May 29, 2005

That music thing people keep doing

Total Volume of music files on my computer
(Shurely, "How many CDs do you own?" Ed) I buy CDs and some of my money goes to the artist etc etc. That said, let me go check…. about 2.5Gb. Ooops.

The last CD I bought was
Lost City by an Afro Dub/Jazz group called Soothsayers. I had just seen them this afternoon at the Coventry Jazz Festival (Along with Annie Whitehead, a trombonist, who was absolutely superb)

Song playing right now
Well, having just bought it, it's a track from the above album. So in order to illustrate things a little more, I'll mention that the previous CD in that particular slot in my player was Symponic Poems by Respighi (Pines of Rome etc)

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me
What, only 5? You can even have 8 on Desert Island Discs! That's a thought - DID will become really outdated soon. They'll have to do Desert Island Ipod – which 8 tracks will you download before the ship goes down? Your book might be digitised soon too. Anyway:

1. Piano Quartet No 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Anna Davies mentioned a track that reminded her of a holiday, and this is my holiday piece. I first heard it on R3's Discovering Music, and it enchanted me from the very begining. I quickly purchased it, and off the family went for a lovely holiday in the Pyrénées. Wine, sun, walking, rafting, vineyards, swimming, more wine, concerts, and a splash of wine. And Fauré.

2. En Spectacle by La Bottine Souriante
Ok, so it's not that highbrow or anything, but it reminds me of Ceilidhs, going to see Bottine play, and it's just fun. For those of you who don't know, ie everybody, La Bottine Souriante a folk/jazz band from Québec. Their name means "the laughing boot" and the band is over 30 years old (I don't think it has any original members left anymore). As I said, just a lot of fun, foot-tappingly good stuff.

3. La Scala by Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett, a jazz pianist, has just turned 60. La Scala is a recording of a solo concert (I'll let you guess where) from nearly 10 years ago. It's not as famous as the Koln Concert, but I think it's just as good. The first section last 45 minutes, and is a little less avant garde than the second, shorter part. Tehre's a lovely Over the Rainbow as an encore. It's entirely improvised.

4. Tabula Rasa by Arvo Pärt
Many of you will be familiar with the name, which means "Blank Slate". It's essentially a double violin concerto, but I cannot begin to describe its power and importance, at least to me anyway. I found solace in it throughout 6th form, when I felt miserable for approxiamtely, well, er all of it. The first movement (of 2) doesn't actually stop, it just follows a descending pattern forever, until the violins have to drop out as they can play no lower, then the violas, and so until only the Double Basses are palying, and eventually they too disappear.

5. Alexander Nevsky by Sergei Prokofiev
Of all the concerts I've done at Warwick, this was the most fun. I mentioned it in passing to Colin Touchin, then Director of Music, in my first year, and then in my second year we performed it. Such an exciting piece, and I'm sure Paul would have something to say about the film if you asked him.

So that's that. Must dash, quiz to go to.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. i finally remembered what your blog entry titles reminded me of this morning. seneca wrote a load of moral epistles in the 60's AD all beginning with "on…." ie on clemency etc. your recall of a large sum of money from the university this month is also similar to seneca's recall of loans from britain just before the boudiccan rebellion. conclusions we can draw from this? you are a bit like seneca and i have too much time on my hands

    31 May 2005, 15:17

  2. Haha! Someone else loves that Pärt piece! I too got to love it in my UVIth form year, strangely enough… I got to love Pärt when I saw Herzog's film/documentary Lessons of Darkness - it uses his Stabat Mater to heartbreaking effect. It's one of the most beautifully sad pieces of music I know… and that documentary is stunning, too! It's basically a series of near-silent scenes (including many long helicopter-mounted shots) that explore the devastation and oil-fires of Kuwait after the first Gulf War – all set to Grieg, Wagner, Verdi, Schubert, Pärt and others. And Herzog's own hypnotic voice narrating the images – very strange and beautiful film…

    And Alexander Nevsky – yes! Great film, if a bit empty. Lots of "lets repel the Germans – they eat our babies, rape our wives, and have bad breath!" The original recording of the music used for the film is terrible, though – Stalin insisted Eisenstein use Russian sound technology to record it so it sounds SHIT. Eisenstein was inspired by Disney, strangely enough, in his combinations of music and image. But Disney had the latest sound-recording facilities… Poor Sergei. Thanks, Uncle Jospeh!

    02 Jun 2005, 22:41

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