How do non-musicians hear music? Second movement

Arnold Schoenberg by Florence Homolka

Arnold Schoenberg by Florence Homolka

In his 1939 essay Eartraining through Composition, the composer Arnold Schönberg raps me firmly on the knuckles for the unconventional description of the first movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony that I gave earlier (more…)

How do non-musicians hear music? First movement

The hut in Toblach in which Gustav Mahler composed his Ninth Symphony

The hut in Toblach in which Gustav Mahler composed his Ninth Symphony

A long time ago, before I really learned how to read it, I remember listening to music and not hearing individual notes. I cannot recall what I did hear, except that I can remember that the first movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony conjured up dream-like images of a journey through a strange flat landscape (more…)

Recording music today

Recording the old-fashioned way

Recording the old-fashioned way

Nowadays one can purchase all the equipment necessary to make a professional-sounding recording. But it was not always so. Before about 1970, equipment of this quality was to be found mainly in the hands of the large studios — like Abbey Rd, where I worked. (more…)

Published in: on 10 June 2009 at 17:58  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Rautavaara: “Angel of Light” Symphony

David Pickett & Einojuhani Rautavaara

David Pickett & Einojuhani Rautavaara

From 1987 to 1995 I was Music Director of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Indiana, USA.  In the course of my tenure I conducted many premières of contemporary music, most of it by Indiana composers. I had first encountered the music of the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara in 1981, when I heard the cellist Erkki Rautio and pianist Martti Rautio play his Two preludes and fugues on the name EinAr EnGlunD and BÉla BArtók in Weimar, Germany, and I discovered more of his music when I visited Finland in 1987.

In preparing to conduct Rautavaara’s Cantus Arcticus in 1990, I took advantage of being in Helsinki as a participant in the First International Sibelius Conference to meet him and ask his advice over several details. (more…)

“My time will come”

Gustav Mahler 1898

Gustav Mahler 1898

“My time will come!”

This is an often-quoted remark of the composer Gustav Mahler. What did he mean by it?

Well, first of all, did he actually say this?

Not quite. But (more…)

The CD, the LP and the human being

LP : 45 single : CD : cylinder

LP : 45 single : CD : cylinder

Some things are human-sized and some things are scaled and shaped appropriately for the task that they perform: others are not.

An example of something that is human-sized is the analog long-playing record (LP) which, like the 78 rpm record that it replaced, has a diameter of 12 inches. Now the CD is a wonderful medium: (more…)

Published in: on 7 June 2009 at 15:57  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

II. The friendly software

Kaypro II

Kaypro II

I will delay discussion of the computer that weaned me from the Kaypro, as there are still things to be said about the two “word processing” programs bundled with the Kaypro. (I use inverted commas because the term implies to me a distinctly industrial approach to writing!) (more…)

I. From pen to computer

pen

“How do I write?” “With difficulty!” is the common answer. But the difficulties have not always been caused by the same obstacles, and ignoring for the time being the problem of actually getting started on a document, which every writer faces at some point or another, I should like to consider the changes in the obstacles that I have encountered over the past few decades. (more…)

Published in: on 4 June 2009 at 06:13  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Hello [new] World

Photo by courtesy of NASA

Photo by courtesy of NASA

I have been thinking of writing a blog for some time. About ten or so years ago I used to communicate my random thoughts to my NeXT computer from time to time, never intending to publish them; such writing was more for the purpose of clarifying my ideas. At one time I wrote a monthly column (Things I Hear) for the British magazine HiFi News. In those days I always managed to find something to write, and I hope it was interesting. But it was the pressure of the deadline that started the adrenalin flowing and forcefully cleared the writer’s block.

Unless one is paid for it, blogging is a different situation. There is no pressure for the writer to publish anything world shattering on his or her blog, or even to have a blog at all. In my case, friends who have lead the way have encouraged me to do this, but it is clear that many bloggers have no reason to blog other than an inner compulsion to share their thoughts with others gratuitously. For them, blogging is a modern form of vanity publishing, though rendered cheaper than in previous centuries by the Internet. I have decided to join the company of such publishers in what spare time I have, though I have no idea how this will develop.

Come back later, if you are curious…

Click on “About” to find out who and what I am…


© David Pickett and davidpickett, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Pickett and davidpickett with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published in: on 3 June 2009 at 15:52  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,