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The composer Pierre Henry died last month at the age of 89. He composed more than 150 works, and is best known as a pioneer of the "musique concrète" genre - the concept of creatively using, manipulating and combining recordings of sounds on tape. After leaving the Paris Conservatoire where his teachers included Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen, he joined and led the Group de Recherche de Musique Concrète. This had been founded by Pierre Schaeffer with whom Henry collaborated on their "Symphonie pour un homme seul". Among his works is "La Dixième Symphonie de Beethoven" made by combining sounds from Beethoven's 9 symphonies. He wrote music for several ballets, for the theatre and for film, and extracts or samples of his music also contributed to rock and techno music and film soundtracks.
Composer Emily Howard has a background in mathematics and computer science, and has frequently used aspects of Mathematics or Science in her music. Recently she has collaborated with the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, who is Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, and also Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. The result of that collaboration is a new work for String Quartet to be given its premiere at ExCel London on 28th September. This will be presented as a performance plus talk - see further information at the New Scientist website under the title The Music of Proof. More details of the composer at www.EmilyHoward.com and also at Wikipedia.
The Wicker Man is a perfect marriage of music and film. The music composed largely by Paul Giovanni is based on traditional and original folk melodies. The music was recorded by a small group of musicians and the authenticity of the setting is heightened with these musicians also appearing on screen, including Giovanni himself singing "Gently Johnny" in the island's pub. Although the soundtrack has been available on CD for some time, for the movie's 40th anniversary the Sheet Music was also published in piano/vocal format with guitar chords for some songs. "The Complete Piano Songbook" covers virtually the complete score including instrumentals and feels more like a labour of love by arranger Christopher Hussey rather than a strictly commercial project. The Songbook has an introduction by the film's Assistant Musical Director, Gary Carpenter, who also appears in the film, and contributed a couple of the songs. Go to TheWickerManMusic.com for more details.
The latest composer to participate in the series "Conversations with Screen Composers" is John Powell who will be talking about his work on Monday 10th July. John Powell is probably most well known for his scores to animation features. His film scores have included "Shrek", "Chicken Run", "Ice Age", "Rio", "Kung Fu Panda" "Happy Feet" and How to Train Your Dragon with some of these films having multiple sequels. However he has also scored a number of action movies including "Face/Off", "Mr and Mrs Smith", "X-Men: The Last Stand", "Hancock" and the "Bourne" films such as The Bourne Supremacy. Unusually he has also collaborated with other composers on some of his projects, notably with Harry Gregson-Williams and Hans Zimmer. The event is sponsored by BAFTA and PRS for Music and will take place in the Elgar Room at The Royal Albert Hall - see this BAFTA event page for further details and tickets.
This year's Nocturne Concert Series at Blenheim Palace takes place on 15th-18th with the influential composer Max Richter taking centre stage on Fri 16th. Alongside violinist-director Ray Chen and the Aurora Orchestra, Richter will give a live performance on his acclaimed "Vivaldi Recomposed". Other works include "On The Nature Of Daylight" which featured in the recent sci-fi movie "Arrival", and the world premiere of his latest project "Three Worlds: Music From Woolf Works" which is music from Wayne McGregor's award-winning Royal Ballet production "Woolf Works" inspired by the novels of Virginia Woolf. The concerts start on the Thursday with "The Best of John Williams", and over the course of the weekend feature Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Jacksons and Kool & The Gang. Full details and tickets for all the shows can be found at the Nocturne Live website.
The BBC Radiophonic Workshop created an enormous wealth of music and sound for Television and Radio over 4 decades from 1958 to 1998 with Doctor Who being one of the shows for which they are well known. Although the BBC closed the department in 1998 a number of members of the workshop have continued to make and perform music under the name "Radiophonic Workshop". They have performed live at various festivals in the UK and "Burials in Several Earths" marks their first album. It was recorded live with a minimum of post-processing and is wonderfully inventive and evocative. As might be expected the team stick to their electronic roots with the music mainly ambient in nature, yet it draws on a wide range of influences with just the occasional bursts of sci-fi sound. The album has 5 tracks over two CDs (and available in other formats) and can be found at Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. A sample of excerpts can be heard in this youtube video.
Although first shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2016, the remake of 1949's "Whisky Galore" goes on release in Scotland today with a simultaneous release of the soundtrack album. This is a reworking of the true story of a ship laden with bottled whisky which ran aground off the Scottish coast to the delight of the local population. Who better to score the film than Scottish composer Patrick Doyle reuniting with some of the instrumentalists he worked with on Pixar's "Brave" so expect fiddle, accordian and penny whistle and some traditional folk music in addition to the composer's score. Also joining the album is the wonderful voice of Gaelic singer Mairi Macinnes singing Doyle's "Gairm na h-Oidche" (Calling the Night). The album is released today and available to download from both Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
I've recently discovered online a superb James Bond Tribute Band called "Q The Music Show". You will find the Band on social media including YouTube, and the video alongside is a terrific recreation of the track "Bond 77" which comes from Marvin Hamlisch's score of "The Spy Who Loved Me" and of course incorporating Monty Norman's Bond Theme itself. In addition to instrumental tracks such as this, the Band also have a couple of talented singers to perform the Bond Songs. You can find out more about the Band from their website which is at www.QTheMusicShow.com. Find out more about James Bond Music from our own James Bond Music webpage.
Our very own local orchestra The Royal Scottish National Orchestra is about to embark this month of a tour of the State of Florida. It was some 35 years ago that they last toured in the USA so this concert series is a very special occasion. With Music Director Peter Oundjian at the helm and guest soloist Scottish superstar violinist Nicola Benedetti, the orchestra will give 8 performances from 13th to 22nd March. The venues include Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Vero Beach, Gainesville, Fort Myers and Daytona Beach. More details and tickets from the RSNO website.
Tanna is one of 5 films nominated for an academy award in the Best Foreign Language category. It was also nominated for several awards at the Australian Academy (AACTA) where it won the award for Best Original Score. The film is based on a true story which actually happened in 1987 on the volcanic island of Tanna in the South Pacific. It was filmed on the island itself, with the assistance of the islanders who portray the film's characters from one of the world's last tribal societies. The score by composer Antony Partos is an evocative electronic-orchestral hybrid featuring the vocal talents of Lisa Gerrard and cello solo work by Julian Thompson. The album has now been released for download and is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. More information about the movie can be found at www.tannamovie.com.
Recently release by Sony Music is "Hans Zimmer: The Classics" featuring the music of Hans Zimmer as you've never heard it before. This is really a celebration album, full of cover versions of some of Zimmer's most famous tracks played by a diverse collection of guest artists, some having recorded the composer's music before and some possibly for the first time. Those artists include violinist Lindsey Stirling, cello/piano duo The Piano Guys, pianist Lang Lang, trumpeter Till Brönner, cellist Tina Guo, Saxophonist Amy Dickson, singer Leona Lewis, violinist Maxim Vengerov, pianist Khatia Buniatishvili, the duo 2Cellos, organist Roger Sayer and Lang Lang together with Maxim Vengerov. The album is available from online stores, including these links from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. As a taster Sony Classical have released the theme from "The Dark Knight Rises" featuring Rachel Stirling here on youtube.
We've made a small update to the mfiles Sheet Music pages. These previously displayed the sheet music allowing playback using the Sibelius Scorch plugin. However this plugin is now no longer supported by the modern versions of the main browsers, and so reluctantly we have stopped using the Scorch plugin. Instead these pages now embed the PDF version of the sheet music to allow visitors to preview the music. We also include a small playbar allowing playback of the associated mp3 file so you can also sample the audio playback before downloading. Hopefully this makes for a more positive visitor experience but if there are any teething problems or unforeseen issues please let us know through the Feedback email address.
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