Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s Space Oddity song

April 30, 2022

For background, click on Chris Hadfield kottke.org.

Feynman’s ode to the wonder of life

April 24, 2022

The following words are from an address to the National Academy of Sciences in 1955.  Get details from The Marginalian.

[UNTITLED ODE TO THE WONDER OF LIFE]
by Richard Feynman

I stand at the seashore, alone, and start to think. There are the rushing waves… mountains of molecules, each stupidly minding its own business… trillions apart… yet forming white surf in unison.

Ages on ages… before any eyes could see… year after year… thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what?… on a dead planet, with no life to entertain.

Never at rest… tortured by energy… wasted prodigiously by the sun… poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar.

Deep in the sea, all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make others like themselves… and a new dance starts.

Growing in size and complexity… living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein… dancing a pattern ever more intricate.

Out of the cradle onto the dry land… here it is standing… atoms with consciousness… matter with curiosity.

Stands at the sea… wonders at wondering… I… a universe of atoms… an atom in the universe.

The music of Peter Tchaikovsky is universal

March 20, 2022

From a letter by Peter Tchaikovsky to a friend:

We must always work, and a self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.  If we wait for the mood, without endeavoring to meet it halfway, we easily become indolent and apathetic.  We must be patient, and believe that inspiration will come to those who can master their disinclination.  

A few days ago I told you I was working every day without any real inspiration.  Had I given way to my disinclination, undoubtedly I should have drifted into a long period of idleness.  But my patience and faith did not fail me, and today I felt the inexplicable glow of inspiration of which I told you; thanks to which I know beforehand that whatever I write today will have power to make an impression, and to touch the hearts of those who hear it.

I was indignant all the cancellations of performances of works by Russian composers, and demands that Russian musicians and singers denounce Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine.

I think my own government is wrong in a lot of ways, but, if I were abroad and people demanded I broadcast a denunciation of, say, Donald Trump, I would not do it.

Forced loyalty oaths are bad enough, because they do not signify loyalty, only that you are willing to bow to pressure.  Forced denunciations of one’s own government are even worse for the same reason.

But then it occurred to me that Tchaikovsky could not be canceled.  All his works were available online to me, and to anybody else with a computer.  I in fact could have listened to great music by great composers, including Russians, every night of my life, and I never took advantage of it.

I spent yesterday evening listening to a YouTube collection of short sections of Peter Tchaikovsky’s works.  I am not a great concert-goer or music-lover, and I was surprised at how familiar so much of this music sounded to me.  His music is part of world culture, including U.S. culture.  It will be remembered when Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky are forgotten.

LINKS

Putin’s Russia vs. Pushkin’s Russia by Gary Saul Morson for Quillette.

The Cancelation of Russian Culture by Gary Saul Morson for First Things.

Classical Music Cancels Russians by Heather MacDonald for City Journal.

Not everyone in the Western music world has lost courage and humanistic values by Gilbert Doctorow.

A Chinese pianist performs Beethoven

February 5, 2022

My musical knowledge and appreciation is below average and I never heard Beethoven’s beautiful Für Elise before I came across this performance by Lang Lang a week or so ago.  It’s wonderful!

It’s interesting that so many Chinese musicians are superb performers of music in the classical European tradition, and also that there is interest in China in the Greek and Latin classics, especially when so many in the West are losing interest in the classics.

The Jerusalema dance challenge

January 30, 2022

Watching this cheered me up.

Jerusalema is a gospel-influenced song in the Zulu language produced by South African producer master KG and performed by the vocalist Nomcebo in 2019.

In February, 2020, Frndómenos do Semla, a dance group in Angola, recorded themselves dancing to the song while eating and not dropping their plates.

Since then the Jerusalema dance has gone viral.  People all over the world are doing it.  (But I only learned of it day before yesterday.)

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Easy listening music of the season by Mozart

December 22, 2021

Source: Collins Classics.

‘Come thou fount of every blessing’

December 12, 2021

Hat tip to Julian Abagond.

Bohemian Catsody: a Rhapsody parody

October 9, 2021

Hat tip to Naked Capitalism.

Even though I’ve never been a cat owner, I think this is pretty funny.

Complaints choirs: Life is tough all over

October 2, 2021

Evidently complaints choirs were a big thing 15 years or so years ago, but I only heard of them last week.  They’re a fad that may have come and gone, but, to me, they are timelessly funny.

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A new stanza for Solidarity Forever

June 21, 2021

My old friend, Gene Zitver, told me there is a new stanza for the old labor song, Solidarity Forever.  It’s a fitting capstone for my posts on wokeness, critical race theory and white supremacy culture.

They divide us by our color, they divide us by our tongue.

They divide us men and women, they divide us old and young.

But they’ll tremble at our voices, when they hear these verses sung.

For the union makes us strong!

William Walton’s “Belshazzar’s Feast”

May 16, 2021

Musical Interlude: “On the Path of Decent Groove” | Belshazzar’s Feast by Yves Smith for Naked Capitalism.  Click on this link for the lyrics.

Jambalaya

May 9, 2021

The 1975 anthem to the American trucker

April 28, 2021

The video below gives the story of “Convoy,” the 1975 country music anthem to the American trucker.  It tells how the song came to be written, and how country music historically has spoken to American working men.

I’m old enough to have enjoyed “Convoy” when it first came out, and was glad to come across the video giving the background.  If you’re of my generation (or not), maybe you will, too.

LINKS

C.W. McCall – Convoy Lyrics.  The written lyrics.

CONVOY 01 CW McCall – Convoy Original Version – YouTube.  I wasn’t able to embed this YouTube video, so you’ll have to click on the link if you want to hear it.

Convoy by C.W. McCall – Songfacts.  The lyrics decoded.

It’s time for a little Serbian accordian music

April 17, 2021

I needed a little bluegrass to cheer myself up

April 11, 2021

Church organ music on a Commodore 64

April 3, 2021

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Linus Akesson web page.

The sixtyforgan by Linus Akesson.

Simulating Church Organ Music on a Commodore 64 by Jason Kottke for kottke.org.

Four cellists on just one cello

March 27, 2021

Click on Weiner Celloensemble 5 +1 to reach their web site.

Glenn Miller and the Chattanooga Choo Choo

March 7, 2021

Time for for some music

The Democracy! Suite with Wynton Marsalis

February 13, 2021

It’s time for something soothing

January 24, 2021

‘Every little thing gonna be all right’

January 2, 2021

I thank my friend Beth Ares for this video of Three Little Birds by the late, great Bob Marley.

Once in Royal David’s City

December 25, 2020

This selection is lifted from Lambert Strether’s Christmas Eve 2020 message on Naked Capitalism.

I enjoyed the whole message and the comment thread that followed.

Merry Christmas 2020

December 24, 2020

Another selection lifted from Decker’s Dispatches from the Asylum

Happy Holidays 2020

December 19, 2020

I lifted this from Decker’s Dispatches from the Asylum.  Every one of his posts is followed by a great music video.

Mozart Serenade No. 10 for winds

August 29, 2020

I’ve been holding this one back too long.  I lifted it from Decker’s Dispatches from the Asylum blog, whose posts always end with a great musical selection