Author Topic: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?  (Read 305 times)

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sandalwood

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March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« on: March 02, 2019, 05:50:27 AM »
Has minimalism already passed? Has it left behind anything to stay?

K Gann, a composer himself, says (https://www.kylegann.com/postminimalism.html):

Often the inheritance is structural, in the use of additive process, or in the overlapping of rhythmic cycles out of phase. Sometimes it's melodic, in the preference for linear, hard-edged melodies and focus on a few pitches for long passages of time. Sometimes it's harmonic, in the use of a seamless tonality cleansed of goal-oriented European associations. Sometimes it's rhythmic, in the tendency to create geometric illusions from steady pulses. Sometimes it's textural, in the orchestration of mixed ensembles to create a fused, non-soloistic sound, often playing in rhythmic unison. Little postminimalist or totalist music exhibits all of these characteristics, but most of it exhibits more than one.

Listening to these mountains of music, looking at these dozens and dozens of active composers in their 40s and 50s, how can anyone say - as many have - "minimalism is dead"


Do you think he is right? How would your own work be different had minimalism  never came to being?

Ron

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 07:32:38 AM »
An excellent question. I had long thought that minimalism had said all it had to say. I mean, how many times can one play an F major chord and call it original? Though I have not followed his music closely, it has been my impression that the great minimalist, Philip Glass, has had fewer episodes of repetitive figures in his works for the past decade or so.

As for influence on my work: it has been minimal. :)
Ron
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flint

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2019, 11:54:10 AM »
In my opinion Minimalism is just a fad. There's very little I'd ever want to endure hearing or playing, and enjoyment of it is mostly a non-starter for me.
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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2019, 12:05:11 PM »
I have never been drawn to minimalism;  I usually find it boring.  So I won't mourn its passing if it is dead.  But I doubt it has passed.  As Ron mentioned, Philip Glass seems to have moved away from a pure minimalism, but I think maybe he has taken minimalism beyond its roots rather than abandoning it.  That's how music grows.  Maybe minimalism - in the hands of good composers - has evolved.  Or maybe it is becoming just another tool in the tool kit.  That would be good since a minimalistic section can be effective midst other musical techniques.

I perhaps have a more broad definition of minimalism than some.  In my book the music of John Luther Adams fits my definition minimalistic techniques played by large ensembles.  He seems to have attracted a large following who would not claim his style of minimalism has passed.  I find his music interesting in small doses.  (I would have perhaps preferred Becoming Tide Pool over Becoming Ocean.)

I think some of Arvo Pärt's music could be called minimalist but it's a far cry from Terry Riley.  Minimalism can still be taken in interesting directions.

Michel.R.E

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2019, 01:50:09 PM »
I like the textures in minimalism... but the repetitive (and often simplistic) harmony gets on my nerves.

This is probably why I like the music of John Adams (though a bit less his operas), it's rather "maxi-minimalistic", with large harmonic progressions, and sweeping melodies.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

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Patrick O'Keefe

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2019, 04:23:27 PM »
Sometimes I have tunnel vision.  I certainly should should have mentioned John Adams when I brought up John Luther Adams.  The former's music is certainly is certainly more "traditionally" minimalist than the latter.

Michel.R.E

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2019, 04:41:12 PM »
Well, it's not like their names are similar or anything  ;)
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

sandalwood

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2019, 04:54:28 PM »
I can access some works of J Adams, too :)

I believe compared to Reich-Riley-Glass New World variant, the Old World  Gorecki-Tavener-Part (Holy) Minimalism seems to have better endurance. I have a feeling they might still be fairly strong especially in vocal/choral music.

The process (machine) way of music writing seems to have lost much of its allure. I wonder how it fares in the academia lately.

Michel.R.E

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2019, 05:17:44 PM »
this is my favourite piece of minimalism, but after hearing a few other works of Reich's where the harmony was the exact same progression, it slightly fell out of my favour.

Steve Reich: Desert Music
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Jerry Engelbach

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Re: March, 2019: Has Minimalism passed?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2019, 12:22:59 PM »
Minimalism works well in a film score.
 
I even enjoyed seeing Einstein on the Beach.
 
But to just listen to it?
 
Ho hum.
 
Cheers,
Jer
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