Category: Music

  • Video: Charlie Parker Celebrity

    Great video of Charlie Parker playing with Buddy Rich. [youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=XFx9ZBlBUuc]

  • Charlie Parker’s Koko – the Sound of a Revolution

    Charlie Parker’s recording of Koko is an extraordinary creation. A powerful, raw, aggressive performance, the sound of boundaries being busted and rules being broken, of a genius improviser tearing up the rulebook with ferocious virtuosity. Parker is on inspirational form, totally ‘on it’, in the jazz parlance, and he’s out to prove that the new…

  • Happy Birthday Sgt. Pepper

    I feel the need to throw my penny into the pot and publicly celebrate the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the seminal album by the Beatles that was released 40 years ago today. So much has been written about this album, but here are some of my own personal highlights of…

  • Inappropriate Applause in Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony

    After my earlier article about Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony and its innovative ending, a recent post on OregonLive.com reinforces the point that this symphony has an enduring capacity to surprise: OregonLive.com: Classical Music: Applause applause I don’t want to belabor the subject of inappropriate applause at concerts (see my review of Saturday’s Oregon Symphony performance of…

  • The Failed Strife-To-Victory Metaphor in Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony

    The great innovation of Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony is a structural one, in its undermining of the standard symphonic formal pattern. In the nineteenth century, the form of the symphony was firmly established as expressing the concept of ad aspera ad astra – through adversity to the stars. This was usually achieved by concluding with a…

  • Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts – Layers of Meaning

    This post is a response to Tom’s comment on a previous post, where he asserts the following about the Dylan song Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts: But I think it’s right to say that Dylan produces atmosphere but that’s about all isn’t it? So, I like the Virginia Woolf quote as well [‘It…

  • Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – Best Recorded Version

    The Gramophone Good CD & DVD Guide 2005 praises the recording of Eugene Onegin conducted by Semyon Bychkov with the Orchestre de Paris and the baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky on Philips: ‘[They] make the finale the tragic climax it should be; indeed the reciting of this passage is almost unbearably moving. Bychkov illuminates every detail of…

  • Video: Bob Dylan, When The Deal Goes Down

    My favourite track from the 2006 Dylan album, Modern Times, is the song When The Deal Goes Down. The video casts a different angle on the song, and features current it-girl Scarlett Johansson in a nostalgia-drenched American dreamscape. Not too sure what the relevance to the song is, but it’s worth a look if you…

  • Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake and the Supernatural

    I’ve often heard people say that ballet is overrated: dance set to substandard music packed with rather gushy, romantic lightweight boy-meets-girl themes. I would agree that ballet is all about sex (albeit of a highly cultivated nature) but I don’t see anything intrinsically wrong with that. There is also something ethereal about an art form…

  • Tchaikovsky Symphony No.6 – Best Recorded Version

    I’m a great fan of Karajan’s mid-70s recordings of the last three Tchaikovsky symphonies on Deutsche Grammaphon. To my ears they express the sweep and passion of these great works, without being overwrought. The 2005 edition of the Gramophone Good CD Guide nominates them as the finest of Karajan’s many recordings of the works, and…