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.