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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.
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.
This video features Nina Simone (vocals, piano) delivering an intense emotional performance at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, London on November 17, 1985. Simone is considered to be one of the most diverse singers of the 20th century, recording material in multiple genres including soul, jazz, pop, blues, gospel, and Broadway.
Most often labeled a “soul” singer due to her emotional performing tendencies, Simone is an eclectic musician, who adds a soulful mystique to whatever material she interprets. This brilliant performance at Ronnie Scott’s is testament to this fact.
Ronnie Scott’s opened in 1959 to provide a place where British Jazz musicians could jam. Eventually, American music musicians such as Johnny Griffin, Roland Kirk, Al Cohn, Stan Getz, Sony Stitt, Benny Golson, Donald Byrd, and Ben Webster played at the club making it the legendary Jazz club it is today. Today, the club still books the greatest Jazz acts in the world, but also plays host to such diverse musicians as the talented Nina Simone.
1 God God God
2 Just In Time
3 Let It Be Me
4 The Other Woman
5 I Got Life
6 If You Only Knew
7 Young Gifted And Black
8 Moon Over Alabama / Mississippi Goddam
9 Because / My Father’s Dream
10 Let No One Deceive You
11 American Pie
12 Just To Know That I’m Alive
Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy“. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.
Two days before her death, Simone learned she would be awarded an honorary degree by the Curtis Institute of Music, the music school that had refused to admit her as a student at the beginning of her career.
Billie Holiday was one of the most influential jazz singers of all time. She had a thriving career for many years before she lost her battle with addiction.
Who Was Billie Holiday?
Billie Holiday is considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday had a thriving career as a jazz singer for many years before she lost her battle with substance abuse. Also known as Lady Day, her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues. In 2000, Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Holiday was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Some sources say her birthplace was Baltimore, Maryland, and her birth certificate reportedly reads “Elinore Harris.”)
Holiday spent much of her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother, Sadie, was only a teenager when she had her. Her father is widely believed to be Clarence Holiday, who eventually became a successful jazz musician, playing with the likes of Fletcher Henderson.
Unfortunately for Holiday, her father was an infrequent visitor in her life growing up. Sadie married Philip Gough in 1920 and for a few years, Holiday had a somewhat stable home life. But that marriage ended a few years later, leaving Holiday and Sadie to struggle along on their own again. Sometimes Holiday was left in the care of other people.
Holiday started skipping school, and she and her mother went to court over Holiday’s truancy. She was then sent to the House of Good Shepherd, a facility for troubled African American girls, in January 1925.
Only 9 years old at the time, Holiday was one of the youngest girls there. She was returned to her mother’s care in August of that year. According to Donald Clarke’s biography, Billie Holiday: Wishing on the Moon, she returned there in 1926 after she had been sexually assaulted.
In her difficult early life, Holiday found solace in music, singing along to the records of Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong. She followed her mother, who had moved to New York City in the late 1920s, and worked in a house of prostitution in Harlem for a time.
Around 1930, Holiday began singing in local clubs and renamed herself “Billie” after the film star Billie Dove.
Billie Holiday Songs
At the age of 18, Holiday was discovered by producer John Hammond while she was performing in a Harlem jazz club. Hammond was instrumental in getting Holiday recording work with an up-and-coming clarinetist and bandleader Benny Goodman.
With Goodman, she sang vocals for several tracks, including her first commercial release “Your Mother’s Son-In-Law” and the 1934 top ten hit “Riffin’ the Scotch.”
Known for her distinctive phrasing and expressive, sometimes melancholy voice, Holiday went on to record with jazz pianist Teddy Wilson and others in 1935.
She made several singles, including “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” and “Miss Brown to You.” That same year, Holiday appeared with Duke Ellington in the film Symphony in Black.
Around this time, Holiday met and befriended saxophonist Lester Young, who was part of Count Basie‘s orchestra on and off for years. He even lived with Holiday and her mother Sadie for a while.
Young gave Holiday the nickname “Lady Day” in 1937—the same year she joined Basie’s band. In return, she called him “Prez,” which was her way of saying that she thought it was the greatest.
Holiday toured with the Count Basie Orchestra in 1937. The following year, she worked with Artie Shaw and his orchestra. Holiday broke new ground with Shaw, becoming one of the first female African American vocalists to work with a white orchestra.
Promoters, however, objected to Holiday—for her race and for her unique vocal style—and she ended up leaving the orchestra out of frustration.
Striking out on her own, Holiday performed at New York’s Café Society. She developed some of her trademark stage persona there—wearing gardenias in her hair and singing with her head tilted back.
During this engagement, Holiday also debuted two of her most famous songs, “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruit.” Columbia, her record company at the time, was not interested in “Strange Fruit,” which was a powerful story about the lynching of African Americans in the South.
Holiday recorded the song with the Commodore label instead. “Strange Fruit” is considered to be one of her signature ballads, and the controversy that surrounded it—some radio stations banned the record—helped make it a hit.
Over the years, Holiday sang many songs of stormy relationships, including “T’ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do” and “My Man.” These songs reflected her personal romances, which were often destructive and abusive.
Strange Fruit Lyrics
Southern trees bear a strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar treesPastoral scene of the gallant South The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh Then the sudden smell of burnin’ fleshHere is a fruit for the crows to pluck For the rain to gather For the wind to suck For the sun to rot For the tree to drop Here is a strange and bitter crop
Composer: Lewis Allan
Holiday married James Monroe in 1941. Already known to drink, Holiday picked up her new husband’s habit of smoking opium. The marriage didn’t last—they later divorced—but Holiday’s problems with substance abuse continued.
That same year, Holiday had a hit with “God Bless the Child.” She later signed with Decca Records in 1944 and scored an R&B hit the next year with “Lover Man.”
Her boyfriend at the time was trumpeter Joe Guy, and with him she started using heroin. After the death of her mother in October 1945, Holiday began drinking more heavily and escalated her drug use to ease her grief.
Despite her personal problems, Holiday remained a major star in the jazz world—and even in popular music as well. She appeared with her idol Louis Armstrong in the 1947 film New Orleans, albeit playing the role of a maid.
Unfortunately, Holiday’s drug use caused her a great professional setback that same year. She was arrested and convicted for narcotics possession in 1947. Sentenced to one year and a day of jail time, Holiday went to a federal rehabilitation facility in Alderston, West Virginia.
Released the following year, Holiday faced new challenges. Because of her conviction, she was unable to get the necessary license to play in cabarets and clubs. Holiday, however, could still perform at concert halls and had a sold-out show at the Carnegie Hall not long after her release.
With some help from John Levy, a New York club owner, Holiday was later to get to play in New York’s Club Ebony. Levy became her boyfriend and manager by the end of the 1940s, joining the ranks of the men who took advantage of Holiday.
Also around this time, she was again arrested for narcotics, but she was acquitted of the charges.
While her hard living was taking a toll on her voice, Holiday continued to tour and record in the 1950s. She began recording for Norman Granz, the owner of several small jazz labels, in 1952. Two years later, Holiday had a hugely successful tour of Europe.
Holiday also caught the public’s attention by sharing her life story with the world in 1956. Her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues (1956), was written in collaboration by William Dufty.
Some of the material in the book, however, must be taken with a grain of salt. Holiday was in rough shape when she worked with Dufty on the project, and she claimed to have never read the book after it was finished.
Around this time, Holiday became involved with Louis McKay. The two were arrested for narcotics in 1956, and they married in Mexico the following year. Like many other men in her life, McKay used Holiday’s name and money to advance himself.
Despite all of the trouble she had been experiencing with her voice, she managed to give an impressive performance on the television broadcast The Sound of Jazz with Ben Webster, Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins.
After years of lackluster recordings and record sales, Holiday recorded Lady in Satin (1958) with the Ray Ellis Orchestra for Columbia. The album’s songs showcased her rougher sounding voice, which still could convey great emotional intensity.
Death and Legacy
Holiday gave her final performance in New York City on May 25, 1959. Not long after this event, Holiday was admitted to the hospital for heart and liver problems.
She was so addicted to heroin that she was even arrested for possession while in the hospital. On July 17, 1959, Holiday died from alcohol- and drug-related complications.
More than 3,000 people turned out to say good-bye to Lady Day at her funeral held in St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church on July 21, 1959. A who’s who of the jazz world attended the solemn occasion, including Goodman, Gene Krupa, Tony Scott, Buddy Rogers and John Hammond.
Considered one of the best jazz vocalists of all time, Holiday has been an influence on many other performers who have followed in her footsteps.
Her autobiography was made into the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues with famed singer Diana Ross playing the part of Holiday, which helped renew interest in Holiday’s recordings.
In 2000, Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Ross handling the honors.
JOSQUIN DES PRES (b. c. 1450, Condé-sur-l’Escaut?, Burgundian Hainaut [France]—d. Aug. 27, 1521, Condé-sur-l’Escaut)
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Josquin des Prez was one of the greatest composers of Renaissance Europe.
Josquin’s early life has been the subject of much scholarly debate, and the first solid evidence of his work comes from a roll of musicians associated with the cathedral in Cambrai in the early 1470s. During the late 1470s and early ’80s,
he sang for the courts of René I of Anjou and Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza of Milan, and from 1486 to about 1494 he performed for the papal chapel. Sometime between then and 1499, when he became choirmaster to Duke Ercole I of Ferrara, he apparently had connections with the Chapel Royal of Louis XII of France and with the Cathedral of Cambrai. In Ferrara he wrote, in honour of his employer, the mass Hercules Dux Ferrariae, and his motet Miserere was composed at the duke’s request. He seems to have left Ferrara on the death of the duke in 1505 and later became provost of the collegiate church of Notre Dame in Condé.
Josquin’s compositions fall into the three principal categories of motets, masses, and chansons. Of the 20 masses that survive complete, 17 were printed in his lifetime in three sets (1502, 1505, 1514) by Ottaviano dei Petrucci.
His motets and chansons were included in other Petrucci publications, from the Odhecaton (an anthology of popular chansons) of 1501 onward, and in collections of other printers. Martin Luther expressed great admiration for Josquin’s music, calling him “master of the notes, which must do as he wishes; other composers must do as the notes wish.”
In his musical techniques he stands at the summit of the Renaissance, blending traditional forms with innovations that later became standard practices. The expressiveness of his music marks a break with the medieval tradition of more abstract music.
Especially in his motets, Josquin gave free reign to his talent, expressing sorrow in poignant harmonies, employing suspension for emphasis, and taking the voices gradually into their lowest registers when the text speaks of death. Josquin used the old cantus firmus style, but he also developed the motet style that characterized the 16th century after him. His motets, as well as his masses, show an approach to the modern sense of tonality. In his later works
Josquin gradually abandoned cantus firmus technique for parody and paraphrase. He also frequently used the techniques of canon and of melodic imitation.
In his chansons Josquin was the principal exponent of a style new in the mid-15th century, in which the learned techniques of canon and counterpoint were applied to secular song. He abandoned the fixed forms of the rondeau and the ballade, employing freer forms of his own device. Though a few chansons are set homophonically—in chords—rather than polyphonically, a number of others are examples of counterpoint in five or six voices, maintaining sharp rhythm and clarity of texture.
He then went to France (he may also have done so while at the papal chapel) and probably served Louis XII’s court. Although he may have had connections with the Ferrara court (through the Sforzas) in the 1480s and 1490s, no formal relationship with the court is known before 1503 when, for a year, he was maestro di cappella there and the highest-paid singer in the chapel’s history.
There he probably wrote primarily masses and motets. An outbreak of plague in 1503 forced the court to leave Ferrara (Josquin’s place was taken by Obrecht, who fell victim in 1505). He was in the north again, at Notre Dame at Condé, in 1504; he may have been connected with Margaret of Austria’s court, 1508-11. He died in 1521. Several portraits survive, one attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.
Josquin’s works gradually became known throughout western Europe and were regarded as models by many composers and theorists. Petrucci’s three books of his masses (1502-14) reflect contemporary esteem, as does Attaingnant’s collection of his chansons (1550). Several laments were written on his death (including Gombert’s elegy Musae Jovis), and as late as 1554 Jacquet of Mantua paid him tribute in a motet. He was praised by 16th-century literary figures (including Castiglione and Rabelais) and was Martin Luther’s favourite composer.
Josquin was the greatest composer of the high Renaissance, the most varied in invention and the most profound in expression. Much of his music cannot be dated. Generally, however, his first period (up to circa 1485) is characterized by abstract, melismatic counterpoint in the manner of Ockeghem and by tenuous relationships between words and music.
The middle period (to circa 1505) saw the development and perfection of the technique of pervasive imitation based on word-generated motifs. This style has been seen as a synthesis of two traditions: the northem polyphony of Dufay, Busnois and Ockeghem, in which he presumably had his earliest training, and the more chordal, harmonically orientated practice of Italy. In the final period the relationship between word and note becomes even closer and there is increasing emphasis on declamation and rhetorical expression within a style of the utmost economy.
His many motets span all three periods. One of the earliest, the four-part Victimae paschali laudes (1502), exemplifies his early style, with its dense texture, lack of imitation, patches of stagnant rhythm and rudimentary treatment of dissonance. Greater maturity is shown in Planxit autem David, in which homophonic and freely imitative passages alternate, and in Absalon, fili mi, with its flexible combination of textures. His later motets, such as In principio erat verbum, combine motivic intensity and melodic succinctness with formal clarity; they are either freely composed, four-part settings of biblical texts, or large-scale cantus firmus pieces. Transparent textures and duet writing are common.
Josquin’s 18 complete masses combine elements of cantus firmus, parody and paraphrase techniques. One of the earliest, L’ami Baudichon, is a cantus firmus mass on a simple dance formula; the simplicity of melody and rhythm and the clarity of harmony and texture recall the Burgundian style of the 1450s and 1460s. Fortuna desperata, on the other hand, is an early example of parody. Canonic writing and ostinato hgures are features. His last great masses, notably the Missa de beata virgine and the Missa ‘Pange lingua’ were preceded by works in which every resource is deployed with bravura.
Josquin’s secular music comprises three settings of Italian texts and numerous chansons. One of the earliest, Cela sans plus, typifies his observance of the formes fixes and the influences of the Burgundian style of Busnois and Ockeghem. Later works, such as Mille regretz, are less canonic, the clear articulation of line and points of imitation achieved by a carefull balanced hierarchy of cadences. Some, like Si j’ay perdu mon ami, look forward to the popular ‘Parisian’ chanson of Janequin.
Rolf Undsæt Løvland (born 19 April 1955) is a Norwegian composer, lyricist, arranger, and pianist. Together with Fionnuala Sherry, he formed the Celtic-Nordic group Secret Garden, in which he was the composer, producer, and keyboardist. He began composing at an early age (he formed a band at the age of nine) and grew up studying at the Kristiansand Music Conservatory, later receiving his master’s degree from the Norwegian Institute of Music in Oslo. Løvland has won the Eurovision Song Contest twice, composing the songs “La det swinge” in 1985 and “Nocturne” in 1995 alongside Secret Garden, resulting in Norway’s first two titles.
He also composed the song “You Raise Me Up“, which, according to Rolf Løvland in an interview with Radio Norge in February 2010, has been covered more than 500 times thus far.
You Raise Me Up
“You Raise Me Up” is a song originally composed by the Norwegian-Irish duo Secret Garden. The music was written by Secret Garden’s Rolf Løvland, and the lyrics by Brendan Graham. After the song was performed early in 2002 by the Secret Garden and their invited lead singer, Brian Kennedy, the song only became a minor UK hit. The song has been recorded by more than a hundred other artists including American songwriter Josh Groban in 2003 and Irish boy band Westlife in 2005 whose versions were hits in their countries. Welsh singer Aled Jones and all-female Irish ensemble Celtic Woman have also recorded successful covers.
Løvland composed an instrumental piece in 2002 and titled it “Silent Story”. He later approached Irish novelist and songwriter Brendan Graham to write the lyrics to his melody, after reading Graham’s novels. The song was performed for the very first time at the funeral of Løvland’s mother. The original designated vocalist was Johnny Logan, who recorded a demo with an orchestra. However, the vocalist was changed due to a desire to distance the album from the Eurovision Song Contest, in which all three men were known for their success: Logan had won twice as a performer and twice as a composer; Løvland had won once as a performer and twice as a composer: and Graham had won twice as a composer.
In 2002, it was released on the Secret Garden album Once in a Red Moon, with the vocals sung by Irish singer Brian Kennedy, and sold well in both Ireland and Norway. Originally, Brian Kennedy was supposed to follow Secret Garden on their Asian tour in 2002, but Curb records couldn’t come to an agreement with Universal to release Brian, and he reluctantly could not attend the tour. He was replaced by Norwegian singer Jan Werner Danielsen, who also later recorded the song together with Secret Garden. A demo version of this recording was released in 2010, on Danielsen’s posthumous compilation album One More Time – The Very Best Of, which included several previously unpublished recordings.
Although the original version did not chart internationally, the song has now been covered more than 125 times. Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell‘s version debuted at its peak position, number twenty-two, in the UK Singles Chart on the week of December 7–13, 2003. It fell to number 35 the following week. It fell off the top 100 three weeks afterwards. Christian group Selah‘s version, included in their 2004 album Hiding Place, peaked number two on Billboard‘s Hot Christian Songs and Christian Airplay on the week ending June 25, 2004. This recording was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2005 Dove Awards and appeared on WOW Hits 2005.
In 2004, the song was played more than 500,000 times on American radio. In late 2005, there were over 80 versions available in US alone, and it has been nominated for Gospel Music Awards four times, including “Song of the Year.”
On 21 September 2006, “You Raise Me Up” became the first song to have sold over 76,000 copies of the score on the popular sheet music website musicnotes.com
Josh Groban version
In 2003, David Foster decided to produce the song after being introduced to it by Frank Petrone of peermusic, the song’s publisher. He chose the up-and-coming Josh Groban to record the song, which was accompanied by the tenor Craig Von Vennik of the Establishment. Groban’s version made it to #1 on the Billboardadult contemporary chart in early 2004 and remained there for six weeks. This version also peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100, his first single to do so, and was nominated for a 2005 Grammy award.
Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up (Official Music Video)
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary When troubles come and my heart burdened be Then, I am still and wait here in the silence Until You come and sit awhile with me.You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas I am strong, when I am on your shoulders You raise me up to more than I can beYou raise me up, so I can stand on mountains You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas I am strong, when I am on your shoulders You raise me up to more than I can be.You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas I am strong, when I am on your shoulders You raise me up to more than I can be.You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas I am strong, when I am on your shoulders You raise me up to more than I can be.You raise me up to more than I can be.