• Articles

    How is ‘beautiful’ music defined?

    This past week my wife asked me to compose something beautiful, preferably for the cello (as that’s her favourite instrument). I said “What do you mean?” “Not ‘intelligent’ or clever or busy, just something… beautiful.” “Meaning what, exactly?” “Oh, I don’t know. Like, a song that’s nice.” “Oh, OK!” I said. “I’m right on it!”   Er… can you help me?!   What do you think she means? Am I displaying an incredible amount of utter ignorance here? I thought some of my choral music is particularly beautiful (especially “Lucy’s Song” using a text by Charles Dickens), and if you’ve heard “A Mother’s Lament” I’m sure you’ll agree that can…

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    Another Absolutely Best Of!

    I’m working on some project documents and listening to Classic FM’s David Mellor (ex-Member of Parliament and even Cabinet member) enthusiastically share his top 20 classical music recordings of 2012 – both new and re-released. Sometimes it’s quite fascinating, especially Max Richter’s rewriting of Vivaldi’s famous Four Seasons violin concertos, two very different versions of Rachmaninoff’s beautiful Symphony No.2 even though the different albums won in different categories, and even Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It” by Alexandre Tharaud. Yes, I’m just as confused as you. (Amazon affiliate links) Well, I’ve never been much of a fan of “Top” or “Best of” lists, even though it is clearly a marketing gem and seems…

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    Up and up and up and…

    Fifth Dimension’s “Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon” comes to mind. Not that the song has any bearing on my composition, but the title simply reflects the experience of driving over Skyway Bridge – the gateway to Tampa Bay. It’s a scary ride. If you repeatedly get in line for the latest roller coasters at theme parks, you may just wonder what all the fuss is about, but for most mere mortals, Skyway Bridge [Wikipedia link] causes anxiety rarely experienced elsewhere. Up, and up, and up, and up you go – with supports between the driving lanes (not on the outsides) and only a concrete barrier between your 65 mph vehicle and a…