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cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)
I don't normally go for drum solos, but this is worth sharing. Listen with headphones.

Crazy audio below the cut:

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Sep. 17th, 2010 04:47 pm
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Cheesy female metal vocalists and gratuitous green-screen behind the cut.

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Sep. 13th, 2010 09:35 pm
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It's a bit embarrassing to show up to a lesson only to admit that I completely forgot the riff I worked on last week. This time I insisted on taking notes.

Trying to work my way through Boneshaker by Cherrie Priest.

Pretentiously silly steampunk (not goth! not goth!) video under the cut.

Grumble, grumble, focused so hard on developing the first half of my courses that I'm behind on the second half.

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Ordered a guitar strap on Friday and got it on Monday. I might also pick up one of their wallets.

Figured out how to transpose A Chantar M'er the other night. Still figuring out how to wrap my fingers around it. If my sources are right, it's a 12th century blues song. Lyric copypasta:

A Chanter m'er
(stanzas 1, 4 & 5, from the translation by Meg Bogin)

Of things I'd rather keep in silence I must sing:
so bitter do I feel toward him
whom I love more than anything.
With him my mercy and fine manners are in vain,
my beauty, virtue, and intelligence.
For I've been tricked and cheated
as if I were completely loathesome

The great renown that in your heart resides
and your great worth disquiet me,
for there's no woman near or far
who wouldn't fall for you if love were on her mind.
But you, my freind, should have the acumen
to tell which one stands out above the rest.
And don't forget the stanzas we exchanged.

My worth and noble birth should have some weight,
my beauty and especially my noble thoughts:
so I send you there on your estate,
this song as messenger and delegate.
I want to know, my handsome, noble friend,
why I deserve so savage and so cruel a fate.
I can't tell whether it is pride or malice you intend.

But above all, messenger, make him comprehend
that too much pride had undone many men.

Comtessa de Dia, "A Chanter m'er" and "Estat ai" with music by the trobairitz Dame Castelloza on CD titled, "The Romance of the Rose: Feminine Voices from Medieval France," by HelioTrope, directed by Joyce Todd with Joyce Todd, soprano, percussion, harp; Natalie Cox, harp; Shira kammen, vielle, rebec; Kit Robberson, vielle; Kim Swatsler, hurdy-gurdy, monochord; David Tayler, oud. Koch 3-7103-2 H1, 1995.

Got tested for ADHD or ADD or something last week. Have mixed feelings about the whole process.

Coming back to WoW, sorta, after jumping through a mess of hoops to redirect, misdirect, and hide my identity.
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Once upon a time in France, a young Irish actress named Harriet Smithson chewed the scenery as Ophelia, gaining a stalker in the form of Hector Berlioz and a fan of the play from a young Alexandre Dumas. The show also sparked a flurry of painting and a hairstyle fad. However, in the decades following this performance, Shakespeare's default strategy of building drama by throwing bodies at the audience was considered too violent for the French stage, so French adaptations were substantially cut in plot and body count. This culminated in Alexandre Dumas' own "improved" version in which Gertrude gets banished to a convent, Opehlia is given an expanded role, and Hamlet survives as the sorrowful king.

So the opera we saw via Met streaming the other night carries the shadow of both Dumas and Shakespeare into the work of composer Ambrose Thomas. The production worked when it centered on the performance of Simon Keenlyside in the title role. Keenleyside is arguably one of the best Hamlets in any version, able to skillfully convey the dramatic mood swings of the character from cunning mockery, bravado, anxiety, terror, rage, and madness. Expansion of the romantic relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia actually works, and the streamlined elimination of the trip to England, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern makes room for Ophelia's mad scene, nicely done by Marlis Petersen, but unfortunately blocked and staged in a way that seems to give her two on-stage deaths. The elevation of Gertrude from unwitting dupe to guilt-ridden co-conspirator was a nice touch by Dumas.

Unfortunately, it all falls apart in the 5th act, where the composer Thomas tries to wrap up all the conflicts in the piece at Ophelia's graveside with a repeat appearance of the ghost and a truncated duel. Dumas argued for his ending on the basis that the formula demanded that the hero survive to see his vengeance. Personally, I think he missed the possibility that Hamlet in his own way is equally responsible for the growing pile of dead bodies in Elsinore Castle. But the ending we got was not Shakespeare's game of deceit and bluff, or Thomas' conclusion that crowns a broken Hamlet, but a dissatisfying hybrid of the two. After the over-the-top dramatic conflicts throughout the opera, the actual revenge is pulled off in a handful of lines.

Although it could be worse, when we saw Der Rosenkavalier the video cut during the climax. So at least we got to see the whole thing.
cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)
I hate it when I download a classical music work that I'm really into, and suddenly in the third movement, it's overshadowed by a cheesy balad from my childhood.

Other than that, Rachmaninov's 2nd Symphony is pretty good.
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I've been meaning to get back into music for some time, but feel a bit stuck here in that Savannah isn't quite as rich as Bloomington. So I ordered a alto recorder, and I'm making a list of pieces I'd like to learn to play sooner or later.

A Chantar Me'er by Biatritz de Dia a piece I've been obsessed with for some time, you can hear Azam Ali's version on last.fm

Libertango by Astor Piazzolla: Seeing Sally Potter's Tango Lesson a long time ago turned me on, after a long hibernation period, to both Yo-Yo Ma and composer Astor Piazzolla.

The Yo-Yo Ma arrangement:

An adaptation by Grace Jones:
cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)

I'm in full (*)avoidance mode this evening, so I treated myself to Sweeney Todd and Gogol Bordello.

spoilers and video )


Dec. 21st, 2007 01:04 pm
cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)
Ok, I woke up to an NPR story on this and I have to say that I'm hooked. Two things that sold me on it:

1: The director chose to adapt the play to center on intimate closesups rather than stage bombast. This relieves some of my earlier concerns about the quality of vocal performance.

2: Sondheim gave glowing praise for the adaptation.

I only wish I had the gear to freak the mundanes with some Sweeny Todd cosplay.
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After watching The Big Lebowski last week I ended up with "I Just Dropped In" stuck in my brain. So of course I got down to searching for it and found out 1) It was recorded by Kenny Rogers! 2) It was part of the magic week in which songwriter Mickey Newbury had four top-ten hits on four different charts. The Lebowski soundtrack was compiled by rabid archivist, lover of cross-over, and American music producer T-Bone Burnett.

So of course, I had to grab it as the anchors to a "songwriters" playlist. Mostly songs written by one person and performed by another with a few exceptions. So currently I have:

Jolene: Written by Dolly Parton and performed by The White Stripes.

Song for Bob Dylan: Written and performed by Bowie.

I want a cover of a Dylan song, probably "All Along the Watchtower" but I can't decide on which version. I want to get something a bit different from Hendrix, and certainly not the U2 cover, but I can't find the Keziah Jones version that wowed me last month. Right now I have, "Times are a Changing" performed by Keb Mo.

Juke Box: performed and possibly written by Italian crooner Fred Buscaglione.

When the Levee Breaks: Written and performed by Memphis Minnie, and Kansas Joe McCoy. Honestly I consider this the quintessential American blues song.

Let's Do It: Cole Porter performed by Joan Jett and Paul Westerberg. Although I might grab another Cole Porter arrangement. The Alanis Morisette off the De-Lovely soundrack is good, but is a bit overproduced for my taste.

Two Out of Three Ain't Bad: Performed by Meatloaf. Because I have to put a Jim Steinman on this mix and I've over-used Total Eclipse of the Heart and Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.

The Big, Big, Big, Jig Dancing Pig: By Kid Kazooey, a nod to local talent.

Hallelujah: Cohen performed by k. d. lang. I know that people swear by the Buckley version but lang is butter-smooth over the entire range of extended phrases, the production is cleaner, and there is just the barest hint of twang in the guitar that better matches the song.

Big missing pieces that I'll probably grab from iTunes on Friday. Our copy of Twice Upon a Time by Siouxsie and the Banshees vanished from our car, taking with it one of the better Danny Elfman songs. I might use the "catatonic remix" which is more late Banshees and less soundtracky. Also I really want a Stevie Nicks penned song in there as well. I might also pick up Patti Smith's performance of "Because The Night" which is really the best version.
cbrachyrhynchos: (Default)
Having a bit of a bummer of a week as I try to wrap up the final dissertation issues. But..

When I go to the library, I never know what I'm going to come home with. While picking up some cheesy videos on the way home yesterday, (to compensate for the fact that the only thing we have in from Netflix is Eraserhead) I see a plain green CD cover with the words "Arvo Pärt/ Orient Occident" on the cover. So I had to pick it up and adopt it for a few weeks.

My thing with Pärt goes back to high school when, in one of the few concerts I attended as a youth, I picked up tickets for the Kronos Quartet, an ensemble that specializes in 20th century music. Most of the music didn't impress on me except for this one that I still remember being stunned by.

It starts with a low drone, a constant om just at the threshold of hearing. Then six percussive notes like the patter of a rainstorm just starting, played by the cellist striking the strings below the bridge with his hand. A single theme wispers out in three part harmony, a very simple musical question of about 20 slow notes that are delicate and soft. It's a phrase that reaches into the back of my skull tugs like an insistant itch, like the smell of good food when it is almost but not quite time to eat.

The question is answered, not by a counter-theme, but by the continual soft meditative drone, and again, so softly, the same six notes.

Then the question calls out a bit, in a slightly louder whisper. Then again, still louder but never brash. The most insistant it gets is a medium piano, but rich with vibrato. And then it fades back into a wisper again, resigned to having no answer.

Fratres is one of those rare classical works that rarely fails to have me in tears. It's in my opinion one of the most beautiful compositions in its maddening simplicity of the 20th century. I next encountered it when I saw the film Mother Night where it is used to great effect.

Anyway, Fratres isn't on the disk that I got. Pärt is less meditative and more insistant, but still beautiful in three compositions for full orchestra and choir. It's music that I wish I could hear in a concert hall or church rather than on the cheap speakers of my computer.


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