composer | conductor | producer
composer | conductor | producer
Conductor, composer, arranger, producer and songwriter Steve Hackman is increasingly in demand as one of the most compelling artists contributing to a new landscape in hybrid music. Fluent in both classical and popular repertoire, he crafts and conducts virtuosic, cross-genre works and performances that intrigue the established audience and engage an excited new one.
An amazing process of analysis, discovery, de- and re-construction, and re-creation led to this program, a synthesis of the Brahms First Symphony (1882) and Radiohead's OK Computer (1997). All four movements of the Brahms are eight songs from the Radiohead album are featured. The envelope of what is possible and permissible is constantly pushed, with Radiohead songs being superimposed above Brahms' music, Radiohead's melodies being altered to coexist with Brahms' harmonies, the motives of one interjected into the other, and departures from the score left and right to accommodate journeys into a new compelling and captivating world that is at once both musics. Three vocalists sing the melodies of the Radiohead, both in solo and harmony.
2. Brahms 1st Movement Exposition
3. Paranoid Android
4. Brahms 1st Movement Recap
5. Karma Police
6. Brahms 1st Movement Coda
7. Subterranean Homesick Alien
8. Brahms 2nd Movement Beginning
9. No Surprises
10. Brahms 2nd Movement Ending
11. Brahms 3rd Movement Beginning
12. Let Down
13. Brahms 3rd Movement End
14. Brahms 4th Movement Intro
15. Exit Music (For A Film)
16. Brahms 4th Movement Exposition
18. Brahms 4th Movement Coda
Instead of a pairing that was founded more or less on musical similarities (like the Brahms V. Radiohead), Beethoven V. Coldplay is anchored by things more large-scale and abstract- the feelings that these two musics evoke and the issues they confront. Coldplay explores through their music and lyrics universal themes such as doubt, fear, hope and love; many would assert that, out of any composer, Beethoven most directly and strikingly addresses these themes. Because they tackle these universal themes with such skill and facility, the music of both Beethoven and Coldplay has a certain undeniable appeal and naturalness.
That was the basis upon which I sought to combine them- but in no way did it mean the combination would work from the strict musical standpoint! It became apparent to me from the beginning that simply juxtaposing Beethoven and Coldplay via transition points and then mixing themes of one over the other (like in the Brahms V. Radiohead) would simply not work, owing to the vast discrepancy in harmonic and compositional content between the two; it was far too jarring. After selecting ten or twelve Coldplay songs and getting them in my head, I began playing the Beethoven Eroica at the piano with an open, improvisational mindset, looking for opportunities to suspend a Coldplay melody overtop or extend and adapt Beethoven's material to accommodate a Coldplay theme. There were numerous challenges, but eventually a process unfolded that led to discovery, recomposition and an altogether new work.
As I layered lyric of Coldplay over music of Beethoven, I began to ask myself: would Beethoven have appreciated this music? Would a lyric like: 'When you lose something you can't replace- could it be worse?' have resonated with him? Or 'I turn the music up, I got my records on; I shut the world outside, until the lights come on'? Or 'nobody said it was easy... no one ever said it would be this hard.' I will let you ponder that as you listen. As for me, it is a fascinating notion, and the way Coldplay's lyrics take on a biographical role of Beethoven is quite astounding.
Beethoven V. Coldplay was a truly remarkable and fantastic journey. Nothing has ever brought me so close to Beethoven, or had me in such admiration of Coldplay. It is my hope that you feel the same. My sincerest thanks and appreciation goes to the Colorado Music Festival for commissioning this work and affording its creation and premiere performance.
1. Beethoven 1st Movement: Allegro con brio
2. ---- Clocks
3. ---- 42
4. ---- Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
5. Beethoven 2nd Movement: Marcia funebre
6. ---- The Scientist
7. ---- Princess in China
8. Beethoven 3rd Movement: Scherzo
9. ---- Paradise
10. Beethoven 4th Movement: Finale
11. ---- Viva La Vida
12. ---- Fix You
Copland's Appalachian Spring and the songs of Bon Iver coexist miraculously in this program that synthesizes the two into one continuous 45-minute suite. The pastoral nature, simple folk-like harmonies, and pure delivery of emotion in each make them perfect for amalgamation- to the point where it sounds like they were made to be fused together. Six Bon Iver pieces are woven seamlessly into Appalachian Spring, Copland's most famous masterpiece. Three singers join the orchestra to sing Bon Iver's melodies.
1. You Know
2. The Pendulum Song
3. Alone Tonight (Acoustic)
4. Girls Pointing Guns
5. The Place I Call Home
6. My Old Man
7. Alone Tonight
1. A Little Of Me
3. The Pendulum Song
5. Lie Down
6. Maybe She's The Answer
7. Sexy Girl
8. I'm Ready
9. Bang Bang