All posts under Speak Up!

Who Needs a Composer?

Once upon a time, you could win a music Oscar without a composer. Throw in some high-brow classical pieces, a world-renowned conductor, and like sheep, Academy voters followed in line. In ONE HUNDRED MEN AND A GIRL, Deanna Durbin wrangles a radio sponsor for an orchestra concert for her father (Adolphe Menjou) and his fellow out-of-work musicians. The catch is that she promises she can secure the talents of none other than Leopold Stokowski, arguably the most famous conductor at that time. It’s a slim plot, but the film proved to be a critical…

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U Got the Look

Walking the streets of New York City is sensory overload. Too many people, too much noise, too much everything. So when I’m out in public I’m surgically attached to my iPod. It takes me to my happy place as I endure the inevitable hassles of getting from Point A to Point B, and keeps me relatively sane and mentally preoccupied so I don’t give in to my urges to kick people in the street. The following scenario may be more of a problem because of where I live. But see if…

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My Life In Music – Part Five

It took 4,907 words and approximately 40 years to get us to this point. Over the last several weeks, you have read about my early days learning music on the piano and clarinet (Part One), high school marching band hell (Part Two) and the beginnings of a music career in college (Part Three), and continued with the end of my performing days in Boston and a brief stint in Broadway and musical theatre in New York (Part Four). For this final installment of “My Life In Music,” we arrive at film…

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My Life In Music – Part Four

In Parts One, Two, and Three, we looked at my beginnings in music through my numerous years in higher education. For the next installment of “My Life In Music,” we explore my years in the “real world,” sans academia. BOSTON In May 1991, with Janet Jackson blaring from the radio and Stinker (my cat) drugged up in the back seat, I arrived in Boston in the middle of the night. In the pre-Internet days, research took more effort so I didn’t bother to read up on Boston before I got…

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Line ‘Er Up!

When I meet someone new and tell them that I write liner notes, it amazes me how many people have no clue what they are. But I suppose it makes sense. Unless you buy recordings of classical music, old film scores, or boxed sets, generally your liner notes consist of a tiny slip of paper that only lists track names and timings, maybe some lyrics, and the technical personnel behind the recording. Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate to write the liner notes for some interesting scores. Every…

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Psychiatric Help: 5 Cents

Have you ever been listening to music and your mind has zoned out or you’ve already pressed ahead to the next track? This happens to me all the time. I’m an instant gratification kind of guy. To make matters worse, the older I get the less patience I have for things. I order books through the Barnes & Noble website, even if it’s cheaper elsewhere. Why? Because many items are same day delivery in Manhattan. (God forbid I should ever move elsewhere. Getting rid of this would take some getting used…

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My Life in Music – Part Three

In Parts One and Two, I described my beginnings in music, from teaching myself to read music through learning the clarinet, from high school marching band drama to the beginning of a lifelong love of film music. In this installment, we continue with college–all nine years of it! TOGA! TOGA! Having survived high school with a minimum of visible scars (they’re all firmly repressed now), it was time for higher education. Little did I know when I set foot in the Music Department at The University of Texas at Arlington…

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The Long and Winding Road

Writing a blog can be a long and winding road. It’s just you, an idea, a blank screen, and a blinking cursor. You start out with tons of energy (okay, well, maybe not tons) and the best of intentions. With thousands of films, scores, and composers, you’re never going to be at a loss for something to write about. Every idea seems like a winning post. And then you hit a wall. You wonder if what you’re writing is of any use. Are the hours hunched over the keyboard trying to come…

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Listen Up!

In my nearly 47 years, trends in music devices have obviously changed and I’ve my listening habits have changed right along with them…for the most part. I’d like to think my parents bought me a Close-and-Play when I was a kid, but somehow I don’t think they did. The era of the LP was a challenge to see how many albums I could stack one on top of the other. I didn’t care if I only listened to one side. I was a lazy kid and flipping the album every 20…

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My Life In Music – Part Two

In Part One of my journey through music, I traveled from childhood musical memories through my early days teaching myself music on the piano and clarinet. But in June 1976, something happened that literally changed my life. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED I don’t remember my first kiss, but I do remember my first film score. Readers of this blog already know my fondness for Jerry Goldsmith‘s score to THE OMEN. After seeing this fright-fest as an impressionable 14-year-old, I pooled together my allowance money and bought the soundtrack LP. God only…

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