Choral work based on Robert Frost poem repurposed after copyright problems

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29 Responses to “Choral work based on Robert Frost poem repurposed after copyright problems”

  1. Sagodjur says:

    OMG! They admitted to stealing Robert Frost’s cadence! They must be held liable for this infringement. How are dead poets supposed to be incentivized to write more poetry if they know just anyone can steal their cadence?!?

  2. John Mark Ockerbloom says:

    I don’t know where they’re getting 2038 from. If the poem was published in 1923, the US copyright should run out at the end of 2018, when the current 20-year copyright freeze finally ends.

    But perhaps the rightsholders are already thinking ahead to the next extension they hope to enact.

  3. kityglitr says:

    I’m surprised no one mentioned that this particular poem by Frost is ALREADY a choral piece. Look up the Frostiana Suite. I remember singing it in the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra & Choir as a high schooler. It was absolutely lovely.

    • Yellow Hornet says:

      I do have to point out that Frostiana was written with Frost’s own permission before his passing. (I sang the suite, too!) I think estates and heirs tend to be more uppity than the actual author or creator.

  4. sn00py says:

    In 2018, when Congress passes the Lars Ulrich Copyright Term Extension Act, you’ll have to wait until 2058.
    Then in 2038, when Congress passes the Justin Bieber Copyright Term Extension Act, you’ll have to wait until 2078.
    Ad infinitum.

  5. Gristle McNerd says:

    And yet it’s “not available in my country”. Way to make a point about copyright law :D

  6. Anonymous says:

    Out with the old… In with the new!

  7. Caleb says:

    Interesting TED talk about the creation of the Virtual Choir here: http://www.ted.com/talks/a_choir_as_big_as_the_internet.html

    It’s also useful to compare this performance to that of a more traditional venue, say http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9shXm0cIeEY The idea is excellent and has potential, but it’s got a long way to go yet. They had to add in massive amounts of reverb added in to cover up the poor blend, and the articulation of the consonants is as diverse as the geographical locations of the singers.

    I expect it will be necessary to do this in real-time, so the performers can hear each other and make the adjustments. I’m excited to see the technical and logistical solutions that develop to make that possible.

  8. Drang says:

    Doesn’t everyone know that “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is best sung to the tune of “Hernando’s Hideaway“?

  9. billstewart says:

    I can haz iambic pentameter? Or is it only iambic pentameters about sleep that are really owned by the dead hand of Robert Frost, sleeping these long years in R’lyeh? (Sorry, wrong Robert.)

  10. lake15 says:

    Hear the original version of this same choral arrangement with the Frost lyrics. The Frost version is better:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDH5R_BgheI

  11. scifijazznik says:

    This is one of those ideas that when I heard about it, I thought would be total crap. But it’s lovely and moving. It must have been quite some effort to synch up all 2,000+ tracks, but the effort has paid off. It’s much better than the previous one. There’s no denying the power of the human voice.

    And fuck Frost’s estate. I’d like to think the man himself would have marveled at his poem receiving a treatment like this.

  12. Anonymous says:

    2038? Not if a certain mouse has any say in the matter.

  13. Anonymous says:

    It’s sad to see Frost’s heirs trying to take such a lovely poem out of our culture and hide it away where noone will experience it.

    On the other hand, it’s wonderful that even such idiocy leads to the creation of new culture for everyone to enjoy.

    What’s that, youtube? “This video is not available in your country”?

  14. wnoise says:

    The poem was published in 1923. In a sane copyright regime, it would be public domain already. (Granting from death of author is just a bizarre notion).

    • manicbassman says:

      in a sane copyright regime, it would have passed into the public domain no more than 28 years after first being registered… 14 years, plus ONE extension of 14 more years…

  15. Anonymous says:

    Frost himself would not have approved: “From [rhythm and meter] rises what we call this tune that’s different from the tune of the other kind of music. It’s a music of itself. And when people say that this will easily turn into — be set to music, I think it’s bad writing. It ought to fight being set to music if it’s got expression in it.”

  16. Anonymous says:

    I realize I may be biased as I’ve loved “Stopping By Woods” since I was a young child (Frost is my favorite poet), but the “Stopping By Woods” text is so much more powerful than the “Sleep” text.

    This whole thing is silly considering the Whitacre setting is no doubt ten times better than the “Frostiana” setting. I sang the “Frostiana” version in high school of “The Road Not Taken” and didn’t like it at all. Am kind of glad I didn’t hear the “Stopping By Woods” setting if there is one. You know how you’ll feel some musical settings ruin a text? It was like that.

    Eric W., any time you want to write around anything at all that I’ve written, go right ahead. All I could hope is that my words would even remotely live up to your music.

    Tdawwg….thank you. :)

  17. Anonymous says:

    Amen. Who wouldn’t want their poem set to Mr. Whitacre’s beautiful music?

  18. Tdawwg says:

    On stopping by this blog post on a not-snowy afternoon

    Whose cadence this I think I know,
    but meter’s free to copy, so
    you will not hear me kneeling here
    to give Frost’s pallid shade a blow.

    My poet’s pen would think it queer
    to write with unrhymed lawyer’s ear,
    and worry ’bout litigious flakes
    today, or any other day, this year.

    I give my head a rueful shake
    and ask if there is some mistake,
    that we still treat ourselves like sheep
    and do not simply steal and take.

    Our culture’s lovely, writing’s cheap,
    and we have liberties to keep,
    and rights and freedoms strong and deep:
    so fuck off, you rent-seeking creep.

    • Rich Keller says:

      Standing ovation!

    • Andrea James says:

      @kityglitr: Whitacre explains in the post that there were at least 20 works released around the same time in 1997 based on Frost, so he thought they would be OK with his as well. While I love the Frost poem, I love Silvestri’s creative response to the legal problem just as much!

      @Tdawgg: nicely played, my friend!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, comments like this make me think BB needs a “comment of the year” contest.

      I purchased a rather sharp derby merely to tip it to you, sir.

    • Municipal Hare says:

      One more standing O for Tdawwg. Boingboing comments really do need a +1/like/fave/props/This./reboing/thread over/Put a Hercules Ring On It/GOOOOAAALLLLLL/canonize button.

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