24. August 2013 · Comments Off on Stewart Copeland on Writing Opera · Categories: Read Online

ALM: What about symphonies?

SC: …OK, that’s at the top, I’ll grant you that. Program music is 1000% easier to write. When you’re writing a symphony… you better have a tune in your head.

Pop songs, they’re three minutes, they’re about boy-girl relationships, they have to employ electric guitars and synthesizers, [and] anything that isn’t 4-4 rhythm is rash. One can live as a musician in that world and die a happy man.

Above that is film scoring, which takes you… into every kind of music. Period music, space age, techno, happy, sad, every form of the human condition that needs music, a film composer has to go there and use his skills to figure out how to create that emotional cultural atmosphere, and to order. You need to have skills, know how to use an orchestra, program a synthesizer. It’s probably the widest skill set of any musician. But the problem is … it’s all craft, no art. It’s deeply engrossing, I love it, but it’s not art. It’s in the service of the artist, who’s the director. It’s his art.

In opera, the composer owns everything, controls everything, makes every artistic decision. Everything is in service of the music. It’s the composer who’s driving the ship.


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