Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Miscellanea

I'm 87% sure that this is a joke: "Composer Raises $140,000 to Compose Music Specifically for Cats."
It has been announced that American composer David Teie has raised more than US $140,000, via a crowd-sourced KickStarter campaign, to create the world’s first full-length album specifically for felines.
The 60 year old composer and long time cellist with Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra, has to date released two compositions for cats – with a study by the Applied Animal Behavior Science publication suggesting 77% of felines reported a favourable reaction to the works.
Right?

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I guess after that we have to hear the Cat Fugue (K. 30) by Scarlatti, so called because the beginning sounds like a cat walking on the keys.


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This starts off with a bit of the Moonlight Sonata and then turns into, yep, what could be the Greatest Bass Solo Ever:


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Time to hear jazz guitarist Pat Metheny's thoughts on classical music: "10 Questions for Jazz Legend, Pat Metheny."
2. I read an interview from several years ago where you were asked if you listened to Wagner…to which you replied there was too much modulation going on…you wished he would stay in one place. But you did say you were into the “Russian guys…Stravinsky, Prokofiev, etc…. And the French…Debussy, Ravel and Satie. What classical composers, if any, interest you these days?
I must have meant the Wagner comment as a kind of a joke - actually the more modulations the better for me! While I feel an ongoing attraction to trying to understand all the composers that you listed and many others (Berg, Webern, etc.), I don’t feel like I have ever really had the time to devote to sitting down with scores and spending the months I believe it takes to truly digest that music with the kind of seriousness that I have been compelled to invest in other forms. I keep thinking someday I will. I would love that.
But, I do need to add - as much as I love the musicians on your list there, hands down the most important composer in this general realm for me was J.S. Bach. His music has a place in my life that rivals that of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane in that in addition to loving it as a fan, any time spent under the hood with it also has an instant pragmatic effect on the specifics of what I aspire  to achieve in music myself.
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Here is a very interesting article on tonal languages: languages that use pitch to alter the meaning of words: "The Linguistic Mystery of Tonal Languages."
Mandarin Chinese, with its four tones, is a typical example. Take the word ma. If you say it the way an English-speaker would say it, just reading it sitting by itself on a page, then it means “scold.” Say ma as if you were looking for your mother—ma?—and it means “rough.” If you were just whining at her—“ma-a-a?!?”—with your voice swooping down a bit and then back up even higher, that would mean, believe it or not, “horse.” And if you say ma on a high pitch, as if you were singing the first syllable of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as ma instead of “oh” for some reason, that would actually mean mother. That’s the way almost every syllable works in Chinese.
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Dude, here is some totally wild news: you don't have to spend a lot of money on weed to boost your creativity! I know, I know, I'm amazed too. Here's the piece: "I Used to Spend $1,000 a Week on Pot Because I Thought Smoking Made My Music Better. I Was Wrong." Luckily we have some of Mr. Bixler-Zavala's music on YouTube:


Sounds a bit like they spent way too much money on weed and way too little on music lessons, doesn't it?

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Alan Kozinn in the Wall Street Journal has a review of a new recording of Frank Zappa's "rock opera" (if that is what it is) 200 Motels which I happened to see him and the Mothers of Invention (with guests Eddie and Flo from the Turtles) perform in Vancouver in, I think it was 1970 or 71. The new recording is conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen:
The latest addition to the Zappa classical discography, “200 Motels (The Suites),” due out on Friday from Zappa Records/UME, offers a reconfigured and generally clarifying version of Zappa’s sprawling 1971 rock opera, captured in a 2013 live performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with Mr. Salonen leading the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and a handful of rock musicians and vocalists, including the composer’s daughter Diva Zappa.
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I offer this link, pointedly, without comment: "Viral French Iman video: 'Music is a creature of the Devil' " Don't miss the comments, some of which are quite interesting.

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For today's musical envoi a magnificent "Fortuna Desperata" à 6 by Alexander Agricola (1445 or 46 - 1506):


3 comments:

Marc Puckett said...

I didn't read the linked article yet-- is the composition for the cats, or are the cats being educated to play the composition? 'Cat pianos' was an idea way ahead of its time.

(Am glad finally to get back to reading regularly, although I don't know how thoroughly I'll be able to read back through the blog. All of October was absorbed by nonsense at Rome and then one thing and another.... Your CD is available?)

Bryan Townsend said...

You have to watch the video. It is music specifically composed to appeal to cats. Or a scam...

We missed you! There was one full-blown debate that you might have enjoyed. Look at the post Enlightenment Values.

I've been too busy to post for the last few days.

Yes, the CD is finished (unless I decide to do some more tweaking). Now I am working on getting permissions from the copyright holders of the poetry. Cleared for six songs, just six to go. I posted three of the songs that you can listen to.

Marc Puckett said...

'Or a scam'. I'll listen when I can find the time, ahem. From composing for the glory of God in His Liturgy, to performing commissions for the princes of the world and then for men in public life and of commerce, to commissions for 'governments', to Taylor and Justin, to writing for beasts. I perceive an unpleasant trend.

'Unless I decide to do some more tweaking'-- :-)