Anthracite Fields

I heard this on the radio today and was entranced. It’s by a contemporary composer, Julia Wolfe, is the last part of a suite she wrote about the coalfields near where she grew up in Pennsylvania. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015.

This is a kind of description of it – but it needs listening to really!

Anthracite Fields is quite unlike any kind of music from the Baroque, Classical or Romantic Eras. “Appliances” does not seem to follow any melodic line; nor does it have a reliable rhythm or tempo. The voices come in at arbitrary times, and in many instances the piece feels structureless. Unlike most of the classical pieces we have studied this semester, “Appliances” does not immediately register as music and is quite unwelcoming to the ear.
Anthracite Fields

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