25 January 2010

Gypsy Caravan

Gypsy Caravan

Sounds from the Free Music Archive to feed your wanderlust -- Balkan Brass, Roma songs, and other Eastern European delights

Join the Free Music Archive and create your own mixes of legally shared free music!

photo by Katya Oddio, 2008 [Creative Commons by-nc]

20 January 2010

Lee Maddeford, busiest composer in Switzerland

"Eros and Psyche" is one of many Maddeford compositions available at the FMA

In Switzerland there lives a very busy composer, director, performer whose talent seems boundless. That man is Lee Maddeford and he is as at home with composing orchestral works as with children's music. Mr. Maddeford is a marvel with gypsy jazz, chamber music, cabaret and choral works, brass and woodwind ensembles, piano duets, soundtracks, and theatre music. One additional remarkable thing about the man: he is kind enough to share his work with you with Creative Commons licensing.

As of this posting, there are several of his releases at the Free Music Archive, including INSTRUMENTALS 1 Les Gauchers Orchestra and Les Gauchers Quintet, AN ASTRAL FABLE and THE JUGGLERS SUITE with l'Ensemble de Cuivres Valaisan, and EROS ET PSYCHE with the Choeur Calliope.

This playlist offers selections from each of those releases.

08 January 2010

My Russian Bride, a Nutcracker Reworking

Did you know that Tchaikovsky didn't like the score he composed for THE NUTCRACKER ballet? Yeah, for starters, he didn't even want the job. Evidently he made too many concessions for the ballet producers and didn't feel it was true to his original concepts and nowhere near as good as his last ballet score, THE SLEEPING BEAUTY.
Isn't that remarkable when so many movements from the composition are instantly recognizable classical masterpieces?

Now, let's say that more than 100 years later we give his score a Tim Burton - Danny Elfman - PDQ Bach treatment. Not talking HOOKED ON CLASSICS here; instead, reworking the whole composition and giving it some bounce, bleeps, bloops, and even more music box charm*. This is exactly what Lanark, our friend in Argentina, has done on MY RUSSIAN BRIDE, now available on the Free Music Archive. One can't help but wonder what the old boy Tchaikovsky would think of this reworking.

Lanark has a passion and a gift for reworking classical pieces. This is one of his earliest, if not the first, releases of his deconstruction and reconstruction of classical works. It is especially fun in winter when we are most likely to hear THE NUTCRACKER SUITE.

Here's hoping this charming little electronic music box from Lanark brings you joy this season and all year.

Download MY RUSSIAN BRIDE Here's a taste:

* The original score got its music box charm from the celesta (pronounced chelesta, ch as in cello), an idiophone that strikes metal rods via a keyboard. It is one of the most wonderfully otherworldly sounding instruments ever created. In fact, the name of this 1886 invention is derived from its "celestial" sound.

Here's a great audio piece on the celesta from NPR.