Saturday, August 30, 2014

Video of the Week: Belshazzar's Feast

I sang with the Charlotte Oratorio Singers around 2001-2003.  By far, my favorite performance was that of Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast."  This 40-minute symphonic work tells the stories of the Jews being taken away captive by Belshazzar, king of Babylon.  This king made them into slaves, desecrated their holy artifacts, and had a large feast at their expense.  Then after the king sees the writing on the wall and is SLAIN, the Jews celebrate.

The music is unlike anything I had sung before -- powerful chords, exciting rhythms, and wonderful text painting.  Note around time 16:00 below how you can almost hear the different gods being praised: gold, silver, iron, wood, etc.

Amazing music.

Unfortunately, I can't find a recording of the Charlotte Symphony performance.  Here's a BBC recording with much pomp and drama, and a baritone with a vibrato wider than my garage.  There are better recordings on YouTube, but I think this video is the best available that captures the drama of the music.  Enjoy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Video of the Week: Where'er You Walk

Those of you reading my Word of Mel blog know that I'm about to take a hiatus till November while studying for an actuarial exam.  However, I will continue my videos of the week.  I'll concentrate on vocal performances over these next couple of months.

This is a more recent performance of me singing Handel's "Where'er You Walk."  I used to sing this all the time in high school, though I never did score a Superior (1) in any juries.  I've used this (successfully) in a couple of auditions for singing groups.  My friends and I used to change some of the lyrics with humorous results.

So, as you can imagine, this classical piece--that most any vocal student performs at least once in their life--brings me many memories.

The unseen pianist in this performance is M. A. Bills.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Video of the Week: "God Be With You" Medley

Today, my daughter performed this piece for church, just prior to scooting off to college.  She wrote the violin line, and I added the piano part.

This is a medley of "Lead Kindly Light", "I Know That My Reedemer Lives", and "God Be With You."

Note to my Mormon peeps: this is a "practice" recording, and not the actual performance.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Video of the Week: The Hours (Philip Glass)

This week, while I'm still on a minimalist kick, here's some depressing music from the depressing movie The Hours.

It's said that writers/composers are friends with depression.  And we're going to bring the whole world down with us.  Bwe-ha-ha-ha!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Video of the Week: Prelude (2009)

While I'm on this minimalist kick, here's a more recent piece I wrote.  Right now it's called "Prelude" but I may call it something else later.  It's meant to be part of a series called "Waves of Sand."  It starts with a simple melody, and I add a little more as it progresses.