La Cathedrale Engloutie


Claude Debussy’s “The Sunken Cathedral” is based on a myth involving, well, a sunken cathedral off the coast of Brittany. The beautiful princess of a prosperous coastal town named Ys had an affair either with Satan or one of his many lieutenants on earth (as beautiful princesses tend to do). As punishment, the town was destroyed by sinking into the sea along with most inhabitants. Local legend held that on certain days you could hear the bells of the cathedral of Ys ringing from below. On other days, it was believed to rise briefly to the surface. Debussy begins by representing both waves and the ringing of the cathedral bells. As the cathedral rises, chanting monks and priests emerge, culminating with the great organ at 2:25: a brief emergence of a grand, underwater zombie Mass of the damned. Then it all sinks again until we just hear the bells. Near the end, the great organ melody makes a muted reappearance from the murky depths.

Beautifully creepy stuff here, with the obsessively perfect Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli looking like he’s playing this from deep within his castle in Transylvania. (He actually never lived in a castle in Transylvania, but for a while he did live in one near Brescia).

Hey, I Think I’ve Got A Live One

Billion Dollar Babies is kicking my ass today, this song in particular.

Finally got a ride, this old broad down from Santa Fe
She was a real go-getter
She drawled so sweetly “Think child, that things’ll get better”
We pulled off the highway
Night black as a widow
“Yeah, I read the Bible”
She said, “I wanna know of you”

Hey, I think I got a live one
Hey, I think I found a live one
Hey, I think I got a live one
Yeah, Yeah, think I got a live one
Okay boys

Felt like I was hit by a diesel or a Greyhound bus
She was no babysitter
“Get up now sugar, never thought you’d be a quitter”
I opened the back door, she was greedy
I ran through the desert, she was chasing
No time to get dressed so I was naked
Stranded in Chihuahua

Alone, raped and freezing
Alone, cold and sneezing
Alone, down in Mexico
Alone

Sure I Wanna Meet the Scruffs


My mother gave me an Amazon gift certificate, and rather than spend it on something useful like a Nic Cage pillow, I decided I’d buy something really stupid and overpriced. Kidding. I’ve been looking for this for awhile, and haven’t run across one anywhere, so I pulled the trigger because it was free money. Not in the best shape (record plays great, but cover is a little beat), but I’m happy to finally have it.

Collectors collect.

The nice thing about buying used records is the artists get fuck all from it. If I ever happen to meet any of the contributors to this very good record, I will at least buy them a beer or other beverage of their choice, but that’ll probably never happen.

Goldbergs


I’m sure you all have a lot of music you have to hear a few times a year. On my list is Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I’m kind of addicted to theme and variations pieces, and this is one of the best, inventive and resourceful as hell. Bach can get too dour and Lutheran for me, but not here. Consists of an aria, 30 variations, then the aria again at the end. The common theme is not the aria but the bass line, which is repeated in every variaton, although not always overtly. The melodies of the variations are not necessarily related to one another. A huge range of material from a single bass line. Reminds me of how many rock songs use the same bass/chord structures a million different ways. But these are all from one work by one guy.

If I’m in the mood to hear a crazy young person play it, I go to Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording. This record made him an overnight sensation, and I would guess that it’s the #1 selling classical album of all time. If I’m in the mood to hear a crazy middle-aged person play it, I like GG’s 1981 re-make. When I want to hear it played by someone from this planet, I like the one posted above.

Musicologists wet their trousers when Bach is played on a piano instead of a harpsicord. They shit themselves too if the pianist is as individual and “inauthentic” as GG. All the more reason to love these records.

A musicologist is a man who can read music but can’t hear it. -Sir Thomas Beecham

Without music, life would be a mistake.-Friedrich Nietzsche

So You Want To Collect Beatles Japanese Vinyl

Should you? Whether you do or not, this is fascinating stuff.

Japanese pressings are regarded by many as the best sounding vinyl in the world, but what does it do for The Beatles? Over the decades Japan has issued countless issues of The Beatles albums and there are so many to choose from to collect, but are they worth it?

In this video we take a look at how The Beatles’ original albums were released in the 1960’s and find out which of the subsequent reissued are worth buying and which are not.
Join us on this fascinating trip and do let us know your thoughts about these amazing records.

Duel of the Fates

The Obi-Wan trailer reminds me of how great Duel of the Fates is.
It sets the perfect tone for the cinematic climax of Phantom Menace. Nothing to that point in Star Wars was choral, which set it apart even more.

I had no idea what they were saying, or if it was a made-up language. It just sounded cool.

“The great sword fight at the end of the film – the decision to make that choral was just the result of my thinking that it should have a ritualistic or quasi-religious feeling, and the introduction of a chorus might be just the thing. … [T]he medium of chorus and orchestra would give us a sense that we’re in a big temple.”

The words originated in the medieval Welsh poem Cad Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees). The text was translated into English by Robert Graves, and published in 1948 as part of The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth.
John Williams selected lines 32-35:

under the tongue root
a fight most dread,
and another raging
behind in the head

Williams had it translated into a variety of languages, eventually selecting Sanskrit “because of the quality of the vowels.”

Korah Matah Korah Rahtahmah
Korah Rahtamah Yoodhah Korah
Korah Syahdho Rahtahmah Daanyah
Korah Keelah Daanyah

Weird Fact

According to both Al Green and Willie Mitchell, they earned by far the most royalties for this song not from their own version, nor from those of Syl Johnson or even the Talking Heads, but from Billy Big Mouth Bass. Even Queen Elizabeth had one.

There’s No Way This Will Be Good

Will I still watch it? Morbid curiosity compels me to check out the first episode.

Best YouTube comment …

I’m getting “Vyvyan from the Young Ones” vibes from this – and not in a good way.

Someone else made the astute observation that Rotten was always more sardonic than angry. The tone is all wrong.