Making Music That Lasts, Part 1
Boyce Lancaster talks with Maestro Albert-George Schram, former staff conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, about making music that lasts.
Too often, Schram suggests, composers fall into traps when writing for violins or woodwinds, assigning them too-familiar roles that don’t explore the boundaries of the possible, settling for the expected.
Highlights From This Interview:
Albert-George: “It’s difficult to make a string section rock. Violins are not innately rock instruments, except when they are played by Stephan Grappelli, maybe. And it’s not because (the musicians) are not from the old country, or they are not trained well. It’s just, those instruments, in our vernacular, we don’t naturally associate symphony orchestras with that language, with the blues.”
Albert-George: “So, always, we have to work a little bit harder to get it right. Always I am more grateful to composers who actually come up with a way that we can be part of the package that is real American, with the way they write for the symphony orchestras.”
Boyce: “The London Symphony did this for years. The London Symphony plays Jethro Tull. The London Symphony plays Genesis. And a lot of that stuff just didn’t work. But every once in a while, they really got it.”
Albert-George: “Before we know it we get hemmed in by what we expect a symphony is, and this is how you do it, and this is how you write for the strings. And then to think out of the package is hard, and that’s why (Aaron) Copeland is not necessarily a symphonist. But thank God he isn’t, because he opened up our minds in terms of writing for the movies. And that’s a good place to start.”