Musical Christmas 2015

December 25, 2015, 10:33 PM · Hello! Merry Christmas! I just wanted to do a quick post just regarding the festive day I've had this year. It's been a nice break not really having to force myself to work on much, so I've felt a little lazy... Of course, I've always been continuing to listen to Christmas music, and I hope tomorrow morning to listen to some Vaughn-Williams BBC Proms videos to be totally British after reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

In any case, I got some cool music-related gifts this morning, like two toy action figures of Beethoven and Wagner with a baton and a conductor's chair. They can sit at my desk as I loom over my large orchestral score paper as I work on a little orchestration of mine, especially right now over the New Year. (I can describe this project later.) I got four new blank composition notebooks, and an Augustana Orchestra sweatshirt, but the most exciting thing is yet to come, and I think I'll keep it a secret here until I have this object in my possession. :)

I also made a new Christmas-themed game this year, and I never ended up making any of the Christmas violin covers I'd planned, so hopefully I'll do those next year. Anyways, for this game it's basically eight levels and a story where the Grinch is going to destroy the town with a bomb, so you as Christmas knights team up with Superman and Batman and Bilbo and Han and other random characters to save the day basically. (We may actually go and see the new Star Wars film tomorrow, so maybe I'll post a link to my review if I write one here. We've been going a bit Star Wars crazy as a family and we've watched all the previous six films in the order they were made. It's funny, hearing how Williams obsesses over his leitmotifs in them, and how it really sounds like an outer space action film. The Holst influences are more promonent in the first trilogy in my opinion. However, whenever Williams gets his hands on a gorgeous violin or strings melody, they are allowed to just let go and play as Romantically as possible, which always gives me goosebumps hearing them in the score while watching some scene. I've listened to most of Williams' new score; it's amazing how different I listen to it now that I haven't been totally obsessed with movie music. Can't wait to hear the score with the film in the theatre, and picture violinist Bruce Dukov performing in the orchestra!) Speaking of a score, I did work hard choosing all the music to make it all orchestral. A lot of it is from the Batman video games, which retain the dark and gritty tone that Zimmer's score for the films have and makes it pretty epic. There is some happy snow music from Mario with horns and violins and sleigh bells, and what I was most excited to add, Stravinsky's "Infernal Dance" from his "Firebird" for the last level with the Grinch. "Carol of the Bells" was remixed in a Batman game, and I used an orchestral recording of "Jingle Bells" at the end to add festivity. It brought me back to when I was choosing music for games I was more obsessed with at the time.

So yeah, I had a fun Christmas this year, and it was very nice just relaxing with my family, listening to a composition CD I put together last month - I may have discussed it - that I may give to more family members for Christmas. Whatever you did to celebrate the holiday season this year, I hope it was a fantastic and happy time, and that you will have a great New Year! I can't wait to see what 2016 brings to me, not only in where the direction of my compositions go, but also the direction of my violin-playing in the orchestra and in chamber and solo music.

Dec. 27 UPDATE: We saw the film yesterday morning, so here is a review of it, basically all focused around the score.

My (Musical) Review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

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