Often times on this blog I try to add an intellectual element to my writing, discussing historical and philosophical aspects of music in addition to simply recapping what's been going on in my own musical career as of late. I've been thinking of topics I could write on that might be intellectually stimulating: composers who have influenced me in terms of style and technique, my preffered methods of notation and how this affects orchestration, etc. Instead of all that, this is what I came up with -
FAMOUS COMPOSERS AND THEIR MEME FACE COUNTERPARTS
So without further interruption, I give you...
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Innovate radical harmonic and structural ideas and change of the face of music forever... like a boss.
I betcha can't play that...
Strikingly brilliant, but also incredibly depressed
Just read his letters and you'll know what I mean by this one
Dodecaphonic music: you either REALLY like it, or REALLY don't
On May 29th, 1913, Stravinsky succeeded in trolling the entire audience of the Paris Ballet. Polytonality - you mad?
Apparently he just found out that Mendelssohn was billed first on the program
So... as you can see, I've been using my time wisely.
In my last blog post I said that I would update this thing more often. And then a few weeks went by and I didn’t post anything. Hypocritical? Perhaps. But now that I have some down time I can talk about what’s been going for me in the way of new music.
Two weekends ago (April 2nd) saw the premiere of Lineage in it’s entirety at JMU, and WOW. What a phenomenal concert.
Pictured is Randy Klein at the piano, the JMU Chorale, and Aurelia Williams belting her face off. The music sounded absolutely phenomenal, a big “Thank you!” goes out to everyone involved. Randy said he was thrilled with how the concert went, and we’re making plans for where this project could go in the future. There’s even some discussion of a performance at the Kennedy Center. Exciting stuff!
So as if that wasn’t a big enough event for one month, this past Sunday saw the premiere of my one-act rock opera, The Darkest Day. Once again, WOW. A phenomenal concert and a really tremendous effort from everyone involved. It’s been a while since I wrote anything that was really “rocking”, and this concert definitely rocked. A DVD recording was made, which will be available soon, and there’s talk of doing a studio recording sometime in the near future. Stay tuned!
The rest of my April mostly involves performing – the Madison Singers have their spring concert this Saturday, I perform in Liz Butler’s cabaret on Saturday the 23rd, and the last weekend of the month I’m singing in Sweet Briar Opera’s production of Too Many Sopranos. Lots of music to memorize, but it should be a lot of fun. Compositionally, the rest of this month is dedicated to cranking out more of this Flute Concerto (Stephen, if you’re reading this, IT’S COMING, it really is). And making a simultaneous piano reduction hurts my brain a little bit… but alas, that’s a topic for another day.
On a completely unrelated note, I’ve got into creating meme comics lately. If you’re not familiar with what a “meme” is, go to either Memebase or Know Your Meme, and after you’ve wasted several hours of your life, come back here. You back yet? Good. I can’t explain it, but I find the little bite-sized morsels of wit and (sometimes) cultural commentary that memes provide to be quite entertaining, and despite my lack of facility in the visual arts, I’ve been trying my hand at making a few. Here’s one of my most recent creations, something which I think all musicians (and pretty much everyone who’s ever been to a concert) can relate to:
Now, before my inbox gets flooded with a stream of hate mail, I would just like to point out two things –
1) This comic is not intended to be taken literally.
2) You KNOW that you think the same thing when this happens.
James K. Ballard
A sometimes insightful, hopefully entertaining look into my career and everyday life.