sartorias: (handwritten books)
Every year I try to find holiday music that is not Santa rocking around the Xmas tree, Chestnuts roasting, or Dreidl Dreidl Dreidl.

Noel Nouvelet is a favorite, but it's difficult to find an arrangement online that has all the polyphonic, and female and male voices blended.

It's difficult to find Chanukka songs that are not the same three, the equivalent of Rudolph and Jingle Bells, but I always come back to Ernst Bloch's gorgeous From Jewish Life.

And here is his beautiful violin piece Nigun. (I wish I could find a real Chanukka night)

And for Christmas I hope this works--a children's choir singing "Pat-a-pan."

And here is Riu Riu Chiu, written by Matteo Flecha, who wrote the Ensalada "La Bomba" that I love so much. This is the Gondwana Chorale.

The only rendition of "Betelemehu" that I could find. (I've heard it livelier, but this is pretty, especially toward the second half)
sartorias: (Flian's music)
So, I was listening to some old favorites to escape the horrible news blaring downstairs, while scraping my skull for new topics for the BVC blog, when I thought, hey. How about posting about this music? I gathered pieces that have been steadfast resort-tos for at least thirty years, pieces I listen to the whole of, and not just parts.

My impetus here was not only to fill my Saturday slot but to maybe discover new music, if anyone is prompted to post theirs!
sartorias: (Flian's music)
A couple days ago, a reader posted a playlist for a series of my books, called "Glory/Damnation. The images are large, so I did the link instead of bringing it over.

It's so interesting to see what music people listen to while reading. Being a visual reader and writer, I've always used music as sound tracks. Back in the sixties, you had no control over what the radio would play; if you could afford it, you bought a record, and got up and put the needle over and over at the track you wanted. I remember once I was really sick, and this story spilled out of me while I curled up in a chair next to my dad's stereo, which we were not allowed to play. But as long as he was at work I played it anyone. I must have gotten up and down fifty times as I played certain tracks over and over while scribbling my pages over two days. I remember the black things kind of swirling at the edges of my vision--and wrote them into the story.

Some music inspired stories, some fitted themselves into soundtracks for writing or for reading. Like, I was reading Gone with the Wind, and Holst's St. Paul's Suite became its soundtrack. For Mary Stewart's Madam Will You Talk, Miles Davis's Sketches of Spain. Certain rock songs went with certain characters.

Over the years, I'd talk about this, and of course no piece of music that I fit together with a book matched with anyone else's. But that's fine--it's interesting to hear what others match with a text.

What music, if any, do you have permanently matched with a work?
sartorias: (handwritten books)
Riding the train is never the same twice. This particular trip, as we traversed the breathtaking scenery of the north end of the continental divide, a cellist who has traveled the world offered to play for those of us hanging out in the observation car. Though the train shook and jiggled and the northern sun poured down on his back, he played and played for a mostly American audience who (from the blank looks when he asked for suggestions, one woman finally saying, "Uh, America the Beautiful?") still seemed to appreciate his music.

This is when he began .

People came and went. Once the train stopped to let a freight train by, so I got a bit of a smoother shot and a lovely bit of classical riffing.

Then a fellow asked if he could join in, though he only knew folk music. Asher agreed, and offered a common note, to be told the Canadian gent didn't know what those were, and so he began to play, and Asher felt his way in. I captured the first song but when the next was going to be "Puff the Magic Dragon" I decided it was time to get my overheated bod off to the room and some water.
sartorias: (1554 S)
Watched Hava Nagila (The Movie). Anyone else ever seen this documentary? I really enjoyed it. Had no idea that "Hava Nagila," which was popular enough when I was young to go mainstream, began as a nigun in the Ukraine.
sartorias: (desk)
Want to share some heat and stress escapes? Today [ profile] egalantier posted this dueling violins at the OK Corral that I thought was pretty nifty.

When I can get some brain back again, time for a reading roundup.

But if anyone wants to share a) great reading discoveries and/or 2) awesome sites with music or art or whatever, most welcome!
sartorias: (desk)
Last post, one of my road trip friends mentioned having watched the Sassafrass Sundown DVD. I'd been saving it, but last night when I faced the prospect of attempting some exercise for the first time in a week, in the swelter of upstairs, I thought, this will have the power to get my mind off my total lack of energy and the heat.

And I was right. Because I did wimp exercise (a minute or two followed by a rest period, as I have the oomph of overcooked spaghetti) I watched several songs. I discovered I was glad I'd waited, because I recognized people's themes as they entered the stage, and did a better job of catching the themes weaving in the amazing polyphony. Even better, some of those themes not only ear wormed me as I got ready for bed, but strayed into my dreams.

Ear worms are an amazing thing. I can usual banish unfortunate ones by recollecting a strong piece of music that I like. But I have never been able to successfully command them into dreams. I can play an aria or my favorite movement in a symphony right before bed, fall asleep listening to the main themes . . . and zip. It's like flying dreams. I can say to my brain, come on, another flying dream, pretty please? No. The brain may be weak, but it is stubborn and I get what it wants to dish out.

Anyway, I'm loving the music so much that I'm seriously thinking of making Balticon next year my one con of the year, if that is where Sassafrass does their concerts. Because I really, really want to see the whole group in person. Seeing Trickster and King at Mythcon convinced me of that.


Aug. 13th, 2015 08:30 am
sartorias: (desk)
The thing about being old and somewhat arthritic is that I have a general, small level of pain all the time. It's the price one pays post sixty, but the downside is, that sometimes the aches intensify so gradually that it hits me, whoa, could I be sick? The last three days, I've had a high fever, which means the headache that prevents me from reading, so I've been listening to audio books and music. And the music has pretty much been Sassafrass's Nine Worlds piece, Sundown. The close harmonies, the quick words, have generated the most amazing images.

Well, anyway, I would really, really like to see them make their last goal in the next 48 hours. I want the subsidiary CD's promised. If any of you have an interest, or like their work, here's the data in the link.

Okay, I've sat up long enough now. Back to bed, and I think Baldur and Hel are up next.
sartorias: (desk)
This was such a splendid trip, the only difficulty being remembering yoga breathing while ten thousand feet up. Six thousand (which I understand is Colorado Springs' elevation) was okay--needing occasional conscious deep breathing, but I mostly used the stairs, as programming only went up four flights.

That aside, the drive to and from was excellent, because I had the perfect companions for the drive, writer Rosamund Hodge (Cruel Beauty, Crimson Unbound) and her mother, a textile artist and also a writer--out of all the True Thomas books, ballads, and stories I've read I still like hers the best. Having one other driver takes the stress out of long hours on the road. The barren California geography was too sere to be beautiful though it was interesting, but from Nevada on it gradually becomes more interesting and spectacular. My only regret is that we did not have time to cruise through some of the national parks.

The reverse trip was equally nice, the car air conditioning mitigating the triple digit temps. On the way back we listened to Sundown by Sassafrass, watching the dramatic scenery unfold as if it had been torn apart in Ragnaroc as the singers wove the story, and the central tragedy--Odin vs. Loki--around us.

Speaking of Sassafrass, the two members who'd come to Mythcon, their performance names Trickster and King, generously agreed to add to their last concert Monday morning the anthem to space travel "Somebody Will." If you listen to it, especially as sung that morning, you'd understand the emotional as well as physical tax of performing that twice, because they were also giving it at the closing ceremonies, which we missed because we did not want to spend another night at ten thousand feet.

The Mythopoeic Society has its own anthems sun every year, and I like those, but this song so powerfully expressed the sense of wonder that draws me to fantasy (and science fiction) with lines like:

But if I love my fantasy worlds
It’s not fantasy love that I feel.
And so much more I feel for this
The world that created them,
World we create with them,
One chance to make them all real.

Those don't encapsulate the poignancy of clear-eyed effort, even sacrifice, to make things better for those who come after, that to me suggests the best human endeavor.

Equally excellent and providing hours of good conversation was Jo Walton's GOH talk, in which she explored how to get that fantasy element into a story to resonate as real. After the talk a few of us gathered around the (bare, thank goodness) fireplace to further talk about writing, world building, and related subjects. The next morning I talked to one of the academics who said that the talk provided a fascinating insight into the writer part of the fiction equation: how they do it, what they are thinking. I pointed out that he was getting a sliver of master class, that most of us are still struggling to make these connections and bring that awareness to our efforts.

Altogether a wonderful weekend, full of good conversations, ideas, music, and fun. And beautiful scenery framing it all.
sartorias: (desk)
Music has always been a part of Mythcon, in this case an astonishing performance of a Norse song cycle ten years in the making by Ada Palmer (who is also a writer, and whose first book will come out next year).

You can hear a couple of the songs here--try "My Brother, My Enemy", and the second one has the entire group performing. Their name is Sassafrass, and they do a cappella singing.

This performance was especially enjoyable as Jo Walton ([ profile] papersky) read Norse poetry, some written in response to various pieces in the music, and some she had written independently.

I've got that compelling melody running through my head.
sartorias: (Flian's music)
Via Kate Elliott

I love these so, so much. I keep hoping that someday I will walk into one. What joy--the surprise, the music, the delight in all the faces.

Ten Songs

Aug. 29th, 2014 08:15 pm
sartorias: (Flian's music)
Which playlist?

I guess the one I listened to today:

1. "Remember the Name," Fort Minor

2. "Lootenevale," Vishnai Bhardwaj

3. "Roads to Moscow," Al Stewart

4. "Personent Hodie," Maggie Beth Sand

5. "Ho Hey," the Lumineers

6. Te Deum I, II, III. Dan Forrest

7."Superstar," Tegan and Sara

8. "Ameno," The Soundlike Ensemble

9. "I Remember, I Believe," Sweet Honey in the Rock

10. "Mo Drums," En Train
sartorias: (Fan)
Over at her blog, [ profile] rachelmanija asked people to name the most obnoxious, ear-grating songs they have ever heard. Not ordinary songs they happened to be hearing when something terrible happened that made them hate the song. Actual stinkers that drive them straight out of the room.

It has been fun to see how passionate people get about music, though not a surprise. Sometimes I wince with embarrassment when people name something I rather like. But the responses are so intense. Music is so very personal at times.

My answer was: pop versions of "Jingle Bells."

Pretty much anything by John Denver, or Barry Manilow. Both the quality of their voices and their music drives me straight out of a room.

I loathed the sound of Carole King's voice, though I liked a lot of her songs if someone else sang them.

Another song I really, really hated was "American Pie." During 1971-2 you could not get away from it and its several thousand nasally whining verses. After which it ear wormed you. Blast and damn, it's ear worming me NOW. I have to go put on some Ernst Bloch, or maybe For Minor, to counteract the evil spell.
sartorias: (Flian's music)
I was listening to Mozart this morning, and wanted to look up the piece, so I turned to Wikipedia for the fast-and-dirty, and tripped over a fascinating factoid about Mozart as a young teen having bootlegged Allegri's super-secret "Miserere". When you consider that in those days that meant writing out the score by memory, that was quite a feat.

Further, the pope, after summoning him to an interview after the word got all over the Internet out in Rome, apparently said it was about time to let the piece go public.

I love finding out stuff like that.
sartorias: (Flian's music)
Honoring the memory of recently deceased Sid Caesar, yesterday [ profile] kalimac posted this brilliantly hilarious clip of Sid and Nanette Fabray. Not a word spoken, but you know exactly what is going on partly because the actors are so expressive, but what makes the skit is the music.

I was all the more fascinated because I see a different story when I hear that piece, yet this fit perfectly. Not surprising. The music suggests a conflict--could be a duel, an argument in a courtroom, a conflict on a plain--with emotional highs and lows, a complication of interactions.

I think this is why I've always ignored the lyrics of songs, which tend to be much of the same, even using the same phrases. Music mainlines pictures in my brain, supercharged with emotion. I guess this is why I really like using music as soundtracks to writing.

We all process books differently. Do others see images when they listen to music? At least one person I know sees colors. I only see colors with numbers. Nine is always orange, and four blue. Eleven skull-white.


Dec. 12th, 2013 08:53 am
sartorias: (candle)
You might have already seen this, but I still had to link to this surprise tribute to Nelson Mandela by the Soweto Gospel Choir at a store. I love the looks on people's faces when they are caught by sudden beauty.

Thanks to [ profile] asakiyume for the heads up.

(Oh, and listen if you can on a good sound system, so you catch the marvelous bass voices.)
sartorias: (Fan)
Anybody speak Lithuanian? I chanced across this amazing group--I love everything people have uploaded at YouTube. I'd willingly buy their music, if I could find it! They do have a site, but I was defeated trying to navigate it.
sartorias: (Fan)
Originally posted by [ profile] calimac at The Greatest 20th Century Symphonists You've Never Heard Of. Post 5: Malcolm Arnold
Post 1: Kurt Atterberg
Post 2: Cornelis Dopper
Post 3: Joly Braga Santos
Post 4: Alan Hovhaness

The next name on this list is known, if he's remembered at all, primarily as a film composer. But he was also a fine if somewhat challenging symphonist, and many other things as well. I've mentioned him already in this series, so it's time for him to take center stage. Let me introduce you to:

Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006).
sartorias: (Fan)
My favorite of all gets talked about here by [ profile] calimac.

For those who like classical music to write to, but don't want familiar melodies, I recommend this guy. He, like Santos, sparks images, at least for me.

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