Hi folks! At the current time, we’re looking for a dedicated, nerdy, and awesome instrumentalist who plays an instrument in the soprano/alto range to play with the group full time. If you know anyone or if YOU would like to play with us, please send us an email at: email@example.com. Please pass this along!
Below are some of the program notes for our show coming on this Saturday. You can find some more writing on it at Steve’s blog Classical Gaming. Pick up tickets at TicketLeap and listen to some tracks of us playing music from Super Mario Land and Final Fantasy III on Bandcamp.
I Do Believe is built around the primary melody of “We Shall Overcome.” Some elements of the piece were sketched out in 2010, but the piece was otherwise written in 2012 for four wind instruments and tape. Throughout the piece, melody is injected into the music as a way to create tension or a sense of struggle in the music. This sense of struggle, not unlike the themes in the text, resolves at the end as the melody and accompaniment come to a jubilant agreement.
About half the music had been written before I realized that I was riffing on the protest song, which speaks to both its simplicity and strength. The original has a long history which began over a hundred years ago in Philadelphia. Penned as a gospel hymn by the Reverend Charles Tindley along with a handful of other songs, the song was originally called “I’ll Overcome Someday.” Eventually the song found its way into union halls during the 1930′s, taking on some text and melodic revisions. At some point after this, the song exchanged the individual “I” for the collective “we.” Superficially this is a small alteration, but it changes the entire focus of the song’s message. With this change in focus to a collective spirit, the song was adopted as an anthem for the Civil Rights movement. Since then, the song has been used in a variety of protest situations throughout the world.
The music explores the different side of heroism, looking at the courage ‘normal’ people must exhibit to bring about change in the world.
La Bataille was written by the French composer Clement Janequin to celebrate a victory over the Swiss Confederates in 1515. The piece is one of the earliest examples of ‘battle music,’ a popular subject during the renaissance that employed ample onomatopoeia and word painting to illustrate the sounds of war. The song has a loose story that begins with preparations to fight, the battle, and a victorious resolution. In addition to the imitation of battle sounds, there are are descriptions of the the soldiers and the king as noble and lion like.
The piece illustrates the classic ideal of the hero, a soldier charging into battle with weapon and armor shiny and spectacular.
The Hero of Canton is one of many fantastic moments in Joss Whedon’s short lived space western Firefly. The song comes from the episode “Jaynestown” which is set in a town that has canonized one of the main characters, Jayne Cobb. The problem is that the town’s mythical hero also happens to be one of the show’s most selfish characters. The dissonance between the real person and the myth is brought into focus through the plot, a statue in the middle of town, and this faux folk song. The episode raises the point that our culture’s need for stories of heroism is more important than the real life details of those people’s lives.