Let's Talk About Music!
By Sergio Barer
Let's Talk About Music!Mar 09, 2021
A chat with Steve Rothstein about his Symphony Judaica.
Steve Rothstein is a composer based in L.A. that wrote Days of Awe, Symphony Judaica. It is a one hour work, in four movements, that is based on different melodies that are used in services during the Jewish High Holidays. I found the work both beautiful and interesting. It is written in a late Romantic style and Steve and I talked about composing the work, about the contents of the work, the travails of composing it and we listened to sections of the third and fourt movements. Here are the links for the full work in Youtube in case you want to listen to it. In the videos, as you hear the work you see some quotes of the lithurgy related to the music that is being used.
Symphony Judaica, Days of Awe:
First Movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7mlmJr02yc
Second Movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6y05ocXWU4
Third Movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj2ztxBICt8
Fourth Movement : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Ke_E31erE
Steve Rothstein web site is: https://steverothsteinmusic.com/
Come spend some time with us and get to know some new music!
A chat with choral conductor Mark Shapiro about programming music for concert and about contemporary music
In this episode, I talk with Mark about what criteria he uses to program choral music. We also chat about going outside the harmonic structures of the Common Practice Period, the XVIIII and XIX centuries, and how a convincing music can be achieved by other means. We also talk about consonance and dissonance in contemporary music and we listen to an exceprt from Stuart Greenbaum's "Brought to Light" and from Donald Grantham "La Canción Desesperada" on a poem by Pablo Neruda, as performed under Mark Shapiro's baton by Cantori New York. It is one of our longer episodes because, well, there was a lot to talk about.
A chat with Rex Isenberg about his choral work "Messiahs, False and True".
In this episode we talk about an intensely interesting work that utilizes new settings of some of the Biblical texts used in Handel's Messiah and is supplemented by a narrator reading speeches given by American leaders, giving us a current perspective on those texts. I found the work fascinating and enlightening and I think, if you listen to our podcast, you will be very motivated to go and listen to the whole work, which is available in YouTube, in several versions.
A Chat with Paul Leavitt about composing and about his Requiem.
This is a very interesting episode because Paul and I share a background of having arrived at composing after being pianists. I think his music is gorgeous, the Requiem is for choir, orchestra and organ and it is original, yet accesible. I usually don't include as much music as I did in this episode but I found the music hard to cut, so we have about 15 minutes of music and 35 of dialogue. Hang out with us as we trade some stories and we have a good time together talking about...music.
A chat with composer Zanaida Robles about composing and about her music
Zanaida Robles is a composer, conductor and singer that lives in Los Angeles. She brings us choral music that is intuitive and beautiful. Take a listen.
A chat with composer Dale Trumbore about her music and her life as a composer.
In this episode we listened to 2 of Dale Trumbore's works, I See It, from How to Go On, a secular requiem and Between Water and Air, a song that describes surfing in California. We talked about her music and had a candid chat about what it is like to be a composer and different aspects of the profession.
A chat with Paul Gibson about his music.
In this episode we listen to and discuss three works of Paul Gibson: Ritual Dances, a trio for harp, viola and flute, Donna Nobis Pacem/Grant Us Peace, a work for children's chorus and Salve Regina, a work for mixed chorus. The music of Paul strikes me as very ethereal and beautiful and even though it is accesible and easy on the ear from the first chord, you can tell that is not XIX century music, but rather, music of our times.
A chat with Jason Barabba
Jason Barabba is a contemporary music composer. In this episode we talk about composing using a 12 tone row and we listen to the beginning of the choral work We The People as well as to the beginning of his Aunt Jemima opera. Here are the links if you want both works, complete: The Aunt Jemima Opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw4cx8tTPaA We The People: https://youtu.be/r4ZCcmtah6U.
The Web Opera, a chat with its composer, Michael Roth
The Web Opera is a fascinating project created by Michael Rothe which focuses on an very unfortunate incident of cyberbullying that happened in Ruthgers in 2010. Due to its internet nature the visual element of this opera, which has been selected for 32 film festivales, could not be more appropriate. The whole work could not be more relevant to our times and this podcast attempts to get you through the third episode of the work with only the musical element present, which is quite a challenge. You can actually go and hear the first 3 episodes at thewebopera.com (around 40 minutes). Episodes 4 and 5 will come along in the next couple of years, completing the work. Join us in listening to and discussing social media in action.
A chat with Bryan Pezzone about improvisation and the piano.
In this episode (which has a couple of small audio malfunctions) I talked with Bryan Pezzone about improvisation at the piano, which he demostrated to me by doing a freat improvisation of Imagine by John Lennon and then an improvisation on an original classical theme of his own manufacture. Bryan has great insights about improvising and about practicing and performing at the piano, which he as been doing for many years. with great success.
A chat with Bernardo Feldman about his music and composing in general
Bernardo brought to me 3 pieces, one is a contemporary work for horn and recorded tape called Cast Iron, the second one is a cool jazzy song called "How Is It That...? and the third one is a choral work called "Like A Flower". The three of them are quite different one from the next and we talked about each one of them, the circumstances around their composition and the composing ideas that are reflected in them.
A conversation with composer Steve Danielson
Steve Danielson is a conductor, artistic director and composer who lives in Seattle. He conducts the Ensign Symphony and Chorus. Come and enjoy the conversation and the music.
A conversation with composer Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon is a composer that lives in Los Angeles. Join us to hear Amy's choral music, from the cheerful Alleluia to the COVID related In Times of Hibernation.
A chat with the composer Joshua Fishbein.
In this episode, Joshua and I chat about his music and we listen to some his choral compositions. Stay tuned and you will hear some beautiful works.
A conversation with composer Carol Barnett about her music.
Carol Barnett's music is accesible and contemporary at the same time. The essence of her modernity is not the use of harsh, dissonant chords but the weaving of chords we are familiar with in unfamiliar patterns that make the music at the same time fresh and agreeable to the ear.
A chat with composer Forrest Pierce about his music, sacred and ethereal choral music.
Forrest Pierce's music is ethereal and explores sacred and trascendental topics. He draws inspiration from Christianity sacred texts as well as from texts of other traditions and he has a way of setting these texts that can transport you somewhere else, which is always a very nice sensation. We talked about his writing and about music in general, exchanging frank opinions about the use of different musical languages in our works.
A chat with composer Katerina Gimon about her music and aleatory (improvised) music.
In this conversation we cover a chamber music work of Katerina which is wholly aleatory and 2 choral pieces which have aleatory elements. I found fascinating the structuring of a whole piece of instrumental chamber music, Rain on a Tin Roof, on 22 small segments of music, each containing from 2 notes to 10 notes, called "cells" which the instruments repeated, or not, as they advanced from cell 1 to cell 22 and back. And then we talk about the use of syllables in choral music which have no meaning, in the work Fire, and yet which add to the effect of the work. Spend some time with us and enjoy the music!
A chat with Sarah Rimkus about aleatory music and her music in general
Aleatory means, basically, improvised. It is a type of music where you write some musical guidelines for the performers to follow but you don't write every note, every beat of the music. It gives us different possibilities for the same music, to a degree. All three pieces have elements that are not fully notated, but the first one is the one that is 97% aleatory. There is also an element of social justice in her music as the work Uprooted takes us to the interment of American citizens of Japanese descent in camps during World War II. And of sacred music, as the third piece we hear is based on the Mater Dei.
A dive with David Dies into his contemporary classical music
In this episode we listen to an oboe concerto, a work for two sopranos and a piano solo piece and we get to experience life through David Dies musical language, which borders in the atonal and gives us a challenge, but with great rewards if we accept it. I find that with commercial music, for example, you can wait for the music to come to you and move you or not, but it doesn't require great participation. Contemporary classical music, on the other hand, requires for you to actively strip yourself of preconceptions and dive into the unknown with the hope to experience something new. I found that David's music did give me a new experience and communicated very well what it was trying to convey.
A chat with Jordan Nelson on reinterpreting the standards
Join Jordan and me in a chat about his projects of writing new music based on the standards of the American Songbook. Listen to Jordan's take on Oh, What a Beautiful Morning, Tea for Two and Begin the Beguine, as interpreted at the piano by pianist Tom Kotcheff of the piano duo Hocket.
A chat with composer Gregory Brown about his music
Gregory composes choral music and has his own style. The texts he used are very interesting and you will learn something about contemporary choral music if you listen to this conversation.
A chat with composer Kile Smith
I met Kile Smith through his choral music. He was nominated for a 2020 Grammy for his work The Arc in the Sky, of which we will hear the first movement. Kile writes music in his own singular style and I think you will find enlightening to listen to his music preceded by own commentary about it. As with all my podcasts, feel free to join us for all of it or for only part of it. These podcast do not try to make a point or explain a concept but they are a vehicle to leisurely listen to music and enjoy it while talking about it.
A chat with composer Robert Sheldon
Robert Sheldon is a very well known symphonic band music composer in the U.S. We listened to two works of his and we talked about how he works and how he arrived at his compositions.
A chat with composer Eduardo Alonso Crespo
Eduardo Alonso Crespo is a neo-classical composer from Argentina and he shares with us some of his works on the ocassion of Ellie Weingarten's release of a recording of Crespo's double concerto for oboe and clarinet.
A chat with composer David Lefkowitz
Professor David Lefkowitz teaches composition and music theory at UCLA. We collaborated on a project called "David", which is an oratorio about the life of the biblical King David. We both form part of the Hefner composer group, which did the work and I wanted to share his story and some of his music with you. His music is contemporary classical, which entails an interesting use of dissonance while being melodical too. Kind of a modern post-modern. We took one piece and we stopped it at 2 spots to break down what was happening. It's the first time I do that and I think it worked. I hope you enjoy the podcast.
A chat with Shawn Kirchner about arranging, composing and songwriting.
Shawn is well known as a choral composer, arranger and also as a songwriter. We talked with him about his different hats and his approach on music. This is the last episode of Season 1, which was the initial season. We will continue in 2021 with season 2.
Episode 9 - A chat with composer Kurt Knecht about composing in general and about his music.
In this episode we talk about composing music and we listen to 3 different works by Kurt Knecht: an organ work, a choral work and a chamber piece for piano and cello. Kurt has a very definite and distinctive style of writing and we chat about composing classical music at this time, we share experiences and we also share a few laughs.
A talk with Alex Shapiro about electroacoustic music
Alex Shapiro is a composer that, these days, writes primarily electroacoustic music for band but that has composed in many styles and genres, from film music to TV music to chamber music to symphonic band music. We talk about her carreer and about combining musicians performing live with a prepared track.
A conversation with Robyn Lana about music programming for a youth choir and about runnning a choir in COVID times.
Robyn Lana is the founder and artistic director of the Cincinnati Youth Choir, which in a normal year has 900-1000 singers. I talked with her about running a youth choir during this pandemic and also about programming music for youth and children's choir in general. The podcast ends with a beautiful rendition by the Cincinnati Youth choir of the work We Will do Miracles by Dominic DiOrio, composed for them. (The music comes in after we say our good byes. )
A conversation about Middle Eastern Music with Professor Mark Kligman
In this podcast I talk with Proffesor Mark Kligman. director of the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA, about Middle Eastern Music, particularly about the use of two extra tones that do not figure in Western music scales, one which would be between E and Eb and another that would be between B and Bb and how the use of those 2 tones gives Middle Eastern music its unique character.
A conversation with composer Gernot Wolfgang about his music and his use of Jazz elements in it.
Composer Gernot Wolfgang was nominated for a Grammy award in 2016 for his CD Passing Through. He lives in L.A., writes chamber music and his music uniquely mixes classical and jazz elements, making it original, interesting and accesible.
A conversation about Theatre Music with composer Adam Wernick
In this episode composer Adam Wernick talks with composer Sergio Barer about writing music for the theatre, its peculiarities, its difficulties and its triumphs. We hear several segments of Adam's music- which has been performed in or by The Guthrie Theater, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Kennedy Center, Classic Stage Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, Denver Center Theatre Company, Red Bull Theater, The Wilma Theater, Old Globe Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company- and the stories associated with them. It was a lighthearted and fun conversation.
A chat with composer Frank J. Oteri about microtonality and his music
In this podcast I chat with Frank about two pieces of his and about the use of microtones (smaller subdivisions of the scale than half tones) in his music, with digressions into how the tuning system of Western music evolved and his personal use of musical concepts of the XX century like serialism and minimalism. (Serialism - a compositional technique in which a fixed series of notes, especially the twelve notes of the chromatic scale, are used to generate the harmonic and melodic basis of a piece and are subject to change only in specific ways.) ( (Minimalism - a reductive style or school of modern music utilizing only simple sonorities, rhythms, and patterns, with minimal embellishment or orchestrational complexity, and characterized by protracted repetition of figurations, obsessive structural rigor, and often a pulsing, hypnotic effect.)
What is Contemporary Classical Music? A chat with Bernardo Feldman
In this episode we talk about what is Contemporary Classical Music, how to listen to it and how to approach it and we also talk about Bernardo Feldman's music in particular and use it to illustrate our points about the Classical Music that is being composed today.
A chat with Brian Pezzone
In our inaugural episode , Brian tells us about his musical carreer and about composing, playing and improvising in today's COVID world. By the way, the intropductory music and the end music are taken from an improvisation made by Brian.
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