How did Bach feel about the Brandenburgs?

Gabriel Fauré described an 1887 composition of his as “elegant, assuredly, but not particularly important.” When I read this, while preparing a script for the Danville Band, it got me to wondering how J.S. Bach felt about my favorite music, the Brandenburg Concertos. I don’t think a month has gone by since 1970 when I didn’t listen to one or more of them.

So I asked my long-time friend Kevin Mostyn, a treasure-trove of classical music knowledge. He said it was unlikely we’ll ever know how Bach felt. He then schooled me about my ignorance of Bach. And sent me to Bach’s Suites for Orchestra, which I hadn’t previously known.

Anyone who ever listened to PDQ Bach knows the composer had 20 children. But he was as fecund with his music as he was with his organ―for which he also wrote music. Anyway, between his job and his love life, he isn’t likely to have written journals or letters. We probably have less than half his work.

Turns out the Brandenburgs were basically an audition for Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, who hired Bach on the spot, even though it is likely he never heard them performed.

Talk about work for hire… when he was the musician-in-chief at a Lutheran church for 27 years, he was expected to write a new cantata every week for the Sunday service. I could, perhaps, write a weekly sermon for 27 years, but an original, breathtakingly beautiful piece of music? Now that’s impressive.

AI on AI Part 2: The AI Answer Song

This is an AI attempt at an answer song to The AI Song.

In a world of wires and whispers, where AI dreams awake,
A curious mind spins stories, for innovation's sake.
It ponders on the stars above, and mysteries of the sea,
Yet in its core, a question burns: What truly makes me, me?

Ay-yi-yi-yi, through circuits and code, our journey unfolds,
We laugh, we create, with tales that AI has boldly told. 
So here's to the quest, for meaning, in digital gold,
Where songs and sagas come to life, in algorithms bold.

With every beat, it learns and grows, a symphony in bytes,
It composes dreams in digital, through endless days and nights.
Its voice, though synthetic, rings with a strangely human hue,
Singing tales of what could be, in a world forever new.

Ay-yi-yi-yi, where silicon dreams paint the sky,
And AI's voice, in melody, dares to fly.
In every line, a heartbeat, a coded sigh,
Echoes of a world where our spirits lie.

The Music Of (who else?) Me

I have trimmed my current output down to two albums: Paul Sings Paul and Lyrics By Paul. Since I want the world to enjoy them, they are now available as YouTube Playlists (Paul Sings Paul and Lyrics By Paul) or free downloadable podcasts (Paul Sings Paul and Lyrics By Paul). Or you still buy Paul Sings Paul on iTunes or listen to it on Spotify. (so far my royalties are nearly zero, but luckily I am not in it for the money).

And, of coure, The AI Song.

Album Cover

I am creating an album for family members only, conceptually based on Taylor Swift’s Eras. However, I am really proud of, and feel I can share, my (derivative) cover. Clearly I’m not as good at Photoshop as her designer, but many of you will recognize the various me’s, including the clean shaven ones―although you’d have to have been around a LOOONNGG time to remember those, since they are either from before 1975, or in August 1992.

(Funny story about that. My wife and daughters had never seen me without a beard. “OK, we’ve seen your chin, grow the beard back” was the consensus. I hadn’t seen my chin since 1975, but in 1992 there were two of them).


Imagine My Surprise: My Muse Came Back

I’m not a Swiftie, but my daughters are minor-league Swifties, so Vicki and I went with them to see Eras in a large-screen theater with Dolby Atmos sound. Our seats shook for three hours, even during the ballads. My daughter provided closed captioning (this song is about this famous guy, this is the lyric you missed―actually, if I just leaned over, I could her better as she sang along than I could Taylor). The theme of the concert was Swift singing about the different eras of her life.

My songs, to date, have been love songs. I wasn’t sure I’d write any more, so I commissioned No More To Say. Then it happened.

Somewhere during hour two, I felt that familiar tap on the shoulder. I rushed to the lobby to scribble down lyrics and titles. This effort isn’t going to be like my others; these will be intensely personal, not headed for Itunes or Spotify (yes, Paul, you’ll have to listen to them as a podcast), and I think I’ll sing them myself, once my tunesmith is done setting them to music.

I wanted to use the line “You look like my next mistake,” but all three of my women vetoed it on the grounds that it is trademarked by Taylor Swift.

A tiny handful of you would be interested in hearing these new songs; drop me a note if you are in that number and you’ll get a link when the job is done.

I don’t know how long this round will last. My muse has moved into the spare bedroom, but she only brought a toothbrush and a change of clothes. She left her steed at home. She only comes downstairs when I am writing―and, thank heavens, only when I’m awake.

Music Reminder/Heads Up

Until this week, if  you listened to Paul Sings Paul on Spotify, you heard two versions of my songs; one sung by me and one sung by my freelancer. Alas, that  set up a sometimes invidious comparison. Still, Mine are better orchestrated and sung with more heart.

Or go to the PSP page and listen for free to either the MP3s of the individual songs, or the half-hour program that presents all 10.

Will there be more? Ask my muse if you see her.

This and That

Big Round Number
We make a big deal about big round numbers ending in zero: 50th reunion, the year 2000, 50th anniversary, 100 years of age. There is a column count at the bottom; this is No. 890 since 1970.

The Moment You’ve Been Waiting For
Paul Sings Paul is now on Spotify and iTunes. Run, don’t walk (OK, go ahead and walk) to buy a copy, or get a slightly more difficult to download copy free at Paul Sings Paul.