Desert Island Composing

Go here for Wondermark’s take on what it means to create a truly original body of compositional work. It makes me think of two things: first, the principle I was told by an older musician when playing playing weddings and bowling banquets 40 years ago – “The band always eats”; the second, one of my stock responses when asked what inspires me as a composer – “the commission check”. Making art and the mundane – well, sometimes the mundane looms larger than you might think.

Yuletide Miscellany

– It behooves you to work on your eartraining over Christmas break.

This Wondermark can certainly apply to composers as well.

– The Rambler has links to a real treasure trove of 20th century and contemporary score ‘n’ recording videos.

  – It’s a pleasure to work one’s way through this box of four CDs featuring the sublime Lester Young on the Proper label every so often. On going through it again recently I was struck by the tracks with an unlikely trio – Lester, Nat Cole on piano, and Buddy Rich, of all people, on drums. Horn, piano and drums recalls the Benny Goodman Trio, and hence the energetic but stiff style shared by Krupa and Rich was brought out. Cole’s piano playing is astounding – he gets himself into some seriously odd pathways in terms of texture and rhythm, but always comes out on his feet and smiling. I was reminded of Earl Hines in “Weather Bird” mode.

– Wonderful reflections on the “O Antiphons” as Advent draws to a close can be found at Barefoot Toward the Light.

– nice to see a fellow Catholic composer get some well-deserved recognition.

– Plans for the blog for 2012 include trying to write some longer posts. I have ideas for pieces on Ralph Shapey, Sebastian Currier, and Melinda Wagner. There will also be some blogging about the piano consortium commission I have been hinting about. Stay tuned. But I have to make some composing progress soon – the flute and piano piece for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society needs some serious attention. Good wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year – see you in 2012.