Category Archives: Found on the Web

Radiohead + Bluegrass = Crazy Delicious

Time for another transformative cover.  This time the source material is Radiohead’s Morning Bell  This track isn’t exactly uncoverable.  There’s plenty of harmonic and melodic material in there with room for an artist to interject their own sensibilities. And now here’s a cover by bluegrass super group, The Punch Brothers.   That’s right, bluegrass.  ChrisContinue Reading

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On the virtues of being baked

Two weeks ago I swung by the free Hot Air Music Festival at the SF Conservatory.  It was an all day affair with dozens of pieces from composers who, save for four, all shared a trait that almost guarantees that they’ll be largely unknown and unheard, specifically, they’re alive. I was only able to attendContinue Reading

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Speaking of Pulitzers, look who just got one!

Hilary Hahn! Well… Kinda. Actually it was Jennifer Higdon who won the Pulitzer for a violin concerto written for Hilary Hahn. Most folks have never heard of this composer, but if you followed the links from my earlier post about Hilary, you may have stumbled upon her interviews with this now Pulitzer Prize winning composer.  It’s almostContinue Reading

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Where often is heard…

I have to admit, before I started actively doing this composition thing, I was pretty naive about the whole endeavor. This is gonna sound pretty stupid and potentially a bit arrogant, but I figured that since you never heard much about new music or new operas, not many were being written, or at least notContinue Reading

3 Responses to Where often is heard…

  1. Thanks Brian.

    Just as I was ready to abandon my pursuit of attempting (and failing) to sell out writing for TV and return to new opera/music theatre writing, composing and performing, I get this reminder of the reason why I stopped trying to make new work.

    Maybe I’ll just give give massages a dollar a minute on the Venice Boardwalk and become one of the crazies there. Or I’ll hole up in some desert cave like Harry Partch and build my own instruments to play for myself as I completely retreat for society.

    Way to start a Monday morning.



  2. Todd Schurk says:

    You may think it “corny” Brian,but I think Sousa was right about recorded (canned)music sir. With recorded music so readily available and mass produced,music performance in home (the piano in the parlor)became a thing of the past. And I think folks just got less serious about what they wanted to hear,play, or go listen to. Real listening to music that might make your brain work a bit was replaced by mindless 3 chord repetitiveness. I don’t know,but it just seems most people don’t have the time or inclination to dig any deeper than what pop culture bombards them with. Not everybody mind you,but more and more all the time.Having almost no music in schools certainly doesn’t help.But listening habits sure have changed in the last 100+ years more than any other time. And that pretty much coincides with the birth of the gramophone. It’s hard enough to get people in the seats for established opera or symphonic works,let alone new ones. They would rather spend $ on an Ipad or Guitar Hero. Sad,really sad.

  3. Brian Rosen says:

    Yay! Crushing dreams! EXACTLY what I set out to do when I started a blog.

    Todd…I’m not quite as bearish on the effects of recording technology on musical expression. There’s music being made out of those channels that is remarkably sophisticated. They don’t use the same harmonic language of a Mozart or Brahms, but I adore the soundscapes of the Books or Radiohead, or the insane glitch rhythms of the Venetian Snares or Aphex Twin.

    Or to paraphrase a line from one of our favorite shows:

    “Rubbish! Artistic snobbory! Idioteque is a perfectly magical tune. Anyone should be proud to have written it!”

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Covering the Uncoverable

Whew.  A full six days since my last post! What can I say.  Those Sondheim posts wiped me pretty hard. That was at least a month’s worth of blogging concentrated into a week’s time. The next few posts will be a lot less dense. I’ve been thinking about the point I brought up in myContinue Reading

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When theater is a joke. Or vice versa.

There’s a fine line between a practical joke and engaging theater. This video (courtesy of the always entertaining Mind the Gap blog) documents an elaborate prank the likes of which could only be organized in the name of global commerce and fermented barley beverages. 1,000 soccer fans were forced to miss a championship game byContinue Reading

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A lovely convergence of my favorite things

I’m on something of a David O’Reilly kick here.  His stuff is fascinating.  And I just discovered that he made a video for the Venetian Snares track Szamar Madar off of their unpronounceable but very listenable DnB/IDM/Classical mashup album Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, which happens to be one of my favorite albums ever. And then onContinue Reading

2 Responses to A lovely convergence of my favorite things

  1. gerald rosen says:

    There must be something wrong with one of us, because I kind of like this music.

  2. Brian Rosen says:

    Wow. If I manage to get my dad interested in The Venetian Snares, then this blog has truly fulfilled its purpose.

    Actually, it’s not that surprising. I got my taste from somewhere. And the rest of the album may be a bit glitchy and noisy for you, but there’s a lot to like. It’s pretty much Stravinsky with the rhythms turned to 11 (and the harmonies turned down to 3 or 4).

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Newsflash: Crappy Movie Wins an Oscar

Yeah.  I know it’s not news. I’m used to the best film not winning, but it really galls me when the WORST film nominated gets the prize. Sure, none of the nominated films were all that great, but jeesh, what was the Academy thinking? Logorama is really the best animated short film of the year?Continue ReadingContinue Reading

4 Responses to Newsflash: Crappy Movie Wins an Oscar

  1. anonymous says:

    maybe that will change your mind about logorama. but I agree that david’s film was the best of that year.

  2. Brian Rosen says:

    Thanks for the link. It definitely doesn’t change my mind. In some cases, it makes me dislike the short even more. So “all van drivers have mustaches” is the reason that Mr. Pringle is the van driver? The author contends that this is evidence that “The film is not just a haphazard amalgamation of commercial symbols though. It is a carefully instigated scenario that took on challenging artistic as well as technical decisions.”

    I remain unconvinced. These guys have nothing to say.

  3. oscar the grouch says:

    PSS was hands down my favorite last year. IMO Logorama’s victory was predictable however given the value placed on political message in the Oscars of late.

  4. James says:

    Please Say Something made me completely change my mind about 3D animation, I had been completely put off 99% of it (probably because of the low quality soulless 3D films Hollywood has been churning out ) until I saw PSS.

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On non-invisible music

Fractal expert Loren Carpenter brought my attention to a technical paper that found evidence that the distribution of shot lengths in cinema have been steadily evolving over the past 100 years to exhibit a 1/f power distribution.Your first question is probably, “what the hell is a 1/f power distribution”. And your second question is probablyContinue ReadingContinue Reading

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Music vs. Film (Music wins. Not even close.)

Imagine a company that dubs old super 8 films onto VHS.  If you like, they’ll even dub a nice soundtrack of classical music in the background for your listening pleasure. Well, looks like they didn’t always listen to the entire album before dubbing it.  And what we have here is a great example of theContinue Reading

One Response to Music vs. Film (Music wins. Not even close.)

  1. gerald rosen says:

    Alfred Hitchcock would be proud.

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