Newly Published Works, Wrapping Up Compositional Loose Ends, and Thoughts About SoundCloud

(NOTE: this blog post was originally published on my Buy Me a Coffee page on 3 October, 2021)

COMPLETING REMAINING PROJECTS

As the year winds down I’m trying to wrap up as quickly as possible the remaining projects I had planned on completing prior to Advent.

The beginning of this year was an unusual one for me. The unusual circumstances resulted in, among other things, my redirecting/refocusing my work a bit; producing music in genres in which I had, at that time, contributed very little. Honestly, I’m not sure if I would have so directed my work had not the circumstances in which I found myself at the beginning of this year been so unusual. However, this refocus resulted in musical growth, so the temporary redirection was beneficial.

My two Mosaic albums – as well as the soon-to-be released Rock Music album – serve to wrap up some of the loose ends of my compositional redirections throughout this year.

(https://michaelcalabris.bandcamp.com/album/mosaics)
(https://michaelcalabris.bandcamp.com/album/mosaics-ii)

After I complete the remaining projects this year, my intention is to return to my primary compositional activity; organ/liturgical music and concert music.

And the wind blew away the fallen leaves

In previous posts I’ve made mention of this piano piece; a work I composed for Carson Cooman. While I’m still working on editing and correcting the score, I made a demo recording of the piece. The score of And the wind blew away the fallen leaves should be available for purchase from Sheetmusicplus by the beginning or middle of November, if not earlier:

IMPROVISATIONS

In my ongoing efforts to restore my improvisation video recordings to my YouTube channel, this week I’ve uploaded quite a few such videos: forty-three videos, to be exact.

Some highlights of these videos:

This is an older improvisation video I just re-posted on YouTube. I recorded this video last October. The video features my performing a short carillon improvisation (on the organ’s MIDI carillon/chimes, etc.). I love carillon music, and when I have the opportunity to play an organ that has a carillon, I take full advantage of that opportunity!

Rainy Sunday, recorded in August, 2020. Given that it is in fact a rainy Sunday in NE Ohio as I type these words, re-posting this improvisation here is most appropriate!

Neo-Baroque? is a weird little synthesizer improvisation I recorded in the spring. For me, it very much sounds like springtime music.

Old Love Letters is one of my very best improvisations. The music was inspired by something that happened earlier this year. I was going through some folders in my library and was surprised to find a folder that had poems and letters and other things shared with a former significant other; the receipt from the restaurant on the night we went on our first date, etc. I had forgotten that I had kept these things.

The improvisation is the music of an older man looking back on his younger self – at a time in one’s life when the words “I love you” and “forever” are said often, and without the import that one (properly) attributes to such sentiments as one grows older.

This is another instance where, in my own estimation of my work, I put, with total accuracy, musical form to the emotions I felt – specifically, the emotions I felt as I perused those old letters and poems. The emotions could not have been better musically depicted. Another piece of which this could be said is my rock instrumental, September.

NEWLY PUBLISHED SCORES

Love, Deception, Delusion, & Counterpoint (2019/rev. 2021), a suite of songs without words for clavichord (https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/love-deception-delusion-counterpoint-a-suite-of-songs-without-words-for-clavichord-digital-sheet-music/22105167). For more about this piece, please see my previous post, “Autumn: Memorials, Rock Music, and the Joys and Follies of Love.”

Alleluia is a mystical-sounding work for unaccompanied soprano/alto chorus. This is a revision of the Alleluia I published last month. While the phrase “alleluia” very naturally suggests a celebratory piece, I chose to compose a work that had a more mystical/mysterious character, given that the work’s inspiration was St. John’s vision in the Book of Revelation (https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/alleluia-for-sa-chorus-digital-sheet-music/22106059);

Yesterday (2 October, 2021), I composed and published a new short liturgical work: Sanctus, for unison chorus and organ. The music is in the Anglican style, with a largely syllabic setting of the text (https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/sanctus-for-unison-chorus-organ-digital-sheet-music/22106242).

OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES

I’ve recently decided to post/promote new recordings of my music on YouTube rather than SoundCloud – SoundCloud being the primary platform I’ve used to promote my work to this point. I don’t intend to close my SoundCloud channel; I’m just not going to post anything new on it. There are several very practical reasons for this decision.

First, I should say that I think that SoundCloud is a great platform. It’s a platform I’ve used for years; the platform I used when I first began sharing my music online. But things have changed with SoundCloud.

Among other unfortunate changes to their platform, SoundCloud recently discontinued their “Pro” membership plan (the plan to which I was subscribed). The only “Pro” plan now available is “Pro Unlimited.” Originally, these two plans coexisted, along with the free plan, as well as plans intended solely for listeners rather than content creators. This original arrangement and variety of options was ideal, as it helped users choose the best program for them based on their budget.

The “Pro” plan was $8 a month, whereas “Pro Unlimited” is $16. The features of the two programs are almost identical, with the primary exception being how much one is permitted to upload.

Very naturally, I’m unwilling to pay for a service that once offered me the same features for half the cost. Additionally, even though I had paid for a “Pro” plan, several months ago I began receiving incredibly annoying, intrusive ads – WHEN LISTENING TO MY OWN MUSIC! SoundCloud’s justification for this is that the ads are necessary to provide financial support to their content creators. However, none of my tracks were ever monetized, and, as far as I was ever able to tell, SoundCloud never really did anything to promote my work. They were, in essence, using my money AND ads targeted at my audience to bankroll other people’s careers. And I wasn’t even then permitted to listen to my own music unencumbered by annoying, intrusive ads.

After my “Pro” plan expired, many of my tracks were hidden, since they surpassed the posting limits for the free plan, to which it defaulted after the plan expired. So, in case you visit my SoundCloud channel and are unable to find a previously posted track, it is likely because the track was hidden.

I’m disappointed by all this, as I enjoyed the SoundCloud platform. It was, as I stated previously, the first platform where I shared my music. However, continuing to use it any further would be an unwise expenditure of my time and money.

So, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be posting my music on YouTube, instead.

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