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I was recently asked by an organization called The Voices of Vienna for permission to use my song "To Venus and Mars" at a concert on April 13. The attached has been created for this event. I am referred to on page 2, as "Rawlings." I love the Vienna and Franz Lehár connections! Lehár was my original inspiration to start writing music. It is especially pleasing to me because this song expresses the Objectivist metaphysics in an essential sense.
Just heard that a song of mine will be performed on March 11 in Minneapolis! (The song was premiered in Austin and is slated for a Chicago performance.) Rodney, We are pleased to inform you that we have selected your piece, “When Matter Touches Antimatter,” to be performed at our New Arias on Tap performance on Sunday March 11th at Honey in Minneapolis, MN at 6:30 pm. Please let us know if you’re able to be present at the performance. I’ll be sending out a separate e-mail to introduce you to the singer performing your piece. The rehearsal dates with our accompanist are are Sunday March 4th in the afternoon and Monday March 5th in the evening. Once we’ve worked out a rehearsal time we’ll let you know and you can let us know if you’re able to attend in person or via Skype/Google chat/Facetime. In the meantime, if you could please e-mail the following: … [photo, bio, etc.] Thank you for being a part of our collaboration! We look forward to working with you! Eryn Tvete Managing Director Opera on Tap Twin Cities
I discovered the video of the sample-based song “Since I Left You” after encountering a YouTube comment on another video that read: “It [the video] changed my life.” Aside from my reaction to the song (see below), it led me to ask myself: Can a piece of music consisting entirely of manipulated samples of other records qualify as “art” in the full sense, i.e. as the term is applied to an original song? Some people might object to the concept of “art in the full sense.” My thinking is that not everything artistic is art. For example, wallpaper design, handicrafts, and (dare I say it) architecture are not art in the full sense even though they employ many of the tools and techniques of art. In fact, I am sure art evolved out of the streamlining and “beautification” of utilitarian objects. Anyway, such an over-the-top statement as “This video changed my life” piqued my curiosity, so I looked for and watched/listened to it. Here it is: The song, especially as here interpreted, deals with a spiritual awakening of sorts. I had a strong positive reaction; for me, it brought thoughts the call of music as such—a dance in the mind that yearns for physical expression. (Incidentally, I have always found something very life-affirming in the sight of an obese person dancing well. I don’t know if others have this reaction.) Given this result of artistic pleasure, one certainly might be willing to accept sound productions like this as compositions in their own right, and thus as art “in the full sense.” But since art demands thorough selectivity, some might question whether importation of sounds wholesale from other (sometimes famous) recordings allows the degree of control by the artist that seems required. Certainly, the sonic manipulations on this recording are very numerous and varied—tempo, pitch, fades, echo, attack, decay, and many other parameters. But this leaves a lot out of the hands of the “composer.” Once a sound is chosen, it is more or less “frozen” and one is constrained by the original musical idea. However, a musical creation is often built up from a starting idea, and that idea influences the subsequent choices. This phenomenon of continual adjustment, to my mind, is enough to push such massively sampled works into the category of art in the “full” sense that applies to any popular recording. Many people will of course not like or identify with it; many factors are involved in one’s response to music. (Some might be turned off by the slightly weird overall sound.) But that does not prove there is no objective worth in music. (Would anyone maintain, for example, that Chopin’s Etude in E is not a great melody, and a great piano work?) This is from Stylus Magazine writer Ally Brown, quoted in the song’s Wikipedia article under “Critical Reception”: That might be a clue to some objectivity about it at least. I hope some here find “Since I Left You” a happy discovery.
So far, of the performances of my art songs that have taken place in the past few years, I have only one audio or video. I thought I’d post it here because it has a definite Objectivist influence. The song, “To Venus and Mars,” was one of three of my songs chosen for presentation at an event hosted by Opera on Tap called New Brew: A Warm Welcome, held in The Elbo Room in Chicago. (The two others were titled “Ave Maria [Ellen’s Prayer]” and “The Lone Last Leaf.”) Another recently performed song of mine, “When Matter Touches Antimatter,” has outer space as its background as well; but there is no Objectivist influence in that work. That song was a winner of the Second Fresh Squeezed Ounce of Art Song competition, hosted by One Ounce Opera and held at Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. My next post on this thread will present the lyrics of “To Venus and Mars.”