My Art and Music – Creative Musings
It’s a while since I wrote one of these posts on the work of my favourite composer, John Williams. I’ve had Covid, but that’s not why. The truth is, since I left teaching to become wholly freelance with my own music and art, I haven’t had a great deal of time to write. And that’s … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 1980 – The Empire Strikes Back
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
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 other … Continue reading My life as a Freelancer
Originally posted on Michael Burge Media:
THE COVER OF my debut novel Tank Water is ready to share with the world! Created by Kim Lock, lead designer of MidnightSun Publishing since 2013, this cover stood out from the group of samples I was sent, and didn’t need much tweaking at all. Life-giving water captured in…
There was a painting I did last year which I thought was pretty good. I thought it worked, and I like the amount of detail I’d been able to use. The source photo hadn’t been that great, but I thought the end product was worth the effort. I look at that painting now, and all … Continue reading The Urge to be Better
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 fairly … Continue reading Thebe – from The Moons of Jupiter
Well, since I last blogged, there have been some changes. Well, one in particular. I took the step in Easter of this year of leaving teaching. So I am now (and have been for the past one and a half months) a full-time creative freelancer. So what is it like? Well, I’ve been fortunate. Since … Continue reading Life Changes
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 know … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of my Life 10: 1979 – Dracula
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 two … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every Year of my Life 9: A bit of a mix, 1978
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 suspect … Continue reading What makes a good melody?
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 of … Continue reading New Moon (of Jupiter)
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 improve … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every year of my life 8b. 1977 – Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope
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 an … Continue reading The Dark Crystal – a Triumph of Design
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
I was asked this morning what I consider to be the gifts to myself of the pandemic and resultant lockdowns this year. A strange question, to be sure. But not a ridiculous one. Many of us have found something important this year – maybe something we’d forgotten, or lost, has been rediscovered – like a … Continue reading The Gifts of the Pandemic
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 – they … Continue reading A new little musical venture – The Moons of Jupiter
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 it … Continue reading A John Williams Score for every year of my life 7 – 1976 the Missouri Breaks
Originally posted on TheEnlightenedMind622:
“There is no normal for us to go back to. People sleeping in the streets wasn’t normal; children living in poverty wasn’t normal; neither was our taxes helping to bomb the people of Yemen. Using other people’s lives to pile up objects wasn’t normal, the whole thing was absurd. Governments are…
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 use … Continue reading A John Williams Score for Every Year of My Life – 1975 Jaws
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 of … Continue reading A John Williams Work for Every Year of my Life 5 – 1974 Earthquake
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 about … Continue reading The Lord of the Rings and other things
My son asked me the other day (because even at 15 he seems to mistakenly think that I am a fount of all wisdom – until I ask him to do something of course!) when humans started to write. I answered that even the cavepeople drew on the walls – imbuing their drawings with meaning. … Continue reading Where did it all start? And where is it going?
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 is … Continue reading A John Williams Work for every Year of my Life 4: Cinderella Liberty
I find people’s faces endlessly fascinating. A face doesn’t have to be beautiful to be memorable. Sometimes it is the imperfections in a face which give it it’s character. But what is really fascinating is the way that a face tells the story of it’s journey through life. A child’s face is often almost like … Continue reading The Stories in a Face
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 full … Continue reading Gloria!
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 least … Continue reading Return to Jane Eyre
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 depth … Continue reading A John Williams Work for every year of my life 3: The Cowboys (1972)
In 1971 John Williams won his first Oscar, for his adaptation and incidental music for “Fiddler on the Roof”. I can not claim to know this film, or the musical, well at all. When I was in secondary school I remember singing “Sunrise, Sunset” in the school choir. That was the extent of my knowledge … Continue reading A John Williams work for every year of my life 2: The Fiddler on the Roof.
Every commission is special. Of course it is – if someone asks you (and pays you) to paint a particular scene, or pet, or person, its because the subject matter is important. That’s why I love to paint commissions. It’s terrifying at the same time, because you just never know if what you produce will … Continue reading A Special Commission
I’ve been working for a number of years on a series of dramatic monologues (most of which I have performed myself) from the point of view of people who came into contact with a certain historical person. Some loved him, some hated him, and i have tried to capture that dichotomy in the different readings. … Continue reading The Faces of those Who Knew him
I fell in love , as so many people did, with the music of John Williams as a child, without knowing anything about the man who gave us so much incredible memorable music. His main themes are amongst some of the most recognisable and hummable tunes in musical history. But it’s not just his main … Continue reading A John Williams work for every year of my life (almost)
Recently I’ve been trying to improve my presence on the web. That’s important if I’m going to make my work more accessible and well-known. One blog I read recently suggested that every artist (and musician, I’m sure) needs a sign of their brand, a logo if you like. So I sat down and designed one … Continue reading Branding
Well if you want to live, hear the warning I give,And don’t you go to Castle DraculaYoung man, lend me an ear, don’t go anywhere nearAnd please don’t go, sir please don’t go I write musicals. Musicals for performance by Primary aged children. But I happen to think that even if the music and lyrics … Continue reading What’s in a lyric?
There are a few pieces of artwork over the years which have almost defeated me. Like an unruly toddler who embarrasses you when you take them to the supermarket. I could quite cheerfully have left these to sit forgotten in some dark corner. They’re the paintings which I got halfway through and thought “Why, oh … Continue reading Why did I ever start this???
I always thought I’d be rich and famous by the time I was 30. I thought I’d be “discovered”. And here I am, entering my second half century, and still not there. Yes, I make some money out of my paintings, out of my music. But not enough to pay the mortgage. Not enough to … Continue reading Leaving my Mark
I painted a sea-scene a few years ago from a photograph given to me by a friend. I loved the painting when I’d finished it – it’s always been one of my favourites. It has just the right amount of land, of sea, and sky. It has movement in the waves, and those wonderful pillars … Continue reading Life Imitating Art
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was deeply enamoured with the group of Victorian artists who styled themselves as the Pre-Raphaelites. They were very much of the belief that contemporary Victorian art was morally and technically deficient, and stated that a return to the purity of artists before the high … Continue reading My Pre-Raphaelite Phase
When I was commissioned to compose the music for this short TV film, I was told that it was a Victorian ghost story. How could I resist?! As I was sent snippets of the film as it was assembled, it became clear that this was a film about love and loss. At it’s heart, it … Continue reading Creating the Theme for “The Hidden Shrine”
I remember when I was a young aspirational primary school teacher, fresh out of university, being told this by an old gentleman. I was outraged to say the least. So after 25 years in the profession, what are my thoughts nowadays? Is there any truth to this old saying? Well, in one sense, there is. … Continue reading Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can’t, Teach
I’ve been asked quite often how I go about writing a new piece of music. People it seems are often fascinated with the process a composer, especially a songwriter, go through to create something. And the answer is… I don’t know. If I’m writing a song, do the lyrics come first or the music? Sometimes … Continue reading Where does it come from?
The painting on the left is how the painting on the right started life. It was painted from a source photo which was taken on a drab dull day, but I loved the scene. So i painted it, but I never felt that it worked. It was just too… well, drab and dull. But then … Continue reading Breathing Life into a painting
It’s been hard for creatives this year. It’s been hard for everyone. But for the many many people who depend on selling artwork, or creating live performances, it’s been really hard. In the past few years, I’ve used Open Studios as the main forum for selling my original paintings. Where I would normally sell 30 … Continue reading Art in a Time of Pandemic
I’m now a full-time fine artist and composer, having left teaching in Easter 2021. This blog is just a little outlet for my creative musings, both on art and music, and Creativity in general.
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