Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Christmas Music Playlist

I know it's early in the season for this, but I figured I would announce this now. I've spent the fall arranging a set of my favorite Christmas songs for piano. And I've recorded those songs and put them into a playlist on YouTube that anyone can access.

So this Christmas, if you're looking for traditional Christmas music, and you like piano music, you can put this playlist on in the background. Also, just in case anyone is interested, you can also buy the sheet music for any of these arrangements by CLICKING HERE.

The YouTube playlist is HERE.

Here's one of the videos from the playlist, to give you a taste:

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Notes from the Cave

Thank you to everyone who responded to my last blog post. I didn't respond individually to anyone, but I read all your responses and appreciate them.

I've decided to keep the blog going. With 13 years of posts, some of which I am still pretty proud of, there's not really any good reason to delete the blog. Even if I wasn't going to update it anymore, I probably wouldn't delete the blog outright. 

But I think I probably will continue to post now and then. I think one of the main reasons why my production has waned so much is because I'm writing podcast scripts now on a regular basis and have very little time to do things like blogging. Also, my writing fix gets satisfied by the script writing, so I don't necessary "need" to blog. 

Anyway, speaking of podcast scripts, in my last Notes from the Cave in February, I promised to keep you abreast of what was going on with all that. I failed in that promise, although I still like saying the word "abreast."

I did start writing for the new podcast company in the early spring. They are called Parcast and they were actually bought by Spotify not long after I started writing for them. They have about 15 or 20 weekly scripted podcasts that they produce. I signed a contract with them and wrote two shows for them. The first was for a podcast called Assassinations and it was a 2-episode series on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which set off World War I.

The second was another 2-episode series for a show called Kingpins. It was about a marijuana smuggling operation in the Miami in the 1970s.

After that, I signed a new contract with Parcast (for more money, yay!) to write 10 more episodes. I am currently working on the 5th episode in that contract. The first was a 2-episode series for the show Cults about a Satanic cult in Massachusetts in the late 70s that was implicated in a string of prostitute murders. (I wasn't allowed to actually use the word "prostitute" in these scripts where all the characters were pimps and prostitutes. "Prostitute" is not PC, apparently. You have to call them "sex workers." #Hollywood, amiright?)

Then I wrote two stand-alone episodes for a show called Historical Figures. Neither of these has come out yet, so I'll refrain from giving away the subject matter. Both were people I had never heard of before beginning my research.

I'm currently working on another stand-along episode for a show called Gone, which discusses people and objects that have disappeared. I'm going to be writing two stand-alone episodes for this show as well.

The remaining four scripts in the contract have not been assigned yet, so I don't know what they'll be about.

Switching gears, let's talk about music. I'm still practicing the piano on a regular basis, about 4-5 days per week. I'm currently working on 4 songs, 3 of which are ALMOST finished. (Finished, for me, means a relatively clean take recorded on video.)  Those three songs are the third movement of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata (once learned, this will make 2 complete Beethoven sonatas that I have learned), a fantasia by Mozart, and my own arrangement of the Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody (you're REALLY gonna like that one). The fourth song that still needs some work is my own original classical-style composition called Rondo in A Minor: The Midnight Hour.

As for my composing, I have recently been putting a lot of time into arranging Christmas songs for solo piano. This is something I've been wanting to do since I first started playing again in 2016, but every year it gets to be Christmas time and I realize I've failed to do it. So this year, I started in September arranging Christmas songs. I'm about 75% done with the 19 songs that I've chosen to make arrangements for.

I'm not sure that I'll ever learn every single one of them, although that will remain to be seen. I wish I was good enough to be able to just sight-read all of them. Some of them are easy enough that I can almost do that. But regardless, the software I use will play back anything you write, with electronic versions of the instruments. And in this day and age, the software playback is pretty damn realistic. So after I'm done arranging this set of songs, I'm going to record the playback and then upload each song to YouTube. Then I'll put them all in a Christmas playlist that anyone can access if they want to turn on some solo piano music for Christmas this year. I'll post a link once it's done.

I should point out that the songs I've chosen are all traditional Christmas songs - I'm not a big fan of modern Christmas music, so don't expect any Mariah Carey or Amy Grant Christmas songs. Instead of Josh Groban, think Bing Crosby or Andy Williams.

If you are interested in listening to my compositions, both original compositions as well as numerous arrangements I've done, you can click here and hear them all. The one caveat is that you do have to create an account. But that's free to do. I have piano pieces as well as chamber music (small ensembles) and full orchestral works. I currently have about 70 public pieces. You can also buy some of my sheet music here.

Anyway, thanks as always for reading (and listening!).