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United States Music


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Author Topic: United States Music  (Read 17959 times)
jowcol
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« on: August 16, 2012, 03:00:57 pm »

Music of Ronald LoPresti
From the collection of Karl Miller

I have the pleasure of announcing the upload of a collection of music by American composer Ronald LoPresti, who is definitely, in my opinion, one of the most underrated American composers. Lopresti, a clarinetist as well as a composer, was born in 1933 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. A pupil of Howard Hanson, he graduated from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, and taught at Arizona State University.   He is most known for a band composition,  his moving elegy for JFK, “Elegy for  a Young American”. (If you search youtube, you will find many versions of this).  His two movement Orchestral Suite “Masks”, conducted by Hanson, was released as part of the Mercury Living Presence series, and is also a strong work, but, to date, far too little of his work has been commercially released.

I’ve uploaded a collection of live performances of some of his never-released orchestral works:  two excellent symphonies, a nocturne for viola and strings, and other works.  

Note:
There are some of LoPesti chamber works available through the Arizona State University web site at
http://repository.asu.edu/search?q=lopresti
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2012, 03:18:49 pm »

On a v. brief 'skim through', pleasant indeed, thanks !
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 12:12:59 am »

Clarinet Concerto by Barney Childs

Stanley Drucker, Clarinet
American Symphony Orchestra
Dennis Russel Davies, Conductor
Barney Childs

From the collection of Karl Miller

DISSONANCE ALERT


Wikipedia Bio
Barney Childs (February 13, 1926 – January 11, 2000) was an American composer and teacher.
Born in Spokane, Washington, he taught and composed avant-garde music and literature at universities in the United States and United Kingdom.

Music
He was a musical autodidact till his association in the 1950s with Leonard Ratner and Elliot Carter in New York and with Aaron Copland and Carlos Chavez at Tanglewood. He was associated later with double bass player Bertram Turetzky and clarinet player Phillip Rehfeldt. He wrote several pieces for these and other players, often using extended techniques. Much of his music employs improvisation and indeterminacy (see his "Roachville Project," 1967). However, his influences are diverse and include jazz artists, John Cage, Charles Ives, and Paul Hindemith. Childs won the Koussevitzky Award at Tanglewood in 1954.

Education and Teaching Career
Trained originally as a literary scholar, Childs earned a Ph.D. in English from Stanford University (1959) and remained active as an editor and writer of poetry (see ...and other poems, 1955). He had previously studied at Deep Springs College, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He taught at the University of Arizona, where he was mentor to the young Joseph Byrd, Deep Springs College, where he served as Dean, Wisconsin College Conservatory, and Goldsmiths, University of London. From 1974 until his death, he was professor of composition and music literature at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California. He also taught literature and creative writing at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, located on the University of Redlands campus.

Childs died with Parkinson's disease in 2000.
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 12:29:43 am »

Music of Bernard Rogers
Repost from UC

At long last, I am happy to say that I have just posted several works of Bernard Rogers from the collection of Karl Miller.  Having listened to about half of this, I can say without doubt that he is definitely a candidate for poster child for unsung composers, and this should be a major bonanza.  Some of the sources were pretty lo-fi, but my thanks to Karl for spending more than a week on doing everything he could to improve them.  He’s provided some technical notes on some of the sources and restorations, which I will reproduce in the downloads section.

Music of Bernard Rogers Volume 1

1-5: Symphony No.4 “To Soldiers”
Battle Fantasy; Eulogy; Fugue and Epilogue
CBS Symphony Orchestra
Thor Johnson, conductor
[15 May 1949]

A version of this recorded has already been posted to Unsung.  Karl explains:


Quote
    The CBS SO performance which has previously been uploaded came from a Dictaphone disc I transferred some 40 years ago. I went back to my original tape of the transfer and did some restoration on the sound and hopefully it will easier to hear.


6-8: Symphony No.4

Eastman Rochester Symphony Orchestra
Howard Hanson, conductor
[6 May 1948]


9:  Symphony No.5 “Africa” (1962)
Visions; Tribal Drums
Symposium Orchestra
Composer, conducting

Notes from Karl:
Quote
    The recordings of the 4th and 5th Symphonies came from tapes owned by Paul Snook. The sound quality was not very good, so I did my best to restore the fidelity.  Since I know that the CBS version was recorded at 33 rpm and I have the disc, I feel rather secure in thinking that it is correctly pitched. The Eastman performance of the work was off a ½ step, not unlike many items I have from Eastman, so I repitched it.


Music of Bernard Rogers Volume 2.

1-10: Song of the Nightingale, Suite (1939)
Prelude; The gardens of the porcelain palace; Expedition of the Chinese gentlemen; Berceuse; A court festival; The clockwork nightingale; Death and the emperor; Song of the nightingale; Happy ending
Peabody Orchestra
Gunther Schuller, conductor

11:  Symphony No.3? in C
“On a Thanksgiving Song”
Rochester Philharmonic
Howard Hanson, conductor
[27 October 1937]

Notes  on Symphony 3 from  Karl:
Quote
    My copy was pitched at B. I have often had trouble with dubs from the Eastman Collection being pitched improperly. It can have to do with how the current to the turntables was supplied when the recording was made. However, re-pitching the work places the hum at 60 cps, which is where it should have been.

    The Fleisher collection says this work is in 4 movements, yet I could not find any breaks in the work. The Fleisher Collection catalog also states that the piece is supposed to be about 42 minutes in duration, yet my recording is 28 minutes long. Something suggesting a hymn tune can be found towards the end. While I am not familiar with a “Thanksgiving Song,” the prominence of the tune suggests such a reference. The sound quality is typical of Eastman in-house recordings of the period. 



Music of Bernard Rogers 3

1Apparitions for Orchestra
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Max Rudolf
[date unknown]

2-3 Four Pictures after Hans Christian Anderson
Eastman Rochester Symphony Orchestra/Howard Hanson [28 April 1945?]

4-8: Three Japanese Dances
Cleveland Orchestra/Louis Lane
[date unknown]

9: Portrait for Violin and Orchestra
Josef Gingold, violin
Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell
[18/20 October 1956]

10:  Suite “Silver World” (1949)
A Hobby Horse; Chinese March; A Princess; Tug of War
Eastman Little Symphony/Frederick Fennell
[date unknown]
No notes…

I haven’t found much about Rogers with a quick search, but we’ll start with a photo and 2 quick bios.


Wikipedia Bio
Bernard Rogers (4 February 1893 – 24 May 1968) was an American composer.

Rogers was born in New York City. He studied with Arthur Farwell, Ernest Bloch, Percy Goetschius, and Nadia Boulanger. He taught at the Cleveland Institute of Music, The Hartt School, and the Eastman School of Music. He retired from the latter school in 1967, and died in Rochester, New York.

Bernard Rogers composed five operas , five symphonies, other works for orchestra, chamber music, three cantatas, choral music and Lieder.

He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.[1]

Archive.Org  Bio:

Bernard Rogers (1893-1968) was professor of composition and chair of the composition department at Eastman from 1930 to 1967. He was born in New York City, and studied architecture before turning to music. His early composition teachers were Hans van der Berg, Arthur Farwell, and Ernest Bloch. After the successful premiere of his symphonic elegy, To the Fallen, by the New York Philharmonic in 1919, Mr. Rogers was awarded a Pulitzer Traveling Scholarship for study in Europe. In 1927, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship, and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and with Frank Bridge in London. He began to teach composition and orchestration at Eastman when he returned to the United States in 1929. In the ensuing 38 years, he taught more than 700 composers, many of whom went on to achieve international prominence. Mr. Rogers’ work as a composer included four symphonies, three operas, several major choral works, and numerous works of chamber music. His book The Art of Orchestration has been acknowledged as a classic in its field since its publication in 1951. He received honorary doctorates from Valparaiso University and Wayne State University, and was elected a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1947.

I pulled the bio from  this page, which also features with 4 very clean transfers of 78s of neglected American artists conducted by Hanson, free to download.  I would not hesitate to snag the Rogers Soliloquy for Flute and the Barlow.

  http://archive.org/details/AmericanWorksForSoloWinds
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 02:01:04 pm »

Lukas Foss: Exeunt


Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra
Zdenek Macal, Conductor
Radio Broadcast, Date Unknown

DISSONANCE ALERT


From the collection of Karl Miller


Wikipedia Bio
Lukas Foss (August 15, 1922 – February 1, 2009) was a German-born American composer, conductor, and pianist.

Music career
Foss was born Lukas Fuchs in Berlin, Germany in 1922. His father was the philosopher and scholar Martin Fuchs. He and his family moved to Paris in 1933, where he studied piano with Lazare Lévy, composition with Noël Gallon, orchestration with Felix Wolfes, and flute with Louis Moyse. In 1937 he moved with his parents and brother to the United States, where his father (on advice from the Quakers who had taken the family in upon arrival in Philadelphia) changed the family name from Fuchs to Foss. He studied at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, with Isabelle Vengerova (piano), Rosario Scalero (composition) and Fritz Reiner (conducting).

At Curtis, Foss began a lifelong friendship with classmate Leonard Bernstein, who later described Foss as an "authentic genius". In 1961 Bernstein would conduct the premiere of Foss's Time Cycle, while Foss would conduct the premiere of Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.[1]

Foss also studied with Sergei Koussevitzky during the summers from 1939 to 1943 at the Berkshire Music Center (now known as the Tanglewood Music Center) and, as a special student, composition with Paul Hindemith at Yale University from 1939 to 1940.[2] He became an American citizen in 1942.[3]

Foss was appointed professor of music at UCLA in 1953, replacing Arnold Schoenberg. While there he founded the Improvisation Chamber Ensemble, which made its Boston debut in 1962 for the Peabody Mason Concert series.[4] He founded the Center for Creative and Performing Arts in 1963 while at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

From 1963 to 1970 he was Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1971-1988 he was Music Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic (formerly Brooklyn Philharmonia). From 1981 to 1986, he was conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.[2] He was a Professor of Music, Theory, and Composition at Boston University beginning in 1991. His notable students include Faye-Ellen Silverman, Claire Polin and Rocco Di Pietro.[3]

He is grouped in the "Boston school" along with Arthur Berger, Irving Fine, Alexei Haieff, Harold Shapero, and Claudio Spies.[3]

He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity.[5][not in citation given]

Lukas Foss died at his home in Manhattan on February 1, 2009, aged 86, from a heart attack.[3]


Interesting perspective from eMusic:

The Adequate Genius of Lukas Foss
 
The composer Lukas Foss, who turns 85 in August, has been working long enough to experience all the stages of appreciation: dazzlement at his youthful gifts, inflated hopes for his future, quiet disappointment in his maturity, distinguished oblivion and belated reassessment. Foss's meager discography and his invisibility in most standard accounts of 20th century music belie a thick and high-quality catalogue of works, and a career spent at the heart of American musical life.

Foss committed the unforgivable sin for an American creative artist: He was really quite good. In this country we treasure Bernstein-scaled talents (which Foss doesn't have) and relish failings spectacular enough to hold out the exciting prospect of redemption (which Foss never experienced). But we reserve a special, unjust contempt for the consummate professional, the non-genius who influences nobody but keeps loyally producing fine, quiet novels or satisfying symphonies. We don't easily forgive adequacy.

He was born Lukas Fuchs in 1922, into a Berlin Jewish family that had the double foresight to leave Germany for Paris as soon as Hitler came to power, and then to get to the United States in 1937. The teenager was by then a prodigious pianist, a practiced composer and a budding conductor, and he absorbed the English language and American culture as quickly as he did music (though he still has a brushstroke of an accent). At 22, he had his first major compositional triumph with “The Prairie,” a cantata on poetry by Carl Sandburg that honored Aaron Copland, the American heartland and the wartime self-image of the nation that Foss adopted with gusto.

Already, he was sorting through his kitbag of identities. In 1945, with his native city nearly razed, his people nearly extinguished from Europe, and his new country vigorous and proud, Foss wrote a big, noisy downer of a piece: “Song of Anguish,” a 20-minute orchestral song with text from Isaiah. “Woe unto them that call evil good and good, evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness,” proclaims the baritone after a fire-and-brimstone orchestral prelude. He must have seemed awfully callow to be the bearer of such forceful gloom.

“Song of Anguish” is a displaced person's response to the grotesque moral inversions of World War II, and it staked a claim for American symphonic music as the expression of an ethical conscience. In the immediate aftermath of the war, few composers of any school, young or elderly, were writing with the expertise and urgency of the young Lukas Foss. Few could bring such overweening clarity and liveliness to bear on such serious, aspirational music. If the cantata has not had much of an afterlife in the concert halls, it's partly because of its utter lack of irony.

People always had trouble deciding how seriously to take Foss, or what file drawer to locate him in — an elusiveness he has been rightly proud of. Was he the Americanist of “The Prairie,” the Biblical tragedian of “Songs of Anguish,” the experimental modernist of the '60s, whose “Time Cycle” and “Echoi” still hold up as triumphs of the moderate avant-garde? Or was he the light-fingered neoclassicist who seemed still to be working out the answers to puzzles proposed by Bach? Is his “Central Park Reel” a genuine tribute to backcountry folk music, or just a form of urbane condescension?

There can be no doubt about the sincerity or effectiveness of his 1989 piano concerto “Elegy for Anne Frank.” A naive melody hesitantly forms itself against a background of melancholy strings, as if a child were sitting at the piano, plunking out the elements of her identity. But a tune, Foss shows, can mutate, acquire character and a destiny, and Anne Frank's morphs into a grim, oppressive march. Foss'musical narrative is so clear, it's hardly even necessary to know that Frank spent her truncated adolescence during World War II hiding in an Amsterdam attic and musing into her diary, before the Nazis deported her to Auschwitz and murdered her there. The piece ends with the tinkle of a toy-like piano petering out into silence.









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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2012, 01:57:18 pm »

Music of Harl McDonald

From the collection of Karl Miller
All sources from LPs or Radio Broadcasts


Volume 1:
1-4 Symphony 1: The Santa Fe Trail (the Explorers, The Spanish Settlements, The Wagon Trains of the Pioneers
Philadelphia Orchestra, Eugene Ormandy
Victor M754

5. Rhumba from Symphony Number 2
Philadelphia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski
Victor 8919


6. Cakewalk from Symphony #4
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy, Victor 15377

7. Festival of the Workers(Dance of the Workers)
Philadelphia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski, Victor 8919

NOTE: Tracks 5 and 7 may be commerically available.  I've reposted a corrected link in the downloads section. 

8-9: Two Poems on Hebrew themes
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy; Victor 14903

10-13: Children’s Symphony (On Familiar Tunes)

Allegro, Andante, Scherzo, Finale
Philadelphia Orchestra/Composer
Columbia ML 2141


Volume 2
1-3: Violin Concerto
Alexander Hilsberg, Violin
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
17 March, 1945

4-7: From Childhood, For Harp and Orchestra
Allegro, Moderato, Allegro
Edna Phillips, harp
Philadelphia Orchestra/Composer; Victor M839

8-10: Elegy and Battle Hymn
George Newton, Bass Baritone
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra/Fabien Sevitzky
28 Jan 1943

11.  My Country at War

Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy, Victor M592


Bio from BachCantatas.com


Born: July 27, 1899 - near Boulder, Colorado, USA
Died: March 30, 1955 - Princeton, New Jersey, USA

The American pianist, composer, conductor, music adminstrator and teacher, Harl McDonald, began to study music in elementary school, where he showed promise as a pianist. He undertook his graduate study at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where his professors included Vernon Spencer, Ernest Douglas, and Yaraslav de Zielinsky. McDonald earning his bachelor of music degree in 1921. He also studied at the University of Redlands, California. He then traveled to Europe, where he spent a year studying in Leipzig, gaining a further diploma from the conservatory there in 1922.

Harl McDonald returned to the USA during 1923, embarking on a full-time career as a solo pianist and accompanist. In 1924, he also joined the faculty of the Philadelphia Musical Academy as a piano teacher, and remained at that until 1926, when he was hired by the University of Pennsylvania. At Pennsylvania, where he stayed for the next 20 years (1926-1946), McDonald held a number of academic posts (including Director of the University's Choral Society and the University of Pennsylvania Glee Club), rising through the ranks to become senior professor and finally Director of the Music Department.

Harl McDonald also served as general manager of the Philadelphia Orchestra in from 1939 to 1955, and on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association. He also worked as a researcher in the fields of acoustics and sound measurement for the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1955, he published his findings in collaboration with O.H. Schenck in the book New Methods of Measuring Sound. In recognition for this acclaimed book, McDonald was elected to the scientific society Sigma Xi.

In addition to his administrative duties with the University, Harl McDonald composed numerous musical works, often of a programmatic nature.. His four symphonies are subtitled "The Santa Fe Trail" (#1 - 1933), "The Rhumba" (#2 - 1934), "Lamentations of Fu Hsuan" (#3 - 1935) and "Festival of the Workers" (#4 - 1937). His other works include a concerto for two pianos, two piano trios, and choral music. His 1938 Lament for the Stolen, for women's chorus and orchestra, was written in commemoration of the Lindbergh kidnapping.
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 02:18:28 pm »

jowcol, thanks so much for uploading all the McDonald works. I had done a similar post in the old UC forum, but you have a couple of works I was lacking, which I'm grateful to finally have! I regret to inform you, however, that the Festival of the Workers, and the Rhumba from the 2nd Symphony have appeared on CD in these same recordings on the Cala label.
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 02:27:38 pm »

jowcol, thanks so much for uploading all the McDonald works. I had done a similar post in the old UC forum, but you have a couple of works I was lacking, which I'm grateful to finally have! I regret to inform you, however, that the Festival of the Workers, and the Rhumba from the 2nd Symphony have appeared on CD in these same recordings on the Cala label.

Thanks for the warning.  Colin and I had already identified a couple other tracks that I needed to remove from the collection.  For now,  me pull the link(s) affected, and re-upload.  I'll have it remedied in a day or so, but in the meantime I don't want to leave the links up.
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 02:37:32 pm »

Cantata for Soprano, Baritone, Violin and Harp by Robert Starer


1. Radio Intro
2. Cantata for Sop, Bar, Violin and Harp
3. Radio Outro

Radio Broadcast  20 March 1949 

From the collection of Karl Miller

Wikipedia Bio:
Robert Starer (8 January 1924[1] in Vienna – 22 April[2] 2001 in Kingston, New York) was an Austrian-born American composer and pianist.
Robert Starer began studying the piano at age 4 and continued his studies at the Vienna State Academy. After the 1938 plebiscite in which Austria voted for annexation by Nazi Germany, Starer left for Palestine and studied at the Jerusalem Conservatory with Josef Tal. In World War II he served in the British Royal Air Force. And in 1947 he settled in the United States. He studied composition at the Juilliard School in New York, studied with Aaron Copland in 1948 and received a postgraduate degree from Juilliard in 1949. Starer became an American citizen in 1957.

Robert Starer taught at the Juilliard School, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York where he became a distinguished professor in 1986. He was married, had one child, Daniel, and resided in Woodstock, NY until his death. He lived with writer Gail Godwin for some thirty years; the two collaborated on several librettos.
Starer was prolific and composed in many genres. His music was characterized by chromaticism and driving rhythms. His vocal works, whether set to English or Hebrew texts, were particularly praised. He composed the score for Martha Graham's 1962 ballet Phaedra. He also wrote four operas The Intruder (1956), Pantagleize (1967), The Last Lover (1975), and Apollonia (1979).

One of the pieces Starer wrote was "Even and Odds" for piano players in their early stages.

He is also known for his pieces entitled "Sketches in Color".

To learn more about life of Robert Starer, one may read his autobiography. [3]

He is buried in Artists Cemetery, Woodstock, Ulster County, New York   


BCOM Wiki Page

The Brooklyn College Center for Computer Music originated when composer Robert Starer, then a member of the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, originated the idea of creating an electronic music studio at Brooklyn College in the mid-1970s.  The idea took root, and Jacob Druckman and Noah Creshevsky were the studio’s first Co-Directors. In those early days the equipment consisted largely of Moog analog synthesizers. Charles Dodge took over as Director in 1978, and he was responsible for having the studios designated as an official Center within Brooklyn College, the Center for Computer Music (CCM).


From the Starer Home Page written before his death:
This home page was written by Robert Starer before his death:
 
Welcome to my Web Site.  To begin with: a brief biography.  Longer, more detailed ones are available from a number of sources.  Included here is an autobiographical story called CONTINUO, which deals with my early years in Vienna and Jerusalem.
 
To help you locate one of my compositions I have prepared two lists of work: one by publisher and one by instrument.  (A complete list of works with the dates they were written can be found in the 2001 edition of Grove's Dictionary).
 
On this web site recordings, books and articles are separate.  PhD. theses are not included.  Neither are reviews.  My feelings about listing reviews are that if you like my music, you don't need them and if you don't like it, they won't convince you.
 
I hope you find this information useful and I thank you for your interest.
     
Biography

ROBERT STARER was born in Vienna in 1924 and entered the State Academy of Music at the age of 13. Soon after Hitler's annexation of Austria, he went to Jerusalem and continued his studies at the Palestine Conservatoire. During World War II, he served with the Royal British Air Force. In 1947, he came to New York for post-graduate study at the  Juilliard School and also studied with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood in 1948. He became an American citizen in 1957. He has taught at Juilliard from 1949 to 1974 and at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York from 1963 to 1991. He was named a Distinguished Professor in 1986. Among his honors are two Guggenheim Fellowships and grants from the National Endowment and the Ford Foundation. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994, awarded the Medal of Honor for Science and Art by the practitioner of Austria in 1995, an Honorary Doctorate by the State University of New York in 1996 and a Presidential Citation by the National Federation of Music Clubs in 1997.

His stage works include three operas with libretti by Gail Godwin and several ballets for Martha Graham. His orchestral works have been performed by major orchestras here and abroad under such conductors as Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Steinberg, and Mehta. Interpreters of his music include Janos Starker, Jaime Laredo, Paula Robison and Leontyne Price. The recording of his Violin Concerto (Itzhak Perlman with the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa) was nominated for a Grammy. Excerpts from his book CONTINUO: A Life in Music have appeared in the New Yorker, Musical America, and the London Times. In 1997 the Overlook Press published THE MUSIC TEACHER, his first work of fiction. The opening chapter was excerpted in The Keyboard Companion. CD recordings of his music are available from CRI, VOX, Albany Records, Transcontinental and MMC. 



From: Continuo: A Life in Music, Random House, New York, 1987:
"Nations go through stages just as human beings do; in essence there are only three such stages (not counting birth and death), the first being ascent and the vigor of youth; the second maturity and the height of power; the third decline and the diminishing of vital forces.

The Austria of my childhood was already past the third stage. The Jewish Palestine I knew in my teens had just begun its youthful ascent and was the most idealistic society I have even known. The British were just beyond their highest peak when I proudly wore their uniform. They fought valiantly, but while they did win the war, it cost them dearly.
The United States that I came to as a student in 1947, was young, pure and strong when I arrived. It had beaten evil and felt itself untainted by it.

Why all these observations? Mainly to see my own life in relation to that of societies I have been part of. It appears that I have swum against the stream; that I moved from an old, decaying civilization to a young, powerful one, having touched others in between.

How has all this affected me and my music? I have probably selected what suited me from all the cultures that have touched me, and rejected or ignored what was incompatible with my nature. In my music, I have been told, there are elements of Viennese sentiment, Jewish melisma, Near Eastern playfulness and American jazz. These elements must have been compatible with my nature to have become part of my style and musical personality. Other features of the cultures I have known did not become part of me. This has led me to believe that while our lives are shaped by events that others control, we do have the choice of accepting from the worlds around us.







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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2012, 04:56:28 pm »

I would also like to extend my thanks to you, jowcol, for uploading the Harl McDonald pieces. His Concerto for Two Pianos is a beautiful, romantic piece and I have always wanted to hear more of his music.
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2012, 03:35:13 pm »

John Lewis:  Jazz Ostinato

John Lewis recording at the Broadcast Studios in Geneva on July 5th-6th, 1972
(Photo courtesy of Jean-Jacques Becciolini, Zürich)



Modern Jazz Quartet
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Max Rudolf, Conductor
January 1967
Private Recording of live performance, (Venue unspecified, but the MJQ and CSO played Carnegie Hall that  month)

From the collection of Karl Miller

I'd clearly rank this work as a very successful "Third Stream" outing.  Although I'm a pretty big jazz fan, I didn't know much about the MJQ,, but I guess I'm going to have to learn more about them.  Lewis's participation in the "Birth of the Cool" Nonet (with Miles Davis and Gil Evans) already makes him of interest to me.


Following from Michael Furstner's Jazz Class website:

JL 1 - John Lewis and the Modern Jazz Quartet
John Aaron Lewis was born in La Grange (Ill.) in March 1920 and sadly passed away recently in March 2001.   He grew up in Albuquerque (N.Mex.), and started playing the piano when he was seven.   Lewis studied anthropology and music at the University of New Mexico until 1942 when he joined the Army. In the Army he befriended Kenny Clarke, a prominent Bebop drummer.

After the war, in 1946, Clarke introduced Lewis into the Dizzy Gillespie Band as arranger and pianist.  Lewis also started at the Manhattan School of Music. He included voice lessons in his curriculum and completed two degrees , developing a special interest in Renaissance and Baroque music (counterpoint).
Through Clarke, Lewis joined the nine piece Miles Davis Capitol recording group in 1949.

The Rhythm section of this group became the nucleus from which in 1952 the Modern Jazz Quartet was formed.
The Modern Jazz Quartet consisted of : John Lewis, piano - Milt Jackson, vibraphone - Percy Heath, bass - Kenny Clarke, drums. In 1955 Clarke was replaced by the quieter and more appropriate drummer Connie Kay.

Initially known as the Milt Jackson Quartet, John Lewis soon took over as musical director of the group and the name was changed to the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ).

The group played together for 22 years (until 1974), and is arguably the most successsful ensemble in the history of Jazz.

MJQ has been the main, though by no means only, vehicle for John Lewis' compositions and arrangements.

In Jazz his compositions are unique, as they commonly combine the element of Classical form with the Traditional Jazz element (largely lost in modern Jazz) of collective improvisation. The fugue is Lewis' favourite form. He uses it very effectively to integrate written lines with single and collective improvisations.    

Leonard Feather wrote in the 'Encyclopaedia of Jazz' :
Quote
"John Lewis is regarded as one of the most brilliant minds ever applied to Jazz. Completely self-sufficient and self-confident, he knows exactly what he wants from his musicians, his writing and his career, and achieves it with an unusual, quiet firmness, coupled with modesty and a complete indifference to critical reaction. Though many of his more ambitious orchestral works have only a peripheral relationship to Jazz, he believes that the Jazz elements in his background have contributed to everything he has done."

As an instrumental soloist, Lewis has been described as :
Quote
" a unique and invariably moving Jazz pianist. His touch is sure and delicate, his ideas are disarmingly simple and honest. He has a rhythmic sense and enough technique to allow him easy freedom."

In the 50's and 60's the MJQ played a major role in making Jazz 'respectable' to many 'serious music' listeners in Europe. In the winter of 1957 alone the MJQ played 88 concerts in four months in Europe and England.

John Lewis once described his music as 'economical and transparent'.


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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2012, 04:02:10 pm »

William O Smith, Interplay (1964)


Private recording of live performance-- most likely details are:
Modern Jazz Quartet
Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra
Max Rudolf, Conductor
January, 1967


From the collection of Karl Miller

This work is a bit edgier than the Lewis and Prohaska I've posted, but still has a very elegant blend of jazz and 20th century orchestral elements, where neither sounds superficial to my ears.   Smith also sounds like a very interesting individual.  The fact that he "turned his back" on Julliard mirrors Miles Davis, who was likely attending around the same time.   (Miles said that playing every night with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie was much more of an education than his class work....)

Also note that he crossed paths with Stuart Dempster, who was quite a character-- Dempster's album Underground Overlays from the Cistern Chapel took brass instruments, a conch, and a didgeridoo into a giant cistern--an empty, two-million-gallon water tank--at Fort Worden, near Port Townsend in Washington State, with a reverb time of over 45 seconds...if you are curious, you can sample track from that album here: .


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


William Overton Smith (born September 22, 1926), known as Bill Smith, is a U.S. jazz clarinetist, and composer. He has played with Dave Brubeck, among others.

Life
Bill Smith—also known as a "classical" composer under his full name, William O. [Overton] Smith—was born in Sacramento and grew up in Oakland, California, where he began playing clarinet when he was ten. He put together a jazz group to play for dances at 13, and at the age of 15 he joined the Oakland Symphony. He idolized Benny Goodman, but after high school, a brief cross-country tour with a dance band ended his romance for the life of a traveling jazz musician. He gave two weeks' notice when the band reached Washington, D.C., and, encouraged by an older band member to "get the best education you can get," headed to New York.

He began his formal music studies at the Juilliard School of Music, playing in New York jazz clubs like Kelly's Stable at night. Uninspired by the Juilliard faculty, he returned to California upon hearing and admiring the music of Darius Milhaud, who was then teaching at Mills College in Oakland. At Mills, he met pianist Dave Brubeck, with whom he has often played since, in both the famous Dave Brubeck Octet and The Dave Brubeck Quartet, as well as other groups. In 1947, he composed Schizophrenic Scherzo for the Brubeck Octet, one of the earliest works that successfully integrated jazz and classical techniques, a style that later was given the name "third stream" by Gunther Schuller (Mitchell 2001). He studied composition with Roger Sessions at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was graduated with a bachelor's and a master's degree.

Winning the Prix de Paris presented Smith the opportunity for two years of study at the Paris Conservatory, and in 1957, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome and spent six years in that city. He has since received numerous other awards, including two Guggenheim grants (Monaghan 1996).
After a teaching stint at the University of Southern California, Smith began a thirty-year career at the University of Washington School of Music in Seattle, where he taught music composition and performance, co-leading the forward-thinking Contemporary Group first with Robert Suderburg, and then with trombonist Stuart Dempster, from 1966 to 1997 (Mitchell 2001). Both Smith and Dempster are currently professors emeritus.

Smith has investigated and cataloged a wide range of extended techniques on the clarinet, including the use of two clarinets simultaneously by a single performer, inspired by images of the ancient aulos encountered during a trip to Greece (Monaghan 1996), numerous multiphonics, playing the instrument with a cork in the bell, and the "clar-flute," a technique that involves removing the instrument's mouthpiece and playing it as an end-blown flute. As William O. Smith, he has written several pioneering pieces that feature many of these techniques, including Duo for Flute and Clarinet (1961) and Variants for Solo Clarinet (1963) (Smith [n.d.]), and he compiled the first comprehensive catalogue of fingerings for clarinet multiphonics (Rehfeldt 1994, 99–121). Smith was among the early composers interested in electronic music, and as a performer he continues to experiment with amplified clarinet and electronic delays. He remains active nationally, internationally, and on the local Seattle music scene as well, where in 2008, he composed, recorded, and premiered a "jazzopera" titled Space in the Heart (Anon. 2008).

Awards
•   Prix de Paris
•   Phelan Award
•   1958 Rome Prize
•   1960 Guggenheim Fellowship (John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 2010)
•   A Fromm Players Fellowship
•   National Academy of Arts and Letters Award
•   BMI Jazz Pioneer Award


I've also found part of a PhD thesis that offers a good description of all the interesting techniques that Smith added to the clarinet...

From:
A PERFORMER’S GUIDE TO MULTIMEDIA COMPOSITIONS
FOR CLARINET AND VISUALS: A TUTORIAL FOCUSING ON
WORKS BY JOEL CHADABE, MERRILL ELLIS, WILLIAM O.
SMITH, AND REYNOLD WEIDENAAR

A Written Document
Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the
Louisiana State University and
Agricultural and Mechanical College
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Musical Arts



William, “Bill,” Overton Smith was born in Sacramento, California on September
22, 1926. According to Peter Monaghan, “Smith’s life in jazz began at age ten. A
traveling salesman came to his family’s door in Oakland and said to his mother, ‘You
can’t pass up this opportunity. If your boy takes 24 lessons I’ll give him a free
clarinet.’”76 Bill did earn the clarinet and by the age of thirteen, he started a dance band.
By sixteen, he was studying theory, and was leading a jazz orchestra. By fifteen he was
performing with the Oakland Symphony. He toured with various bands after high school
before attending Juilliard. Smith continued to play at jazz clubs while in New York, but
eventually returned to Oakland after discovering that the French composer, Darius
Milhaud was teaching composition at Mills College.

Smith studied composition with Milhaud in 1946 at Mills College and then
studied with Roger Sessions at the University of California at Berkeley. He received
both the Bachelor of Arts (1950) and the Master of Arts (1952) degrees from Berkeley.
Smith later attended classes at the Paris Conservatory (1952-53) and at Juilliard (1957-
58).

Smith has received numerous awards and honors, including a Prix de Paris (1951-
3), the Phelan Award, a Prix de Rome (1957), a Fromm Players Fellowship, a National
Academy of Arts and Letters Award (1972), a BMI Jazz Pioneer Award, and two
Guggenheim Fellowships.

Smith has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, the San Francisco
Conservatory, the University of Southern California, and since 1966, the University of
Washington (U.W.). He was lured to Seattle in 1966 to form the new music ensemble,
the Contemporary Group. “The Contemporary Group was founded with a grant from the
Rockefeller Foundation by William Bergsma . . . U.W. music professor and director of
the music school.”77 Smith now co-directs the ensemble with trombonist Stuart
Dempster, and teaches composition courses and jazz ensemble.

While studying at Mills College, Smith met fellow student Dave Brubeck. They
founded the Dave Brubeck Octet in 1947. Smith was responsible for many of the group’s
arrangements. In 1947, Smith wrote his Schizophrenic Scherzo (1947) for the Octet. It
was one of the first successful integrations of modern jazz and classical writing, or “third
stream.” He has played and recorded with Brubeck periodically since the 1951 Octet
recording (Cicero). He recorded one album per year from 1960-66. Later, in 1982, he
took over the solo spot with the Brubeck Quartet and resumed a recording schedule as a
full-time member, performing up to 100 concerts a year.

Smith and the pianist, John Eaton, formed the American Jazz Ensemble, a group
that toured the United States annually, playing for community concerts. It was Eaton
who introduced the Synket, the first portable voltage controlled synthesizer, “a novel
machine for the production and transformation of sounds.”79 It was built in Rome in
1963, on a design by Paul Ketoff. Eaton composed and performed several works for the
instrument, including Concert Piece for Synket and Symphony Orchestra (1967) and
Mass (1969). Eaton wrote, “One real danger of the Synket is that it sometimes writes its
own music so beautifully that a composer is led to wonder if he is really necessary.”80
As a clarinetist and composer, William O. Smith is, “an acclaimed and influential
innovator in ‘new’ or ‘contemporary music.’ He pioneered the use of many untapped
sounds of the clarinet, and incorporated them into his 200 compositions.”81 It was in
Rome, while working on a Guggenheim grant, that Smith began to experiment with and
codify clarinet sounds, now known as “Smith’s multiphonics.” Eric Salzman wrote the
following about Smith’s Variants for Solo Clarinet (1963):

Quote
William Smith’s clarinet pieces, played by himself, must be heard to believe –
double, even triple stops; pure whistling harmonics; tremolo growls and burbles;
ghosts of tones, shrill screams of sounds, weird echoes, whispers and clarinet
twitches; the thinnest of thin, pure lines; then veritable avalanches of bubbling,
burbling sound. Completely impossible except that it happened.82

In addition to multiphonics, Smith has led the way with other innovations in
contemporary clarinet performance. For example, he was influenced by several images
he saw in Greece of ancient Greek aulos, or double-pipe, players, and in 1977, he began
writing Five Fragments for Double Clarinet (1978). It is his first piece written for two
clarinets played simultaneously by one musician. Around 1994, Smith began to play the
clarinet as an end-blown flute, calling it the “clarflute.” He has also written for “demiclarinet,”
a version of clarinet where the performer uses only the lower half of the clarinet
with the mouthpiece. Meditations (1990), a demi-clarinet composition, also uses a
plunger mute.

Smith’s compositions are often strongly indicative of his early exposure to jazz
and dance bands. Smith refers to Benny Goodman as the “hero” of his youth.83 Some of
his works showing jazz influence include Five Pieces for Clarinet Alone (1957), which
contains highly rhythmic and syncopated movements juxtaposed with free, lyrical
movements of a more improvised style.

Smith represented the United States at the International Congress of Electronic
Music in Venice with Duo for Clarinet and Tape (1960), the first composition to use
transformed clarinet sounds on tape in combination with a live clarinetist. This sparked
Smith’s interest in electronic music and technology. He has experimented with
computerized, real-time notation and has written pieces, including Five Pages, in which
the performer(s) reads color-coded notes on a musical staff from a computer monitor.

About other visual elements in Smith’s music, Monaghan writes,
(Smith) and his wife, the well-respected visual artist, Virginia Paquette, were (in
Tasmania) to complete residencies at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery
of Tasmania. They worked on one of their ongoing series of installation-piece
performances that combine music and visual art.84

Smith has influenced the performance of the clarinet by the implementation and
classification of contemporary techniques. Ian Mitchell wrote,
Quote
“It is remarkable how
inventive he has been for almost forty years now.”
85 Mitchell also wrote,

Quote
I know of no other person who as exploited the potential of an instrument to such
an extent, and that includes John Cage with his prepared piano sounds, the
extraordinary Francis-Marie Uiti (for whom Smith wrote a duo for clarinet and
cello) and double bass improviser par excellence Barry Guy.
86

In addition to his many successes as composer, jazz artist, and classical clarinetist,
Smith has also contributed to the field of music with the publication of his book, Jazz
Clarinet. This method book was published by Parkside Publications in 1993, and
contains, “an excellent discography.”



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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2012, 04:48:53 pm »

Salvatore Martirano: Contrasto


New York Philharmonic
Lorin Maazel, conductor
Radio broadcast: November 11 1966

From the collection of Karl Miller

This may seem a bit dark or edgy, but doesn't sound like full blown modernism, either. I'd like to find out more about his instrument he designed. (I must confess that one project I've wanted to do with my composition software was to write a script that would realize Terry Riley's "In C" with sections of of the orchestra, rather than individual insturments deciding when to play which module, based on some AI principles and a bit of state transition theory, so I could generated different versions based on parameters....)  Some of his design features seemed a bit similar-- but I may not have understood it well enough.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Salvatore Giovanni Martirano (January 12, 1927 – November 17, 1995) was an American composer of contemporary classical music.

Born in Yonkers, New York, he taught for many years at the University of Illinois. He also worked in electronic music and invented electronic musical instruments.

Martirano received his undergraduate degree in 1951 from Oberlin College, where he studied composition with Herbert Elwell. A year later he completed his master's degree in composition at the Eastman School of Music, where he studied with Bernard Rogers. Martirano worked in Italy from 1956 to 1959, when he was a resident fellow at the American Academy. Between 1959 and 1964, Martirano received commissions, awards, and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Ford, Koussevitzky, and Fromm Foundations, as well as from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Brandeis University. In 1963, Martirano joined the Theory and Composition Department at the University of Illinois, where he remained on the faculty until his retirement and death in 1995. Many of Martirano's early works incorporate twelve-tone compositional techniques as well as jazz, vernacular, and multimedia idioms. His best-known composition, "L's GA" (Lincoln's Gettysburg Address), was widely performed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and became associated with the anti-war movement. [1]

In 1969, Salvatore Martirano along with a group of engineers and musicians at the University of Illinois began work on the design and construction of a musical electronic instrument. The instrument, named the SAL-MAR CONSTRUCTION, is a hybrid system in which TTL logical circuits (small and medium scale integration) drive analog modules, such as voltage-controlled oscillators, amplifiers and filters. The performer sits at a horizontal control panel of 291 lightable touch-sensitive switches (no moving parts). The two-state switches are used by a performer to dial sequences of numbers that are characterized by a variety of intervals and lengths. A sequence may then bypass, address, or be added to other sequences forming an interlocked tree of control and data according to a performer's choice. The unique characteristic of the switch is that it can be driven both manually and logically, which allows human/machine interaction. The most innovative feature of the human/machine interface is that it allows the user to switch from control of macro to micro parameters of the information output. This is analogous to a zoom lens on a camera.

A music composition award in his name, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award, has been given annually since 1996.[1]

Martirano was the second resident to inhabit the 1955 "Garvey House" in Urbana IL, after Garvey himself. This house was designed by notable architect Bruce Goff.

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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2012, 04:55:05 pm »

Ralph Shapey: Ontongeny for Orchestra (1958)


Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Composer, conductor
Radio Broadcast, Date Unknown

From the collection of Karl Miller

Dissonance Alert


Before you write Shapey off as a hopeless modernist, I would see what he has to say about his approach.


Wikipedia Bio


Ralph Shapey (Philadelphia, March 12, 1921 – Chicago, June 13, 2002) was an American composer and conductor. He is well known for his work as a composition professor at the University of Chicago, where he founded and directed the Contemporary Chamber Players. Shapey was a MacArthur Fellow in 1982.

Although Shapey's style is characterized by Modernist angularity, irony, and technical rigor, his coincident concern for sweeping gesture, frenetic passion, rhythmic vitality, lyrical melody, and dramatic arc recall Romanticism. Shapey was dubbed by critics Leonard Meyer and Bernard Jacobson as a "radical traditionalist," which pleased him immensely—he held a deep respect for the masters of the past, whom he regarded as his finest teachers.[citation needed]

The French-American composer Edgard Varèse was among Shapey's most important influences. Both composers shared a fascination with unusual sonorities, counterpoint masses, and the outer extremes of pitch space. The coordination of static "sound blocks" in Shapey's music also reminds one of another great French composer, Olivier Messiaen, though Shapey reportedly found Messiaen's music saccharine and maudlin. Shapey also studied with Stefan Wolpe.[citation needed]

Although comparisons are useful, Shapey's compositional voice is undoubtedly personal and distinctive. Many listeners would call his music[weasel words] "atonal," but Shapey himself denied the label. He considered himself a tonal composer, and indeed his work, though couched in a highly dissonant harmonic idiom rich in interval classes 1 and 6, does adhere to certain organizational features of tonal music, including pitch hierarchy and object permanence.[citation needed]

In 1992 the Pulitzer Prize for Music jury, which that year consisted of George Perle, Roger Reynolds, and Harvey Sollberger, selected Shapey's "Concerto Fantastique" for the award. However, the Pulitzer Board rejected that decision and choose to give the prize to the jury's second choice, Wayne Peterson. The music jury responded with a public statement stating that they had not been consulted in that decision and that the Board was not professionally qualified to make such a decision. The Board responded that the "Pulitzers are enhanced by having, in addition to the professional's point of view, the layman's or consumer's point of view," and they did not rescind their decision. [1]

Shapey created a body of over 200 works, many of which have been published by Presser. Presser also offers his textbook A Basic Course in Music Composition, written after over fifty years of teaching the subject. Recordings of Shapey's music are available on the CRI, Opus One, and New World labels. Shapey's works have been catologued by Dr. Patrick D. Finley in A Catalogue of the Works of Ralph Shapey, published by Pendragon Press

His students include Gerald Levinson, Robert Carl, Gordon Marsh, Michael Eckert, Matt Malsky, Lawrence Fritts, James Anthony Walker, Frank Retzel, Jorge Liderman, Jonathan Elliott, Deborah Drattell, Ursula Mamlok, Shulamit Ran, Terry Winter Owens, and a very broad and exceptional list of others.

The composer Robert Black was particularly influenced by him, and as a conductor he also premiered Shapey's Three for Six.[citation needed]

Statement by Ralph Shapey about his work
 

Shapey the conductor
“[A] 'radical traditionalist' is what I’ve been called. My music combines two fundamentally contradictory impulses–-radical language and romantic sensibility. The melodies are disjunct and dissonant; they contain 'atonal' harmonies and extremes in register, dynamics, and textural contrast. Yet the musical structures are grandly formed and run the gamut of dramatic gestures. Like the Romantics, I conceive of art in a deeply spiritual way. A great work of art transcends the immediate moment into a world of infinity.

My credo is: 1) The music must speak for itself. 2) Great art is a miracle. 3) What the mind can conceive will be done."[this quote needs a citation]

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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2012, 06:23:44 pm »

Rock Requiem by Lalo Schifrin


Source LP, Verve 1971
LP Rip by Yoruba Jazz.
Unlikely to EVER be released on CD.
WARNING: REPEATED LISTENING  MAY CAUSE BRAIN DAMAGE

I was tempted to hold off on this until April Fool's day, but i can't wait.  Sometimes I believe we can learn the most from artistic misfires, and this one is definitely a poster child for the "What was he thinking?" award. Yes, what follows is my own opinion, and if you think differently, I welcome your opinion.

Lalo Schifrin has a strong musical pedigree.  The fact that he studied under Charles Koechlin and played piano with Astor Piazzolla means a lot to me.  He's also an artist that has been able to write serious "classical" music, arranged a lot of highly capable jazz, and also achieve commercial success-- such as his iconic theme music to Mission Impossible.  Karl Miller had sent a work by Schifrin which I was unable to share as it had recently been released on CD. However, this reminded me of an album of Schifrin's I picked up used for 25 cents are a used record store that still haunts me to this day.  (And not necessary in a good way.)   My copy is in bad shape, but i've found a version on the web to share with those of you who may appreciate a good train wreck.

I can see WHY Schfirin would try this.  Others were flirting with mixtures of rock and classical.  (There is Deep Purple's Concerto for Rock Band and Orchestra, conducting by Sir Malcom Arnold. The Videos on You Tube are amusing, to say the least.) And the Electric Prunes had their biggest selling album with their Mass in F Minor, sung in latin, which managed to get on the Soundtrack for Easy Rider.  And the album Jesus Christ, Superstar had just come out.  So why not write a politically correct Requiem for the Dead in South East Asia, mixing classical, jazz, rock, and some latin percussion?   How could he lose?  In a way, he might have forseen the formula that Golijov has based his success upon.

A lot of the parts make sense, if you don't try to comprehend them all together.  But some of the juxtapositions are, by turns, unintentionally hilarious and unintentionally tragic.  The segue form mid-stravinskian choral writing, to early funk wah-way guitar, the bongos and late 60s pscychedelic organ,  to the "popular" choruses that sound like commercial jingles, he has  created a anti-gestalt where the the whole is a lot less than a sum of the parts.   In some ways, I think Schifrin was trying too hard to be serious. Which is why I find this work so amusing and fascinating.  


If you don't wish to befoul your hard drive with this work, but do want to get at least a taste of what you may be better off missing, there are a couple tracks on youtube.






Okay, and one final indignity, as long as I'm on this topic, Alan Copeland won a grammy in 1969 for his mashup of the Beatles Norwegian Wood (3/4 time) and Schifrin's Mission Impossible theme (5/4 time) that is just.. wrong, IMO.



Don't worry-- I don't plan to make posts like this too often... I don't want to permanently reduce you to a lower state of consciousness...

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