Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday Miscellanea

Some people think that technology is ruining music. But some of the new music technology is just, uh, dumb. Take a look at this odd bit of technology that enables you to turn anything into a "musical instrument".

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It Might Get Loud is a documentary about three guitarists, Jimmy Page, the Edge and Jack White, that I missed (probably because it didn't come to my town) but that is kind of interesting. Jack White I hadn't heard of before and I like his attitude to technology. Here is a deleted scene from the film:


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For comic relief, here is a satirical commercial that was put together in 1977. What if a particularly clueless record company decided to release a collection of the greatest hits of 12-tone music and advertise it on late night television?


I wonder if it would be equally funny if you were to advertise electronic dance music in the way you would, say, Beethoven quartets? "And now, one of the finest examples of a middle-period slow movement by Deadmau5."

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Metallica meets Richard Wagner and they put on a show: that's the vibe I get from this article about the Baltimore Rock Opera Society production of Gründlehämmer


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And speaking of technology, here is a first-person account of a project that seems to have combined all the worst clichés of technology, globalism, the Internet and improv. Oddly, there seems to be no clip of it on YouTube. Here is a project that seems to have gone better--probably because it was actually planned:


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For some reason I have never listened to a lot of Steely Dan, even though I have heard a lot of good things about their music over the years. Donald Fagan has used the same studio that I use here where I live. Anyway, I just ran across a great video of him talking about how one of their songs was written. The guy knows his stuff!


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I'm not much of a jazz fan, but I have to admit that this is a really cool clip. Wes Montgomery creates an arrangement from scratch with a few Dutch musicians, live, on TV, circa 1965.

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Tom Service takes on the Symphony No. 1 by William Walton this week at the Guardian. Apparently, the idea was to kick Arnold Bax' butt. Well, certainly someone's butt was kicked in this music. Possibly the listeners...

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Music blogger Jessica Duchen has a nice post about Bartók up on her site that is a talk she gave. Here is a little violin duo from the talk:


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The ever-active Tom Service has a piece about Bruckner up on the Guardian site promoting a series of concerts devoted to three of his symphonies. If I had more time, I could decide what I really think about Bruckner... Here is Mariss Jansons conducting the Symphony No. 3 of Bruckner:


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And finally, yet another attempt at coming up with a list of the greatest composers. It is a bit too British (what the heck is a "league table" anyway?), but interesting nonetheless. One interesting thing is that he has Haydn high on his list at number 4. Here is an interesting bit where he talks about who comes after the first five:
Wagner and Bruckner make my Premier League because they touch the sublime (which I can’t define; I just know it when I hear it). Chopin, one of my favourite composers, doesn’t move me spiritually. Neither does Mahler: too neurotic. Schumann I adore, but what a mess he creates. Brahms’s music is too brown and droopy. They’re all Championship. So is Handel, who falls into the category of great masters who send me to sleep.
Well, some of that I could agree with...

UPDATE: And as soon as I posted this I noticed yet another column in the Telegraph about the same topic, "What Makes a Great Composer".

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Let's end with some listening as is traditional here. One of the greatest pieces of music of the 18th century (even though it was actually premiered in 1801) and one that is not nearly as well known as it should be. The Seasons, no, not by Vivaldi, rather the oratorio by Joseph Haydn:


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3 comments:

Bridge said...

Haha, that commercial was great. Too often the joke is at the expense of 12-tone music and its fans - it's refreshing to see something put together by people knowledgeable about the music that manages to create something that's humorous for both the people who like the music and (I presume) those who don't. It's an easy target, especially when your target audience hates it or is completely ignorant of it, and consequently the jokes tend to be a bit exploitative and simplistic.

Rickard Dahl said...

I agree with Bridge, the commercial was great.

Bryan Townsend said...

Yeah, you don't actually get how funny it is unless you know the music a bit.