For the longest time I’ve wanted to start a Contemporary Music Ensemble and that dream has come to fruition. While working on a number of occasions with a local composer, Rachel Short (a recent graduate of IUS), we’ve pulled together some resources and folks (as haphazardly as that might have happened) and concocted the Mothership Ensemble (the name which, as she said, “chose itself”).
I’ve talked with a number of local composers and musicians when i moved back to the Louisville Metro area about the idea of starting a New Music group, and ideas flew back and forth, but nothing really solidified. Over the past year or so I’ve been Rachel’s works for various events and as well as her senior recital. One piece of hers, Wormhole: Caesura (for voice and string trio), we’ve performed a number of times with pretty much the same line-up (with me on voice/cello).
I’m kinda stoked about this – it looks like a special 2CD edition of Basil Poledouris‘ score to the film Conan the Barbarian has been recorded for Prometheus Records by James Fitzpatrick. The original score was infamous for having scored 24 French Horns (yes, 24 French Horns) for the opening number of the score, Anvil of Crom.
I didn’t know much about the composer, but after reading the Wikipedia article about him, I was intrigued:
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Basil Poledouris credited two influences with guiding him towards music: the first was composer Miklós Rózsa, the second was his Greek Orthodox heritage. Poledouris was raised in the Church, and he used to sit in services enthralled with the choir’s sound. At the age of seven, Poledouris began piano lessons, and after high school graduation, he enrolled at the University of Southern California to study both filmmaking and music. Several short films to which he contributed are still kept in the university’s archives.
I can definitely hear the Miklós Rózsa influence, but had never thought about the Greek Orthodox background. After re-listening to some of the numbers from the score (and now that I have some understanding of musical traditions associated with the Eastern Church) I can hear that now too.
Here is the opening to the film, the aforementioned Anvil of Crom: