Last weekend we went to delightful New Plymouth to the Tropfest NZ finals. Sideways Productions has got into the finals the last three years, and I have enjoyed being part of the team. We finally had the chance to head down and see what all the hype was all about. It was a great event with some wildly good films (see all the finalists here).
If you have been following my twitter page you will know that I have just got back from an absolutely wonderful seven weeks in Europe. While most of the time my wife and I were doing our best to elegantly float from historic building to museum to gallery…, we did manage to make the most of the amazing musical offerings that Europe provides.
We saw two orchestral concerts – the first being the London Symphony at the Barbican playing Brahms’ 3rd symphony and 2nd piano concerto. Daniel Harding was at the helm with Emanuel Ax on piano. The second was the Czech Philharmonic in Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum. Jiří Bělohlávek conducted Martinů’s “What Men Live By” and then Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. Such a thrill to hear Dvořák played in his own concert hall by an orchestra that he conducted the first concert of in 1896. Amazing also to hear how two of the world’s top orchestras can sound so completely different.
As was the case in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the tremendously wonderful Victoria Kelly was called on to write the arrangement and orchestration for the final track, “The Last Goodbye”, and so I landed the music preparation role.
I am deeply honoured that Sounds Perfect, a film that I wrote the music for and that has already appeared at a number of festivals, has now been selected for the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival in France this month.
An accidental ‘serial pet killer’ thinks his luck has changed when he stumbles across a beautiful mermaid – but he soon finds she’s no fairy tale girlfriend.
Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of working once again with the guys at Sideways Productions on the music for their new short film, On The Rocks. After having great success with our efforts last year on Sounds Perfect…
- Official selection, AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2013
- Official selection, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
- Official selection, WAIROA MAORI FILM FESTIVAL (NZ) 2013
- Official selection, imagineNATIVE
- Winner, best actor, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
- Winner, best Maori director, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
2012 was a year full of great things, cool things, intriguing things, wonderful things and things to completely knock your socks off. Here’s my list of the best (musical and digital) things of 2012.
One of the first things I do each day is read all of the blog posts that are waiting eagerly for me in Google Reader. There are three feeds that, without fail, I will read and learn something from every time.
- Of Note – a Sibelius and Finale blog by the legendary Robert Puff.
- Sibelius Blog – hints, tricks and interesting stories about Sibelius by Philip Rothman (originally Daniel Spreadbury).
- Technology in Music Education – if you’re a music teacher of some description you’ll love hearing about how the latest technologies can be used in music education.
- Behind Bars by Elaine Gould – my bible of music notation. I’d really love a digital version too!
- How to Write for Percussion by Samuel Z Solomon – the title sounds very underwhelming, but is a wonderfully comprehensive guide to writing for percussion.
- Essential Dictionary of Orchestration – mine is looking old and tatty – a good sign! It’s an essential reference for instrument ranges, general characteristics, tone quality descriptions, technical pitfalls and more.
The New Year means it’s time to have a look back over the past year and see, through my blog posts, what has taken shape and what I have to say for myself!
January started with a very well deserved “Shout-out to VaultPress” after they marvellously got my website back up and running after a meltdown!
February is the start of the school term and I posted about the preparation work I do for schools.
My typing fingers must have been tired at the end of March – it started with two popular posts, iOS apps for music professionals and Digital music stands vs iPads, following on from, again, two very popular posts I did in 2010.
I recently wrote the music for Sounds Perfect – a short film by Sideways Productions which has made it to the finals for Tropfest New Zealand 2013. Tropfest International is the world’s largest short film festival.
I did their music as I did last year for their film “Goodbye Gilbert”. Being a thriller there are plenty of strings, a Wurlitzer electric piano and a little percussion – simple but effective.
The film is beautifully shot – last year they were a nominee for “Best Cinematography” and won the award for “Sexiest Short” – and this year the audio post production took a big step forward.
And just like that, another year is gone! Here is a look at my posts for the year.
The blogging year started in March with my favourite book arriving, “Behind Bars”, which I preordered in 2010. It is definitely the most used book on my shelf! I then talked about two approaching projects:
In April I introduced my new work, “blimp”, and reviewed two projects – a song I helped a friend create and my work at the BOP music school: Continue reading 2011 through the eyes of a blog
On the 21st and 22nd of May was the 2011 48 Hours Film Festival. This year I was on board with Sideways Productions and masterminds Allan George and Ben Fowler. They approached me to work with them last year, but I couldn’t due to other commitments, so it was great to finally get things rolling with them.
The genre we got was revenge movie, and Allan and Ben put together a good script. I packed up some gear and followed them around their two main locations, fine-tuning initial draft ideas as the structure and feel of the film came to life.
I was reasonably happy with the result, loved the feel of the music, but not so much the final edit of it in the film. Have a listen to a few of the tracks below:
Or check out the movie here:
Although initially gutted not to get through, the team were then awarded the “Sexiest Images & Sound” award for Auckland and therefore nominated for that award at the nationals. Well done guys.
The team was Director: Ben Fowler Producer: Allan George, Ben Fowler Writer: Allan George, Ben Fowler Actors: Andy Nicholson, Yulie Great, Gwendoline Taylor Editor: Ben Fowler, Manuel Castelltort Sound / Music: Ryan Youens Cinematography: Allan George
So through the eyes of this blog, let’s have a look. We’ll start with January and the tail end of our South America trip, along with the workshopping and recording of my music in Brazil.
After spending too many hours hunting down good repertoire for my school orchestras, in February I explored the efforts of conducting. I also set up my newsletter with MailChimp.
It was a plentiful month of posts in March, many on great discoveries I recently made but also highlighted a new piece, Picture for Emily, for my niece.
March 14th Sibelius First – if you’re so inclined
March 15th Moana Ataahua programme launched
March 16th Picture for Emily – aiming for the small market
March 16th Scoring Avatar
March 18th My indispensables
March 19th If Lake Taupo was a piece of music, what would it sound like?
In April it was all about preparing Moana Ataahua for its massive premiere at the ERUPT Lake Taupo Festival.
April 24th Moana Ataahua set to ERUPT in May (article from SOUNZ)
April 28th Moana Ataahua, the rehearsals begin
I explored digital music stands in May, how they compare and how I wanted one. Do I still want one now? That is another post!
I summed up the Moana Ataahua premiere in June and did a very popular post on music apps for your iOS devices.
It was great to see plenty of music getting performed through July.
July 12th Wild Daisies premiere
July 18th Breathe In, Breathe Out – a concert of overtures and finales
July 27th SoundCloud, move your music
July 29th Three pieces performed by Brazil’s Sphaera Ensemble
The Auckland schools orchestra festival happened in August, so did some pondering on music theory.
Spent a fantastic few days in Wellington in September recording Rakaia with the NZSO. Also, Rhian Sheehan’s amazing score for The Cult, which I helped out with, won best score!
September 9th More iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad apps for the music professional
September 20th The Cult wins at Qantas Film and Television Awards
September 23rd NZSO/SOUNZ Readings 2010
In November I did a three part post looking at music printing, engravers, copyists and how things are changing. I also hooked up Sibelius users with some great resources!
November 29th So, you’re a Sibelius user?
November 30th Music printing, a journey for engravers (part 1 of 3)
November 30th Music copying and confusion (part 2 of 3)
November 30th Changing times for music preparers (part 3 of 3)
As you would expect, I got festive in December but also looked at a new feature for sounz.org.nz.
December 7th A Christmas wish list for composer-musicians
December 24th SOUNZ moves forward, again
December 24th Merry Christmas and very best wishes for the New Year
Happy New Year everyone!!
“Director James Cameron wasn’t the only one who relied on technological advances to give Avatar an otherworldly feel. Award-winning film composer James Horner also broke new ground with his compelling soundtrack, relying on Pro Tools|HD and Sibelius to compose the music, orchestrate parts, and sculpt otherworldly sonic textures.”
The Avatar score – some people love it, some people hate it, but either way, this is a nice little doco about its creation. It’s not often that James Horner appears on interviews like this – well not that I’ve come across – so it’s nice to hear him speak about what he does. It also includes the legendary scoring mixer Simon Rhodes and electronic music arranger Simon Franglen talking about their contribution.
They talk about how they used the software to bring it all together, especially interesting as the score combines both orchestral and electronic elements.
It is REALLY a promo for Avid (Pro Tools and Sibelius mainly) so prepare for an onslaught of endorsements, but I enjoyed it. Let me know what you think.