What time is it folks?

You know what time it is!

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How sensitive is your hearing?

So, just how sensitive are you to music and mood? What do you see in your mind’s eye when you listen to music? Do you actively think while you’re listening, and if so, what about? The music? Do you daydream while you listen to music? If you’re of the analytical sort, can you listen to music without analyzing it? Share your musical listening habits in the comments section below.

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Happy (only slightly belated) Lunar New Year!

I hope all are well. I’ve been kept very busy with non musical duties for some time now, but I am writing this now because I was very impressed, yet again, with a recent performance by the One World Symphony in New York. Hearing Charles Ives’ “Central Park in the Dark” in the dark was a total experience far in excess of its parts. I was brought to a time when we received our entertainment in a dimly lit cavernous space (whether naturally lit cathedral at night or outright cave doesn’t really matter as I suspect both served as venues for our personally sacred experiences throughout the millennia), and my imagination kicked into overdrive as I sensed myself experiencing a timeless tradition.

Some beautiful singing by several talented vocal artists followed, the songs inspired by our natural satellite, in whose honor we were gathered. Some selections from Peter Grimes, including Four Sea Interludes, concluded the mesmerizing evening. The third interlude, Moonlight, was beyond moving. Its subtle brooding had a transformative power not unlike one’s first glimpse of moonlight on the ocean. Truly profound…!

I can never say enough good things about this orchestra. If you are ever in New York when they are giving a performance I strongly suggest attending. It will be well worth your time.

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A Talented Composer

Dave Stowell is a fellow who deserves much praise. His compositions are understated models of grace and elegance.  His Crazy Chimes is one example. (Here is the score.) There are many others. It is always a great pleasure to listen to music written by living composers, and David Stowell’s music in particular is rewarding for its somehow almost tuneless, smooth flowing vitality. It never sounds forced or arbitrarily “modern”.  There is always a unity and cohesiveness to the music which makes it seem as lyrical as any memorable, singable tune. 6 Scenes for Solo Cello is another great listen.

A big Thank You! to Dave for sharing his music with us!

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First Update to Sib 7

Opening page of Sibelius' 7th Symphony

The first update:

Daniel’s Blog

I got my copy in the mail yesterday. Registering was the usual pain of navigating Avid web pages filled with incorrect instructions and misleading wording… For all the hype of trying to get new customers, I’m not sure the path of drown them with misinformation and confusing errors on our website is going to be successful… However, anyone who can successfully navigate the sludge will most certainly be hooked, I’m sure.

I’m happy as can be so far with the product. I even went out on a limb and installed the much maligned sounds. A full orchestral score pops a little on my core duo, 4GB RAM system, but chamber/small-classical sized orchestra scores of mine with nine or so staves played back flawlessly.

As for the quality of the sounds, some inconsistency. For the most part, they are easily as good or better than the sounds included with Sibelius 6, but stasis is surely not the goal of the production team… As I listened to several of my scores playing back, I was at times amazed at how good they (the new sounds, that is) sounded. Occasionally, I cringed at some mysteriously wonky output… And there were some times where the balance seemed off, but I would put this in the category of “the necessary tweaking which is (almost) always necessary”. Time and experimentation will sort all of this out one way or the other, and I will continue to share my experiences as they come.

Overall, it’s too early for me to give a comprehensive assessment, either of the sounds or the program itself, but I am confident everything will be “OK”.  Many fans of Sibelius notation software I suspect get very personally, emotionally, attached to it and react accordingly to changes to the software. This new version is not the second coming, but it’s not Armageddon either. For me, it continues to do the job (very well!) of making it easy to put notes onto digital paper, play them back and print them out for others to play from. And it’s fun!

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Morning Prayer

Listen to this: Morning Prayer by Ed Sharpe. (Be sure to click on the mp3 button on the ScoreExchange page.)

I have only one question for now:

Where can I buy the CD?

There is today being created, for anyone who doubted it, new and exciting music which is neither stuffy, abstract, nor unapproachable. Yet this is not the void, hollow sludge being mass produced in the popular culture. It is a fresh, animate sound sound that draws one into another dimension. Part jazz, part “world” music (whatever that is – there’s only one world that I know of), all masterpiece.

Thank you Ed for this work of art!

Read more about this great new work here: SibeliusComposers.

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That other Sibelius 7

Herbert von Karajan, IMO, the best interpreter of this, my favorite symphony:

Wonder who this disgruntled listener is who thinks the von Karajan recordings are too slow…? I’ve always found the tempo and intensity to be the strength of his interpretations.


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Sibelius 7 is upon us

I downloaded the demo and must admit, despite there being a steeper learning curve than from version 5 to 6, I think I like what I see so far. I’m not a buying v.0 kind of guy, and I think there may be a few minor wrinkles to iron out here and there (but it’s hard to tell with such a new product what is a program bug and what is user stupidity!),  but ultimately I think this upgrade will be worth the price. I’m curious what others think so far. Feel free to share your opinions and experiences in the comments below.

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Contemporary Composers

Here’s a great article that highlights the contemporary composer: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/who-and-where-are-americas-composers/


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12-tone Composition challenge

I have suggested at SonsofSibelius that composers challenge themselves by composing something utilizing the 12-tone method of composition. I think a lot of creativity is locked up in our own personal rules and limitations and that by smashing through our self-created walls we can experience a burst of creativity and productivity. I’m looking forward to hearing some of the results!

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