A modern symphony : S & M Essay

This essay has a total of 1127 words and 7 pages.

A modern symphony : S & M

S & M: No Leaf Clover

The talent of an artist rests in the ability to recreate a sense of reality, and to
communicate such an experience. When such timeless thoughts are offered to the audience in
an honest manor, it is the result of a true artist. Artists such as Pablo Picasso,
Langston Hughes, and the Beatles thrived off of taking such honest risks. In 1999, the San
Francisco Symphony and the hard rock band Metallica redesigned the concept of risk taking
in the reality for the artists' world.

A young composer by the name of Michael Kamen passed away at 55. He had the pleasure of
conducting The London Philharmonic Orchestra, and The San Francisco Symphony. He aspired
to share creative energy with rock legends such as Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, & Eric
Clapton. In 2002 it was his talent that kept the world company during the winter Olympics.

In the late 1980s alternative rock was working at creating symphonies of its own. The band
Metallica, known for its speed metal and talented range of chords, developed a new
language in music. Their songs ranged from 2, to 9, to 20 minute riffs. They gained
attention from emotionally eager listeners. The use of electric guitar, aggressive vocals,
and dynamic tempos made their music appealing to an extraordinary audience (Holm-Hudson

Michael Kamen responded to Metallicas unique guitar ingredients, and set out to
collaborate with the metal band. In 1999 Kamen and the San Francisco Symphony, merged with
Metallica to produce the album S & M. Kamens orchestra consisted of Violins,Violas,Cellos,
Bass, Flutes, Oboes, Clarients, Bassons, Horns, Trumpets, and Trombones. Other instruments
included the Tuba, Harp Timpani, Keyboard and of course percussion. Metallica has four
musicians, two guitarists, a drummer and a bassist. The lead guitarist is also the lead

On the insert of the C.D. sleeve S&M, Michael Kamen wrote about "conducting a conversation
between two different worlds that share the same language". Like the composers Hector
Berlioz, and Ludwig Van Beethoven, Kamen experienced life through music and spoke of
life's journeys in symphony (Lang 131. He continued to put in plain words, "Combining the
San Francisco Symphony and Metallica… was really about creating a dialogue between two
worlds that celebrate the power of music" (Kamen 1999).

Our ears have all become familiar with symphonies. From the classic sounds of Peter and
the Wolf, to Cannon in D major by Mozart, or Beethoven's famous Symphony No. 5 In C Minor.
Like a canvas, a symphony represents a display of themes and motifs. For example, the song
"No Leaf Clover" Performed by Metallica and the San Fransisco Symphony, creates a very
strong feeling within the orchestra and flirts with the passion of aggressive rock.

In "No Leaf Clover", Kamens orchestra and the four members of Metallica organized through
a variety of tone and rhythm, an unexpected change from good luck to bad. The woodwinds,
string instruments, and percussion, offered the theme of the "No Leaf Clover" with a slow
enthusiasm at the beginning of the piece. The central point of the song revealed elements
of repetition in the rhythm, tone and dynamics of their sound. The later part of the piece
developed around the vocalist. The violins in particular, complemented and coordinated
with the vocals. This detail added emotion to the "No Leaf Clover" because the soft sound
of the violins reinforced the audience of what the vocalist was trying to convey.

At the start of the piece, Metallica does not join Kamen and the orchestra, until almost
one minute into the piece. This again reflects a sudden change from good to bad. The calm
melody and harmony of the orchestra were smothered by the aggressive bad luck and
distortied amplifiers from the band. Just before the lead singer joined in harmony, there
is a big shift in the pitch and tempo. The middle section of the symphony shifts moods
again. The vocalist maintained a consistency and the theme persisted as repetitious.
Before the artists ventured toward the final theme of the piece, the guitar moved into a
solo. The quick fingers of the guitar invite an aggressive mood to the audience. Even so,
the string section helped to neutralize the mood by switching to piccatto. Once the lead
guitar dropped out, the orchestra worked to reproduce the dark sound of an amplified
guitar. Again the theme is traced by the repetition and exchange of roles between the
woodwinds, strings, vocals, percussion and guitars. The climax of the piece is controlled
by the drummer of the band, in which his feet danced over a double bass drum. The music
maintained an increase in tone, beat, pitch and tempo. In exchange, the audience is likely
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