Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The man with the mustache

Today I was listening to Chanticleer, the men's chorus from the Bay Area, and I was thinking: Although I have seen this group live several times, I could not tell you what songs I heard.

But oh, I remember that one singer's mustache.

That I do remember!

And I was thinking, what brand recognition. You think of this chorus, Chanticleer, and you go, "Oh, I remember that group. That's the group with the guy with the Salvador Dali mustache."

In the video up above you see the stash at about 1:39.

And here at about 2:52. I am jumping the gun on Christmas!

Wow, they can sound like a chorus of girls, you know? Once in the paper I speculated on how they did that. I thought the bass voices held their thunder so the higher voices could soar. Sometimes I wonder if they overdo that effect.

Well, if they do, they have that one mustache, to compensate.

It is magnificent!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Baumgartner and Weingartner

As I wrote yesterday, the music nerd's life, it ain't no good life, but it's my life.

I cannot hear about daredevil Felix Baumgartner without thinking of the conductor Felix Weingartner.

Hahaha... today I am the only person Googling Felix Weingartner and not Felix Baumgartner! Baumgartner is tree gardener and Weingartner is wine, or I guess grape, gardener. This is my week for translating German names.

I notice that Felix Baumgartner was born in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. I caught myself talking about that at breakfast.

As I go through my life in free fall....

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Star of the sea

On my Pennario Web log today please join me in in exploring the cemetery at Our Lady Help of Christians! As I was writing about it I got thinking about Our Lady Help of Christians, the Star of the Sea.

The chapel was built by an immigrant whose ship was going down. He prayed to Our Lady the Star of the Sea, and she saved the ship, so it could be brought to Ireland and repaired. I personally would never have gotten on that ship again, but I guess he did, and he made it to Buffalo, where he built this beautiful chapel.

Above is "Ave Maris Stella," or "Hail Star of the Sea," by the medieval composer Guillaume Dufay. A group called Pomerium performs. I do not know what I like better, the words or the images.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Valentina's Day

There is this powerhouse Ukrainian-born pianist, Valentina Lisitsa. This morning Howard and I were watching her play Liszt's "La Campanella." One of Howard's friends emailed him the clip.

That is some beautiful Liszt! And her hands and her manner are so relaxed. Darn, I am trying and trying to post it. Something is screwy this morning with my computer and it will not allow me to. Anyway, look it up on YouTube, Lisitsa, La Campanella.

We then watched Beethoven's "Appassionata." Pause for appreciation of my life: not only listening to the "Appassionata" before I have had my second cup of coffee, but having a husband who will listen to it too and discuss it.

I am one lucky gal!

Howard liked Lisitsa's "Appassionata" more than I did. While I admired the music's excitement I thought Lisitsa was kind of chilly and rough with it and could have done more to bring out the piece's beauties and subtleties. But I have big feelings for this music and a lot of requirements and many of these are very personal, so keep that in mind.

Howard said it was all worth it for the last 30 seconds of the last movement. My computer does seem to be letting me post this.

Of course, as he said, "The software is unbelievable."

Beethoven builds in a lot of thrill!

It is fun to read about Valentina Lisitsa. The names are wonderful. Valentina is a beautiful name, and Lisitsa sounds like Liszt. Her husband has the incredible name of Alexei Kuznetsoff. Together they entered the Murray Dranoff Two-Piano Competition. That is another great name, Dranoff.

This was an inspiring way to start the day!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Drama in the organ loft

At church today, in the organ loft, the wheels came off the choir. We were just goofing everything and I was not much help. I was at the Philharmonic last night and did not get much sleep and had no voice, zut alors.

After this "Ave Maria" we were supposed to be singing, it was awful.

"It sounds as if we never went over this!" Josephine hissed to us. Josephine is the organist.

We all just kind of stood there shamefully. I was especially embarrassed because I had gotten to church late, 8:35 a.m. instead of 8:25. And I had not gone over it!

But there was one moment when we had it together and that was "Concordi Laetitia."

I pick this chant up pretty easily. It is a hymn to the Blessed Mother but everyone knows it as "The Friendly Beasts."

Here is this children's choir from Philadelphia singing it.

When Christmas gets here and you sing, with gusto, "The Friendly Beasts," it is fun to know that the tune goes back so many hundreds of years. To the 13th century, I do believe.

Here is Garth Brooks. Hit it, Garth!

And a hilarious version featuring Brian Stokes Mitchell and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The imitiation of the animals is great.

It took us hundreds of years to get this song exactly right.

Great things take time!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The hipster

Our friend Ari went up to Toronto last night to hear the jazz singer Mark Murphy and he took pictures.

Above is a blurry shot of him with Mark.

And here is a shot of the man himself taken by Ari in Toronto.

We have a kind of history with Mark Murphy. I always liked his records a lot and then he came to Buffalo a few years ago as a sort of artist in residence at Buffalo State College. Yikes, this must be 10 years ago we are talking about.

I got to go interview him and I remember just taking a moment to enjoy walking across campus with Mark Murphy, just the two of us, talking. Mark Murphy was wearing flip-flops. It was a beautiful day. Well, this is all right, I remember thinking. This is as things should be.

A few years ago, now this is maybe only 7 years we are talking, Mark Murphy gave a master class at my house. The word got around town and one singer showed up whom I did not even know. I opened the door and she was standing there and she shyly said: "I heard Mark Murphy was here giving a master class." And I said, "Come in."

That was my friend Laurie Bordonaro! Well, she is my friend now. We still laugh about that, how she came into the kitchen and I made her tea and she was nervous about singing for Mark Murphy.

Recently we were concerned for Mark Murphy's health but now I understand he is much better, that there was a problem with a medication or something. That is excellent news.

Here is some vintage hipster Mark Murphy blues. I really wanted his song "Miss You Mr. Mercer" but I could not find that on YouTube. But this is fun.

Hit it, Mr. Murphy!