20th Century Classical Music I Like

I’m a layman when it comes to Classical music. I don’t play an instrument and I don’t read music, and I have trouble remembering the titles of pieces when they are numbers instead of evocative words.

That said, Ilove many Classical pieces. I prefer the Romantics and I love creative, lively, and also somber, tonal music, including choral music. Some of my favorites from the 18th and 19th Centuries are Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Chopin, Beethoven, Verdi, Rimsky-Korsakov and sometimes Schubert.

Here are some composers I like who composed after the Romantic and tonal-musicperiod had “officially” ended:

Other thanthe 20th Century holdovers from the 19th Century, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Debussy (from the latter two I only enjoy certain pieces),there are some less-well-known 20th Century composers I like who were influenced by the Romantics and who composed tonal pieces with structure, lush andbeautiful sounds, and uplifting emotions well into the 20th Century. These are: Paul Creston (I enjoy his Symphony No. 1 and No. 2), Randall Thompson, and William Grant Still. I like a few of Henry Cowell’s pieces too. My wife happens to play theflute on some Manhattan Chamber Orchestra recordings ofa few of thesecomposers, but that has only led me to learn of the works, not to influence my taste.

On to the 21st Century: Online I have heard samples ofnew compositions by M. Zachary Johnson (http://cdbaby.com/cd/mzacharyjohnson) and I like what I have heard. He is directly trying to revive the spirit of Romanticism and he may well have succeeded.

Terry Teachout, a music critic, hassuggested that a return to tonal music and Romanticism by younger composers, whose pieces are being added to theconcert performancesof today’s orchestras, is a trend. I hope so.

Hereare twoessays on the subjectby Terry Teachout, “Back to the Future” and “Romantics’ Return”.

http://time-proxy.yaga.com/time/archive/printout/0,23657,996278,00.html

http://www.walter-simmons.com/wilderness/reviews/teachout.pdf

I don’t like (nor have I heard) all of the pieces to which he refers, nor do I necessarily agree with all he says, but I think his heart is in the right place.

In the coming week, I expect to have a new podcast available atwww.zigory.solidvox.com that will be related to this topic.

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