Songs My Radio Taught Me (2008)

Download the score – Songs My Radio Taught Me

Each of the five movements in this suite were inspired by various pop songs from the early 1980s. I decided to take short, memorable, and in some cases iconic, licks and hooks from these songs and abstract them, mutate them, hide them, and embrace them. For a while in my musical development, I shunned and hid any of my earlier musical tastes. I carried my pop music history with shame as I set out to become more erudite and sophisticated. In recent years, I’ve realized how wrong it was for me to have that attitude. All my musical tastes, from Spike Jones and the City Slickers to Witold Lutoslawski, from John Luther Adams to Huey Lewis and the News, from Faster Pussycat to Elliott Carter, make up who I am as a composer.
The hardest part about writing these pieces was choosing and limiting myself to five songs. Invariably, you the listener will want a different song added to my collection. I can’t help that but I can encourage you to take that song and let us hear it synthesized through your years of experience. In other words, go write your own piece! These were tremendous fun to compose and I hope that they are fun to perform and to hear.

About Me

Jay C. Batzner (b. 1974) is currently on the faculty of Central Michigan University. He reads too many comic books and tries to find time for sewing and other various hobbies. Jay likes playing chess but loses a LOT of games. 

Jay’s frequent interdisciplinary collaborations with choreographer Heather Trommer-Beardslee has led to several dance works based on student veterans, ecological succession, the Larry Craig scandal, and hyena behaviors. The hyena piece even includes puppets! 

80s atonal awesome bilston comic books comics concerto contemplative counterpoint duet dulcimer duo electronics fixed media funny hard high voice improvisation marimba medium voice noisy percussion piano poem poetry pop quartet sci-fi scifi setup short song song cycle speaking spiky spoken strugatsky timpani trigger triggered trio unpitched weird white zen

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