#BlackLivesMatter meets Classical Music

From Bitch Media, here’s an interview with Courtney Bryan, composer of a work dedicated to the memory of Sandra Bland, a Black woman who was found hanged in her jail cell in Texas in 2015. The piece, called “Sanctum”, was a commission for an activist orchestra called The Dream Unfinished, which premiered the work in a concert last summer.

I love the use of extended techniques to give the orchestra some fresh new colors, and the bluesy phrases based on the pentatonic scale which recall John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” (That may or may not have been intentional…) The work as a whole has a meditative, almost sacred quality, even though the subject matter is so raw, full of anger and heartbreak.

 

For more, here’s a list of 10 Black composers to check out. (Guardian)

And another list of 10 Black women composers. (Bitch Media)

“Alone in the Wilderness”

This is a track I originally produced for an experimental short film about a man attempting to deliver a pizza to an address that doesn’t exist. It was a blast to compose, and very different from my other work, so I thought I would share a little about how I made it. Continue reading

Analysis (Part 1/2): “Sonatine M.40, 2. Movement de menuet” by Maurice Ravel

This piece of music has long been one of my absolute favorites. From the first sparkling, crystalline chords, this short movement from Ravel’s “Sonatine” seems to cast a magical spell that lasts until the last clanging bell tones of the coda fade into silence. Here’s my analysis of the first half of the score, but I have to admit that ultimately there’s no way to intellectually explain why the piece is so emotional for me.

Listen here on YouTube or here on Spotify, and download the score here for free! Continue reading

TV Score of the Month: “Stranger Things”

 

Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve been geeking out over Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s score for the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” An homage to the works of classic 80’s artists and composers like Giorgio Moroder, Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter, the score is full of the warm, nostalgic sound of analog synthesizers, and is an impressive piece of dramatic storytelling. Continue reading

October ’16 Mix

  1. Electric Counterpoint – Fast (movement 3) / Steve Reich, Pat Metheny
  2. Bolivia / Jorge Drexler
  3. Pipornithology, Pt. II / Chassol
  4. I Thought It Was You / Herbie Hancock
  5. Backlash Blues / Nina Simone
  6. Sonho Meu / Maria Bethânia & Gal Costa
  7. Something About Us / Daft Punk
  8. In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country / Boards of Canada
  9. Partita for 8 Singers: No. 2. Sarabande / Caroline Shaw, Roomful of Teeth
  10. I Should Care / Thelonious Monk