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György Ligeti, in full György Sándor Ligeti, (born May 28, 1923, Diciosânmartin [now Tîrnăveni], Transylvania, Romania—died June 12, 2006, Vienna, Austria), a leading composer of the branch of avant-garde music concerned principally with shifting masses of sound and tone colours.
Ligeti, the great-nephew of violinist Leopold Auer, studied and taught music in Hungary until the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, when he fled to Vienna; he later became an Austrian citizen. He subsequently met avant-garde composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and became associated with centres of new music in Cologne and Darmstadt, Germany, and in Stockholm and Vienna, where he composed electronic music (e.g., Artikulation, 1958) as well as music for instrumentalists and vocalists. In the early 1960s he caused a sensation with his Future of Music—A Collective Composition (1961) and his Poème symphonique (1962). The former consists of the composer regarding the audience from the stage and the audience’s reactions to this; the latter is written for 100 metronomes operated by 10 performers.
Most of Ligeti’s music after the late 1950s involved radically new approaches to music composition. Specific musical intervals, rhythms, and harmonies are often not distinguishable but act together in a multiplicity of sound events to create music that communicates both serenity and dynamic anguished motion. Examples of these effects occur in Atmosphères (1961) for orchestra; Requiem (1963–65) for soprano, mezzo-soprano, two choruses, and orchestra; and Lux Aeterna (1966) for chorus. These three works were later featured in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which brought Ligeti a wider audience; his music appeared in later movies, including several others by Kubrick. In Aventures (1962) and Nouvelles Aventures (1962–65), Ligeti attempts to obliterate the differences between vocal and instrumental sounds. In these works the singers hardly do any “singing” in the traditional sense.
In Ligeti’s Cello Concerto (1966), the usual concerto contrast between soloist and orchestra is minimized in music of mainly very long lines and slowly changing, very nontraditional textures. Other works include Clocks and Clouds (1972–73) for female chorus and orchestra, San Francisco Polyphony (1973–74) for orchestra, Piano Concerto (1985–88), and Hamburg Concerto (1999) for horn. Ligeti also wrote 18 piano études (1985–2001) and the opera Le Grande Macabre (1978, revised 1997). Ligeti was the recipient of many honours, including the Grand Austrian State Prize for music (1990), the Japan Art Association’s Praemium Imperiale prize for music (1991), and the Theodor W. Adorno Prize from the city of Frankfurt for outstanding achievement in music (2003).
Musica ricercata is a set of eleven pieces for piano by György Ligeti. The work was composed from 1951 to 1953, shortly after the composer began lecturing at the Budapest Academy of Music. The work premiered on 18 November 1969 in Sundsvall, Sweden. Although the ricercata (or ricercar) is an established contrapuntal style (and the final movement of the work is in that form), Ligeti’s title should probably be interpreted literally as “researched music” or “sought music”. This work captures the essence of Ligeti’s search to construct his own compositional style ex nihilo, and as such presages many of the more radical directions Ligeti would take in the future.
In response to a request by the Jeney Quintet, six of the movements were arranged for wind quintet as Six Bagatelles for Wind Quintet (1953). They are, in order: III, V, VII, VIII, IX, X.
Eight movements (I, III, IV, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI) were transcribed for bayan by Parisian accordionist Max Bonnay.
II. Mesto, rigido e cerimoniale
Both the material and mood of this movement differ markedly from the first. The principal theme is a plaintive alternation between E♯ and F♯ (a mere semi-tone). This theme is heard both solo (i.e., in a single octave), and in quiet (una corda) octaves on both ends of the piano. The entrance of G near the middle of the piece is particularly stark, being vigorously attacked in an accelerando similar to that in the first movement. The G continues to sound in an unmetered tremolo as the main theme returns in a more “menacing” context. The movement gradually dissolves, with both the main theme and repeated G’s fading into silence.
“Yesterday” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was first released on the album Help! in August 1965, except in the United States, where it was issued as a single in September. The song reached number one on the US charts. It subsequently appeared on the UK EP Yesterday in March 1966 and made its US album debut on Yesterday and Today, in June 1966.
McCartney’s vocal and acoustic guitar, together with a string quartet, essentially made for the first solo performance of the band. It remains popular today and, with more than 2,200 cover versions, is one of the most covered songs in the history of recorded music. “Yesterday” was voted the best song of the 20th century in a 1999 BBC Radio 2 poll of music experts and listeners and was also voted the No. 1 pop song of all time by MTV and Rolling Stone magazine the following year. In 1997, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) asserts that it was performed over seven million times in the 20th century.
“Yesterday” is a melancholy ballad about the break-up of a relationship. The singer nostalgically laments for yesterday when he and his love were together, before she left because of something he said. McCartney is the only member of the Beatles to appear on the track. The final recording was so different from other works by the Beatles that the band members vetoed the release of the song as a single in the United Kingdom, although other artists were quick to record versions of it for single release. The Beatles recording was issued as a single there in 1976 and peaked at number 8.
“Yesterday” is like no other Beatles’ song. Unlike most of their songs that are credited to Lennon/McCartney, this marked the first time when there was no extensive collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. “Yesterday” was written only by Paul when he was playing around on the piano; he was also the only Beatle present on stage when the song was played live. John Lennon, however, initially didn’t like the song. In fact, he and other band members made fun of the song. This almost broke The Beatles into two bands: John’s band and Paul’s band.
With respect to the musical aspects of the song, it contains a complete harmonic structure, along with other things like complex lyrics structure, tempos, and a smooth upbeat sound. Production of the music for “Yesterday” indicated McCartney’s intentions of wanting to be a composer.
A composer, in contrast to a typical musical, is a person who’s responsible all aspects of sonic elements of a song. The Beatles’ manager, George Martin, was in favor of McCartney’s efforts, and also the new idea of having no collaborations from John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (who looked cute but didn’t do any intellectual contributions to the band whatsoever – just a fact. Ringo fans, don’t hate me).
This significance of the song transcend beyond The Beatles into the large rock n’ roll movement of the 1960s. “Yesterday” was a catalyst in writing, not just pop songs, but rock songs which were solely intended for the purpose of listening, not dancing. You could still dance if you wanted to, but the larger idea of such songs were to convey a message to the audience (although this particular Beatles song possesses no deep message ). Accordingly, the song was covered countless number of artists. In fact, as of this writing, “Yesterday” has been covered by more artists than any other song.
As for the meaning of the song, it’s a simple one: everything was easy on yesterday so everybody wants to go back to yesterday to erase all the mistakes and make peace with the ones they hurt.
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away Now it looks as though they’re here to stay Oh, I believe in yesterday
Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be There’s a shadow hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came suddenly
Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday
Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play Now I need a place to hide away Oh, I believe in yesterday
Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday
Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play Now I need a place to hide away Oh, I believe in yesterday Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm
Éric Alfred Leslie Satie was a French pianist and avant-garde composer. He was also famous for being an author, some of his most famous works were published in “Vanity Fair” and “Dadaist
Erik Satie was born on May 17, 1866 in Honfleur, Normandy. At the age of six, the young Satie was forced to move to his paternal grandparent’s house upon the news of his mother’s death. There, his grandparents arranged for his first lessons in music. These lessons continued until age twelve, after which the young Satie reunited with his father, who had now married a piano teacher. Satie then continued his music education with his stepmother and at the age of thirteen, he joined the famous Paris Conservatoire.
However, his time at the Conservatoire was not be easy, as his teachers severely disliked his playing style. His teachers often remarked that he was “the laziest student in the Conservatoire”. Satie, dissatisfied with his time at the Conservatoire left it to serve for a year in the army. However, his teachers at the Conservatoire who suggested to him to take up composition.
Satie’s father published three of Satie’s works in 1886. They were titled “Elegie”, “Trois Melodies” and “Chanson”. Satie soon followed up his initial compositions with more eccentric works such as “Gymnopedies”, ”Ogives”, and “Gnossiennes”. In 1887 Satie befriended the famous French Impressionist Composer Claude Debussy, and the two often discussed the latest trends in music.
Satie also found inspiration from the artistic gatherings at the famous “Le Chat Noir Café-Cabaret”. However, this was a difficult time for Satie financially. He survived as a cabaret pianist, adapting popular music for the piano. During this period, Satie wrote the music for a pantomime by Jules Depaquit titled “Jack in the Box”.
In 1905, Satie decided to try his luck at counterpoint. He enrolled in the Schola Cantorum de Paris under Vincent d’Indy. His newfound efforts to better himself served as a precursor to his celebrity status. By 1912, Satie partnered with the Spanish Pianist Robert Vines to release a serious of humorous piano shorts.
These piano shorts showered Satie with praise and attention, and it led people to investigate and rediscover many of Satie’s lost works. This era saw one of his earliest works, Gymnopedies, earn plenty of praise and acclaim. Satie also had the French Composer Maurice Ravel to thank for much of his fame, as he pointed out Satie’s genius to France’s elite.
Post 1912 Satie wrote a number of orchestral and instrumental works. In 1918 he wrote the “Musique d’ameublement”, and in 1914 he wrote the “Autre Choral”. He also wrote ten dramatic pieces after 1912. In 1917, he wrote one of his largest vocal works, the “Socrate: Drame Symphonique”.
Erik Satie died on July 1, 1925 in Paris, France. He developed the cirrhosis of the liver, together with pleurisy, which claimed his life. Satie received the last rites of the Catholic Church in his death bed. In his honor, a tiny stone monument has been erected. Satie received plenty of posthumous attention, his friends and colleagues discovered many of his works that remained unpublished. This included the orchestral score to “Parade”, “Vexations”, and many additions to “The Dreamy Fish” and the Schola Cantorum Exercises.
The Gnossiennes are several piano compositions written by the French composer Erik Satie in the late 19th century. The works are for the most part in free time (lacking time signatures or bar divisions) and highly experimental with form, rhythm and chordal structure. The form as well as the term was invented by Satie.
Satie’s coining of the word gnossienne was one of the rare occasions when a composer used a new term to indicate a new “type” of composition. Satie used many novel names for his compositions (vexations, croquis et agaceries and so on). Ogive, for example, is the name of an architectural element which was used by Satie as the name for a composition, the Ogives. Gnossienne, however, was a word that did not exist before Satie used it as a title for a composition.
The word appears to derive from gnosis. Satie was involved in gnostic sects and movements at the time that he began to compose the Gnossiennes. However, some published versions claim that the word derives from Cretan “knossos” or “gnossus”; this interpretation supports the theory linking the Gnossiennes to the myth of Theseus, Ariadne and the Minotaur. Several archeological sites relating to that theme were famously excavated around the time that Satie composed the Gnossiennes.
It is possible that Satie may have drawn inspiration for the title of these compositions from a passage in John Dryden‘s 1697 translation of the Aeneid, in which it is thought the word first appeared:
Let us the land which Heav’n appoints, explore; Appease the winds, and seek the Gnossian shore.
The Gnossiennes were composed by Satie in the decade following the composition of the Sarabandes (1887) and the Trois Gymnopédies (1888). Like these Sarabandes and Gymnopédies, the Gnossiennes are often considered dances. It is not certain that this qualification comes from Satie himself – the sarabande and the gymnopaedia were at least historically known as dances.
The musical vocabulary of the Gnossiennes is a continuation of that of the Gymnopédies (a development that had started with the 1886 Ogives and the Sarabandes) later leading to more harmonic experimentation in compositions like the Danses gothiques (1893). These series of compositions are all at the core of Satie’s characteristic late 19th century style, and in this sense differ from his early salon compositions (like the 1885 “Waltz” compositions published in 1887), his turn-of-the-century cabaret songs (Je te veux), and his post-Schola Cantorum piano solo compositions, starting with the Préludes flasques in 1912.
These Three Gnossiennes were composed around 1890 and first published in 1893. A revision prior to publication in 1893 is not unlikely; the 2nd Gnossienne may even have been composed in that year (it has “April 1893” as date on the manuscript). The piano solo versions of the first three Gnossiennes are without time signatures or bar lines, which is known as free time.
These Gnossiennes were first published in Le Figaro musical No. 24 of September 1893 (Gnossiennes Nos. 1 and 3, the last one of these then still “No. 2”) and in Le Cœur No. 6–7 of September–October 1893 (Gnossienne No. 2 printed as facsimile, then numbered “No. 6”).
The first grouped publication, numbered as known henceforth, followed in 1913. By this time Satie had indicated 1890 as composition date for all three. The first Gnossienne was dedicated to Alexis Roland-Manuel in the 1913 reprint. The 1893 facsimile print of the 2nd Gnossienne contained a dedication to Antoine de La Rochefoucauld, not repeated in the 1913 print. This de La Rochefoucauld had been a co-founder of Joséphin Péladan‘s Ordre de la Rose-Croix Catholique et Esthetique du Temple et du Graal in 1891. By the second publication of the first set of three Gnossiennes, Satie had broken already for a long time with all Rosicrucian type of endeavours.
Also with respect to the tempo these Gnossiennes follow the Gymnopédies line: slow tempos, respectively Lent (French for Lento/slow), avec étonnement (“with astonishment”), and again Lent.
A sketch containing only two incomplete bars, dated around 1890, shows Satie beginning to orchestrate the 3rd Gnossienne.
The first and third Gnossiennes share a similar chordal structure, rhythm and share reference to each other’s thematic material.
How to use the piano pedals (sustain and soft pedals)
Pedaling is an aspect of piano technique which is frequently misunderstood and abused. Ask a junior student what the right hand pedal is for and they will invariably reply “to make the piano louder”. The right hand pedal is often wrongly called “the loud pedal”, or is regarded as an “on-off switch”, which shows a complete lack of understanding of the purpose and uses of the “sustain” or “damper” pedal. Pedaling is hard to do well, and I regularly come across instances of sloppy, lazy or misjudged pedaling when I am reviewing at professional concerts.
The sustain pedal has two principal purposes:
1. Allowing the sound to continue even after we release the keys;
2. Changing the timbre of the sound, making it deeper, warmer, more intense, more ‘alive’.
In order to pedal well, it is important to understand what is happening, mechanically, inside the piano, and to engage the ears so that they are alert to all the subtle sounds and variations the pedal can produce. When the pedal is depressed, all the dampers are lifted off the strings so that they can continue to vibrate and sound after a note on the keyboard has been released. The effect of the vibrations is to create a fuller, warmer and more intense sound.
When I demonstrate this to students, I play a C-major chord without the pedal, and then play the chord again with the pedal. A student who is listening carefully will notice the cloud or “bloom” of sound which seems to rise from the piano (as opposed to just saying “it sounds louder”). This bloom of sound is the result of ‘sympathetic vibrations’, and will mostly be pitches related to the principal note.
Since the resonance of the entire instrument is called into play when the dampers are lifted off the strings, the chief effect of the damper pedal is a change in the sound quality of the piano. And this, I think, is the key point to remember – that the damper pedal is about quality of sound, rather than volume of sound
The point when the pedal is depressed can have a particular effect on the sound of the piano. For example, when the pedal is depressed before the note is struck, all strings are available to resonate, and the sound will have a richness from the beginning. While it is held down, the pedal accumulates sound with each additional note struck. This property can be used to create or enhance a crescendo, particularly in a context of more rapid notes where little pedal is being used. Conversely, by lifting the pedal slowly, there is a gradual decrease in the sound, which creates a diminuendo.
There are also degrees of pedal, such as half, quarter or even eighth pedal. This technique of pedaling is particularly useful in Mozart, or during runs and passagework, where it gives substance to the tone without blurring the sounds. For example, in Schubert’s E flat Impromptu from the D899 set, I use one-eighth pedal throughout the rapid triplet runs to provide depth without losing clarity: we want to hear every single note, but we don’t want the music to sound too dry.
Every piano is different and so it is important to experiment – and listen carefully: special colours and immediacy of effect can be achieved by synchronising pedal changes with finger attack, while pedaling before playing can soften the opening of a phrase. Pedal use is also determined by the size and location of the instrument.
Experienced pianists use the pedal instinctively. I often get ticked off by cheeky students for pedaling music which has no pedal markings. This usually prompts a discussion on the use of the pedal to create certain effects, and how pedal markings are written into the score. Good pedal technique is based on experience, careful listening, and thoughtful practice.
“The more I play, the more I am convinced the pedal is the soul of the pianoforte!”
“….abusing the pedal is only a means of covering up a lack of technique, and that making a lot of noise is a way to drown the music you’re slaughtering!”
Legato pedaling, in its simplest form, is the act of joining two otherwise unconnected notes or chords together. Logically this can only happen when the sound of the first note/chord stops and the sound of the second note/chord begins at the same time. To achieve this, the pedal must come up exactly at the point at which the next chord sounds. Where it then goes down is a matter of judgement to do with the type of musical context or the effect desired, speed of the passage etc.
Here is a simple but effective exercise, easily comprehensible for junior piano students, to practice good legato pedaling.
Practice this exercise by depressing the pedal on the 2nd beat of each bar and bringing it up exactly on the downbeat of the next new chord. Legato pedaling makes use of coordination opposites: in other words, the foot releases the pedal exactly when the hand goes down. The pedal then goes down again without being snatched and rushed at some point after the first beat.
Ped and * marks are often placed inaccurately, which can make interpretation of the composer’s intentions regarding pedaling confusing. For example, the Ped…….* pedal markings in Chopin are often misleading, and should not be interpreted literally: it is more likely that Chopin intended continuous use of the sustain pedal, and that this type of pedal marking would be more accurate: __/\_/\__ (etc.).
It is said that Chopin “used the pedals with marvelous discretion,” (Auguste Marmontel, Debussy’s teacher and a former student of Chopin), and Chopin himself declared that “The correct employment of the pedal remains a study for life.”
When writing a legato pedaling scheme onto music for both my students and myself, I tend to use this marking __/\_/\__, rather than the more traditional Ped…….*, simply because it’s clearer, the “peaks” indicating when the pedal should be lifted and depressed.
Direct, finger and “dirty” pedalling
Direct pedaling is where the pedal goes down exactly as the hands do. The style of the music will influence how the pedal is used: for example, in classical repertoire, a direct pedal, corresponding with the hands, can often be applied to two-note slurs, sfzorzandi, and cadential chords without distorting articulation and phrasing. “Finger pedaling” should be considered with Alberti bass figures.
“Dirty” pedaling requires acute listening skills and is appropriate when a more misty sound and colour are desired, or when the texture needs to be thinned out gradually. Lift the pedal very slowly. I have found this technique particularly useful in Liszt when the composer designates a smorzando with a diminuendo.
Debussy and the sustain pedal
Pedaling was – and is! – very important in the playing of Debussy’s piano music, though Debussy almost never marked pedaling on the score. Where he does, it should be observed carefully. Too many pianists, professional and amateur, believe that the pedal in Debussy is used to create the famous “impressionistic blur” so often associated with his music. In fact, “he wanted the pedal used in long harmonic strokes, without breaks or confusion. Occasionally he allowed the pedal to encroach a tiny fraction from one harmony into the next………….. In any case, the blur should be used only for special effects, and with utmost discretion.” [Nichols]
Debussy’s works often imply the use of pedal, because he writes bass notes that cannot be sustained without the help of the pedal. At the same time there are often chord changes that require the pedal to be lifted in order to avoid blurring. Techniques such as half-pedal and “dirty” pedal can be used to create satisfying effects in his piano music.
The Soft Pedal: Una Corda
Una Corda is the direction to the pianist to apply the left-hand or soft pedal. The function of the soft pedal was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the inventor of the piano. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the piano had evolved to have three strings on most of the notes. When the una corda pedal was applied, the action of the piano would shift so that only one string was struck – hence the words “una corda”, or “one string”.
On a modern grand piano the strings are placed too closely to permit a true una corda effect: the left-hand pedal shifts the whole action, including the keyboard slightly to the right, so that hammers which normally strike all three of the strings for a note strike only two of them. The resulting sound is softer and also has a duller quality due to the two strings being struck making contact with a part of the hammer felt which is not often hit and which is therefore slightly softer in density, creating a different quality of sound.
On an upright piano, the mechanism is arranged so that when the left-hand pedal is applied, the resting position of the hammers is moved closer to the strings so that they have a shorter distance to travel and therefore the strings are struck with less force, creating less sound.
While the una corda pedal can be used to achieved wonderfully soft, muted and veiled effects in piano music, it is not simply a “quiet pedal”, any more than the right-hand, sustaining pedal is the “loud pedal”, and just as there are “degrees” of sustaining pedal, depending on the repertoire, so the una corda can be depressed in a variety of ways to create multi-faceted musical colours and sonorities. As with all pedalling, an acute ear, practise, discretion and experimentation will lead to greater confidence and expertise, resulting in truly wonderful effects.
Here is Beethoven giving very specific directions in the use of the una corda pedal: he stipulates lifting the left pedal so gently that only bit by bit are all the strings sounding again – only two initially and ultimately all three again:
Watch the video: What do the pedals on a piano do? | Cunningham Piano Company, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, PA
The music for the video game Final Fantasy XV, developed and published by Square Enix as the fifteenth mainline entry in the Final Fantasy series, was composed primarily by Yoko Shimomura. Having previously worked on the Kingdom Hearts series, among various other titles, Final Fantasy XV was her first project for the series. Shimomura was brought on board the project in 2006, when it was a spin-off title called Final Fantasy Versus XIII,and stayed in her role during the game’s ten-year development cycle. Her music, based around themes of “friendship” and “filial bonds”, incorporates multiple musical genres, such as orchestral, bossa nova, and American blues. Several tracks, including the main theme “Somnus”, feature Latin lyrics written by the game’s original director Tetsuya Nomura.
Multiple albums have been released containing music from Final Fantasy XV and its spin-off media. Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack released in December 2016 in multiple versions, including a four-disc CD release, a Blu-ray release with additional tracks, and a special edition. The standard four-disc release was published internationally in 2017 by Sony Classical Records. The score for Kingsglaive released in September 2016 as a two-disc CD. Other releases include a digital album for Justice Monsters V in September 2016, and limited digital albums for both Kingsglaive and Platinum Demo, a commercial demo acting as a prequel to Final Fantasy XV. The songs from Florence and the Machine were released in August 2016 as digital singles under the banner title “Songs from Final Fantasy XV“. Reception of the albums was generally positive, with the main soundtrack album and Welch’s tracks reaching high positions on music charts.
The game’s official soundtrack album, Final Fantasy XV Original Soundtrack, released first in Japan on December 21, 2016. The album was produced by Koyo Sonae. The soundtrack came in multiple editions. The standard four-disc CD and one-disc Blu-ray releases featured the entire in-game soundtrack with the exception of “Stand by Me”, coming to ninety tracks of music. A limited edition featured two Blu-ray discs and a CD; the first Blu-ray featured the full game soundtrack, the second Blu-ray disc held the track selection from the party’s car radio in addition to Welch’s rendition of “Stand by Me”, while the CD featured versions of selected tracks arranged for piano by Yui Morishita and Takuro Iga. The limited edition also had additional contents including behind-the-scenes footage concerning the recording of the soundtrack. The piano arrangements were performed by Yui Morishita, a noted Japanese pianist. Selected tracks were also included in a “Special Soundtrack” Blu-ray disc released as part of the Final Fantasy XV Ultimate Collector’s Edition. The four-disc edition, which includes all available tracks from that version, was released internationally by Sony Classical Records in 2017. This version was released in Europe on February 24, and in North America on March 24.
The Blu-ray and CD versions both entered the Oricon charts at #35, remaining in the charts for a further nine weeks. The album was nominated for the 2017 Game Audio Network Guild’s “Best Original Soundtrack Album” award, though it lost to the soundtrack album for Abzû. Samar Farag of RPGFan was highly positive about the album and its mixture of tracks, saying that the shifts in style captured the game’s theme of a road trip, with the exception of the track “Bros on the Road” which he said was “more appropriate in Sonic Adventure 2“. The rest of the album was generally praised, with the last section’s dark tones and use of leitmotifs from “Somnus”, the environmental track “Valse di Fantastica”, and the character track “Ardyn” earning particular praise. Video Game Music Online’s Lucas Versantvoort gave the album a score of 3/5; while several tracks stood out as being good, he felt there was a lack of cohesive style present in other recent Final Fantasy scores, feeling that it was a lower-quality example of Shimomura’s work than her earlier work on Kingdom Hearts. He also found the other contributors’ work mixed, and disliked the mixture of different musical styles. Both reviewers praised “Somnus” as the album’s best track; Farag said he could “easily call “Somnus” one of Shimomura’s greatest songs”, while Versantvoort felt that it was underused in the soundtrack as a whole.
Philip Glass is an Oscar-nominated avant-garde composer whose notable works include ‘Einstein on the Beach,’ ‘The Hours’ and ‘Notes on a Scandal.’
Musician Philip Glass, born on January 31, 1937, in Baltimore, went on to study with Nadia Boulanger and Ravi Shankar, later forming the Philip Glass Ensemble. He received accolades for his debut opera, Einstein on the Beach, and eventually earned Oscar nominations for scoring the films Kundun, The Hours and Notes on a Scandal. Known for his distinctive contemporary minimalism, Glass has worked with artists from a variety of disciplines.
Background and Education
Philip Glass was born on January 31, 1937, in Baltimore. He took up the violin and flute and began performing before reaching his teens. Glass took classes at the Peabody Institute’s conservatory and later studied at the University of Chicago and The Juilliard School.
Studies With Ravi Shankar
Glass eventually decided to travel to Europe, studying under conductor Nadia Boulanger and sitar musician Ravi Shankar, whom Glass cited as a major influence on his craft.
Glass adopted an approach to musical composition that relied on repetitive, sometimes subtly nuanced musical structures that would be seen as a cornerstone of contemporary minimalism. (The composer later saw the term “minimalism” as an outdated way of describing his work and the varying sounds of up-and-coming artists.) He formed the electric Philip Glass Ensemble in 1967, an avant-garde group that would continue to earn buzz over the years, if not universal acclaim.
Acclaim for ‘Einstein’
Playwright Robert Wilson worked with the composer to bring Glass’ first opera, Einstein on the Beach, to the stage in 1976. Based on the life of the famed physicist and relying upon an unorthodox, repeating sonic framework, Einstein earned major acclaim. Many more operas were to come from Glass, including 1980’s Satyagraha, which followed a portion of the life of Mahatma Gandhi.
The prolific Glass has composed several symphonies and concertos as well, performing his work internationally as part of his ensemble and having works staged in venues like the London Coliseum, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. His albums include Glassworks (1982), Songs From Liquid Days (1986)—with contributions from David Byrne, Paul Simon, Linda Ronstadt and the Kronos Quartet—and Hydrogen Jukebox (1993), among many others. Glass has received an array of honors and has worked with visionaries from various art forms, including singer-songwriter Patti Smith, dancer-choreographer Twyla Tharp and writer Doris Lessing. https://e86d87bb5a9fdef0b9c2d00c33f4487b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
Array of Film Scores
Glass has provided scores for a litany of movies that include the acclaimed Koyaanisqatsi (1982), a project directed byGodfrey Reggio that uses visuals and music to create a story about humanity’s relationship with nature. Other big-screen scores from Glass have included Hamburger Hill (1987), Candyman (1992), The Truman Show (1998), Secret Window (2002), The Illusionist (2006), Leviathan (2014) and Fantastic Four (2015), as well as documentaries like Pandemic: Facing AIDS (2002) and A Sea Change (2009). Glass received Academy Award nominations for the musical scores of Kundun (1997), The Hours (2002) and Notes on a Scandal (2006).
In September 2016, President Barack Obama presented Glass with a National Medal of Arts. At the ceremony, President Obama said Glass was being honored “for his groundbreaking contributions to music and composition,” and described him as “one of the most prolific, inventive, and influential artists of our time, he has expanded musical possibility with his operas, symphonies, film scores, and wide-ranging collaborations.”
Metamorphosis and his Solo Piano album
Solo Piano (1989) is an album of piano music composed and performed by Philip Glass. It was produced by Kurt Munkacsi.
The title of five of the seven tracks, “Metamorphosis”, refers to and was inspired by the 1915 novella The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. While all pieces were written in 1988, some were written for a staging of Metamorphosis, while others were for the 1988 documentary film The Thin Blue Line directed by Errol Morris. “Mad Rush” was written in 1979 and is based on an earlier organ piece; it has been used by choreographers Lucinda Childs and Benjamin Millepied. The title of the last composition is a reference to Allen Ginsberg‘s 1966 poem “Wichita Vortex Sutra“, and was composed, in collaboration with Ginsberg, for both a reading and recording of the poem.
“Metamorphosis One” is played in an episode of Battlestar Galactica by Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. Within the narrative, her father composed and performed the piece. It is also played in the series finale of Person of Interest, Return 0. “Metamorphosis Two” formed the basis of one of the main musical themes in the film The Hours. It is also the song that the American rock band Pearl Jam uses as their introduction music to concerts. Many pianists have recorded this music subsequently, notably Bruce Brubaker, Sally Whitwell, Lisa Moore, and Valentina Lisitsa.
Inspired by the unprecedented reaction to Einstein, Glass spent the next decade focusing on stage music. There were two follow-up operas – Satyagraha (1980) and Akhnaten (1983) – as well as a series of sparklingly original adaptations of the works of Irish writer and poet Samuel Beckett, which showcased the talents of Mabou Mines, a virtuoso group Glass had helped set up in the early 1970s.
By now he had achieved the kind of cult following normally associated with pop stars. His new-found celebrity status was confirmed when he was signed exclusively by record label CBS Masterworks (later Sony Classical), an accolade only previously awarded to two other giants of 20th-century music: Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland.
Glass’s first album for CBS, Glassworks, shifted 250,000 copies in its first year – something almost unheard of for a contemporary “classical” composer. Yet despite all the acclaim and material rewards, Glass kept his feet firmly on the ground, determined to remain true to his creative vision rather than composing music for the masses.
“I’m very pleased with it,” he quietly enthused. “The pieces seem to have an emotional quality that everyone responds to, and they also work very well as performance pieces.”
Never one to rest on his laurels, Glass felt ready, by the late 1980s, to tackle the kind of mainstream instrumental genres that had felt so unnatural during his student years.
Widely celebrated for the supreme concentration of his musical thought, he began expanding into the expressive opulence of the concerto and symphony. In 1987, he produced a Violin Concerto that at times appears to hark back to the 18th- and 19th-century traditions that Glass had so studiously avoided earlier in life.
“The search for the unique can lead to strange places,” Glass reasoned at the time. “Taboos – the things we’re not supposed to do – are often the more interesting.”
Glass’s terms of stylistic reference were broadened further still when he turned “crossover” with a pair of symphonies that synthesised classical and rock as though it was the most natural thing in the world. Inspired by the music of David Bowie and Brian Eno, Glass hit the headlines with his Low Symphony No.1 (1992) and “Heroes” Symphony No.4 (1996).
He later explained: “My approach was to treat the themes very much as if they were my own and allow their transformations to follow my own compositional bent when possible.”
Bowie gave the results his seal of approval with the immortal expression, emblazoned on countless T-shirts ever since: “Philip Glass rocks my ass”.
Glass continued his revitalisation of traditional classical genres with a series of five string quartets composed for the Kronos Quartet and a Third Symphony (1995) in which the terms of stylistic reference range from Haydn to Ravel.
Another feature of this period was a new interest in solo piano music, which expressed itself most notably, perhaps, in Metamorphosis (1988), an unusually melodious work that takes its name from a play based on a short story by Kafka.
Brazilian songwriter and vocalist Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927–1994) was one of the creators of the subtle, whispery, jazz-influenced popular song style known as bossa nova. He has been widely acclaimed as one of Brazil’s greatest and most innovative musicians of the twentieth century.
Jobim’s place in the annals of popular music was secured by a single hit song, “The Girl from Ipanema” (1964), which he co-wrote with lyricist Vinícius de Moraes. His creative contributions to jazz, however, went much deeper; many of his songs became jazz standards, and, in the words of Richard S. Ginell of the All Music Guide , “Every other set” performed in jazz clubs “seems to contain at least one bossa nova.”
Jobim was sometimes called the George Gershwin of Brazil, not so much because of any musical or lyric similarity—Jobim’s songs tended to have oblique, often poetic lyrics quite unlike the clever romantic rhymes of George Gershwin’s brother Ira—but because his music became the bedrock for the work of jazz musicians for decades after its creation.
Studied with German Music Teacher
Antonio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim, often known by the nickname Tom, was born in Rio de Janeiro on January 25, 1927. He grew up in the seaside southern Rio suburb of Ipanema, later the setting for his most famous song, and many of his compositions reflected Brazil’s lush natural world in one way or another. Both of Jobim’s parents were educators, and his father, Jorge Jobim, was also active as a diplomat.
But Jobim took after an uncle who played classical guitar, and he soon showed unusual talent of his own. Jobim’s mother, Nilza, rented a piano for the family home, and when Jobim was 14 he began piano lessons with Hans Joachim Koellrutter, a local music scholar of German background who favored the latest experimental trends in European classical music.
Jobim would later point to the influence exerted by French Impressionist composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel on his own music, but a new set of influences was on its way to Brazil in the form of American jazz. Jobim enrolled in architecture school, lasted less than a year, and worked as an assistant to a local architect in the early 1940s.
His real energies were directed toward music, as he gained experience playing piano in small nightclubs known as inferninhos , or little infernos. Visits to Rio by the Duke Ellington Orchestra and other American jazz bands shaped Jobim’s own attempts at composition (which he buried in a drawer at first) and inspired him to settle on a musical career. In 1949 he married his first wife, Thereza Hermanny; they raised a son, Paulo, and a daughter, Elisabeth.
With his well-rounded musical education, by the early 1950s Jobim was able to graduate from Rio’s bars to staff arranging positions with the Continental and Odeon record labels. At this point Jobim was working in the genre of samba, Brazil’s national pop song style, and he sometimes performed his own samba compositions.
His real breakthrough came about in 1956, as the result of a chance meeting two years earlier with Brazilian playwright Vinícius de Moraes. Moraes was working on a play called Orfeu da Conceicção , which was later filmed as Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus). The play and film transferred the classic Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to modern-day Rio de Janeiro, and Moraes suggested that Jobim write the music for it.
The film Orfeu Negro became an international success, and Jobim’s score, featuring guitarist Luiz Bonfá, kicked off a new musical craze that quickly spread beyond Brazil. It was based in samba rhythms, but it featured subtle harmonic shadings drawn from jazz.
The new style was given the name bossa nova, meaning “new wave,” and the 1958 single “Chega de Saudade” (No More Blues), with music by Jobim, words by Moraes, and guitar by future Brazilian pop star João Gilberto, was the style’s first major hit. Both “Chega de Saudade” and the flip side of the original single, Jobim’s composition “Desafinado” (Out of Tune), have remained jazz standards.
Performed in New York
Jobim’s star rose quickly in Brazil after the release of “Chega de Saudade.” He continued to record with Gilberto, began hosting a weekly television show called O Bom Tom , and wrote music in which he drew on his classical background for the soundtrack to a film called Por Toda a Minha Vida and (with Moraes) Brasîlia, Sinfonia da Alvorada , a four-movement orchestral work with text.
By 1962 American jazz musicians had begun to immerse themselves in bossa nova. Jobim sang his “Samba de uma nota só” (One-Note Samba) on an album by Gilberto and jazz flutist Herbie Mann. The bossa nova phenomenon reached the United States as saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd recorded their successful Jazz Samba album, and in November of 1962 Jobim and other Brazilian musicians performed a major bossa nova concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The show was the idea of a Brazilian diplomat who wanted to promote the country’s musical accomplishments abroad.
The concert initially seemed to be a flop. The Brazilian players were thrown off their stride by New York’s miserable late fall weather, and critics panned the show. Jobim and his compatriots also took criticism from Brazilian observers who felt they were diluting Brazilian music by singing songs in English—Jobim, who spoke several languages, sometimes translated his own songs from Portuguese into English, while others were translated by jazz writer Gene Lees. Nevertheless, the Carnegie Hall concert succeeded in exposing Jobim to American musicians and music industry figures.
Jobim recognized the importance of American exposure in broadening the reach of his music, and he quipped that if he had remained in Brazil, he would still just be drinking beer in Rio’s corner bars. In 1963 he made his U.S. recording debut on the Verve label with The Composer of Desafinado Plays.
Jobim followed up that release with several more albums in a smooth jazz vein. He collaborated with one of his most influential American admirers on a successful 1966 release, Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim , which was seldom if ever out of print during the next four decades. Jobim sang, played piano, and occasionally strummed a guitar on these recordings, often backed by a small orchestra.
In 1962 Jobim composed a song that was soon to become a worldwide phenomenon, and in the process he added a phrase to the international lexicon. “The Girl from Ipanema” (in Portuguese, “Garota de Ipanema”) was written as Jobim and Moraes were sitting at a table in a bar in Jobim’s hometown of Ipanema and became infatuated with a passer-by, the “tall and tan and young and lovely” woman described in the song. With a vocal by Gilberto’s wife, Astrud, and a verse of English lyrics, the song became a number-two hit in the United States in 1964, eclipsed only by the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Jobim prospered, although he was never canny about the music publishing deals he signed, and he often failed to receive a proper share of the money his songs earned.
Jobim’s total output of albums was not large (he recorded ten solo albums, plus nine more with collaborators), but his music remained consistently successful through much of the 1960s.
Nothing else became a hit on the scale of “The Girl from Ipanema,” but such songs as “Wave,” “Insensatez” (How Insensitive), and “Meditation,” with vocals by Jobim himself, Astrud Gilberto, or other singers, became part of the record collections of many sophisticates, and were internalized by jazz musicians as quickly as they appeared. Jobim maintained a strong following in Brazil, thanks to duets recorded with female vocalist Elis Regina, and his 1968 album A Certain Mr. Jobim reached the top 15 on Billboard magazine’s jazz sales chart in the United States.
Branched Out Beyond Bossa Nova
Jobim’s popularity dipped in the 1970s as bossa nova finally ran out of steam commercially, but he never really slowed down creatively. One of his most widely covered songs of the decade was 1972’s “Aguas de Março,” which Jobim himself translated into English (with added lyrics) as “Waters of March”; the English version almost completely avoided words with roots in Romance languages (such as Portuguese) in favor of those of Germanic origin. The lyrics consisted of a seemingly disconnected series of images that suggested the impermanence of life.
The influential jazz critic Leonard Feather, according to Mark Holston of Americas , placed “Waters of March” “among the top ten songs of all time.” Jobim recorded with Brazilian-born arranger Eumir Deodato on his Stone Flower album of 1970, and he also often worked with German-born arranger Claus Ogerman. Jobim’s 1975 album Urubu (meaning “The Vulture”) reflected his personal fascination with that bird of prey.
In 1976 Jobim met 19-year-old photographer Ana Beatriz Lontra; the pair had a son, João Francisco, in 1979, married in 1986, and had a daughter, Maria Luiza Helena, in 1987. In the late 1970s Jobim was active mostly in film soundtracks, but in 1984 he assembled his Nova Banda or New Band, with his son Paulo on guitar, and began touring once again.
His concerts in the United States in the mid-1980s were in venues with the highest profiles: Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, and Constitution Hall in Washington. His 1987 release Passarim was as well received in the jazz community as any of his 1960s releases had been, and selections from it appeared on several posthumous collections of his work.
Critics by this time recognized Jobim as a living legend, and he received various awards of national and international scope in the last years of his life. These included the Diploma of Honor, the highest arts award given by the Organization of American States, which he received in 1988, and induction into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 1991.
Jobim never rested on his laurels, and he entered the mid-1990s with a full plate of creative projects. He worked with classical conductor Ettore Stratta in preparing recordings of some of his more classical-oriented works, and he planned to record an album with opera star Kathleen Battle. In 1994 Jobim released a new album, Antonio Brasileiro , and rejoined Frank Sinatra for a track on Sinatra’s Duets II release.
With these career capstones in the works, it came as a shock for Jobim’s admirers in both the United States and Brazil when Jobim died suddenly of heart failure at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital on December 8, 1994, shortly after entering the facility for treatment of cardiac disease. Jobim’s body was returned to Brazil, where a funeral parade held in his honor in Rio de Janeiro lasted for four hours, and he was buried in a tomb near that of Vinícius de Moraes, who had died in 1980. The pair had created two of the icons of twentieth-century culture, Black Orpheus and “The Girl from Ipanema,” and the music that came from Jobim’s pen lent the music of much of the century’s second half a distinct Brazilian tinge.
Unlike most of the nicknames given to Beethoven’s works, Pathétique is believed to have been picked by the composer himself to convey the romantic and even sorrowful mood of the sonata. The first movement begins with a dark and dramatic introduction before assuming the brisk, nearly frenetic motion of the traditional sonata form. The second movement is gentle, with a central theme that gradually evolves as new melodies derived from fragments of the original are introduced. In the final movement Beethoven offers a tempestuous rondo.
The sonata provides a notable early example of Beethoven’s experimentation with the dramatic potential of the key of C minor, which he would later choose for his well-known Symphony No. 5.
Tonality and influences
Beethoven did not pick C minor arbitrarily as the key center for the first movement. It has a long-standing association with the tragic temperament, dating from the pre-Baroque. For Beethoven, C minor was the key of choice for funeral marches (for example the slow movement of the Eroica Symphony) and for relentless, agitated music. He was greatly impressed by Mozart’s C minor Piano Concerto, No. 24, K491, and there are echoes of the unsettled mood of that piece as well as the final tragic moments from Don Giovanni in the Pathétique. Around the same time as writing the Sonata, he had embarked on the String Quartet, Op. 18 No. 4, also in C minor. It makes for interesting comparative listening (see Spotify playlist).
Other precedents in a similar tragic mode are: Bach’s Partita for keyboard in C minor Mozart’s Fantasia in C minor, K475 Beethoven’s own ‘Electoral’ Sonata No. 2 in F minor
The Pathétique may indeed borrow certain features from all the above, whether the ornate introduction or a more general reflection of mood, but it also set a new benchmark for writing in the tragic style.
Edward D. Latham contends that Gershwin’s experimental use of simple rondo form with the main theme as the refrain echoes the tension between Porgy and Bess in the duet, “It is as if Bess is clinging to the refrain for dear life, afraid that if she wanders too far from it, she will lose Porgy’s love for good.
Once again, it is Porgy who guides Bess back to the home key, re-establishing F major with a half cadence at the end of the B and C sections.” Gershwin thereby subverts the rondo forms as a guaranteed sign of confidence and stability into an indication of the situation’s volatility. Gershwin had originally changed the title from Porgy to Porgy and Bess to emphasise the romance between the two title characters and accommodate operatic conventions.
On the technicality of Bess’s role in the duet, Helen M. Greenwald, chair of the department of music history at New England Conservatory and editor of the Oxford Handbook of Opera, wrote that Bess’s solo “requires the legato power of a Puccini heroine”.
I Loves You Porgy (1935) from the opera “Porgy and Bess”
“It takes years and years of experience to know that such a note cannot take such a syllable, that many a poetic line can be unsingable, that many an ordinary line fitted into the proper musical phrase can sound like a million.”
– Ira Gershwin
The folk opera Porgy and Bess was based on a 1926 novel Porgy written by a white poet from South Carolina, DuBose Heyward, who, with his wife Dorothy, adapted the novel for a play which had a successful run in 1927. The story centers on a disabled black man (Porgy), the woman he loves (Bess), her lover (Crown), and a drug dealer (Sportin’ Life). In the Broadway show which featured a mostly black cast these roles were played respectively by Todd Duncan, Anne Brown (who introduced “I Loves You Porgy”), Warren Coleman, and John W. Bubbles.
The Heywards and the Gershwins spent part of the summer of 1934 near Charleston observing a group called the Gullahs who became the prototypes for the residents of the show’s Catfish Row.
Although George Gershwin had proposed in 1926 that Heyward write the libretto for an opera, nothing happened for several reasons until 1933, and then their lack of proximity to each other made the collaboration difficult. It was then that Ira Gershwin became involved in the project. Some of the lyrics for songs from Porgy and Bess are credited to Ira alone, but the ever self-effacing lyricist is quoted in Philip Furia’s book Ira Gershwin: The Art of the Lyricist as saying, “Even with these, however, Ira maintained ‘I’m pretty sure I was indebted, theme-wise, to a word or phrase borrowed from the text.’” Several songs, including “I Loves You Porgy,” are credited to both Ira and Heyward.
As Furia points out, “In their collaborations, it was apparent to Ira that Heyward, fine poet that he was, simply was not skilled in the lyricist’s craft of writing singable and memorable words.” As Ira says in his book Lyrics on Several Occasions, “This is no reflection on DuBose’s ability. It takes years and years of experience to know that such a note cannot take such a syllable, that many a poetic line can be unsingable, that many an ordinary line fitted into the proper musical phrase can sound like a million.”
Many jazz artists have mined the now popular score, including Billie Holiday (1948), Oscar Peterson (1959), and the MJQ (1964). A 1956 studio recording (reissued on CD in 1999) included the complete score with Al “Jazzbo” Collins providing the narration, Mel Torme singing the role of Porgy and Frances Faye as Bess; Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong recorded the songs in 1957; Miles Davis and arranger Gil Evans recorded their highly praised album in 1958. Nina Simone’s rendition of “I Loves You Porgy,” featured on her 1959 debut album, became one of the top 20 songs on the Billboard charts. In 2004 trumpeter/flugelhornist Clark Terry recorded songs from Porgy and Bess (including “I Loves You Porgy”) with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Jeff Lindberg.
There was great enthusiasm for the production which opened at the Alvin Theatre in New York on October 10, 1935. An elaborate opening-night party was planned, but there was little to celebrate after the reviews came out, most of which, at best, were mixed. The show ran for only 124 performances, most of them at a loss. George, who considered Porgy and Bess his best work, would not live to see the acclaim that it eventually received.
According the Edward Jablonski in Gershwin: A Biography, “[Ira] was thrilled in 1976 when the Houston Grand Opera presented a stunning production of Porgy and Bess with the original score and orchestration intact. The production was a triumph which brought the shock of recognition: Porgy and Bess was a real opera. Ira rejoiced in this, his brother’s vindication. (Ira did not live for that ultimate endorsement, a production at the Metropolitan Opera House, during the spring of 1985, nor the greater triumph at Glyndebourne, England, in the summer of 1986.)” Although bedridden, Ira was pleased that the show also was revived at Radio City Music Hall before his death in 1983.
The 1959 film of Porgy and Bess featured Sidney Poitier as Porgy (voice dubbed by Robert McFerrin), Dorothy Dandridge as Bess (voice dubbed by Adele Addison), Sammy Davis, Jr. as Sportin’ Life, and Brock Peters as Crown.
Other notable songs from the opera include the ever popular jazz standard “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Bess You Is My Woman Now,” and “I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’.” Selections from Porgy and Bess were recorded in 1935 by white opera singers. Several other versions were recorded between 1940 and 2006 when the first recording of Gershwin’s original production was released featuring a cast backed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.