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The place of the chorale in modern music


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I am enamored with the chorale. I love Bach's settings of the Lutheran hymns, I love 19th-century/early 20th century French chorale writing, I love that particular, simple, directly emotional quality.

It is for this reason that I am fascinated by the use of chorale-like writing in modern music: for me, it serves as a way to return the long-breathed line so common in the common-pratice era to the often pointillistic, agitato music I am in the habit of writing. What, if any, is its significance to others?

In addition, post some of your favorite usages of chorale-like textures in modern music.


Donatoni's Poll, for chamber ensemble:

Donatoni was in the habit of writing small, rudimentary gestures that relentlessly continue and eventually form the skeleton of a work, much like the short, staccato scalar figures here. But around :59, he interrupts everything - only briefly - with a craggy, limping chorale that I think is incredibly gorgeous.

Bartók's Piano Concerto No. 2, Movement II: http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

Stacked fifths in the strings, most beautiful thing ever.

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In danger of repeating myself, but the quotation of the Bach Chorale "Es ist genug!" in Berg violin concerto is awesome.

On a related note (the berg concerto baing a sort of Requiem for Alma Mahlers daughter) the Durufle Requiem is among my favourites. I love how he is able to use gregorian plainchant as thematic material. Listen for example to the Kyrie, where slow trombone notes play the gregorian Kyrie melody as a true cantus firmus.

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