June 17th, 2014

In general, this half hour piece on Purcell’s aria is engaging, but if you have never heard Jeff Buckley sing Dido’s lament, it is worth skipping ahead to 22:30 or so and listening to cellist and composer Phillip Sheppard talk about the day he performed the piece with Buckley.

Also, someone on Youtube has done a decent enough job of cleaning up the recording, if you’d like to simply listen to it.

It’s not my fault if you cry. Sheesh.

November 12th, 2012

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Just got tickets to their first ever Australian tour. Yeahhhh!

July 29th, 2012

Two stills from the clip for Foals’ ‘Spanish Sahara’

(Source: ithunter.org)

June 24th, 2012
The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation … I would like to know how it feels for my desperation to get louder.
Bill Withers, in the documentary Still Bill.
April 4th, 2012

Spring lies desolate.
The velvet-dark ditch
crawls by my side
without reflections.

The only thing that shines
is yellow flowers.

I am carried in my shadow
like a violin
in its black case.

The only think I want to say
glitters out of reach
like the silver
in a pawnbroker’s.

Tomas Transtromer, ‘April and Silence’, (translated by Robin Fulton); the first poem in his collection The Sad Gondola [Sorgegondolen], published six years after he suffered a stroke. The opening notes to this collection read:

From 19 November 1882 until 13 January 1883, Franz Liszt stayed with his daughter Cosima and her husband, Richard Wagner, at the Palazzo Vendramin, on the Grand Canal in Venice. Inspired by the sight of funeral gondolas, and also “under a premonition,” Liszt wrote the two piano pieces La lugubre gondola I and II. Wagner died on 13 February 1883.

I don’t know how these things connect. The stroke, the funeral gondolas, the death of Wagner, April. How are they all there, in those lines: “I am carried in my shadow / like a violin / in its black case”?

March 15th, 2012

Foals, ‘Spanish Sahara’

August 29th, 2011

So, it turns out Toto are singing ‘I bless the rains down in Africa’, not ‘I guess it rains down in Africa’. I don’t think I can readjust. I mean, that’s not the same thing at all.

June 30th, 2011
I was going through something in my life, and I felt the presence at the end of my bed of a ghost of someone I recognized. I was in a hotel room in Arizona during the Under the Pink tour. I followed this ghost into the bathroom. I turned on all the water…the shower… I let the room steam up…the water became part of the sound, almost like an orchestra…and this ghost drew a picture for me in the mirror in the steam. The way I interpreted the picture was that earth and Jupiter were in love billions of years ago, then they were separated, and now they are billions of miles apart, and this is earth’s love song to Jupiter.
Tori Amos, explaining how she came to write ‘Hey Jupiter’. I’m waiting for my ghost, now.

(Source: yessaid.com)

June 19th, 2011

Henryk Gorecki, from Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). I am fairly sure this is from the Naxos recording, conducted by Antoni Wit, with Zofia Kilanowicz (soprano) and the Polish National Radio Symphony.

Gorecki, explaining the origin of the text of the piece to soprano Elizabeth Hynes, said

In [the Gestapo prison, in Zakopane], the whole wall was covered with inscriptions screaming out loud: “I’m innocent,” “Murderers,” “Executioners,” “Free me,” “You have to save me”—it was all so loud, so banal. Adults were writing this, while here it is an eighteen-year-old girl, almost a child. And she is so different. She does not despair, does not cry, does not scream for revenge. She does not think about herself; whether she deserves her fate or not. Instead, she only thinks about her mother: because it is her mother who will experience true despair. This inscription was something extraordinary. And it really fascinated me: “Mother, do not cry, no. The purest Queen of Heaven, you always support me. Hail Mary.” Here the inscription ended and I added: “You are full of grace.” Not “Full of grace” as it is in the prayer, but “You are full of…”