Monday, August 27, 2018

Symphony no. 2 Mvt. 1

Hey everyone, hope you're all having a wonderful 2018! It's been a little while since I put anything up, but a recent encounter with my toxic father has spurred me onto greater, joyously defiant heights. The vision continues; indeed it is nourished by such despicable attacks.


This is the final arrangement and orchestration of a piece I composed during Summer 2017. Lyraka fans will note that this movement is to an extent an elaboration on my "Errandia" motifs from Lyraka Volume 1.

This symphony employs the use of over 120 musicians, including not-yet traditional instruments like synths and electric guitars (much more the former). So, I doubt there's much here to interest a more casual Rock/Metal listener, but the more immersion-seeking listener will assuredly find plenty to like.

Perhaps best listened to through good headphones (I recommend Sennheiser), where you'll find it easiest to reap new rewards with each listen.


                             All music and lyrics © 2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Symphony no. 3, Mvt. 2

This is my penultimate draft for the second movement of my third symphony, and the first, bare bones rehearsal (I came up with lyrics after this recording, so the choir is just vocalizing on this mp3).

Now compositionally completed, I feel a sense of triumph. Love is the hero.

I've only come up with working lyrics for the choir beginning at 1:02 of the movement; these are obviously far from final from all perspectives; they simply illustrate what I'm aiming for with this movement as far as Weltanschauung goes (any political incorrectitude is due to my using Schiller's words to Beethoven's 9th Symphony as an inspiration):

"Let's all work together toward a world-loving world and
then we'll all love each other, more than friends we're all brothers.
Let's plan a future where we all join as one then we'll
all know the happiness of bless'd nature's sons."


All music and lyrics ©2018 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina, plagiarists will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Symphony no. 1, Mvt. 4

I really appreciate Phillip's vocal here, I mostly just told him to go with the feel and lyrics of  Franz Schubert's "Lindenbaum" (despite the music being...well, both my own and heavier). I had a hard time at first getting past my use of someone else's lyrics, however Wilhelm Müller's words struck a despairing chord within me and fit the music perfectly.

Apparently Schubert felt the words too, at the time of his writing the Winterreise he had been informed of his eventually lethal syphilis contraction.

At the risk of beating the point into the ground, the famous mezzo-soprano Elena Gerhardt once said of "Winterreise" that "you have to be haunted by this (piece) to be able to sing it." That's what I gave Phillip for motivation for his performance.

You can hear the influence of my Serial Vignette method of composition, plus the mix of traditional and electronic instruments. Though the "Lindenbaum" lyrical setting intensifies the feeling of gloom and dread during Phillip's vocal part, the movement is multi-dimensional.

The lyrics are Herr Müller's, which are of course public domain. All music © 2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina




Sunday, July 8, 2018

Symphony no. 1, Mvt. 5

Note the extensively embroidered, hybrid composition here, as well as more of my Serial Vignette compositional technique. Though the instruments have been woven together, there is a strong modular side to this composition, evident not just from the overlapping (and at times exclamatorily interjecting) parts, but in how factors such as, say, effects are arranged, automated, and so much more. I paid lavish detail to those and other factors, in order to most faithfully represent what I heard in my head.

The presence of aleatoricism is evident not only in the transitions and rhythms, but to some extent in the sequencing. Of course, overall this is purposeful composition and orchestration, but happy accidents are the meat and potatoes of both the Serial Vignette and Aleatoric compositional styles (not to mention musical performance), and were as always welcomed both during the composition of the piece and its initial rehearsals.

Finally, it was important for me to express a multi-dimensioned listening experience. The sense of depth and distance is just as much achieved through predelay on a good reverb as well as hyper attention to volume and panning automation.

The initial set of themes came to me in a rush of inspiration, and from that point I couldn't stop writing.


All music ©2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina

Monday, May 14, 2018

Composer's Sketchpad: "Symphony no.3 mvt. 4"

This video is obviously from an unfinished sketch, so forgive the rough edges. Just enough to  give you an idea.

From a video standpoint, this is a tribute to the great Ken Kelly covers from magazines of the 1970s, I'll never get over such iconic images, nor the eerie contents they covered.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Symphony No. 1, Mvt. 3

This isn't the final mix, but very close, and plenty enough to get the ideas across. This movement started out as a piece for a string symphony, but midway during composition I realized I needed a very large orchestra and set of synthesizers to most faithfully represent my vision. 

Forgive the overall sound, as this hasn't been subject to a final mix and master yet, it's just there to give fans an idea of the piece.

                                 All music and lyrics © 2017 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina



Thursday, March 22, 2018

Palace Guard

This is an early example of my use of the Serial Vignette style, which involves the laying out of  musical "scenes" in a Creative Cinema way. Due to this being an earlier composition, "Palace Guard" was mostly aligned with the classic heavy metal style, however it's interesting to hear how the building/lead guitar part stops on a dime and goes into a far more lush, lovely orchestral setting. At first I worried that people would be permanently put off by the abruptness of the transition, but I left it like that because...well, we're talking about black-armored Mer-men and women plunging headlong into battle, singing their song. Some degree of recklessness should be allotted :)

I've had Lyraka friends ask me about that cockeyed, abstract solo after the symphonics, and a few heard Allan Holdsworth-isms in it (maybe for its "outside" sound). Count me as a fan of Allan, but I think it was more a shared, Bartokian headspace. Bartok's compositions were really being played a lot by me at the time (String Quartets 2 and 4 in particular), and wanted to play something quirkily expressive on the guitar. I notice now that section's backing sounds a bit like the Assault Attack/Into the Arena slow arp, pretty obvious how that happened...and how strange to have such an "off" solo over that backing.

But that one, abstract solo was the foreshadow of things to come: intensified self-expression and thinking-outside-the-box.



Monday, March 19, 2018

Scherzo (Variations on a Keim-Motiv)

The main theme (a classic Keim-Motiv)  is so familiar and friendly, but what I really liked was how much I could do with from precisely that motivic perspective. Composers like Beethoven (and Bernard Herrmann, for that matter) were masters at taking small musical statements and doing all kinds of wonderful, implosive/explosive, expansive/compressed things with them; the Keim-Motiv itself providing a distinction-engendering glue to the sound of the piece overall. 


All music and lyrics ©2018 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina, plagiarists will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Help For Victims of Toxic Family Members

I continue to be the victim of a toxic father, and in the interest of both purging myself and trying to do anything I can to help others I feel compelled to put this up. The most tragic part of dealing with a toxic parent is the fact that such toxicity never goes away, the person in question will always fall back on his or her ways, attempting to pull you into their own, poisonous black hole of self-unforgiveness and hate. This organization is one well worth supporting, at times it's been like a life preserver for me. One of the things I learned from it is how to try and not let my heart get in the way too much; that there is truly no other choice in the matter but to ultimately leave that person out of my life, a decision that might even work toward my father's good as well.

The last is important because I DO still love that person...even if my closing him out of my life seems cruel, even if I'm just telling myself it's for his good as well as mine,..then at least I can get on with my own life, and this site helped me understand that there's nothing wrong with that. Most of all, I hope no one has to go through the rejection and abuse my little brother and I did. It's horrible to experience contempt, vicious physical and emotional abuse, and rejection from someone who helped bring you into the world, I wish it upon no one.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Excerpted from Mvt 3 of Symphony no. 2

This is not a piece intentionally meant for Pop/Rock/Metal fans, so please feel free to rock on elsewhere as you wish. What this is is a piece that features multitudinous, compressed melodies and a mosaically stitched harmonic map (said harmonies get so dense at times to be unsettlingly discordant, underscoring the suffocating nature of suffering). This piece, excerpted from the third movement of my second Symphony, was written during a time of suffering, however, I took a page from Groß Meister Beethoven's "Hymn of Gratitude" by incorporating a more positive and familiar (though still introspective) part at the end. Said part was inspired by old cowboy westerns like Alfred Newman's "How the West Was Won" and Tiomkin's brilliant "Alamo". Both cowboys and -girls are usually seen as good spirited, carefree..but there's an ominous side to the part as well as evidenced by the outlaw side of the coin. Or one could say, not out of the prairie yet (or steppes, for that matter).

The sound design applied to this movement made it into a hallucinatory swirl. A lot of this was do to my being creative panning the instruments, and the reverbs applied enhanced the dreamy quality.

All music © 2018 Andrew Neires DiGelsomina All rights reserved, piracy and plagiarism will be prosecuted.

Friday, December 1, 2017

John Lennon Imagine

I feel, as we near the thirty eighth anniversary since this great composer was taken away from us, that the message of this song, perhaps his non plus ultra, more than deserves being reinforced. From a post I made on this blog in October, 2013:
"To me, with this song John brought out the things that upon reflection make life worth living, those things that are beyond cultural or temporal aesthete in terms of archetypal beauty.

I myself truly believe that John's visions of a brotherhood of man, of everyone working together, feeding and sheltering and not unduly judging others can be made a reality. And if that makes me a hopeless romantic, an insufferable idealist, so be it.

The centuries have proven that man is capable of bringing what's inside out into the real world. The seemingly supernatural advances in technology are a great example of the formidable powers of men and women working together. I think we should all get together and work toward a common goal of no more wars, no more killing people, no more judging.

Reach within, everybody. It all starts with us...and our imaginations.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Lyraka's "Gnashing" with Opera Vocalists

    On this version of "Gnashing" we worked with opera singers Nichole (Soprano) and Brian (Tenor). Note the polytonality of the composition, with hyper-compressed harmonic layers superimposed over the original. Here the multi-layering (in the form of manifold, clashing tones) serves to emphasize the rhythm, subtly propelling the piece into a dirge.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Serial Vignette Approach to Composition

After recently reviewing my work of the past eleven years, I've come to realize that I'd quasi-inadvertently invented a musical form that is the product of what I call Serial Vignette Composition. That type of writing was already evident on Lyraka Volume 1 ("Palace Guard", "Errandia", "Neires"), and since then I have refined its execution a great deal, coming to a strikingly effective...let's say, personality quirk. This form of stream-of-conscious, almost film cue-esque writing has never been as thoroughly explored as in my music.

Please bear with me for a mercifully brief autobiographical aside.

When I was young, my parents were huge movie buffs, and we regularly went to cinemas to indulge. Movies were a big part of my life since I was young, and I came to love them very much. I was a fan of  Coppola, Kubrick, and Scorsese, and during the 90s Quentin Tarantino. In regard to Tarantino, I'll never forget watching the layout of his films ("Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill" for just two instances) and feeling as though I'd found a creative soul mate. The way I diverge from his method is by not being as ruled by the movie form as he (understandably) wa$. To elucidate, Tarantino's films led to satisfying conclusions/resolutions, despite the odd internal sequencing, while my music tends to mirror more the internal experience by often leaving conflicts unresolved, or radically resolved to (say), a rare (and/or seemingly random) chord or sudden halt, explosion...MacGuffin. Those last mentioned attributes were especially striking to me when I started studying the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the repertoire of his greatest collaborator, maestro Bernard Herrmann, because such irresolution is part and parcel of their art as well (even more fun: I didn't even discover Vertigo until after I turned 50 lol! It was like I had a couple of artist friends all this time and never knew it! :). Watch the movie, pay close attention to the score, and you'll understand better what I mean.)

This style of composition could be seen as either an oblivious concession to and/or more "artistic" example of of the ADD (i.e. popular) culture we live in, but it originally stems more from my own,  vignette-laden inner experience. To be more specific, I often reflect on experiences in a cinematic way, and this is why much of my music sounds storyboard-ready.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Concert vs Popular Music

I've had people asking me if I expect my concert music (symphonies, string quartets, etc.) to be as popular as my Rock stuff for Lyraka and the answer is "of course not!". My symphonies, for instance, are by nature not going to be especially popular even by the broadest definitions of the term. I knew that when I began writing them. However, due to this capitalistic, MTV-led society we live in I feel I should expand upon my otherwise succinct answer.

Concert music is a way of taking what I sometimes consider the handcuffs of Rock forms off and taking flight with a vision that is entirely Andy-made and Andy-led. With Popular music (to clarify, by Popular music I include Rock, Metal, Country-Western, Hip Hop, get the picture), you're typically given so many bars to make an impact, otherwise you start making the composition into something that isn't Popular music (i.e., not particularly liked by the majority of folks). Popular music requires adherence to a set of rules (I know, sounds like the philosophical opposite of what many people define as Rock music). Film scores are often the same way, aligning strictly with what's on the screen (though film composers like Goldsmith and Herrmann have in their scores pushed the envelope into art music with highly sophisticated and creative composition, harmonic deviltry, and idiosyncratic orchestration).

With concert music (I'll include the avante garde genre along with the abovementioned symphonies, REAL concerti, Kammermusik, etc.) one has the opportunity to make one's own rules according to inner experience (witness how my symphony writing rarely if ever conforms to the Classic/Romantic rules of structure, as my creative spirit won't settle for that kind of outer imposition...and yeah, I'm aware and couldn't care less how pretentious that sounds).

Some would read the above and wonder why I would share these non-Rock compositions with others if they were deeply personal and not necessarily adherent to forms that people know and deeply love. Well, I do want people to hear this music, for one my concert music is some of my most potentially enduring. Lyraka was written with sophisticated composition only peripherally in mind (I had to exorcise the rock guitar muse that was a big part of my getting into music in the first place), and I'm quite proud of many of the compositions there. However, that music was ultimately all about Jasmine's story and in no small part a gift to her and the magic she's brought to my life (thus, not necessarily compositionally advanced, though there are portents of future concert work there). My symphonies, etc. are for the far future, or however long humanity has before we either blow each other up or the climate finishes the job itself. I must also point out that my Composer's Sketchpad series was designed for both music students and fans to have insight into what Martin Popoff referred to (in his review of Lyraka Volume 1) as the "partaking in the thought process of a great songwriter".

Anyhow, after this burst of hot air, I hope everyone who didn't fall asleep gets the point 😝.

Here's a ten year old photo of me to lighten things up😏: