pauraque_bk: (Default)
Having been ill, I managed to miss the fact that Christopher Lee passed away last week. He was in so many great movies, yet the one I always think of first is The Return of Captain Invincible (1983), a film that is pretty terrible even by cult movie standards, but was blessed with a few terrific songs contributed by Richard O'Brien and Richard Hartley of Rocky Horror Picture Show fame. I have such fond memories of watching it on grainy VHS tape with my RHPS friends, talking back and singing along. Sir Christopher had a great voice, and his big showpiece in the movie was this ridiculously fun-to-sing, pun-filled number:



Perhaps not what he'd have chosen to be remembered for, but it still makes me smile every time.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Though I've been a Gilbert & Sullivan fan since childhood, somehow it escaped my attention until recently that a lot of progress has been made in reconstructing a song from HMS Pinafore that was cut before the play's premiere in 1878. The last I'd heard of it, in the mid-90s, all that was left of the song was a violin part. But since then, quite a bit more of the orchestration has been found, enough to make an educated guess at the missing parts and perform the piece.



It's kind of like watching the deleted scenes on a DVD, isn't it? The song is interesting as a glimpse into the creation of a tremendously and enduringly successful play, but as a song, it's pretty slight, and I don't find myself baffled that they decided to cut it.

Good writing is largely good editing, and sometimes the hardest things to cut are parts you've written that aren't really bad, but maybe just don't fit or don't add enough. When you experience the finished work of talented people, a lot of that work's success has to be in what you don't see or hear — because they knew better than to leave it in.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.

gloria

May. 25th, 2015 10:31 am
pauraque_bk: (Default)
I still haven't watched that Vivaldi documentary yet, but I did watch an intriguing related video. It seeks to show how the tenor and "bass" (really baritone, by today's naming conventions) parts of vocal music could have been performed by women at the Ospedale della Pietà, a shelter for homeless girls where Vivaldi taught music.



From the uploader:

"This is the contralto/tenor/bass trio "Gloria Patri" from Dixit Dominus (RV 595), composed for the Figlie di Coro of the Ospedale della Pietà. Here the voice of Anna dal Basso (1670-1742), a documented bass singer at the Pietà, is sung by Margaret (centre), Cecilia dal Contralto (1679-1726) by Victoria, and Paulina dal Tenor (1675-1748) by Penny. Vivaldi's Women challenge the cultural stereotype which assumes that female voices are naturally high and that it is wrong for them to sing low."

I'm not knowledgeable enough about the history to comment on whether this performance is period accurate or not (it seems to be a point of contention), but it is at the very least a fascinating demonstration of the arbitrariness of vocal categorizations. The difference between a "contralto" voice and a "tenor" voice is not always one of natural range, but more one of training and the style one sings in. It's pointed out in the comments that the woman singing the contralto part in this video doesn't sing in the classical contralto style but in a belty "chest voice", which I took to be intentional and part of the commentary on how women's voices are categorized and expected to be used in classical song. Though at first the sound of their blended voices is surprising, I ultimately found it a beautiful performance.

I hope my US friends are having a peaceful Memorial Day. ♥

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Lazy Sunday... Time for a music post!



When I want something new to listen to, I like to search YouTube for acoustic covers of songs I like. I've discovered some incredibly talented people that way, such as guitarist Ernesto Schnack, here covering Lateralus by Tool. From the audio, you might think it was done by two people, a guitarist and a percussionist, but nope — it's all him, performing the complex drum part on the body of the guitar while he's playing. He makes it look easy (and sound awesome).

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
I think today is going to be too busy for a proper post, but I have a backup plan: music post!



Une barque sur l'océan (A boat on the ocean) is the middle movement in Maurice Ravel's solo piano suite Miroirs (Mirrors). This is the version orchestrated by the composer in 1906, which I had never been as fond of as the piano original, but this recording by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under Charles Dutoit is breathtaking.

Composer and orchestra masterfully evoke the swell and crash of ocean waves, the spray of salt water, and the deep natural chaos below the surface on which the little boat rides. It makes a fascinating comparison to Ravel's piano piece Jeux d'eau (Water games) from several years earlier, which also focuses on the movement of water, but evokes rivers and streams rather than the sea.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Feel free to comment wherever you're comfortable.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Remembering bright yellow leaves falling like rain in Hubbard Park the other day. I didn't have the camera but that's all right — sometimes you don't need it.



If you have a minute, please send some encouraging thoughts in the direction of [personal profile] hannelore around 3:30pm Eastern today. :)

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/36427.html. Comment here or there.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
My [insanejournal.com profile] hp_beholder fic is done. Commence flippin' out about [livejournal.com profile] rarewomen fic in ten, nine, eight...

Guys, this is how behind on stuff I am: I am even behind on memes. Here's one from a while back:

1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.


[livejournal.com profile] thimble_kiss gave me S.


Sonate pour violoncelle et piano en ré mineur - Claude Debussy
I always find Debussy's work very character-y. The cello and the piano in this piece are clearly people, and they're in some kind of complex relationship where they're dancing around each other and never quite finding a satisfying resolution — that anticlimactic ending! I especially love the hesitancy in the middle movement (starts at 4:05), which suggests instruments warming up.

See You Round Like a Record - Little Nell
Well, apparently this is suffiently obscure that it's not even on YouTube. Little Nell is best known for playing Columbia in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She is also quite a nice lady, and once told my then-girlfriend at a convention that her outfit looked "saucy", which I never heard the end of. Anyway, her career as a solo artist wasn't particularly long or illustrious, but I like this 50s-style song a lot.

Special to Me - Phantom of the Paradise
Jessica Harper, I can't even. *_*

Song Three Blues - Alberta Cross
I kinda dig this band, which I first heard of when I saw some people having a ridiculously vituperative online argument about whether they qualified as "country". Do they? I dunno, but I know what I like.

Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Great song that starts with S, or the greatest song that starts with S?

This entry was originally posted at http://pauraque.dreamwidth.org/19758.html. Comment here or there.
pauraque_bk: (Default)
In response to this, let's talk about songs that make you happy. That is certainly one of mine.



Also:



What does this song mean? Is it ironic? I don't even care.

And:



Offensive? Maybe! However, when I had a commute, I used to listen to the South Park movie soundtrack... a lot. Something about it instantly de-stresses me.

What about you guys? What song makes you happy as soon as you hear it?
pauraque_bk: (Default)
In response to this, let's talk about songs that make you happy. That is certainly one of mine.



Also:



What does this song mean? Is it ironic? I don't even care.

And:



Offensive? Maybe! However, when I had a commute, I used to listen to the South Park movie soundtrack... a lot. Something about it instantly de-stresses me.

What about you guys? What song makes you happy as soon as you hear it?

music meme

Aug. 16th, 2010 11:00 am
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

[livejournal.com profile] eponis gave me G, and I came up with four right away, but figuring out a fifth was hard. Turns out a lot of my favorite bands and composers have no G songs. What's with that?

"The Great Gig in the Sky," Pink Floyd
Absolutely transcendent.

"Gnossienne No. 3," Erik Satie
Most people are probably more familiar with the first of the Gnossienne series, which has been used in a lot of movies, but the third is my favorite. It's also fun to play, and I love his surrealist mood/tempo markings, which in this piece include "open your head", "bury the sound", and "very lost".

"Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)," Radiohead
I don't know if this is my favorite song from the album, but I used to listen to the whole thing straight through on the train, so it's sort of all one thing to me.

"Gaspard de la Nuit (Ondine)," Maurice Ravel
I guess I could have picked the second part (Gibet) for extra G action, but I like this first movement better. Interesting thing, Ravel said he composed this because he wanted to write something almost unplayably difficult (kind of making fun of the trend of extremely technically demanding piano compositions at the time), but he was only a good, not great, pianist himself.

"Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," Cher
Oh yes. Love the Cher.

music meme

Aug. 16th, 2010 11:00 am
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
1. If you'd like to play along, reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. You then list at least five songs that start with that letter.
3. Then, as I'm doing here, you'll post the list to your journal with the instructions.

[livejournal.com profile] eponis gave me G, and I came up with four right away, but figuring out a fifth was hard. Turns out a lot of my favorite bands and composers have no G songs. What's with that?

"The Great Gig in the Sky," Pink Floyd
Absolutely transcendent.

"Gnossienne No. 3," Erik Satie
Most people are probably more familiar with the first of the Gnossienne series, which has been used in a lot of movies, but the third is my favorite. It's also fun to play, and I love his surrealist mood/tempo markings, which in this piece include "open your head", "bury the sound", and "very lost".

"Go To Sleep (Little Man Being Erased)," Radiohead
I don't know if this is my favorite song from the album, but I used to listen to the whole thing straight through on the train, so it's sort of all one thing to me.

"Gaspard de la Nuit (Ondine)," Maurice Ravel
I guess I could have picked the second part (Gibet) for extra G action, but I like this first movement better. Interesting thing, Ravel said he composed this because he wanted to write something almost unplayably difficult (kind of making fun of the trend of extremely technically demanding piano compositions at the time), but he was only a good, not great, pianist himself.

"Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," Cher
Oh yes. Love the Cher.
pauraque_bk: (world of warcraft)
What was the #1 song the day you were born? Google the date and #1 song and then post your #1 song on your LJ - preferably with a Youtube vid if you can find one.

Okay, I was not planning to post this thing, just to check out the song out of curiosity.

Then I found out what the song was. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

The #1 song on August 26, 1982 was:



Additionally )
pauraque_bk: (world of warcraft)
What was the #1 song the day you were born? Google the date and #1 song and then post your #1 song on your LJ - preferably with a Youtube vid if you can find one.

Okay, I was not planning to post this thing, just to check out the song out of curiosity.

Then I found out what the song was. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

The #1 song on August 26, 1982 was:



Additionally )
pauraque_bk: (Default)


Thinking critically -- which was Carl's field, after all -- yields the obvious point that this is emotionally manipulative. I happened to see this comment near the top which kinda says it all: "I actually felt like crying after it was over but I don't know why" (emphasis added). Well, because it's easy to elicit that reaction with music, dramatic shots of the sky, vague statements about the future of humanity... (When I watched The West Wing they'd try this trick nearly every episode, though much more clumsily! It's perhaps telling that one of the only times it worked was when Sam talked about space travel.)

I don't mean to be too cynical about it; I enjoyed the video. I mean, I'm not made of stone. But on one level it's about Carl Sagan, and on another it's about the powerful -- but very vague! -- sense of sublimity that you can induce in people if you phrase something poetically but omit any details. Musicians obviously trade on this all the time, and so do TV shows like Cosmos.

I liked Carl Sagan, and I don't doubt his sincerity or the sincerity of the person who made the video. I also don't want to come off as frowning on works of popular science, which are valuable in themselves (no one can be an expert on everything), and also lead a few people to investigate further. I guess I just like my sublime feelings to be based on something more substantial, not that you can't have your sublime-feelings "candy" too.

It's a bit weird that people are still so easy to manipulate, considering how accustomed we are to all these tricks, the swelling music, the dramatic voiceover, etc. What's, uh... what's up with that?

K, bed now.
pauraque_bk: (Default)


Thinking critically -- which was Carl's field, after all -- yields the obvious point that this is emotionally manipulative. I happened to see this comment near the top which kinda says it all: "I actually felt like crying after it was over but I don't know why" (emphasis added). Well, because it's easy to elicit that reaction with music, dramatic shots of the sky, vague statements about the future of humanity... (When I watched The West Wing they'd try this trick nearly every episode, though much more clumsily! It's perhaps telling that one of the only times it worked was when Sam talked about space travel.)

I don't mean to be too cynical about it; I enjoyed the video. I mean, I'm not made of stone. But on one level it's about Carl Sagan, and on another it's about the powerful -- but very vague! -- sense of sublimity that you can induce in people if you phrase something poetically but omit any details. Musicians obviously trade on this all the time, and so do TV shows like Cosmos.

I liked Carl Sagan, and I don't doubt his sincerity or the sincerity of the person who made the video. I also don't want to come off as frowning on works of popular science, which are valuable in themselves (no one can be an expert on everything), and also lead a few people to investigate further. I guess I just like my sublime feelings to be based on something more substantial, not that you can't have your sublime-feelings "candy" too.

It's a bit weird that people are still so easy to manipulate, considering how accustomed we are to all these tricks, the swelling music, the dramatic voiceover, etc. What's, uh... what's up with that?

K, bed now.
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
I was all set to write an actual fic this afternoon, but then my girlfriend's son sent me an amazing song he wrote about inventions, and my afternoon changed entirely.

++

Inventions - performed by P.V. (age 6)

Inventions - performed by pauraque (age 26)

lyrics )
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
I was all set to write an actual fic this afternoon, but then my girlfriend's son sent me an amazing song he wrote about inventions, and my afternoon changed entirely.

++

Inventions - performed by P.V. (age 6)

Inventions - performed by pauraque (age 26)

lyrics )
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Here's the meme where you ask for 5 words (or lexical items) to discuss. I think I might have done this meme with some of the same lexical items before. But this time is new! [livejournal.com profile] idlerat gave me:


Impressionist music, invented languages, Gilbert & Sullivan, Peter Pettigrew, East Bay )
pauraque_bk: (Default)
Here's the meme where you ask for 5 words (or lexical items) to discuss. I think I might have done this meme with some of the same lexical items before. But this time is new! [livejournal.com profile] idlerat gave me:


Impressionist music, invented languages, Gilbert & Sullivan, Peter Pettigrew, East Bay )
pauraque_bk: (composer satie)
New Tori Amos single: Kinda boring. Is the rest of the album better? I like her generally.

New Dave Matthews single: Liked it until I listened to the lyrics. Wow, so so so trite.

New Chris Isaak single: I like it but I don't know why, just like the rest of his music. Suspect a deal with the devil was made.

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