Please turn to number 73 (Second Tune) and join with the clarinets in “Ride On, Ride On”.

Number: 73 (Second Tune)
First Line: Ride On, Ride On in Majesty
Meter: L.M.
Tempo: In unison, with dignity
Music: Graham George, 1912-
Text: Henry Hart Milman, 1791-1868

Clarinet Arrangement: 073b.RideOnRideOn

This is an interestingly modern take on a hymn. Some meaty chords to chew on!

Graham Elias George:

Graham Elias George (11 April 1912 – 9 December 1993) was a Canadian composer, music theorist, organist, choir conductor, and music educator of English birth. An associate of the Canadian Music Centre, his compositional output consists largely of choral works, many written for Anglican liturgical use. He also wrote three ballets, four operas, and some symphonic music. In 1938 he won the Jean Lallemand Prize for his Variations on an Original Theme. At first he employed traditional tertial harmony, but the influence of Hindemith led him to introduce quartal-quintal harmony as integral to his style. Successful completion of RCCO/RCO diplomas and external degrees had demanded he attain very considerable expertise in counterpoint, and so his neoclassic deployment of contrapuntal devices such as imitation, canon and fugue is hardly accidental.

The hymn is supposed to be sung in unison, so instead of just including the vocal parts, the arrangement includes what I assume are the organ parts. Teasing out all the chords in the organ parts into serial clarinet parts, I end up with 1 Soprano part, 3 alto parts, 2 tenor parts, and 2 bass parts. To imitate the unison, I recorded the melody/soprano part 4 times.

Red Service Book and Hymnal
Red Service Book and Hymnal

African Blackwood Deficiency

Thank you for coming in, Big Ears. While your copper, stainless, and brass levels are good, especially copper, I am seeing a definite African Blackwood deficiency. I am recommending daily clarinet and oboe supplements to build up your levels. In six months, let’s run the test again and see if you’ve built up enough tolerance for some Bass Clarinet and, maybe, Bassoon. And try to get more exercise…

It’s a Mystery

William Parker:

Last Question. Do you think that they, whoever “they” are, the writers, the people who document stuff, do you think they’ll ever understand this music the way musicians understand it?

Fred Anderson:

No, because I don’t think nobody understands. (laughs) They can only go by what they hear and what they like and what they don’t like. And I think that is the way they write about it, what they think is good. But I think most musicians that I know, anybody that ever said anything, ever did anything, never was satisfied with what they were doin’. They were searchin’. And I don’t think they really knew what they were doin’. They were still searchin’. And I think it’s been a mystery, just like life. Everybody writes a book and tells you how to do it this way, do that. That’s just their opinion and I don’t think nobody knows. I think life is a mystery. The music is a mystery. I think this whole universe is a mystery. (laughs) We’re talkin’ about somethin’, man, that nobody really understands. But, you’re entitled to your opinion and if you can put it out there and somebody can get something out of it, cool. It’s an individual thing. It’s a mystery. You make these decisions and that’s it. Whatever you leave, you leave it. (laughs) You just have to believe in what you’re doing and stick to it and be consistent and try to do it right and do it the best way as you see it. If somebody can benefit, cool. I’ve benefited from a lot of things that I’ve heard, by applying some of these techniques in my mind. Now that don’t mean that I was right or wrong, but if I did anything, I learned from observance, seeing how things was done. Another thing that taught me a lot of stuff–I didn’t realize that my wife was sick. She could’ve been sick a long, long time before I even met her. But it came upon me to deal with it. So you don’t know man. You just have to deal with the problem. Whatever the problem is, you try to deal with it. Sometimes you can deal with it, sometimes you can’t But that’s it, man. That’s how I see it.

From “Conversations”, a collection of interviews William Parker conducted with various performing artists and composers, published by RogueArt.

When I was young, I really liked music that used the recording studio as an instrument.

However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to question the value of those sorts of albums which are stitched together in the studio. Those Frankenstein creations where the musicians might or might not even be in the same room (or building).

I think my perception radically changed when I saw Anthony Braxton’s Quartet (Braxton, Crispell, Dresser, Hemingway) at Yoshi’s a number of years ago. I had been collecting Braxton recordings and attempting to understand them without much success. Seeing that band, though, and feeling what was going on between the players, I understood that the music often called “Jazz” is most about the interaction of the players in the moment.

Jazz recordings, at best, are like insects captured in amber.

To be captured in amber, the insect has to die.

Similarly, the spontaneity of the moment and the energy exchange between players, things that are the essential features of a jazz performance, have to be stripped away, in the interest of fidelity and trapping a piece for eternity.

I’ve come to feel that most recordings of Jazz are really just souvenirs, simply reminders of artists I respect and gestures of support for their ongoing struggle to represent their craft against all odds.