As I mentioned in my previous post, I attended two contemporary classical music concerts recently. Both were performances of the Ensemble Musikfabrik, which is a group of musicians dedicated to advancing contemporary classical music. The second concert was a matinee, starting at 11:00 and running until 14:30, with two pauses. The program featured 15 solos for various instruments.
Of the 15 pieces that were performed, 12 were actually pieces commissioned by the group. Two of them were world premieres, and another one was performed here in Germany for the first time. All of the composers are still alive, and two of them were actually in the audience. It is definitely a very different atmosphere compared to when the composer is already long dead, in a distant place away from the performance. This one sounded very live and personal.
I won't go discussing every piece here. I won't say that I liked all of them either. Some were pieces only a virtuoso could perform, while others sounded a little pretentious. There were pieces written for instruments that I find a little hard to digest as a solo instrument. There were pieces requiring very different and non-traditional things from the performer (you don't come across a flautist that speaks while playing the instrument, and yes, speaking featured quite a bit in the program). But for the most part, the program more or less attempted to extend the definition of music, as well as the expectations one has on an instrument.
Perhaps what I learned in this concert is that I am starting to develop my taste of contemporary classical music. I have started to realize that I don't automatically embrace every piece out there, and I am starting to learn what I like and what I don't like. Pieces that require multiple players tend to resonate well with me, especially when there are theatrical aspects involved, but solo pieces sometimes just leave my scratching my head. Some pieces definitely require the player to be a virtuoso, but for other pieces, sometimes I wonder whether the composer was simply constipated that day.