Secret Geometry is about the play of forms, and forms of play: composing, performing, listening, music making, reading, and again, composing. There’s news here about the music I write, as well as comments about concerts, recordings, books, and a few other things you might find of interest. For more information about my compositions, including a work list, score samples, and audio clips, visit jamesprimosch.com
I trust my scholarly colleagues at my day job will forgive me for posting a link to this.
Sorting through some old e-mails, I came across an image in a message sent me by Danny Dorff, vice-president for publishing at Theodore Presser Co., a classmate from grad school and a fine composer. It’s the label from a choral score, including an eye-catching typo:
Tags: musical illiteracy, Pentatonix
The very impressive a cappella group Pentatonix offers a free download of one of their pieces at their website. Actual musical notation being offered to the public, I thought – wow, what a concept in the pop realm. Well, I checked it out, and, though the meter signature is six-eight, the first measure is notated with a half note followed by two eighths – in other words, it is written in three-four. Sigh. More questionable command of basic music theory described in the second half of this post.
Frank Music Company, that rare thing – a physical music store that you can walk into, where you can talk to a knowledgeable person, and walk away with the goods in hand – is having its first-ever student sale. Visit their online catalog, but be aware they have on hand items you might not see listed – what’s on their shelves extends beyond what has made it into their already extensive catalog. (I’m not listed in the “composers” pop-up menu… yet.) Phone in your order and get 10% off, or 20% if you visit them in Manhattan. This is a sale on public domain music only. I know, you can legally find public domain sheet music online, but serious musicians will likely want a bound copy on bigger pages than you can print from a download. The header photo, showing a portion of their stockroom, is from their webpage. Read an article about Frank Music here.
Tags: Arts and Leisure, Bullets Over Broadway, Carnegie Hall, missing composers, New York Times, Woody Allen
My recollection is that the ads for Carnegie Hall in the Arts and Leisure section of the Sunday NY Times used to list the composers for each concert – but this season only a few of them do. It’s another example of our unhealthily performer-centric classical world – the Toscanini effect, I suppose Joe Horowitz would say.
On a related topic, I thought it was odd that no composer is listed in the ads for the new Broadway adaptation of Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway as a musical. I had to dig through several sites (including the show’s own site) before finding one mentioning that period music will be used for the show – without saying which composers of the period. More missing composers here, here, here, and here.
Tags: Hummel, Kile Smith, Ralph Kirkpatrick, Tone Deaf Comics, Well-Tempered Clavier
It’s below freezing in Philly this morning, but no snow… yet. Here are a few items for you:
- I’ve been re-reading Ralph Kirkpatrick’s book on interpreting the Well-Tempered Clavier. In a section on technical matters, Kirkpatrick says:
I built up my own keyboard technique very largely on the exercises of Hummel’s piano method of 1828, which contains an admirably organized series of exercises designed to take care of nearly everything that the ten fingers need be expected to negotiate.
(Well, maybe not everything.)
I had not heard of the Hummel and was interested to learn more about it. Perhaps this would be something to add to my bookshelf of exercise books, something to draw upon in my own practicing. A quick visit to IMSLP revealed that I might need a separate shelf for the Hummel – it runs 468 pages! Admittedly a good size chunk of that is text, but still, not exactly the concise and practical resource for which I was hoping.
- Kile Smith reveals compositional secrets here.
- Someone has clearly spent time in school rehearsal rooms. The Anne Boleyn is especially nicely named.