Here we present the most influential and radical music of the twentieth century as an introduction to the huge variety that is now available. From mainstream to minimalism.
The raw sexuality of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) caused a famous riot after ist first performance. Here it is included with his Firebird, Pulcinella and Petrushka ballets.
Aaron Copland brought America to classical music. His music was recognisibly American, and was instrumental in popularizing classical music in America. His tender Appalacian Spring uses a beautiful Shaker hymn The Gift to be Simple.
Shostakovich's first cello and violin concertos are his greatest, most visceral and most revealing works. This is his scream against oppression. Performed here in their first recordings in the West. Read our review here.
Inspired by the Book of Revelations and written while in a Nazi concentration camp, the Quartet for the End of Time is one of the icons of Twentieth Century music. Scored for clarinet, cello, violin and piano, the only instruments available in the camp.
Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs has become possibly the most popular piece of modern classical music. Upshaw sing these songs born out of suffering, and creates an uplifting, otherworldy experience. Full review.
The Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's music is like prayer. Contemplative, serene, moving. Don't expect this music to burst forth or even to click. Silence and stillness integral to Pärt. Just let it wash over you.
Steve Reich Ensemble
Steve Reich's groundbreaking music came from his study of African rhythms. This is minimalism at its most fundamental, simple rhythms repeated with slight variations progressively introduced, culminating in the entire complex structure finally realised.
Philip Glass Ensemble
Certainly the most successful of the minimalists, Philip Glass' most popular works appear on this 3 CD set, a great introduction to his style. Music from Einstein on the Beach, Akhnaten, Songs from Liquid Days and others.
Pacific Symphony Orchestra
Toru Takemitsu is Japan's greatest composer. Influenced by film music, minimalism, atonalism and perhaps Debussy, he creates music completely original. Hard to describe, impossible not to like.