Friday, November 29, 2019

Stanford's vivacious Symphony #4 in F Major



Here is the score, along with the Chandos recording with Vernon Handley from the 1990s, of Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, Symphony #4 in F Major, Op. 31, 1888.


The key signature is usually associated with pastoral music (like Brahms Symphony #3), but this work is a joyous romp, especially the finale.


I can remember becoming familiar with this work in the early 1990s, when I would go on a lot of Adventuring hikes, living on an upper floor of the Country Club Towers in Arlington VA, with a view of the golf course across Glebe Road. Then things would change as Bill Clinton came into office and introduced “don’t ask don’t tell”.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Does a 4/20 as a time signature make sense?


I like to introduce topics I haven’t covered before on my blogs, and I am actually contemplating finishing a life-long big classical composition project (it’s actually about 3 projects if decomposed) of music that would revive post-romanticism with new ideas.

  

So I countered Adam Neely’s video about non-dyadic time signatures, specifically 4/20 – where the denominator is not a power of 2.  (Borodin used 1/1 for a scherzo of a symphony, but 1 is 2 to the 0 power). The extra measure is blended into the score (4/4 followed by a 4/20) by a technique called “metric modulation” with “rhythmic warps”.  I’m reminded of the effect of the second movement of Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique, but this carries the idea further.

He presents a catchy riff was a rock band with percussion and sax (like Bill Clinton, maybe) and has an electric keyboard with only two octaves (my Casio has all 88 keys, not sure how he uses it).
  
You could call this extreme syncopation.  In classical music, Beethoven, in the early Sonatas (which Jonathan Biss is writing about a lot on Facebook) discovered the value of syncopation and constant rhythmic variability.  Brahms, later on in the 19th century, would take this further (particularly).  In modern music, we think of Bartok and Stravinsky.  But you can imagine, say, a piano concerto (or solo sonata), with perhaps a last movement with this kind of syncopation in the solo part, yet consolidating, slowing down, and building up to a majestic climax at the end (or maybe dissolving into nothing – Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #7 is a good example). 

I wonder if Sibelius or Finale (with Photoscore or NotateMe) or other music writing software (like Dorico) accommodate such time signature. 

Neely walks on a street that looks like Brooklyn NY (is it near BAM?)
   
I know the folks in the Metropolis Ensemble (I last went to an event in January 2019), and I think I’ve heard of Neely there.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Max Bruch's very graceful Symphony #3 in the courtly key of E Major



Here is the Symphony #3 in E Major, Op. 51 (1887) by Max Bruch.


There is a considerable time gap between this work and the two earlier symphonies.  I have a Philips CD set of them somewhere. The Cologne Philharmonic is conducted by James Conlon.

E Major is supposedly the “courtly key” and is somewhat less common than, say, E-flat, in large works.

The work is rather gracious and jocular.  I got to know the work in the late fall of 1989, about the time I was leaving a job in a consulting company (a rather interesting experience in retrospect) and moving to an environment where I would work for twelve years and become an “author”.  The work tends to leave a peculiar imprint in one’s musical ear.
  
The finale is particularly self-referential. There is a reference to a similar passage in the finale of Schubert's Symphony #4 in C Minor, the "Tragic". 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Taylor Swift apparently told she can't perform all her old music live because she sold the copyright


Can musicians lose the right to perform their own music (or use it in a film or video)?


Taylor Swift claims this has happened to her, in a “feud” with Scooter Braun, who bought former licenser Scott Borchetta’s “Big Machine” and apparently she is not allowed to perform some of her older songs live.
  
Amy X, Wang discusses this in Rolling Stone, and there are denials from Borchetta. Corinne Reichert has a similar story for CNET.

This could get interesting in the EU, where now (as the Copyright Directive gets implemented) copyright filters aren't supposed to allow you to upload anything you don't own, and that might even include your own music. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Frivolous lawsuits over "plagiarism" of musical elements still trouble the popular music world


British musician David Bennett is reporting an increasing number of lawsuits in the popular music world over “plagiarism”.  Most of them are instigated by large music publishers and studios (public companies that have to maximize profits for shareholders – our form of capitalism), not original artists.


Bennett talks about the difference between plagiarism and “influence”, and gives 18 examples.
The “I-IV-V” sequence is so basic it can’t be copyrighted. What about riffs and syncopation patterns?

Popular songs are often written by whole teams now, he says. 

He talks about “One Direction” a lot.

He also explains a composition technique called “interpolation” from other songs.
  
Some of these riffs could have worked as motives in early Beethoven piano sonatas.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

"Bebop, as Digested by a Classical Musician" : how expressive effect changes radically (for me, at least)


Andre Sol explains “Bebop, As Digested by a Classical Musician”.


She has the assistance of a charismatic Glenn Zalesku abd Aimee Nolte.

She explains that bebop (like jazz) works from “mood sheets” and improvise from rhythm and chord patterns.

She uses Mozart (Sonata 15, C) and Chopin (Fantasie Impromptu in C# Minor) as examples of how bebop would elaborate the chord progressions (like 2-5-1) and harmonies.  She presents the 8-note scale.

The result sounds more like impressionism to my ear, and is rather unemotional.

She plays “All the Things You Are” in the style of a Chopin nocturne, as an experiment.

She describes various musical genres as like “tourism”.

The video appears to come from midtown Manhattan.
  
There was an AOL user back in 2000 named “BebopBob4” who gave me a hard time for a movie review of “The Perfect Storm” on AOL’s now defunct board “MovieGrille”. He didn't like the economic injustice of the movie and blamed me for commenting on it.