Contemporary Art music is defined here as music descending from the tradition of Western classical music but not in the classical mode. This term is in no way derogatory or elitist and does not assert the superiority of art music over other forms of music; every musical tradition has dignity. The heading "Contemporary Art Music" is simply intended to differentiate this music from earlier formal music.
It should be clear to lovers of Art Music (mélomaine in French) that nearly all music composed after 1990 no longer retains the classical mode of construction, i.e. the traditional tonality, melody, instrumentation, and structure. (Anon. 2015a) This contemporary art music therefore is treated here in this section as either 20th Century Music, Modern Music, Musique Concrète, Avant-garde, etc.
Much of what you are hearing here are works by formal music composers who were directly inspired by beautiful formation caves, not sea caves. When you listen to some of these pieces you enter the stunning splendor at the interior of planet earth and while you are there you should find great peace.
There are some major works here, even a few masterpieces. François Bayle's Jeita, inspired by that world-class show cave in Lebanon, is a master work of musique concrète that ranks among the very finest. From Hungary, Zsolt Durko's Altamira captures the shock of that ceiling and the majesty of it within this outstanding Paleolithic art cave in Spain. Arsenije Jovanović takes us into Resava Cave playing speleolithophonic percussion, whirling with voices and synthesizer through those spaces in great confidence, and carrying you very deep underground before returning to the surface. Listen to Richard Kastle's piano on Batcave at Dusk and the sheer power of it will put you right there.
Then as with all creations there are those which disappoint us. Several pieces here have impressive titles that tantilize and promise great music but don't deliver.
The sections are broken down into 20th Century Music (orchestral and light) and Modern Music, divided according to the principal instruments played in the piece or according to a variety of genres ranging from musique concrète to speleolithophonic.
The new musical term speleolithophonic can be defined as speleothem percussion music obtained by tapping or striking cave formations to obtain musical notes and sounds. This is a very controversial subject among cavers. In the interests of cave conservation the caving community around the world condemns touching all speleothems: calcite, gypsum, or other mineral formations in caves. It is unthinkable that someone would tap on a stalactite for fear that it would break. However, it must be understood that all the recordings of speleolithophonic music listed here were made in show caves, primarily in France and Italy. Obviously, it is in the interest of these show cave owners that no damage be done to their cave formations. From the beginning French and Italian composers have led in this field of contemporary music. Using special padded mallets, all these performers have taken extreme care to not damage the formations in any way.
Under 20th Century Orchestral Music there are three major works which have been recorded by several different artists: de Falla's En la cueva, Griffes' In the Pleasure Dome of Kubla Khan, and Ravel's La chauve-souris from his operetta L'Infant et les sortilèdges.
Some of the works here are marginally art music situated somewhere between formal music and popular music or between formal music and jazz. Should anyone disagree with my organization of entries here please contact me and if I agree with their opinions I’ll make the necessary changes.
Contemporary Art music has been divided into two major parts: 20th Century Music and Modern Music. Under the Modern heading will be found subsections based on whether the music was composed for orchestra, solo instrument or voice.
Three works that have had numerous recorded versions will be listed separately in the column on the left under 20th Century Music.
Each entry was given a code number – starting with “CT” meaning contemporary music followed by the category of contemporary music.
The complete song lyrics are provided for all lyric entries. These lyrics will be found in “Art Music Lyrics” section (tab on bottom left).
The list of abbreviations used for each entry will be found in the “Abbreviations” tab on the bottom left.