Music for Ode on a Grecian Urn

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Music for Ode on a Grecian Urn

Postby Michael Emmanuel » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:28 am

I've written and recorded music for "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and now have it available at my blog. I'd appreciate any feedback from people who appreciate Keats' work and great romantic poetry.

The line that my late teacher, (classical piano) quoted often, was : "Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." I've never forgotten that and that's what drew me to Keats' works.

I just included " She was a Phantom of Delight" of Wordsworth. I also have "Daffodils" by Wordsworth on the site.

I want to write music with eternal truths, including my own poems and those of the great romantic poets.

Thanks for this site. And thanks, John Keats.

http://eternalecstasy.dumvivocano.com/?p=208

Update: new site here: http://michaelemmanuel.com/
Last edited by Michael Emmanuel on Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Despondence » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:51 am

Well thank you for joining the party :)
What was it Matt said, "blooming hard business, this poetry stuff". This is great - a whole load of new stuff popping up all of a sudden! As to feedback on your composition, I have to come back to that later, seem to be having some bandwith problems or something, the thing is still buffering..
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Postby Credo Buffa » Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:14 am

I'm impressed! I've tried to write vocal music with Keats for text, but I've always run into walls with meter and melody (closest I've come is with "This Living Hand" for which I have a pretty decent vocal line, but no backgrounds as of yet). . . I've always had to turn to less complicated texts. But your vocal line is lovely! I love the folky turns in the melody and the range (particularly the leaps and the higher tessitura at the end of each verse; great contrast between the passion in the voice and the understated tenderness of the accompaniment) and the turns. Very evocative :) There are some lovely harmonies and progressions as well. Overall, it seems to have a great folk feel to it, and I'm a sucker for folk music :wink:

Just from one composer to another, I might just make one minor suggestion. With such a long text, the danger is that the ear becomes a bit complacent in the sound. You've got some good variety of texture as it is, but I think you could do even a little more. Perhaps for a verse or so, maybe change the character of the accompaniment (pizz strings to match the guitar to add a bit of energy?) or add some mode mixture or a really unexpected progression somewhere (I did hear that at one point, and it was pretty exciting). It doesn't have to be big; maybe even just adding a new instrumental voice at some point (it's a bit hard to tell what you've got here for instrumentation, but another wind instrument other than the flute(?) might compliment the sound well, like an oboe or clarinet. . . something really colorful). The effect would just be that there's something new in the sound that captures the listener, something that makes them say "Ah! This is new!"

Feel free to just ignore that suggestion, though :P It's a lovely work, very solid compositionally and stirring emotionally. You should be quite proud. :)

Random question: Can I ask how your hosting the audio from your blog worked? I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile but haven't really found anything.
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Postby Malia » Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:59 am

That was a real treat! Thanks for posting your beautiful song. I've heard Keats's work put to music before and almost invariably it failed. It sounded like his words and the composer's music were two clashing compositions--creating a cacophanous sound. Not so your composition! I thought it worked wonderfully. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that you couched his words in folk-style music. I think Keats works wonderfully in that genre. (Especially if you plan to use his words.) When his words are being sung in an operatic style--as I've heard done--it just sounds *wrong* for some reason.
I especially liked how you--and forgive me, I probably am not using the right musical terminology here--move from a softer tone to a louder, more forceful (crecendo?) toward the end of each stanza--that energy really speaks of Keats's own energy and reminded me of the power of Keats's words--and how he moves through the poem.
Again, thanks for such a treat!

I'd like to take the opportunity here to say a belated "wow!" to Credo for *her* Keats-inspired composition--"Ode to a Nighingale". I finally got to hear it and I love it, Credo. You capture the mood of the poem impecably. I played it for my dad the other night and he said, "a *student* composed that? It's amazing!" :) And he's right. One thing that caught me--and seemed a perfect interpretation of the poem as I see it--is the happy, impromptu-sounding birdsong (as portrayed by your flute) juxapposed with the more somber melencholy of the strings. It captures the irony of the poem and illustrates Keats's idea of "light and shade" perfectly.
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Postby jessebuck » Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:13 am

Credo Buffa wrote:Random question: Can I ask how your hosting the audio from your blog worked? I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile but haven't really found anything.


Hi, I'm Buck and I help Michael with the site, so I'll field that question for you. :)

The music is actually hosted at the Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/details/coyotegirl

You can host music there for free, however, it can be downloaded by people so that's something you'd have to decide if is a problem for you (although you can still limit repros when you rip the music to .mp3 format).

The actual flash player is accomplished through a great WordPress blog plugin (I highly recommend WordPress as a blogging platform). It's called "Podcast" and is available by going to WP-Plugins.net: http://www.wp-plugins.net

If you're using WordPress you can download the plugin directly from this URL: http://www.mightyseek.com/podpress_downloads/podpress.zip

Hope that helps! If you need installing or configuring, please drop me a note, I'll be happy to help.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:09 pm

Malia wrote:I'd like to take the opportunity here to say a belated "wow!" to Credo for *her* Keats-inspired composition--"Ode to a Nighingale". I finally got to hear it and I love it, Credo. You capture the mood of the poem impecably. I played it for my dad the other night and he said, "a *student* composed that? It's amazing!" :)

Well, thank you, Malia! That made my day :D

And thank you as well, jessebuck. Sounds a bit involved, but I'll give it a try!
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Postby Michael Emmanuel » Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:21 pm

Malia or Credo could you post a link to your(Credo's) song here? Or let us know how we can hear it. Thanks.
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Postby Saturn » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:45 am

Michael Emmanuel wrote:Malia or Credo could you post a link to your(Credo's) song here? Or let us know how we can hear it. Thanks.


See here:

http://www.putfile.com/saturn1

:wink:
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Postby Michael Emmanuel » Tue Apr 11, 2006 5:56 pm

Thanks for the link and comments. Credo-we have very similar instincts, and I think you made some very discerning remarks. I am encouraged to delve deeper and work harder.

Credo, I love you readings and your music. Will be interested in further creations! Have bookmaked your site. May I link to it on my blog?

Thanks, Malia also. You guys made my day :D ....sorry I have not been able to sit here and reply for some time.

All the best to all.

In the studio now: "She was a phantom of delight".
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Postby Michael Emmanuel » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:00 pm

Oh, Despondence, thanks also and let me know what you think, feel if you can get it to play! If not maybe there is another way.
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Postby Michael Emmanuel » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:04 pm

I guess I should say Saturn and the "gang" thanks for the readings.

Theres's a whole ensemble of readers--GREAT. :D
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:20 am

Yeah, you (all of us) have Saturn to thank for the website with all the recordings :) He'd be the one you'd want to ask about linking.
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Postby Michael Emmanuel » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:59 pm

I' ll go ahead and link to Saturn's site. I think it's great. As much as I love reading great poems I love to hear them too. :D
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Postby Saturn » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:04 pm

Thanks a lot Michael, we are all [collectively] flattered :oops:
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Postby Michael Emmanuel » Sun Apr 16, 2006 10:19 pm

Thank you--- and I'm not one to flatter, unless I can do it collectively of course. :lol:

And the Wordsworth is now online : She was a Phantom of Delight

http://eternalecstasy.dumvivocano.com/


I'll be looking at more Keats and also have in the works HD Thoreau

Rumours from an Aeolian Harp
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