31. October 2016 · Comments Off on Try Something New · Categories: Awards, Prizes, vocal

So many of us stick to the comfortable. The predictable. The stuff we know and are used to. I think it’s wonderful to try new things on for size.

And I’m not talking clothing.

This is Caroline Shaw’s “Partita”, sung by the group Roomful of Teeth (which includes Ms. Shaw). I think it’s wonderful. I would guess some of you will scratch your heads, but at least give it a chance, please!

It won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013.

31. October 2016 · Comments Off on Happy Halloween! · Categories: Halloween

From the YouTube Page:

Woodwinds scream in the dead of night—This is Halloween.

Support me on Patreon and get stuff! https://www.patreon.com/joshplotner?ty=h

Check out my Channel for more videos! http://www.youtube.com/c/JoshPlotner

Happy Halloween everyone! Obviously had to make a cover of the best Halloween song there is. I put this together at the last minute, but I couldn’t resist an excuse to record this song.

As always, all the Likes, Comments, and especially Subscriptions and Shares keep me going. Your support fuels my next video!

‘This is Halloween’ from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas, composed by Danny Elfman

Piccolo/Flute/Alto Flute, Bb Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Oboe, Soprano/Alto/Tenor/Bari Sax, Chinese Ocarina (Táo X?n) — Josh Plotner (http://joshplotnermusic.com/)
Production, Arrangement, Sound Recording, Filming, and Video Editing — Josh Plotner

Mixing and Mastering — Tomas Latorre (https://soundcloud.com/tomas-latorre-1)

30. October 2016 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli – Sanctus
Biscantores; Luca Colombo, Director; Luciana Elizondo, Denise Mirra, viola da gamba; Gianluca Viglizzo, organo

30. October 2016 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

Today’s work is longer, and includes orchestra. I wouldn’t call it “easy listening” so be ready for that.

Lili Boulanger: Du fond de l’abîme (Psalm 130)
Monteverdichoir Würzburg; Matthias Beckert, Conductor

25. October 2016 · Comments Off on Copyright · Categories: Ramble

I’m a stickler about copyright. My students know all about that: when students come in with a copy of something that is still under copyright I won’t work with them until I know they’ve ordered the music.

If I’m going to be a stickler about copyright when it comes to my students I must be a stickler about it for other things as well as well. This means I can’t post poetry that is still under copyright: so many of us don’t understand copyright law about poetry and song lyrics! Did you know you can’t take a poem and put it to music without the author or publisher’s permission if it’s still under copyright? Did you know posting a part of a poem on your wonderful photograph is also against copyright law if the work is still under copyright? My (what some might consider uptight and rigid) “rule” means I don’t copy music except for study purposes prior to a performance of said work (and I don’t distribute that music, much as I wish I could give it to my kiddos). Maybe I’m over the top about this, but it’s important to me.

I once had a chat with a writer who made copies of pop music recordings for his friends. I was conversing with him about copyright and said, “Well what if I took your book and made copies and gave it to all my friends?” “That’s different!” he replied.

I didn’t see how that was any different. Call me silly.

I can’t tell you how many times I go on YouTube and read, “No copyright infringement intended” when someone breaks copyright law. I think the statement itself makes it rather clear that copyright infringement was intended! And today? (The reason I’m writing about this at the moment, actually.) I just read this: “No copyright intended”. Hah! Indeed.

(YouTube is a tricky one, though: sometimes I can’t tell if something was posted with permission or not. I know if I’m only seeing a copy of the album cover, or I see “no copyright infringement intended” I can’t post it here, though*. Those are dead giveaways!)

*Just after writing that I ran across this lovely YouTube video with just an album cover and I’ve been proven wrong! The label put this on their YouTube page. So never mind that as a dead giveaway. (And yes, I do like crossover artists on occasion … it has to work well, and Ann Sofie von Otter did this so very well that I purchased the album.)

25. October 2016 · Comments Off on iPads and Music Reading · Categories: Ramble

I was just watching and listening to a YouTube video of a choir. (I’m forever in awe of people with good voices!) Out of the large group one person was using an iPad rather than a folder with hard copy music. I’m really a fan of using less paper, and I’m all for electronic devices, as everyone who knows me knows (I don’t take a church bulletin and, instead, use the pdf I’m sent from church so I don’t have any paper to toss).

BUT …

(You knew it was coming, right?)

Hers was the only face lit up with that iPad bluish light. It was on her face and reflected in her glasses.

There are other issues with our electronic devices of course: what if they malfunction? Notes don’t disappear off a printed page, but an electronic device might have a glitch and then one might be a wee bit lost! What if the user neglects to turn off the sound and an Amber alert comes blazing through? What if the user drops the thing and all is lost?

Just some thoughts. I think we are in for more electronics on our stands or in our hands, and I’m open to it, but there are a few issues that might need to be worked out.

23. October 2016 · Comments Off on Sunday Evening Music · Categories: Sunday Evening Music

Oliver Messiaen: O sacrum convivium
Ensemble vocal Aedes; Mathieu Romano, Director

23. October 2016 · Comments Off on Sunday Morning Music · Categories: Sunday Morning Music

(Something a bit more contemporary for the ears this morning.)

Philippe Fénelon: Zwei Psalmen
Ensemble vocal Aedes; Mathieu Romano, Director

20. October 2016 · Comments Off on Stressful Weeks · Categories: Ramble

I sometimes have a stressful week when it comes to my music making. This has turned into such a week, all because of a few simple measures. (The funny thing is it could change in a blink of an eye: so much depends upon my reeds and my confidence.) Practicing is, of course a very important part of dealing with such stress. But so is doing other things, including my walking. (I like to walk 6 miles in a day whenever possible.)

So today, prior to my jumping into the studio, I took such a walk. At one point I found someone staring at me. I think he was saying, “It’s not a life and death thing. Lighten up! Take time to smell the roses.”

Or maybe he was suggesting eating the roses. You choose. ;-)

Green on Red, 10.20.16

green_on_red_10-20-16

My friend — the fantastic oboist Mingjia Liu — has a company, MusEcho, that is making some wonderful reed making tools. He sent me some to try, and I’m mightily impressed! Below are images of these tools. Not only are they very high quality, but they are beautiful. Yes, I like things that look lovely!

Here is an image of what I received. He does have one more tool there — a twin splitter — but I don’t split my own cane, so I had no need for that.

Burnishing rod, ruler, knife and waxed thread:
musechoreedmakingtools

The following links will take you to the page talking about the item.

The “Bev-LLow” knife feels fantastic in my hand! It is comfortable, a great weight, and works very well when carving. Look at that gorgeous wood and great sheath! Oh … and there’s a magnet in the sheath so you can attach your plaque. Handy!
musechoreedmakingtools-2

This is waxed thread. Yes. Waxed. How cool is that? Read more about these spools at his site. VERY clever!
musechoreedmakingtools-3

FINALLY! A gauge ruler for both left handed and right handed people! This is one brilliant ruler. Both sides are marked. I’ve been dreaming of something like this for a long time! And of course there’s the gauge to measure cane diameter. Handy!
musechoreedmakingtools-4

The burnishing rod is a handy tool too: the magnetic rod fits inside its handle. This is not a lightweight tool, but I love it. And of course it’s also a lovely tool to look at … plus I love that it comes with a holder. I like my tools to be neat and tidy.
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BRAVO, Minjia, and thank you so very, very much. These are fantastic!