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This 92 message thread spans 7 pages:  < <   1  [2]  3   4   5   6   7  > >  
  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  James McFadyen at 13:31 on 08 June 2008

You seem to think I said sell your soul to the commercial devil. I didn't say abandon art. Music without art is pointess but so is must that is not accesible. The problem is universities breed a certain type of composer; the self-indulgent one who believes that musicians exist to play the composers music when in actual fact it's more like team work.

But NEVER abandon your audience. Not many people go out and buy an arty-farty CD; the main audience for that "music" is academics. Why would anyone care what a crtic/academic thinks!!

Malcom Arnold was one of the most inspiring composers around; he didn't abandon art, but his music had wide appeal and although Arnold didn't find favour with the acaddemics he didn't care less! Why? Becase that's not who composers write music for.

My opinion is that music is by the people for the people.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Misuc at 13:44 on 08 June 2008

....and a duck's opinion is that music is made by ducks for ducks...

most composers - even 'avant-garde' ones - are aware what species they belong to. It's just not a subject that comes up very often.

All genuine composers write not directly for people or ducks but because they are fascinated, moved, excited, stirred, inspired by the art of music as it has been left to them by the cumulative work of countless generations and because they feel impelled to add to that heritage and to extend it in new directions for the sake of other people who can also get inspired in the same way.

this is music by people for people - but the relationship is not one-to-one.

I'm not sure if someone who understands music as a business can grasp anything as subtle as this, even though there is not a seven-year-old who does not

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  scott_good at 14:34 on 08 June 2008


music is not a business, but, there is a business of music. carrots are not business, but there is a business of carrots. and, like the beginning of this thread, the business of the music publisher is big business - as is recordings, and mechanical rights, and royalties, orchestras, agents, etc etc.

i don't agree with the capitalist system, or at least most of its current structures, but that is another story. needless to say, one must pay the bills.

many years ago i came to understand that top be the kind of musician/composer i wanted to be (both in quality and prolificness), i needed to be doing it all the time - thus, no room/time for a "job" - music, indeed would have to be my job - and it is.

and the last bit i will somewhat agree with james is that indeed, just as the world of business can have an ugly influence on the quality of art, so to can the academic environment - indeed, a "business" all on it's own.

but, the solutions provided are just not true. "ordinary" people may or may not like abstract modern art. in my experience, in the world of music, sometimes the best receptions i have had to modern works have been from so called ordinary people. many have said after concerts that this music affected them in ways that music never had before. and, isn't this the point of artistic innovation - to discover new means of artistic expression in a nut shell? don't the works of Pollock as a prime example of paint splatter art, effect one to the core of their soul in ways that rembrandt and davinci do not? not better, not worse, just different.

i would fault much of the problem of difficulty of modern music on compositional technique. too many modern works ask for very unidiomatic requirements of performers. i am never sure if the composer really knows what they are asking of their performers (knowing the fundamentals of the instrument's technique), or, they don't care, or, they expect none but the best players to be playing their music. whatever the reason, it would be nice if more innovative works could be more accessible for amateurs.

but david, have you challenged your group with difficult modern works? you might be surprised that when presented with enthusiasm and musical purpose, how well these groups can deal with the very modern. might be a life changing experience for them - do do something very challenging, and, to experience modern art from the inside.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Account Closed at 14:39 on 08 June 2008

but david, have you challenged your group with difficult modern works? you might be surprised that when presented with enthusiasm and musical purpose, how well these groups can deal with the very modern. might be a life changing experience for them - do do something very challenging, and, to experience modern art from the inside.

Depends what you mean by very modern. We have a church choir which numbers 12 (5S, 3A, 2T, 2B). All but myself and another are over 60, and one is 87. Yes we do quite a bit of modern things - arrangements of worship songs etc. which they enjoy; but if we're talking OUP New Horizons and Boosey Contemporary Choral, then it's not a question of liking; it's just beyond their ability.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  scott_good at 15:30 on 08 June 2008

what i meant by modern is music which utilizes contemporary technique, not just new. so, perhaps music which requires sound making rather than just singing, or some improvisation, or cluster sonorities or atonal. perhaps non melodic or challenging mixed meters. breaking words apart or no text but just vocal sounds. those kinds of things.

Canadian composers R.M. Schafer ("epitaph for moonlight" for example is a lovely work) or perhaps the late Harry Friedman ("Keewaydin" for example) might be of interest. i must admit that my knowledge of choral rep is limited. perhaps others have suggestions. but, don't just look to the US - we have an excellent choral tradition in Canada as well! also, the Scandinavian coutries have great choirs and choral music - as well Baltic countries - I heard some great choral music from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Account Closed at 15:48 on 08 June 2008

what i meant by modern is music which utilizes contemporary technique, not just new. so, perhaps music which requires sound making rather than just singing, or some improvisation, or cluster sonorities or atonal. perhaps non melodic or challenging mixed meters. breaking words apart or no text but just vocal sounds. those kinds of things

I don't think that you really understand the kinds of abilities we're dealing with here, and we're by no means in a minority.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 16:23 on 08 June 2008

You have completely misunderstood myself, yourself and the whole industry. Get out in the real world mate!

One of my favourite phenomenons in the real world is electro-magnetism. And I've noticed that absolutely polarized opinions follow the same principle: their attraction diminishes rapidly as one moves away from the source.

The real world is much less stagnant and self-satisfied than you imply. Your 'real world' seems artificial, or at least constricted to a binary 'us vs. them' understanding.

By the way, I was at school with Anna Clyne for a short while - she's a wonderful composer (with the usual mix of good and bad results, of course), and, more importantly, she's lived a very interesting life to this point - traversing some difficult terrain and building a career for herself on many very remarkable successes and even more nasty failures.

I point this out to make the obvious connection that music is about more than notes: it represents experience and a way of life. And I'm very glad to have these works published as a counterbalance to the more conventional path that many composers follow. Documenting the diversity of human experience in our time is an immensely valuable aspect of art which is often neglected.

Regarding the issue about accessible choral music: isn't that a different debate? The publication of a couple pieces by a handfull of young composers Isn't a crushing blow to choral music. Even if there's a problem in choral music it's hardly fair to use these people as scapegoats.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  James McFadyen at 17:33 on 08 June 2008

I think what we're seeing here is that Mr Barton and I work in very practical areas of the music industry... We need to think of ways to make new music but make it accesible to audiences and available to players with varying degrees of musical ability.

Just to clarify I'm not an educational composer, but I write for Brass Band which is an amateur outfit. However, it might be amateur but it has some serious repertoire in it's vast and growing catalogue.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  scott_good at 17:48 on 08 June 2008

well, i have worked with amateur choirs, both youth and adult, so, have a sense of what you are talking about.

i still think that with the right leadership both in terms of motivation and skill abilities, very challenging music can be learned. i have seen it. also, many of these modern techniques are very suitable for amateur musicians, as they require more intuition and imagination sometimes than raw skill.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Account Closed at 17:56 on 08 June 2008

I agree with you, but I still don't think you're grasping what kind of choirs and groups we're talking about. We may have 4 sopranos, but one doesn't sing much, the other doesn't sing in tune, and the other two can't get much higher than an E at the top of the stave. We have 3 strong alto's, a strong tenor and another who only sings the tune in everything, and the same with the basses.

We have an organist with very bad arthritis and an organ with an extremely heavy mechanical action. We practice for an hour a week during term times, and that is to sing an anthem most Sundays. We're talking about amateurs at the very very basic level here.

Could you give some suggestions as to the kinds of music to which you are referring?


  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Misuc at 17:58 on 08 June 2008

Point taken, Scott.

Of course music has to be a business just like carrots. One trouble is that the people who run the one businesss run the other too. (talking about the subject of this thread, see news about Boosey & Hawkes below. It used to belong to a non-tax-paying offshore private equity finance company which also owned what remains of Britain's coal industry, world hotel chains etc. etc. Now it has just been sold off)

The trouble with the carrot thing is that even more millions than usual are starving because because of the way business operates (having made a mess of sub-prime loans etc. the speculators have picked on food futures)

Boosey & Hawkes, the music publisher with rights to works by famous composers from Benjamin Britten to Wynton Marsalis, has been sold by its private equity owners for £126m.

HgCapital bought classical music specialist Boosey & Hawkes for £75m four years ago, taking it off public markets. Tapping into strong demand for publishers and a buoyant appetite for classical music, today the private equity house announced it was selling the business for a price almost 70% above that to Imagem Music, a music publishing fund backed by Dutch pension fund ABP and CP Masters, one of Europe's leading independent music companies.

The Boosey & Hawkes sale is the latest in a string of deals around music publishing businesses that have caught the eye of both trade and private equity predators.

While investors have become increasingly concerned about the future of record labels, music publishers remain in demand. Piracy, the internet challenge and a recent slew of underwhelming albums have eaten into revenues at record labels, which rely more on erratic CD and download sales.

But industry data continues to show the more dependable publishing businesses are bridging the gap. Music publishing, which generates revenues when songs are sold or played, has raised its turnover significantly over the past decade.

The publishing arm of EMI was one of the main attractions for its new owners, Guy Hands's private equity group, Terra Firma. The venture capitalist recently announced a wide-ranging overhaul and job cuts at EMI's recorded music arm, while the more successful publishing division has largely been left alone.

Another publishing business currently on the block is UK-based Chrysalis, one of the world's leading independent music publishers, whose catalogue includes Jethro Tull, David Bowie and Gnarls Barkley.

HgCapital said it managed to grow the Boosey & Hawkes business by introducing new revenue streams, more importantly from providing music to advertisers and film-makers. It says revenues in that market are growing at around 30% a year.

The year Boosey & Hawkes was sold, underlying earnings were £3.3m and last year they were more than twice as high at £6.8m, the seller said.

Boosey & Hawkes controls the rights to more than 116,000 works of music and choreography, including from Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Britten and Prokofieff. It also works with many of the world's best-known living composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies and Karl Jenkins.

Under HgCapital's ownership it has made six acquisitions, moving it into new areas such as tango and jazz, including signings with composer/performers such as trumper player Wynton Marsalis.

Today's deal means ABP's music publishing fund will add the rights of the host of jazz and classical works in the Boosey & Hawkes collection to rights catalogues for popular music that it recently acquired from Universal Music.

Ronald Wuijster, at APG Investments, representing the ABP music publishing fund, said the deal was a "great add-on".

"This acquisition of the largest classical music rights catalogue in the world greatly diversifies our portfolio and strengthens our position," he said.

"We are committed to be a long term investor in this space and find intellectual property rights, among which music rights is an important category, a lucrative new asset class with interesting characteristics for a long term investor that is looking for real absolute returns."

André de Raaff, chief executive of CP Masters added that "classical entertainment is enjoying tremendous growth, because of the ageing of the world population."

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  scott_good at 02:49 on 09 June 2008


i am familiar with the kind of choir you are talking about. usually 1 really eager soprano who just buries the whole group.

but, i have to admit i didn't think that's what you were talking about. (i thought you had an amateur concert choir). there are publishing companies specifically geared towards this kind of ensemble - liturgical setting and all that.

you have to understand that this kind of music really has little to do with B@H. they are going to be making more cash on royalties, mechanical rights, licensing etc than sheet music sales per say.


  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Account Closed at 07:19 on 09 June 2008

I know that music is being published for our kind of choir, but not really in the UK, where most publishing schedules have been taken over by these so called 'innovative' programmes.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  scott_good at 13:34 on 09 June 2008

david, you seem quite bitter. do you have something against these composers? (I thought ben was over-reacting, but now i'm not so sure).

listen, why does it matter if music is being published in the UK or in the US or wherever anyways. it's not like an american company cares where the composer is from in this regard (I know because I have approached them), so their roster will be international, as is B@H.

at any rate, if you really care about this issue, why not take it into your own hands. you want new music? then hire composers - work closely with them and direct them towards your needs - like, solos for the good singers and an easy organ part etc. do some research - find a voice you like (there are so many composers out there). too expensive? then team up with other church choir directors to split the costs. then everyone wins - composer gets work, you get new music. if it's good, then, you and composer can look into getting it published.

no, not another competition. (i am starting to think these are just excuses for organizations to get new music without having to fork out commission fees or do research). just a buying and selling of wares - simple.

and perhaps a bit of motivation to learn new music for your choir might spur them on to having a few extra rehearsals. make it an event - have fun with the challenge.

  Re: Boosey`s Emerging Composer Program  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 13:43 on 09 June 2008

Your description of your choir really rang a bell for me, David: I directed an all-amateur, very mixed, and technically limited choir here in Toronto a few years ago and had a lot of trouble with repertoire too. Like Scott I assumed that you're working with a quasi-professional group.

I eventually found a positive solution to this problem that sidesteps the publishing issue:

I started writing music for them myself which was tailored to exactly what they were capable of and what they found exciting. A couple of my friends wrote pieces for them as well. In retrospect I regret that I didn't do more in this direction! The people in the choir were, as Scott suggested, really happy to work on the original music - they were excited to be doing something novel that was created just for them.

So if you're up to writing for your choir I highly recommend it. And you might also invite composers on this list to compose for you: that way you can describe the abilities of your membership and expect something suited to them; suggest alterations to scores to make them perfectly functional for your choir; choose particular texts that would interest your group; and encourage music in a style that they'd best enjoy performing. There are certainly many young composers here who would welcome the opportunity, and probably quite a few experienced ones as well who wouldn't mind putting in a bit of time to pitch in.

Also: if you're really upset about the shortcomings you see in the publishing industry, keep in mind that it's a two-way street: if you take the positive step of bypassing what's available because their catalogue doesn't meet your needs, and then make it known that you've taken this course and why, it might encourage others to do the same and eventaully prod publishers into addressing your needs.

This 92 message thread spans 7 pages:  < <   1  [2]  3   4   5   6   7  > >