Last week I was having a horrible time with my “listening sessions.” Everything I heard was utter garbage. It’s enough that I spend about five minutes a day opening cellophane, just to be disappointed with what I hear.
There also seems to be a close relationship between bad cover art and the music such cover art contains. In addition to the artwork that is displayed on the front of the jacket, the inside rantings of the composer, really bad photographs of the composer in “artsy” poses, or attempting to be candid, along with just out-right ridiculous performer shots, makes me want to laugh and scream at the same time.
Some composers, I guess, feel that the more light-hearted and witty they can be in the program notes, the better the music will sound (?). Some are absurd and bizarre, boring narratives.
Here’s my advice to all of you producing your own recordings: Simple is always more effective. Be artsy, but tasteful. Don’t buy a disposable camera at Walmart and setup some still life in your bedroom with a clarinet and a flower vase. Don’t sit at your dinner table with your works spread out, have your wife take a “candid” pose and expect us to believe that you were caught in the act. If you’re going to pose: pose! Be real and, for God’s sake, hire a professional. When embarking on art work, keep it simple and professional. You are making a first impression, so at least give it the old college try.
Perhaps every composer should be required to take some visual art classes in college.
Am I being too superficial (no pun intended) or realistic?