Music For Writers: A Quartet Named ETHEL And A Guitarist Named Kaki

Did You Say ETHEL? There’s only one question you can start with, when you interview the violist of a string quartet called ETHEL (yes, all caps). Ralph Farris:  The name “ETHEL” comes from the film, Shakespeare in Love. The Bard was struggling to complete a play called, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. Hilarity ensued. Thank… Read More

Music For Writers: Benjamin Hochman, Translator — And ‘A Bit Of A Shaman, Too’

‘At The Piano…Even Dreams’ The very first notes of the album arrive like an abrupt, sonic question mark: “What can we do with this little perplexed phrase?” The burly Scottish composer Oliver Knussen certainly knew what to do with his exquisitely moody 1989 Variations on just six notes. And happily, it’s Israeli-born pianist Benjamin Hochman at the… Read More

Music For Writers: Ville Matvejeff’s ‘Resurrections’

‘Each Composition’s Own DNA’ Of course, I would come calling with questions just as the man is trying to put Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex on its feet at Croatia’s Rijecka Opera House — opening Friday if you’re in the area. But composer Ville Matvejeff, among the busiest conductors and composers today, was gracious to a fault in… Read More

Music For Writers: Michael Gordon’s Wild Ride Called ‘Dystopia’

No Brakes Feeling a little sluggish on that work in progress? Struggling to get from the current chapter of your six-year marathon manuscript to something nearer, my God, to “The End”? You’re in luck. Composer Michael Gordon’s new album Dystopia from Cantaloupe Music is here to shove you right to the last punctuation point. And thanks… Read More

Music For Writers: The Good, The Bad, And The Soundtrack

‘So Many Ideas Coming At Me’  The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly is just the one you know off the top of your head. Hundreds of film scores later, a 24-hour marathon of music by Italian film composer Ennio Morricone, has provided a compelling opportunity for authors to dip into the world of “contemporary… Read More

Music For Writers: Gregory W. Brown’s Natural Selections

Missa Charles Darwin — And Amino Acids In order to bind the work together I devised an opening idea linked to Darwin, evolution, and genetics. Using a portion of the genetic sequence from Platyspiza crassirostris(a bird from the group commonly known as Darwin’s Finches), I translated the amino acids into notes, thereby deriving a melody. And Gregory W.… Read More

Music For Writers: The Pettersson Legacy Of Fire And Ice

‘When Inspiration Flows’ The opening tone — lonely and anticipatory — is the last serene moment of the late Allan Pettersson’s Symphony No. 4. Whether he has his strings rush up to a precipice and hold while the woodwinds dither on the edge — or sends whole sections of his orchestra chasing each other, repeating… Read More

Music For Writers: Martin Bresnick And The Terrible Beauty Of Sorrow

‘We Will Always Sing Such Songs Of Longing’ Each time I visited, my grandmother wept bitterly about the murder of her parents, her brother, her two sisters, and all their children. Can a child comfort a grandmother, a grandfather? I became a witness, a musician, and a composer. Martin Bresnick is a native New Yorker.… Read More

Music For Writers: When Florent Ghys Watches ‘Télévision’

Forget Your Writing Prompts This is the album of the future, and it’s fast becoming a hit. So says a pert, authoritative voice in the opening of the second track on composer-performer Florent Ghys’ new album Télévision from Cantaloupe Music. It’s called a CD. That’s short for compact disc. The music on one of these is… Read More

Music For Writers: Seeing Through Philip Glass

‘The Trouble With My Career’  Once when I interviewed Philip Glass, he told me: The trouble with my career is I’m finally doing what I want to do. And the reason it’s a problem is that I’m doing it all day long and don’t have time to do anything else. And maybe the most remarkable thing… Read More