The contemporary classical composer and the recorded artefact: auteur, collaborator, or scriptwriter?

Hall, Simon (2015) The contemporary classical composer and the recorded artefact: auteur, collaborator, or scriptwriter? In: 10th Art of Record Production Conference, 6-8 November 2015, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. (Unpublished)

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The path to record production for composers of concert hall-based acoustic music is often quite different to the composer of popular, media, electroacoustic or electronic music. A piece is far more likely to have been performed many times in concert before being rendered in a studio session. The common model involves the creation of the musical work; performance(s) of the work; then, perhaps, a recording of the work. Successful completion of one of the stages does not in any way necessarily guarantee progression to the next. Composers often therefore lack a proper produced recorded artefact for much of their oeuvre.

This paper forms part of an ongoing study that looks at the relationships of a number of active established contemporary composers to the recorded medium and the production process. It draws on a series of one to one interviews, pulling together thoughts from the likes of Michael Finnissy, Joe Cutler, and Ed Bennett, as well as tying in personal experiences as a producer, co-producer and engineer within this sphere of music.

The research to date concludes that these composers face issues common to other genres of music, and most are keen to develop their output within the recorded medium. Barriers can be financially biased, though lack of opportunity, confidence and perceptions of restriction have influence. Interestingly, most bear the scars of bad experiences.

The composer as auteur, and “cottage industrialist” is often a way forward. Many composers are quite entrepreneurial in developing recording projects. Building performer, producer and engineer relationships, and networks based on trust is also a key factor. Not only is, as Moorefield (2005) proposes, the Producer [assuming a role] as Composer, but out of necessity, the Composer is also becoming Producer.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
4 July 2015Accepted
8 November 2015Completed
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Depositing User: Simon Hall
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2019 10:58
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:54

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