Sunday, December 9, 2007

The 12 Composers of Christmas (2.0)

[Version 2.1 is now available with authentic baritone sound!]

[UPDATE: A quick list of the 12 'works cited' is now available here.]

For my second "holiday special," I'm again bringing back something from my past, albeit in a new version. I first created The 12 Composers of Christmas two years ago for friends and family; last year, although I didn't yet have a blog, it got a wider audience thanks to a Geoff Edgers mention. This year I decided to enhance it a bit - there's always the danger of diminishing returns doing this, and I predict that next year I'll go too far when I add CGI animation, the London Philharmonic, and a Burger King tie-in, but I think the 2007 edition is a positive upgrade. It certainly builds on Edger's description of the song as "deliciously weird."

I liked the elegance of last year's web version, but the synth clarinet drove me crazy, and I always thought it could use some visual aids. In terms of audio, I had visions of putting together a live recording with singers, etc. this year, but I ended up relying on various electronic resources, including a cameo by an unrecognizable Bryn Terfel, whose rich baritone had to be transposed up a third to fit my arrangement. (I may yet enlist a live baritone to fix that.) There's no singing of the text, so you'll have to provide that yourself, which of course is part of the fun; but the animations are all brand new.

Maybe it's not too late to use this for that music appreciation review session you have coming up. I'll definitely be playing it for my class, which means I can justify the time I spent working on it. Actually, unlike most computer projects, this one came together pretty fast, mainly due to my commitment to letting the animations be as unpolished as possible. (Mission accomplished.)

In case you missed it, be sure to check out this year's first holiday special, The Vertical Christmas Medley. And, hopefully, there's one more seasonal surprise to come . . .

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