It is funny but my mom is much better known in classical music circles than I am. Of course the contemporary classical music that I’ve written has been heard by only a few people. Yes, you can buy a CD of my Hamlet Symphony or listen to some of my classical music here on my blog or on YouTube, but not many have heard it. My mom, though…
I don’t know, maybe 20 years ago, give or take, she bumped into a man at a Cleveland Orchestra concert. They started talking and he said he was a classical composer, that at the time he was concentrating on on Art Song, but he was writing his own lyrics because nobody else said what he wanted to say. So she said, “I’m a poet. How about I send you some of my poems?” Funny thing, he said sure, why not?
The composer’s name is H. Leslie Adams, and he is a well known son of Cleveland, though his music has been (continues to be) played around the world. He’s used a few of my mom’s poems for his music. Continue reading →
One of the very first posts I ever put up on this blog was called Challenge Me! It was about musical challenges that I used to participate in when I followed a music forum back about a decade ago.
Here is a super quick synopsis of that post. Someone would post a phrase or a theme. The “contestants” would compose music based on that theme. The music could take any form, any genre, etc., as long as it used the music software that the music forum was about. The winner of each challenge would post the theme for the next challenge. You can read more on the original post. Continue reading →
Several years ago, when I was deep into composing contemporary classical music, I belonged to a music forum. One of the things we used to do on the forum is have challenges. You can see this post for more detail, but basically the winner of the last challenge would come up with a motif and everyone else had to write a piece of music based on the theme. I thought I had a real chance to win Challenge 12 (I might have if I would have only put in one entry) so I decided to create a theme for Challenge 13, just in case. I wrote a short sample piece to go along with this little motif, not to play as I posted it (no influence to the competitors) but just to show that the abstract motif wasn’t that far out. I didn’t win Challenge 12, so I never used that theme except for this short work. I posted it and everyone loved it, but that was the end. I had always meant to expand it, and the people on the forum expected me to, but I never got around to it and eventually stopped writing classical music.
I really liked the music, Thirteen!, and so I decided to make a little video of that snippet I created as an example. It’s a little dark at the end, so I thought “Halloween”, but I didn’t have time to make Halloween graphics. I used fall foliage scenery, including short videos of me running around in the woods behind my house and call it “autumn inspired” instead of “Halloween” Enjoy! Continue reading →
This movement is in some ways the most beautiful, the most sad, the most delicate, the most simple, the most complicated the… well, you get the idea, there are a lot of contradictions. It is by far my favorite. It doesn’t end here, but goes right into the fifth movement, so the ending is abrupt. Anyway, here is what I wrote about it as I was actually composing the music (I worte most of the below before i wrote the music and then corrected i to fit the music after I was done) ::
In my life I’ve done a few things I’m proud of. For example, I’ve written two books. The first of these books has undergone extensive revision. And yet, in my mind these two books combined pale in comparison to the accomplishment of the Hamlet Symphony. From the first note to the last, every part of this hour long symphony, from notes to phrases to themes to sections to entire movements, interrelate and work together to form a cohesive whole. A note in the third movement is impossible with one from the second.
As many of you know, I decided to release the symphony back in February. All I’ll say is that although The Hamlet Symphony may be the culmination of my musical life, it is definitely not my most successful achievement! The Hamlet Symphony is available on iTunes and Amazon. It’s also available on CD Baby. Try here for Amazon UK.
The Hamlet Symphony is a companion to the famous play and portrays a little of its complexity in music. There are a few scenes set to music, but this isn’t a straight forward soundtrack, being meant more as a reflection on the characters and the action. In some ways The Hamlet Symphony is the emotional reaction one might have while reading or seeing the play. Continue reading →
The Hamlet Symphony is a companion to the famous play and portrays a little of its complexity in music. There are a few scenes set to music, but this isn’t a strait forward soundtrack, being meant more as a reflection on the characters and the action. In some ways The Hamlet Symphony is the emotional reaction one might have while reading or seeing the play.
The symphony can be described as visually influenced contemporary tonal classical music covering many moods and emotions, but with an overall dark psychological edge. This music was created as concert music but is suitable as a soundtrack to a tragedy. Continue reading →
Last Saturday I mentioned I was starting a new music project. I’m not going to go into any great detail yet, but I’ll give you the lowdown. I’ve been listening to a lot of the modern classical music I’ve written and I really like it. I’ve decided to release some of it on CD or mp3 downloads. I’ve done a little research and find that it is easier than I had thought. Currently I’m making new, more CD worthy mixes and will soon make a final master.
I’m going to release the music in two waves. The first one is a major orchestral piece while the second will be piano music. The two albums won’t come out at the same time but will be staggered by several months. Continue reading →
Years ago I was improvising at the piano and came up with a dark march in 5/4 time. I know, but it worked. I wrote it down as best I could and later worked it out into a finished piece of music. I called this dark ditty “Remembrance”. Continue reading →
I decided to talk about my Hamlet Symphony for the Third Monday Music post because I wanted to draw a skull. Can you think of a better reason to choose a topic? (Actually, I’ll be talking mostly about the second movement).
The Hamlet Symphony is by far the largest music project I have ever undertaken. This six movement piece scored for a large orchestra lasts just under an hour. Almost every note, be it a main theme or a background part, has some “meaning” in the larger scheme of things.
That being said, here we are mostly concerned with the second movement, Hamlet. Continue reading →