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Jessica Duchen
Sunday 15th November 2009
Last Composer Standing

Norman Lebrecht, at his blog Slipped Disc, has been inviting votes for the living composers whose music is most likely still to be played 50 years from now. Voting is open until Monday 16th (18.00hrs EST, 23.00 GMT). Place your vote by posting comments at SD. This vote comes hot on the heels of Dilettante Music's competition for a digital composer-in-residence, which I realise I have shamefully failed to report was won by David T. Little for his piece 1986.Norman's contest is fascinating stuff, not least because five of the top ten places have already been assigned by Norman himself and Gavin Bryars - to Birtwistle, Boulez, Rautavaara, Reich and Sondheim... Among the comments flocking onto the site is a strongly worded missive from conductor Sakari Oramo declaring that not one of these pre-ordained five is remotely a contender in his opinion. Now voting is running strongly for Part, Adams, Golijov & co.

As well as placing a vote for my personal favourite, Dutilleux, I've added a rogue name: Nikolai Kapustin. He may not be Mr Serialist, he may not be Mr New Complexity, but pianists sure as hell adore his high-spirited, virtuoso, jazzy, idiosyncratic music if they're technically strong enough to navigate their way through it; so do their audiences; and I bet they still do in 50 years' time. Try the recordings by Marc-Andre Hamelin or Steven Osborne.

Here's an extract of Marc's: the Concert Etude No.1. 


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About Jessica Duchen

Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of four novels, two biographies and several stage works. She writes regularly for The Independent and BBC Music Magazine. Her latest novel, Songs of Triumphant Love, is published by Hodder.

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