Kevin's Music Thread

Discussion in 'iTunes Forum' started by KevinJS, May 23, 2016.

  1. KevinJS

    KevinJS
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    Long time watchers of this forum may have gleaned the idea that I like my music. In fact, I love my music, and live for it. In particular, I like music to tell me a story, whether it be via the lyrics or the unspoken message of an instrumental piece. But I also like the stories behind the music, told by the performers themselves, when they take a break from being performers and become mere mortals away from the lighted stage.

    So, listening to Albatross by Fleetwood Mac, I was reminded of something I heard, or read, a while back.

    Whatever Bill Clinton is, or was, or might yet become, one cannot get away from the fact that he has impeccable taste in music. So perhaps it is not a surprise that he requested the presence of Fleetwood Mac to perform at his inauguration as President of the United States.

    Unfortunately, there was a slight problem. Lindsey Buckingham had famously chased Stevie Nicks down the street with a rather large knife in his hand and, as a result, had left the band, taking John McVie's invitation to leave for a while as something more permanent than was intended.

    You have to hand it to Stevie. Buckingham was adamant that he would not return to the band under any circumstances but she stamped her foot and "Godammit! That guy is going to be YOUR President. You ARE getting up on that stage." and the rest was history.

    Fleetwood Mac has been one of my favourites for as long as I can remember, but the Rumours lineup is, for me, THE Fleetwood Mac.

    These days, they may have drifted into some obscurity but. for me, they will always be one of the greats. I don't know of another band that puts such energy into every performance.


     
  2. twerppoet

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    I prefer their earlier stuff, where they were more blues and less rock; though I don't hate their rock either.

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    #2 twerppoet, May 23, 2016
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  3. KevinJS

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    Why is the official length of a music CD set at 74 minutes? Everyone knows that the format is capable of reliably holding and playing 80 minutes, so what prompted Sony and Philips to insist on 74 minutes as the maximum?

    One possible answer is "The Ninth."

    And in the above statement you have one of music's anchors. Few people would have trouble figuring out "which" Ninth I'm referring to. One of the great pieces, if not THE greatest piece ever composed.

    It is probably not true that the length of a CD is based on the length of the performance of Beethoven's Choral symphony, since the length can vary quite dramatically depending on the conductor, but it's a good story.

    Beethoven insisted on conducting the first performance himself. The performance took place in Vienna in 1824. By this time, the composer was completely deaf, and was aided by having a conductor off stage from whom the orchestra were taking their direction. At the end of the performance, the composer continued to "conduct" the orchestra, completely oblivious to the thunderous applause taking place behind him. One of the members of the orchestra turned him round to receive his applause.

    It's easy to see why Stanley Kubrick chose the piece as one of the central themes of The Clockwork Orange. No other piece seems "important" enough to insinuate itself into the strange psyche of the central character.

    Almost 200 years after its composition, the piece remains one of the most important, instantly recognizable pieces ever written, and I'm confident in predicting that it will remain so for the next 200 years, and beyond.

     
  4. KevinJS

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    Back in the days before the Internet existed, access to information was possible, although it required a little more effort to access. The way we throw data around these days, it's almost impossible to imagine that it wasn't always this way. But, in 1976, Yes wanted to record an album which involved the virtuoso keyboard skills of Rick Wakeman, and they did not want to wait around until someone invented the Internet to do so.

    So the band headed for Switzerland, most of the members to the recording studio and Rick to the local church. High speed telephone lines were set up to carry the data to the studio and the band set about recording Going For The One. The album relies heavily on the church organ passages in Parallels and Awaken and it's worth sparing a thought for the ingenuity that made the recording possible, even though the ability is commonplace nowadays.

     
  5. KevinJS

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    Some years ago, I was a frequent visitor to the town of Malvern, in Worcestershire, England, and I was ever mindful of the fact that I was often retreading the footsteps of Sir Edward Elgar.

    Last week, I attended a performance of Elgar's Enigma Variations by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and what a performance. I spoke to the conductor after the concert and told him that IMO it was the best rendition of the music I'd ever heard. He agreed that it was a great performance, and told me that as a conductor, it is sometimes necessary to distance oneself from the music so as not to totally succumb to emotion on stage. He found it necessary, during the performance, to employ that tactic.

    Unfortunately, the concert wasn't recorded, so I'll have to carry my memories in my head, but luckily I have performances that are almost as good, such as the one I'm listening to right now, by the London Philharmonic under Sir Charles Mackerras.
     
  6. KevinJS

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    Some years ago, I was working in Italy, mostly around Tuscany. I spent most weekends listening to the radio and BBC language cassette tapes in a bid to learn enough Italian to get by. I was reasonably successful and reached a point where I was able to have limited conversations in Italian.

    So as I listen to "Cieli Di Toscana" by Andrea Bocelli, which I'll assume means "Tuscan Skies" my mind is drawn back to the area. It is a truly beautiful region, which I'd recommend to anyone who is thinking of visiting the country. A decent highway links the towns of Lucca, Pisa and Firenze and there are many small towns and villages just off the highway that are worth a visit.

    Unfortunately, in those days, there was no Internet, and I wasn't always in the position of being able to research the area I was visiting. So I found out years after the fact that I once spent a whole weekend about 6 kilometres from Assisi, and managed to miss a visit to St Francis' Cathedral in the town. I'll probably never visit Italy again, but it's a moot point, since the cathedral is no more, having been destroyed in an earthquake several years ago. Fortunately, there was no GPS (Sat-Nav to you Brits) so I wasn't able to mindlessly follow the route that I was told to, and had to forge my own paths, which led me to discover a lot more than might have otherwise been the case.
     
  7. J. A.

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    I remember the earthquake quite well, although we in Burgenland didn't notice anything. I remember that there were doubts the church can be restored.
    Parts of the basilica were destroyed by the earthquakes in 1997. The church was closed for two years, for restauration. It's open again, and it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
     
  8. KevinJS

    KevinJS
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    That's good to hear. I obviously had erroneous information. I heard that an aftershock brought the building down completely. In that case, perhaps a return visit to Italy might someday be worthwhile. It's one of my regrets that I did not visit the place when I was so close. Mind you, I have many such regrets. I saw Europe at 90 km/hr, rarely having the opportunity to stop for sightseeing.

    I was going to mention in the "On this day in history" thread that today is the anniversary of the eruption in 79AD of Vesuvius, but found the 1966 photograph of the Earth from the Moon instead. I distinctly remember driving past Vesuvius on my way to southern Italy to pick up a load of tomato ketchup.
     
  9. KevinJS

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    The Songs Of Distant Earth.

    I was once a voracious reader of science fiction. The classic authors held my attention for years on end, perhaps none more so that Arthur C Clarke. His "2001: A Space Odyssey" is still my favourite book, and movie.

    The last page of one of Clarke's anthologies was a short piece essentially titled "How to write science fiction" and set out an idea, which could later be fleshed out into a full novel. The short piece indeed became a novel, and another of my favourites. Apparently Mike Oldfield was quite enamoured with the story too, since he wrote incidental music for a movie version, which Clarke was well pleased with. Unfortunately, the movie was never produced. I hope that one day it will be, and that Oldfield's music is used.
     
  10. giradman

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    Susan & I have been to Italy twice, first in 1971 for 3 weeks - my first visit and my interest was seeing a lot of art work; I was just getting into wine, so missed a lot of opportunities that would be on my agenda now. We started out in Rome, then a train to Naples and drive to Sorrento (for a boat ride and a few days on Capri) - on the way lunched on the slopes of Vesuvius and visited Pompeii. Then a train to Florence - did not explore Tuscany much - would not miss if I ever return - next a train to Venice (stayed at the Gritti Palace, out most luxurious hotel on that trip) - rented a car and drove through Milan on our way to Lake Como - plenty of activities there including a trip into Switzerland (driving of mountain roads w/ the Italians was life-threatening - I'd be much better now after decades driving the mountains in VA-NC-TN and many out west). We missed a LOT of smaller towns and sites (like Pisa, Siena, etc.), but just so much that can be done.

    Out second trip was in April 1996 (celebrated my 50th birthday in Bologna) - invited to speak at a multi-disciplinary medical meeting on swallowing (I was the token radiologist - there were 4 of us from the USA - our lectures were broadcasted simultaneously into Italian). Won't go into details, but maybe in a follow-up post - we had a great time! Dave :)
     

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