Thursday, September 22, 2011

Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir - 'Lux Aurumque'

I found this gem on YouTube a few nights ago and am one what is probably my 20th listening of it.
I was logoking for choral music, just for fun, to expand my music collection. I particularly like music that has been used in films. It is hard to find, as I often do not take note of who does the music in a film.

The following video is by renowned conductor and composer Eric Whitacre. He was impressed by the a video of a young woman singing one of his songs that was posted to Youtube. He thought if she could do this, what about getting 100s of people to post their part, then string them together to make a virtual choir. He did this with his song "Sleep." It was a great success. So he decided to do it again with his song, Lux Aurumque. He offered up a backing track and had the sheet music downloaded for free for each person to sing their parts. He then taped himself conducting the song, conducting to the music in his head. After it was done, it was put together in this video. This is quite possibly the most beautiful music I have ever heard. There are multiple versions of this song around, by other choirs, marching bands and orchestras. But I like this best. Here is Eric explaining how it all came to be. Please let me know what you think of this. It is just breathtaking.

Monday, September 12, 2011

PRS McCarty

I do not know how many guitar players read my far and few between ramblings. But perhaps someone will appreciate this.

Yesterday,  I was able to get time on my friends PRS McCary guitar. These have been around for many years. They were designed as an attempt to recapture the Allman Brothers tone on the Fillmore East album, and as a tribute to Ted McCarty, the inventor of the humbucking pickup and designer of many of Gibsons finest guitars. I have never played this guitar for long, and this was the first time we switched guitars. He played my Strat and found it be an easy guitar to play.

PRS guitars can get a bad rap as an elitist guitar, due to its price. Yes, they are pricey, but no more than your average Gibson. This guitar was fairly light, and sounded fantastic through the Mesa Boogie Lonestar I was using. It was a joy to play a guitar that is so different than the Stratocaster and Telecaster that I normally play. For once, I had sustain and a tone that punched through, full and strong. The pickups can be tapped by pulling up on the tone knob, adding even more sounds.

In the next few years, I hope to add a guitar of this caliber to my meager collection. I would choose this over a Les Paul for the easy fret access, and the lighter weight. It does not sound like a Les Paul, of course, but I am so  used to double cutaway guitars that a single cutaway is difficult for me to use.  The McCarty is still an expensive guitar even at used prices, between $1500-1800, about what you would expect to pay for a Les Paul Standard, a Hamer Monaco or a Heritage.

PRS offers the Starla and Mira at lower prices that the McCarty. I will have to check those out, as well.

PRS offers the affordable SE line of guitars made in Korea. I have played these at the store many times. These guitars are finely made, but I would always be wanting the real deal!