I just had the incredible privilege of hearing the Requiem for the Living, by Dan Forrest. Written by a fairly new-ish composer (as in, young, alive, still composing, not dead like Mozart and Beethoven), this choral piece stunned me. I went to school with the composer, and never dreamed he would someday write something like this. Traditionally, the Requiem is a multi-movement choral work written for the dead; it is literally a mass for the dead. By contrast, Dan wrote his Requiem for the living - intended to bring comfort to those who are suffering through whatever pain has hit them in this life. The Requiem opens with the traditional Kyrie-Introit, but departs into one of the most incredible Requiem movements I have personally heard—Vanitas Vanitatum "Vanity of Vanities - all is vanity!" This music brings the listener through all the grief of personal pain. By the end of all the movements, the listener is pointed to the God of heaven and His Christ, who came that there might be a mitigation for suffering - an end - that peace may be both sought and found through the suffering of Christ.
Erik Satie was a rather eccentric French composer living in the 19th century whose music much influenced Debussy. The music of Satie was a definitive break from the wide emotional swings of the music from the romantic era.
Even though it was written in the late 1880's, Satie's Gymnopedies sound fairly modern - almost as though they were written in the 21st century. Pensive tone, haunting melody. Check out Gymnopedies No.1 on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-Xm7s9eGxU
Modern pianist and composer David Lanz - began composing what was then a new type of music in the 1980's.
His music is not what strict die-hard classical musicians consider "serious classical" but it is definitely a genre in its own right. Check out his music on YouTube.
Bonus - To purchase and download scores, see:
Joy B: enriching lives one piano lesson at a time.