A Night on Bare Mountain

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, New Music, New Music Compositions | Posted on October 2, 2014

With the BBC’s Ten Pieces project about to kick off on Monday I’ve been motivated to come back to a piece I first shared with kids in my first teaching post in Glasgow in 1978. Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bare Mountain’ is deservedly part of the ‘Ten Pieces’ that kids will enjoy. Locally, we’ve got hundreds of kids from around 10 schools attending the Odeon in Dumfries for the BBC ‘Ten Pieces’ film. I hope Mussorgsky will forgive me for this digital arrangement of his music, I’ve certainly had fun putting it together!

 

Mood Indigo

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, New Music, New Music Compositions | Posted on September 28, 2014

Collaboration on a piece of work is for me, always going to result in something much better than if the work is done in splendid isolation. That’s the case for almost any task.

I composed a piece of music initially with the title ‘Scotland Decides’. I’ve shared this music with a few folks and been encouraged by the response. John Maxwell Geddes and Eddie McGuire, both Scottish composers of great note (unintended pun, sorry!) have given me very positive feedback. Legendary record producer of ‘Tubular Bells’ Tom Newman has given me very specific suggested changes which I’ve already taken on board. And Emerson Lake & Palmer sleeve artist and designer William Neal has asked if this piece be linked directly with an art work he’s been working on entitled ‘Mood Indigo’. I’m so delighted these folks have given me such generous, helpful feedback which can only enhance my work. Thanks guys, here’s the piece now called ‘Mood Indigo’.

Scotland Decides

4

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, New Music, New Music Compositions | Posted on September 17, 2014

One day to go as we lead up to the Scottish Referendum. Don’t ask me why, but I decided last night to write a piece of music for piano which I’ve unimaginatively entitled ‘Scotland Decides’. I’m not saying which way I’ll be voting, just that I will be. It will be probably be a very narrow contest, with delighted and disappointed voters almost in equal measure. Whatever the outcome, let’s move forward carefully considering the feelings of all.

Here’s my piece ‘Scotland Decides’

Castlemilk Kids – writing, performing, recording their own song ”It’s Up to You”

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Health & Well Being, Learning & Teaching, New Music | Posted on June 2, 2013

book-40As a music teacher in Castlemilk High School, Glasgow in 1998, I received a video that was sent to all schools in the UK. It was a short video of no more than 10 minutes, perhaps less, featuring legendary Beatles’ Producer (the fifth Beatle) Sir George Martin exhorting schools up and down the land to get involved in composing new songs. These songs were to reflect young songwriters dreams and aspirations, engaging them in collective creative experiences working together in composing new songs with powerful  messages. It’s a long story to share exactly how we went about this, but for now I just want to share that out of thousands of schools involved in this venture, the kids from Castlemilk High ended up featuring on the CD (100,000) sold in Marks & Spencers shops in the UK. We were invited to open and perform at new M&S stores. We recorded in Sir George Martin’s Air Studios in London, met the great man himself (our Executive Producer!) and admired his Rolls Royce parked outside. We performed in front of 3000 (opening the concert with the first song!) in London at the Skyscape Auditorium adjacent to the Millenium Dome in February 2000. It was an adventure I’ll never forget, and hopefully the whole process from start to finish is one that will remain with those kids for the rest of their lives.

 

‘It’s Up to You’  Track 20/22 track CD (Children’s Promise Charity no. 1073761)   20 It’s Up To You

WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER, EVERYONE ME AND YOU, WE’VE GOT TO SEE THIS WHOLE THING THROUGH, THERE’S WORK TO DO

CHORUS: OUR HANDS WILL BUILD A FUTURE, OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, AND IT’S UP TO YOU

CHILDREN OF OUR WORLD TODAY, THEY’VE HAD IT TOUGH, WE CAN CHANGE THEIR DESTINY, IF WE WORK HARD ENOUGH

CHORUS: OUR HANDS WILL BUILD A FUTURE, OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, AND IT’S UP TO YOU

MAKE THE FUTURE A BRIGHTER PLACE, FOR EVERYONE, FOR EVERYONE’S THE SAME AS US, LET’S SHARE OUR LOVE

CHORUS: OUR HANDS WILL BUILD A FUTURE, OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD, AND IT’S UP TO YOU

THIS SONG HAS BROUGHT A MESSAGE, A MESSAGE SUNG FOR YOU, ALL OF US NEED FAITH AND HOPE, TO SEE US THROUGH

IT’S UP TO YOU (MAKE THE FUTURE A BRIGHTER PLACE, FOR EVERYONE)

John Maxwell Geddes in Dumfries & Galloway Schools

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Collaboration, Creativity, Curriculum for Excellence, Learning & Teaching, New Music, New Music Compositions | Posted on February 26, 2013



John Maxwell Geddes is one of Scotland’s leading composers. In addition to composing, he has lectured at many universities throughout Europe, the United States, and Russia, and has held various conducting posts, including that of principal guest conductor of the Dumfries and Galloway Regional Orchestra. John studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, and following his graduation, worked as a school teacher until winning a scholarship that enabled him to study in Copenhagen with Niels Viggo Bentszon.
 John has had a long association with Dumfries & Galloway and we’re delighted to have such a distinguished composer working with us on composing projects for young people in 4 primary schools in the region. The weather this week has been cold and clear and after a busy day, John and I took a trip in the sunshine down to Kippford on the Solway coast.



Theme Music – Winter Olympic Games, Calgary 1988

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, New Music | Posted on November 17, 2012

I could listen to this again and again. A great mix of orchestra, piano, light and shade, aspiration, inspiration, perspiration….or is it just me? I think it’s brilliant. In 1988 I was just getting underway with composing with digital technology for the first time. I’m told by the guy who had the first Korg M1 in the UK (Ian Watson) that I got the second one  –  what a keyboard, with 8 track digital sequencer, did my first piece for the BBC using it in 1989.
This piece by David Foster really inspired me and still gives goose pimples when I hear it. Here it is  –  the official olympic theme from the Winter Games in Calgary 1988 played by Håvard Gimse and Kringkastingsorkestret. Enjoy.

Eric

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in Creativity, New Music, New Music Compositions | Posted on October 2, 2012

20 years ago, when I was but a lad, I had a recording studio with a 1 Meg Macintosh (see picture!) in Newton Mearns, Glasgow. I’ve now set up a new music recording studio in a farmhouse in the Dumfries & Galloway countryside. I was inspired by the London Olympic Games (and Mr Bean) to compose an Olympic tune in memory of Eric Liddell, the great Scottish athlete, in the style of one of my musical heroes, Vangelis, so here it is.

Eric  © Upbeat Music 2012

NEW VISTAS

0

Posted by upbeat | Posted in New Music | Posted on November 3, 2008

John Maxwell Geddes with Paragon musicians and Castle Douglas High School students

John Maxwell Geddes with Paragon musicians and Castle Douglas High School students

Lochside Theatre, Castle Douglas, Sunday 2 November 2008

A beautiful sunny Autumn day in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway. I arrived at 11.00am at the Lochside Theatre to listen to the Paragon Ensemble trio of musicians on violin, cello and horn in rehearsal, all feeling the heat under the stage lights.

New Vistas is a unique project devised by John Maxwell Geddes, one of Scotland’s leading composers working in association with Paragon Ensemble. A Creative Scotland Award made by the Scottish Arts Council in 2007 has enabled John to work with young aspiring composers from across Scotland, in Aberdeen, Glasgow and Castle Douglas.

New Vistas has had young people composing music inspired by Seascapes (Aberdeen), Starscapes (Glasgow) and Landscapes (Castle Douglas). The first of these concerts showcasing new music by 6 young people from Castle Douglas High School was a great success and also featured compositions by John. His final piece was entitled St Ninian’s Cave, a piece based on a NONOGRAM puzzle. Students’ themes are placed in a square of 9 boxes (3 x 3) and the performers begin and end on the central idea, moving to any adjacent idea and returning to the centre after each event. The work ends when all events have been played by each player.

Castle Douglas students have been developing their compositions over the past year with support from John. Ocassional visits to Castle Douglas from John and Paragon musicians have allowed them to develop their musical ideas through discussion and having their pieces performed at early stages of development. John has a particular talent for inspiring young people in their music making and composition. The resultant concert, featuring the students’ pieces and John’s work, was a fantastic success. An appreciative audience of family, friends and invited guests were treated to an excellent, varied concert of new music.

Skip to toolbar