Posts Tagged 'creativity'

Music Monday: Karliene

Music Masters of the Universe

Join us on a musical grand tour and discover the exotic sounds and inspirations behind some of the most colourful classical music. Ken Hunt guides you through composer, country and instrument.

‘Today I’ve been in touch with a composer from Yugoslavia, another from Korea, one from Argentina and Hamza El Din called today too’ enthuses David Harrington, the San Francisco-based member of the Kronos Quartet. ‘The possibilities are greater than ever. It’s astonishing what can be done now. You never know what you might be able to hear next.’

As the next century races to greet us, it’s easy to forget that much of the music available has only been accessible for a few decades. To have listened to authentic Indian music at the turn of the century would have meant visiting Madras or Benares or attending an exhibition such as the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908 with the Ceylon Village and Indian Area. To have studied it might have entailed reading the ‘Music in Hindustan, Siam and Java’, a chapter in Weber’s A Popular History of Music from the Earliest Times (1891). Little assisted culturally-challenged westerners to overcome their musical superiority. Witness one H Cottrell writing from Bombay in 1907 who observed of Hindu (Indian) musicians: ‘They make most awful noises.’

Continue reading ‘Music Masters of the Universe’

Selfish Saturday: Camping Out

I haven’t used this slot for a very long time. Because reasons. (That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.)

Normally, on this date, I would put here a notice that regular posting activity would be suspended for the month, while I prioritised another Camp NaNoWriMo project. Instead, I’m letting you lovely people who are used to dropping in to check my word counter that I’m sitting this session out. The first half of the month is swallowed up by Easter break, and I can’t write while the entire family is milling around. By the time school resumes, on the 18th, it will be too late to do anything. I have no problem with school holidays coming in towards the end of the month, as it happens every July, because I’m as likely as not to have already met my word goal by then (and if not, I’m close enough that delays don’t make much difference). I can manage Easter break eating up the first week of the month or so, although barely (last year was rather rough). But I don’t believe I can turn out a story in just 13 days.

So there will be no daily recipe, or DailyOM post, or story bit for the visitors. There will be occasional posts of the regularly scheduled variety, as family holiday time allows. But there will be no new Owl City Chronicle this time; that will have to wait for July, and I’m already planning.

Unless, of course, life on the home front winds me up so badly that I just have to plunge into writing, even at the tail end of the month (because punching people in the throat is frowned upon), regardless of completion chances. In which case, you’ll notice.

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Ballet Shorts

Music for the Silver Screen

You can’t talk about twentieth-century music without acknowledging the cinema. As the music of Rebel without a Cause and Jules et Jim comes out on CD, Peter Davey tells the story of sound and vision, taking in composes lured to Hollywood, and how the best film-score writers stand up to the greatest classics.

Can you imagine Jaws without John Williams’s menacing, accelerating theme as the shark’s fin makes its first appearance on screen? Or how much less shocking Janet Leigh’s shower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho would be if it wasn’t accompanied by Bernard Herrmann’s piercing, jagged-edge orchestral score? ‘Film music’, said Herrmann, ‘can intensify the inner thoughts of the characters, can invest a scene with terror or gaiety, can propel narrative forward or slow it down, and is the communicating link between screen and audience.’ In the endless variety of music scores you will find everything from the heavily symphonic, swooning love music of Steiner’s Gone with the Wind to the circus polkas and Sicilian rhythms of Nino Rota’s La Strada and Godfather series.

This month’s new film Paradise Road is set in a Japanese prisoner of war camp where inmates sing arrangements of classical music. Its soundtrack of appropriated classics will no doubt thrive as Mozart did after Amadeus, Mahler after Death in Venice and Rachmaninov after Brief Encounter, and, most recently, Shine. But what about those composers who write especially for the cinema? What is their greatest work and which films should we watch to appreciate their best music?

Continue reading ‘Music for the Silver Screen’


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