NEXTUS Festival (17.4.- 9.5.2021)The CoVid-19 pandemic has been the latest event to show that Classical Music and the artists representing it have to pursue novel paths to survive in a changing world and to continue to have meaning in it. The NEXTUS Festival is an attempt towards these goals - organized by 60 musicians and artists themselves, playing their own and other composers' compositions and designed as an online event offering the opportunity for exchange among the listeners and with the artists. The festival takes place on 4 weekends, starting on Saturday April 17th. In addition to music, also nature plays an important role - as a "Green Mission", selected ecological projects are presented and promoted. twentysound is not directly involved in the festival, but often plays works by one of the artists taking part in the festival, Antonija Pacek, and is planning an interview broadcast with festival organizers and artists.
Update: The interview with Sofia Livotov and Benjamin Hewat-Craw, festival organisators and musicians, will be broadcast on Friday 16.4. at 6 p.m Berlin time and on Saturday 17.4. at 8 a.m.. The interview is in English. That will be the very first interview broadcast on Twentysound! It will be published on this website, too.
Computed Music - Update (27.3.2021)On this and the next weekend, we will repeat the "Computed Music" program, with a small update. This update consists in works from a new "discovery", the composer and musician Mikhail Chekalin. He may be described as the "best known unknown" of Soviet electronic music. I have to confess that I have not yet been able to find out much about him. His style might be described as "symphonic-electronic-phantastic". He created his works using live electronics. The 4 "Computed Music" broadcasts will be broadcasted on March 27th and 28th and April 3rd and 4th, from 6pm to 8pm Berlin time (note: Summer time starting on the 28th)
Songlines (22.1.2021)Generally, you will not find that much vocal music in our programs. But over time, our repertoire has grown and now deserves to get some focus. For this, the "Songlines" program series was created, two-hour programs which mix songs (usually accompanied by piano, sometimes by orchestra or chamber ensembles) and choral works, with short piano works inserted between the vocal works. I would like to thank Pedro Nunes from Portugal and the Kurt Schwaen Archive for their support in filling the programs.
The Songlines program will be broadcast on the next few weekends at 6 p.m., followed by two hours of our "Evening Sounds" program, replacing the Modern Symphonies on the weekend.
Computed Music (16.7.2020)After some preparations, our new "Computed Music" series starts today at 2 p.m (Berlin time). It focusses on algorithmic composing, but also works using electronically generated sounds are included. Important composers of the first catergory are Lejaren A. Hiller, who even back in the 1950s composed works using computer techniques, David Cope, who used computers to emulate the styles of classical composers, and Georgi Minti, who uses the artificial intelligence engine "AIVA" in combination with random generated musical data. Electronically generated sounds in the context of this series are used by the composers Michael Obst and Neil B. Rolnick. The series currently consists of only 4 two-hours instalments which will be broadcast in the following days at 2 p.m..
Personal Remark (2020 / 2021)You might have noticed that not so much has happened on Twentysound since February 2020. The cause of this is a career change of the program manager... the start as a trainee teacher is quite work intensive. I expect this to change to the better in summer 2021 (like that other "C" issue which is expected to get better at that time).
twentysound in the annual journal of the Kurt Schwaen Archive (23.12.2017)Due to twentysound's interest in East German composers, we were offered the opportunity to publish an introductory article on our station in the annual journal "Mitteilungen" of the Kurt Schwaen Archive in Berlin. This article, published in German, can be found on the web, too:
Supplementing the publication of the article, twentysound will broadcast, from December 25th to 31st, 7 programs from the Musical Regions series, all dedicated to East German composers including, of course, Kurt Schwaen.
twentysound App (10.12.2017)twentysound now has their very own Android App! Due to a very reasonable offer of an app developer, we now have an app which is available via Google Play, making it easy to listen to twentysound via any Android smartphone. To install it, search for "twentysound" on Google Play or use the link:
The app also supports podcasts. Due to copyright reasons, we cannot broadcast music via podcasts, but we could produce programs on selected composers, or also interviews. Ideas or even contributions from our listeners are highly welcome!
The Idea behind Twentysound (25.10.2015)To understand the idea behind twentysound, we would like to give you a short introduction of the music history of the last century:
Before World War I, classical music was ruled by late romanticism, with various schools, both conservative and progressive, often focussed on national traditions of the composers' home countries. It was normal to present music of contemporary composers in concerts, and music critics discussed their works regularly in the art pages of newspapers.
Composers continued to develop their styles even after WW I, often bordering on atonality, and incorporating new music styles like jazz. There was a wide bandwith of composers, from conservative to progressive. A small group of Austrian composers centered on Arnold Schoenberg, the "Second Viennese School", went further and developed new musical techniques using twelve tone rows, based more on mathematics than on musical senses. In the musical world, though, they played only a minor role.
Then, World War II broke out. People had other things on their minds than the development of musical culture. After the war, the world was divided into two halves. The East began to follow the "Socialist Realism" doctrine already ruling the arts in the USSR even before the war. All arts, including music, were to serve the People, and had to be easily graspable and clear. Strangely, in a way this helped the classical composers in keeping contact with their audience. There was no race for modernity, and the audience listened carefully for any potentially regime-critical nuance in concerts. On the other hand, some composers were broken, imprisoned or even murdered.
In Western Europe, two things happened. On one side, the youth started to get interested in American popular music, like Jazz or Blues, later Rock and Pop. On the other side, intellectuals (and composers) turned away from the past and fully embraced the musical techniques of the Second Viennese School. The term "Neue Musik" ("New Music") was coined to describe it. Cultural politics and probably also American secret services (ref. Frances Stonor Saunders book "Who paid the piper") supported this trend, to make the contrast with the suppressed Eastern Europe more visible.
The pre-war generation of composers quickly faded into relative oblivion. In concerts, these composers were largely ignored. Instead, in concerts it became usual to "frame" works from the "Neue Musik" school with classical compositions, from Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms, to keep the concert audience from fleeing. In regards to recordings, it was easier for listeners to avoid "Neue Musik". At the same time, music critics influenced the culturally interested public to believe that only "Neue Musik" and its predecessors did really count in contemporary music, that all other musical styles were either kitsch or "movie soundtracks".
The musical portfolio of concerts and recordings also expanded far into the past, due to the rediscovery of Ancient Music, often played using original instruments. In these years, in the view of the general public, a classical composer was usually seen as a composer at least 100 years dead. The wide field of the history of music distracted both musicians and their audience from contemporary works of all directions.
The lost generation of composers also suffered through the lack of a proper name. Many composers of the early 20th century were labelled as "Late Romanticists". "Contemporary" does not really fit, as time moves on. The most fitting term is "Modern Music", which may also be misunderstood, though.
A certain turnaround started in the late 1980's, when the East started to open. Dmitri Shostakovich, the most important composer of the USSR, was played more and more often in the West - some of his works were even used as movie soundtrack. The conductor Herbert von Karajan, High King of Classical Music in Germany, recorded the 10th symphony of Shostakovich. At the same time, late romantic, or better early modern composers like Gustav Mahler were rediscovered by the wider musical public.
But the greatest damage was already done - the concert going public, a minority by now due to the dominance of popular music, was not any more used to the raw, rhythmic sounds of modern classical music. The youth, when introduced to classical music by the older generation, usually gets to know it in the form of Bach-Beethoven-Brahms classics, brilliant, but intellectually frozen in time.
In spite of this, musical culture continues its development. The evolution of classical music has not stopped, many composers continue to cultivate it. A growing number of music listeners are interested in unaccustomed, fresh musical sounds.
twentysound strives to contribute to the renaissance of this generation of composers ignored by the general musical public. We also want to help expanding the audience for composers of the current generation who follow the lines of those composers of Modern Music. Less important to twentysound is the comparison of different interpretations of a small "canon" of classical works by various conductors - we usually have only one version of a composition in our portfolio.
We would like to ask all musicologists for excuse for this shortened and maybe a bit polemic summary of 100 years of musical history!