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August 9, 2018

Classic Album Sundays Jane’s Addiction ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ and Klipsch R6 Earbuds Giveaway

Join our community to be in with a chance of winning of our Album Of The Month Jane’s Addiction ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ and a pair of Klipsch R6 earbuds.

Join our community here.

We will contact a lucky winner at the end of August. All you have to do is join the community to be in with a chance!


Read more: Album Of The Month – Jane’s Addiction ‘Nothing’s Shocking’

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The Real Mick Rock “For my sins in a former life, I’ve been forced to spend…

BBC Music Magazine An interview with filmmaker John Bridcut

Classical-Music.com An interview with filmmaker John Bridcut

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Creator of the award-winning documentaries The Passions of Vaughan Williams and Elgar: The Man Behind the Mask, John Bridcut has been making films for 30 years. His more recent credits include Jonas Kaufman, Tenor for the Ages and The Genius of The Mad King. He has also published two books on Benjamin Britten. We talked with the producer and director to find out exactly who and what inspires him and what his creative process is like when creating a new film.

 

How did you initially get into creating documentaries on composers?

I have an amateur musical background; in my school days I sang and played the piano, violin and cello. The filmmaking began when I joined the BBC as a trainee. I started working in news and current affairs before making documentaries on contemporary history. My first move into music was with a film I made called Britten’s Children, which was broadcast in 2004 on BBC Two.

 

•   The Best of Britten

 

How do you decide which composers to focus on?

I started off with Britten because I’d always had a fascination with his music and I’d also done some work at the Britten-Pears Library in Suffolk. I think I’ve always had a passion for English music and I had a natural tendency to look at other composers from the 20th century. I do get asked by a number of people to make films about less well-known British composers, such as Gerald Finzi and John Ireland. However, you have to recognize that most people have no connection with these composers. Ideally, people who are going to watch the film need to be able to bring something of their own to the table – they should have some knowledge of the music. It doesn’t have to be very much but just enough so the audience has a connection.

 

•   Six of the best: 20th-century British choral works

•   The best classical music for St George's Day

 

Would you like to make some films about non-British composers?

If I had the time I’d love to, but it’s more tricky because you may be dealing with a lot of foreign-language material. In my films I’ve been lucky enough to be able to show composers’ letters and documents, which highlight another dimension of their art and helps in getting a little closer to their personalities. That’s harder to do when you’re working with a foreign language.

 

How long does the filming process take?

A 90-minute film is supposed to take something like 18 weeks. But in fact it’s much longer than that because the research is spread over a long period of time – often around nine months. It’s not full-time research but you’re absorbing information, thinking about the music and working out which pieces of music you want to feature.

 

•   Six of the best… classical pieces on film

 

Do you film live orchestras playing the featured pieces?

Yes. As far as possible I like to shoot sections of works specially for the film. Otherwise it risks feeling a little bit like a scrapbook and not like an authored piece. I also believe that if you’re making a film about music the it’s important that you support the people who actually bring the music to life. Inevitably, this means that you have to be very selective about what you choose to film because it’s very expensive working with an orchestra.

 

•   The best recordings of Holst's The Planets

 

As well as looking at the composers’ music, you also investigate the composers’ lives and who they were as people. What's it like interviewing those who knew them?

It can be very exciting. For example, it was a great thrill to meet an extraordinarily redoubtable lady called Belinda Norman Butler who was a student of Vaughan Williams in 1927! Sadly, she’s no longer with us but she was amazing and recalled him very vividly.

 

So which do you place more emphasis on: the composers’ lives or the composers’ art?

To my mind there’s not much point in knowing about a composer’s life if it’s not related to the music. I find that too many arts documentaries have been about the life and not about the art. In a sense, it’s easy to do the biographic aspect of the films because there’s a narrative structure that has a beginning, middle and end. But it’s more of a challenge to try and understand the creative impulses of a composer through the music. In a way, the music has to speak to the audience in the same way that the other contributors speak.

 

Do you have any particular composers that you’d like to make a film about in the future?

I’m very keen to make a film about Michael Tippett. Something that lots of people may know are the Negro Spirituals from A Child of Our Time and I hope that they can provide that vital connection for audiences. In English music in general, there’s always the sense that ecstasy and passion are veiled or the sense that it’s somehow slightly improper to have those things displayed too obviously. But Tippet’s music is characterised by extraordinarily generous expression. It will require a lot of work but I feel that he’s the next composer on my horizon.

•   Remembering Sir Michael Tippett: The Archives

For more details on the films of John Bridcut, or to order copies of his documentaries on British composers, visit his website.

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JazzWax Electrifying Track: Heavy Dipper

JazzWax Electrifying Track: Heavy Dipper

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In September 1957, trumpeter Lee Morgan recorded his album The Cooker with baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, pianist Bobby Timmons, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Philly Joe Jones. Heavy Dipper is a Morgan original. It’s a light, high-stepping tune that alternates between minor and major keys and has plenty of snap. Everyone in the quintet gets a chance to solo. This was a rare pairing of Morgan and Adams, who recorded most often with trumpeter Donald Byrd. Interestingly, Morgan, Chambers and Jones weeks earlier recorded on John Coltrane’s classic Blue Train while Timmons was about to join Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Here’s Heavy Dipper

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On this day in music On this Day August 09, 2007

Baltimore’s mayor Sheila Dixon proclaimed today as the city’s official Frank Zappa Day, citing Zappa’s musical accomplishments as well as his defense of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

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