I remember back in 1974, when the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus was broadcast on the local PBS station WNET in New York. I seem to recall that there had been a bit of publicity before the series aired, and I made sure to not miss it. I was immediately hooked. Shortly afterwards, […]
Update: I first posted this in June, and the publication date has slipped back several times. Right now, it shows a release date of September 15, or tomorrow, so maybe we’ll see this set next week. Graham Johnson, the pianist behind Hyperion Record’s monumental series of Schubert’s complete lieder, is known for having a lot […]
“Viewed from just about any perspective, Charles Ives represents a tangle of paradoxes, and his reception has been consistently fraught. For many, he stands as the father of musical composition in the United States, yet he is by no means a frequently programmed composer today. In fact, readers of this review might know his name without ever having heard his music.”
Ives is one of the most astounding composers in history. But his music is not easy to listen to, and takes a while to get into.
Every single iTunes Store user got a free copy of U2’s latest album. But you might not want to see this album in your iTunes library, or on your iOS device. Read How to Hide the Free U2 Album from Your iTunes Library over at Macworld to find out how you can get rid of […]
I’ve long been a fan of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s operas. His music is exquisite and joyful, being the highest form of the French baroque. Warner Classics has released a box set of these works, with 12 operas on 27 CDs, from their back catalog of Erato recordings. Performers include Les Arts Florissants and Les Musiciens du […]
“The rise of streaming music services like Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music has been a boon for listeners, serving up songs for a modest monthly fee or, with ads, free. But their effect on artists, especially those with smaller audiences, has been less positive.
But rather than fight what looks like an inexorable shift in how consumers listen to music, some independent record labels and their artists are embracing the streaming revolution — but on their own terms.”
My son’s a big fan of Other People artists, especially Darkside, and has been a subscriber for some time. $50 a year for as much music as they release is a very good deal. I’d expect to see more labels do this.
One interesting thing about Apple’s presentation today was the announcement that the new U2 album would be free to every iTunes Store customer. The Apple website says you’ll find it in your iTunes library, but this is only the case if you have iTunes in the Cloud purchases turned on, or iTunes Match. If not, […]
“For decades critics of modern classical music have been derided as philistines for failing to grasp the subtleties of the chaotic sounding compositions, but there may now be an explanation for why many audiences find them so difficult to listen to.
“A new book on how the human brain interprets music has revealed that listeners rely upon finding patterns within the sounds they receive in order to make sense of it and interpret it as a musical composition.
“While traditional classical music follows strict patterns and formula that allow the brain to make sense of the sound, modern symphonies by composers such as Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern simply confuse listeners’ brains.”
At the risk of making a bad pun, this really is a no-brainer. Music follows a path of evolution, with gradual changes over the centuries, each composer varying slightly from what preceded them. It was only in the 20th century that these changes became revolutionary – as they did in the visual arts and literature – and listeners were left without landmarks.
“Mr Ball believes that many traditional composers such as Mozart, Bach and Beethoven subconsciously followed strict musical formula to produce music that was easy on the ear by ensuring it contained patterns that could be picked out by the brain.”
Not so much strict musical formulas, but a way of making music that was familiar. No one wrote down the rules; composers simply figured them out from what worked.
I’ve written that a lot of contemporary classical music is boring, and that’s not because I don’t understand the styles, but, simply, because it’s not written to be enjoyable in the first place.
While I’m not a fan of the serialists – twelve-tone composers – because I find their music sterile, there is some dissonant music that I do appreciate. It took me a long time to learn to understand Charles Ive’s Concord Sonata, which is full of dissonance, but now that I do understand it, I can appreciate his music.