Thursday, April 19, 2018

Alban Berg: Violin Concerto - To the Memory of an Angel

Alban Berg
Concerto for violin and orchestra ~ To the memory of an angel (1935)

Henryk Szering, violin
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Rafael Kubelik, conductor

Rick Wakeman: 1984 (Based on George Orwell´s novel)

War Games

We've stripped war down to essentials
We don't waste no time or flesh
Beautiful is our destruction
Clean and flesh!

You don't have to follow leaders
You don't have to choose a side
No opinions volunteered by the millions
Who died

Don't feel you're a pawn or private
You can be the rank you choose
No that it makes any difference
You lose

Someone up there doesn't like me
Doesn't want this girl alive
I've done what is most forbidden-

I don't know who moves the counters
Deals the cards or makes the laws
Gives the orders pulls the levers
Playing wars

I'm a peaceful soul I swear it
I don't wish no human ill
But let me at those warring players
I'd kill!

They got me wanting to kill...
I want to hate...
Wanting to kill...
Corruption - it's great...


Run - heart in my mouth
Run so hard that it beats
and repeats in my head like a gun
East - west, north and south
No direction to go
but I know that the ending's begun

I know I made a mistake coming here again
But I had to remind myself of where and

We threw off our chains
Hid ourselves in ourselves from the world
and its organised hell
Now - nothing remains
Barely a trace of the place where I knew
him well

Down he said get on the floor
And stay well away from the door
Or someone will see us for sure
And I
Loved him like no-one before
Princess madonna and whore
Kept comig back for more

Run - goodness know where
I'm a poor refugee
and I might as well be on the moon

Still why should I care?
I had it all in one grand afternoon

Down he said get on the floor
And stay well away from the door
Or someone will see us for sure
And I
Loved him like no-one before
Princess madonna and whore
Kept comig back for more

Feeling the death and decay
Didn't expect him to stay
Stay with me Julia stay
But I
Only remember that day
As ruler of all I survey
And nothing can take that away

The Hymn

I would not love you if I understand you
I do not want to behold your face
Uncomprehending I'm contented
Knowing my station and my place
O precious saviour
O great creator
Don't give me signs I don't want to see
Better by far that you stay unfathomed
I could not love someone just like me

Uncomprehending I'm contented
Knowing my station and my place

Robot Man

I had doubts as to where we're going
But you gotta hand it to the guys upstairs
I've been put on a whole new programme
Don't have to handle my own affairs
Everything I want is on my print-out
I don't need anything any more
I'm not confused by useless knowledge
I don't even know if it's 1984 for sure

Rules rule ok ask no questions
Welcome to the age of consent
Fasten seat belts drive with caution
Don't take shots at the president
Robot man is a wonderful creation
Automatically obeys the law
Laws of nature, man and physics
I don't even know if it's 1984 for sure

The only thing you have to know
Big brother is watching you
You love him

Robot man is a wonderful creation
Automatically obeys the law

You love him, you love him, you love him

I don't even know if it's 1984 for sure

The only thing you have to know
Big brother is watching you
You love him

What I need is a real emotion
A little love and a lot of despair
Robot man has a problem breathing
Robot man don't know how to care
Payed my dues but the dudes don't listen
I'd cry out but who the hell for?
I'd love to know what is means to suffer
I don't even know if it's 1984 for sure

No name

I know I'm asking a lot
Forgive my persistence
But I want what I haven't got
Proof of my existence

Look up - what do I see
Mankind looking like me
And I know it's not because I am
mankind's hero

At times it's good to hide
Get swept along with the tide
But I've suddenly seen that I'm one big zero

No name - tell me, who am I?
what's my name?
what's my name?

The Proles

Who's deprived and depraved?
Who's been carrying the can?
Who's been working till his fingers bleed
Since this planet began?
That's you and me baby

Ain't no different now
Ain't no progress been made
We still get it from the guys who got it
Screwed, hammered, laid
Us honey - the prole tariat

We are the underlings, the vulgar common herd

Who's the guy who gets hit?
Who's got his back to the wall?
Sent to the front line by generals
In well protected halls
I'm dirty, I'm common, I'm prole?

I would take to the streets
But I know where I'm at
I stay in my apartment on the 99th floor
You can't get lower than that
And I'm at the bottom - I'm a prole?

We are the underlings, the vulgar common herd

Rick Wakeman

Maurice Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin, orchestration complète

Composée entre 1914 et 1917, donnée en première audition en avril 1919 par Marguerite Long, la suite pour piano Le Tombeau de Couperin comporte six morceaux, Prélude, Fugue, Forlane, Rigaudon, Menuet et Toccata, dédiés à la mémoire d'amis tombés au cours de la Première Guerre mondiale. Ravel orchestra par la suite quatre de ces pièces, entendues pour la première fois sous cette forme en février 1920 et se jouant dans l'ordre suivant : Prélude, Forlane, Menuet et Rigaudon.

Près de 80 ans plus tard, le pianiste et chef d'orchestre hongrois Zoltán Kocsis entreprit d'orchestrer les deux pièces restantes, la Fugue et la Toccata. C'est cette version orchestrale complète qu'on peut entendre ici, interprétée par l'Orchestre Philharmonique National Hongrois dirigé par Zoltán Kocsis (l'image sur la vidéo est une vue partielle d'un dessin de Ravel ornant la partition originale).

Se succèdent ainsi :
[00:00] Prélude ("à la mémoire du lieutenant Jacques Charlot");
[03:08] Fugue ("à la mémoire du sous-lieutenant Jean Cruppi");
[06:20] Forlane ("à la mémoire du lieutenant Gabriel Deluc");
[12:23] Rigaudon ("à la mémoire de Pierre et Pascal Gaudin");
[15:24] Menuet ("à la mémoire de Jean Dreyfus");
[20:32] Toccata ("à la mémoire du capitaine Joseph de Marliave")

Rupert Brooke: Beauty and Beauty

When Beauty and Beauty meet
All naked, fair to fair,
The earth is crying-sweet,
And scattering-bright the air,
Eddying, dizzying, closing round,
With soft and drunken laughter;
Veiling all that may befall
After -- after --

Where Beauty and Beauty met,
Earth's still a-tremble there,
And winds are scented yet,
And memory-soft the air,
Bosoming, folding glints of light,
And shreds of shadowy laughter;
Not the tears that fill the years
After -- after -- 

Robert Graves: Corporal Stare

Back from the line one night in June,
I gave a dinner at Bethune—
Seven courses, the most gorgeous meal
Money could buy or batman steal.
Five hungry lads welcomed the fish
With shouts that nearly cracked the dish;
Asparagus came with tender tops,
Strawberries in cream, and mutton chops.
Said Jenkins, as my hand he shook,
“They’ll put this in the history book.”
We bawled Church anthems in choro
Of Bethlehem and Hermon snow,
With drinking songs, a jolly sound
To help the good red Pommard round.
Stories and laughter interspersed,
We drowned a long La Bass?e thirst—
Trenches in June make throats damned dry.
Then through the window suddenly,
Badge, stripes and medals all complete,
We saw him swagger up the street,
Just like a live man—Corporal Stare!
Stare! Killed last May at Festubert.
Caught on patrol near the Boche wire,
Torn horribly by machine-gun fire!
He paused, saluted smartly, grinned,
Then passed away like a puff of wind,
Leaving us blank astonishment.
The song broke, up we started, leant
Out of the window—nothing there,
Not the least shadow of Corporal Stare,
Only a quiver of smoke that showed
A fag-end dropped on the silent road.

Charles Koechlin: The Seven Stars Symphony

Charles Koechlin, The Seven Stars Symphony, Op.132 (1933)

1. Douglas Fairbanks (en souvenir du voleur de Bagdad)
2. Lilian Harvey (menuet fugue)
3. Greta Garbo (choral Païen)
4. Clara Bow et la joyeuse Californie
5. Marlène Dietrich (variations sur le thème par les letters de son nom)
6. Emil Jannings (en souvenir de l'Ange bleu)
7. Charlie Chaplin (variations sur le thème par les letters de son nom)

Françoise Rigutto, Ondes Martenot
Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo 
Alexandre Myrat, conductor

Robert Graves: On Giving

Those who dare give nothing
Are left with less than nothing;
Dear heart, you give me everything,
Which leaves you more than everything-
Though those who dare give nothing
Might judge it left you less than nothing.

Giving you everything,
I too, who once had nothing,
Am left with more than everything
As gifts for those with nothing
Who need, if not our everything,
At least a loving something.

Robert Graves: The Beach

Louder than gulls the little children scream
Whom fathers haul into the jovial foam;
But others fearlessly rush in, breast high,
Laughing the salty water from their mouthes--
Heroes of the nursery.

The horny boatman, who has seen whales
And flying fishes, who has sailed as far
As Demerara and the Ivory Coast,
Will warn them, when they crowd to hear his tales,
That every ocean smells of tar.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ferruccio Busoni: Piano Concerto in C Major, Op. 39

Piano: John Ogdon. 
Orchestra: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. 
Conductor: Daniell Revenaugh. 
Men's Choir: John Alldis Choir.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Isle of Wight - 1970

August 24th, 1970.
 It was ELP’s first proper live concert, their only previous gig having been a warm up in Plymouth six days earlier. Playing in front of 600,000 people, at what remains the biggest festival in rock history, they became overnight stars with the press raving about their virtuosity and daring. They would go on from here to become multi-million selling artists.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Robert Graves: Baloo Loo For Jenny

Sing baloo loo for Jenny
And where is she gone?
Away to spy her mother's land,
Riding all alone.

To the rich towns of Scotland,
The woods and the streams,
High upon a Spanish horse
Saddled for her dreams.

By Oxford and by Chester,
To Berwick-on-the-Tweed,
Then once across the borderland
She shall find no need.

A loaf for her at Stirling,
A scone at Carlisle,
Honeyed cakes at Edinbro'--
That shall make her smile.

At Aberdeen clear cider,
Mead for her at Nairn,
A cup of wine at John o' Groats--
That shall please my bairn.

Sing baloo loo for Jenny,
Mother will be fain
To see her little truant child
Riding home again.

John Millar: Why Robert Musil’s 'A Man Without Qualities' Is A Modernist Masterpiece

Along with Proust’s A la Recherche du Temps Perdu and Joyce’s Ulysses, Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities represents the pinnacle of the modernist novel in Europe. In terms of content if not technique, Musil’s work speaks most directly to a contemporary readership. Set in Vienna in the year before the First World War, it depicts a social and political elite desperately attempting to maintain the status quo in the face of radical socio-political forces that they cannot comprehend and that will in the following years tear European civilization limb from limb. Bubbling beneath the surface are the libidinal depths unleashed by psychoanalysis and nihilistic musings as described by Nietzsche. Indeed, this is the kind of ambitious novel of ideas where the central character Ulrich gives his friend’s wife Clarisse a copy of Nietzsche’s complete works as a wedding gift.

Despite the lazy comparisons to Ulysses and A la Recherche (based perhaps more on size than content), the novel to which Musil’s work bares most resemblance is Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Both novels deal with a European elite asleep to the monstrous forces contorting beneath them, and both explore the loss of narrative certainty in the face of new intellectual and scientific developments. Where Musil’s novel differs though is in its portrayal of Ulrich, a unique anti-hero, and the unique quality of the writing. Every page of this mammoth thousand-page work contains an original thought or perspective, and there are passages that set the senses on edge in their clarity of foresight. We realize we are still living in Musil’s world. Take for example:

‘There is just something missing in everything, though you can’t put your finger on it, as if there has been a change in the blood or in the air; a mysterious disease has eaten away the previous period’s seeds of genius, but everything sparkles with novelty, and finally one has no way of knowing whether the world has really grown worse, or oneself merely older.’


‘’This beauty’ one thought, ‘is all well and good, but is it mine? And is the truth I am learning my truth? The goals, the voices, the reality, all this seductiveness that lures and leads us on, that we pursue and plunge into – is this reality itself or is it no more than a breath of the real, resting intangibly on the surface of the reality the world offers us? What sharpens our suspicions are all those prefabricated compartments and forms of life, semblances of reality, the molds set by earlier generations, the readymade language not only of the tongue but also of sensations and feelings.’

Both of the above quotes are musings from Ulrich, and we can see the ways in which he represents a particularly modern sensibility, one that we may recognise in ourselves. He is wracked with doubt, he desires to act, but like Melville’s Bartleby he cannot bring himself to do so. Unlike many of the other characters in the book he recognises the weight of history. As a scientist and mathematician he is able to think both philosophically and scientifically though intellectual striving brings him no peace. He is intellectually vigorous, handsome, and physically athletic and yet he is paralysed by nihilism, impotent in the face of the forces of history, desperate for spiritual succor and yet unable to accept it. The second quote above comes to him as he stands in front of a church that he pictures in his mind as some benign, blemished old woman. Indeed, despite Milan Kundera’s claims to the contrary (in his book The Curtain he maintains that The Man Without Qualities, though set in Vienna, does not mention the city more than twice and is not concerned with setting) this is a book in which both the physical and spectral presence of Vienna is paramount. Architecture is used time and again to invoke the struggle of the new world to be born. Ulrich’s dwelling, for example, is clearly symbolic of its owner. It is a former summerhouse in the imperial rococo manner the interior of which Ulrich has made over in the modern style and fills with books of contemporary philosophy.

Vast and unfinished at the time of Musil’s death, the novel leaves Ulrich retiring from life, drawn into a project to celebrate the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Later the story concerns his sister, Agathe and their strange, almost incestuous relationship.

In our time, in which political impasse and disaffection have become commonplace, we might do well to turn to Musil’s great work of ideas and uncertainty to understand our own age of doubt and flux.

Dietrich Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri - The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Ton Koopman

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Robert Graves: The Travellers' Curse After Misdirection

(from the Welsh)

May they stumble, stage by stage
On an endless Pilgrimage
Dawn and dusk, mile after mile
At each and every step a stile
At each and every step withal
May they catch their feet and fall
At each and every fall they take
May a bone within them break
And may the bone that breaks within
Not be, for variations sake
Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin
but always, without fail, the NECK.