judith Weir: I Broke Off a Golden Branch (1991)
Frederic Rzewski: De Profundis (1991)
John Adams: Chamber Symphony (1992)
Magnus Lindberg: Clarinet Quintet (1992)
Conrad Cummings: Photo Op (1992)
John Cage: Fifty-Eight (1992)
David Lang: Cheating, Lying, Stealing (1993)
Milton Babbitt: String Quartet No. 6 (1993)
David First: Jade Screen Test Dreams of Renting Wings (1993)
Michael Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony (1993)
Elliott Carter: Symphonia (1993-96)
Magnus Lindberg: Aura (1994)
Olivier Messiaen: Eclairs sur l’Au-Dela (1994)
Milton Babbitt: Triad (1994)
Gyorgi Kurtag: Stele (1994)
Mikel Rouse: Failing Kansas (1995)
Michael Gordon: Trance (1995)
Eve Beglarian: Landscaping for Privacy (1995)
Mikel Rouse: Dennis Cleveland (1996)
Gerard Grisey: Vortex temporum (1996)
Tobias Picker: Emmeline (1996)
Esa-Pekka Salonen: LA Variations (1996)
Tan Dun: Marco Polo (1996)
Michael Finnissy: Seventeen Immortal Homosexual Poets (1997)
Thomas Ades: Powder Her Face (1997)
Sofia Gubaidulina: Canticle of the Sun (1997)
Michael Finnissy: Multiple Forms of Constraint (1997)
Pierre Boulez: Sur incises (1998)
John Luther Adams: In the White Silence (1998)
Beat Furrer: Still (1998)
Mark Adamo: Little Women (1998)
John Adams: Naive and Sentimental Music (1998-99)
Elodie Lauten: Waking in New York (1999)
Toshio Hosokawa: Koto-uta (1999)
Louis Andriessen: Writing to Vermeer (1999)
The Magnetic Fields (aka Stephin Merritt): 69 LOVE SONGS (the album) (1999)

Kaija Saariaho: L’amour de loin (2000)
Frederic Rzewski: Pocket Symphony (2000)
Osvaldo Golijov: La Pasión según San Marcos (2000)
Michael Gordon: Decasia (2001)
Michael Harrison: Revelation (2001)
Chocolate Genius (aka Marc Anthony Thompson): Godmusic (2001)
Peter Maxwell Davies: Naxos Quartets (2002-05)
John Luther Adams: The Mathematics of Resonant Bodies (2002)
John Corigliano: Circus Maximus (2004)

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