24442. (Jean-Philippe Rameau) Pygmalion [complete opera; d. Leonhardt; Elwes, van der
. . . . . Sluis, Vanhecke, Yakar]
24443. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) Mosquito
(Kiri Te Kanawa) Solo e Amore — Puccini Arias:
. . . . 24444. (Giacomo Puccini) “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca
. . . . 24445. (Giacomo Puccini) “Se come voi” from Le Villi
. . . . 24446. (Giacomo Puccini) “In quelle trine morbide” from Manon Lescaut
Category Archives: C – LISTENING
24442. (Jean-Philippe Rameau) Pygmalion [complete opera; d. Leonhardt; Elwes, van der
24241. (Henry Purcell) Dido and Aeneas [complete opera; d. Pinnock; von Otter, Varcoe, Rogers]
24242. (Fuck Buttons) Slow Focus
24243. (Tomasso Albinoni) Double Oboe Concerto, Op.7 #11: Adagio
24244. (Tomasso Albinoni) Double Oboe Concerto, Op.7 #2: Adagio
24245. (Tomasso Albinoni) Sinfonia for Two Oboes: Adagio
It would be interesting to imagine what would have happened to bluesman JB Lenoir if he had lived beyond his span of 38 years, cut short by an automobile accident. Unlike most blues artists of the fifties, he was politically oriented. One of the three albums I have, Eisenhower Blues (1954), is a satirical stab at that President’s policies. He was active in the Civil Rights movement. Another album I have, a compilation put together to accompany Martin Scorcese’s film history of the blues, draws heavily from Eisenhower Blues and other Chess recordings from the 1950s. So does a 1993 Charly label compilation I just found, Mama Watch Your Daughter. During this period, despite some chart success with songs like “Don’t Dog Your Woman”, Lenoir had to support himself working in kitchens. It’s in the sixties, just before his sudden death, that he achieved real recognition. Down In Mississippi, issued posthumously in 1970, dates from that period.
Lenoir sang in falsetto, his voice floating like a bubble on waves of rhythm guitar, and the arrangements were closer to early Rock ‘n’ Roll than to traditional blues. He affected garish suits, and otherwise fit well into the Rock ‘n’ Roll esthetic. His later work was electric boogie, and he should really be seen as having a prominent place in the history of Rock. Certainly, a number of prominent rock artists were familiar with, and were influenced by his work — John Mayall, for example. Perhaps, if he had lived past 1967, that would now be the case.
Although you will usually see his name printed as “J. B. Lenoir”, his first name was actually “JB”, which was not initials for anything. His surname was pronounced in the French manner.
24214. (John Field) Piano Concerto #1 in E-f, H.27
24215. (John Field) Piano Concerto #2 in A-f, H.31
24216. (Olivier Messiaen) Huits préludes pour piano (1928–29)
24217. (Booker T & The MGs) Green Onions
24218. (Giacomo Meyerbeer) Le Prophète [complete opera; d. Lewys; Horne, McCracken,
. . . . . . Scotto]
24141. (Giuseppe Verdi) Alzira [complete opera; d. Luisi; Mescheriakova, Vargas, Gavanelli]
24142. (Wilhelm Friedemann Bach) Harpsichord Concerto in F, F.44
24143. (Wilhelm Friedemann Bach) Harpsichord Concerto in A m, F.45
24144. (Wilhelm Friedemann Bach) Harpsichord Concerto in D, F.4
24145. (String Theory) “Applause” by Lady Gaga, for 5 Cellos [music video]
24093. (Giuseppe Verdi) I Lombardi alla prima crociata [complete opera; d. Levine; Anderson,
. . . . . Pavarotti, Ramey]
24094. (Boards of Canada) The Campfire Headphase
24095. (Peter Maxwell Davies) St. Thomas Wake: Foxtrot for Orchestra
24096. (Peter Maxwell Davies) Dark Angels for Soprano and Guitar
24044. (Gioacchino Rossini) Demetrio e Polibio [complete opera; d. Carraro; Gonzales, Surjan]
24045. (Giacomo Puccini) Manon Lescaut [complete opera; d. Rahbari; Gauci, Kuladov, Saudinero]
24046. (Social Distortion) Mommy’s Little Monster
24047. (El Ten Eleven) Every Direction Is North
24048. (Giuseppe Verdi) La traviata [complete opera; d. Toscanini; Albanese, Peerce, Merrill]
(Hespèrion XX) El Cancionero de Palacio, 1474–1516 — Música en la corte de los Reyes
. . Católicos:
. . . . 23019. (Francisco de la Torre) Danza Alta [instrumental]
. . . . 23020. (Gabriel Mena) Aquella Mora Garrida
. . . . 23021. (Francisco de Peñalosa) Por las sierras de Madrid
String Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 2 was Dvořák’s second chamber work. He was only 21 when he completed it, in 1862. It was not performed, however, until he revised it in 1888. The revisions seem to have been confined to some cuts to make it “leaner”, so it is probably representative of his musical thinking and abilities at that early stage. If that’s the case, then his genius shines out. It isn’t a great work, especially when compared to the divine quartets of his maturity, but it shows many of his signature qualities: the playfulness, effortless melodic invention, and the ability to communicate beauty and even sweetness without cloying. The first of the four movements has a catchy melody, but develops it very conventionally. It’s in the third movement, Allegro scherzando, that the future Dvořák is most evident. Its trio section could have been composed by no one else. The animato of the final movement is vigorous and confident. This first quartet can be played strictly for the pleasure it affords, not just for its presentiments of greatness. My best copy is brilliantly performed by the Kvarteto města Prahy.
Of all the provinces of China, it is Yunnan that has fascinated me most. Remote and mountainous, and forgotten by the world in the last few centuries, it once played a critical role in world history by being the first region to transmit major cultural and technological influences between East Asia and South Asia. The oldest known hominid fossils of East Asia were found there. Before the famed Silk Road was established in the north, trade and ideas wormed their way through the precipitous mountain passes of Yunnan, across northern Burma, then over the Naga hills to the valley of the Brahmaputra in India. Rice cultivation probably entered India by this route in prehistoric times, and possibly the technology of casting bronze. Some magnificent bronze art survives from the 3rd Century BCE. From that time to the Yuan era, though sometimes controlled by Tibetan or Han Chinese empires, Yunnan was most often the center of its own kingdoms, such as Dian [滇國], Nangzhao [南诏], and Dali [大理国]. A melting pot of peoples spoke various Tibeto-Burman, Tai-Kadai, and Miao-Yao languages. The historically important Bai language’s classification is disputed. These aboriginal languages survive and thrive despite the influx of Chinese speakers to the region, as do many ancient traditions. Shamanism, Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity, and even Islam have been influences on local beliefs. A synchretistic religion called Dongba, related in some way to the shamanistic Bön faith that preceded Buddhism in Tibet, is still practiced. It focuses significantly on the sacredness of trees, and once provided the spiritual basis for careful (and sustainable) practices in logging. The Communist Party attempted to crush the faith, not only for ideological reasons, but to facilitate clear-cutting and destructive exploitation of the forests. The religion, however, survives.
Most remarkably, the region independently developed writing. The Dongba Script constitutes the only hieroglyphic writing still actively maintained. The Communist Party suppressed its use, and destroyed thousands of ancient manuscripts by boiling them into paste, but many copies survived, about half of the extant ones being carried to the U.S. and Europe. This remarkable form of writing presents many interesting puzzles for linguists and paleographers [ READING, August 2013: item 23943 (Alexis Michaud) Pictographs and the Language of Naxi Rituals]. Now, belatedly, the script is being encouraged by local authorities, and appears on the sides of buses.
Of the many cultural survivals in Yunnan, it’s musical traditions stand out. I previously heard some Naxi (or Nakhi) folksongs of Yunnanese migrants in Sichuan [items 16234 and 16239 in Sichuan Folk Song and Ballad, Vol.2] and thought them particularly evocative. But the more complex classical orchestral music of the ancient kingdoms has been astonishingly preserved through all the tribulations of time. The Dayan Ancient Music Association’s album Naxi Music from Lijiang, issued by Nimbus Records in 1997, provides an aural window into antiquity. The instruments used are archaic lutes, flutes, shawms and zithers, long since vanished elsewhere. Twenty-four melodic qupai (leitmotifs) are subjected to elaboration and variation. This form is known as Baisha xiyue, literally “fine music of Baisha”, referring to an ancient capital of the Naxi, situated near modern Lijiang. The music is best described as lean and uncluttered, but elegant. There is none of the crashing pots-and-pans din associated with old forms elsewhere in China.
This is to me, a very evocative and enjoyable album, and will be replayed often.