MP3 Gerald Brennan - Five Fantasy Nocturnes
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5 MP3 Songs
CLASSICAL: Contemporary, CLASSICAL: New Age
I'm a composer and pianist, mainly, but also a radio producer, author and journalist. My first radio job was with National Public Radio affiliates WUOM, WVGR, and WFUM in Michigan. I produced hundreds of weekly programs in my decade there - including The Musical Theatre, New Music, New Releases, From the Monophonic Era, Music of Our World, Excursions, and Nocturne. Shortly after I had added daytime host to my credits we were all fired, as Michigan Radio dumped music and became a carrier of the NPR talking-heads stuff coming out of Washington. It was a good move for them, put them in the black, and I had no hard feelings. They were too conservative with the music and the times they are a changin', so they never had a chance. I always tried to get them to loosen up, to give a livlier format a chance, but was considered a "loose cannon" by the administration.
Way back in 1980 I organized the Ann Arbor-based Sinewave Studios for the development and propagation of new art music. During that time, Sinewave Studios and its off-shoot Twice Festivals was one of America's leading new music forces. I produced about twenty concerts, and conducted the North American premier of Karlheinz Stockhausen's Fur kommende Zeiten at the Detroit Institute of Art. When I told Stockhausen about that concert years later, as the words were coming out of my mouth, I realized that I had never asked his permission to do the premiere, or even asked for his blessing, and never sent him a dime in royalty payment. To his credit he simply pursed his lips and nodded at the floor. The concert was a big success. Such enthusiasm back then; it the show were given today I couldn't put asses in 50 seats.
The writing part of my career started in 1984 when I wrote and self-published a booklet on starting a classical record collection. Borders agreed to carry it, and it finally made its way into the paws of a publisher from a place called and Books. He asked me to expand it into a sure enough book, and thus was born Classical Records, Starting Your Collection (and Books, South Bend, 1984). After it was published I took it to the Ann Arbor News and asked them if they needed a music reviewer. Turned out they did, and so all while I had the radio gig I was reviewing the best acts in the world that came through town. It got old, though, and when I lost the radio job I also quit reviewing. I found it to be spiritually corrosive to have to say negative things about other people in print. That said, it did help feed me, my wife Patty and my two kids Terry and Max. I do hope, however, that I will never be hungry enough to have to do that again.
Before all that I worked in record stores, including the famous Liberty Music and SKR Classical. I also sold pianos, moved pianos, sold sheet music, managed the University of Michigan's record and sheet music store, and wrote for various music journals.
In 1998, I was headhunted by a visionary fellow named Michael Erlewine, who decided years before that it would be a good idea to get hold of every album in the world and put every bit of information on it into a database. Eventually the idea included taking a photo of the album and doing sound samples. They started with a core of a few music geeks and began by going through their own collections. The rest is history. The company Erlewine founded is called All Media Guide (www.allmusic.com), the world's largest repository of product data and editorial information about music. He asked to assume the post of Director of Content of Classical Music at All Media Guide, to create a department that would be devoted to classical music only. I jumped at it, and in four years I and my amazing staff amassed the data, created the classical website, and produced the giant reference book, AMG Guide to Classical Music, which I edited and which was published in 2005.
But in truth, after four years I had done the job I was hired to do. I had a choice: join in and do the work of my editors, or keep above all that and play the great director, even though I had essentially worked myself out of that job. I hung on for two more years collecting my huge salary and bought a nice house! Then the parent company hired a fellow to run the placewho didn't really understand the company. We never got along. There wasn't room for both of us and he was the boss. Once again I had no hard feelings -- it was time to go.
Now I write music and give concerts. I've got about 50 songs, which will be showing up on this site soon, also a full-length Broadway style musical called Penelope, and a large orchestral piece known as Sinfonia Matrix. Many other works, too. I like to give concerts, but since my music has no genre that can be attached to it (rock? new-age? classical? jazz? -- nope. None of the above) I have yet to find a promoter, something I would sell my grandmother to the Taliban for. (Don't worry. She's dead.)
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