Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Vespers Perform "Got No Friends"

    When I come home I hope to have that letter
    When I come home I hope to have some mail
    When I come home I hope to have that visitor
    But when I return there's no one there
    Uh uh uh uh

    Well I got no friends today
    And I wonder if tomorrow will be the same
    But I know no matter what I do
    Jesus I will always have a friend in you

    When I go out I hope to hear a hello
    When I go out I hope to find a smile
    When I go out I hope the sun will be waving
    But as I walk out there is no one there
    Uh uh uh uh
    Well I got no friends today
    And I wonder if tomorrow will be the same
    But I know no mater what I do
    Jesus I will always have a friend in you
    Oh oh oh oh

    Well I got no friends today
    And I wonder if tomorrow will be the same
    But I know no mater what I do
    Jesus I will always have a friend in you

    Well I got no friends today
    And I wonder if tomorrow will be the same
    But I know no mater what I do
    Jesus I will always have a friend in you

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine Performed by L'Arpeggiata, Raquel Andueza, Hannah Morrison, Gunther Vandeven, Kevin Skelton, Fernando Guimarães, Emiliano Gonzalez-Toro, Jan van Elsacker, Fulvio Bettini, Hubert Claessens, João Fernandes, Directed by Christina Pluhar


Local ensemble Pegasus Early Music's rendition of the Vespers, which we saw today at the David Hochstein Memorial Music School's beautiful Performance Hall, was closer to the intimate rendition above than the more grandiose one below. Professor Massimo Ossi, who introduced tonight's performance with a lecture, was right; "Believe me, you will not miss the choirs."

Labels: , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Friday, April 17, 2015

Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine Performed by the Monteverdi Choir, the London Oratory Junior Choir, the Schola Cantorum of The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, the English Baroque Soloists, and His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts, Directed by Sir John Eliot Gardiner


The missus tells me tears welled up in my eyes when I read the news of this upcoming concert t'other night — Virtuoso vespers. I was three sheets to the wind, but I've been dreaming for more than four centuries a decade of seeing Claudio Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine.

"This grandiose 90-minute piece is not often performed (in fact, it's not known whether Monteverdi himself ever heard it in its entirety).... [and] has always been recognized as a milestone in musical history by one of history's revolutionary composers."

To be performed this Sunday by local ensemble Pegasus Early Music, who say of the Vespers, "This celebrated masterpiece of music is unparalleled for beauty, musical vision, and grandeur."

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

The Queen City

Perhaps my hometown has something to do wiith the fact I've never been interested in being top dog — We’re No. 2: When it comes to runners-up, Western New York is tops. Just one of many seconds: "When Buffalo Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Bernard McLaughlin died Jan. 5 at age 102, he was the second-oldest bishop in the world. He was exactly four months younger than Archbishop Peter Leo Gerety, archbishop emeritus of Newark."

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Brews in the News

Some good news, for a change — NY craft beer industry grows nearly 60 percent in one year.

Yes, the "significant growth in the craft beer industry since the 2012 passage of New York Farm Brewery legislation," along with its "6,552 direct industry jobs," "4,814 jobs in related industries," "$2.9 billion in direct and indirect revenue," "$554 million in direct and indirect wages," might be attributable to Governor Benito Cuomo, but my guess is that he was just after the hipster vote. If he were truly interesting in boosting this state's economy, we'd be fracking.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Seth Avett & Jessica Lea Mayfield Perform Elliott Smith's "Baby Britain," "Fond Farewell," "Pitseleh," & "Between the Bars"


After hearing two of this duo's songs on Folk Alley on WRUR-FM this morning, I rushed over to Record Archive to purchase Seth Avett and Jessica Lea Mayfield Sing Elliott Smith on 180 gram vinyl. This will rightly be one of the most critically acclaimed released of 2015.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lisa Hannigan, John Smith and Glen Hansard Perform The Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"


To mark today's sad sesquicentennial, an Irishwoman and two Irishmen perform one of our noblest and most tragic American songs, written by a Canadian Mohawk/Jew.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Appomattox Apotheosis


"I am glad to see one real American here," said General-in-chief Robert E. Lee one hundred and fifty years ago today extending his hand to Brigadier general Ely S. Parker of the Seneca Nation of New York, who responded, "We are all Americans."

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share

First They Came for the Wedding Cake Bakers

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Hang Me, Oh Hang Me" Performed by Oscar Isaac et al.

Bookmark and Share

Hang 'Em High

These two pigs — forgive me, noble friends of the porcine species; I only use this "insult" to intentionally offend the groups to which these two submammalians belong — in back-to-back news stories on my drive home today are Exhibit A and Exhibit B in favor of the death penalty, which I generally oppose — Boston Marathon Bombing Jury Finds Tsarnaev Guilty On All Counts and South Carolina Police Officer Charged With Murder After Shooting Man In Back.

I'd gladly hold the rope in either execution, but only in the second upon conviction of a jury of his peers.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Valentina Lisitsa Performs Franz Liszt's Sonata in B Minor


In recognotion of the great pianist's being "not at all happy that a coup government had taken power in her home country and was bombing its citizens in eastern Ukraine" and suffering the consequences — Toronto Symphony Orchestra Goes Full Stalin.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wilco, Nick Lowe & Mavis Staples Rehearse "The Weight"

    Oh, the Staple Singers! Mavis! So I had seen this picture of the Staple Singers. And I said to myself, “You know, one day you’ll be standing there with your arm around that girl.” I remember thinking that. Ten years later, there I was — with my arm around her. But it felt so natural. Felt like I’d been there before, many times. Well I was, in my mind.
Thus spake the man interviewed here — Bob Dylan: The Uncut Interview.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Bob Dylan on Rock 'n' Roll, Race, Billy Graham, and More

Waiting for my kids in the Pittsford Family Dental waiting room, I stumbled across an amazing AARP The Magazine interview, which is even more amazing in the online version — Bob Dylan: The Uncut Interview.

Here's one of many fascinating passages, this one speculating on how "some elitist power str[uck] down rock ’n’ roll for what it was and what it represented — not least of all it being a black-and-white thing:
    I was still an aspiring rock ’n’ roller, the descendant, if you will, of the first generation of guys who played rock ’n’ roll — who were thrown down. Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis. They played this type of music that was black and white. Extremely incendiary. Your clothes could catch fire. It was a mixture of black culture and hillbilly culture. When I first heard Chuck Berry, I didn’t consider that he was black. I thought he was a white hillbilly. Little did I know, he was a great poet, too. “Flying across the desert in a TWA, I saw a woman walking ’cross the sand. She been walking 30 miles en route to Bombay to meet a brown-eyed handsome man.” I didn’t think about poetry at that time — those words just flew by. Only later did I realize how hard it is to write those kind of lyrics. Chuck Berry could have been anything in the music business. He stopped where he was, but he could have been a jazz singer, a ballad singer, a guitar virtuoso. He could have been a lot of things. But there’s a spiritual aspect to him, too. In 50 or 100 years he might even be thought of as a religious icon. There’s only one him, and what he does physically is even hard to do. If you see him in person, you know he goes out of tune a lot. But who wouldn’t? He has to constantly be playing eighth notes on his guitar and sing at the same time, plus play fills and sing. People think that singing and playing is easy. It’s not. It’s easy to strum along with yourself, as you are singing a song and that’s OK, but if you actually want to really play, where it’s important, that’s a hard thing and not too many people are good at it.

    Q: And he was always the main guitar player in his band.

    He was the only guitar player. Yeah. And there was Jerry Lee [Lewis], his counterpart, and people like that. There must have been some elitist power that had to get rid of all these guys, to strike down rock ’n’ roll for what it was and what it represented — not least of all it being a black-and-white thing. Tied together and welded shut. If you separate the pieces, you’re killing it.

    Q: Do you mean it’s musical race-mixing, and that’s what made it dangerous?

    A: Well, racial prejudice has been around a while, so yeah. And that was extremely threatening for the city fathers, I would think. When they finally recognized what it was, they had to dismantle it, which they did, starting with payola scandals and things like that. The black element was turned into soul music and the white element was turned into English pop. They separated it. I think of rock ’n’ roll as a combination of country blues and swing band music, not Chicago blues, and modern pop. Real rock ’n’ roll hasn’t existed since when? 1961, 1962? Well, it was a part of my DNA, so it never disappeared from me. I just incorporated it into other aspects of what I was doing....
Here's more, with one of the best diagnoses of what's wrong in America:
    How can a person be happy if he has misfortune? Does money make a person happy? Some wealthy billionaire who can buy 30 cars and maybe buy a sports team, is that guy happy? What then would make him happier? Does it make him happy giving his money away to foreign countries? Is there more contentment in that than giving it here to the inner cities and creating jobs? Nowhere does it say that one of the government’s responsibilities is to create jobs. That is a false premise. But if you like lies, go ahead and believe it. The government’s not going to create jobs. It doesn’t have to. People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it. We don’t see that happening. We see crime and inner cities exploding, with people who have nothing to do but meander around, turning to drink and drugs, into killers and jailbirds. They could all have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires. For sure, that would create a lot of happiness. Now, I’m not saying they have to — I’m not talking about communism — but what do they do with their money? Do they use it in virtuous ways? If you have no idea what virtue is all about, look it up in a Greek dictionary. There’s nothing namby-pamby about it.

    Q: So they should be moving their focus?

    A: Well, I think they should, yeah, because there are a lot of things that are wrong in America and especially in the inner cities that they could solve. Those are dangerous grounds, and they don’t have to be. There are good people there, but they’ve been oppressed by lack of work. Those people can all be working at something. These multibillionaires, and there seem to be more of them every day, can create industries right here in the inner cities of America. But no one can tell them what to do. God’s got to lead them.
And here's a bit on America's great Protestant evangelist:
    When I was growing up, Billy Graham was very popular. He was the greatest preacher and evangelist of my time — that guy could save souls and did. I went to two or three of his rallies in the ’50s or ’60s. This guy was like rock ’n’ roll personified — volatile, explosive. He had the hair, the tone, the elocution — when he spoke, he brought the storm down. Clouds parted. Souls got saved, sometimes 30- or 40,000 of them. If you ever went to a Billy Graham rally back then, you were changed forever. There’s never been a preacher like him. He could fill football stadiums before anybody. He could fill Giants Stadium more than even the Giants football team. Seems like a long time ago. Long before Mick Jagger sang his first note or Bruce strapped on his first guitar — that’s some of the part of rock ’n’ roll that I retained. I had to. I saw Billy Graham in the flesh and heard him loud and clear.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

Minor League Baseball

"Baseball at its best is about place," writes Batavia Muckdogs vice-president Bill Kauffman, "not players" — A League of My Home.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share

Why I Never Have and Never Will "Hit the Gym"

Because it was a place where the ancient Greeks would not only "train their bodies in the pursuit of arete – moral, physical and intellectual excellence" – but also "enjoy same-sex erotic relationships, the beginning of a symbiosis between homosexuality and the gymnasium that continues to the present day" — The Temple of Perfection: A History of the Gym, by Eric Chaline.

Here's how I keep fit — The Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plan Is Retro, But Is it Paleo?

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Andreas Lubitz, Narcissist

Theodore Dalrymple, M.D,, argues that his "problem was one of character rather than of illness, and therefore unsusceptible to so-called treatment" — Snuffed Out.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

Back From Lancaster County

Where we stayed at the Harvest Drive Family Inn, overlooking an Amish farm, and visited Ephrata Cloister, founded by an Anabaptist celibate, Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, America's oldest, the Lil’ Country Store and Miniature Horse Farm, Lapp Valley Farm Dairy & Ice Cream, and Kreider Farms, to learn about agriculture both ancient and modern, Hayloft Candles, Root's Country Market and Auction and Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market, to see market forces in action, the National Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell for some nationalist propaganda, the National Civil War Museum for a corrective, National Watch & Clock Museum for a truly timeless experience, and finally to Hersheypark, where my daughter made me accompany her on horrifying roller coasters reminiscent of the Euthanasia Coaster, far cries from the now-tame Sooperdooperlooper, "[t]he first looping roller coaster on the East Coast," which I remember from my last visit to the park, back in the early '80s.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share