Saturday, 27 October 2012

RIP Hans Werner Henze

German composer, Hans Werner Henze, died today at the age of 86. He was a prolific composer, known for his political convictions (moving to Italy as a reaction against homophobia in Germanyand an intolerance for his leftist views). His music varied in style greatly, inspired by serialism, Stravinsky, Italian music and jazz. 

Musical Design of the Week (15)

Piano Doorbell concept by Li Jian

Friday, 26 October 2012

Soundtrack for 'The View' from 'The Shard'

As many of you already know, London's The Shard is a fantastic new skyscraper in London, standing 309.6 metres tall making it the tallest completed building in the EU. 

The View from The Shard, the new premium visitor attraction at the pinnacle of The Shard, has commissioned the LSO and David Mitcham (composer) to record a soundtrack for The View at Abbey Road Studios. 

David Mitcham says: "The Shard is London's newest landmark and is located in one of the oldest parts of the capital. Witnessing The View from The Shard gives a unique perspective on London, its history, its future and its people. The sheer scale and variety contained within the view is quite overwhelming. It is also so exciting to be this high up and feels a real privilege to see London this way. My score seeks to capture the sense of rising above it all and the excitement and euphoria of being suspended right on top of London with the colourful story and ceaseless energy of one of the world's greatest cities flowing on like a mighty river below."

(David Mitcham is one of Britain's leading composers for film and TV, Ivor and Emmy award nominated.)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Rework: Philip Glass Remixed

Glass has always inspired electronic artists across the pop spectrum with his compositions, so it's fitting that, in honor of his 75th birthday, Beck Hansen decided to create this album. The idea for Rework came about during a conversation between Beck and Philip Glass (they're good friends). 

The artists that have contributed to this album are not huge names but cutting-edge artists (Beck knows a few Icelandic post-ambient laptop composers). Beck seems to have followed a similar path to his British contemporary, Damon Albarn (Blur), becoming a busy producer/enabler, rather than the usual album-tour route. Most recently working with Charlotte Gainsbourg and helping out Bat For Lashes.

Enjoy the following track from the album, which is out now on Amazon and iTunes. 

Mauricio Kagel: Rotation

Graphical representation of rotation and translation of note configurations. Wonderful.

From Kagel's essay 'Translation-Rotation',  Die Reihe - 7

Video: John Williams & Steven Spielberg working on E.T

What a great video. This is of John Williams and Steven Spielberg working together on the key musical motif of E.T!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Short life of a purple violin

So there's this story that's going viral about a girl from New Mexico who got banned from playing her violin in school because it was not your traditional wooden colour.

Apparently this purple violin 'stuck out too much' and the teacher told Camille, the poor girl, to hire a normal looking violin.

Such a shame. She made such an effort- her bow and case matches it!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

An 'epic' 2 seconds of nothing.

A friend of mine showed me this video a couple of days ago, and it has been a main topic of discussion among us.

There are too many questions, but so little time. The main question, is of course...

What is up with the downbeat?!

It's pretty amazing how the orchestra managed to stay together, but more importantly, come in in such perfect unison with this kind of silent flailing about. It seems as if the conductor is trying to do subdivisions, but that is way too much work. This famous beginning of Beethoven's 5th Symphony is hard due to the infinite possibilites of interpretation (the length of the fermata; the breath before the next phrase; slight rubato etc.). The fact of the matter is, it is possible for an orchestra of capable ability to play well together in concert without a conductor - a sad, but realistic truth. 

Masato Usuki (the conductor) was one of Japan's most renowned conductors, and died in 2011.

You may laugh, cry, or actually enjoy the performance! Who knows. Tell me what you think and comment below.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Remembering Jacqueline Du Pré

25 years after the death of Jacqueline Du Pré, we are all celebrating her life as one of the most brilliant cellists of our time. Here is a more candid video of her with Barenboim, where she not only plays cello, but plays piano and makes it sound better than us mere mortals.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Pierrot Lunaire 100th Anniversary w/ Teletubbies

100 years ago, Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire was premièred. A melodrama delivered in Sprechstimme style.

Let's celebrate it by watching this video. It a weird way.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

32 out-of-sync metronomes will eventually sync up

Did you know, that if you place any number of metronomes that are out-of-sync with each other on a hanging flexible table, they will always eventually sync up? As a metronome's pendulum rod changes direction, it imparts a small force on the table, which leads to small movements of the table. In turn, the table will then give small nudges back to the metronomes! Voila, in-sync metronomes!

Watch the video below, and see for yourself:

Musical Design of the Week (12)

I've got to be honest here, it's hard keeping up the musical design series and uploading a very unique design every week... and I was pretty much going to give up, but then I came across this, and wow, it just made my week. If I don't post one next week, don't be mad, I think this design is worth two weeks!!

If you haven't deciphered, this is a music typewriter, which is fascinating. It's pretty much like 'old-school notating software'. I would love to be able to try one out someday. Just wondering whether it is easy to use. Awesome.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Is this the slowest violin concerto EVER?

I know, as a composer myself, that composing a piece can be a slow process, but I also know that when you get a deadline, you should meet it.

Osvaldo Golijov has had some deadline controversy since 2011 after a series of high-profile commissions were either delayed or cancelled. His violin concerto was originally supposed to be written for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, but he could not finish it in time. A second deadline for the Berlin Phil for March 2012 was missed again. And now? He has told the London Symphony Orchestra and Leonidas Kavakos (soloist for the concerto) that they won't be getting it next month. Uh oh...

It does beg the question whether all this unreliability would affect his career.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...