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MV3 -- Gordon Rumson and Keith Bramich visit the world of music online

Music & Vision's new monthly column -

The web allows many creative people the chance to promote their works around the globe, establishing connections in far-flung locales that would have been next to impossible a dozen years ago. At present the range of materials is large, but not complete. Or completely overwhelming. There are still hundreds of composers, artists, poets and such who are not online. But there is a start to it now.

The formats vary widely: RealAudio, MIDI, audio files, MP3, MPEG and so on. And there are few established traditions about how to set up sites for ease of navigation. I'll try to warn you if something odd is going on and what your browser might need to do that's extra or unusual.

Hugh Flynn: Composer

Flynn is a UK-based composer of what he calls World Orchestral Music, an amalgam of many ideas and influences. He's been composing since the late 70s so he is no newcomer and his largest work is the Wexford Symphony, given here in painfully brief sound files (MP3) examples. It's impossible to tell how it succeeds in total so would some creative, enterprising impresario PLEASE program this work? The last thing the world needs is another symphony gathering dust so JUST GET ON WITH IT!!

Flynn seems to like to take the bad-boy/angry man attitude, but his works, like The Park are genuinely interesting. They are listed by period up to only the late 80s while his more recent works await electronic encoding. I look forward to that. Navigate through the site to the MP3 files. Mine had to download as they don't seem set up to stream -- or is that just my browser failing me?

Site at:

Leo Ornstein: Composer

Born either in 1892, 1894, or 1895 and still living in Wisconsin (yes still alive and well!) Leo Ornstein is a genuine American original. When a young wildman his music was compared with Schoenberg and Stravinsky (and they came out sounding tame); later he retired from the faddish concert world but kept composing right up to the 1990s. This site has an interview done in the late 1980s and is divided into bite sized RealAudio bits listed by subject matter. Hear Leo Ornstein talk about how he composed, his teachers and many other things. The site is hosted at Affordable Arts (the Internet Shopping Mall for fine arts at: ) and is well worth the visit. Here's to Leo Ornstein!

Site at:
M&V article at:

Paul Badura Skoda: Pianist and Scholar

One of the most eminent pianists of his generation as well as a scholar of considerable attainments, Paul Badura Skoda's recordings date back to the 1950s. Samples here are from CDs and of live concerts including performances in Madison, Wisconsin when he was professor there in the 1960s. Be sure that Badura Skoda's performances are thoroughly thought out and well balanced as befits a master of the Viennese tradition. But also listen to his performances of Chopin (the E flat Nocturne with embellishments derived from tradition) and even Debussy. Accessing of the site is painfully slow just because there is so much material here: Beethoven, much Mozart, Debussy, the Liszt Sonata (in two parts for some reason), Chopin, Bach. Worth the wait, though I would like them to redesign the site (dividing material by composer) to speed loading time. Most interestingly is a Mass composed by Paul Badura Skoda and premiered in 1950. Perhaps one of the reasons he performs with such understanding is that he too is a composer. Would that more pianists learned THAT lesson. Now all we need is an online version of his book on Mozart (in conjunction with Eva Badura Skoda) with audio examples...

Site at:

Stephen Hansen Smythe: Composer

Calgary-based composer Stephen Hansen Smythe has a wry sense of humour, an infectious sense of rhythm and a complete command of electronic music making. Every music teacher should listen to Theory Student Electro Shock Collar for its dead-on satire (ex-music students will get it too). And most magical is the electronic composition Sundayalyis with its hauntingly beautiful bells, ghostly voices, creaking ropes and splendid musical shape. This one's for keeps. Hansen Smythe has also done a great deal in film and animation shorts and should do more.

Main site at
Steve's homepage is at:

Allan Rae: Composer

One of Canada's most significant composers, Allan Rae has been producing music of great interest and merit for almost 30 years. His Mirror of Galadriel, a large work for orchestra, may be one of the best, most serious and significant works ever inspired by Tolkein's Lord of the Rings. Allan Rae has written works in every genre and recently has spent a great deal of time working in the theatre. This site is mostly a promotional one, having samples rather than complete works in some cases. Most of the files are in MP3, one or two in RealAudio and most prepared on synthesiser and far too brief except to give a tiny tantalising taste. Performers should take note of this music.

Site at:

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Copyright © 1 January 2001 Gordon Rumson, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


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