Four Orlando musicians interpret music from Beck's 'Song Reader'
The experimental recordings of these songs will be released through Full Sail University's YouTube channel
Published: December 19, 2012
A Special String Arrangement by Chris Belt
Song: "The Last Polka"
Composer and music educator Chris Belt on …
… finding the polka: It's not really like a polka. It's kind of like how people call songs a blues when it's not really a blues. So, there's some element, to him, that has something to do with polka, so that's something that I'm kind of like thinking in the back of my mind is: Where does it actually make sense to make this a polka?
… what's missing: If you look at what he's written … all he has written are notes. Sometimes, he'll write some little text or whatever. So, in this particular piece, it's just the notes and the rhythm, and no articulation … no phrasing, no dynamics, not even a tempo indication. It's very, very vague. All that he says at the beginning of this piece is "Premonitory." He wants it to be premonitory in some way.
... his latest arrangement: The really nice thing about this is it's just got beautiful harmonies, and I want to be able to kind of highlight that and color it in a way that if you were just playing it on a piano, you really wouldn't be able to do. (Belt will play guitar, with Nicholas Buonanni, flute; Beatriz Ramirez-Belt, oboe; Anastasia Cetverikova, clarinet; Jeremy Adams, bass)
Song: "We All Wear Cloaks"
Songwriter and music educator Carlos DeSoto on …
… overcoming the sheet music's simplicity: … It seemed almost simple – I don't want to say that because I don't want to come off in a way that seems to insult the song – it's just it seemed kind of basic. And that was good, because that kind of gave us the freedom to say, let's just do whatever we can with this, whatever we want.
… jazz-ing it up: Being that I started graduate school for jazz this year, the first thing I did was notice it was in a minor key, and right away, that gave me the opportunity … to say, well, then it's a melodic kind of thing, which is sort of jazz. So I've started shifting the chords and substituting chords that weren't there. … There were few chords that were really happening, and they were very standard, so I was given the opportunity to think, well, let me re-harmonize this.
… how he writes music: Todd [Elliot] and I are sort of the main songwriters, and we usually start with an idea or a riff and record it. … What I think is unusual or unique about the way we write is we just start recording parts of it, so it's just recording, recording, recording, and then we start changing parts of it. We do edits and rewrites, just adding layers. That's how we roll.
Hear Song Reader recordings by local musicians
through Friday, Dec. 21
> Email Ashley Belanger