Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Lord Is My Shepherd (I Shall Never Want)

Sunday, March 11th, 2012

My setting of the 23d Psalm was performed at a concert in Brooklyn last night, at Our Lady of Refuge Church. The announcement on their website said this:

Annual Lenten Concert Saturday, March 10, 2012
This concert will feature the Haitian Choir directed by Bijoux, the Spanish Choir directed by Nidia Rivera, Instrumental Soloists featuring Glen Balck & Frantz Lafortune, The English Youth Choir, The English Adult Choir and the Parish Choirs.
The concert will also include renditions of Andrea Bocelli and a piece being performed for the very first time in public, Psalm 23 “The Lord Is My Shepherd” arranged and composed by Michael Cook who will be in attendance that night.

A soup dinner starts in the school hall at 6pm and concert starts at 7:45pm.
Tickets to the dinner and the concert are: $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12
Proceeds from the Concert Benefit the Parish Fund to Restore the Pipe Organ.

Melissa and I went to the 5:00 Mass, then the dinner and concert. The people were very friendly and welcoming. I was reminded of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the poor,” because it is a poor parish. Interestingly enough, though, the church is very impressive – large, with beautiful stain glass windows. The dinner was a soup kitchen type of affair, a bowl of chicken soup and some bread, and a piece of bread pudding for dessert. Father Perry welcomed us, and led us in a song prayer. He is a terrific person, a priest who clearly loves his work.

I felt honored and touched by their treatment of my piece. They put my piece second to last, the last one being a sort of hymn in three languages we all sang together. They did a very good job – I liked their arrangement, and the piano player, the conductor, and members of the choir all really liked the piece and enjoyed doing it. They were concerned that I would like what they did with it – which I did. After the performance of Shepherd, the priest called me up to the front and gave me flowers – as I said, I was quite touched. And after the concert several audience members came up to me and said how much they liked the piece.

Northern Star

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Northern Star is a musical that my mother, Joan Kennedy Taylor, and her collaborator, George Broderick, worked on for many years, starting in the 70’s.  In 2008, while going through my mother’s house in the Berkshires, I found a box full of demo tapes made during the course of their collaboration.  I took the tapes – some reel to reel, some cassettes, some taped from live performances, some recorded in studios, some of Joan and George just singing into a cassette recorder – to a recording studio and had them all transferred to CD’s.  This resulted in about 18 hours of music.  I went through this material, and assembled the “best of the best” into one CD (about 68 minutes in length).

Needless to say, this was a moving experience.  I was familiar with much of the material, but I also found material I had never heard before.  We cleaned up the recordings as much as possible – using digital signal processing to reduce noise, balance volume levels, do some minimal pitch correction – and sequenced the songs in the order suggested by existing scripts.

I am posting the results here.