Composer Arnold Schönberg in an Interview about Art and Music

In this video clip you can see some images of Arnold Schönberg’s paintings and personal photos while he is being interviewed about different issues.
Arnold Schönberg belonged to the painting school called Blauer Reiter together with Vladimir Kadinsky and other famous painters. However, Schönberg decided to concentrate on music. In this interview he explains how this happened.
Arnold Schönberg is a very important comoser and can be considered as the logical conclusion of western classical concert music that began with the gregorian choir music with it’s monophonic melodies that could be ‘completed’ initially only with octaves and fifths, since these harmonies are sounding very much the same and music was not for embellishment of the church service itself but for the praising of god. Attention should not be distrated from this goal and music should be no reason to attend the services. One by one, the other 11 notes that exist in between the octave – according to western tuning – where ‘admitted’ in the compositions of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the rest of the classical composers. By the time Arnold Schönberg appeared on the music scene, every single note could be present in a composition and this meant to Schönberg and a few others that classical music had come to an end and that the logical evolution asked for atonal music, music without the conventional tonal centers that resulted from the rules of harmony.
In the background sound of the interview, you can listen to some compositions by Arnold Schönberg (Who also was one of rock musician Frank Zappa‘s favourite composers).

Brahms’ Capriccio performed by Arthur Rubinstein the Great Master of Classical Piano

This video shows the great piano artist Arthur Rubinstein performing a classical composition by german composer Johannes Brahms, the Capriccio No. 2. Arthur Rubinstein is well known as an excellent piano player and discovers the inner structure of this capriccio for our ears. He plays the Capriccio No. 2 out of memory and was 86 years old when performing it for the recording this video. A few years later, Rubinstein got blind and couldn’t read music any more. However, he had already memorized a huge amount of compositions for piano solo and for different concert music orchestras.
Johannes Brahm is along with Luwig van Beethoven and Johan Sebastian Bach one of the most important german composers. These three composers are frequently recalled as the ‘3 Bs’ and each one of them has enriched the body of the classical music repertoire with many valuable pieces and compositions. This composition of Brahms, the Capriccio No. 2 is performed here by a great artist who plays it in his very personal and masterish style. We recommend our readers to look out for more music of this composer who on one side is a very classical composer but on the other side has also integrated some adventurous passages into his work that clearly show his interest in trascending the established limits of harmony and find new contextualizations for his melodies.

Reggae-Poet Linton Kwesi Johnson Performing Sonnies Lettah

Watch this video with Linton Kwesi Johnson who was born in 1952 in Chapelton, Jamaica, but left at age 11 moving to London were he attended school, concluding his studies as a sociologist at the University of London. He can be regarded as the first reggae-poet. During his life as a student he joined the british Black Panther movement and the group of musicians and poets called Rasta Love. In 1974 at age 22 Linton Kwesi Johnson’s first selection of poems was published in the Race Today magazine, followed by a second selection one year later. Another three years later his first record titled Dread Beat An’ Blood appeared on the label Virgin Recors, followed by an intense artistic activity, producing four other records until 1981: Making History, LKJ in Dub, Bass Culture and Forces of Victory.
From then on Linton Kwesi Johnson published his work on his own label, LKJ, and was envolved in many creative activities, including tours with the Dennis Bovell Dub Band, collaborations with the jazz trumpet player Shake Keane and the writer Jean Binta Breeze as well as his participation as a reporter and other media productions.
The records of Linton Kwesi Johnson have sold and sell very well and he has been translated into other languages, including german and italian. It seems important to me that this icon of the alternative british culture consideres himself as a poet in the first place and that he doesn’t pretend to be a singer in the conventional meaning of the term. Since music is much more acceptable between people and specially among young folks, he consequently uses music as a medium for better divulgation of his poetry which is written out in the jamaican Patois dialect and addresses political issues like the experiences of inmigrants in the UK, the british foreign policies, respectable persons like Blair Peach.
In the last years, Linton Kwesi Johnson has performed only in a few occasions which could have to do with the fact that nowadays, reggae has evolved and is dominated now by tendencies like dancehall or raggamuffin.

The Chemical Brothers play Surface to Air – Pop Style Experimental Music

This is a music video with the electronic music of the Chemical Brothers who are performing their song Surface to Air. Electronic music is a term with different concepts associated to it: basically we refer to electronic music as modern concert music in the academic style but also to a rapidly increasing number of pop music bands and pieces.
In the beginning of the electronic music era, the sounds were produced experimentally and by huge machines. Karheinz Stockhausen was one of the first composers who experimented with electronically produced sounds, which weren’t necessarily sounds produced by synthesizers. Different composition methods were used to enrich the classical techniques. One possibility was to cut parts of recorded music (which could be conventional music) and rearrange the pieces of tape into arbitrary orders, obtaining surprising result which were not always wellcome by the audiences. Some portions of the tapes even were put together reversed, sounding from the end to the beginning. Nowadays this can be achieved through a simply clic in almost any modern music composition compute software.
On the other hand, at the beginning of electronic music it seemed to be interesting just to obtain naturally sounding synthesized instruments. Music instruments included sound banks with synthesized violins, guitars, trumpets and all the other conventional instruments. And some of the synthesized voices sounded and still sound great, perfectly imitating the original instruments’ sounds.
The development of electronics has made it possible to pack a whole symphony orchestra into a portable keyboard. The resulting type of synthesizers with sound banks of this kind would have been a nice thing to have for the classical composers like Bach or Mozart and the rest and allow modern academic composers to compose with the voices of the different orchestra sections.
We wouldn’t call the corresponding music experimental music which involves new sounds beyond the traditional material for composers. Here enter new methods and techniques for synthesis and assembling, for example the approach of the greek architect and composer Ianis Xenakis who invented an instrument which could be used to transform drawings into music, to mention just one example of new composition techniques.
Then, electronic music became a part of the progessive rock music bands’ repertoire. It was popularized by bands like Pink Floyd and many others who integrated sound effects into their songs, or by bands and artists like Tangerine Dream or Mike Oldfield, for example, who performed music based almost completely on synthesizers. The Chemical Brothers followed this direction and became popular more than 20 years after the first bands introduced electronic compositions, many of them using serial composition methods.
We are aware that this is only a rough introduction to electronic music and we invite you to use the tag cloud and categories of this blog to learn more about this kind of music. You might also want to visit a page about experimental music with examples of new invented music instruments and other experimental approaches.
To finish this article we just want to mention that experimental music hasn’t necessarily to do with electronic music, there are other possibilities, for example transforming objects well known from our usual environment into musical artifacts. Keep looking around and listen to as much different kinds of music as possible, not everything will mean a pleasure to you but some extra-academic and modern compositions will be of interest for you.

Can – German Electronic Music Band Playing Chain Reaction

Can is a german electronic music band from the early days of this rock music genre. Watch this video with the song Chain Reaction, music from 1974. You will listen to music which could be a production from the present days, however, this german rock group did this more than 30 years ago. It is avant-garde music even though Karlheinz Stockhausen, one of the most important composers experimenting with electronic and synthetic sounds, didn’t get very excited when he listened to the music of Can. That’s just because they belong to the field of rock music while Stockhausen belongs to what is called ‘serious music’ or concert music.
The german group was not very popular due to the experimental character of their music, but they had and have their audience. In fact, the music is quite interesting, specially if you consider the time it was made. There weren’t many computers out there…
The song of this video is from the album Soon Over Babaluma which contains interesting elements. It is full of ethnomusicology experiments that would become hugely popular in rock music of the 80s as well as proto dance, techno, big beat music that would become tremendously popular in the 90s. Fortunately the band is still known among the musicians who are interested in quality music and sound exploration and many bands of the 80s and 90s mention Can as a band that has influenced their music.
For those of you who would like to watch more videos with music of the german avant-garde rock music band Can, we recommend a visit to the fiesta-musical.com site where you can find clips with the band performing live on stage as well as documentary videos about their work.

Art Ensemble of Chicaco gets funky live on stage

Music lovers shoul watch this video of the Art Ensemble of Chicago performing a funky tune live on stage. This is pure music and pure art, not as the songs performed on major television and channels like the one from our recent post on the pop singer Albert Hammond. When the Art Ensemble of Chicage performed, there usually were only a few people in the audience and that doesn’t mean that they are performing bad music. All the contrary: as this music is really original and doesn’t fit into simple boxes, the entertainment business people do not promote it.
This kind of music requires a person to listen so that he/she can turn on his/her imagination, not as in the pop songs where people are required to turn off their brain and just follow the easy melody and very basic rhythm while listening to stupid lyrics.
In change, the musicians presented here in this video are performing an excellent example of interaction and communication between the instruments. I specially like the drummer, he establishes a cool and funky groove. His name is Fomoudu Don Moye and he studied percussion at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. All the musicians of the Art Ensemble of Chicaco have received a formal education in music, so please don’t post your comments regarding lack of musicianship of these cats. One thing is to fool around because you can’t really play your instrument and another thin is to learn to play your instrument and then playing it as you desire it to sound. That’s freedom, one of the main characteristics of art.
If you are interested in more video clips with the Art Ensemble of Chicago performing and a documentary video, you might want to visit http://www.fiesta-musical.com.