Music scenes in movies are risky propositions. An actor who barely knows how to strum a guitar will pantomime a musician’s motions, in a bold/vain/completely misguided attempt to convince an audience (s)he’s really playing. It’s not so much about nailing it, because stars of the silver screen can’t be all things to all people. The goal is to “play” without distracting us or detracting from the scene.
Take Josie and the Pussycats, the seminal 2001 movie critic Leonard Maltin called “the finest movie ever made, [and] a uniquely American masterpiece.” In this re-envisioning of the 1970s Hannah-Barbera cartoon, Tara Reid stars as Melody, the drummer. Despite her formidable acting talents, you’re simple if you think Reid actually drums like this. It’s a misstep in an otherwise exemplary cinema experience.
Continue reading Refining instrumental fakery in movies and TV
You may not know Max Richter, but he’s a film composer who smashed by remixing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a thing called Recomposed. The knock on it is that it’s derivative, that there’s too much Vivaldi and not enough Richter. I thought it was a cool idea that begged for an edgier follow-up. Well, here it is. Continue reading The eight-hour ‘SLEEP’ — gimmickry or genius?
The Boston Early Music Festival is one of the city’s preeminent music festivals. Thousands converge on the city’s concert and lecture halls to hear and discuss music predating the founding of modern-day Boston by centuries. The festival’s lineup includes a heady list of performers, groups, scholars and boosters. One of these is perennial favorite Jordi Savall and Hésperion XXI.
Savall and Hésperion XXI were in New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall to play a show called “Folias, Antiguas & Criollas: From the Ancient World to the New World.”
Continue reading Modern lords and music ringing down through the centuries
The website New Music Box asked me to go out and take the temperature of Boston’s classical and new music scene. Since I’m often out anyway this was an easy sell.
Head to their site to read the thing. If you dig it, make some noise in the comments section, tweet it out, and tell me what great shows I need to see in the Boston area.
Copyright SoundBox/San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Stefan Cohen. http://www.sfsoundbox.com, http://www.stefancohen.com.
SoundBox is a new project by the San Francisco Symphony. It started last December with the hope of funneling that SFSO magic into a venue with different lighting, seating, drink options, and different crowds. Here’s what you’re in for:
Musicians perform in casual clothes instead of tails or black gowns, and the audience wears bow ties, fedora hats or hooded sweatshirts and jeans. Mobile device use is encouraged. And instead of receiving a printed program, attendees can learn more about the performance by downloading the club’s app.
Continue reading Attention classical thrill-seekers and lucky San Franciscans
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) is a Swiss lobbying organization that represents interests of record companies. They work to combat music piracy. You may recall them being repeatedly antagonized by the Pirate Bay.
Every year they issue a state-of-affairs industry report. This year’s saw global parity — for the first time ever — between digital & physical sales. People are moving from CDs to online-only. Streaming subscriptions are up 39%. Continue reading The promise and imperfection of digital music service Tidal
LA Times classical writer Mark Swed took up arms on behalf of the creators of “Blurred Lines” a few weeks back.
“Blurred Lines” was a song written by Alan Thicke’s son and genius producer/singer Pharrell Williams. It featured rapper T.I., as well as two separate music videos, one which would get you fired if watched at work, and the other which would make coworkers think slightly less of you. Continue reading Imitation, flattery, and the pleasures of casual theft