If you go to professional musical historians and theoreticians and critics for advice on what to listen to, you might well come away with the impression that modern concert music just isn't for you. Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Messiaen, Boulez, Babbitt, Varèse, Cage, Stockhausen, etc., etc., etc....they always seem to be pushing stuff that's very hard to understand and almost impossible to like. So why not take refuge in modern popular music, which is always easy to understand and often possible to like?
Well, believe me - I feel your pain. Speaking as a guy who earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from one of the top programs in the world, specializing in the aesthetics of music, and who wasted years of his life plowing through the writings of all those professional musical historians and theoreticians and critics (so that you don't have to!) - there's just no "there" there.
The emperor has no clothes.
They're nothing but a pack of cards.
So forget them. And discover the true world of modern concert music. Let's begin in the year 1944:
This is Sir William Walton's "Agincourt Song" - a dazzling symphonic interpretation of the traditional Agincourt Carol - composed c. 1415, and sometimes attributed to England's first great composer, John Dunstable (c. 1390-1453). It's part of Walton's incidental music for Sir Laurence Olivier's brilliant film of Shakespeare's Henry V, which I have used here as background video.