The Art of Putting Weight On

Apparently most of the UK population have put on an average of half a stone on over lockdown. That’s certainly true of me, and I’m working doubly hard to try to lose it again. But like the old meme says – “I keep losing weight, but it keeps finding me again”. But if I’m honest,Continue reading “The Art of Putting Weight On”

My life as a Freelancer

I took a risk at Easter. I left teaching, in order to give my time to painting and to music composition. So far, it’s been the best decision I could have made, because I’ve had more work than I know what to do with. In fact, I’ve been so busy doing paid work for otherContinue reading “My life as a Freelancer”

Thebe – from The Moons of Jupiter

Some time ago I started writing pieces of music which reflected my love of the cosmic, of science fiction. I chose as my theme the Moons of Jupiter. I don’t intend to write music for every single one of them, as there are about 79 at last count. However, I added a new moon fairlyContinue reading “Thebe – from The Moons of Jupiter”

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 10: 1979 – Dracula

Dracula, scored in 1979, is perhaps one of john Williams’ lesser known works. It is however a mighty work, built mainly around the lush and dangerous theme Williams provided for the central character. This theme features firstly in the Main Title and Storm Sequence : John Williams has said that he tries not to knowContinue reading “A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 10: 1979 – Dracula”

A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life 9: A bit of a mix, 1978

So I’ve reached the year I turned eight. In that year, John Williams was called upon to score a number of feature films, with wide-ranging subject matter – from superheroes to a man-eating shark. I simply cannot choose one score to epitomise his output that year, so I shall choose a theme (motif) or twoContinue reading “A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life 9: A bit of a mix, 1978”

What makes a good melody?

I’ve been teaching some year 5 classes about melody recently, helping them to realise that good melodies don’t just happen by accident. It’s not that composers slavishly follow rules to compose memorable tunes, because most of the time, a good melody does present itself as if my magic. But there are certain truths I suspectContinue reading “What makes a good melody?”

New Moon (of Jupiter)

This week I completed the fourth in my series of pieces inspired by the idea of the Moons of Jupiter. The introduction to this opus can be found here https://myartandsound.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/a-new-little-musical-venture-the-moons-of-jupiter So here is the next instalment – Europa. This one is the biggest of the pieces, not just in length but also in breadth ofContinue reading “New Moon (of Jupiter)”

A John Williams Score for every year of my life 8b. 1977 – Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope

Do I dare? What on earth can I say about this magnum opus which single handedly transformed film scoring, just as the film it accompanies reinvented the blockbuster. So much has already been written about the score John Williams wrote for George Lucas’ little space opera – I certainly couldn’t say anything new or improveContinue reading “A John Williams Score for every year of my life 8b. 1977 – Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope”

The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design

This is not a film review. This is purely my response as an artist to the artistry at work in the design of the film, which in my view is absolutely second-to-none. Much of the film’s design is down to the excellent and unique work of Brian Froud. His imaginative and organic designs are anContinue reading “The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design”

A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 8a – Close Encounters

1977 was a big year for John Williams. He wrote the scores to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as well as a certain space opera set a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It would be remiss of me not to include both of these immense scores, different as they are.Continue reading “A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 8a – Close Encounters”

A new little musical venture – The Moons of Jupiter

I’ve started composing some pieces to represent the moons of Jupiter. I won’t be writing pieces for every single one of them, because there are quite a few! Seventy-nine at the last count. But the main ones, whose names you may have heard of, such as Thebe, Callisto, Ganymede, Io, Europa, and Amalthea – theyContinue reading “A new little musical venture – The Moons of Jupiter”

A John Williams Score for every year of my life 7 – 1976 the Missouri Breaks

I know very little about the film which gave birth to this choice of score by John Williams. I know that it is a Western film which starred Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson, but that’s only because they appear on the album artwork. Having looked at Wikipedia’s entry on the film, I see that itContinue reading “A John Williams Score for every year of my life 7 – 1976 the Missouri Breaks”

A John Williams Score for Every Year of My Life – 1975 Jaws

It has to be done. Whilst I am a great fan of the other score of 1975 which Williams wrote for “The Eiger Sanction”, I couldn’t not devote this blog entry to the stroke of absolute mastery which is Jaws. As a teacher, I often use the theme from Jaws to illustrate how composers useContinue reading “A John Williams Score for Every Year of My Life – 1975 Jaws”

A John Williams Work for Every Year of my Life 5 – 1974 Earthquake

For this post I want to zoom in on one part of this score which struck me as soon as I heard it some years ago – the main theme. It encapsulates so much of the time, with upbeat funky additions to the mix, and that wonderful soaring John Williams horn melody. Honourable mention ofContinue reading “A John Williams Work for Every Year of my Life 5 – 1974 Earthquake”

The Lord of the Rings and other things

I’ve reawakened my long dormant soundcloud account, and I intend to use it often to showcase my new compositions as well as some of my older ones. Visit it to listen to my take on the world which Tolkien gave us in The Lord of the Rings. I’ve also uploaded an album of songs aboutContinue reading “The Lord of the Rings and other things”

A John Williams Work for every Year of my Life 4: Cinderella Liberty

In some ways John Williams’ music for Cinderella Liberty was a departure from the style he was beginning to make his own in the early seventies; certainly in the context of the soundtracks which he’d composed in the years before, such as Jane Eyre, the Cowboys, it almost feels like a different composer. It isContinue reading “A John Williams Work for every Year of my Life 4: Cinderella Liberty”

Gloria!

About 20 years ago I wrote a setting of the Gloria for SATB choir and orchestra. It has yet to receive it’s first live performance, but I present it here, performed by the wonderful instrument sounds of the Spitfire Audio orchestral instruments, and the very clever EW Symphonic Choirs – a sample library of fullContinue reading “Gloria!”

Return to Jane Eyre

I’ve been working on a piano transcription of the Theme from Jane Eyre, my choice of John Williams Score from 1970. I’ve just posted it to youtube. There will be more to follow – I’m going to do a number of John Williams themes – especially some of his less well-known ones, or at leastContinue reading “Return to Jane Eyre”

A John Williams Work for every year of my life 3: The Cowboys (1972)

John Williams was 40 when he wrote the music to the Mark Rydell film, “The Cowboys”. In the same year, he produced what has to be his most avant-garde score for the Robert Altman film, “Images”. I just want to briefly look at his work on this latter film before taking a more in depthContinue reading “A John Williams Work for every year of my life 3: The Cowboys (1972)”