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Thread: Mason Bates

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    Default Mason Bates expanding the orchestra with electronica

    An interesting new piece written in 2009 by a rising star composer:

    New Electronic Sound Worlds

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    I feel quite the opposite of "interesting" and "rising star composer."

    This sounds like the same rather bland schtick I heard in his Mothership, which was somewhat fun but one time through only, it struck me as a film score styled amalgam of highly conservative musical language, languishing about in want of a film for it to support.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0K1kJOins4

    Clearly, Bates knows 'how to composer,' but I find the music, notes, and overall syntax well on the wrong side of banal, the incorporated electronics not at all really newsworthy, and although incorporated well, nothing at all exciting.

    When I heard Mothership, I thought his appointment as composer in residence was an extremely safe bet, calculated for its paper thin and extremely superficial 'hip cred' factor, to be an easy digested pseudo modernism to set before aging and conservative concert audiences.

    He is (his music is) the perfectly presentable poster boy of no-risk / no challenge electronic-acoustic new pops classical music, perfectly safe to bring home to your parents or grandparents without worry of anything coming up which would be in the least way controversial or confrontational.

    Now, with this piece of Bates' from a number of years later than his Mothership which sounds as if there has been absolutely no further development of the composer's harmonic language, and no deeper investigation of electronics nearly as far as they could go -- and as has been done better and in greater depth by others since the sixties, well before Bates was born -- that all gives me little hope this composer will deliver anything but rather more of the same in the future.

    I find this, Mothership, and other pieces I've heard by him really 'lame,' not hip or very "current" at all.

    He may end up later as being thought of as a sort of Leroy Anderson of his generation, a composer with a good deal of craft who wrote the lightest of the lightest pops classical fare, the only difference now being that Bates' "typewriter" is now electric.
    Leroy Anderson ~ The typewriter
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAHlM8LNeDE

    ADD P.s. Just imagine, Edgard Varèse's Amériques, final version, was completed in 1927.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq8SKwi-ycE
    Last edited by PetrB; Jan-20-2014 at 22:18.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Violin and electronics -- much more interesting, not banal, it makes what Bates is doing 'look' like a kindergarten student's fingerpainting.

    Junghae Lee ~ Corona for violin and electronics, live performance.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kWv0t6wSH8

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    it struck me as a film score styled amalgam of highly conservative musical language, languishing about in want of a film for it to support
    So now you can throw all your essays about how composers shouldn't write this way to the trashcan, if it turns out that someone like that can be successful resident composer in large city.

    I'm purchasing his scores to study and the "On Form and Harmony" by Hans Zimmer right away.
    Last edited by Aramis; Jan-20-2014 at 21:43.

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    Senior Member Blake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    So now you can throw all your essays about how composers shouldn't write this way to the trashcan, if it turns out that someone like that can be successful resident composer in large city.

    I'm purchasing his scores to study and the "On Form and Harmony" by Hans Zimmer right away.
    Well, if all you want is to be popular then just aspire to be the next Justin Beiber? It seems the attention is what you're really after. We know what crowd that attracts, and the intellectuals will hardly be moved. Why waste time? Go write a pop song! Call Kanye!

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    So now you can throw all your essays about how composers shouldn't write this way to the trashcan, if it turns out that someone like that can be successful resident composer in large city.

    I'm purchasing his scores to study and the "On Form and Harmony" by Hans Zimmer right away.
    I wouldn't advise that: this is all a matter of faddish temporal shifts of collective taste -- by the time you or I have read, studied and absorbed Hans Zimmer's On Form and Harmony, (a mere pop at just $59.95!) and studied and absorbed the styles of Mr. Bates and that composer Allevi, who wrote that scintillating popular masterpiece violin concerto a year or two back -- this will all be out of fashion, some other voguish trend having replaced it.

    Stick with how and what you can write, man.

    "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." ~ O. Wilde
    Last edited by PetrB; Jan-20-2014 at 22:10.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesuvius View Post
    Well, if all you want is to be popular then just aspire to be the next Justin Beiber?
    I'd love to but I'm too old already and too creepy to be little girls hero.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    I'd love to but I'm too old already and too creepy to be little girls hero.
    I soooooo have you trumped in the old and creepy department that you will never catch up while I am still alive :-)
    Last edited by PetrB; Jan-20-2014 at 21:57.

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    That Mason Bates - he sure is orchestra management bait with his hip look and smarmily inoffensive music. Agree entirely with PetrB - also, if it's been a play to be the perfectly programmeable contemporary composer he's done a really good job.

    I've seen programming in action, been a part of it in fact - the rise of Mr Bates is a vote of no confidence in the audience/public ability to appreciate music

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    I'd love to but I'm too old already and too creepy to be little girls hero.
    Ah, I keep forgetting you guys aren't young and good-looking like myself.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgee View Post
    That Mason Bates - he sure is orchestra management bait with his hip look and smarmily inoffensive music. Agree entirely with PetrB - also, if it's been a play to be the perfectly programmeable contemporary composer he's done a really good job.

    I've seen programming in action, been a part of it in fact - the rise of Mr Bates is a vote of no confidence in the audience/public ability to appreciate music
    ... and a symphonic orchestral board making such a safe decision to appoint that any hint of 'adventurous' or 'risk' is entirely absent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vesuvius View Post
    Ah, I keep forgetting you guys aren't young and good-looking like myself.
    Considering the context of discussion, you've just stated that your looks are such that could enable you to become another Justin Bieber.

    I HAVE NO QUESTIONS

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Considering the context of discussion, you've just stated that your looks are such that could enable you to become another Justin Bieber.

    I HAVE NO QUESTIONS
    Could've been a jestfully smug statement. Don't try so hard.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwGJvFv1z4s1960.

    Orchestra already expanded. In 1960. And this was not the first, either. (It's just my favorite of the early ones.)
    Last edited by some guy; Jan-21-2014 at 00:23.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by some guy View Post
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwGJvFv1z4s1960.

    Orchestra already expanded. In 1960. And this was not the first, either. (It's just my favorite of the early ones.)
    All this existing previous to the 21st century 'evidence' leads me to conclude that whomever appointed Mr. Bates to that Chicago Symphony Orchestra composer in residence post was obliviously out of touch, or calculatedly condescending toward the Symphony's audiences.

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