Wednesday, February 20, 2008

From up here you should see the view


Chandos Records has a new blog and it looks rather familiar. Now they need some decent photos and album covers and to work out how hyperlinks work.

Talking of technology Jean-Michel Jarre is performing his 1977 album Oxygene live at the Albert Hall in March and he is using the original Mellotron, string-ensemble Eminents and VCS 3 synthesisers for the gig, not a computer or pre-recorded track in sight. He thinks the analogue sound is better, and he's not the first to say it. Jarre has a classical pedigree, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire and also with the father of musique concrète, Pierre Schaeffer at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales. More in the Independent.

Staying at the Albert Hall Vernon Handley may not yet have his Knighthood, but my sources tell me he has a 2008 BBC Prom after a long absence from the venue. This is the first season for the new Proms director (and BBC Radio 3 controller) Roger Wright after the Michael Ball years of Nicholas Kenyon. At least the new Proms director has got something Wright. Let's hope a mass cull of Radio 3 presenters in next on the agenda.

Nicholas Kenyon achieved notoriety as director when he presented a complete Proms season featuring 106 male composers and not one female. Which brings me to the question of is there such a thing as feminine music? James Weeks neatly sidestepped the question when I talked to him about his acclaimed CD of Elisabeth Lutyens' music (listen to a podcast of the discussion here).

If pressed my wife (and many men I suspect) would confess to preferring Mahler's Fifth Symphony to Stockhausen's Kontakte of Xenakis' Anaktoria, but at least she is open-minded enough to hear all three works live in London on consecutive evenings in a couple of weeks. Now a Guardian article considers whether men and women listen to music differently. The trouble is that the writer excludes classical from her definition of music. Which is a view also held by the government minister responsible for the arts in the UK.

In an Independent interview our new 38 year old Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham gave this reply when asked what is on his iPod? - 'A mixture of indie stuff, old and new: Billy Bragg, the Stone Roses, Hard-Fi, the Wedding Present, the Arctic Monkeys and the Pogues'. At least he didn't misspell Michael Tippett.

It was Lou Harrison versus Michael Tippitt (sic) on Sequenza21 who triggered a fascinating (and continuing debate) on my post about puffery and small-mindedness. But why choose one against the other when you can have both on Future Radio? My programme on Sunday February 24 includes Elliott Carter's Pastoral for Clarinet and Piano and Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord, while the following week (Sunday March 2) you can hear Michael Tippett's Second Symphony conducted by the composer. Full details, including a new transatlantic friendly repeat, on the right-hand sidebar.

I hope you will listen to my Future Radio programme. But also remember those that can't due to incurable sudden neurosensory hearing loss (SNHL). Read about the dreadful experience of music writer Nick Coleman in the Guardian.

More on politicians' musical tastes here and here.
My headline has mellotron connections, it comes from the lyrics of The Moody Blues 1969 album To Our Children's Children's Children which made extensive use of the instrument, and was on my turntable alongside Mahler, Nielsen and Stockhausen at university in its year of release. Photograph of Minnewater Bruges (c) On An Overgrown Path 2008. Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

3 comments:

Henry Holland said...

Ah, the Mellotron! I'd love to be able to play one for 5 minutes, just to be able to do In the Court of the Crimson King....

Hahahaha! To keep peace in the office I work in, we listen to classic rock. The station we listen to here in Los Angeles, KLOS, is playing a Mellotron classic right now, The Moodies Tuesday Afternoon.

Interesting article by Laura Barton. I'm completely one of her stereotypes, the guy who's kind of more interested in where something was recorded, what amp the bass player was using etc. That's why I love the the 33 1/3 series of books, there full of that kind of stuff.

And yes, I do alphabetize my collection, it's the only way to be able to readily find a CD when you own 6,000 of 'em.

Pliable said...

Henry, did you know that Tuesday Afternoon is from the album Days of Future Passed which started life as a projected rock version of Dvořák's New World Symphony?

Fortunately good taste prevailed and a classic rock album was recorded instead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Days_of_Future_Passed

rchrd said...

Feminine music? Try Meredith Monk