Excellent Advice From Chilly Gonzales

I love Chilly Gonzales’s approach to playing and his compositions for the solo piano. In this clip from Rob Da Bank’s Dawn Chorus he explains his thinking behind the challenge of performing beat driven electronic music on a solo acoustic instrument. He also highlights the importance of an understanding of rhythm in music composition.
Recorded at Maida Vale for BBC Radio 1 (25/08/2012).
Solo Piano II is out on August 27

Excellent Advice From Chilly Gonzales by audioproduction

John Cage’s 4’33” and other ‘daft’ compositions

It’s the 60th anniversary of the creation of John Cage’s Four Minutes, Thirty Three Seconds. In BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Evan Davis asks “Is it a profound statement about the concept of music or the silliest composition ever?”

Nicola Stanbridge considers some groundbreaking pieces including Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet and La Monte Young’s piece for Terry Riley which involves pushing a piano into a wall until you exhaust yourself.

Listen to the clip here

Variations – the history of appropriative collage in music


I’ve been listening to this excellent 8 part series recently. Variations covers the history of appropriative collage in music i.e. using other people’s music in your own compositions – something I’ve done many times in my musical career. The series begins with examples from 1908, examines Musique Concrete of the 40s, the Avant Garde and experimental music of the 50s and 60s to sampling and remixing of the 80s and beyond.

The series investigates the whole notion of authorship. Indeed, “The idea of a completely original piece of music is a fairly recent one. Music was passed on through sound, through generations, even for centuries after the invention of written music. Only gradually, and centuries after the implementation of written notation, did it become standard practice for a composer to sign his name to a piece of music and claim it entirely as his own, giving rise to the cult of the individual composer.” (Leidecker, 2008).

The series is available as a free podcast from RWM’s website (under the heading Curatorial). I highly recommend it to our Audio Production students or, indeed, anyone with an interest in society’s experience of music.

Jonny Greenwood and Krzysztof Penderecki

Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and experimental composer Krzysztof Penderecki’s work appears side by side on a new Nonesuch recording. In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Front Row programme, the two composers discuss music for film (Penderecki’s music is used in The Shining and The Exorcist, Greenwood scored There Will Be Blood) and creating sounds and textures not normally associated with the orchestra. Greenwood also discusses the limitations of recorded music: “Recordings just aren’t good enough…the concert hall provides far richer and more complex sound than listening to loudspeakers in a room.”

Listen to the interview here

The Theremin

In 1929 a Russian inventor brought an electronic musical instrument to the USA.

His name was Leon Theremin, and at the time many people thought it would revolutionise music making.

He taught Lydia Kavina to play it when she was a child.

Photo: Leon Theremin and Lydia Kavina.

Listen to the BBC World Service programme:

here

Into the Music Library

It’s the music which has surrounded us our whole lives, but which most of us have never quite heard let alone listened to… and nearly all of it made in the UK.

Sometimes called ‘Source music’, ‘Mood Music’ or as it’s best known, ‘Library music’: a hugely important part of British sonic history. Its use and purpose is simple: it’s well produced, economic music for film, TV, advertising and radio. Never commercially available to the general public, this music was pressed onto vinyl from the 1950s onwards in short, limited quantities and then sent directly to TV production houses and radio stations for use when necessary.

From the mid 1960s onwards, as TV and radio productions expanded, so did library music usage. As a result the golden age of TV (and our memories of it) is not only punctuated but dominated by classic library music.

Sports themes, situation comedies, game shows, cartoons, talk shows, classic children’s tv, the testcards and even Farmhouse Kitchen was brought to us all with the help of library music. Themes for Terry And June, Grange Hill, Mastermind, Match Of The Day and of course that gallery tune from Vision On are all well placed library cues. But there are reels (and reels) of gorgeously crafted, equally great stuff that never made it past the elevator door! We have been surrounded by it forever, but we know so little about it…. Where does it comes from? Who actually makes it? And how do you actually set about making music for the inside of a waiting area, a lift or for a plane before it takes off?

In this first ever documentary about library music we’ll look into its history (starting in 1909), speak with the dynastic library owners (de Wolfe, KPM, John Gale), We find out what’s it’s like to make music to imaginary pictures by speaking to the library music makers (which could include Jimmy Page and Brian Eno), and even have a word with the Musicians Union who banned UK recording of library music throughout the late 60s.

We also talk to the modern day enthusiasts, the collectors (Jerry Dammers) and explore the contemporary influences of this extraordinary musical genre. And of course re-acquaint ourselves with some of the most familiar music we’ve never listened to!

Presented by collector and archivist Jonny Trunk.

Producer: Simon Hollis
A Brook Lapping production for BBC Radio 4.

Listen Here

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