Reading Hypocrisy Illustrated’s post about Joshua Bell playing Bach in the DC metro made me think about the public’s knowledge of classical music. I think for most people, classical music sort of stops around 1900, to be replaced with jazz and blues. The rare exceptions are film scores and soundtrack music (John Williams, James Horner, etc.). If it isn’t one of the “hits” from the great composers, chances are, most people have never heard of it.
This is too bad, because there is a lot of very interesting new music out there. So I thought I’d find a some new classical music to share with you. My only criteria were that it had to be new music (not a new performance or performer, but a new composition) that was relatively short, that I liked, and that no one had ever heard before. Think of it as something akin to internet spelunking. After much searching, I managed to find “Harmonic Divertimento” by Sarah Dubois, a ten-minute string ensemble piece that has a whopping 17 views at the time of posting.
If you aren’t familiar with modern classical music, the music may at first strike you as jarring or even a little ominous. This dissonance is something of a hallmark of very late 20th century music, but this piece in particular keeps it within the traditional rhythmical structures and cadences that everyone is familiar with and that prevent it from having that unique avant garde sound of an orchestra falling down the stairs (i.e. Stockhausen).
So what did you think? What does it make you think, or feel? Does it remind you of anything? Call certain images to mind? Does it sound more “now” than the works of great composers?
If you like this, spread the word through Twitter, Facebook, Pony Express, etc. But also let me know in the comments and I’ll dig through my bookmarks and share more.