Format: Audio CD, remastered off DAT tape
Date: 1993 & 1994 (CD remastered 1997)
Software/Hardware: Passport Encore (scoring), Passport Master Tracks Pro (sequencer), 386 PC running Windows 3.1 (Donna, Woodwinds) and 486 PC running Windows 3.1 along with a Turtle Beach sound card that allowed using samples as instruments (voices) (O.J.); and the Roland SC-7 general midi sound module. "OJ Simpson…" also featured the Turtle Beach Maui sound card
◄ Compositions List
Note: "An Untold Episode from the Donna Reed Show" is aka "Piano Concerto #1: 'The Donna Reed'")
I have always enjoyed satirizing mainstream culture. Perhaps it is because it calls out for criticism, perhaps it is just my nature. Cultural foible-bility can be fun! I know more about how the world works now than I knew in 1993, but one truth remains constant: we are fed a lot of bologna myth, and much human anxiety is foisted upon us by trying to live up to this myth, and we love our celebrities; they represent high status humans in the social hierarchies we seem to need (but that I am forever critical of).
One thing I wanted to do with music was take 1950s fluffy TV-style music and explore it further. My Donna Reed piano concerto, written in conjunction with a story I worked on at the time, "An Untold Episode from the Donna Reed Show," (back online here! — new window) attempted to do that but I swerved away from the fluff a lot and into other realms more consistent with the training I had on the piano as a kid. The technology at hand was not really conducive, either, to creating what I wanted at that time. I've found a fine example of someone who purposefully or inadvertently went out exploring 50s-style fluff music in a less constrained setting than a 30 minute TV show, done more or less as I wanted to, on CD. Check out "The Grandma Moses Suite" by Hugh Martin, sometime!
The O.J. Simpson fiasco held America in its sway for too long. It became the most important thing in the world to many people. It wasn't. I think it may have been a defining moment in the ending rot of television programming, already in a pitiful state, sinking deeper and ending up presently in the grotesque mush it's become. Now, the "news" is simply what is entertaining, and too many "news" channels end up with lethal over-saturation.
The first night of the car chase I watched the drama unfold for longer than I should have, wondering what it was about it that was drawing me into it. Then I made an important decision and turned off the television.
The inherent love of celebrity in our culture comes from equating money as power, and giving it respect whether or not it is deserved because we long to be like those who have it.
Something else was going on with Simpson, though. There was likely some racism, because we never totally escape it, but there is a paradoxical human trait that seems to secretly love to see those powerful, even though we admire them, fail. Perhaps we view this as an equalizer.
Rather than actually waste time on O.J., I decided to write music to laugh at it by.
The "Woodwind Quintet for the Weekly Meeting of the Elgin City Council" was limited by two factors: iffy woodwind patches on the SC-7 sound module and my Turtle Beach sound card, and my own lack of knowledge of these instruments. Like much of what I write, things ended up being piano music that other instruments should just play regardless of possibilities lost or impossible capabilities. Oh well, I say with hardly a sigh today, it was all for fun, and though I did take my fun seriously, in retrospect, it matters about as much or little as most every other pastime devised I've spent time with our even on a larger scale within our overall unimportant human experience.
CD Art, Gear, and Further Information:
Roland SC-7 Sound Module, Turtle Beach Maui Sound card: