Chuck Berry

1926-2017

It was with great sadness that I heard of the death of singer, guitarist, songwriter and general rock ‘n’ roll legend, Chuck Berry. For anyone interested in pop, rock ‘n’ roll, American culture, song-writing and guitar playing Chuck Berry was a seminal figure.

He started playing rhythm and blues, i.e. music made by and aimed at black people, and perhaps his most important contribution was the realisation that by combining the story-telling traditions of American country & western and folk music (music associated with white America) with the sexual energy and drive of rhythm and blues he could produce a music that would transcend America’s fairly entrenched racial divide.

Photograph of Chuck Berry

Of course that realisation would not have amounted to much if he was not then able to produce the most entertaining and inventive insights into American life, considered so perceptive by the designers of NASA’s Voyager mission that they included a recording of his song Johnny B Goode on a record designed to communicate something of Earth’s culture to any (record player-owning) aliens encountered along the way.

There was a great deal of warmth and affection in the atmosphere created in his songs – completely at odds, it seems, from the personality of the man. In this lovely couplet from Memphis Tennessee  you also see his inventiveness with words and phrases, here substituting hurry-home drops for tears:

Last time I saw Marie she’s waving me good-bye
With hurry-home drops on her cheeks, that trickled from her eye

He also more or less defined the way electric guitar should be played in pop/rock music: the catchy guitar lick introducing the song (later brilliantly adapted by the Rolling Stones and others); the style of thickening the sound of electric guitar by playing two strings at once for his leads and solos which enabled him to maintain a rhythmic drive in his solos that was quite new. This way of playing was a huge influence on later players such as Jimi Hendrix and can be heard brilliantly on the afore-mentioned Johnny B Goode; which is, for all we know, being enjoyed at this moment at a party on OGLE-TR-56b.

Chuck Berry; 18 October 1926 – 18 March 2017. Rest in peace.

Chuck Berry in the Jerwood Library:
We only have one CD in our collection but it gives a very good overview:
The Blues Collection, (Orbis, 1993) which can be found in the Blues CD section: BLUES:BER

We also have his autobiography which recounts the development of the music and other aspects of his life (including a couple of spells in prison) in his inimitable and very readable style:
Chuck Berry: The Autobiography (New York, Fireside, 1988); classmark: 786.91 BER

Photo Credit: flutnace Flickr via Compfight cc

Item of the Month: Stanley Black’s film music for “The Young Ones” starring Cliff Richard

20160805_114218This summer’s Item of the Month features items from our Stanley Black archive relating to his music for the Cliff Richard film The Young Ones for which he wrote the music.

A pianist, conductor, composer and arranger, Stanley Black was known primarily for his many film music scores, his jazz and popular music arrangements and his work for the BBC as conductor and presenter of light music programmes. This collection comprises hundreds of autograph manuscript scores as well as ephemeral material including concert programmes, correspondence, contracts and photographs. The majority of the scores are listed separately on the library’s online catalogue – to browse a list of them, choose Stanley Black collection from the source option.

His filmography includes:

It Always Rains on Sunday (1948)
Too Many Crooks (1958)
Make Mine a Million (1959)
Jack the Ripper (1959)
The Battle of the Sexes (1959)
Hand in Hand (1960)
The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)
Sands of the Desert (1960)
The Siege of Sidney Street (1960)
House of Mystery (1961)
The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)
Valentino (1977)

The image above shows a close up of part of the score for reel “5M1” of The Young Ones. The scores give a fascinating glimpse of the working practices involved in producing film music: notice the penciled-in remark concerning the violin solo – possibly made by an arranger or sound engineer.

Trinity Laban Faculty of Music Composers’ series: Luke Styles

The Jerwood Library is very pleased to present a display highlighting the work of Luke Styles, who teaches at Trinity Laban’s very successful Junior Department.

Education
Luke began his composition training with a Bachelor of Music (composition) degree at the Royal Academy of Music London (graduating with honours in 2005, in 2015 Luke was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music). Following this Luke went on to postgraduate studies with Wolfgang Rihm, George Benjamin, and with Detlev Müller-Siemens. He is currently working on a PhD on the topic of Collaboration and Embodiment as Compositional Process; a Transdisciplinary Perspective at Trinity Laban.

Career, awards and commissions
Luke has collaborated with many of the world’s top soloists and his music has featured at festivals including the Wien Modern, Aldeburgh, Glyndebourne and Darmstadt International and at major performance venues such as the Sydney Opera House, Glyndebourne, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and others.

Luke has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions including a carol for the Financial Times, the Wolfgang-Rihm Scholarship, an Association for Cultural Exchange Study Tours Scholarship, DAAD scholarship, commissions from PRS New Works, RVW Trust, Britten-Pears Foundation, Sonic Arts Network Expo 2005. He was a winner in the Mosco Carner Composition Award; came 2nd place in the Moscow International Schnittke composition competition in 2002, etc.

Luke has been awarded scholarships to take part in various courses throughout Europe and Asia where he has worked with composers such as Brian Ferneyhough, Harrison Birtwistle, Marco Stroppa and Gunnar Eriksson, and is Artistic Director of Ensemble Amorpha.

Handspun & Macbeth
The Jerwood Library exhibition focuses on two of Luke’s works: Handspun for aerialist and cellist, and Macbeth, scored for chamber orchestra and produced at Glyndebourne in 2015.

“the orchestral writing is crisp and incisive, conjuring up with imagination the successive atmospheres required for the tragedy’s trajectory.”
George Hall on Macbeth in The Guardian

“. . . Luke Styles’s effective score, a sort of modern take on the musique parlante, or ‘speaking music’ that ballet composers went in for in the 19th century.”
Giannandrea Poesio on Handspun in The Spectator

Links
Luke Styles’ website is a useful resource. Find his works list, details of forthcoming performances, video clips of his work, photos and reviews.

Luke Styles in the Jerwood Library collection

Macbeth (vocal score); shelf mark: 780.7 STY

Handspun (score); shelf mark: 781.35 STY

CD: Tangled Pipes by Consortium5 featuring Three Stages by Luke Styles
shelf mark: WOODWIND/CHAMBER: CON

E-STREAM
Access E-STREAM via the Library Links menu on Moodle.
Click here to hear BBC’s Radio 3 Hear and Now broadcast from 12/7/2014 featuring his The Girls Who Wish to Marry Stars with the Juice Vocal Ensemble. Alternatively search for “Luke Styles”. This recording is only accessible to current TL students and staff in the UK.

Jerwood Library Who’s Who: Walter Cardew

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Jerwood Library

My name is Walter Cardew and I’m the Senior Library Assistant in the library. I work part-time and I’m usually here on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. I work at the library counter; I’m also responsible for arranging loans from and to other libraries (Inter Library Loans) and for sending music for binding. I deal with the library’s cash income and help sort through various donations that get made to the library.

What is a typical day like for you?

Like the other library assistants I’m timetabled for certain hours at the library counter. The rest of the time I’m in the library office.

Working at the counter involves helping users with enquiries, issuing items and taking returns. At quiet times I issue invoices for very overdue or lost items, find replacement prices for items on the catalogue that have none, research Inter Library Loans, chase up journals that haven’t arrived and other various tasks that emerge from time to time. I normally open and close the library due to the hours I’m here.

Are there any hidden or little-known aspects of your work you’d like to share?

The library has an archive which has some collections that are held locked away in the rolling stacks. Occasionally myself and the other library assistants are involved in sorting/listing collections which can be very interesting. Recently I went through a collection which included the scores used in recording sessions for film sound tracks. Many had the conductor’s markings which can be very interesting to see.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The interaction with the library users is – on the whole – enjoyable. Most of the students are very friendly and polite and I share an interest in music with them. I also work on Saturdays for the Junior Dept and have enjoyed seeing the children grow up and sometimes progress right through to adulthood in the senior college.

New display to coincide with Sam Hayden string quartet premiere

Sam Hayden, Reader in Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Sam Hayden, Reader in Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

New String Quartet by Sam Hayden, Reader in Music at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Transience (2013-14) was commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and Quatuor Diotima, and will feature in a concert in Shoreditch Church on Sunday 14th December 2014 at 7.00pm, during the Spitalfields Winter Festival.

The full concert programme is: Gérard Pesson Bitume (London premiere)
Sam Hayden Transience (world premiere)
Jonathan Harvey String Quartet No.3
Bartók String Quartet No.4

To coincide with the concert Jerwood Library is pleased to present a display featuring Hayden’s score for Transience and screenshots of the OpenMusic patches used in the composition provided by the composer. Also on display the score of Surface/Tension by Sam Hayden as well as the scores for the Bartók and Harvey string quartets, all from the Jerwood Library’s collection.

OpenMusic patch used in the composition of Transience

OpenMusic patch used in the composition of Transience

Sam Hayden on the use of OpenMusic and other computer tools in composition:

“The more important reason for using such tools is that they aid the creation of new musical ideas so that we can move beyond the clichés and habits of our musical cultures. Some composers argue that the use of such computer-assisted techniques represents the relinquishing of compositional control. I would argue the opposite: such musical formalisation creates a hyper-awareness of the structural constraints within which one is working and therefore creates the possibility to go beyond them.”

From Computer-Assisted Composition and Aesthetic Innovation, New Notes, June 2008

Sam Hayden studied composition with Martin Butler, Jonathan Harvey and Michael Finnissy at the University of Sussex, Joseph Dubiel and David Rakowski at Columbia University, New York, and Louis Andriessen at the Royal Conservatory Den Haag.

Further links:
Sam Hayden interview with Spitalfields Festival about the forthcoming performance
Sam Hayden’s website
Website for Spitalfields Winter Festival concert

Roger Scruton to visit Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

Image

Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton
(photograph: Pete Helme)

All Composer’s Session
Thursday20th March 2014 2-4pm, Theatre Studio

Tonality Now

This event is open to all Trinity Laban staff and students.

One of my duties in the library is to occasionally attend Composition Department meetings to highlight recent developments in the library that might be relevant to them, and to get their feedback on our service. It was at such a meeting that I heard the department was looking for interesting external speakers to come and present at their regular Thursday afternoon seminars. I have long been an admirer of the work of Roger Scruton and, with the support of the department, I offered to invite him to speak at a future seminar. I was delighted that he accepted the invitation, and it was arranged that he should come on Thursday 20th March.

Professor Scruton is one of Britain’s most important philosophers and cultural commentators. His work includes politics, philosophy, aesthetics of music, general aesthetics, animal rights, hunting, environmentalism, the West’s relationship with Islam, neuroscience, wine criticism and much more. He is also a composer and author.

The Jerwood Library is very pleased to present this exhibition in support of his visit, and to highlight the relevant materials from the library’s collection. We also have scores and materials relating to Professor Scruton’s two operas lent by him for the display.

Roger Scruton can be considered a staunch defender of beauty in art, not only in the aesthetic, sense but in a moral sense too (I think he would argue these ideas are closely linked),  and in music he sees tonality as the carrier of real meaning – whilst acknowledging the difficulty of such a concept:

“The possibility remains that tonal music is the only music that will ever really mean anything to us, and that, if atonal music sometimes gains a hearing, it is because we can elicit within it a latent tonal order. . . Such thoughts return us, however, to the question . . . what do we mean by ‘meaning’, when we refer to the meaning of music? And how can musical organisation be a vehicle for meaning things?” (The Aesthetics of Music p.308)

In his two major works on music, The Aesthetics of Music (OUP 1999) and Understanding Music (Continuum 2009) he lays down the gauntlet for the composer and musical audience:

“Nobody who understands the experiences of melody, harmony, and rhythm will doubt their value. Not only are they the distillation of centuries of social life: they are also forms of knowledge, providing the competence to reach out of ourselves through music. Through melody, harmony, and rhythm, we enter a world where others exist beside the self, a world that is full of feeling but also ordered, disciplined but free. This is why music is a character-forming force, and the decline of musical taste a decline in morals. . . To withhold all judgement, as though a taste in music were on a par with a taste in ice-cream, is precisely not to understand music.” (The Aesthetics of Music p. 502)

But Professor Scruton’s interest in music is not only academic: he is also a composer of music, including two operas, The Minister and Violet, both of which have been produced. He has kindly lent us the scores for the operas for our exhibition, and a recording of Violet can be heard at the Clarion Review website (NB: scroll down for the recording and if the page doesn’t appear to display correctly try a different browser). There are also recordings of a set of songs at Roger Scruton’s website.

I personally look forward very much to welcoming Roger Scruton to Trinity Laban, and hope his visit will prove a stimulating experience for our students.

Further links:
Roger Scruton’s website is a useful resource, gathering together many sources of information; particularly his articles and television appearances.

Roger Scruton books in the Jerwood Library collection:
The Aesthetics of music (Oxford: Clarendon Presss, 1997)
shelfmark: 787.1 SCR

Beauty : a very short introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)            shelfmark: 100 SCR

Death-devoted heart : sex and the sacred in Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004)
shelfmark: 789 WAG

The meaning of conservatism (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001)
shelfmark: 100 SCR

A Short history of modern philosophy from Descartes to Wittgenstein (London: Routledge, 1995)
shelfmark: 190 SCR

Understanding music : philosophy and interpretation (London: Continuum, 2009)
shelfmark: 787.1 SCR

Gwyn Pritchard & The 2nd London Ear Festival

www.gwynpritchard.com

www.londonearfestival.co.uk

TL students please note: volunteers/interns are needed to help with the
2nd London Ear Festival. For further information: mail@LondonEarFestival.co.uk
or speak to Gwyn Pritchard, composition department

Gwyn Pritchard is a professor of composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, and has been invited to lecture and give masterclasses at many academic institutions in Europe and America, and Korea. He has written, introduced and participated in programmes for the BBC, and has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of international musical publications.

The Jerwood Library has mounted a display to highlight Pritchard’s work and the 2nd London Ear Festival taking place from 27th-30th March 2014 at the Warehouse and Cello Factory, both in Waterloo.

Gwyn Pritchard at the 2013 London Ear Festival

Gwyn Pritchard at the 2013 London Ear Festival

He was born in Yorkshire, England in 1948 and studied ‘cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music.  He first came to the attention of the British public in the late 1970s, after performances at London’s South Bank Centre.

His compositions include music for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments, vocal works and pieces employing electronics; and has been performed in most  European countries, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and South Korea. It has also been widely broadcast, sometimes under his own direction, on many radio and television networks, including the BBC who commissioned “The Firmament of Time“ for the BBC Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Pritchard’s sixtieth birthday. Other celebratory events included a concert promoted by the Basel Symphony Orchestra’s which included two of his works, and a performance in Essen of all his shorter works for piano.

In recent years Pritchard has completed commissions for Ensemble Eclat of Seoul, Ex Novo Ensemble of Venice, Ensemble Marges of Weimar and the London Sinfonietta. Three portrait concerts were given in Salzburg by the Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik who also performed Res at the Wien Modern festival, and oboist Peter Veale was the soloist in the première of Capriccio Fluido in a concert by musikFabrik in Cologne.

In 2003 he founded the Reggello International Festival of Music in Tuscany, Italy, and in 2013 the London Ear festival of contemporary music.

Over the festival’s four days there will be nine concerts which include a wide spectrum of contemporary music from twenty countries: fifty-one works, three festival commissions, eight world and several UK premieres. Well known composers include Xenakis, Kagel, Harvey, Holliger, Jarrell, Hosokawa, Oehring and Finnissy, but the festival also offers a unique opportunity to hear numerous works by less familiar names, some of them younger or emerging composers, others well known in their home countries but less so in the UK.

harpist & and TL tutor Gabriella dall’Olio

Harpist & and TL tutor Gabriella dall’Olio
(photo: Julien Elbisset, Alcanauta Studio)

Many of the concerts are to be preceded by talks and discussions in the Festival Club, a meeting place for audiences, composers and performers, with scores and CDs on display and refreshments available. London Ear Festival’s Educational Programme includes two masterclasses on contemporary techniques: one for harp led by Uroboros harpist Gabriella dall’Olio (see photo), and one for voice led by the celebrated Linda Hirst; there are also workshops for younger children to prepare a piece for performance as a preface to a festival concert.

The Jerwood Library has many of Gwyn Pritchard’s scores and recordings in its collection which can be searched via the online catalogue here.

Full details of the festival are available on the London Ear festival of contemporary music website.