From the category archives:

Composers

Not to make any comment about John Corigliano‘s “Mr Tambourine Man: Seven Poems of Bob Dylan” but I read a comment by John somewhere and he confessed he didn’t know the Dylan originals. That’s when I realized that I come from a very different world than John. I am from a generation of classical composers […]

{ 0 comments }

I have never, and am still not, a scholar or expert in opera. I am fortunate to have as my librettist, one who is, and one who teaches me what I need to know when it seems I haven’t learned it. One of my, and apparently many others’, least favorite parts of opera are the […]

{ 0 comments }

Having moved to a new home, and a new life [sabbatical for one year, practice run for post-UCLA reality/retirement spending full time composing and inventing a new life] I think I have finally got into a work rhythm. My problem is that I’m one of those types that needs to have XYandZ done before I […]

{ 0 comments }

Didn’t rip off Desplat

March 27, 2012

A composer who deserves all the fame he’s getting is Alexandre Desplat. One of his melodic habits is obsessive chromatic inflection. Then he turns around and does it harmonically, hovering between chords a half step apart. It’s as though he has reinvented the appoggiatura. So, no wonder that I should start getting nervous when my […]

{ 0 comments }

I wrote some music that sits on a progression that evokes an old Spanish, flamenco chord progression that clearly places the music in Spain. Guitarists know this progression well*. But the progression, in, say, film music, could harken all things Latino/a. I evoke the progression in a conversation between Angela Peralta and the Captain, but […]

{ 0 comments }

One of the more perplexing moments for beginning music theory students are musical events that are somehow not logical. You ask: what is “logical” in music? The progression of a V chord, also called the dominant, to a I chord, also called the tonic, is the foundation of functional tonality. Every chord in the diatonic […]

{ 0 comments }

Bravo to Robert Aldridge

March 22, 2012

My old pal and colleague from a WAY time back, Robert Aldridge, just won a Grammy for best new composition: his opera, ELMER GANTRY. Bravo, Bob, bravo! I looked through some old photos hoping I’d find a few gems of our past and found these two. The first is our band as undergrads and UW […]

{ 0 comments }

Singing for my friends

March 22, 2012

A tradition I started in our social circle is playing compositions in progress for my friends who happen to be over for dinner. I embrace this ancient court tradition, as did Franz Schubert. After a full belly from food and wine, what better than a little music. I put a twist on this in that […]

{ 0 comments }

Interference, part deux

March 15, 2012

I was just writing an ascending bass line in slow half notes, where only the basses have that ascending line. I kept playing it over and over, looking at my orchestration trying to figure out where the damn F# was coming from. I played it five times. Was there some kind of magical acoustical phenomenon […]

{ 0 comments }

Interfering?

March 13, 2012

Composer, Igor Stravinsky once modestly stated that, when composing his famous ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” he was “…but the vessel through which the work passed.” Oh pullease. Igor, get over yourself. Or perhaps I shouldn’t be so quick to condemn that possibility. Twice this week I felt that I was blatantly interfered with, and […]

{ 0 comments }