The other day I posted a video of an orchestrated Art Song/Lieder from the period when I was composing contemporary classical music. I actually did two posts on this before (see here for the one with the most details). Don’t let “classical”, “art song” or Trent’s awful voice drive you away – take listen:
One year I saw far more Black-eyed Susans (flowers) than ever – they were everywhere. Until I went Northern Maine for a week. When I returned, there were no more flowers. A little later, when hiking, I saw some remnants. I wrote this song based on that.
Anyway, a friend/music mentor had been asking for a fugue since I had started my serious study of “classical” music. This person owned an art gallery and had earlier, before I studied composition, commissioned four (4) pieces of music from me over a handful of years. I recently posted the first piece he commissioned, Sortes Vergilianae (The Fanatic), to YouTube and thought I did a post here, but can’t find it. Hmm, maybe I will some day. Anyway, click on that name if you are interested.
Back tot he story, Gary wanted a fugue, but I hadn’t studied fugue in depth, so I kept telling him “no”. Unfortunately, he passed away before he got his fugue. So I decided to write a fugue in the fourth movement here in his memory. Well, almost. I still hadn’t studied fugue and, though I understood how they worked, I didn’t have the form exactly right. So the middle of this is filled with fugue-like sections (fugato), though I think a purist wouldn’t call it “fugue”.
I do like the huge contrasts of super simple and super dense passages in this.
One of the very first posts I ever put up on this blog was called Challenge Me! It was about musical challenges that I used to participate in when I followed a music forum back about a decade ago.
Here is a super quick synopsis of that post. Someone would post a phrase or a theme. The “contestants” would compose music based on that theme. The music could take any form, any genre, etc., as long as it used the music software that the music forum was about. The winner of each challenge would post the theme for the next challenge. You can read more on the original post. Continue reading →
Several years ago, when I was deep into composing contemporary classical music, I belonged to a music forum. One of the things we used to do on the forum is have challenges. You can see this post for more detail, but basically the winner of the last challenge would come up with a motif and everyone else had to write a piece of music based on the theme. I thought I had a real chance to win Challenge 12 (I might have if I would have only put in one entry) so I decided to create a theme for Challenge 13, just in case. I wrote a short sample piece to go along with this little motif, not to play as I posted it (no influence to the competitors) but just to show that the abstract motif wasn’t that far out. I didn’t win Challenge 12, so I never used that theme except for this short work. I posted it and everyone loved it, but that was the end. I had always meant to expand it, and the people on the forum expected me to, but I never got around to it and eventually stopped writing classical music.
I really liked the music, Thirteen!, and so I decided to make a little video of that snippet I created as an example. It’s a little dark at the end, so I thought “Halloween”, but I didn’t have time to make Halloween graphics. I used fall foliage scenery, including short videos of me running around in the woods behind my house and call it “autumn inspired” instead of “Halloween” Enjoy! Continue reading →
I have decided to do videos for every movement of The Hamlet Symphony. I started with the second movement last year because it is the most accessible. Yesterday I posted the First Movement – Introduction, The Midnight Watch, to YouTube.
The main purpose of the movement is to set the mood and to introduce the main musical material. Both 12-tone rows are given near the beginning and there are many short motives that will return. The Death Theme is played several times. This theme will return! In ways this is the seed that all of the other material grows from. Continue reading →
In my life I’ve done a few things I’m proud of. For example, I’ve written two books. The first of these books has undergone extensive revision. And yet, in my mind these two books combined pale in comparison to the accomplishment of the Hamlet Symphony. From the first note to the last, every part of this hour long symphony, from notes to phrases to themes to sections to entire movements, interrelate and work together to form a cohesive whole. A note in the third movement is impossible with one from the second.
As many of you know, I decided to release the symphony back in February. All I’ll say is that although The Hamlet Symphony may be the culmination of my musical life, it is definitely not my most successful achievement! The Hamlet Symphony is available on iTunes and Amazon. It’s also available on CD Baby. Try here for Amazon UK.
The Hamlet Symphony is a companion to the famous play and portrays a little of its complexity in music. There are a few scenes set to music, but this isn’t a straight forward soundtrack, being meant more as a reflection on the characters and the action. In some ways The Hamlet Symphony is the emotional reaction one might have while reading or seeing the play. Continue reading →
The Hamlet Symphony is almost here! While we are waiting for the official release I’ll tell you a little more about it.
The symphony can be described as visually influenced contemporary tonal classical music covering many moods and emotions, but with an overall dark psychological edge. This music was created as concert music but is suitable as a soundtrack to a tragedy.
The Hamlet Symphony is a companion to the famous play and portrays a little of its complexity in music. There are a few scenes set to music, but this isn’t a strait forward soundtrack, being meant more as a reflection on the characters and the action. In some ways The Hamlet Symphony is the emotional reaction one might have while reading or seeing the play. Continue reading →
Last Saturday I mentioned I was starting a new music project. I’m not going to go into any great detail yet, but I’ll give you the lowdown. I’ve been listening to a lot of the modern classical music I’ve written and I really like it. I’ve decided to release some of it on CD or mp3 downloads. I’ve done a little research and find that it is easier than I had thought. Currently I’m making new, more CD worthy mixes and will soon make a final master.
I’m going to release the music in two waves. The first one is a major orchestral piece while the second will be piano music. The two albums won’t come out at the same time but will be staggered by several months. Continue reading →
Exactly ten years ago I was just starting my adventures in composing classical music. I hadn’t taken composition lessons yet so was still learning on my own. I wanted to explore more modern music, even go totally atonal. Atonal? If you’re in a band a play a song the first thing you ask is, “What key are we in?” There is no key, no root and no tonal center in atonal music.
For whatever reason it was going slow. I think the problem was that I had no real inspiration except, “I just want to do it to see if I can.” Not the greatest motivator. Continue reading →