March 25, 2013 |
The morning commute was like any other - almost. As cars flew by on the northbound 710, I hit "play" on my iPod and a melody swept over me. Rush hour melted away. "Ah-vey, ah-vey, veh-room corrrr-pooose," the choir began. The Latin words open "Ave Verum Corpus" (Hail true body), a choral composition that has captivated listeners for more than two centuries. I sang along, and I wasn't doing it alone. At that moment, two friends in New Jersey and Georgia were singing the words as well.
January 3, 2013 |
As Times pop music critic Randall Roberts wrote earlier this week , much of the fun of Beck's new "Song Reader" project -- 20 songs released not as recordings, but as old-fashioned sheet music -- is beholding the variety of interpretations it's inspired. Hundreds of renditions of tunes from the set have been collected at songreader.net , where you can download the music for Beck's "Old Shanghai" for the price of your email address; countless more are available across SoundCloud and YouTube.
January 1, 2013 |
Some ideas that seem so simple unleash waves of creativity that expand in exquisitely complex ways. One such musical brainstorm is to offer a new body of work as notated sheet music, as Los Angeles songwriter Beck Hansen has done. His new work, "Song Reader," consists of 20 new pieces that the artist hasn't recorded. Rather, he teamed with the book publisher McSweeney's to unveil the songs in notated form. It is designed as a folio, and the hope is that the individually illustrated songbooks included within will inspire other musicians to interpret the written music and then share it. It was, describes writer Jody Rosen in the liner notes, "an experiment in ventriloquism": Provide the melodic and lyrical dialogue, but leave the aesthetic voice to strangers, who would head to parlors both real and virtual to perform the results.
December 23, 2012 |
"Not so long ago," writes Beck Hansen in the introduction to his new collection of tunes, "Song Reader," "a song was only a piece of paper until it was played by someone. " Indeed, as far back as "Pride and Prejudice," all card-carrying members of the middle class had a piano in the parlor and a daughter or five with skills to play it. (Poor Mary. She did try.) It's been generations since gathering around the piano to sing the latest hits was a popular way to pass an evening, so why then are Beck's latest available only as sheet music?
November 14, 2012 |
Beck Hansen continued the process of introducing his new work "Song Reader" on Tuesday night with an essay in the New Yorker magazine. The collection, which Beck hasn't recorded but composed as sheet music to be played by others, arrives through the lauded McSweeney's publishing imprint on Dec. 7. In thoughtful and elegant prose, the Los Angeles native explained that the project began after his song publisher sent him the sheet music of one...
October 2, 2012 |
Forget Daniel Craig or Javier Bardem. It appears that all the upcoming James Bond film needed to cause a promotional ruckus was a musical cameo from Adele. Currently the world's most popular singer, the not-so-closely-guarded secret that Adele would tackle the "Skyfall" theme was confirmed Monday , and already snippets of the song have appeared online. Though only about 90 seconds, what's available of Adele's "Skyfall" seems to hint at the classic -- perhaps more traditional -- Bond themes of yore.