August 10, 2019

I'll admit that I'm a movie music nerd and a fan of the usual suspects (Williams, Horner, Howard, Zimmer, etc.). Some others on the less beaten path are Harry Gregson Williams, Alexandre Desplatt, and Thomas Newman.

Getting to the point - one of the many things that the...

April 3, 2019

In early 1914, Holst heard a performance of Schoenberg’s Five Pieces for Orchestra. This seminal experience along with a suggestion from a friend led Holst to begin composing his famous suite for large orchestra, The Planets. However, many don't know that he first comp...

March 14, 2019

I retired from a 30+ year professional playing career 10 months ago to the day. Retire is a funny word because I hardly feel retired. Since before that date, I have been the president of the Denver Musicians Association (Local 20-623 of the American Federation of Music...

March 14, 2019

I'm working on a large brass ensemble transcription (gasp) of highlights from a Puccini opera. I always immensely enjoyed playing Puccini's operas even though the low brass parts are sparse (understatement). The music is beautiful for so many reasons, but I particularl...

July 28, 2018

Conductors who can't lift their head out of the score are a pet peeve. It usually means they don't trust their own understanding of the material in front of them, which leads to distrust from the orchestra and miscommunication. That self trust is difficult, but separat...

December 5, 2017

However, in my brass ensemble writing, I'll write passages for a grouping of trumpets when the music calls for it, and/or as a contrast in color or density in a score. Likewise, a trombone trio or quartet passage embedded within an arrangement can add variety or in...

November 9, 2017

I wrote something yesterday that was confusing even to me when I read it again today. Mea culpa.

The offending sentence was: Wright notes that Sammy “Nestico avoids doubling the bass voice inside the harmony in the next octave above the normal bass range."

Context is imp...

September 24, 2017

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book comprises nearly 300 works composed for keyboard by notable English court composers from the time of Queen Elizabeth. William Byrd, Giles Farnaby, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tomkins, to name a few, all contributed to the collection...

September 15, 2017

Too soon?

I'm having too much fun with these titles.

I promised to talk about the decision to transpose this movement of Robert Schumann's Romance Opus 94 No 1 from A minor to G minor. There's nothing inherently scary about writing in A minor for brass ensemble, and it s...

September 14, 2017

One of the things I appreciated about teaching was that I learned things about my own playing by observing and articulating ideas to students. Teaching made my own playing better.

I'm discovering the same benefit here, By describing the decision making behind choices I'...

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