is a composer who’s been likened to Zappa for his ambition, talent, madness, and virtuosity, but his music is considerably easier to get into. Get ready, because his large-scale orchestra project, Kiyohiko Senba and the Haniwa All-Stars, is about to blow your goddamn mind.
Let's start simple and ramp up. Hohai Bushi
sounds a bit like an Ennio Morricone composition but with more electric guitar. Taiikusai
is so heartfelt, yearning, and soaring that I cried when it got to the climax. They cover both Franz Schubert’s “Standchen" and Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t To Say You Love Me”
in ways that are all kinds of awesome. But the real treasure for me is this one
, which begins with them playing the Village People’s “YMCA” but then transitions into Daimeiwaku, a freaking phenomenal good original piece that sounds – I don’t know how else to describe it – like James Brown and John Philip Sousa decided to play Katamari Damacy together and had a really good time
. (With some klezmer and Leonard Bernstein thrown in there too, for good measure.) But wait! There’s [more inside]
posted by Rory Marinich
on Oct 25, 2013 -
Recently, at the BBC Proms, the National Youth Orchestra performed a piece by the composer and electronic musician Anna Meredith.
The name of the piece is HandsFree
. It's not your typical Proms fare. The musicians put down their instruments and commence twelve-odd minutes of clapping, stomping, shuffling, shouts and even singing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
posted by jason's_planet
on Jul 6, 2013 -
: How a paranoid fringe group made musical tuning an international issue.
The petition had its origins in one of the strangest conflicts to have overtaken classical music in the past thirty years, and many of these luminaries were completely unaware of what they’d gotten themselves into. The sponsor of both the petition and the conference that featured Tebaldi was an organization called the Schiller Institute, dedicated to, among other things, lowering standard musical pitch. ...
But behind this respectable front lurks a strange mélange of conspiracy, demagoguery, and cultish behavior. At its founding in 1984, its chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche laid out the Institute’s role in surprisingly apocalyptic terms
Originally published at The Believer
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jun 9, 2013 -
The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the handful of orchestras for which musicians the world over will drop everything to scramble for a job, and the audition ranks among the world’s toughest job interviews. Mike Tetreault has spent an entire year preparing obsessively for this moment. He's put in 20-hour workdays, practiced endlessly and shut down his personal life. Now the percussionist has 10 minutes to impress a selection committee and stand out among a lineup of other world-class musicians. A single mistake and it's over. A flawless performance and he could join one of the world's most renowned and financially well-endowed orchestras at a salary of more than $100,000 a year. The Audition
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 5, 2012 -
In the sixty-odd years since their composition, the Four Last Songs have acquired in many people’s minds an unassailable status as simply the most beautiful music known to them, to be listened to in a dimly lit room and a state of rapt meditation, surrendering to the extraordinary spell of profound, other-worldly calm that they cast. This is not surprising. They were, indeed, the last things of any significance that Strauss wrote, between May and September 1948, at the age of eighty-four. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Mar 24, 2012 -
Nants ingonyama bagithi baba!
It's been nearly two decades since that glorious savanna sunrise, and once again The Lion King
is at the top of the box office
. It's a good chance to revisit what made the original the capstone of the Disney Renaissance
, starting with the music. Not the gaudy show tunes or the Elton John ballads, but the soaring, elegiac score by Hans Zimmer which, despite winning an Oscar, never saw a full release outside of an unofficial bootleg
Luckily, it's unabridged and high-quality, allowing one to lay Zimmer's haunting
tracks alongside the original video
), revealing the subtle leitmotifs and careful matching of music and action.
In addition, South African collaborator Lebo M
wove traditional Zulu chorals into the score, providing veiled commentary
on scenes like this
; his work was later expanded
into a full album
, the Broadway stage show
, and projects closer to his heart
. Speaking of expanded works, there were inevitable sequels -- all of which you can experience with The Lion King: Full Circle
), a fan-made, three-hour supercut of the original film and its two follow-ups.
Want more? Look... harder... [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 1, 2011 -
If you want to read about the history, construction, sounds and playing techniques of, say, the tympani
, or any other instruments of the classical symphonic orchestra, Vienna Symphonic Library's Instruments Online
pages are good reading and a handy resource for orchestrators.
posted by Wolfdog
on Sep 30, 2011 -
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 -
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth
. The culmination of five years of field work
, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques
in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups
-- including many sights
rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular
, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries
, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta
, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score
from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes
for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough
. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Mar 7, 2011 -
It is simultaneously unlike, and above, every other record. ... Because perhaps it tells us what a trivial pursuit music really is, and at the same time how indispensable to a meaningful existence it in fact is. ... No one, least of all Carla Bley, has subsequently come even within an orbit’s distance of its achievements. ... It is, in the most literal of senses, untouchable.
- Marcello Carlin
posted by Joe Beese
on Sep 11, 2010 -
Music! - A 1968 documentary by the National Music Council of Great Britain, featuring folk singing, The Beatles, and even early electronic music produced by tape splicing. Part 1
, part 2
, part 3
, part 4
, part 5
posted by Artw
on Mar 7, 2010 -
is such a subtle and delicate mean of expression that it looks like arranging flamenco music for a number of musicians isn't practical or efficient. Nevertheless, many attempts have been made to use flamenco phrasing or colors within large ensembles : in a classical piece like The Aranjuez Concierto
, in jazz when Gil Evans teamed with Miles Davis to greate several pieces entitled Sketches of Spain
, or more recently, with the beautiful work of Maria Schneider
, or the small units of Louis Winsberg
. One of the most convincing score has been recently produced by Juan Carmona
, a gipsy guitarist from Marseille, a work
performed by many philarmonic orchestras.
posted by nicolin
on Oct 7, 2007 -