The String Quartets of Krzysztof Meyer : a major achievement of the second half of the 20th century

Krzysztof Meyer (born 11 August 1943) is a Polish composer, pianist and music scholar, formerly Dean of the Department of Music Theory (1972–1975) at the State College of Music (now Academy of Music in Kraków), and president of the Union of Polish Composers (1985–1989). Meyer served as professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik […]

Morton Feldman’s Piano and String Quartet

A major figure in 20th-century music, Morton Feldman was a pioneer of indeterminate music, a development associated with the experimental New York School of composers also including John Cage, Christian Wolff, and Earle Brown. Feldman’s works are characterized by notational innovations that he developed to create his characteristic sound: rhythms that seem to be free […]

Luigi Dallapiccola (February 3, 1904 – February 19, 1975) : Italian composer known for his lyrical twelve-tone compositions

Perhaps the greatest Modern Italian composer after Puccini, Luigi Dallapiccola was born in Pisino, in the disputed territory of Istria, then under Austrian rule (it is now part of Croatia and Slovenia). His father, a teacher suspected of Italian nationalism, lost his job during World War I, and the Austrian government interned the entire family […]

At last, Lukas Foss : Complete Symphonies

Released last month by the  Boston Modern Orchestra Project, this 2 disc recording collects all of the symphonies by Lukas Foss.  Even if these were not good performances – they  are – this would be a valuable recording since Foss’s symphonies have been unjustly neglected. Mr. Foss was, from the start of his composing career, considered an […]

Dmitri Shostakovich : 25 September 1906 – 9 August 1975

Russian composer and pianist, and a prominent figure of 20th-century music.  A poly-stylist, Shostakovich developed a hybrid voice, combining a variety of different musical techniques into his music. Shostakovich’s music is characterized by sharp contrasts, elements of the grotesque, and ambivalent tonality; the composer was also heavily influenced by the neo-classical style pioneered by Igor […]

Was John Cage the greatest composer of the 20th century?

Who was the greatest composer of the 20th century?  This was the question asked recently on a popular Classical Music forum.  Many names were put forward: Bartok, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, my choice was Cage, but even some argued for Mahler. This raises the question how could a composer that died in 1911 be considered the greatest […]