Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Maximum Clarity: Ben Johnston On Spotify

Ben Johnston (born 1926) is a composer of contemporary music in just intonation, and one of the foremost composers of microtonal music. He was called "one of the best non-famous composers this country has to offer" in 1990 by American critic John Rockwell.


Ben Johnston is best known for extending Harry Partch's experiments in just intonation tuning to traditional instruments through his system of notation. Johnston's compositional style is eclectic, employing serial processes, folksong idioms (String Quartets 4, 5 and 10), repetitive processes, traditional forms like fugue and variations, and intuitive processes. However, his main goal, "has been to reestablish just intonation as a viable part of our musical tradition" and "ultimately, what Johnston has done, more than any other composer with roots in the great American musical experiments of the '50's and '60's, is to translate those radical approaches to the nature of music into a music that is immediately apprehensive" - Wikipeida

Works in this playlist:
Get this collection in one Spotify playlist here: Ben Johnston: Complete Recordings on Spotify (50 tracks, total time: 3 hours) Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view. Started this playlist in 2010, and finally the string quartets became available on Spoitfy now. Do give it a listen if you never went beyond Shostakovich, Schnittke or the great Villa-Lobos in 20th century string quartets.

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