Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mahler - Symphony No. 3

The Holy Grail (or the Holy Unicorn in this case). Find more insanely expensive used copies here. This is a Mahler 3 well worth knowing, and take a look at that album cover... it fits the music.

One of my favorite parts of this symphony is the slow finale. Jascha Horenstein brings it across really well, as did Michael Tilson Thomas in a later decade with the same orchestra. This is a hard symphony to take in all at once, but the individual moments add up to something memorable. The choral part in the fifth movement is all Christmas-sounding. The fourth movement is existentially sad, and those middle movements sound like German mountain music. The opening movement is massive and bipolar, but the two sides of it come together in an orgiastic coda. Whatever that means to you, enjoy.

Download here (no password)):

Happy solstice and turning of the year to you!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Voices of the Loon / Celtic Fiddle

You'll find a link to my Tumblr blog in the right column. I have been sharing various finds from Spotify to that site and will be highlighting certain albums here from time to time, not the least of which is William Barklow's Voices of the Loon. This is not music composition but animal communication; Barklow, a professor at Framingham State College in Massachusetts, has been studying the loon for years. This fantastic article from 1985 tells more:

Once you hear the voice of the loon, you can't unhear it - truly among the most fascinating animals of the north.

Voices of the Loon is available on Amazon here.

Rautavaara, Messiaen, Hovhaness, Beethoven, Respighi, Strauss, and so many others have composed music influenced by animal and bird sounds. This is a different experience entirely, an example of "the music of what happens."

If you'd like something else to hold your attention, here are forty fiddle tunes that I arranged in a playlist:

Click here for a web link to the playlist. These are men and women from Ireland, Scotland, England, the United States, and Canada (mainly the Atlantic Provinces, where you'll find plenty of traditional musicians).

I can listen to this for hours!!!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bamboo / Statistics

Here is yet another video featuring some music I put together: this one sounds best on speakers with good bass. I've been working with Mixcraft Pro Studio 6, a good program, though it will take some time to learn all the features.

The Common Rede has 92,144 page views as of now, with viewers from all over the place. Blog readers may sometimes be reticent to leave comments, but Google is not shy about providing facts and figures. Mediafire is good like that too: believe it or not, the Cantigas album alone is near nine hundred downloads, which is a happy thing, as it's not in circulation commercially.

I'll endeavor to keep going even if the wolves begin circling around all the remaining file sharing sites. Hey, if worse comes to worst, I'll share YouTube videos, an occasional Spotify playlist, articles, and whatever random reflections. I tend to focus on music here, but I have been known to think about other things.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cædmon's Hymn / Beowulf

A wonderful arrangement sung in the West Saxon dialect of Old English. See the lyrics here. You might also be interested in this other performance of West Saxon origin, the prologue of Beowulf:

The gentleman reading the epic is, in fact, Angus himself, masquerading in public under some other name :-). Look here for text and translation.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Santa Loves You

Never forget Santa's love :-)
I composed this tune with MuseScore
and edited the video in Movie Maker.