Composer selection on twentysound:
We play music from composers who have composed the major part of their works in the 20th or 21st century. The border to 19th century music is fluid, of course - some "late romantic" composers have been included into our selection, e.g. Rachmaninoff or Sibelius. The demarcation to "Neue Musik" - serial or 12 tone music, which we usually avoid, is no sharp line either. One criterion the use of classical instruments - "Neue Musik" composers often use electroacoustic sounds or apply rather strange ways of using classical instruments. Another criterion is the use of classical forms and their terms, like "symphony" or "string quartet", which are often avoided by "Neue Musik" composers. But those are only rules of thumb, of course.
Composers often heard on twentysound:
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 to 1975), the most important Russian composer of the 20th century. He was highly recognized in the USSR, but put under severe pressure several times. His sometimes ironic orchestral sound is easy to recognize. Shostakovich is one of the small number of modern composers who have found the way to recognition by the general public - sometimes hidden, like when his ballet suites are used as background music for TV documentaries, but often in prominent position in classical concerts.
Bohuslav Martinu (1890 to 1959), a Czech composer who lived in exile in the U.S. and Switzerland after World War II. A typical feature of his music is the usage of unusual rhythms. His orchestral works often have a warm, radiating sound. Some works replicate forms of baroque music, like Concerto Grosso.
Harald Genzmer (1909 to 2007), a German composer who has written many easily accessible orchestral compositions. Like his teacher, Paul Hindemith, he also wrote chamber musical works designed to be played by amateurs or music students. Since 1957, he lived in Munich and is one of the few prominent representants of the West German modern music who did not belong to the avantgarde music scene.
Tilo Medek (1940 to 2006), a composer who had his roots in the musical scene of former East Germany, but who emigrated to West Germany in 1977. His music has a very characteristic sound, no wide monumental plains, rather a conscious reduction in musical space, distinctive rhythms combined with memorable melodic cores. Unluckily, only a small number of his works have been released on CD or LP.
Our newest additions are composers from former East Germany, like Othmar Gerster, Kurt Schwaen, Ernst Hermann Meyer or Manfred Weiss, as we have started to digitize old analogue discs and have discovered an excellent CD series dedicated to this region, "zeitgenossen ost - Hastedt", reissuing old radio recordings, founded by a physician from Bremen! In addition, the "Kurt Schwaen Archiv" has decided to support us with additional recordings of Kurt Schwaen. There will be many new discoveries in this area in the future!