Holy minimalism is a term used to describe a group of three contemporary composers who are interested in sacred music, have left behind serialism, have re-appropriated tonality, and don’t usually mix a whole bunch of elements. Arvo Part, one of them, doesn’t really consider himself a minimalist and seems to think the term indicates more a taxonomic bafflement than a description of his music. I enjoy holy minimalism very much.
I like modern music though. I can’t play my Shotakovich or my Prokofiev as much as I’d like, out of consideration for my wife. Stravinsky? Alas, very little. I don’t believe in the silly tricks of a lot of the avant guarde stuff, but I can handle a Kronos concert with certain relish, after all, that’s pretty rare, how often are you going to be in the same place and time? But these guys (Part, Gorecki and Taverner – I’ve yet to listen to his stuff) come after what you might think of as the really modern stuff. They used to do that and now they have quit.
I’m thinking about it because I just bought Gorecki’s Miserere album. You might find the appelation minimalist sticking to him for the first piece, the Miserere, and not like it. But you will not be able not to like the rest of it. And it might prove a portal to a bit of the rest. I’ve gotten it from the library for years before I bought it, so I would think most would have a copy.
Here is a better explanation of holy minimalism. You will see there why it appeals to me so much. “The music is about the silence.”