Posts in Blogs
In a recent article at Gamasutra, Andrew High asks the question, “Is game music all it can be?” While I agree with his general premise—that music in video games can do so much more than it’s currently doing—I found the article to be frustratingly incomplete, and I’d like to articulate why.
Composers rarely retire. When we are fortunate enough to live into a ripe dotage, we generally continue to write for as long as our strength allows.
Many years ago I remember John Corigliano giving a speech in which he compared classical music cognoscenti who catalog the minutiae of interpretive deviations to wine snobs who spent all their time contrasting various vintages of high-end bottlings of the same wine grapes.
Last night, Le Poisson Rouge in New York City’s Greenwich Village staged a benefit concert-revue, Jazz for Hurricane Sandy Relief, to aid musicians in the New York area who lost everything, or nearly everything, during the hurricane’s assault.
I have tried to emphasize the importance of students critiquing one another’s works in my Beginning Composition class for several years to great effect. This accomplishes several valuable things at once.
I have been keeping notes about what I learned during the process of creating my orchestra piece, and there are so many things that could be helpful to others that I wanted to begin putting them out there for other composers who are or will be working with an orchestra for the first time.
After the news of Elliott Carter’s passing earlier this week, I was quite moved by the outpouring of tributes to the composer that I encountered through social media. It says something about Carter’s musical imagination that even those who professed to dislike his work had a favorite piece by him. This got me thinking about the limits of what we can do as composers to advocate for our own music.
Recently, I’ve been trying to strip all the tricks out of my music. I’ve been attempting to lay bare the essence of my musical expression, to write exactly the sounds that need to be there without layering any of the personal or universal contrivances that I’ve often resorted to in moments of doubt. The resulting compositions feel much more personal to me, and also much more exposed.
In the middle of all of the post Sandy mayhem, I actually ventured out of my apartment to attend a performance last week—Thomas Adès’s The Tempest. It was extraordinarily cathartic. What did you do?
As Hurricane Sandy and the various weather systems that converged on the eastern half of the United States began to unleash their power, it still didn’t seem all that bad from our vantage point in western New York.
It was, indeed, that bad.