Sunday, July 09, 2006

Unpolished Melodies and Muddy Counterpoints

Some of my younger pupils have brought to my attention that it has become quite the trend for popular music composers to release collections of Outtakes as entire albums. Such rock stars as Bjork, Sufjan Stevens, Jon Bon Jovi, and The Loosey Gooseys have provided their listeners with examples of their failures as popular music stars.

Sadly, lovers of Serious Music do not often get to hear the discarded melodies and substandard orchestrations of our composerly heroes. Well, that is all about to change with the release of Outtakes collections by two of our most esteemed masters - John Corigliano's UNPOLISHED MELODIES and Steve Reich's MUDDY COUNTERPOINTS.

The Corigliano collection is comprised of melodies he imagines Bob Dylan might have written but never used. In order to maintain the purity of his ego, Corigliano has not actually listened to any of Bob Dylan's music. Instead, he has imagined the rock-and-roll circumstances of Dylan's life and written dramatic, unnerving melodies to illustrate Dylan's erratic behavior.

MUDDY COUNTERPOINTS is an album of failed attempts at Reich's "counterpoint" pieces (solo pieces for live performer and multiple pre-recorded tracks of the same performer, same instrument). According to the liner notes, there are some instruments for which Reich's "counterpoint" style was ill-suited. There are four pieces, or fragments of pieces, on the album - DIDJERIDU COUNTERPOINT, FRENCH HORN COUNTERPOINT, TABLE SAW COUNTERPOINT, and AUTOHARP COUNTERPOINT.

Let's hope other composers follow this new trend!


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7:40 AM  

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