We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, November 10. 2012
She was a Phantom of Delight
She was a phantom of delight
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--just happened to be listened to this as i read the Wordsworth.
A better match of words to music would be difficult to imagine. Easier if Beethoven's name was 'Musicsworth'.
Glenn Gould, big name yes, but from the small small world of classical music performers and the uptown folk who attend the concerts. But you have to look at the guy --see his Simon and Garfunkle 80s look, to savvy that he's not one of the royal court guys (who still abound today --can you say "you in UN"? --so no historical era-ism ism here.
So everybody including me has heard of Glenn Gould, but for me it took BD going for that walk in the woods at his parent's place for me to ever actually listen [as in 'listen' not just 'hear' in the background of] to him play. What those BD pix did was send me off a-hunting for a really good site showing Winslow Homer's watercolors, which (because of backlighting effect?) show up particulary well on a computer monitor (esp one that has the saturation ['gamma'?] tuned up a notch.
Well, what i was looking for was natch, buried deep among loads of URLs that centered around watercolors of Winslow Homer as a starting point for building crappy sites.
But there is a guy who has done the site that does the trick --that justifies the topic. He's a 'down easter' name of Raymond Pronk.
There can be found (scroll down a little) a three part video series titled --remember this is the in the territory of Duck Pond -- Winslow Homer Part One and Winslow Homer Part Two and (ok, how would YOU end this sentence?) yeah yeah yeah Winslow Homer Part Three.
What Pronk did, beside his excellent order of presentation of selections (which aren't really selections as with the surrender of brevity in the use of three vids, he threw in 'the works') is two things, one, he 'pans and zooms' the pictures (remember Ken Burns' Civil War production, where the old period 'stills' left an impression of motion?), and two, he puts music behind the whole presentation.
Pronk's choice to accompany Homer's work is Beethoven's 6th symphony, "Pastoral" --reknowned as light and open 'natural' music, innovative (B's only 'storytelling' "program", very little of the salon-demanded usual theme development, just repetitions in various guise --the place is lousy with harmonized heliotropes, as Nature is and does, it's water-sound and wind-blows, with birdsong everywhere (birds by oboe and piccillo, you get to design the feathers), locally known as a depression-lifter and suicide-contemplation-morbid-entertainment-fantasy preventer, of which the composer said at the time was to be nothing but sights and sounds of a walk in the woods. IOW, what BD did at his parent's place --and then --crucially for the larger sense --depicted and publicized.
In further other words, someone meditating on the culture is tossing a rock into still waters ("hey, whachew thank you doin'?") gives splash to a whole series of related ripples that like so many folk-thoughts these days relate to the election and the ripples of a different fluid it gives rise to, our fast-expanding need to understand that it has now again become important that we deliberately remember and remark on what it is about the west that makes it the west.
But i digresses --ok, when i went searching youtubs to try to learn the conductor and orchestra playing in the Pronk Tapes, i see in the thumbnails the fine old drawing and color of Uncle Walt Disney --it's 'Fantasia' from 1940 --and i click it, and Lo and Behold, someone named 'Suzy Q' is playing the Pastoral unaccompanied, on a piano!
(search it up and take a look --it's --it's --a fantasia!)
And the 6th on a piano is totally new and altogether wonderful stuff --GREAT listening --a new, new, new experience outside the sometimes overwhelming grand symphony.
There's several unaccompanied pianists recurrant in the yootube liberry playing the pantheon of the acclaimed and time-tested grand symphonies and composers --as rearranged for the different experience.
Beethoven's 6th (and lots else besides) piano interpreters are all using the so-called 'Liszt Arrangement --which dates to about midway between Beethoven times (2.5 century ago) and ours --none other than the magnificent Hungarian hisself (apparently, 'transcribe Beethoven for piano' was on his to-do liszt).
Anyhoo, so it came to pass that in those parlouse days of yore a week ago, midnights dreary pondered weak and weary, as i entertained reveries of a futrid Forbidden Planet formerly known as 'Earth', what kicked in the door instead of the Obama Gestapo twas Glenn Gould --for the nonce, anyways.
Besides being such a piano player as the world may never see again (he died 30 years ago at age 50 --a stroke, prob due to forgetting to eat and sleep), he's a Canadian of the sort SCTV had a recurring skit where two 'from the great white far, far, far north' brothers had a farmer market local TV show.
IOW, GG is so unpretentious he probably never even understood the concept. Also, he was the archtypical mad genius whose interviews are so far and deep into the deep and far beyond ordinary that to listen to him converse with an interviewer is to be struck by the guy's talk --the content and sound --is the same as his music. Once you realize he's incapable of descending to the level of ordinary genius, you feel fine --exhilarated even, that such people exist.
PS, Gould was roundly criticized for playing the 6th a little ideoscyncraticly. There's even ytube's of interviews where he tries to explain his objection to rote recall performing. The piece i linked at the top is the 2nd Movement of the 6th's five movements, author-described as  arriving in the countryside  scene by the brook  the locals have a dance  a bad storm rolls in and  the sun comes back out and the world is freshed.
Normally the 6th Movement 2 is much faster --greater tempo --that what GG is doing. But the genius is the slow-down plays right into the instyrumental clean-up --so the piece is shorn of all embellish and one hears the composer's thoughts 'straight from the horse's mouth' --and in the key of F --that friendliest sweetest sound of all.
Small unfortunate, Gould recorded the 6th ezactly once (tho there's a few more passages as excerpts here and there). Movement 2 seems to be unavailable in any single youtube URL, so you have to play it as part one and part two. Sixth, Movement two, part one, and the same, but part two:
headphones, if you want to go where the music wants to lead --that is, into the trance state (no, not Trance-I'll-Vein-ya).
there, i think the experiment in boring y'all to distraction has collected sufficient data for now.
Glenn Gould, Beethoven 6th, 5th Movement. This is the finale --it's after the storm, the people come back to the brook, and ultimately offer a prayer to the higher power, which you recognize as a sort of wall of transcendent sound at the end.
Glenn Gould, Beethoven 6th, 1st Movement. This is the opening. The omniscient observer has just arrived from the city to his way-out-in-the-sticks country place, and is a-walking in the woods.
There --all four URLs are here, covering movements 1, 2, and 5.
Where's 3 and 4? Good question. 3 and 4 blend into each other, it's the famous storm. You can hear them all over the place, but i can't find the GG version. Nor any word about them, from the GG info. Alas.