Thursday, October 14, 2010

YouTube Symphony

YouTube did a symphony thing last year, auditions by uploaded video, putting together an international orchestra to play a newly commissioned work (I think it was anyway). Interesting process, and for schmucks like me, there was a great set of masterclasses recorded, by members of the London Symphony, which are basically all worth watching, whatever you play. They're doing it again this year, with classes for both orchestral players and improvisors. The piece is some kind of electronica-classical fusion, by Mason Bates. Here it is, with the composer playing producer/DJ on the laptop:

And I gotta say, I love the concept. I spent quite a while listening to dance oriented electronica on YouTube, when I was getting back into music. I really think there's stuff to do here. But at least on a first listen, this piece, or maybe this recording of it, doesn't work for me. Groove is maybe the word I'm looking for, to describe what might be missing. Maybe it's familiarity -- we like music we're used to, which is why making pop music hits requires a positive feedback loop of massive radio play. But I dunno. Maybe I'll try again when it's not 4am (but when better, really, to test club music?)

Or maybe it's just because a few minutes earlier I ran into Elgar's Nimrod again, in this amazing recording, a piece which I probably haven't heard since I played it in some band decades ago. And I wasn't trying to pay much attention to it, but damn, what a piece.

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