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On composing "How to Train Your Dragon 2"

Composer John Powell on the creative challenges in scoring the sequel “If you’re trying to evoke the joy of flying, you just try and make it as wonderful-sounding as possible in a way you’d imagine it would feel to fly. It’s that simple. I knew I had to deliver music that was as good as the film as I was fitting it to.”
posted by wallawallasweet on Jun 12, 2014 - 12 comments

Girl Brothers

Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman may best be remembered as members of Prince's Revolution.

While still recording new music together, they have also been composing for film and television,

Come for the funk, stay for the Aerosmith easter egg inserted into one of their songs, but put on some sort of pads or protective gear, as these women are about to kick your ass.
posted by timsteil on Apr 4, 2014 - 6 comments

All pants are off, but the music is on

The woman composer is dead. Or is she? [more inside]
posted by daisystomper on Jul 17, 2013 - 10 comments

Annihilated Angel

His artistic obscurity - relative to the stars of the New York School - had nothing to do with his personality, which was gregarious, funny and stimulating, and everything to do with his music, which was concerned with values of reticence, quietness, faintness, stillness; hardly the sort of thing to make headlines in a world where the avant garde was supposed to épater and outrage. As Michael Finnissy, one of his most stalwart British advocates, put it, "I don't think Morton Feldman's music is ever going to be that popular." There are lots of reasons for this, and they are all good reasons for listening to the music. [1995] [more inside]
posted by smcg on Mar 12, 2013 - 2 comments

Elliot Carter, 1908 - 2012

Elliot Carter, icon of modern American classical music and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, has died. [more inside]
posted by daisystomper on Nov 5, 2012 - 26 comments

Time, Forward!

It's the turn of the 90s and you're back in the USSR, sitting on the Persian carpet that covers every inch of your Soviet living room and facing the old Rubin-714 set. As the clock strikes nine, you hear those familiar strains… [more inside]
posted by Nomyte on Sep 13, 2012 - 23 comments

Cage Music Walk

To celebrate John Cage's centenary, 10 pieces of music by 10 different composers have been created, inspired by 10 places close to the Royal Albert Hall. [more inside]
posted by smcg on Jul 9, 2012 - 12 comments

"Everything we do is music."

John Cage Unbound, A Living Archive is a multimedia exhibition created by the New York Public Library documenting their collection of videos, original notes and manuscripts of contemporary American composer and music theorist John Cage (1912-1992). "Cage believed that, following his detailed directions, anyone could make music from any kind of instrument" so the NYPL is asking visitors how they would bring his music to life, by submitting videos of their own interpretations of Cage’s work for possible inclusion in the archive. For more extensive collections of John Cage resources, see: WNYC: A John Cage Web Reliquary and Josh Rosen's fan page. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 17, 2012 - 21 comments

Death by pimple

The 13 strangest composer deaths in classical music
posted by NemesisVex on Apr 13, 2012 - 34 comments

A modest title for a piece with modest pretentions

Got 12 minutes to spare? Then feel free to brush up on the evolution of the last 400 years of Classical music by enjoying this video of Paul Drayton's "Masterpiece".
posted by MattMangels on Feb 26, 2012 - 9 comments

R.I.P Clare Fischer

The great pianist-arranger-composer Clare Fischer has died. Besides being a mean pianist who even Herbie Hancock called a huge influence, very few could claim the achievements of this man, who worked with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie, the Hi-Los and other jazzmen to Prince, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Paul McCartney, Prince, and so many more.
posted by Seekerofsplendor on Jan 28, 2012 - 9 comments

Where Sibelius fell silent

“Our souls are worn down through continuous contact with one another,” Sibelius wrote in his diary. And: “I am building a studio for myself—at least one. Next to me are all the children whose babbling and pranks ruin everything.” But he never did build himself a studio; instead, he relocated his study upstairs and forbade the noise of any instrument while he was in the house. The children had to wait until he had gone for his daily walk to do their music practice. [more inside]
posted by smcg on Dec 13, 2011 - 16 comments

Other Minds

Music From Other Minds is a radio program of art music by living composers from the folks behind the other minds festival.
posted by idiopath on Nov 30, 2011 - 3 comments

Brian Eno - Composers as Gardeners

Brian Eno - Composers as Gardeners "My topic is the shift from 'architect' to 'gardener', where 'architect' stands for 'someone who carries a full picture of the work before it is made', to 'gardener' standing for 'someone who plants seeds and waits to see exactly what will come up'. I will argue that today's composer are more frequently 'gardeners' than 'architects' and, further, that the 'composer as architect' metaphor was a transitory historical blip."

Brian Eno quoted from Edge.org issue 11.10.11
posted by ThenCameNow on Nov 13, 2011 - 40 comments

"Ooooooooooooooooooooh girrrrrrrrrrrllllllllll. It was at that time that I lost my mind."

What then happens is an unbelievable series of Kafkaesque email threads, out-of-office messages, invented holidays, bizarre threats, secret handshakes. If you’re lucky, and very very persistent, you might end up with a CD of it, along with a note saying that “this never happened” and “don’t tell anybody you have this.” Nico Muhly on the difficulty of listening to one's own work.
posted by villanelles at dawn on Sep 10, 2011 - 11 comments

Kids like me gotta be crazy.

(TumblrFiltr): Have you checked out the new Brahms yet? Did you catch Saint-Saëns at the Grossherzogliches Theater last week? Then hie thee to Melophonic, "a collection of semi-historically accurate, rock concert-style posters for dead composers' original premiere dates." 
posted by Nomyte on Jun 12, 2011 - 17 comments

Clang Jingle Clang

While the self-appointed task of one creative act per day continues to exist, I present the sonic explorations of Clang Jingle Clang . Highlights of Kerrith Livengood's early morning posts include a Goomba attack, political musings, and a fable from Aesop.
posted by Bistle on Jan 14, 2011 - 2 comments

Mass Takemitsu dump.

Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) was an avante-garde Japanese composer who took influences from jazz, pop music, and traditional Japanese music. In his lifetime he composed over 100 film scores, and 130 concert pieces. Just last week, there was a tribute to his work at Carnegie Hall as part of their JapanNYC Festival. A documentary about his work is available on Veoh (requires Veoh plugin) and on Youtube (1 2 3 4 5 6). [more inside]
posted by azarbayejani on Dec 28, 2010 - 8 comments

San Francisco Symphony

Keeping Score is designed to give people of all musical backgrounds an opportunity to explore signature works by composers Hector Berlioz, Charles Ives, and Dmitri Shostakovich in depth, and at their own pace. The interactive audio and video explores the composers’ scores and pertinent musical techniques as well as the personal and historical back stories. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Dec 12, 2010 - 7 comments

R.I.P. Henryk Górecki

Composer Henryk Górecki, known for his choral and orchestral works in the "sacred minimalist" style, has died. He was best known for his Symphony #3, "Sorrowful Songs," (YT sample) premiered in the U.S. in 1994. Górecki's Symphony #4, scheduled to premier in 2010, was postponed because of the composer's extended illness, will not be completed.
posted by aught on Nov 12, 2010 - 65 comments

A Piece for Tape Recorder, 1956

Ussachevsky early tape manipulation piece Despite some of the synthesis sounding "dated", this and other similar pieces are still so full of audible discovery. You can find more of this and other instrumentation types here...
posted by somnambulist on Oct 25, 2010 - 9 comments

Run! Run away from the new music!

The “LSER” is a response to longstanding requests from subscription holders for a faster mode of self-ejection from the concert hall...The LSER will be a particularly comforting addition to the concert-going experience for patrons anxious about contemporary music, as in the case next month when music director Alan Gilbert will present “Le Grand Macabre” by the twentieth century master György Ligeti.

NY Philharmonic to install new Speedy Exit Ramp. via Hell Mouth, the blog of John Adams. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on May 13, 2010 - 22 comments

Bikes, mics, and helicopters.

80s Film and TV composers filter: Let's hear it for Serbian-born action-flick composer Sylvester Levay. He scored a #1 Billboard 100 hit in 1975 with "Fly, Robin, Fly,", but moved from pop music to action movies. Maybe he's known best as the genius behind the alleged World's Most Expensive TV Soundtrack, the theme of which you don't have to pay $900 to hear.
Why did he move from action movies to historical musicals in the 90s? Maybe the genre was a little overloaded. [more inside]
posted by hpliferaft on Jun 3, 2009 - 8 comments

He wrote a score they couldn't refuse

One Hundred Years, One Hundred Scores. The Hollywood Reporter and a jury of film music experts select the 100 greatest film scores of all time. One of the jury is Dan Goldwasser, editor of Soundtrack.net, which publishers interviews with composers, reviews of soundtracks and keeps a valuable list of trailer music - for when a new trailer uses old film music and you can't quite remember where it's from. [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Apr 30, 2009 - 60 comments

Gramophone Archives

The Gramophone Archive is a (free) searchable database containing every issue of Gramophone from April 1923 to the latest issue.
posted by Gyan on Feb 15, 2009 - 4 comments

Carter at 100

Elliot Carter, American Composer, turns 100 Born in 1908, Carter's life is a virtual biography of twentieth century music. He attended the US premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Perhaps a slow developer, Carter didn't write his first opera until he was over the age of 90. He turns 100 tomorrow, December 11th. [more inside]
posted by ob on Dec 10, 2008 - 17 comments

South/Latin American composers after 1900

While the first pioneering forays into atonality and free chromaticism were starting to occur in Western European music, the talents of Latin and South America were discovering the Romantic beauty of re-interpreting the past. [much, much more inside!]
posted by invitapriore on Jun 3, 2007 - 6 comments

Like Watching Movies With Your Eyes Closed

Film and TV composers with online portfolios for your cinematic listening pleasure.
posted by OverlappingElvis on Jan 31, 2007 - 3 comments

Who actually calls it "New Music"?

N E W - M U S I C
posted by a_green_man on Oct 17, 2006 - 8 comments

Hundreds of perfectly scanned "classical" music scores in PDF

Partituras - Hundreds of perfectly scanned "classical" music scores (and parts) in PDF. Chose a composer from the pop-up menu in the middle of the page to browse the available works by that composer.
posted by persona non grata on Sep 21, 2006 - 19 comments

"Get ready for the Third Millennium, people!"

Anthony Braxton and the Tri-Centric Foundation | Wesleyan University recently hosted a semester-long 60th birthday celebration for visionary composer and musician Anthony Braxton. Learn about Braxton's foundation for musical exploration, and his peculiar system for naming his compositions; read a few of his dense and cryptic research papers on many subjects (full contents here); peruse a remarkably comprehensive discography of his works; read a brief and interesting interview with him, and if that doesn't feed your curiosity, dive head-first into an absolutely gargantuan interview with this important composer; listen to interviews with Braxton from 1971 and 1985; and, finally, give a listen to Composition No. 186, part of Braxton's "Ghost-Trance" series.
posted by Dr. Wu on Dec 19, 2005 - 13 comments

The MacDowell Colony

"The spiritual, physical, intellectual, social or economic well-being of the general public".
Within the MacDowell Colony's rustic stone and clapboard cottages, Thornton Wilder wrote Our Town, Aaron Copland composed Appalachian Spring and Dubose and Dorothy Heyward wrote Porgy and Bess. Jonathan Franzen finished writing The Corrections and Alice Sebold worked on The Lovely Bones. For decades, the town considered the colony a tax-exempt charitable organization. Not anymore.
posted by matteo on Nov 14, 2005 - 9 comments

Art of the States

Art of the States - American composers and their music. Real Audio streams of complete works.
posted by Wolfdog on Oct 20, 2005 - 4 comments

classic.

Classic Cat describes itself as "the free classical music directory," and offers links to 3rd-party-hosted downloadable recordings, sliced and diced by hits, composer, performer, and more. There are active fora. Given the old-school look of the site, I was surprised not to find it in my repost search.
posted by mwhybark on Feb 13, 2005 - 13 comments

Jerry Goldsmith

Film composer Jerry Goldsmith died on Wednesday. At Deconstructing Goldsmith, you can find short and occasionally contentious commentaries on just about all of Goldsmith's scores, including rejected ones.
posted by Prospero on Jul 22, 2004 - 10 comments

John Coltrane's Home

John Coltrane composed many of his later works, including A Love Supreme in this house. Now local preservationists are battling to save the home from demolition. If you want to see this home preserved just send them an email to show your support.
posted by lilboo on Mar 9, 2004 - 17 comments

Fantastique!

Happy Birthday, Hector!
posted by thrakintosh on Dec 11, 2003 - 6 comments

Ella Fitzgerald And The Lyrics Of The Great American Standards

The Song Is You: If ever there was a perfect singer - and I do mean perfect - it was Ella Fitzgerald. Her Songbooks (please scroll down for the listings and samples) are still - and will always be - the best collection there is of the great American standards. That is, if you don't mind crying and having the little hairs on the nape of your neck stand up and revolt. And swing. They'd be the last records objects I'd be willing to part with: they're the mother's milk of American Western popular culture. So imagine my surprise when I found their perfect counterpart on the Web: the best-ever collection of lyrics to the songs of the greatest American composers: Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Richard Rodgers. Admirably, the compiler has gone way beyond his duty and included wonderful standards (quite a few unknown to me) that even Ella never got around to singing. Thank you, Todd. And God bless you, Sir!
posted by MiguelCardoso on Sep 22, 2003 - 26 comments

Burt Bacharach and Stephen Sondheim

There's Always Something There To Remind You of a Burt Bacharach or a Stephen Sondheim song. [Do check out this MeFi thread where our own MarkB mentions his work on the Sondheim website.] Burt turned 74 this month, Steve was 73 in March. Must we wait until they die before celebrating the genius of American popular music's two greatest living composers? [ And isn't it appropriate that Elvis Costello is the most recent composer to receive the ASCAP Founders' Award which previously honoured Bacharach and Sondheim?]
posted by MiguelCardoso on May 15, 2003 - 12 comments

Music and Freedom

Shostakovichiana. Documents and articles about one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, some of them focusing on the problems he encountered working under a totalitarian system. Some highlights :- 'Do not judge me too harshly': anti-Communism in Shostakovich's letters; 'You must remember!': Shostakovich's alleged 1937 interrogation; About Shostakovich's 1948 downfall. More related material can be found at the Music under Soviet Rule page.
There are a number of interesting sites dealing with music expression and censorship generally. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has a site on the music of the concentration camps - 'While popular songs dating from before the war remained attractive as escapist fare, the ghetto, camp, and partisan settings also gave rise to a repertoire of new works. ' Here's a Guardian article on the Blue Notes, who 'fought apartheid in South Africa with searing jazz'. Here's a page about the Drapchi 14, Tibetan nuns who 'recorded independence songs and messages to their families on a tape recorder' (and were subsequently punished). Finally, a page on records which were banned from BBC radio during the 1991 Gulf War (example :- 'Walk Like an Egyptian').
posted by plep on Mar 26, 2003 - 18 comments

Kirk and Spock Catfight in new Kubrick Movie

What does the Miller Lite "Catfight" commercial (Bigger clip and boobs Real Audio here), Star Trek, and Stanley Kubrick have in common? A man named Gerald Fried. After studying the controversial beer ad over and over again, I noticed that the background music is inspired by the legendary Kirk vs Spock fight theme Ritual/Ancient Battle/2nd Kroyka (shorter mp3 here) in "Amok Time" (be sure to view the trailer). Gerald Fried composed the music for this classic episode that features a love-crazed Spock defeating Kirk (and also ripping his shirt in the process). How did a lowly oboe major from Julliard get into soundtracks? He was a high school buddy of Stanley Kubrick, and composed Kubrick's first film, Day of the Fight. He went on to compose themes for Roots and The Man from UNCLE. Isn't it great what you can learn from a mindless lesbian catfight scene? More proof: during the Amok Time battle, Spock may have said to the shirtless Kirk, "Let's Make Out!!!"
posted by Stan Chin on Jan 21, 2003 - 25 comments

Bernard Herrmann:

Bernard Herrmann: I've always loved Bernard Herrmann's music (symphonic or film) but I didn't know until this afternoon that he was responsible for the two most recognizable bars of music in the last 30 years: the theme for The Twilight Zone.
posted by realjanetkagan on Sep 10, 2002 - 8 comments

Was Richard Rodgers The Greatest American Popular Composer So Far?

Was Richard Rodgers The Greatest American Popular Composer So Far? 2002 is his Centennial. He may be less cool and more bourgeois than the other greats like Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Frank Loesser, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. But even the most cursory look at the long list of the wonderful songs he wrote(try the excellent song search feature), with Hart, then Hammerstein(and some other lyricists, including himself)makes it very difficult to deny there never was - and probably never will be - a more talented and versatile tunesmith. Miles Davis was right. He was a genius. And yet...[Flash required for the (interesting) intro]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Apr 18, 2002 - 41 comments

Karlheinz Stockhausen talks trash...

Karlheinz Stockhausen talks trash... A wonderful interview with the composer picking apart some young electonic upstarts.
posted by nonreflectiveobject on Jan 14, 2002 - 24 comments

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