All posts by Frederik Magle

Some new photos

Yesterday I had a complete series of photos taken by a good friend of mine, a great photographer and graphics artist, Michel Winckler-Krog. The weather was excellent so we spend the afternoon in Copenhagen with Michel making some crazy shoots, including some of me standing in the middle of Knippelsbro (Knippels Bridge) during rush hour! 😀
Traffic

Later we returned to Michel’s studio and took some portraits. It’s been almost seven years since I have had any “real” portraits taken, so I guess it was about time…
Portrait

Four of the photos taken yesterday can be viewed and downloaded in high resolution on the Photos page on magle.dk. A lot more pictures were taken and Michel is doing some work on a couple of them. I don’t want to reveal anything but I can tell you that you are in for a surprise 😉

Thinking About Buying A Digital Studio/Tour Organ

I have just returned from a visit to the island of Fyn where I have tried out a so called “electro-acoustic” organ. An advanced and unique digital organ build by Flemming Fald of Scandinavian Organ Center using the state of the art electronics. I wrote a post about the organ a while ago. I created the disposition and partly also the exterior design characteristics. But it was too expensive for me to buy back then, so it was instead bought by a virtuoso organist and organ professor at the conservatory. He’s owned it for some years but is now ready to “upgrade” to an even bigger organ and thus looking to sell the “old” organ. How can I resist? It’s “my” organ 🙂

The disposition:

Grand Orgue

Bourdon 16′
Montre 8′
FlĂ»te harmonique 8′
Salicional 8′
Bourdon 8′
prestant 4′
FlĂ»te octaviante 4′
Doublette 2′
Cornet V 8′
Fourniture IV 1 1/3′
Trompette 8′
Clairon 4′

Récit expressif

FlĂ»te traversiĂšre 8′
Viole de gambe 8′
Voix CĂ©leste 8′
Cor de nuit 8′
Quintaton 8′
FlĂ»te douce 4′
Plein Jeu III 2′
Bombarde 16′
Trompette harmonique 8′
Basson-Hautbois 8′
Voix Humaine 8′
Clairon harmonique 4′

Pedales

Contre-Bourdon 32′
FlĂ»te 16′
Contrebasse 16′
FlĂ»te 8′
FlĂ»te 4′
Contre-Bombarde 32′
Bombarde 16′
Trompette 8′

The organ has been envisioned with a double function; part home/studio organ, part tour/concert organ capable of playing together with various ensembles, including symphony orchestra, with proper amplification of course. This is the reason for the rich and powerful reed batteries, and not least the two 32-feet voices! (well, that and I’m just a sucker for romantic-symphonic organs).

One thing is the disposition, but more importantly: how does it sound? Well, I only heard it through the build-in speakers (useful for “home-use”), but with that in mind I must say it sounds really well. Whenever possible I still prefer a “real” pipe organ, and I probably always will. But for home and tour-use outside churches and large concert halls with organs, where a pipe organ would be almost impossible (at least impossibly expensive) this is as good as it gets. And that’s actually not bad.

I will need to think about this for a couple of days before I decide whether I buy it or not. One of the important things to consider is economy. I have to take the organ out and play public concerts on it, or rent it out to others, at least a couple of times a year in order to be able to afford it. Even though I get to buy the instrument at a significantly reduced price compared to when it was new, it’s still very expensive to me. So, will it be possible for me to take the organ on tour (or maybe just a few individual concerts outside churches)? I’ll have to consider that as well.

I’ll let you know what I decide soon…

Apple iPhone

Happy (belated) New Year everyone! I’ll start the new year on this blog with a little tech-post reflecting upon the Apple iPhone which was revealed during Steve Jobs’ speech at MacWorld just a few hours ago.

Let me cut right to the chase: I predict that Apple’s iPhone will be a smash hit! There’s no way around it – the new “multi-touch” interface is revolutionary and leads the way for all “smart-phones” in the future (that is unless Apple has got all the patents covered – in which case most of them would be iPhones anyway ;)). It’s got so many features it’s almost overwhelming, but hopefully Apple has found out the right way to make it truly user friendly, which in fact would be the most revolutionary aspect of it since almost all current phones and “smart-phones” are really lacking in that department.

Anyhow, I see myself owning an Apple iPhone when it arrives in Europe (unfortunately not before the end of the year, I could really use a replacement soon for my current Samsung (talk about bad usability…)). Plus I am actually one of the few people who don’t own an iPod (!), so this would combine both my need for a new phone and the usefulness of an iPod. Exciting stuff.

As a funny side note, some of the Danish so called technology “experts” are predicting the iPhone’s failure according to the news agency Ritzau, in a news article which is touring all Danish papers. That is a hilarious but also tragic testament to the lack of vision when it comes to some journalists and analysts. It’s quite sad actually. Probably these same fools predicted the failure of the iPod. And in the past they would have predicted the failure of the personal computer, the television, the telephone, electricity, the theory of gravitation, etc…. 😀

A Tale Of Two Music Forums

A little over four years ago (in 2002) I founded Magle International Music Forums. Initially it worked as a sort of glorified »guest book« in addition to my personal site. But very soon – within the first 6 months – I took it in a completely different direction and largely removed the affiliation with my person. For example by adding sections where other composers and musicians can promote their music and have it reviewed. Since the launch the forum has grown significantly and consists today of close to 16,000 posts covering a wide array of musical genre and topics: classical music, pipe organs, crossover & fusion, progressive rock, film music, etc.

In the beginning of 2006, my megalomaniac tendencies took the better of me, and I began considering ways to expand even further… One thing I considered was possibly buying other sites, and thus I went looking on the net. I came across a site called Talk Classical, which is a »classical music forum« of very high quality, but at the time it was almost dead. It had about 3500 posts and 200 members, but the level of activity was very low with only a few new posts per week. It sparked my interest – perhaps a chance to revive it? I went as far as looking up the owner of the domain and began thinking about how to approach him by email, but for various reasons I decided to leave it for the time being.

And then the miracle happened, only about a month after I had considered contacting the owner, in the middle of February, I stumbled across a classified ad (post) on a forum about dealing with domain names – completely by chance! It so happened that the owner had put talkclassical.com up for an online auction! That was a sign I couldn’t resist, and it ended up we me buying the Talk Classical forum and domain name. It was the first time I had bought a website but the takeover went pretty smoothly.

To begin with I also took over the hosting account, but it was a so called »shared hosting« (running on a server with maybe hundreds of other sites) causing the forum to run annoyingly – sometimes unbearably – slow. Magle International Music Forums was also running on shared hosting (though at a different company) and also experienced low performance. So, on June 6th, 2006 I finally took the step all out and moved both sites to a dedicated server. It’s extremely expensive and causing me quite big “losses”, but (after some initial teething problems) both sites now run at excellent speed. So I consider it an investment in the future – it better pay of some day! 😀

After taking over Talk Classical I started doing small but significant technical improvements, besides moving it to the dedicated server. I also began a long term internet ad campaign that has brought in many new members. The first 6 months, things went slow. Posting rates improved but only at a relatively slow pace, and I myself had unfortunately only limited time for posting. Then in the fall the breakthrough happened! The rate of new members and posts began to increase exponentially, and here we are today with Talk Classical being a rather thriving and growing classical music forum.

As of recently, some days Talk Classical is even more active than Magle International Music Forums. My goal is of course for both forums to be successful. Originally I contemplated some sort of technical merger, but I have since abandoned that idea and will instead run the two forums as separate but somewhat interconnected »sister sites«. There’s actually a little competition between them on the subject of classical music, but I believe a little friendly competition can only be good thing.

The challenge now is to build on the momentum and keep the growth of Talk Classical and further expand Magle International Music Forums. In fact the latter is probably the one requiring the most work right now as it has seen a slight slowdown as of recently. How do I differentiate the two forums, and how do I use and expand their individual strengths to mutual benefit? Those are some of the challenges facing me.

One thing’s for sure. Running a forum, yet alone two, is a big job. I constantly have to consider how to do it without it taking time away from me composing – I guess I’ll just have to stay awake a few more hours a day 😉 Without the help from dedicated moderators and co-administrators it would be outright impossible, luckily for me (and the communities) there are some great moderators/co-admins on both forums. No matter what, the joy from seeing such a project succeed is immense and will make it worth it all.

I will keep you posted on the progress

Best regards,
Frederik Magle

Hello from aboard the good ship »Splendour of the Seas«

I’m writing this from the library (where there’s a wi-fi connection), looking out the panoramic windows, while the coast of eastern Italy slowly passes by in the horizon. Yesterday we (my girlfriend Mette-Marie and I) set out from Venice, Italy and tomorow we’ll reach Athens, Greece. Then we’ll go to Mykenos, Rhodes and finally Dubrovnik (Croatia) before returning to Venice from where we’ll take a plane back to Copenhagen.

It’s a great ship – both in size and comfort, and we have an extremely nice cabin with our own balcony (I’ll post some photos later). It’s all very relaxing which is exactly what I needed, but not the least boring (I think there’s many misconceptions about going on a cruise being boring, etc.) and the passengers are a mixed bunch of all ages and nationalities.

Yesterday, we experienced Venice during what can best be described as a rain storm. Though we got absolutely soaked when walking around the city and later waiting for transportation to the ship, it also had its own beauty. The Saint Marco square was completely flooded, not something you see every day.

Anyhow, so far the journey is going very well and I’ll be back later. Please excuse if I’m not updating this frequently – the satellite internet connection onboard is quite expensive…

Best regards,
Frederik

Back in business…

Well, the title is a little misleading since I haven’t actually been out of business this summer (I’ve been composing, more about that later), but I’m now back in the internet business as well 🙂

That means I will be updating this blog more ofen (hopefully) and also that I am now much more present at my forums. Speaking of the forums, I just upgraded Magle International Music Forums to the latest software. And that includes a cool new “trackback” function, which I will test on this post.

More coming sooon…

New Server…

Once again I have switched server, but this time it’s for the long term.

I have set up a dedicated Mac OS X server (running on a “Mac mini” with Intel CoreDual (2x) 1.66GHz processor, 2 GB RAM and 80 GB HD), and it’s seems to run very well. This blog is the first of my sites to go live on the new server. I will move all my sites over to this server during the next 5-7 days. Crossing fingers for a smooth transition…

Interesting Websites (part 1)

I must admit that besides the time I spend working on my own sites, I have somewhat limited time for surfing around the net and visiting other sites. Still, I’m going to start a list of places on the net which I find interesting and well worth a visit.

(Just a little disclaimer: 1. The fact that I find the sites interesting does not necessarily mean that I agree with the opinions expressed on them. It means exactly what it says: I find them interesting and worth visiting that you may form your own opinion. 2. I’m not going to list them in any particular order, but rather randomly as they come to mind and as I surf by them. Thus sites not mentioned in this first round is not in any way less interesting or important to me than the ones I mention below)

Alright, today I’ll start out with three very different sites (all of them of course free of charge to view and use). I’m not going to mention any of the music sites I frequent this time around (there should be something to look forward to the next time ;)) but instead I’ll touch on a few other topics.

First, I think most people have heard about this site by now, but it does deserve mentioning: wikipedia.org. An encyclopedia written by its readers – anyone can write and edit the articles! If you write something wrong (willfully or not), chances are it will be corrected by others within few hours, or even minutes. A fascinating idea, and even more fascinating that it actually works (for most parts). Like everything else on the net one should always excercie caution about the correctness of the informations, but with that in mind it can be a very useful tool. Actually when I said I was not going to mention any music sites this time it was not 100% true as there are a very large number of music articles, some of them of high quality, to be found on wikipedia.

Next is a discussion forum called »The Rant Page«. A place to let out some steam! Things can get pretty heated, as it tend to do when people of various political views join in discussions, but it is generally very well managed so it’s certainly worth a visit.

Third, and now to something completely different: A web cartoon that I read from time to time: PvPonline.com. It’s written by the quite talented cartoonist Scott Kurtz. I don’t know him personally but I tend to like the humour of that series.

Well, that’s all for this time. This is just the beginning, I could mention many other sites that I find interesting, and I will.. 🙂 Until next time, happy surfing – and remember, always use your intelligence, common sense and remain critical of whatever information you get through the net (or elsewhere for that matter)

Major transition of music forums almost complete

The last couple of days I’ve spend many hours doing a major software transition of Magle International Music Forums from the now old and obsolete software UBB.threads to the modern and much more advanced vBulletin.

The switch itself took place in the weekend and went well besides a few glitches. I imported all threads, posts, attachments and members to the new forum and that went well, or at least as well as could possibly be expected. However, I must admit that one thing I had significantly underestimated is the time I have to spend updating all the links pointing to the old forum. It may not sound like a big deal (which is probably why I underestimated it in the first place), but it needs to be done (or else people will keep ending up in the old forums and the new forums will not be indexed as well by the search engines), and it takes a looooooooong time to do… So far I’ve only done the most important links and that have taken at least 12 hours of my time in the last three days – just editing links. There are literally hundreds, maybe even thousands of the nasty little buggers that needs to be fixed! Aaaarrggh!

The activity has not yet taken up on the new forums. There can be several reasons for that just after a major switch, but I expect (*crossing fingers* ;)) that it will return to the normal level soon, and in time grow to surpass it. Anyhow, go take a look. It’s really nice and a lot of care and work has been put into it 🙂

»Kosmos« revisited

A couple of days ago I got a call from a Danish organist. A trumpet player debuting from the music conservatoire had asked him if he could buy the score for my work »Kosmos«, since he would possibly like to play it at a concert this summer (after having heard it on CD – an MP3 excerpt can be downloaded at my brass music downloads page.)

I composed »Kosmos« in 2001. It was a commision from a Danish freemasons lodge of the same name, in celebration of their 150th anniversary. In 2003 it was recorded for the CD »Kosmos«, which was released on Classico Records in 2004. I’ve spend most of today revising the final bars of the piece, as I’ve never been 100% satisfied with them. I think what I changed today was for the better. 10 minutes ago I send the score out by email.
Anyhow, I’ll of course let you know if and when the performances of »Kosmos« will take place.