Jenkins, Karl

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    #76
    Originally posted by Suffolkcoastal View Post
    Just had to listen through some of it to hear if it sounded as dreadful as when I last heard it. It sounded even worse, if that is possible. It really is soul destroying to hear it & makes me wonder why I bother to compose at all and put so much effort in, if that is the standard of music that manages 1000+ performances in 20 or so years.
    It must be

    I’m almost glad this week that R3 is not functioning on my DAB set at the moment, so there’s no risk of switching on without noticing the time and hearing some on COTW by accident…
    "...the isle is full of noises,
    Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
    Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
    Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices..."

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      #77
      Originally posted by Ein Heldenleben View Post
      Although the Soft Machine track on now is harmonically repetitive the excellently involving and beautifully built lead guitar solo shows what can be done to create musical interest. Who was their lead guitar - superb player.
      Ooh they’ve just introduced a new chord sequence. Should have stuck to jazz rock Karl …
      Aha! - a great favourite of Joseph K, late by eviction from this forum: it's Allan Holdsworth.

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        #78
        Originally posted by Serial_Apologist View Post

        Aha! - a great favourite of Joseph K, late by eviction from this forum: it's Allan Holdsworth.
        So sorry to hear that Joseph K is no longer here. Didn't he post lovely photographs? I always enjoyed his observations - even though I rarely agreed with him.

        Comment


          #79
          Originally posted by Ein Heldenleben View Post
          Although the Soft Machine track on now is harmonically repetitive the excellently involving and beautifully built lead guitar solo shows what can be done to create musical interest. Who was their lead guitar - superb player.
          Ooh they’ve just introduced a new chord sequence. Should have stuck to jazz rock Karl …
          Wasn't that John Cage in Halberstadt last week?

          Comment


            #80
            Originally posted by Serial_Apologist View Post

            Are we only talking about skill, though? Karl Jenkins is "crafted" at what he does - as am I whenever I polish my shoes!
            Crafty rather than crafted - follow the money and all that...

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              #81
              Originally posted by oddoneout View Post
              Crafty rather than crafted - follow the money and all that...
              A sad case for which Keith Tippett (who once had Karl Jenkins in his band) would use a certain P word probably unmentionable on the forum,

              Comment


                #82
                Originally posted by Serial_Apologist View Post

                Aha! - a great favourite of Joseph K, late by eviction from this forum: it's Allan Holdsworth.
                Ashamed to say I don’t remember his name . A remarkable technique and not just note spinning . The musical highlight of this otherwise unrewarding COTW. Jazz rock isn’t everyone’s cup of char but , IMHO , that track was vastly musically superior to The Armed Man. A COTW on rock bands of my youth would be most welcome rather than the musically very thin offerings we’ve had recently, It’ll never happen .It’s just snobbery isn’t it really ?

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                  #83
                  Originally posted by Ein Heldenleben View Post

                  Ashamed to say I don’t remember his name . A remarkable technique and not just note spinning . The musical highlight of this otherwise unrewarding COTW. Jazz rock isn’t everyone’s cup of char but , IMHO , that track was vastly musically superior to The Armed Man. A COTW on rock bands of my youth would be most welcome rather than the musically very thin offerings we’ve had recently, It’ll never happen .It’s just snobbery isn’t it really ?
                  Subjecting my own retrospections on the "better" manifestations in rock music of the 1960s and 70s, I now admit, reveals a good deal of what passed the ears as promising to have been more in hope than quality. One becomes more discerning, but nowadays I do doff my hat to some of the British Fusion genre of the time, in the way the best of it took from rock and adapted ideas from certain modern classical composers, avoiding emulating the American genre which becoming more and more standardised, muscle-bound and clichéd, as more perceptive followers in America would have concurred. John Mclaughlin had been an early path setter, pursuing the jazz brain drain, as later would Allan Holdsworth.

                  Comment


                    #84
                    My first thought on hearing Karl Jenkins as COTW was to take a peak at this forum - despite the fact I haven’t contributed for over half a decade! All the same, I hope you won’t mind if I push in with a few thoughts. First of all, however, I would like to reiterate that I’m a composer rather than civilian in these matters. This obviously has a bearing on how I see and interpret things.

                    I suspect Karl Jenkins is a problem for R3. Obviously, his music is nothing like the music they typically commission so it would be fair to say his success has been in spite of R3 rather than because of it.

                    However, it must come to a point when even R3 can’t really ignore this level of success - particularly as it mainly derives from writing music for choral societies whose primary repertoire is music such as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Brahms, etc.

                    Despite my initial comment, perhaps R3 has had a hand in his prosperity by creating the vacuum which he has virtually single-handedly filled. I know that within ‘classical music’ the commonly accepted ‘wisdom’ is that audiences don’t like anything new, but it has to be recognised that in the world at large the opposite is generally true - hence the vacuum.

                    Throughout my lifetime (b.1955) Choral Societies (and their traditional audiences) have been generally very suspicious of new music - at least the new music they knew and would occasionally fail to avoid hearing on the Third programme. This, of course, created a vacuum - one which R3 was not willing to help fill by perhaps occasionally programming some new music more people might have actually liked.

                    But then, classic FM came along at least filling a little corner of that vacuum.

                    For a new work to be taken up by choral societies, two conditions have to be met. The first and primary condition is that the work has to be something the society would want to do. The second condition is that music (or composer) will have had to have had some reasonable amount of exposure.

                    To a large extent, this second condition is not in the gift of the composer which is why some gravitate towards fitting in with the expectations of those institutions in a position to offer that exposure. Historically, in the UK, this means either Classic FM or R3.

                    While there remains a seizable gap between the sort of contemporary music that receives a great deal of promotion on Classic FM and the sort of music typically commissioned by R3 there are a great number of composers (including me, I like to think) that fall between these two extremes. My point is that perhaps, in a different, more inclusive (even sane) broadcasting environment KJ would not have so much to himself!

                    At least I have a sort of connection with KJ: Back in 2019 The Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society gave the first performance of a cantata by me called ‘One World’! I’m wondering if Karl’s next release will be called ‘Time’ because that’s the title of my follow-up to ‘One World’ which the same choir are doing this March.

                    Best wishes to you all, Ian (aka Iain James Veitch)

                    Comment


                      #85
                      Originally posted by Ian View Post
                      My first thought on hearing Karl Jenkins as COTW was to take a peak at this forum - despite the fact I haven’t contributed for over half a decade! All the same, I hope you won’t mind if I push in with a few thoughts. First of all, however, I would like to reiterate that I’m a composer rather than civilian in these matters. This obviously has a bearing on how I see and interpret things.

                      I suspect Karl Jenkins is a problem for R3. Obviously, his music is nothing like the music they typically commission so it would be fair to say his success has been in spite of R3 rather than because of it.

                      However, it must come to a point when even R3 can’t really ignore this level of success - particularly as it mainly derives from writing music for choral societies whose primary repertoire is music such as Bach, Handel, Mozart, Brahms, etc.

                      Despite my initial comment, perhaps R3 has had a hand in his prosperity by creating the vacuum which he has virtually single-handedly filled. I know that within ‘classical music’ the commonly accepted ‘wisdom’ is that audiences don’t like anything new, but it has to be recognised that in the world at large the opposite is generally true - hence the vacuum.

                      Throughout my lifetime (b.1955) Choral Societies (and their traditional audiences) have been generally very suspicious of new music - at least the new music they knew and would occasionally fail to avoid hearing on the Third programme. This, of course, created a vacuum - one which R3 was not willing to help fill by perhaps occasionally programming some new music more people might have actually liked.

                      But then, classic FM came along at least filling a little corner of that vacuum.

                      For a new work to be taken up by choral societies, two conditions have to be met. The first and primary condition is that the work has to be something the society would want to do. The second condition is that music (or composer) will have had to have had some reasonable amount of exposure.

                      To a large extent, this second condition is not in the gift of the composer which is why some gravitate towards fitting in with the expectations of those institutions in a position to offer that exposure. Historically, in the UK, this means either Classic FM or R3.

                      While there remains a seizable gap between the sort of contemporary music that receives a great deal of promotion on Classic FM and the sort of music typically commissioned by R3 there are a great number of composers (including me, I like to think) that fall between these two extremes. My point is that perhaps, in a different, more inclusive (even sane) broadcasting environment KJ would not have so much to himself!

                      At least I have a sort of connection with KJ: Back in 2019 The Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society gave the first performance of a cantata by me called ‘One World’! I’m wondering if Karl’s next release will be called ‘Time’ because that’s the title of my follow-up to ‘One World’ which the same choir are doing this March.

                      Best wishes to you all, Ian (aka Iain James Veitch)
                      Welcome back Iain and thank you for your very thoughtful contribution from an unusual and important perspective. I’ll leave the discussion about choral societies and their need to the many experts on the forum .*

                      As chance would have it they are playing Adiemus on COTW , Ok I’m fessing up : I quite like it and always have . Apart from the auto tuned and noise- gated kids’ voices. I can see why he’s so incredibly popular.

                      * incidentally Mrs H’s choral group is doing a concert this March featuring entirely living Cornish and Devon composers . None of them are names - I bet quite a few local groups do that.

                      Comment


                        #86
                        Yes, thanks for your thoughts, Ian. I thought I had misidentified you, but apparently not! Just been reading an article/interview with KJ. He does, of course, get commissions, if not (yet) from R3.To quote him:

                        "I always wanted to be in music. Composing came later. I did O-level and A-level music, and then on to the University of Wales. But then clas­sical composition in those times meant producing difficult, dissonant music that would never be per­formed and never be accepted. It’s still the case to some degree and in certain areas of the classical world — it’s snobbish, I suppose. If you wrote music that reached out and touched people, it was frowned on.​
                        I don’t see any point in being a composer if you don’t communicate with people. Some classical music is endorsed and cherished by critics and cultural bodies, but I’d rather be what I am, reaching people. I’m not inter­ested in writing music which is only ever performed once to a very few people, to lukewarm applause (“criti­cal acclaim” is the phrase), and never played again.​"
                        It isn't given us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal. A moment too late and we can never reach them any more in this world.

                        Comment


                          #87
                          Mr. H. Thank you for your kind response.

                          It’s great to hear of choral groups performing local (unknown) composers, and you’re right - it’s not uncommon. Of course it’s usually the case that these composers will be known to the choir - so, in a way, the ‘exposure’ element is either fulfilled or not relevant.

                          Indeed, I’m in a similar position - in that I’m relatively well known amongst choral singers in the Cardiff area - my music has even been successfully used in ‘come and sing’ events!

                          At least it does seem to be the case that choirs are much more open to doing new music than they used to be - almost certainly due to the gradual re-emergence (and acceptability) of new music they can really enjoy. (Although R3 aren't exactly fostering this re-emergence, at least they feel they can't ignore the most successful (in terms of popularity) examples.

                          Comment


                            #88
                            Originally posted by french frank View Post
                            Yes, thanks for your thoughts, Ian. I thought I had misidentified you, but apparently not! Just been reading an article/interview with KJ. He does, of course, get commissions, if not (yet) from R3.To quote him:

                            "I always wanted to be in music. Composing came later. I did O-level and A-level music, and then on to the University of Wales. But then clas­sical composition in those times meant producing difficult, dissonant music that would never be per­formed and never be accepted. It’s still the case to some degree and in certain areas of the classical world — it’s snobbish, I suppose. If you wrote music that reached out and touched people, it was frowned on.​
                            I don’t see any point in being a composer if you don’t communicate with people. Some classical music is endorsed and cherished by critics and cultural bodies, but I’d rather be what I am, reaching people. I’m not inter­ested in writing music which is only ever performed once to a very few people, to lukewarm applause (“criti­cal acclaim” is the phrase), and never played again.​"
                            Populism is another way to "reach people"; music written in a bygone idiom is no lasting measure of what is worthwhile inasmuch as representative of its time () The only snobbery to be attributed to commissioning "difficult, dissonant" music is in the inverted snobbery of the man himself.

                            While on the week's COTW, I was annoyed to hear MacGregor describe Nucleus, a very important and leading Fusion band of its time, as "his" (Jenkins') group. Ian Carr must be rolling in his grave. .

                            Comment


                              #89
                              I was interested to read Mr. Jenkins' comments about composing, though they are very much a re-hash of what people have said before , by Julian (not Andrew) Lloyd-Webber and others. I've often heard comments along the lines of 'Malcolm Arnold was banned for daring to write tunes' etc. They should have been killed stone dead years ago, not least by Charles Rosen's brilliant and very thorough 1998 essay 'The Irrelevance of Serious Music '.

                              Jenkins' argument is basically a 'Straw man' , defending the simple fact that he writes corn because it's easy and it sells; he doesn't explain how so many 'difficult, dissonant' pieces have been widely performed and accepted.

                              Comment


                                #90
                                Speaking as a composer, there are likely quite a few of us that compose music that is intended to communicate with people, and that is not excessively difficult or demanding on the listener, but is at least well crafted and doesn't fall into the bland, poorly composed/crafted, offerings that KJ serves up.

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