Since Guido of Arrezzo laid the basis for musical notation in the 11th Century, music aficionados have challenged each other with the question: Who is the best composer of all time? Although the answer is normally someone like Bach, Mozart or Schönberg, the composer Shane Fage has offered the most original answer: The writer Charles Dickens.
“Your first job is that of the story teller. Owing to the power of Dickens’ language, one could see the room, smell the stale cigar in the ashtray, feel the warmth of the fire, everything…….And that is why Dickens is the best composer I have ever heard.”
Telling stories as the basis for music. An art form from long before Guido of Arrezzo, and one that is effective in all genres. The story behind El Cant dels Ocells (Song of the Birds) is the birth of Christ, until the legendary cellist Pau Casals transformed it into the epitome of the Catalonian soul, “The birds in this piece sing “Peace, Peace, Peace!” And the music is a music that Bach and Beethoven and all the greats would have loved and admired. It is so beautiful, and it is also the soul of my country, Catalonia.” If you compare Schubert’s Adagio, Fauré’s Nocturne and the fourth Prelude of Scriabin with the ancient traditional Catalonian folksong, it is apparent that both Fage and Casals are right. For centuries the craftmanship of composers has been defined by the ability to base music on a simple but very effective melody.