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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 25, 2019 05:23PM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
This thread is dedicated to "Composers".

"A composer (Latin com+ponere, literally "one who puts together") is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material as electroacoustic music.

The level of distinction between composers and other musicians varies, which affects issues such as copyright[specify] and the deference given to individual interpretations of a particular piece of music.[citation needed] In the development of European classical music, the function of composing music initially did not have much greater importance than that of performing it.[citation needed] The preservation of individual compositions did not receive enormous attention and musicians generally had no qualms about modifying compositions for performance. Over time, however, the written notation of the composer came to be treated as strict instructions from which performers should not deviate without good practical or artistic reason. Performers do, however, play the music and interpret it in a way that is all their own. In fact, in the concerto form, the soloist would often compose and perform a cadenza as a way to express their individual interpretation of the piece.

In as much as the role of the composer in western art music has seen continued solidification, in alternative idioms (i.e. jazz, experimental music) it has in some ways become increasingly complex or vague. For instance, in certain contexts the line between composer and performer, sound designer, arranger, producer, and other roles, can be quite blurred.

The term "composer" is often used to refer to composers of instrumental music, such as those found in classical, jazz or other forms of art and traditional music. In popular and folk music, the composer is usually called a songwriter, since the music generally takes the form of a song.

Since the mid-20th century, the term has expanded to accommodate creators of electroacoustic music, in which composers directly create sonic material in any of the various electronic media. This is distinct from instrumental composition, where the work is represented by a musical score to be interpreted by performers".

Source: Wikipedia

Lists of Composers:

message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Henry Mancini won Album of the Year for "The Music from Peter Gunn

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1958 - 1961). Composed and Conducted by Henry Mancini, Piano parts performed by John(ny) Williams. (great)


Henry: A Personal Perspective

message 4: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The tormented and complicated life of a controversial composer.

Shostakovich: A Life

Shostakovich A Life by Laurel E. Fay by Laurel E. Fay(no photo)


For this authoritative post-cold-war biography of Shostakovich's illustrious but turbulent career under Soviet rule, Laurel E. Fay has gone back to primary documents: Shostakovich's many letters, concert programs and reviews, newspaper articles, and diaries of his contemporaries. An indefatigable worker, he wrote his arresting music despite deprivations during the Nazi invasion and constant surveillance under Stalin's regime.
Shostakovich's life is a fascinating example of the paradoxes of living as an artist under totalitarian rule. In August 1942, his Seventh Symphony, written as a protest against fascism, was performed in Nazi-besieged Leningrad by the city's surviving musicians, and was triumphantly broadcast to the German troops, who had been bombarded beforehand to silence them. Alone among his artistic peers, he survived successive Stalinist cultural purges and won the Stalin Prize five times, yet in 1948 he was dismissed from his conservatory teaching positions, and many of his works were banned from performance. He prudently censored himself, in one case putting aside a work based on Jewish folk poems. Under later regimes he balanced a career as a model Soviet, holding government positions and acting as an international ambassador with his unflagging artistic ambitions.
In the years since his death in 1975, many have embraced a view of Shostakovich as a lifelong dissident who encoded anti-Communist messages in his music. This lucid and fascinating biography demonstrates that the reality was much more complex. Laurel Fay's book includes a detailed list of works, a glossary of names, and an extensive bibliography, making it an indispensable resource for future studies of Shostakovich.

message 5: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Probably the greatest of American composers. Think what he could have done if he hadn't died at such a young age!!

George Gershwin

George Gershwin by Rodney Greenberg by Rodney Greenberg(no photo)


George Gershwin (1898 -- 1937), one of the twentieth century's great songwriters, was one of the first composers to realize the exciting potential of combining elements of jazz and popular song with the forms and instrumentation of symphonic music. Ever defensive about his lack of formal training, by his thirties Gershwin was the dominant voice of the Broadway musical and, following the success of Rhapsody in Blue, lauded by such 'classical' luminaries as Arnold Schoenberg. this expert biography places Gershwin's music within the context of his frenetic lifestyle to show how a teenage song-plugger become internationally renowned in a career that spanned a mere two decades. It also brings home the realization that Gershwin's tragic death aged thirty-eight robbed us of untold musical treasures.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Absolutely Jill - thanks for all of the adds on all of the music threads - there is so much here.

message 7: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) IMHO, the greatest composer of all times.

Chopin: A New Biography

Chopin A New Biography by Adam Zamoyski by Adam Zamoyski Adam Zamoyski


The definitive biography of Chopin, by one of the finest of contemporary European historians. Two centuries have passed since Chopin's birth, yet his legacy is all around us today. The quiet revolution he wrought influenced the development of Western music profoundly, and he is still probably the most widely studied and revered composer. For many, he is the object of a cult. Yet most people know little of his life, of the man, his thoughts and his feelings; his public image is a sugary blur of sentimentality and melodrama. Adam Zamoyski cuts through the myths and legends to tell the story of Chopin's life, and to reveal all that can be discovered about him as a person. He pays particular attention to recent revelations about the composer's health, and places him within the intellectual and spiritual environment of his day

message 8: by Jill (last edited Nov 12, 2014 09:52PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Everyone knows his most famous composition, Bolero. Follow the link to hear it one more time.


Ravel by Roger Nichols by Roger Nichols (no photo)


This new biography of Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), by one of the leading scholars of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French music, is based on a wealth of written and oral evidence, some newly translated and some derived from interviews with the composer’s friends and associates. As well as describing the circumstances in which Ravel composed, the book explores new evidence to present radical views of the composer’s background and upbringing, his notorious failure in the Prix de Rome, his incisive and often combative character, his sexual preferences, and his long final illness. It also contains the most detailed account so far published of his hugely successful American tour of 1928. The world of Maurice Ravel—including friendships (and some fallings-out) with Debussy, Fauré, Diaghilev, Gershwin, and Toscanini—is deftly uncovered in this sensitive portrait.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Great Jill

message 10: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) You either love his music or you hate it....there is no in-between with Wagner!

Richard Wagner and His World

Richard Wagner and His World by Thomas S. Grey by Thomas S. Grey (no photo)


Richard Wagner (1813-1883) aimed to be more than just a composer. He set out to redefine opera as a "total work of art" combining the highest aspirations of drama, poetry, the symphony, the visual arts, even religion and philosophy. Equally celebrated and vilified in his own time, Wagner continues to provoke debate today regarding his political legacy as well as his music and aesthetic theories. "Wagner and His World" examines his works in their intellectual and cultural contexts.

Seven original essays investigate such topics as music drama in light of rituals of naming in the composer's works and the politics of genre; the role of leitmotif in Wagner's reception; the urge for extinction in "Tristan und Isolde" as psychology and symbol; Wagner as his own stage director; his conflicted relationship with pianist-composer Franz Liszt; the anti-French satire "Eine Kapitulation" in the context of the Franco-Prussian War; and responses of Jewish writers and musicians to Wagner's anti-Semitism.

message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Anyone who has not been living under a rock is familiar with John William's might not know he wrote it but you have heard the themes from the Star Wars films, Jurrasic Park, Harry Potter, and many more. But did you know that he also did this:

Williams has composed music for four Olympic Games:

"Olympic Fanfare and Theme" – 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles

Written specifically for the opening ceremonies. In a 1996 re-release, the opening trumpet fanfare was replaced with "Bugler's Dream", a previous Olympic Theme written by Leo Arnaud. This recording has been used as the theme for NBC's Olympic coverage ever since. Williams received a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition.

"The Olympic Spirit" – 1988 Summer Olympics, Seoul

Commissioned by NBC Sports for their television coverage. Williams received a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Composition.

"Summon the Heroes" – 1996 Summer Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia

Written in commemoration of the Centennial of the Modern Olympic Games. Premiering on July 19, 1996, the piece features heavy use of the brass and wind sections and is approximately six minutes in length. Principal Boston Pops trumpeter Timothy Morrison played the opening solo on the album recording. It has been arranged for various types of ensembles, including wind ensembles. This theme is now used prevalently by NBC for intros and outros to commercial breaks of the Olympics.

"Call of the Champions" – 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, Utah

message 12: by Jill (last edited Mar 05, 2015 09:37PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) "Who?", you say. Jimmy Webb, a member of the Songwriter Hall of Fame, wrote songs that we all have heard. Glenn Cambell asked Webb to write most of his songs which became hits. Hear one at the end of this post.

Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting

Tunesmith Inside the Art of Songwriting by Jimmy Webb by Jimmy Webb (no photo)


Webb brings his insider's knowledge, experience, and star power to the ultimate guide for aspiring songwriters. With a combination of anecdotes, meditation, and advice, he breaks down the creative process from beginning to end--from coping with writer's block, to song construction, chords, and even self-promotion. Webb also gives readers a glimpse into the professional music world.

Wichita Lineman by Glenn Campbell

message 13: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Steve Allen had many, comedian, television star, and song writer/musician. You might be surprised at some of the songs he wrote that are listed in this book. A very talented man.

Steve Allen's Songs

Steve Allen's Songs 100 Lyrics with Commentary by Steve Allen by Steve Allen Steve Allen


To most Americans, Steve Allen is a comedian whose ground-breaking work on The Tonight Show and The Steve Allen Show still inspires comics and writers. But Steve Allen is also a tremendously prolific and passionate composer and lyricist who has written some 8,000 songs. Here are collected the lyrics to 100 of his favorites, including "This Could Be the Start of Something Big, " "Gravy Waltz, " "The South Rampart Street Parade, " and the themes to Picnic, On the Beach, and Bell, Book, and Candle. From Dixieland to jazz to blues, Allens lyrics resonate with romance and insight, often punctuated by humor. Allen provides a commentary for each song. The foreword is contributed by noted author, critic, and jazz historian Gene Lees.

message 14: by Ola (last edited Apr 18, 2017 11:46AM) (new)

Ola | 14 comments Jill wrote: "Anyone who has not been living under a rock is familiar with John William's might not know he wrote it but you have heard the themes from the Star Wars films, Jurrasic Park, Harry Potte..."

There's a great book on Williams' music: John Williams's Film Music Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Return of the Classical Hollywood Music Style by Emilio Audissino by Emilio Audissino

message 15: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3812 comments Mod
Ola, thanks for the add, but your citation needs a bit of work. If there's no photo of the author, just show the author's link followed by "(no photo)".

John Williams's Film Music Jaws, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the Return of the Classical Hollywood Music Style by Emilio Audissino by Emilio Audissino (no photo)

message 16: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 25, 2019 08:52PM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
The Rest is Noise

The Rest Is Noise Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross by Alex Ross Alex Ross


The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century is a voyage into the labyrinth of modern music, which remains an obscure world for most people.

While paintings of Picasso and Jackson Pollock sell for a hundred million dollars or more, and lines from T. S. Eliot are quoted on the yearbook pages of alienated teenagers across the land, twentieth-century classical music still sends ripples of unease through audiences.

At the same time, its influence can be felt everywhere. Atonal chords crop up in jazz. Avant-garde sounds populate the soundtracks of Hollywood thrillers. Minimalism has had a huge effect on rock, pop, and dance music from the Velvet Underground onward.

The Rest Is Noise shows why twentieth-century composers felt compelled to create a famously bewildering variety of sounds, from the purest beauty to the purest noise.

It tells of a remarkable array of maverick personalities who resisted the cult of the classical past, struggled against the indifference of a wide public, and defied the will of dictators.

Whether they have charmed audiences with sweet sounds or battered them with dissonance, composers have always been exuberantly of the present, defying the stereotype of classical music as a dying art.

The narrative goes from Vienna before the First World War to Paris in the twenties, from Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia to downtown New York in the sixties and seventies. We follow the rise of mass culture and mass politics, of dramatic new technologies, of hot and cold wars, of experiments, revolutions, riots, and friendships forged and broken. The end result is not so much a history of twentieth-century music as a history of the twentieth century through its music.

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