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Tag Archives: composer

What High School Marching Bands and Joseph Stalin Have In Common

This is a song you’ve probably heard before:

In Hollywood, on TV, in advertisements and previews, from marching bands it signifies pandemonium, imbalance, frenetic energy, catastrophe, albeit in a fun or humorous(to the viewer) way.

Oddly there was a sabre dance in real life and there was nothing funny about it.
To use this piece as a sound track would be even worse than the cliche of playing “It’s a Wonderful World” while the characters are subjected to tragedy and physical anguish in a slow motion montage.

We can make an additional leap if we consider that F-100 Sabres were used to combat MiGs.

MiG is short for Mikoyan Gurevitch.
The Gurevitch part was dropped but the planes made by Mikoyan aerospace were forever after known as MiGs nonetheless.

Artem Mikoyan was an Armenian, brother of Anastas Mikoyan who was among Stalin’s top ministers.

Khachaturian as it turns out was a Soviet(yes one of the best known pieces of all time in American popular entertainment came from the USSR) composer who happened to be prominent while Stalin was in power and he also happened to be Armenian.
As it happened, Anastas Mikoyan would have seen Khachaturian’s ballets premiere at the Bolshoi theatre. He would almost certainly have seen Sabre Dance, part of a ballet, Gayane, first performed in 1942.(While the USSR was being invaded by Nazi Germany.)

Indeed while google gives me no definite answer, we must consider it very likely that the two men must have known each other.

Indeed, Stalin, Mikoyan’s boss paid lavish attention to his artists and sure enough, Khachaturian was forced to compose odes to Stalin’s greatness.
The ballet, Gayane, that contains Sabre Dance was awarded with the Stalin Prize 1st Class in 1943.

Small world isn’t it?

Inspirations of Nobuo’s Final Fantasy Music?

Many of you may have heard the opening theme to Final Fantasy X known as To Zanarkand.

Perhaps not so many have heard Humoresque No. 7 By Antonin Dvorak a Czech composer who lived in the 19th century.
You’ll know what I’m talking about about 1:20 into the song.

Dvorak is one of my favorite composers period. It shouldn’t surprise me to discover that Nobuo Uematsu got some ideas from him.

This is the original fight music from the very first final fantasy game.

Now compare to Tchaikovsky’s Slavonic March

Adventures in Computer Game Music: Heroes of Might and Magic V

Paul Anthony Romero is easily one of my favorite computer game composers.

He’s been composing scores for Heroes of Might and Magic games for over a decade now.

He has an uncanny ability to take musical styles from throughout the history of orchestral music and make them his own.
He’s done variations of a human, demon, or necromancer town at least half a dozen times now and still comes up with something new each time.

Here he uses an epic Wagnerian style to great effect with similar but contrasting themes.

I’ve always liked this sort of juxtaposition. Even when I was a little kid, I remember watching the Sound of Music and hearing how the evil Nazi theme was something of a minor key version of Good Night, Farewell.

First for the good guys:

Then for the bad guys:

Erik Satie: Gnossiene No. 1

I love impressionist music and this is one of my favorites out of a good era; one of the last before the world wars hit and ‘high’ art and culture began to degenerate.

Cavernously haunting, bittersweet melancholy, trackless wandering through a misty maze, inviting contemplation. Simple and elegant compared to crowded baroque and classical period pieces.

Here’s a visual version played slow that allows you to see all of the melody, chords, and sustains.

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