tree_and_leaf: HMS Surprise sailing away over calm sea, caption "Sail away" (Sail away)
Listening to the Flanders and Swann (mostly Flanders) monologue "By Air" on "At the Drop of a Hat", which deals with transatlantic flight in the 1960s. It produces a curious sense of familiarity and distance - some things are exactly the same, some of them are completely different. It's not a vanished world, just a very altered one, and that's almost stranger.

Either way, the line "If God had wanted us to fly, he wouldn't have give us the railways" is still very funny.
tree_and_leaf: Burne-Jones angel playing trumpet, caption "Make a joyful noise." (Make a joyful noise)
Article about Leonard Cohen from today's Grauniad. Am really looking forward to hearing the new album (Guardian review here).
tree_and_leaf: Burne-Jones angel playing trumpet, caption "Make a joyful noise." (joyful noise)
There's a lot of good music for Epiphany, which unfortunately often doesn't get heard as much (unless, like my first choice, it gets co-opted for carol services).

So: here's King's Cambridge doing Cornelius' "Three Kings." The soloist is more forward than he often is in performance/ recordings, but I don't think it's a bad thing, though it may be partly explained by the difficulties of recording in Kings, which has a rotten acoustic.*



I tried to find a decent recording of "Brightest and Best" - an unusual hymn, in that the first verse is addressed to a star, although one might chose to read the star as an image for John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, who is often linked with the star in patristic (and later) writings.** But this is surprisingly difficult, and not helped by the proliferation of tunes. The following recording, a bluegrass tune sung by the McLain Family Band, was not what I was looking for, but I think it's rather charming:




And, although the Russian Orthodox don't celebrate Epiphany for another thirteen days, I like this snippet of the Epiphany liturgy, the troparion (a stanza chanted at various points in the services throughout the day, if I have got that right - Orthodox liturgy is a bit of a closed book to me, as it's very different to the Western tradition):



You will notice that the troparion seems to be more appropriate to the Baptism of Christ, but this is because, as the name suggests, the fundamental point of the Epiphany is not the wise men or the gifts, but the simple idea of Christ revealed to the world, and thus revealing God to the world; so there's an obvious thematic link. This is also picked up in the very Anglican hymn, Songs of Thankfulness and Praise (horrible audio warning!), which goes from the visit of the kings, to the baptism of Christ, to his first miracle at the Wedding at Cana, to his healing ministry, and looks forward to his 'great Epiphany' at the end of time, when he will judge the world and be recognised by it. It's actually one of my favourite Epiphany hymns from the point of view of lyrics, although Salzburg is not an exciting tune, and on balance "Brightest and Best" still just wins...


(This is a poor quality recording, but there wasn't a lot of choice!)

* It's not as bad as St Paul's but few things are. I have never understood the psalms, or even the readings, there, and it's not down to the failures of the choir.

** There is, for instance, a plausible interpretation of the famous line from Crist:
Éala, Éarendel, engla beorhtast,
ofer middangeard monnum sended,

(Hail, Earendel, brightest of angels, sent to men over the earth) where, although Earendel seems to be the name for the morning star, it would refer to John as the herald of Christ, as is certainly the case in the Blickling Homilies.
tree_and_leaf: Amy surrounded by sunflowers (sunflowers)
I've just realised that I never posted the answers to the song meme I posted a while back. They are as follows:


1. Put a candle in the window, but I feel I’ve got the blues.
2. To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean, to ride on the crest of the wild raging storm. (Not one of my favourites, I must admit).
3. It’s autumn in Gothenburg, I want it all to myself.
4. Oh my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.
5. I’m going higher, I’m soaring higher, far above the clouds of doubt and fear.
6. Walk a lonely foreign street, hunger sets the pace.
7. Called you so many times today, I guess it’s all true what your girlfriends say.
8. No I would not give you false hope, on this strange and mournful day.
9. Well you wonder why I always dress in black.
10. Grab your ticket and your suitcase, thunder’s rolling down the tracks.
11. Come rede me dame, come tell me dame, my dame come tell me truly…
12. I was lost in the lakes and the shapes that your body makes.
13. In dem Kerker saßen zu Frankfurt an dem Main.
14. If you want a lover, I’ll do anything you ask me to.
15. One dark and stormy winter’s night the snow lay on the ground.
16. I had a little gramophone, I’d wind it round and round.
17. Didn’t know what time it was, the lights were low.
18. Walking out on the resurrection trail, going nowhere slowly.
19. Jetzt ist der Unsinn bald vorbei, es war auch allerhöchste Zeit.
20. Come gather round people wherever you roam.
21. I wish, I wish, I wish in vain.
22. Woke up from a dream Thursday morning.
23. Te Deum Patrem colimus, Te laudibus prosequimur.
24. She’s taking up her time making up the reasons to justify the hurt inside.
25. Just as the sand made everything round

Read more... )
tree_and_leaf: Burne-Jones angel playing trumpet, caption "Make a joyful noise." (Make a joyful noise)


Westminster Cathedral Choir singing the Advent Prose (Rorate Caeli - Drop down ye Heavens from Above, and let the skies pour down righteousness). Westminster Cathedral really do have a great choir, especially when it comes to Gregorian chant.



"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge (the church is actually the cathedral at Bury St Edmunds, though).



"Lo He Comes With Clouds Desending" - Lichfield Cathedral Choir (taking it rather slow, but it's still a cracking hymn).



"Wachet Auf" - Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concertus Musicus Wien (nb: this is 28 mins long...)

Enjoy!
tree_and_leaf: Burne-Jones angel playing trumpet, caption "Make a joyful noise." (joyful noise)
Via [profile] eponyomous_rose. Like her, I got fed up and cut the list of songs down to twenty-five.


1. Open up your music player. Hit shuffle.
2. Record the first few lines of the first thirty (I did 25 because I am lazy and want to go to sleep) songs that come up that do not give away the name of the song. Skip instrumentals, but don't skip the embarrassing ones.
3. Make hapless LJ denizens guess the song names and artists. Google is cheating. For musical songs, the name of the musical is acceptable in place of the artist.
4. Least hapless LJ denizen wins admiration. That's right, just like a lobbyist in budget season, the points don't matter.

I also omitted most of the choral stuff, because ‘Guess the Mag and Nunc and Ave Verum” is not a particularly fun game... The folk songs are arguably a bit unfair, but as there is no actual prize, I feel less than guilty.

1. Put a candle in the window, but I feel I’ve got the blues.
2. To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean, to ride on the crest of the wild raging storm. (Not one of my favourites, I must admit).
3. It’s autumn in Gothenburg, I want it all to myself.
4. Oh my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.
5. I’m going higher, I’m soaring higher, far above the clouds of doubt and fear.
6. Walk a lonely foreign street, hunger sets the pace.
7. Called you so many times today, I guess it’s all true what your girlfriends say.
8. No I would not give you false hope, on this strange and mournful day.
9. Well you wonder why I always dress in black.
10. Grab your ticket and your suitcase, thunder’s rolling down the tracks.
11. Come rede me dame, come tell me dame, my dame come tell me truly…
12. I was lost in the lakes and the shapes that your body makes.
13. In dem Kerker saßen zu Frankfurt an dem Main.
14. If you want a lover, I’ll do anything you ask me to.
15. One dark and stormy winter’s night the snow lay on the ground.
16. I had a little gramophone, I’d wind it round and round.
17. Didn’t know what time it was, the lights were low.
18. Walking out on the resurrection trail, going nowhere slowly.
19. Jetzt ist der Unsinn bald vorbei, es war auch allerhöchste Zeit.
20. Come gather round people wherever you roam.
21. I wish, I wish, I wish in vain.
22. Woke up from a dream Thursday morning.
23. Te Deum Patrem colimus, Te laudibus prosequimur.
24. She’s taking her time making up the reasons to justify all the hurt inside.
25. Just as the sand made everything round.
tree_and_leaf: Cartoon of Pope Gregory and two slave children.  Caption flashes"Non Angli sed Angeli" and "Not angels but Anglicans." (Anglicans not angels)
Am currently too cross and depressed about the state of the C of E (see recent reports in the Guardian) to want to talk about it.

So have an exciting new piece of choral music instead:



I feel that the opening versicles lack a bit of punch, but do keep listening; the Lord's Prayer in particular is sublime.

Music Meme

Feb. 21st, 2011 02:41 pm
tree_and_leaf: Alan Rickman in role of Slope, wearing rochet, scarf, swept back hair, and hostile but smug expression (slope)
A while ago, [personal profile] wemyss challenged my to list five songs (interpreting songs fairly liberally) I loved which began with L.

Music below the cut! )
tree_and_leaf: Purple tinted black and white photo of moody man, caption Church Paramilitant (image from "Ultraviolet") (Church Paramilitant)
Sometimes I wish I actually knew Anything At All about vidding, because I have a recurring urge to make a Rev fanvid of "Man in Black" (or possibly a fanvid of "Man in Black" expanded to other TV clergy, though this is mainly for a cheap gag with the Master...)

But I don't actually know anything about vidding, even the basics and right now I probably don't have time to learn.
tree_and_leaf: Alan Rickman in role of Slope, wearing rochet, scarf, swept back hair, and hostile but smug expression (slope)
We sang a particularly fun anthem this morning at the parish Eucharist - a recentish composition by Hamilton, "Ye Gates Lift Up Your Heads." I'm not sure how it sounded, as we were very short-handed, and some of us (including myself) were battling colds and rather struggling with top Gs, but at any rate, it was fun to sing.

We did a final run-through in the nave just before the service, and one of the congregation came up to me and said "That was a very nice noise you were making, it wasn't Stanford, was it?"
tree_and_leaf: Harriet and Peter at a party: caption "Frivoling" (frivoling)
I know I'm spamming, but I'm fed up proof-reading... thus, a meme, gacked from various people.

Put your MP3 player of choice on shuttle, and post the first 26 songs. Yes, even if they are embarrassing.

• All Around My Hat (With Maddy Prior) 3:55 Status Quo Rockin' 'n' Rollin'
• First We Take Manhattan 5:50 Leonard Cohen The Essential Leonard Cohen
• Sei nicht bös (Zeller: Der Obersteiger) 3:08 Barbara Bonney Im Chambre Séparée
• Seed Of Wonder 6:03 Jesca Hoop Silverscreen Demos
• Rouantelezh Vreizh (Breton Kingdom) 3:20 Alan Stivell 70/95-Zoom [Disc 2]
• Waterloo Sunset 3:15 The Kinks The Best of The Kinks
• Lied Der Internationalen Brigaden (Song of the International Brigades) 2:34 Ernst Busch and Chorus Songs of the Spanish Civil War, Vol. 1: Songs of the Lincoln Brigade, Six Songs for Democracy
• Die Moorsoldaten (The Peat-Bog Soldiers) 2:58 Ernst Busch and Chorus Songs of the Spanish Civil War, Vol. 1: Songs of the Lincoln Brigade, Six Songs for Democracy
• Over the Sea to Skye 4:38 Eric Rigler & Scarlet Rivera
• Brown Eyed Girl 3:02 Van Morrison
• The Salmon Leap 5:17 Old Blind Dogs Old Blind Dogs - Live
• Dancing in the Moonlight 3:55 Toploader
• Only One Way 2:53 Karine Polwart Faultlines
• Great day 2:10 Paul McCartney Flaming Pie
• Westway 3:39 Sky Best of Sky
• Wirst du den Vaters Wahl nicht schelten? 7:38 Dorati, Royal Opera House. Holländer: G London; Senta: L Rysanek; Daland: G Tozzi; Erik: K Liebl; Mary: R Elias; Steuermann: R Lewis Wagner: Der fliegende Holländer
• Wartime Prayers 4:50 Paul Simon Surprise
• The Stranger Song 4:59 Leonard Cohen The Essential Leonard Cohen
• Ye people, rend your hearts 0:55 Jones-Baker-Gedda-Dieskau-de Burgos Mendelssohn: Elijah, Op. 70
• Irgendein Depp Bohrt Irgendwo Immer 7:56 Reinhard Mey Die Einhandsegler Tournee
• Choctaw Hayride 3:25 Alison Krauss & Union Station Live (Disc 1) Country
• Bach: St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 - Was Mein Gott Will, Das G'scheh' Allzeit 1:07 Bernarda Fink, Christoph Prégardien, Etc.; Nikolaus Harnoncourt: Concentus Musicus, Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Etc. Bach: St. Matthew Passion [Disc 1]
• Einsamkeit 2:45 Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau & Gerald Moore Schubert: Winterreise
• Stand auff Maredel 2:35 Studio der frühen Musik Oswald von Wolkenstein
• We'll Meet Again 2:59 Johnny Cash The Man Comes Around
• Dream Angus 3:16 Kenneth McKellar The Decca Years 1955-1975 (Disc 1)
• Tune for Bartley 6:36 Shooglenifty
tree_and_leaf: Spcok with one hand on chin, reflective expression (Bemused Spock)
The Long Spear is a rather nice vid - general tribute to Star Trek as a whole, in the light of the new movie. In general, I'm not a fan of vids with additional sound added to the base song, and at first I really couldn't see why "The Boxer" was an appropriate choice - other than vaguely so for teenie-delinquent-rebootverse-Jim - but then they used the original final verse, which Simon and Garfunkel never recorded, and suddenly everything fell into place...

Somewhat more slick, and an awful lot of fun: Swing, by [personal profile] marycrawford. TOS, ensemble, but with a heavy emphasis on Uhura.
tree_and_leaf: Harriet and Peter at a party: caption "Frivoling" (frivoling)
Here, incidentally, is a meme: the guess the first line of the song meme, which is doing the rounds again. This time my shuffle function picked some rather obscure stuff (as well as some fairly obvious ones, but that's randomness, I suppose)...

1. In sixteen-forty-nine, to St George’s Hill, The World Turned Upside Down, guessed by [personal profile] lyorn, here by Dick Gaughan.

2. Well if I could I surely would O Mary don't you weep (in this case by Springsteen, but it's that great composer Trad (or possibly Anon)...), guessed by [personal profile] oursin

3. Although my lover lives in a place I can’t live

4. Like shadows on the wall, you come and you go

5. I’m not content to be with you in the daytime The Kinks, "All the Day and all of the Night", guessed by [personal profile] oursin.

6. Me and my wife went all over town

7. All of the boys and the girls here in Paris

8. Joseph’s face was black as night. Paul Simon, Under African Skies, guessed by [personal profile] wychwood

9. I’ve sailed the whole world over

10. Lay down your sweet and weary head
tree_and_leaf: Burne Jones Psyche, caption "till we have faces?" (CS Lewis - till we have faces)
I promised a review of this, but it will be a brief one, as my brain appears to have died.

The opera is an adaptation by Swann and his librettist, Donald Marsh, from the second volume of CS Lewis' science fiction trilogy. As this is mostly set on an archipelago of floating islands, and the two most important characters spend most of the novel naked (and the fact that the villain of the piece doesn't illustrates his villainy), it will be appreciated that it poses certain challenges to the adaptor, and that's before we consider the fact that much of the action consists of a series of theological arguments and fun and games with translation and semantic inadequacy, followed by a prolonged physical combat between hero and villain (both unarmed).

The opera had a somewhat chequered history; it was not particularly successful in its day, at least partly because Swann's music is resolutely unfashionable - I don't know all that much about music in the sixties, but I was more reminded of Korngold or Walton than anything else. We heard a concert version, with linking narrative, which I must admit I found irksome, especially given the rather pantomime intonation of the narrator (John Amis, a friend of Swann's)†. It gave me a new appreciation for the art of the recitative... Swann and Marsh leave the basic structure of the novel unchanged, though they opens on a note of light comedy as "Lewis" and "Dr Harvard" crash about in Ransome's deserted cottage, by contrast to the novel's opening with Lewis, frightened out of his wits and not sure whether Ransom is telling the truth, insane, or perhaps in league with aliens bent on invading earth.* (The effect of the changes, perhaps unintentionally, was to make Lewis mostly competent and in control, and Harvard the comic relief; whereas novel! Lewis cuts a much poorer figure, and Harvard appears much more professional). There's also a new scene introducing Weston, plummeting towards Perelandra and swearing at the unfortunate technicians at home (Weston is not a nice person, even when he's not crossing Bergsonism with gnosticism or being possessed by the Devil) and the chorus recited his CV - at least, I think that's what they were doing; alas, the acoustics in Keble chapel were so muddy that most of the lyrics vanished under the orchestra.

The orchestration is excellent; the vocal line perhaps less so, though I did wake up with one of the act one duets between Ransom and the Lady embedded in my brain, and there is a spine-chilling solo for choirboy towards the end of the piece, "No man may shorten the way".

The most characterful singing came from Leon Berger, who sang Weston; the other soloists were good enough, but didn't stand out, and I wondered if the choirboy had a sore throat.

It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a largely American run affair (Lewis' fans seem to be typically American Evangelicals, which is in many ways odd). The tickets gave the work's title as "Perelandra the Opera. Donald Swan's masterpiece, based on the novel by CS Lewis". I somehow suspect an American wrote that....

A Telegraph columnist doesn't quite review it here.

† Even more unfortunately, during his description of the Green Lady, I had a mental image of Gaila from Reboot Trek, and couldn't shake the association for the rest of the piece. This is really unfortunate.
* As would surely have been the case if this were Doctor Who.
tree_and_leaf: David Tennant in Edwardian suit, Oxford MA gown and mortar board. (academic doctor)
You may or may not know that iTunes has launched a... thing they call iTunes University, where universities offer podcasts of lectures, etc, for free download. I was poking about, and discovered that as well as, e.g. Cambridge offering videos on history by Simon Schama and David Starkey, the Oxford section has two podcasts on Tolkien at Oxford, and Tolkien and languages. No idea what they're like, as I haven't listened yet, but it might be worth a look. You can also find such goodies as someone reading Beowulf aloud, or a recording of a first year tutorial from Mansfield on Old English grammar. Even as an Old Anglophile (?) I find it hard to understand why you would want the latter, but perhaps true grammarians will be thrilled by the prospect (and, I suppose, if you're considering Oxford, it could be interesting).

You should be able to find the Tolkien stuff by searching on Tolkien Oxford.

Of course, it's all basically advertising, but -

OOOH - free downloads of music from St Johns Cambridge! Including Byrd! Run, don't walk!
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Honestly, my main response to "Lucia di Lammermoor" could be summed up as "squee!" It was marvellous - very compellingly staged, acted, and sung (oh, and the orchestra played well, too).

However, that's a rather unexciting review ;)

Anna Netrebko was a marvellous Lucia - the mad scene was breathtaking, and totally convincing; her confrontation with her villainous brother Arturo (Colin Lee) in act II sc 1 was excellent, too (albeit with a rather weird subtext...). Lee was deliciously evil. Piotr Beczela, who had taken over as Edgardo at fairly short notice occasionally seemed a bit lost, I thought - in terms of acting rather than singing. He was quite good at being tender, and quite good at being emo, but I didn't really feel his anger; he was a bit polite at times. His duet with Edgardo, when they discuss the duel, was nonetheless compelling viewing. I rather liked the Chaplain, Raimondo (Ildar Abdrazkov), though I'm a little confused; the interval interviews seemed to suggest that he was supposed to be a villain, but my reading of the role was that he was well-meaning, but gives Lucia bad advice because he too has been duped (though I'm not sure of the legality of breaking an engagement in Scots law at the time - on the other hand, I'm not convinced Donizetti knew there was a difference. Scott would have, of course). As you can tell, I am a total noob at Donizetti...

The production and set design were fabulous. The ghost in Act I was a great touch - Ravenswood is a haunted and unhappy place tainted by violence and hatred, and Lucia is doomed from the start - the woodland set was just unbelievably well-executed, and I liked the ninetenth century gothic costumes (the peasantry was got up rather Highland for the Lammermuirs, but never mind). Rather unexpected to see Culzean Castle popping up, but why not... The staircase, and otherwise non-naturalistic set in the mad scene worked well, as did the graveyard with the enormous moon. I liked the way the sets became steadily more abstract and les naturalistic as the opera progressed, and Lucia descends into desperation and madness...

The experience of seeing an opera at a cinema is a slightly strange one. It was certainly the most grey and well-spoken audience I have ever seen - the Bildungsbürgertum was out in force - and the conversations during the intermission ranged from Other Great Productions of Our Time to how to deal with applying for benefits for your elderly mother. Equally, I've never seen so much wine drunk in a cinema. The coverage itself was extremely engaging - it was mostly extremely well directed, and the choice of shot made sense. I'm less sure about the interval elements. The backstage vox pops were intermittently interesting, but they did consist of asking rather banal questions to people you felt would rather have been in their dressing rooms; Marco Armiliato, the conductor is adorable, though.
tree_and_leaf: Isolated tree in leaf, against blue sky. (Default)
Why didn't I know about Sufjan Stevens before? He's really rather good!



(No, I, I'm not clear about what big cats have to do with it, and I don't know how I landed there after watching a spoof(?) Doctor/Master fanvid called "My Hearts Will Go On", either (though that's quite funny...)
tree_and_leaf: Francis Urquhart facing viewer, edge of face trimmed off, caption "I couldn't possibly comment" (couldn't possibly comment)
The mp3 found poetry meme. It doesn't really work, it seems:

Put your MP3 player on shuffle, and write down the first line of the first twenty songs. Post the poem that results. The first line of the twenty-first is the title.

Softhu únga ástin mín.

Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream.
When I die, and they lay me to rest.
Many men have loved the bells.
I can see the planets are aligning for me.

It’s a still life water colour, on a now-late afternoon,
If I could make a wish, I think I’d pass.
This time of endless night
I’m going to tell a story, and it’s sad but true:

If it hadn’t been for Cotton-Eyed Joe,
Giant steps are what you take
Oh I can’t forget this evening,
The Angel Gabriel from heaven came,

Three Kings from Persian Lands afar,
Gaudete, Gaudete, Christus est natus!
Ho ho ho to the bottle I go,
You get a shiver in the dark.

Sources under the cut )
What the heck: I shall do two (can you tell my writing is going badly? )
tree_and_leaf: Peter Davison in Five's cricket gear, leaning on wall with nose in book, looking a bit like Peter Wimsey. (Books)
So, dear flist, a question:

A friend of mine claims that when he was about ten (i.e. round about 1980) a pop group ("Like Dollar, but not Dollar") made a record which basically consisted of a setting of Julius Caesar IV.3. 218–224 ("There is a tide in the affairs of men"). He thinks that the chorus went "Leads on the fortune, leads on to fortune", but isn't sure. He has been googling round looking for it for years, but to no avail.

Does this ring any bells with anyone?

Have a song

Nov. 5th, 2008 06:14 pm
tree_and_leaf: Photo of spire of Freiburg Minster (14th C broached gothic) silhouetted against sunset. (Schönste Turm)
It's been in my head, despite all reservations about the nature of politics and the problems of the world. (I wish I could find the Hamish Henderson version, though).



For those of you who struggle with Scots, there's the lyrics and a (slightly flat) translation here

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