Don Gilles

Sunday, 7 January 2007

I have no ears for classical music. Many friends have tried to teach me to appriciate classical music, but so far to no avail. Of course, there are many movie soundtracks and television tunes that are sort of classical, but hey: they are soundtracks and tunes! That’s something different! People like Harrie Berkhout(and Jan Hendrik van Oers) see it as their mission to help me to discover the beauty of symphonies and piano concertos.
When i first met Harrie Berkhout he played me many unkown records from his beautiful collection. Among those records was a 10inch 33rpm record by Don Gilles. Well, Don Gilles composed the music and conducted The New Symphony Orchestra that plays it. The name of the tune is Symphony 5 1/2. “That is not classical music,” i said, “that is a cartoon soundtrack.” It reminded me of the music that Carl Stalling had done for the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes cartoons. I have both volumes of The Carl Stalling Project, and these CD’s are among my all time favourites. So it cannot possibly be classical music.
It turned out that i also liked several other records, that Don Gilles has made. But Symphony 5 1/2 most of all. On the back of the sleeve Don Gilles says that “it is music based on idiomatic devices found in jazz and other folk sources indigenous to the American music scene. The result is music in rare good humor which, through its brilliant orchestration and subtle rhythms, has danced its way into amazing popularity.”
The symphony consists of four short movements, with names that say it all: Perpetual Emotion, Spiritual, Scherzofrenia and Conclusion.