Monday, May 08, 2006

SPEIGELBERG PLEASE ACCEPT THIS BLOG!

..okay....so..its about 12 an a half...or 45 minutes late........ crap..

My blog is on Elise Balzer's recital..it was AMAZING!..I didn't really know much of her rep. so i cant comment on it Other than her emotional performance was stunning. When she performed Liu's two arias from Turandot, she almost cried and moved me to tears as well. You could hear the sobbing in her tone and see the tears welling in her eyes and yet she still produced glorious sounds. It was one of the best emotionally charged recitals i've been to. especially since she's graduating and is Barbara's last voice major ever. damn depauw politics
Well I finally remembered to do this blog, which is funny because it's our last one.
This week I spent a lot of time listening to string quartets by Dvorak because I got the idea fixed in my mind that I would analyze one of these for my theory paper. This seemed like a good idea because Dvorak is one of my favorite composers and I really like string quartet, so clearly I should write a ten page paper about one.

I chose to write about Op. 96 nicknamed "The American" but I'm not going to blog about it right now because i have to get a paper out of this so I better save my thoughts. The piece I almost chse is Op. 51. This quartet is much more lengthy than Op. 96 and also much more characteristically czech. As in Dvorak's Symphony 9, Dvorak strives to capture American folk music in quartet no. 12. In quartet no. 13 (op. 51) Dvorak's nostalgia for his homeland is much more distinct because rather than trying to mix his influences in the piece he is much more grounded in the folk music of the Czech Republic.

My favorite movement is the third, "Romanze. Andante con moto" because of its lyrical melody and beautiful line that is passed from voice to voice (or instrument to instrument if you will) This work is overall very memorable in beautiful.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Joel Elliot's Recital

This week I attended and participated in Joel Eliott's Senior recital on Sunday evening. As someone who enjoys a very ecclectic selection of music, I thoroughly enjoyed his recital as the collection of music was quite diverse. His first piece was a classical selection for piano and trombone. It was very modern and the harmony was quite different than what I am used to hearing. The second piece he played was on piano, and to my surprise, he is quite an accomplished pianist. The third and fourth songs were written by Joel himself and performed (and sung) by him on guitar. They were more folk-oriented and very cheery, giving the recital a nice intermission between the more difficult classical and jazz selections. The last 3 songs were straight from the real book (juju, in a sentimental mood, and nutville), and I participated in this section of the recital. It was very fun and entertaining. Thompson has very nice acoustics and we were able to jive as a combo very nicely. Overall, the performance was very different from what would normally be played at a senior recital and it was a breath of fresh air for me.

Chicago XXX

So, I got the brand new Chicago studio album, Chicago XXX, as one of my birthday gifts over spring break, and I'm definitely glad that I did. This is Chicago's first album of new original material in over a decade, but it was worth the wait.

The album starts out with their new hit single "Feel." This is the first single to feature Robert Lamm's lead vocals is quite a long while. Lamm is one of the few remaining original members of the band, and is the writer of such hits as "25 or 6 to 4," "Saturday In The Park," "Colour My World," "Questions 67 & 68," and "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?." He is in perfect vocal form on this album. His smooth baritone grasps the listener from the start. He even shows off some belting, quite impressively.

The next song is "King Of What Might Have Been" which features Jason Scheff's maturing tenor voice. Scheff replaced the legendary Peter Cetera in the late 80's, and really started out as a pure imitation of him. However, on this album, he really shows his own creative edge. He also sings on the tight harmonic track, "Caroline."

The vocalist who really dominates this album is the epic Bill Champlin, who replaced Terry Kath after he died. After Cetera left Chicago, Champlin was the one who generated the most hit material, including "Look Away," "I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love," "Chasin' The Wind," "You're Not Alone." On this album he soars with "Why Can't We," "Already Gone," "Lovin' Chains," and "Better."

What makes this album great is that it sounds like a mix of the styles of the early Chicago and the later Chicago. This isn't just an album filled with ballads, which is what they resorted to in order to live in Cetera's shadow. They have a lot of upbeat jazzy and funky tunes. This may be due to leadership shown by Lamm and Champlin. They have a lot of modern pop tricks in their sound, probably thanks to producer Jay DeMarcus. All of the instruments sound great as usual. Chicago prove themselves as true professional musicians yet again.

Mozart +Woodwinds= you know

So yeah, probably the only people understand the title are Jessi and Corinne, but I thought it was funny. I'm writing tonight on the piece I'm analyzing for the theory paper: Mozart, Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major K. 297b. I think one of the most interesting things about this piece is that there is great controversy as to whether Moazart actually wrote it. I should probably say that is is attributed to Mozart. Anyway, it's still music, and where there is music, there is analysis...

The three movement work is for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and orchestra. I really like this piece as a whole, and the performance I have of it is amazing. A double exposition, first by the orchestra and then the soloists, opens the first movement with a somewhat jarring offset of meter. Although I guess if you are really paying attention the meter is still present. The way the soloists' sounds are woven together is usually a sort of call and answer, with a lot of unison and sequences. There are couple of place with an Alberti bass pattern in both the clarinet and bassoon.
The second movement is an adagio with intensely lyric falling patterns in first the bassoon, then clarinet, ending up in the oboe, which hands the melody to the horn. The solo parts really are fairly equal in how often they have the melody versus background parts.
The last movement is a theme with variations, and probably my favorite movement of the entire work. An orchestral interlude is in between each variation. A bouncy theme in the oboe seems to get mouthed off by the clarinet in the first variation, like a child back-talking a parent. The second variation is led by the bassoon with a legato line, interacting slightly with the horn.
The third variation brings it back to the clarinet, moving into triplet rhythms. A dolce fourth variation is dominated by the oboe, almost sounding menore. The fifth variation brings us back to duple with slured eighth notes in oboe and clarinet.
The sixth variation opens with flare on an oboe run which weaves with clarinet runs. The seventh variation is a duet between the horn and bassoon at first, moving into the clarinet. The ends of the phrases are owned by the oboe.
The eighth variation is a figural variation in the oboe with eigth notes interjected into the theme. The ninth variation opens with an impossible horn run to which Corinne says "Who are you?" It is reminiscent of the sixth variation. The tenth variation is again dolce with suspension sequences in the oboe against the rest of the quartete. This variation is extended by two measures compared to the rest. The final variations are in a triple meter, seeming to skip to the end of the piece. They alternate phrases between the oboe and clarinet for the most part. The last variation starts slow and then accelerandos to the end.

Tosca

Is AWESOME! And now that I"m getting good at the Italian language it's even more awesome cause I can understand most of it, without reading the subtitles. I think Puccini is a genius. He uses motives to represent each character and presents them in a very subtile way. Which rocks! My favorite part musically and dramatically is when Tosca kills Scarpia. There is this gorgeous dramtic music that just swells and takes over the drama. I love when music and drama can match so well. Music can create such mood swings too. For instance: At the end of the opera Tosca thinks that her lover Cavodossi is going to be fakely executed, but he is really killed. At first the music is all hopefully and rather casual, but as Tosca realizes that Cavadossi is really dead the music quicly changes with the realization. It is a beautiful and horrific moment in the opera.

Jesus Deserves ALL the Praise!

I know the title to this blog seems a bit strange...but contextually, when you realize that this is the last blog I have to write...ever...i think Jesus deserves some praise...if not all of it (lol). As much fun as i have writing these dumb things, i think I'll enjoy not having to write them much more. Um...so, yeah

Last week, I said I was gonna write about the "classical music tour" i was taking...highlighting the Austrian stop I was supposed to make. Scratch that...because I wasn't all that pleased with what I heard. Instead, I'm gonna take a brief moment and talk about a little German Romantic Piece that I enjoy analyzing for this dumb paper due Wednesday: Dichterliebe (by Robert Schumann)

There are 16 movements...(i know...*cringe*...). At this point, i've gotten to about half of them, but tomorrow, I'm gonna make a HUGE push to get to the rest. I've read the texts for all of them, and am quite impressed. The cycle on the whole is about love, through the eyes of a poet (hence the name Dichterliebe ~ Poet's Love). From the beginning, the poet is happy because love has found him, but by the end, he's upset and deep in sorrow because love has left. (very sad).

The music is quite interesting, and the cycle is one of the most famous of its kind. Interesting enough, though is the fact that many of the movements are ridiculously hard to analyze, because they're so short...but we'll work on that for Wednesday!

Happy Blogging!
James

Mozart - JUST SAY NO TO CATHOLICISM!!!!!

I'm in a cynical mood right now. Very bad weekend, you know the whole deal, Michael's depressed... yadda yadda yadda....And to tell you the truth, I would've rather had a root canal than sit through the mass I saw the orchestra and chorus perform today. Nothing against the performers or anything, it just didn't tickle my fancy. I'm sure it was kind of rude that Joel Elliot and I both dozed off half way through, but I could not stay awake.
I did recognize a few things from the mass, like the terms that I learned in music history. It was also nice to have a printed transcription of the words so that you could see what people were saying. I also found it odd that both Professor Crouch and Smith wrote a commontary about performing the piece. I think that helped the audience realize the complexity of setting something like this up.
I also didn't know that there were solosits during the mass. I figured it was like people singing the kyrie, gloria, etc... but this was premiered as an actual performance piece.
The reason why I didn't like the Mozart mass was because I just really don't get entertained by vocal music. A lot of it seemed to blend together because it was all in sequence. No offense to the performers or anything (I can only imagine what you think of some of the crap that I play) but I just don't like it. The only part I enjoyed was the duet between Liz Hartnett (despite her walking stage front while the orchestra was still playing and you could hear her shoes) and another mezzo. The imitative counterpoint they sang was beautiful and really impressed me.
It was rather interesting to hear what an old-school style mass was, but I would've been more entertained to hear some Gregorian chant out of my music history book.
It also amazes me that people could be that into religion than to sit through all of that every Sunday (I may be uneducated about this, but it's a mass right? so therefore I thought it was played at the service, right?) Anyway, it was the last recital that I needed credit for and that's that folks! From now on I'll stick to Carmina Burana for my choral selection.

Last post...i think

Trisha's Recital- May 5, 2006
Trisha started her recital off with Bach’s aria, “qui sedes ad dextram Patris” from Mass in B Minor which showed off her voice and Amanda’s piano playing. She then sang a song cycle of gypsy songs in German by Brahms. They were quite short and I especially liked the one about the roses.
"S’manie implacabili" from Cosi fan tutte opened the second part of the recital..it seems like I’ve heard this piece sung a ton lately. It has a showy recicitive and the aria is very memorable, but it’s Mozart so what do you expect.
Next Trisha sang a Poulenc song cycle, Le Bestiaire, which was delivered quite well. Much character is needed for these songs and Trish certainly told the stories through her eyes. They were very short pieces which didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, they went from one about dophins to one about a grasshopper, but were pretty cute. Paper wings, a song cycle by Jake Heggie was next. These also didn’t seem like they had any relevance to each other either. But each individually was really funny and tonally very interesting.
The program ended with two musical theatre pieces, Stars and the Moon from Songs for a New World and then the last piece, Trish sang with Sarah Fox, “For Good” from Wicked. Pretty much the whole audience was in tears.
Overall it was a very assorted and emotional program.

Mozart 40

So, since I spent a bit too much time this weekend with Mozart 40, I am going to give you a preview of the piece. The piece is interesting to analyze, for three out of the four movements in this symphony are in sonata form. Without giving too much away about the content of my paper, each of the sonata form movement really is formed in a different way. It is interesting to see the ways in which Mozart has taken a relatively strict form and changed it to make it accessible yet interesting in three movements. It is also very interesting to see a second movement in sonata form. I really like this form for a slow movement; it allows the thematic material to get beyond simply a statement when you have three distinct shots at it in the expo, develop, and recap. This symphony is one of his later and is arguably the most famous symphony that he wrote. The piece was originally written without clarinet parts, but it is evident he revised the score at a later date to accommodate his clarinetist friends. There are parts of this work that, if heard out of context, you would believe were from the sometime in the romantic period or perhaps later. Each of the movements has a different emotion associated with it with a range of emotions within each of these movements. Ok, I think that is enough…I don’t want to repeat what I have said in my paper, so yeah. This is a very cool piece and according to Jessi, “it gets in your head really easily" and she would know since I subjected her to it a few times.

Beethoven Op. 28 and me

I realize that I have all ready blogged on the first movement of this piece, but I've listened to the last three movements much more fully this weekend than probably any piece all semester. The second and third movements are both composite ternary form. The third movement is a fun one- Sonata Rondo! Of course, I dont want to reveal too much of what I wrote in my paper, but I'm willing to share a few interesting tidbits.

First of all, Beethoven does not leave the tonic key of D major in this work. Usually the second movement will be written in the dominant or something, but all Beethoven does is change the mode. The second movement is in d minor.

Also, it is well documented that the second movement of this piano sonata was Beethoven's favorite and he would play it for himself all the time. It's also the least "Pastoral" of the work.

Another interesting thing, is the phrase length in the first movement. Beethoven uses
ten measure long phrases, which is a rather uneven number.

Lastly, I learned (from analyzing and from Corinne) that Sonata Rondo form is a lot harder to analyze than it seems. Transitions can be longer than you think, and that you should not choose a symphony to analyze... especially one with three movements in sonata form. you're likely to spend hours and hours on one movement, cursing the composer to no end.

crazy death music...but freakin awesome

I listened to the new TOOL album that came out Tuesday. It is quite simply amazing. Along with the polyrhythms and great lyrics, this band adds so much more than anything I've ever heard with metal music. I'm not a huge fan of dark metal or "death" metal but this is easily one of my favorite bands and forms of music I've ever heard. Their innovativeness preceeds anything that will ever be played again. No one can recreate music like this. Even if you don't like the style of music, all of you should have some sort of respect for the talent that each of these musicians have. Use it to get motivated for finals...

This site really hates me

So as some of you may know, I haven't been able to access the site in weeks. BOO BLOGGER!! Anyway, I will put my last post up with pride. German Lieder are funny. They all sound similar. While I was sitting in the German diction recital on Wednesday, I realized that all of the songs sound similar (except for James's song from Tannhaeuser, which was very well done). Most of the German Lieder we sang were from the same time period (Romantic), with a few classical and 20th century, and I realized then and there that one can tell the era just by listening (I probably should have realized this during music history, it would have come in handy). I also realized that Schumann sounds different than Schubert who sounds different from Brahms. One can tell which songs are Schumann, Schubert, or Brahms just from listening. The three have very different styles which all fit into the style of Romantic Lied. Many of the songs are strophic or in rounded binary or ternary. Mine was rounded binary. Good times. Singers, yay last diction concert EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mozart Rocks My Face Off!

Ok, I know some people don't like Mozart, but I do! So you know I had tons of fun performing his Mass in C minor this afternoon. Not only was it a great honor and experience being a soloist, but also being able to perform it. I felt we did pretty well on it too.

I know Mozart used a lot of inspiration from Haydn (or was it Handel? I always get those two mixed up). You can tell by the way he uses pattern runs in the "Cum Sancto Spiritu" and "Osanna" movements.

Another cool thing about Mozart with this peice is how the orchestra reiterates what the chorus sings. Very much like part doubling. I think he used that to highlight certian texts and passages. The use of his text painting is wonderful.

I found my favorite movements were the "Kyrie" and "Qui tollis". "Kyrie" has such a beautiful yet tense melody and sound. Unlike most Kyrie movements I've heard which are light and simple, this one really grabs your attention. And when the soloist sings, than you get the sweet little light melody, like an angel coming out of the group to plead for them. But than it goes right back to that tense melody in the end. Than the "Qui tollis" I feel is the most intense of them all. I mean, you've got two choirs singing at once, making you not sure where to listen with the same intensity and energy if not more. And to add more tension, the orchestra plays those dotted eighths and sixteenths.

All in all, it's a beautiful peice of music and I love listening to it! (and singing it!)

Mozart definitly rocks my face off!

the complete atomic basie

one of my favorite albums of all time, I spent some time relaxing to count basie's "the complete atomic basie"

Every single track on the album is great, swinging like crazy. The opening track, the kid from red bank, is a huge up-tempo tune that, again, swings like crazy. The count has a solo, one that proves simplicity is bliss. He uses only 3-4 notes and sounds great doing it.

My favorite track on this is "splanky." I played this at a jazz camp at eastern illinois university. a simple, medium paced tune, the melody is really spectacular.

Everything on this album is wonderful, solos, time, swing, balance, trumpeters...wow.

Trisha's Recital...

It's always a little sad when a Senior does their recital as they know it is normally their last performance as a soloist at DePauw. HOwever, Trisha Wells' recital took that sadness to a new level. For reasons that I won't talk about in this blog, it was VERY hard for Trisha to be able to perform with her mom in the audience and yet it was awesome that she did.
In my opinion this recital was the BEST that I've ever heard Trisha sound. Amanda (Trisha's accompanist) was outstanding, as usual. They were very much together throughout the entire recital. The format of the repertoir was much alike any of the voice recitals, with all four of the common languages (English, German, Italian, and French). I felt that Trisha's German and French diction was especially good, and her musicality was great. Her acting was very good, however there were times when she tried to do all of her acting with her eyes rather than her entire body. The last piece of the first act that Trisha sang, Dinah's Aria - Bernstein, was beautiful and I felt that it was a GREAT piece to end with.
Trisha ended her recital with a duet from Wicked (For Good), which she sang with Sarah Fox. Before this piece began, she made an announcement to her mom that it meant the world that she was here for her last recital at DePauw. At that point, (Before the music even started) many of the people in the audience were crying. If you don't know this song from "Wicked", the words are very powerful and especially meaningful to Trisha and her life right now. Trisha began the song very beautifully, but when it was time for Sarah to come in, she couldn't do it. SHe was crying and it was very hard for her to sing. Everytime Sarah would lose it, Trish would grab her hand and sing to her. It was very sad and yet as the song went on they did hold it together and sang this piece excellent. By the end of this song about 80% of the audience was in tears or even sobbing in some cases. It was a very sad and upsetting experience, but at the same time, a VERY well done job by Trisha Wells.

last blog!!!!

So this week I listened to some Gilbert and Sullivan, more specifically the Pirates of Penzance.
The first time I ever heard this music I think I was about 5 or 6.My parents are friends with a couple that belong in some theater group that likes to put on Gilbert and Sullivan shows adn used to do them in the theater at University of Chicago.

I think my favorite song is "I am the very model of a Modern Major General" The recording I have is a little slow compared to others I've heard, but it still is an impressive piece. The lyrics are very clever, even including a jab at H.M.S Pinafore, G&S's previous operetta.

Maybe this is a strange thing to notice, but some of the songs sung by the females are somewhat similar to some Andrew Lloyd Webber writing, especially of Phantom.

The story line to Pirates is pretty strange, the main character Frederic was given as an apprentice to a band of pirates as a child when his nurse misunderstood her orders of apprenticing him to a pilot. The story takes place on his 21st birthday when he is released from his servitude. It turns out that he hates the pirate life and only has worked for them out of a sense of duty and plans on turning them in. He then falls in love iwth the major general's daughter and plans to turn the pirates in and marry her, but then the pirate king points out that he was born in leap year..so instead of turning 21 he really just turned 5, and therefore must stay with them until 1940.I don't want to ruin the ending, so I'll stop there.



so yes. last blog. yay.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

so i forgot my blog again.....

but I am going to avoid writing about the band cd...even though i could write lots...

This week I listened to a little Puccini, all of the great Puccini opera arias to be exact. A year ago I would have cringed at the thought of sitting down and listening to a bunch of arias, but I've learned tolerance.

From a few conversations I've had with "normal" people about opera. It seems that to people who don't know music, Puccini is a favored opera composer. While I had the cd going my roomate started pretending to sing along to "Nessun dorma' from Turandot. The arias are all highly emotional and I think that appeals to the general public. And after listening to these I started to realize that I heard a lot of them show up in movies.

so yeah. Puccini=good times.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hey, Sorry this is a little late but I listened to a lot of music this week and couldn't decide what to write about...Anyway, I listened to the Barber Violin Concerto performed by Perlman and the Boston Symphony. I hadn't heard the third movement but it was crazy. I couldn't really tell if I enjoyed the movement because of how crazy it was or if I just have such a great deal of respect for anyone that can play it that well, or both. But, it was cool none-the-less and the first movement still continues to be one of my favorite violin concertos.

Opps...

I know this is late and I'm sorry! I just remembered that I had to do it! This weekend has been nuts!

Well, I really don't know what to write about this week since I really haven't listened to anything new. Well, except for Zombies from the Beyond. I did tech crew for that show this weekend, so I've been hearing that music non stop for the last 2 weeks with rehearsals and performances.

What a crazy musical. It's suppose to be a parody on 50's pop culture, and a cross between a really bad b-list 50's sci fi movie and b-list musical. It's actually pretty funny. There are many sexual inuendos however. But anyway, the music involved is ridiculous. You can tell is really is inspired by the 50's. Every song has a corny melody and there was only 2 pianos involved. There's a shoo-wop song called "In the Stars" which of course embodies your typical 50's ballad or sad song with even a verse spoken, there's a dance number that involves one of the main woman characters and all the men do a song and dance called "Blast off Baby" and a tap dance song called "Atomic Feet". What I found interesting was that they made the villian or the alien, Zombina, into a coloratura soprano. All of her songs were very operetic which is different.

All in all, the music was crazy and interesting with a bunch of chromatisism that drove me nuts most of the time because I felt it didn't sound right and there was quite of range of notes as well.
Jen Chapin is one of my favorite singers. She doesn't necessarily have a beautiful voice, but it has a really cool edgy quality to it while still being enjoyable to listen to. I also really like the lyrics to her songs because they actually have enough depth to them to make me stop and think about them. Her album Open Wide, which I listened to this week, is especially cool because it is just Jen Chapin singing and Stephen Crump playing the bass. There are no other instruments accompanying her at all. I didn't even know that this could work, but it actually does quite nicely because it adds to the pensive quality of her lyrics and the afore mentioned "edginess" in her voice. I will admit that by the time the album is over, I've gotten my fill of this particular sound, and am ready for some music with a little more texture to it than just voice and bass, but all in all this album provides a nice change of musical scenery.

Memoirs of a Geisha

So, I listened to the soundtrack to the film Memoirs of a Geisha. It is absolutely beautiful and I recommend it for everyone!!! I usually do not like just instrumental or orchestral music, but I would be content to go to a live performance of this without the movie playing in the background. In fact, I've put it on my mp3 player. However, it makes sense with the movie and plays an essnential role. Each main character has an instrument that basically is their musical equivalent. The cello is Sayuri, the young geisha and it represents a bittersweet innocence..and a very lyrical yet melancholy violin is the Chairman which is her love interest.
The orchestra also makes use of traditional japanse instruments such as the Shamisan, this one long 13 stringed instrument that can be tuned at will, gongs, and these long wooden flutes. It really has an ineffable effect and it really has to be listened to to fully enjoy. It's one of the best scores done for a movie that I've ever heard. People praised titanic and lord of the rings, but this beats them all...because it holds so much more meaning,

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sgt. Pepper

Well, driving home last night I randomly chose to listen to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. I'd have to say that this is definately my favorite of all CDs by the Beatles. In fact, one song, Within you Without You is literally the song that sparked my interest in Indian music and is the reason for me pursuing my trip to India this past January. There is so much good music by the Beatles it's rediculous to think of how they could come up with all the stuff they did.

Getting Better is a really nice song with a really cool bass line. Nice and upbeat, I like it.
She's Leaving Home is actually based on a comic strip that one of the Beatles read in a newspaper, and is literally word for word based off the comic. It's still really cool though.
Benefit of Mr. Kite has some really weird words, and is based off an advertisement for a circus in Penny Lane (read the lyrics... you can't make that stuff up)
Within you without you.... AMAZING! The Beatles loved their trip to India, especially George, and a lot of his songs have Indian influences. I remember listening to this song as a kid and loving the sitar and tabla present in the song. It resembles Hindustani music quite a bit actually. Stronlgy suggest listening to this one.
Finally, A Day in the Life is one of the greatest songs ever written. The lyrics are very deep and the music is equally as cool. The last chord was played on 4 pianos!

Not only is the music cool from the Beatles, but the lyrics are equally as cool. It's so cool to think that somebody could come up with as many meaningful lyrics as they did. Sgt. Peppers in my opinion was their best CD, so definately check this one out!

"The Mission"

In honor of the Film Music class watching The Mission, I thought I’d blog about the movie soundtrack. Alas, I have not seen the movie, but there are awesome oboe solos in this.
The opening track, “On Earth as it is in Heaven” has a baroque feel with harpsichord, ethnic vocals and oboe. The theme played by the oboe returns in other tracks, providing continuity throughout.
“Falls” keeps with the overall African feel, considering the film is set in Africa. Strings give an aerial feel to this track, giving the sensation of being in the air.
“Gabriel’s Oboe” is essentially the oboe theme with calmer accompaniment in vocals and murky strings.
“Ave Maria Guarani” is a rendition of Ave Maria with an African twist. A capella choir provides a more formal feel to this track.
“Brothers” is a low register flute solo with harp and strings accompaniment.
“Carlotta” is a guitar solo with strings accompaniment.
“Vita Nostra” has recorder playing the “Gabriel’s Oboe” theme, very similar to “On Earth as it is in Heaven” except with recorder.
“Climb” gives a calmer feel with quiet strings. “Remorse” takes these strings and adds tension and bassoon to the texture. A high register oboe solo ends the track.
“Penance”, another track of tension, is dominated by a chromatic motive.
“The Mission” begins with a flute solo, followed by horn and strings in the Mission theme.
“River” returns the percussion and vocals from “On Earth as it is in Heaven” and develops them further, considering there is no oboe solo above them.
“Gabriel’s Oboe” makes a return visit opening with a bassoon solo and then transitioning into the oboe solo.
The remainder of the soundtrack is relatively the same, finishing with “Misere”, a child vocal solo.

Classical Tour Around the World

So I am now in possession of a box set of 10 cd's highlighting classical music from certain countries called "Classical Journey". It's a huge collection of different pieces from all kinds of composers. One thing that's great about these cd's is that there's a lot of well-known stuff, which makes them more interesting to listen to, especially because I recognize a lot of what's being played. Yesterday I listened to the first volume "Austria"...i really enjoyed this one! Here are some highlights for you:

Mozart's Symphony No. 40 (Molto Allegro)
* I really liked this piece...seeing as how it's one of his more famous symphony movements. I'm really upset because of the fact that now that I'm in Musicianship...i can't just listen to a piece...i find myself listening to form and whatnot. I always take notice of returns of motives and such. (i guess that's culture for you!)

Strauss's Waltz - The Beautiful Danube
* EVERYONE is familiar with this piece...and if you say you're not...you're a terrible liar. I couldn't help but think of a spring scene, with dancing nature and whatnot...i don't know why. Strauss just has that effect on people sometimes, i guess

Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
*One of my favorite pieces by Mozart. This "sonata form" (god, musicianship is ruining my life!) piece is a VERY famous piece, and I like it a lot. When I was in high school, the orchestra did this piece, and since then, I've been in love with it. Something about strings just makes me love it even more!

Haydn's Symphony No. 94, 'Surprise' (Andante)
*I think this piece is rather familiar...seeing as how i recognized the main theme, but I can't remember why I know it. Oh well, it's haydn. I like his melodic line for some reason. It's really easy to listen to and get lost in!

So those pieces are just a highlight of the cd that's an hour and a half long. Next week, I plan on listening to the next installment: Hungary!

choosing new rep

Well now that proficiencies are thankfully finished, I got to begin looking at new repertoire for the summer and next semester. I spent about 2 hours listening to different pieces (thanks to Naxos) last night and found some really good stuff.

The pieces that I chose, (after listening to many) include: Brahms Op. 118 Intermezzo in A major (I believe this was on a quiz earlier in the semester...), Beethoven Piano Sonata No. 3, Rachmaninov Etude- Tableaux, Op. 33, No. 9, and Chopin Nocture No. 5 in F# major.

I've wanted to play this Brahms intermezzo since the first time I heard it and every time afterwards. I can't say anything else about it other than it's probably one of the most beautiful piano pieces I have ever heard.

I chose this Beethoven sonata for a few reasons. Firstly, it begins in C major (that's an easy key to play in...). Secondly, I like the statement the FTA makes. Finally, I also want to do one of the Beethoven sonatas that not all the other piano majors have done (AnnMarie is the only one that's done this one since I've been here).

Listening to Rach is always extremely enjoyable and I've found that I especially like the Etudes- Tableaux. This one is my favorite.

Finally, the Chopin Nocturne balances out the C major Beethoven Sonata being in F# major (also assisted by the C# minor Etude-Tableaux). This nocturne is also more jazzy and playing the Bennett, I've found that I really enjoy playing in that style more and more.

Of course, all these have to be approved by the higher up (Dr. May Phang) but if I work on them now or later, I'm just excited to get new repertoire period!!!

Jazz Band Concert

This week the jazz ensemble had a concert with a guest trombonist Eric Zimmerman, an incredibly accomplished and talented musician. Not only was he a pleasure to play with, his technical facility on the trombone was astounding. He made the trombone sound as if it were a trumpet, hitting incredibly high registered notes. Even though he only appeared on three of the songs, he was the highlight of the production. His solo on "Night in Tunisia," (one my favorite tunes) was so gracefull and full of color. He used harmony that I would not expect a trombonist to use and held high notes to accentuate the color of the chords. My only complaint would be that he was a bit of a showboat. Although he was the most technically gifted trombonist that I had ever seen, he tried to use a bit too much flash and cliche quotes (within his solos) to capture the awe of the audience (though I must admit, I wish that I could play like him).

"Zombies From The Beyond"

I saw "Zombies From The Beyond" on Saturday night. The singing was excellent, especially Liz Hartnett's soaring soprano. The musical is sort of a parody on 1950's sci-fi movies, and the musical achieved campiness in every facet: acting, choreagraphy, set design, light design, and sound design. The music was clearly early 50's rock-inspired: complete with tons of I-vi-IV-V progressions. Also, the instrumentation was quite interesting. It featured only two keyboards, played by Sarah Masterson and Keith Teepen. However, Keith's keyboard part was originally intended for accordion, which was the only voice he was directed to use.

The lead cast was comprised mostly of upperclassmen women and first-year student men. The men acted more as a chorus than the Zombettes, which I found interesting. My only real complaints are that the production lacked any quality tap dancing, which I know that the show is supposed to feature, and that the music lacked solos by baritone vocalists, which is the most common vocal type in rock music.

Beethoven blog from last week (would not post)

In honor of Shua analyzing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, I decided to listen to it this week. I have a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic playing it on my iTunes and it, of course, was very well performed. Like myself, Beethoven also liked this symphony quite a bit, saying that it was his “most excellent symphony.” This symphony is quite accessible to listen to relative to a few of his other symphonies. The first movement starts off slowly before moving into the vivace section. Like many other first movements of symphonies, this movement is in sonata form. Beethoven seems to like the slower beginnings to his symphonies, taking a few minutes to even state the rest of the theme for the rest of the movement. In this movement, it takes around four minutes to get to a place where we hear hints of the theme for the rest of the movement. It is only then that he moves into the vivace section. This movement has some of the best horn excerpts of any of his music, writing perfectly for the sound and the logistical aspect of the horn. Good choice Shua. The second movement is almost haunting. Again, while looking at the background of this symphony, I found it interesting that Wikipedia reported that some of the musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra played this movement when they received notice that a colleague or former musician of the orchestra died. This movement drips with the quiet emotionality that makes this movement so powerful. I also found it interesting that it became common tradition in the nineteenth century to repeat this movement. I wonder a bit why that decision by conductors was make; the piece is sufficiently long and accessible the first time around. Hmmm….Spiegelberg, what do you think of them messing with the form of the symphony? The third movement is quick and light, as was common with scherzo trios. The last movement, like the third, is quick. Perhaps this is why conductors liked to repeat the second movement. The fourth, like the first, movement has some of the best horn excerpts that Beethoven offers in his symphonies. This symphony is quite accessible and is a blast to listen to. I would definitely recommend listening to the recording of the Vienna Phil; there is something about listening to a recording with a full section of the Viennese horn players that is really exciting and is as Beethoven intended.

Copland and band

I decided to listen to a bit of Copland this week since we recorded Fanfare for the Common Man this weekend in band. I believe that the recording that I have is of the Minnesota Orchestra (although I am not positive about that because my iTunes did not list the performing ensemble). In conversations between the conductor of the piece’s premiere and Copland, the conductor was quoted as saying, “Its title is as original as its music, and I think it is so telling that it deserves a special occasion for its performance. If it is agreeable to you, we will premiere it 12 March 1943 at income tax time". Copland's reply was "I [am] all for honoring the common man at income tax time". Copland also explored other titles such as Fanfare for a Solemn Ceremony and Fanfare for Four Freedoms in writing this piece. The recording, besides being of a professional group, had a few differences in the interpretation of the piece than our band. The tempo of the piece was, overall, faster. The timbre of the ensemble was darker than our ensemble, which is typical of MN Orch, however the trumpets were surprisingly bright in this recording. They usually do not have all that bright a sound, so perhaps this was intentional for this piece; either the conductor or Manny must have wanted that style for the piece. The piece is stylistically very typical of Copland, which utilize many open intervals with 4th and 5ths. Also, the use of brass and percussion is quite typical of his music; he tends to write in a very high tessitura for wind instruments. Although I really enjoy listening to all of the pieces on this recording, it is really fun to listen to a piece done by a professional group that you too have recorded just to listen to the differences between the levels of playing.

15 hours of the war requiem

So. I'm writting my Mass class paper on Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. And this weekend I'm fairly sure that I've listened to it for over 15 hours. Its a gourgeous piece of music, but it is starting to get a little old.
One of the most interesting features that I've come to apricate is the use of the tritone as a figure of stabilty. Throughout the piece the tritone is usued to establish a key area, which I don't quite understand entirely, but as I listen to this piece more and more the idea is growing on me. The tritone is often presented in a very straightforward manner however at times it is hidden. One such example is one phrase ending on a C# and the next sung one beginning on an F. I really love how it apears so often and in so many varieties.
After listening to this for so long I'm also starting to find myself become more and more liberal and more and more pacifist. I guess Britten knows how to impact people with his music.

band recording

So after listening to the band recording Lux Aurumque and Blue Shades for five hours, I might as well write about these two pieces.
Lux Aurumque is a piece by Eric Whitacre which is originally a choral piece. It used no percussion but was beautiful and very flowing. The band sounded excellent playing this piece and it went by quickly. T
he next piece however was really fast and difficult to get perfect. Blue Shades written by Frank Ticheli sounded so fun to play. Parts of the piece sounded like James bond music and other parts were extremely jazzy. There is a really neat clarinet solo in this piece which took like an hour to record, but I enjoyed listening to it. All in all, I think the band has a really good cd coming their way and they deserve it because that was hard work.

eric whitacre

Thanks to the university band and the pirating skills of david doud, I have been turned on to whitacre, a very innovative new `composer. His music is full of dissonance, extended chords, and great harmonies. In the band, we just recorded "lux arumque" a choral piece set for band which embodies the above techniques he is known for. After listening to his new album, cloudburst, I am amazed at the colors and pictures he paints in his music. The only complaint I do have about him is that although his music is peaceful and calming, a lot of it sounds the same. He uses a lot of 2nds, 4ths, and 6ths, but without normal chords, a lot of this doesn't have the same calming effect. Other than that, I strongly reccommend checking him out, hes new (even on myspace) and im sure we'll be hearing more of his work


as always,

AJ

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Sarah Fox...

Today I went to Sarah Fox's senior recital. It was EXCELLENT! Sarah and Amanda gave an amazing performance. Jim Muetzel also played the flute for a piece and did a very nice job. Sarah's recital was actually almost an hour and a half, and not once did she seem tired. She had a lot of fun repertoir but at the same time very difficult repertoir. The song that impressed me the most was the piece that Jim performed with her. It is called "Ah! vous dirai-je, maman" on a Theme by Mozart. There were constant runs at a very fast pace, and many very high sustained notes. It was very impressive and I was a bit surprised that she didn't perform this piece last.
Her program began with Handel and moved to Heggie, Strauss, and Offenbach. THen there was an intermission, which was probably much needed for Sarah. During intermission Sarah actually changed dresses and Trisha Wells appeared with her for the first song after intermission. Together, they performed "Black Swan" from The Medium by Menotti. The second half of her program consisted of works by Mihaud, Strauss, Rorem, Copland and ended with Ravel. The ending piece was very nice and Sarah was really in character. My favorite piece of the entire concert was probably the Doll aria by Offenbach. Sarah stayed in character the entire piece and was very funny. She pretended to be a doll for the entire piece. This was also a very difficult piece as there were high high high E flats in this piece. It was very obvious through out this entire concert that Sarah loves what she is doing, works very hard, and was very well-prepared. I was very impressed!

Monday, April 24, 2006

this didn't work earlier, here you go...

Today I listened to a variety of different albums by stan getz. I thought I'd spend some time devoted to listening to his style, feel, and choice of notes. I love his smooth lyrical style of playing, It almost put me to sleep a couple of times. I love how he stays in the changes instead of playing like coltrane and playing anything but the chords written on the page. He never gets boring and his solos all make sense harmonically. I like how stan started to integrate the latin style in his music, it adds a whole new dimension to his sound. overall, if I've learned anything, its that a soloist can play in the changes at all times and find other ways of keeping the listener interested into what he or she is playing without having to reharm the whole tune...

AJ

this didn't work earlier, here you go...

Today I listened to a variety of different albums by stan getz. I thought I'd spend some time devoted to listening to his style, feel, and choice of notes. I love his smooth lyrical style of playing, It almost put me to sleep a couple of times. I love how he stays in the changes instead of playing like coltrane and playing anything but the chords written on the page. He never gets boring and his solos all make sense harmonically. I like how stan started to integrate the latin style in his music, it adds a whole new dimension to his sound. overall, if I've learned anything, its that a soloist can play in the changes at all times and find other ways of keeping the listener interested into what he or she is playing without having to reharm the whole tune...

AJ

as the perfect conclusion to my weekend....i forgot my blog..

sooo here i go. Sine this was a rough weekend I spent a good portion of it listening to the Beatles. My Beatles playlist is about 11 hours long...

So I don't think I could ever have a favorite Beatles song because there's just too many. but some that I really like came on.

Martha My Dear: This one's off the White Album. I like it mostly because of the "honkey-tonk" style of the piano.

I'm Looking Through You: From Rubber Soul probably comes close to being a true favorite. Again, it's not the happiest of lyrics but the music is upbeat. I think I like these just because they're different...but not acid tripped out different.


Real Love: Real Love is from the second anthology set. John wrote it sitting at his piano back in 79 I think using just an 8 track. After recording Free as a Bird they found this track and remastered it and had Paul help fill in the weak spots in the tape. It's a little ironic that he's singing about finding "real love"and after his death his old bandmates are finishing the song about the love that caused them to break up in the first place




okay I'm done...sorry it's not the best blog ever....

Vienna Phil

In honor of Shua analyzing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, I decided to listen to it this week. I have a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic playing it on my iTunes and it, of course, was very well performed. Like myself, Beethoven also liked this symphony quite a bit, saying that it was his “most excellent symphony.” This symphony is quite accessible to listen to relative to a few of his other symphonies. The first movement starts off slowly before moving into the vivace section. Like many other first movements of symphonies, this movement is in sonata form. Beethoven seems to like the slower beginnings to his symphonies, taking a few minutes to even state the rest of the theme for the rest of the movement. In this movement, it takes around four minutes to get to a place where we hear hints of the theme for the rest of the movement. It is only then that he moves into the vivace section. This movement has some of the best horn excerpts of any of his music, writing perfectly for the sound and the logistical aspect of the horn. Good choice Shua. The second movement is almost haunting. Again, while looking at the background of this symphony, I found it interesting that Wikipedia reported that some of the musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra played this movement when they received notice that a colleague or former musician of the orchestra died. This movement drips with the quiet emotionality that makes this movement so powerful. I also found it interesting that it became common tradition in the nineteenth century to repeat this movement. I wonder a bit why that decision by conductors was make; the piece is sufficiently long and accessible the first time around. Hmmm….Spiegelberg, what do you think of them messing with the form of the symphony? The third movement is quick and light, as was common with scherzo trios. The last movement, like the third, is quick. Perhaps this is why conductors liked to repeat the second movement. The fourth, like the first, movement has some of the best horn excerpts that Beethoven offers in his symphonies. This symphony is quite accessible and is a blast to listen to. I would definitely recommend listening to the recording of the Vienna Phil; there is something about listening to a recording with a full section of the Viennese horn players that is really exciting and is as Beethoven intended.

Vienna Phil

In honor of Shua analyzing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, I decided to listen to it this week. I have a recording of the Vienna Philharmonic playing it on my iTunes and it, of course, was very well performed. Like myself, Beethoven also liked this symphony quite a bit, saying that it was his “most excellent symphony.” This symphony is quite accessible to listen to relative to a few of his other symphonies. The first movement starts off slowly before moving into the vivace section. Like many other first movements of symphonies, this movement is in sonata form. Beethoven seems to like the slower beginnings to his symphonies, taking a few minutes to even state the rest of the theme for the rest of the movement. In this movement, it takes around four minutes to get to a place where we hear hints of the theme for the rest of the movement. It is only then that he moves into the vivace section. This movement has some of the best horn excerpts of any of his music, writing perfectly for the sound and the logistical aspect of the horn. Good choice Shua. The second movement is almost haunting. Again, while looking at the background of this symphony, I found it interesting that Wikipedia reported that some of the musicians in the Philadelphia Orchestra played this movement when they received notice that a colleague or former musician of the orchestra died. This movement drips with the quiet emotionality that makes this movement so powerful. I also found it interesting that it became common tradition in the nineteenth century to repeat this movement. I wonder a bit why that decision by conductors was make; the piece is sufficiently long and accessible the first time around. Hmmm….Spiegelberg, what do you think of them messing with the form of the symphony? The third movement is quick and light, as was common with scherzo trios. The last movement, like the third, is quick. Perhaps this is why conductors liked to repeat the second movement. The fourth, like the first, movement has some of the best horn excerpts that Beethoven offers in his symphonies. This symphony is quite accessible and is a blast to listen to. I would definitely recommend listening to the recording of the Vienna Phil; there is something about listening to a recording with a full section of the Viennese horn players that is really exciting and is as Beethoven intended.

Recording and such

As the band prepares for the recording project coming up next weekend, the concert Sunday was quite an interesting experience. We played four songs that will be on the CD- Zion, Lux Aurumque, Brooklyn Bridge (featuring Randy Salman on clarinet) and Blue Shades.

Zion was a little off. It sounded ok, I think, but the music was not fitting together as well as it has in rehearsals. The piece is hard, but we have never played it like we did yesterday. Everyone was following Dr. Pare' but each section was following him in different ways. It really threw me off. Needless to say, we got through it and moved on to Lux Aurumque, possibly the most beautiful piece ever written. It was originally written by Eric Whitacre- originally for choir, but he rewrote it for winds. The whole piece is based on suspensions and although it's rather simple technically, it's very difficult musically. You have to play so softly, with a rounded sound and getting the response that you need from your instrument at that volume is hard.

The horn ensemble played a piece next- it was pretty cool, it started all chorale like and moved into this jazzy, snap your fingers, tap your foot, or just get up and dance section that continued to the end. After that, Prof. Salman came on and we played Brooklyn Bridge. It's a very long piece. Some parts of it are really cool, I especially like the second and fourth movements (South and North). Prof. Salman does a really good job with the piece though. As Dr. Pare' said, Prof. Salman feels the pull in both classical and jazz styles and that makes it really easy and fun to work with him.

The sax quartet played next with Prof. Salman filling in for Gabe on tenor. Then we finished the concert with Blue Shades by Frank Ticheli. That's another of everyone's favorite- it's very jazzy. I like that it mixes so many different sections- you can play really loudly and fast, but then there's slower sections and it's challenging in that sense.

Next weekend is going to be very long, but I think we're up for it.

311 - Live

Great CD.... 311 is a punk rock band from Omaha, Nerbraska... and are surprisngly proud of it. In fact, one of their songs is even named after Omaha (Omaha Stylee, which is a pretty cool song) It's especially weird since one of the members is Mexican. Anyway, this CD is a live recording of one of their tours when they played in New Orleans... when it still existed. Much of the album is taken from the four CDs previously recorded to this. Probably the most amazing song on the cd is "Applied Science" which features a 5 minutes drum solo by their drummer, Chad Sexton. Sexton was a member of the Cavalier Drum and Bugle Corps after he graduated high school and this song really shows off his talent as a drummer. His style is very clean and uses a lot of bass drum. Every fill and beat is so rhythmically clean it's a really cool style to listen to. Needless to say, the common crowd of 311 is mostly stoners... I hate to admit it but it's true. So the last few songs are a bit more mellow as the contact highs set in to the entire audience... I kid... not really but hey, god bless liberal culture.
311 is pretty cool to listen to, they kinda sound like a mix between rock and punk music with a little bit of influence from Sublime. You should definately listen to some of their other albums to, earlier stuff is better though, now they're starting to become sell outs. Boo!

Recital...

On Friday I went to/ played for Lindsey and Kyle’s junior recital. It was an excellent program. The program switched back and forth as Lindsey would sing a set of songs and then Kyle. They began the program began with Italian pieces, then to German. After the German there was a short intermission. The second half of the program consisted of a set of French pieces and then ended with the English. I performed her one (big) musical theatre piece. It was called “I’m not afraid” by Jason Robert Brown. The main two accompanists were Amanda Hopson and John Clodfelter. They did an excellent job throughout the entire program. They did a very good job of making all of the pieces within this hour, flow into each other. The only negative things about the concert were just because the performers were nervous. John and I noticed a couple of times that Lindsey would jump in too early or skip a measure but we were able to follow her. Over all, as I know (just doing my proficiency), it is hard to keep the stamina and focus for a performance for a half an hour and they BOTH did an excellent job with the entire performance.

Recital...

On Friday I went to/ played for Lindsey and Kyle’s junior recital. It was an excellent program. The program switched back and forth as Lindsey would sing a set of songs and then Kyle. They began the program began with Italian pieces, then to German. After the German there was a short intermission. The second half of the program consisted of a set of French pieces and then ended with the English. I performed her one (big) musical theatre piece. It was called “I’m not afraid” by Jason Robert Brown. The main two accompanists were Amanda Hopson and John Clodfelter. They did an excellent job throughout the entire program. They did a very good job of making all of the pieces within this hour, flow into each other. The only negative things about the concert were just because the performers were nervous. John and I noticed a couple of times that Lindsey would jump in too early or skip a measure but we were able to follow her. Over all, as I know (just doing my proficiency), it is hard to keep the stamina and focus for a performance for a half an hour and they BOTH did an excellent job with the entire performance.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mel Lewis--------------Austin Johnson

This week I listened to a CD by Mel Lewis and Thad Jones called Consummation. The First track, Dedication, is an up-tempo jazz tune with a big band. However, the tune begins and ends as a ballad, creating a nice exposition and development throughout the track.
The third track, called "Tiptoe" was another that caught my attention. The drums and band work together to create a feeling of "tiptoeing" so to speak. The piano especially plays an important role in the creation of this feeling as it jumps in lightly and very rhythmically similar to count basie.
The CD also has an incredible version of "A child is Born," a beautiful and melodically incredible song. The band sounds amazing and induces a euphoria within the listener.
The last few tracks are funk-oriented and groove to a T. The band is so tight that the soloists are able to reach out and experiment. The sax solos do exactly that, experimenting with harmony and polyrhythmic lines throughout the course of the solo.
Overall the CD was quite a treat, as I am a huge fan of both funk and jazz. Moreover, a CD that integrates the two is even better in my book.

Mel Lewis--------------Austin Johnson

This week I listened to a CD by Mel Lewis and Thad Jones called Consummation. The First track, Dedication, is an up-tempo jazz tune with a big band. However, the tune begins and ends as a ballad, creating a nice exposition and development throughout the track.
The third track, called "Tiptoe" was another that caught my attention. The drums and band work together to create a feeling of "tiptoeing" so to speak. The piano especially plays an important role in the creation of this feeling as it jumps in lightly and very rhythmically similar to count basie.
The CD also has an incredible version of "A child is Born," a beautiful and melodically incredible song. The band sounds amazing and induces a euphoria within the listener.
The last few tracks are funk-oriented and groove to a T. The band is so tight that the soloists are able to reach out and experiment. The sax solos do exactly that, experimenting with harmony and polyrhythmic lines throughout the course of the solo.
Overall the CD was quite a treat, as I am a huge fan of both funk and jazz. Moreover, a CD that integrates the two is even better in my book.

"Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police

The Police are one of the most famous bands in rock history, and had one of the shortest runs in accomplishing this. Formed in the late 70's and ended in the mid 80's, The Police had an array of unique, chart-topping hits. Comprised of vocalist/bassist Sting (who's real name is Gordon Sumner), guitarist Andy Summers, and drummer Stewart Copeland, The Police created a style mixed in jazz, raggae, new wave, punk, and progressive rock.

They changed the face of pop music at the time, which inspired similar bands like The Outfield and Mr. Mister. They disbanded at the peak of their career, shortly after finishing a sold-out world tour in support of their number one album, Synchronicity. The members of the band barely got along, and Sting yearned for creating more complexly layered music. Synchronicity definitely featured the most dense arrangements in the band's history, and it also contained three top-ten hits, "Wrapped Around Your Finger," "King Of Pain," and "Every Breath You Take."

"Wrapped Around Your Finger" is unique in several ways. The beat is non-aggressive, but very strong. The chord progression is purposely repetitive to display a yearning groove, except when the song reaches a climax toward the very end. The lyrics are masterful and easily show Sting's talent for poetry. The bells in the background give the piece a bold statement. The intimacy between the bass and guitar provide a subtle tone of subdued passion. The chilled color of the drums is perfect, and the loud backbeat that is played after the climax makes the piece one of brilliance in arrangement. This song displays The Police at the height of their fame and at the end of their career as a band. Both the studio and live recordings act as time capsules of the era. They capture the cool and overwhelming sensation that The Police gave to so many people. The Police are synonymous with popular music of the 1980's. Synchronicity is the reason why. You can even see it by simply looking at the album cover.

Country Music

So my best friend Amanda was here this weekend, and she loves country music. So she made me listen to it alot. And I think it's starting to grow on me. My boyfriend likes it alot too, but I grew up as a avid country hater.
It's very simple, and usually boring music. It really all sounds the same. All the same one five one chord progession. All the same instruments. All boring.
But I realized this weekend, country music isn't about the music. It's about easy, fun lyrics that you can always count on being able to sing, because the melodies are all very similar.
Country music is about singing along, usally not musically at all, and usually not with very much talent.
Country music is about having fun. Not having to really pay attention to the music, and just having fun.

Lindsey and Kyle's Recital

Lindsey and Kyle put on a fantastic recital last friday. Both of them are excellent singers with incredible expression. I especially enjoyed the last piece, a duet between a husband and wife about what they find annoying about each other. If you had never met the two and saw only this you might not think they were such good friends. But perhaps they are so comfortable with each other they feel free to act with each other. So, even though they probably don't read these, Congrats Lindsey and Kyle on a rockin recital!

j-i-l-l s-c-o-t-t

Alright! hooray for remembering to blog two weeks consecutively.

This week...Jill Scott...She's an artist out of philadelphia and has more of a neo-soul, spoken word, r&b, jazz style.....hm..i suppose there's a lot in there..but they all blend pretty well to create her one distinct sound and whenever you hear a Jill Scott song you know its her and not just by her voice.

There's always a strong bass line and beat to her songs that complements the way she punctuates her phrases especially when she does her light version of scat.

She's an artist that really has experimented with her voice and know how to use all the different colors of it and she uses her entire range which is impressive for a popular music artist. She does more than just belt or sing light and breathy, it's clear that every sound and tone and timbre she makes is controlled and she keeps it from falling into one category. she keeps herself from being classified as just a powerhouse ballad singer or easy listening voice or jazz singer or r&b..she can use all those.

What I think her best quality is though is that she's not afraid to use her spoken voice with music and but that on a cd. and its not cheesy like it is on most albums where they talk all low and breahty before they actually sing some sappy love song or one full of sexual innuendos. Hers is her poetry which is blended with the music so its not just someone speaking over music but it in itself is the song.

Kudos jill scott
Recently in one of my classes we watched the opera Giulio Cesare by Handel. This was a very long opera. One of the interesting things about it is that were three parts in this opera written for castratos. All three of these parts were played by counter tenors in the production that we watched. Cesare was one of these parts, and it was very strange to how regal he looked and know what a strong character he was supposed to be and then hear him sing in such a small, high voice. It is quite unfortunate that we will never be able to hear what this part would have sounded like with the full strength of a castrato's voice behind it (not that it is in any way unfortunate that such barbaric customs no longer exist). The counter tenor voice fit Ptolemy much better because he is a much weaker character.

I loved listening to Cleopatra whenever she sang. She had a beautiful voice and an engaging stage presence. I also loved her character because when things weren't going her way, she stand up for herself instead of sing long whiney arias. I also greatly enjoyed watching and listening to Cesare once I had adjusted to his voice. My favorite part was when there was a break from the plot of the opera while had a musical duel against a violinist.

There were, however, some less than enjoyable parts to this three hour opera. Cornelia was the most ridiculous character because all she did was despair and try to kill herself throughout the entire opera. Her son Sextus, written for and played by a woman, was also ridiculous because he would sing long arias about how he was going to kill Ptolemy, but every time he got near him, he would somehow manage to mess it up. I don't know if this character bothered me so much because he was so stupid or because the singer who played him was so incredibly bad a playing a man. I'm sure her voice was very lovely, but I couldn't concentrate on her singing at all because I was too busy being frustrated with what I was watching. If I had been listening to a recording, my reaction to this particular person probably would have been completely different.

Proficiencies

So, Prof Speigelberg,

You missed the great opportunity to hear me sing through my proficiency Saturday morning, but that doesn't mean that I can't describe it for you for this week's edition of "blogging".

Of course, I sang the required 8 pieces...in the 4 required languages...so that's not a surprise!

Ruscelletto Limpidetto (Tomaso Albinoni)
-This quick baroque piece is fun to sing. It's a nice ternary piece with little ornaments and such. I find this piece to be a good opener, because it's got a good feel to it, and it's fun to sing

Chi Sprezzando (Georges Frederic Handel)
-The second Italian piece I sang was from the Brockes-Passion. This was in contradiction to the first piece, in that it's very slow and solemn. It talks about despising the highest good accumulating sin and whatnot...but it's still a good one. An interesting fact about this piece, was that it's in 6-4 time, which is always fun to count

Ein Madchen oder Weibchen (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
-I'm too lazy to find the "oomlaut" (spelling) for this song, but I'm sure you'll figure it out. This aria is Papageno's final aria in The Magic Flute, which is light, happy and fun. One of the hardest things about this song is its strophic-ness (i.e. 3 verses that are exactly the same...with different words) that made it horrendous to memorize. All in all though, it's a good one

Standchen (Franz Schubert)
-and again...there should be an "oomlaut"...but anyway. This song is easily one of my favorites this year. in english, it means "serenade", and the whole piece is a man singing to a maiden in the window, pleading for her to come, make him happy. Even though it is in a minor key, the piece's words are romantic and positive. While this piece was my favorite, it was also one of the hardest ones, because of the re-occuring high notes. I still like that one anyway.

Mai (Gabrielle Faure)
-a fun song about springtime...I liked this one a lot. Out of all the pieces, this one was the last piece for me to learn...maybe a week and a half before proficiencies? I like Faure's music a lot, and this song is no different. It's so positive of a song!

Beau Soir (Claude Debussy)
-in contrast to the first french piece, Debussy sweeps in with his slow moving piece about appreciating the beauty in the world before we die. One of the hardest things about this piece is the accompaniment, which beats in triplets, while the melody I had to sing is in constant eighth notes. The three-versus-two aspect makes the piece melodious and awe-sounding, and that's why i like it!

With joy the Impatient Husbandman (Franz Joseph Haydn)
-the oratorio of the day, this piece is by far the most fun to perform. There's something about pulsating runs that make me happy when I'm singing. I don't know why I like runs...but there's a feeling you have when you make it successfully to the end of run that one can't explain!

Arise My love (Richard Hundley)
-to round out my proficiency, I sang a piece that Hundley adapted especially for Professor Irwin. This one is quite slow, but has a middle section where I'm free to let go and sing really loud and full (which is quite easy for me...seeing as how I'm a dramatic baratone)...but i like it anyway

So that's my proficiency!

Stan Getz

Today I listened to a variety of different albums by stan getz. I thought I'd spend some time devoted to listening to his style, feel, and choice of notes. I love his smooth lyrical style of playing, It almost put me to sleep a couple of times. I love how he stays in the changes instead of playing like coltrane and playing anything but the chords written on the page. He never gets boring and his solos all make sense harmonically. I like how stan started to integrate the latin style in his music, it adds a whole new dimension to his sound. overall, if I've learned anything, its that a soloist can play in the changes at all times and find other ways of keeping the listener interested into what he or she is playing without having to reharm the whole tune...

AJ

Stan Getz

Today I listened to a variety of different albums by stan getz. I thought I'd spend some time devoted to listening to his style, feel, and choice of notes. I love his smooth lyrical style of playing, It almost put me to sleep a couple of times. I love how he stays in the changes instead of playing like coltrane and playing anything but the chords written on the page. He never gets boring and his solos all make sense harmonically. I like how stan started to integrate the latin style in his music, it adds a whole new dimension to his sound. overall, if I've learned anything, its that a soloist can play in the changes at all times and find other ways of keeping the listener interested into what he or she is playing without having to reharm the whole tune...

AJ

I Love the 80's!

So, I realize that I didn't do one of these last week! Opps! Sorry, it slipped my mind with being at home for Easter.

Anyway, that's not what this blog is about. I have actually found myself listening to a bunch of 80's songs this week. It started with me doing picture slideshows for my brother's open house and I was looking for music to use. I came across of few like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins, "Wake me Up Before you Go-Go" by Wham and I used them. But then I found myself finding more that I just wanted for my collection.

Now don't get me wrong. I love 80's music. I've always been a fan. It's so fun and I think a lot of it is the best dance music ever, especially the whole Footloose album. It gets me in a really good mood. It's also really great music to listen to when you working. I noticed that a lot of them keep the strong beat on 2 and 4, which could just be a characteristic of 80's rock music.

THE 80'S ROCK!

Baroque Rites of Spring

I really enjoyed listening to the pieces the Chamber choir sang on Thursday which were from the Baroque era, well some of them were. The first piece they sang, Revecy Venir du Printans, by Claude LeJeune was an appropriate and happy song about the coming of spring. The chanson was very typical for it’s time, and contained polyphonic voices coming together frequently at cadences The melody was very repetitive and catchy. I was particularly interested in their second piece, Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti because Prof. Crouch said Lotti was majorly influenced by the stile antico, created by Palestrina, which I’m writing my music history research on. Just as he mentioned, it was a sacred piece which was polyphonic and contained many suspensions. Laslty, Au Miserere mei was a chant which a quartet singing in the back balcony of Meharry. The quartet would sing a beautiful refrain and then the rest of the chorus would respond in a Gregorian chant-like response. It was gorgeous but it repeated so many times with different lyrics that it got a bit repetitive. A three movement Bach motet, Singet Dem Herrn was next. It sounded very difficult for such a small choir to be divided into so many parts, but it was beautiful. After that 15 minute piece you could tell everyone up couldn’t stand there another minute, but it was worth it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Chamber Trio Recital

I just heard Shostakovich's piano trio and Brahms trio in C major. It was performed by Dan Rizner, Eric Edberg, and May Phang. The Shostakovich was great and very dark considering it was written during Stalins reign. You can hear the drama created throughout the piece and really visualize what was going through his head during the composing of the piece. I had heard the Brahms before but it was performed well. If you havn't heard the Shostakovich, do a backround check on it first and then listen. It blew me away.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

oops tornados threw me off

I forgot to post....my bad. However, this weekend I did a lot of listening to james brown to keep me from going crazy in the car while I was going through the tornados. I find it so interesting how a man with so little melodic and harmonic material can keep his music so interesting. No matter how repetitive the music, the group is always swinging and I commend him for this. Not just anyone can play funk and really make it swing. (the energy level probably has something to do with the fact that he was on a lot of cocaine...) nevertheless, I have yet to figure out what keeps his music driving. Anyway, I don't really know what else to say about him other than him, I can't go into any form issues because there really is none....

sorry for the boring (and late) post

AJ

gotta go practice for proficiencies....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Hmm so I'm a bit late on this one...

There were many concerts and recitals in the previous week, but I think I'll do a CD of Albinoni Concertos...yet more oboe?

Concerto for Oboe in D minor- Having worked on this concerto I know it relatively well. I really enjoy Albinoni's use of sequences in his composition, they are literally everywhere in the work. The second movement is very placid, while the third movement is in an energetic 6/8.
Concerto for Two Oboes in F major- I know everyone is thinking of that joke about getting two oboes in tune and shooting one of them right? Anyway oboe duets are incredibly vibrant and really fun to play. The two lines usually move in similar motion in arpeggios or in, of course, sequences.
Concerto for Oboe in C major- This concerto would be a good way to start a recital. This concerto is joyful, bright, yet simple. A few technical spots provide that excitement for the performer.
Concerto for Two Oboes in G major- This is one of my favorite pieces in all of the oboe repertiore, partially because of the recording I have. The first oboe enters with a sparkling scale, followed by the second oboe in echo. The two lines then intertwine to form a contrapuntal network of echos and sequences.
Concerto for Oboe in B-flat major- Common to Albinoni's concerti, this one has a jubilant first movement followed by an adagio in minor. The work ends with a triple meter allegro, most likely to please the audience with a dance-like movement.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Smash Hits of the Early 90's

So it's been a while since I've last blogged, I'm thinking two or three weeks. It's just so hard to remember to do it. (Here's a fantastic blog that COULD make up for ALL the blogs i missed!)

So this weekend, my house had it's formal. We went to Clifty Falls State Park, which is in Madison, IN (about 3 hours south of Greencastle).

Now, while I had an awesome time, the DJ we had wasn't the best I've experienced. He was rather old, and his selection of music was...well, old as well. A large majority of his music was from the early 90s, which, while I love going down memory lane every now and then, wasn't exactly the best choice of music to be played.

Some of the "hits" he played included "Shoop" by Salt n Peppa', "Mambo no. 5" by Lou Begga, and "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls.

Each and every one of these songs hold a special place in my heart, because I can remember the first time i heard these songs...some time in middle school...and I remember all the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders jammin to the music of the times.

Good times were had by all, but I think the 90's have passed us...and the "feel good" times should go away...asap

Adios!

Mozart Concertos

Since one of my proficiency pieces is the first movement of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2, I have been doing a good amount of listening to our friend Mozart. His concertos were written for his friend and virtuosic horn player, Ignaz Leutgeb, from Salzburg. If you ever get to purchase some horn music, be sure to get the edition that includes the remarks to his friend in a few of his movements (Schirmer prints it I believe). They make the music much more amusing when you reading insults like “Try this you ugly pig” (or something to that effect) next to a challenging run. Suddenly the piece becomes quite a bit more amusing. On the first page of the movement of the concerto that I am playing for proficiencies, Mozart wrote “Leitgeb Esel” (or “Silly ass Leitgeb”). You can hear his sense of humor throughout the piece both in the horn part and throughout the orchestra.

The first movements of the concertos are in sonata form. The piece that I am playing for proficiencies follows this trend. These movements can generally be characterized by their virtuosity in the horn part. The second movements are usually marked Andante or Romance and are slower and show off the sound of the horn through long lyric phrases. The last movements are almost always in 6/8 and rondo form. These pieces seem to bring us back to the origins of horn music, emulating the horn calls. The simplicity with which Mozart wrote was perfect for the horn and its sound. These pieces have become forever a part of the horn player’s repertoire.

No discussion of the Mozart horn concertos would be complete without Shua’s response every time he hears one of Mozart’s concertos in Eb (or in any key for that matter). Shua hypothesizes that Mozart was too lazy to change the key of the concertos (this should have been very easy since everything was natural horn then) and so obviously the correct response is “Mozart, you lazy bastard.” Thank you Shua for your timely addition to my blog.

"Miracle World" by Adam K. Hilkert and Timothy L. Fox

This is an epic ballad written by myself and Tim Fox for our musical "CYAHPIT." This is the number where the characters Elmo and The Vandyman, our tragic hero, sing a duet. In our playwright's production, in which Tim and I are the directors, Elmo will be played by Dan Burke and The Vandyman will be played by Chris Simerman. They both start out singing the melifluous melody. Then they harmonize together on the bridge with a heavily chorded backing vocal line under them. Next, they harmonize the melodies together with contrasting lyrics, written by Tim. Finally, they end on a grand finale outro, which ends on a high 'f', sung by Elmo, which is a Counter Tenor line.

I listened to this piece over and over again while revising it in Finale, and while Tim wrote lyrics for it. The music is inspired by that of Amy Gaither-Hayes, wife of Dr. Andrew Hayes, which is the brand of light christian rock. The lyrics are permeated with innuendo and wit. Tim's charm is written all over the piece, and is altered by the clarity of yours truly. It is a smooth ride into the world of pure genius. So, make sure that you see it in live performance at the Playwright's Festival, during the first weekend in May!

Evelyn Glenni - Greatest Hits

For those of you who dont now who Evelyn Glennie is, she is one of the most widely known mallet soloists of rour current day. The thing that is the most amazing... is she's legally deaf!!! I've been listening to her Greatest Hits CD quite regularly lately because I've played a few of the songs on this CD and it's always nice to hear them being played.... correctly. Some of the key songs that I suggest you listen to are Rhythm Song (song I auditioned at DPU with), Flight of the Bumblebee, Marimba Spiritual, and the finale of my sophomore jury, MICHI!! Her performane of Michi is absolutely amazing. She takes full advantage of the composers marks to improvise on the given melody, and what she is able to do with the acoustics and harmonies on the marimba is aboslutely mind boggling. I've been able to figure out some of the things that she is doing and I've incorporated them into my own performance of the piece. As well, rhythm song is hauntingly melodic... yet again it's amazing how she can judge the level of volume she's playing at when she's deaf. Evelyn Glennis is an amazing musician and my hat goes off to her for all that she has achieved. I strongly suggest you listen to a few of her songs from this album and really keep in mind that she's deaf... You'll be absolutely amazed.

Emily German...

On Saturday April 15th, Emily German gave an excellent recital, accompanied by Stephanie Gurga. Her program (aboout an hour long) consisted of works by Pergolesi, Brahms, Debussy and Korngold. It was quite obvious that Emily and Stephanie spent a lot of time together as all of their entrances and endings were right together.
As an accompanist myself, I was really listening to Stephanie and she was doing an excellent job. Her musicality through-out the entire recital was amazing, and her voicing was also incredible. At many times I felt that Stephanie was into the music more than Emily. Unfortunately, that was one down fall of Emily's. Many times throughout the concert it seemed as though she did not want to be there. She was very quick to begin and end all of the pieces and she just didn't seem to really be into them. This obviously could be nerves, but it just seemed that she was not very enthused to be there or about the repertoir.
My favorite piece of the recital was the Sonata in G minor by Debussy. I felt that this was by far the most musical piece of the entire recital and Emily and Stephanie were working very well together on this piece. Overall I thought this was a great recital I just thought that Emily could be a little happier to be there!

James Galway

So this week I listened to James Galway's cd "Meditations". My mom is James Galway obsessed and is always asking me when I'm going to be able to play like that...which doesn't help at all, but at least she's interested....

anyways. I have a bunch of his cds but this one is my favorite as it doesn't have his usual cheesy pop-ish tunes.

My favorite piece on the cd is Rodrigo's "Fantasia para un gentilhombre" (fantasy for a gentleman). I would love to have the chance to play this someday. The emotion in it is so high and then use of instrumentation is very complimentary to the moods portrayed.

Of course, it's not a Galway cd without the Pachelbel cannon. This version of it is pretty decent and therefore not as monatanous as it can sometimes be.
My favorite thing about James Galway is the arrangements he makes and/or finds for flute. This cd has Chopin's Nocturne In E flat, Op. 9 No. 2 on it and the arranging is really well done.

The cd is nice to listen to because it spans music from Vivaldi and Handel through Mozart and Schubert up to Debussy. I guess if you don't like listening to flute music then you wouldn' t enjoy it, but it was a relaxer when I was driving back to school through tornados.

Final Concerto Concert

WOOO ORCHESTRA!

The final concerto competition was last Wednesday- congrats to all the winners!!! The concert was amazing.
Started with Nathan playing Beethoven. He did quite well, I was impressed. See Keith for further comments.

Stacey sang a piece in English! which was nice. The piece was amazing. I got goosebumps. literally. The piece was called "Ain't it a pretty night" and I immdiately noticed that Stacey's dress was like the night too! I thought that was a very mood-inspiring touch, whether she meant to do that or not.

Ann Marie played Medellsohn's piano concerto in g minor. This piece was the one i was most familiar with for two reasons: 1. Keith played it last year and 2. I accompanied Ann Marie for the preliminaries and finals. She played amazingly. Talking to her afterwards, we were reminisicing about all the rehearsals we had and the story line we made up for the piece. I could tell she was really in the zone until this one scale she missed a few notes and it threw her off for a measure or two. But she got right back on. WOO ANN MARIE!

Keith played the same concerto that Nathan did. They both played it very well, and it never ceases to amaze me how the same piece can be interpreted so differently. I was upstairs listening to Keith warm up/ play through everything/ freak out 15 minutes before the conert started. There was one particular part in the cadenza that I thought Keith played really well. Maybe it was just because hearing it with Nathan, I didn't like the interpretation he had as much, but there's a part in the left hand that jumps around a lot. Keith plays it with a lot of bounce and it puts much more energy into the piece.

Liz sang a beautiful German song. I think her stage presence is superior to most other vocalists here. She takes the character of her piece very strongly and it really engages the audience. Even if they dont understand what she's saying.

Brett closed the concert with Gershiwn. His piece reminded me of video game music- pretty freaking cool. It was a lot harder to hear the piano over the orchestra in this concerto and that was a little disappointing. But the parts that could be heard (which was the majority of the piece) really did remind me of a video game. I really liked it.

All in all, concertos rock. and I'm rather disappointed that I wont be here next year. But oh wait, I'll be in Vienna. That makes it ok.

Little Earthquakes

So...i feel the need to blog....becaaaaause it's been about 3 weeks...

This week - Tori Amos's "Little Earthquakes"..one of the best debut albums ever put out by an artist. She's absolutely amazing..writes and play all her own music. and she only plays those pianos that have the extra bass notes on them that are black...Bosen..something or other....anyway..she has a distinct style and voice.. and she is just a phenomenal lyricist.
"China" - an ethereal sounding piece with soft piano that has chimey high passages and constant sound of strings that are somewhat dronish...this is about as close to a ballad that she gets ..china is used a metaphor for the distance she feels from her loved one..she says...how can you expect me to love you when you build a great wall around you..
"Happy Phantom" - the best song on the album...just a carefree somewhat nonsensical song that sings the praises of just living your life freely and without regret... "they say confuscious does his crossword witha a pen"..."if i die today i'll be the happy phantom..and i'll go chasin the nuns out in the yard.." "i'll get a ticket to the universal opera with Judy Garland taking Buddha by the hand"... the piano part is what makes this song what it is as well...its kind of parlor ragtime is..with a steady pattern in the base and lots of quick syncopated rhythms in the right hand...
"Leather" - i picture this song in a cabaret setting..she keeps her voice lower and more breathy and the beat being kept in the bass....the constant chord chord chord chord..it seems like a simple piece at first with just the piano her voice and low strings..but then an electric guitar shows up to had some texture and syncopation
"little earthquakes" - it starts off with a slow rumbling sound...always with piano..but this time there's timpani that beats out a constant dotted quarter, eighth, quarter, 2 sixteenth note pattern...the the eruption comes when she adds like a small chorus to her sound and strings and electric guitar string eighth notes that teeter on do ti do ti do ti do over the more powerful drums and she repeats again and again..give me my life give me myself again
"me and a gun" - this song is very haunting..she sings it acappella and it's in a minor key with a folksongish feel to it.....its her artistic representation of what she went through as she was getting raped. (tori amos is a spokesperson for R.A.I.N.N)....."these things go thru your head when a man is on your back...and you're pushed on your stomach...."...this is really a song that needs to be listened to first-hand...
"silent all these years" - in my opinion..this song is the prettiest piano melody she's written ..off beat chords over a constant blur of arppeggios in her left hand....and there's also actual chimes in this one ..i really cant seem to get the meaning of her words in this one..."but what if i'm a mermaid in these jeans of yours with her name still on them.....sometimes i hear my voice and it's been silent all these years"....from the ourburst that comes in the middle of the calm of the music..when she is practically banging on the piano and belting..and saying "years go by and i still keep waiting"..its someone who's had something done to them for a long time that they just dont want to deal with anymore and need to find what it takes in them to say something
"winter" - the chorus is the most beautiful part of this song and the only part i really pay attention to.....whew..i am sleepy...

Starsailor- On the Outside

So a friend suggested I listen to the band Starsailor, an Indie rock quartet from the UK, so here are my first impressions as I listened to their lastest album “On the Outside”:
“In the Crossfire”-same rhythm, harmonies, and instruments as Coldplay’s “Yellow”, I thought I was actually listening to Coldplay at first
“Counterfeit Life”- could not understand the lyrics, percussion too overpowering; used the same rhythm as “In the Crossfire” and do not vary the rhythms at all
“In My Blood”- drastic change in mood; does not start with the overpowering percussion and just contains a very simple 3 or 4 note melody; backups repeat the lead after every line in the refrain like in a gospel song
“Faith Hope Love”- good lyrics, lead sounds like he shouting throughout the piece, does not show a good quality to his voice and kind of painful to listen to
“Way Back Home”- uses a synthesized organ sound which makes the song unique and contains a descending bass line throughout the piece
“Keep Us Together”- call and response between soloist and backup
“White Light”- a little too repetitive of everything…lyrics, melody, rhythm, ect but the beginning shows off the soloists vocals and is a neat intro
“Jeremiah”- more laid back song with acoustic guitar and sythesizer

Sunday, April 09, 2006

following suit: proficiencies

So I saw that other people were doing this and thought it was a good idea.

Mozart-Concerto for Oboe in C Major, K314: Allegro Aperto
This is one of the powerhouse concertos for oboe; every orchestra audition has this. Perhaps the most terrifying moment in the entire movement is the first entrance: a C-D trill followed by a C sixteenth note scale rising to float upon a high C for 4 measures. One of my favorite things about this movement is the cadenza. Many oboists have written their own cadenzas, and I've heard a couple really good ones, in particular Nancy King, Berkhard Glaetzner, and John de Lancie.

Handel-Sonata for Oboe in C Minor, HWV366: Largo, Allegro
One of the most fun pieces to play on my program, these two sonata movements have greatly encouraged and improved my ornamentation and improvisation skills. Baroque ornamentation is something that I greatly enjoy but have struggled with due to my belief that I can't think on the spot when it comes to music. The Largo is majestic and dark, followed by a spunky yet troll-like Allegro.

Schumann-Three Romances for Oboe and Piano, Op.94: Nicht Schnell
This is the third of the Romances, all of which are amazingly musical. At first glance the Romances do not look at all difficult. But wait until you try to play them. The intense musical stamina needed to play any of these is unbelievable, yet the result is awe-inspiring. My favorite recording of the Romances is by oboist Allan Vogel, whose phrasing and playful time perception add even more character to the movements.

Martinu- Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra: Poco Allegro
Finishing off with a technical piece, Martinu was what I played for the concerto competition. I first started working on this piece last semester when I made the switch from the first to third movements in preparation for both concertos and proficiencies. I really think I made the right decision. This movement is so rhythmic and dance-like, with a creamy cadenza center. I wish I'd had time to prepare both cadenzas; I'll only be playing one of them. My favorite moment of the movement is the measures preceding the oboe entrance, consisting of incredibly syncopated and somewhat disorienting strings and piano. My preferred recording was done by Zbynck Muller, a czech oboist.

Well there you have it: my proficiency program.
This week I decided to listen to and write about "Songs for a New World." This a musical, but it doesn't have any cohesive plot line, just the general theme of people facing life in different ways. I love listening to and singing along with this album. I would never have thought that a musical without a plot line could work very well, but the music does such an excellent job of carrying the show, that I don't even miss having a linear story to follow. In my opinion, the composer shows a lot of versitility with his music. Each song has its own sound and style. He has written a couple of hillarious character pieces for this show, one of which is sung by a very fed up Mrs. Claus. He also has some very intensely dramatic music as well as some sweetly insightful songs. It all comes together very well. One of the things I enjoy about this recording is knowing tha the composer, who was in his early twenties when he wrote the show, is playing the piano for the entire show. I think it's even cooler to listen to something if you know that the composer is taking an active role performing the music.

Avenged Sevenfold!!!

I have fallen in love with a new rock/punk from New Orleans! Avenged Sevenfold has been around since the late nineties but their new album, City of Evil, is absolutely amazing. First off, just listening to some of the crap their drummer doe is intimidating. I can only imagine how fast his chops are, because this guy goes crazy throughout the cd. The first song that I heard, Bat Country, pretty much sold the album for me. The entire song is extremely fast and extremely busy. Seriously, the drummer switches up the style so much it's almost funny to think of the ideas that were going through his head when he was making up the part for it. Plus, flashback- the guitar solo sounds seriously like something out of the Nintendo game, F-Zero (that's right, old school Nintendo!) Beast and Harlot takes the same theme, and so does my other favorite song, Trashed and Scattered. I can only imagine what these guys are like live, I'm sure the crowd is an 'aggressive one' to say the least. The album isn't all hard rock stuff, the song Seize the Day is a little more low-key and is semi-balled-esque. I suggest if you like bands like AFI, Green Day, or 10 Years to download or buy this cd. Plus, if you have a cell phone where you can download ringtones to download the clip from Bat Country. I did and it makes me happy to get phone calls now because I get to hear a little of this awesome song.