Music Videos 音樂視频
Miscellaneous 2 其他之二
Info and three versions of this music video
The curious case of making the "Blessed" music video
Score, & Comments
BLESSED with Season's Greetings《有福》原版
BLESSED AMENDED《有福 修正版》
Binah Elvan sings the Beatitudes with me playing the keyboard. Images modified from photos I took at St Andrew's. BLESSED the music video is to thank God's blessing, and as Canon Jane Freeman's retirement gift from me. However, due to health, circumstances and Christmas deadline, there are blemishes in the original. I made BLESSES AMENDED for the New Year. Then I made BLESSED AMENDED FINAL.
BLESSED AMENDED FINAL《有福 再修正版》
CAN YOU SPOT THE DIFFERENCES?
Blessed, Blessed Amended and Blessed Amended Final
These three versions sound and look slightly different to each other.
Use the following links if streaming of the above videos is slow
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/383497980
The curious case of making the "Blessed" music video
(Followed by COMMENTS)
Last year when I was to have an operation scheduled at 7:30 am at Guy's Hospital, I stayed with a singer who lives near an underground station the night before so that I could catch the first train to get to the hospital in time. While I was there, she sang something, and I asked whether she would like to sing a piece by me and she was keen. I was thinking about the music video I was to create, as a retirement gift for the local priest and also as my appreciation of the singer.
After the operation, for quite some time I was not able to eat and suffered from pain. I felt tired and unwell. With no funding, this would have to be a home recording. To my dismay, I found many equipment not functioning. When the singer came for a preliminary rehearsal, she was also tired and unwell. I showed her the melody I have jotted down as inspired by the Beatitude text which I called Blessed, to be sung unaccompanied in the rhythm of how she would recite the words, and demonstrated on the piano (I can't sing anymore). She tried recording her singing with her iPad and to my surprise, the recording quality was acceptable. I suggested ways to record Blessed with her iPad, and she was to email the sound files to me to edit into a song for the music video.
For quite some time the singer was either unwell or busy. It was not easy to edit and assemble various phrases sung at different times, and over a period of time with no fixed tempo, some phrases needed splicing, and there was some noise here and there. The assembled song could not be presented as a plainchant and needed some accompaniment.
I have a dummy keyboard that is linked to a synthesizer. I thought I could use this to play a viol drone and that could go well with the assembled song. The synthesizer manual was undecipherable; instruments are not listed according to wind, brass, string, percussion, and many listed instruments I have no idea of what they are, e.g., 'clouds', 'coffee beans'... I was not able to find any of the viol family. Somehow I found a list of organs. When I tried to improvise to accompany the assembled song, I found some keys would go down but not get up again, and this cost money and time to repair. Persevering with software and equipment I am not familiar with and despite being unwell and very tired, somehow I got it done in time for Christmas 2019.
When Blessed was uploaded, the singer was pleased with the result but was upset because of the typo of her pseudonym in the credit. I therefor made Blessed Amended correcting her pseudonym and other typos, and also made some audio and visual adjustments. After this was uploaded, some people emailed me and said they like my playing. As Blessed was meant to be my appreciation of the singer, I made Blessed Amended Final, toning down my playing and also adjusted some further visual blemishes.
Why did I bother working on a project with so many problems? I was so unwell and tired at the time, perhaps it would be better for me not to do anything. Perhaps this was much ado about nothing, as not many will watch, and those who watch probably would not spot the differences. I cannot explain why I have the drive and urge to create and get the creation performed, and keep seeing imperfection...
The Blessed score in PDF format simply shows the melodic line jotted down - pitch only - of what I heard when I read the Beatitude (incomplete because I wanted it to end with the "peacemakers"), with no indication of rhythm. The performer is to read the text of each phrase then sing the text with the pitches as affected by how he/she read it.
This can be transposed to any key and sung unaccompanied like a plainchant; or accompanied by a drone-line sound; or like I did in the music video accompanied with organ sound (I am no organist). I notated my opening ad lib section and some harmonic suggestions – for reference only. A suggestion for the three "peacemakers" phrases at the end is to use the "Three Blind Mice". Basically you can make free use of and modify what I have written.
" I love both versions of BLESSED. I feel how the melody is inspired by my favourite text from the Bible. For me, the bar-less score and the modal (Dorian?) harmony resonate with choral history and associations, going back to Medieval pieces like 'O come, O come Emmanuel'. I actually prefer the version without the references to later carols, which greatly change the aesthetic and the associations. I think this piece should be performed on the organ in Westminster or Salisbury Cathedral, perhaps when the plague has finally departed."
– Professor Stephen Matthews ()
– 馬詩凡教授 ()
Click above for
BLESSED score in PDF format.