Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t freak out. Want to guarantee jobs for a whole bunch of musicians, conductors and composers? Start building your audience from scratch. Program in novel ways. Play in new places. Give your recordings away for free. Make your case for why people should listen.
Otherwise, wolf-criers like Vanhoenacker may someday be right. And who the hell wants that?
Fox 6 Now Milwaukee is reporting that Milwaukee Symphony concertmaster Frank Almond was tased Monday by two hoodlums, who then made off with his Lipinski Stradivarius. Ouch.
It’s amazing more instruments aren’t stolen. Most musicians aren’t built like the Ultimate Warrior, and the upside of a successful theft could be tens of thousands, minus the obvious residual bad karma.
Maybe it’s time we start looking at cheaper schemes for getting our classical kicks — like instruments made from uh, bike parts?
The old school video game composers knew how to write a tune.
It just so happens that when you take video game music out of the console, flesh out the harmonies and spread the parts across an entire orchestra, amazing things start happening.
Technology limitations fall away. Bass lines get deeper, textures richer, melodies more soaring and beautiful. Here are a few of the most irresistible.
‘Final Fantasy VII’
Hironobu Sakagachi’s “Final Fantasy VII” put the music front-and-center, offering Nobuo Uematsu’s in-game soundtrack in a simultaneous, four-CD release. It’s MIDI-tastic, but in the hands of an able symphony classical atheists can have a conversion experience.
‘The Legend of Zelda’
Koji Kondo was the mastermind behind the original theme for “The Legend of Zelda.” The game first appeared in 1986 and went on to sell 6.5 million copies. Safe to say people got pretty damn familiar with the Zelda theme, but they never heard it like this.
Kondo didn’t just pen the big themes for Legenda of Zelda. He also influenced game design by having players play a recorder (warning: very nerdy, detailed tab right there) to access secret levels.
Yasunori Mitsuda presided over this one, although Mitsuda was so driven to finish the orchestration of “Chrono Trigger” that he made himself gravely ill.
Mitsuda’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed. The game’s music has been remixed hundreds of times — it’s as irresistible as a James Brown drum break is for rap producers.
First one’s for free
Composers aren’t the only ones vibing to 8-bit ballads. Berklee College of Music enjoys sell-out shows for its Video Game Orchestra. (That’s their “Chrono Trigger” remix above.) Audiences are twisting up J’s while staid orchestras give over their programming to video game music.
Play it for your friends, bump it in your car and on the subway. Video games will rope unsuspecting listeners into loving classical music. Heaven help our children.
Super Bowl XLVIII pits Peyton Manning’s thumb-shaped head against Richard Sherman’s postgame interview excellence. At halftime, the millions (and millions) watching at home will be treated to a performance by Bruno Mars, with the corpses of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as special guests/props.
Before any of that happens, though, the star-spangled flame-spitter, Renée Fleming, will sing the National Anthem.
The stakes are high. Fleming is the first opera singer to ever sing at the Super Bowl, and The Star-Spangled Banner ain’t a breeze to sing.
But have faith — consummate professionals, like Fleming, always come through:
The 2014 Grammy Awards will feature Lang Lang teaming up with Metallica for a very special, one-off performance of Metallica’s “One.”
What do you think of this?
Actually, let me tell you what to think: it’s awesome.
Metalheads and classical nerds have way more in common than they realize. Both love those deep, edgy, endless hooks (Beethoven 5 anyone? riff city) and both the metal and classical forms tend to be complex and heavy. Both have rabid fans.
Lang Lang and Metallica will be brief, full of histrionics, and maybe forgettable.
It certainly won’t be worse than this.
Update: Performance is up (for now). Nice when it hits at 5:12.