Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

And now for a little Rossini   Leave a comment

More music performed by the 1978 PCC Chamber Singers.  This time it’s a little Rossini:
La Passeggiata
Accompanied again by Twyla Meyer and the soprano (heard around 4:20) is the spectacular Rebecca Sherburn.  This group was really quite impressive, I know that a number of the singers in this group have careers as singers.   Twyla is in great demand throughout LA and Bill Hatcher has had stellar career in choral music.  I feel extremely fortunate that I had the opportunity to learn from these amazing musicians.

Posted October 15, 2007 by jtruher3 in Music

more from PCC – 1978   Leave a comment

Audite Nova by Lassus this time – it’s a very silly piece. 
I remember really liking this piece and having a great time performing it.  Listening to it now, it seems so heavy, i suppose it should, with 6 on a part.  I’ve performed and listened to so much one-on-a-part that it’s clear how much I’ve changed in the past 30 years.  Thank goodness for that – it would be horrible to think that I hadn’t changed.
I’ve got a few more of these and also some recordings of the Pasadena Chorale from around 79 to 83.  I’ll get them posted after I finish the Chamber Singers stuff

Posted October 11, 2007 by jtruher3 in Music

More media – PCC Chamber Singers, 1978   2 comments

It seems like the time just flies – it’s been a couple months since I updated here, and I would like to post more often. 
In any event, I have another audio file to post!  This is the third of the Trois Chanson Britonnes Soir d’été.  My memory of the recording circumstances is a little fuzzy, since it was nearly 30 years ago, but I seem to remember that we did this recording around the end of the calendar year, and we hadn’t yet learned the second chanson, so I only have this one (the last) and the first.
Conducted by Bill Hatcher and accompanied by the magnificent Twyla Meyer .
Here it is: Soir d’été
Some of the other pieces from this recording session are:
  • Audite Nova
  • I Heard a Voice
  • Deck the Halls
There are more, and I’ll post them as I can

Posted August 31, 2007 by jtruher3 in Music

Blasts from the past   2 comments

Wow – I haven’t written for a long time – however, I think I’ll be doing more because while I was cleaning up my home office, I found a number of cassette tapes to which I’ve been hanging for an even longer time. 
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to perform with a number of very excellent ensembles over the years.  I found recordings dating back to when I I first started singing at Pasadena City College in 1976-78 – I’m going to be sharing them here in my blog so the folks can get access to them as I can convert them from tape to digital.
So, I’ll try to reduce the noise, and do some of the usual mastering activities.  We’ll see how successful I am at that, it will be a learning experience for me.  With the first one, I haven’t done any noise reduction of mastering, it’s just right off the tape, so you’ll hear some tape hiss.  Also, as I recall, the recording was done by some pretty crummy omnidirectional mics (and I seem to remember that it was recorded on reel-to-reel, so this cassette might be a copy of that).  This is a recording from 1978 of the first movement of Trois Chanson by Henk Badings performed by the Pasadena City College Chamber Singers, conducted by Bill Hatcher who inspired me greatly and accompanied by the amazing Twyla Meyer.
Here you go: La Nuit En Mer

Posted June 22, 2007 by jtruher3 in Music

All this rushing about   Leave a comment

This was originally started life as a blog I made for the Microsoft Orchestra
I’ve been thinking about tempo and what it is that makes people rush – here are my thoughts on the topic.
Many times, we rush when it is hard. I think that the reason is that you get nervous about the hard bits and then you think ok – this goes really, really fast, if I play it as fast as I can, I should be able to keep up. There are a few problems with this:

  1. It may be that you can play it faster than you think
  2. Rushing can be contagious; you’re playing with your standmate, and they might go a little fast, and you want to catch up
  3. Not enough time is given to the spaces between the notes
  4. (and most importantly) you lose the connection with the rest of the whole group in concentrating on your little corner of the world. So, in the microcosm of your standmates, you’re together, but rushing ahead of the entire orchestra.

Then, of course, there’s the rushing where it’s too easy, I think that this is associated with music that has a lot of silence in the individual parts. A good example of this is probably the Donizetti "Daughter of the Regiment". Lots of the parts have little "oom-pah" or "dit-dit" parts – I think these have a tendency to rush because the overall tempo is not internalized (not by tapping the foot but getting the right subdivision of the overall tempo).  It’s incredibly important that when you play these accompaniment parts that you tune into the player that’s got the melody – be sure that you are supporting the melody rather than trying to fill in the silences – the melody takes care of filling in the silence, the accompaning parts just need to accompany.


What can we do about this?  I think that the most important thing to do is to take the time to listen to the sounds around you.  Playing together does not mean that you play your part, the guy next to you plays his part and the whole thing comes together like magic.  Playing together means listening to everything, especially the players that don’t happen to play the part you play.  Also, remember that music making is a social process, not a technical exercise – concentrate on making music, not the technique(1) – anyway, that’s what I try to do. 




I’m not suggesting that technique is unimportant, it’s just not the most important.  I’ve attended too many performances that were technically excellent but left me unmoved because of the lack of musicality.  I have more to say on that topic, but later.

Posted May 5, 2006 by jtruher3 in Music

Music, Hark!   1 comment

While I make my living working with and planning software, I consider myself a musician rather than a "software guy". My background is all music, my education was in music, then as a teacher and performer (both singer and instrumentalist). I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to perform with some really great musicians.
My latest musical endeavor finds me the conductor of the Microsoft Orchestra – when the post opened up a few years ago, I volunteered.  I never thought that I would be an orchestra conductor; I studied choral music and was a choir director and singer for 20 years and have conducted orchestras, but mostly in combination with choirs (like the Brahms Requiem, Dona Nobis Pacem, etc), but never thought I would regularly conduct an orchestra.
I really love it – it’s a chance for me to learn, to teach, and to make music that I never thought I would get the chance to do.  It is so much fun to build rapport with the players and to bring music out that they didn’t think they had in them.  It’s also been a great learning experience for me, and has made me a better musician by trying to keep ahead of these folks; making sure that I have something to say that inspires, cajoles or amuses these wonderful people into playing better.
The MS orchestra is made up of MS employees, family and friends and has been around since the early 90s.  We’re getting better and better with each concert and it is so much fun.  (if you’re interested, you can see more at

Posted May 3, 2006 by jtruher3 in Music