Yearly Archives: 2009

Gear Up!

New Year’s Eve means one thing: The Vienna Phil doing what it does best:

I think one sort of has to wonder about a culture who’s greatest thrill comes from clapping along at the appointed time with an orchestral march.  “Ach ja, now is ze time vhen ve make viss ze clapping!” [Speaker proceeds to wet himself with excitement]

I love this article hyping the concert from China’s Xinhua news agency:

“Out of the respect and appreciation to his extremely rich experience in conducting of symphony orchestra,” the Orchestra chose Pretre as the conductor of the New Year Concert for the second time, according to Hellsberg.

One has to wonder just what translation path that went down to reach us Anglophones… German to Chinese to English? More stops along the way?

PS. Did you notice that Humphrey Burton, i.e. Lennyz assistant was the director of the ’87 NYE concert featured above?  Interesting…

In other news, I saw Avatar and Los Abrazos Rotos, the latter of which will stand out to regular readers of this blog as a film that I’ve been pining to see for months now.  More on the film later, but for the time being, will somebody please give Alberto Iglesias an Academy Award for Best Film Score?  I mean come on, this guy is so the natural heir to Bernard Herrmann, though he writes with tremendous originality:

“El Espía Atrapado” from Los Abrazos Rotos

Who the hell else is going to write this stuff in a movie?

“Valsetto” from La Mala Educación

I’ll tell you who’s not: James Horner, that’s for goddamn sure… ugh, “Avatar” was such an embarrassing pastiche of “Indian” music (and not the good kind, like Ethel’s below), quasi-Irish folk, a few classical quotations, and… well, James Horner (did anybody else hear a half quote of “My Heart Will Go On” at several points during the movie?)  Didn’t James Cameron say on Charlie Rose that he worked with a musicologist to create a native musical language for this alien planet?  What an opportunity for some crazy-ass microtonal debauchery, but I suppose things like that just don’t fly in a Hollywood Blockbuster.

Anyhoo, here’s hoping for a New Year replete with a Spanish-American Oscar feud, a microtonal Hollywood film score,  a restoration of the Vienna Phil, and all other manners of decade-opening marvels!

Orfeo e Euridice

My take on the ancient legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, this is a sort of electronic étude, my first attempt in the medium of “electronic music”.  Electronic music has a lot going for it: namely, the fact that one doesn’t really have to deal with other people in order to make one’s music.  Not that I’m a curmudgeon or anything.  In this case, however, I had a really great time recording the harp parts with Haley Rhodeside.

Speaking of which, in this piece, Eurydice is represented by the chorus and Orpheus by the harp.  The piece opens with the door to hell closing on Eurydice and her mangled voice disappearing into the netherworld.  We then transition to an outdoor scene, complete with a “babbling brook” in which little fairies alert Orpheus to the disappearance of Eurydice.  Orpheus then descends into the underworld (in my version, the descent is via a sort of industrial metal staircase).  As he descends, he hears the hellish cries of the deceased, which become louder and louder.

The underworld turns out to be a sort of hellish dance club (which maybe says more about me than anything else).  Having found Eurydice, Orpheus ascends the stairs whence he came.  His heart fills with excitement and growing anticipation.  He reaches the top of the staircase and turns around, only to see Eurydice plummet back into the underworld as the door shuts down on her.