Tag Archives: borrowing

Inspiration or Plagiarism?

8 Jul

by Spencer Leigh at the Independent (via Expecting Rain):

Far safer, perhaps, to plagiarise the classics as so much is out of copyright – and look at the success of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (Bach), “I Should Be So Lucky” (Pachelbel) and “You Spin Me Round” (Wagner). Myleene Klass, once in Hear’Say, says, “A lot of rock music plagiarises classical music, but those classical musicians often took things from each other anyway. It used to be a compliment to write variations on a theme.”

In 2002 John Cage’s publishers claimed that his silent piece from 1952, “4’33”, had been plagiarised by Mike Batt on his album Classical Graffiti. Batt maintained that his silence was not the same as Cage’s, but nevertheless paid £100,000 to his publishers.

The article gives many examples of “inspirations.” For instance, can you hear Paul McCartney’s “All My Loving” in Dave Brubeck’s “Kathy’s Waltz”?

(The Brubeck song was recorded first.)

Once again, all of this is more fodder for the If I Was a Master Thief, Perhaps I’d Rob Them series.

Read the article

Hear “All My Loving” after the jump:

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Something Borrowed, Something New

1 Jun

From poet and classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz of UMass-Boston on Fresh Air :

For more than 50 years Pierre Boulez has been at the forefront of classical music as a composer, conductor and radical thinker. He turned 85 years old in March and shows little sign of slowing down, with a continuing flow of CDs and DVDs to his credit.

One of the newest, a CD of music by Igor Stravinsky is one of Boulez’s best.

* * * *

The disc also includes Stravinsky’s complete Pulcinella, not just the abbreviated Suite, which leaves out the charming, sexy songs. Stravinsky composed this scintillating commedia dell’arte ballet for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

Stravinsky himself regarded Pulcinella as his first neo-classical work, both his discovery of the past, and his transformation of it. He boldly borrowed themes he thought were all by the 18th-century Italian composer Pergolesi, though it turned out some of them were actually by a number of other minor composers. But even though the tunes themselves aren’t by Stravinsky, his syncopated rhythms and dazzling, even hilarious combinations of instruments make Pulcinella one of his most original, most modern, most ‘Stravinskyan’ scores. And in the hands of Boulez and the Chicago Symphony, one of his most sparkling.

On a new DVD, Inheriting the Future of Music, you can watch Boulez working on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring with young conductors and players at the Lucerne Festival Academy in Switzerland. They adore him because he doesn’t condescend to them. And not a note escapes his attention.

Listen here.

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