From the category archives:

Lessons for Rufus

Professor Berlioz checks his email to find a note from Rufus: Yo Prof! I’m in Denmark and haven’t been thinking solo violin lately, I mean it’s summer. Baroque music is for wintertime. I fooled around with one in the studio the other day. I thought you might be interested in what I came up with. […]

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Prof. Berlioz: For the next few sessions I will be introducing you to writing for the solo stringed instruments, and I don’t mean the guitar, bass and banjo, I mean the violin, viola, cello, and double bass. The first three instruments are tuned in 5ths; the cello is an octave below the viola; the viola […]

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Berlioz in 1867. [Doorbell rings. Prof Berlioz hollers down. Rufus waits patiently. Sound of keys against the door. Swearing in French, wrong keys. Silence. Sound of footsteps up from downstairs. More key sounds. Door opens. Rufus appears with a big smile and a flashdrive in his hand. Berlioz slaps him on the back and they […]

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Rufus takes the day off

June 20, 2006

Dear Prof Berlioz, Thank you for the roses and the thoughtful if not naughty card. I have not completed your assignment because of the concerts last week, and well, y’know, I’ve just been caught up in it all. So, may we meet once before I go to Europe? I promise I’ll have a great piece […]

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[An ongoing public lesson in composition.] Rufus arrives with some old onion skin filled with clefs of all kinds. Professor Berlioz scans the page and sees improvement in his autography and says so. He critiques the shapes of the flags in 16th and 32nd notes. “Here you try it.” Rufus grabs the pencil and starts […]

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[Rufus hands in a CD of “Lux aeterna” a part of his larger work “Bloom.”] Berlioz: What is this? Rufus: My “Lux aeterna” Bz: Is this a notation file? RW: No, it’s a sound file of my performance. Bz: Where is the score? RW: There is no score. I recorded it all in real time. […]

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[Rufus dutifully hands in the three chant assignments. Professor Berlioz offers his critique] The melodic shape and sense of flow in your assignments are excellent. Clearly, your work was the work of a latter day monk, and not one from the 12th century. Let me illustrate a few things that your counterpart from that era […]

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This is the first in a long series of lessons in composition. My ideal student is Rufus Wainwright however it could be anyone with musical talent in composition who wishes to virtually study at the college level. First lesson: check out of the libary or purchase the Liber Usualis. In it you will find a […]

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