Sometimes there’s a sort of odd feeling of regret when a celebrity you never paid any attention to dies. Like you missed out on something. Of course you can still listen to the music, or watch the old movies or read the books (whatever the celebrity’s thing was) but you missed out on being a part of the living fandom. I never paid any attention to Prince. By the time he came along I had stopped paying any attention to popular music and to me he was just another singer who dressed funny. I did see him on the Superbowl half-time show a few years ago and thought, “You know, he’s not all that bad.”
Whenever a cultural icon dies the media talks about him a lot and non-fans learn things that fans knew all along. I learned two things about Prince that particularly grabbed my attention. One is that he was born the same year I was and that’s always a little disturbing. The other was that Prince was actually his real first name. I have also heard more of his music in the past few days than I had heard in all the years of his whole career. So, based on that, could I have been a fan? Honestly, probably not. Maybe I might have sort of liked one or two or three of his songs but I never would have been a big fan. But I still feel just a little bit like I missed out on something.
Six more Brandenburg Concerti? Sort of. Here’s “number 7”.
Kids these days…
Sorry for the lack of updates; I’ve had my face in a book for most of the day. I did finally take a few minutes to look at Facebook and saw this. Wow. I guess I really should get out more often and by “get out” I mean put the book down for a bit and see what’s happening online.
This video has been showing up everywhere so it’s likely that you’ve already seen it but I’m sharing it anyway because I love it. Not just the machine itself, which is fascinating, or the talent it took to build and play it, which is amazing; I love that there are people in the world who spend a tremendous amount of time and effort to create something purely for the pleasure of creating it. I think we would all be happier if we spent more time doing creative things (even if we’re not this talented) and less time on Facebook.
Joseph Boulogne, more often known by his title Le Chevalier de Saint Georges. This article contains some crude language but, even if you’re bothered by that sort of thing, man up or woman up and go read it. I have mixed feelings about the word “badass”. I don’t like it but at the same time it still seems to me a very useful word for describing some individuals. Besides, I think it’s good to remind people that classical composers did more than just sit around solemnly composing great music. They had lives, often, like this guy, very interesting lives.
Listening to his music, it surprises me a little that Boulogne isn’t more well-known. It’s tempting to say it’s because he was Black but we don’t care so much about that anymore do we? I think it’s more likely that “Le Chevalier de Saint Georges” is rather off-putting to a lot of people or at least to a lot of Americans. We tend not to like things we find difficult to pronounce. It would be kind of hard to sound cool and down-to-Earth saying, “Le Chevalier de Saint Georges is one of my favorite composers.” Anyway, just listen. (The first video has some beautiful and interesting artwork too.)
I first encountered Scott Joplin’s music when I saw the 1973 movie The Sting. It wasn’t until the Internet that I discovered that he wrote an opera, Treemonisha. Here’s the first part of it, performed by the Houston Grand Opera.
I haven’t got around to saying anything about Alan Rickman’s passing. I didn’t know quite what to say. I never do. I looked at movie clips and couldn’t decide on one to post. But anyway, I always loved his bad guys. He first came to my attention in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and I also thought he was great in Quigly Down Under. But of course he was great in everything.
They say that celebrities die in threes and of course that’s nonsense. It’s just that we notice it when three celebrities die fairly close together. But I have to admit, when I heard that Dan Haggerty, the actor who played Grizzly Adams, had died I thought, “Well, that’s the third,” and kind of relaxed a little bit. But then Glenn Frey died. It’s a little unnerving. All I can think is “Dammit!” and “Damn! Who’s next?”
I was never a huge fan of David Bowie but he was so iconic… Well, that’s all I can think of to say right now.
There is so much of his music that I haven’t heard. Just listened to this for the first time this morning. I sort of like it.
My favorite medieval composer and lovely visions of spring. Just what I need this week.
I’m going to be watching this over and over again.
Here’s another one by Pentatonix. I am rather fascinated with this group right now.
This was one of my mom’s favorites. This isn’t quite a tradtional performance but I think she would have liked it.
My usual feeling about this sort of thing is, “Don’t mess with Christmas songs!” but sometimes I hear something unusual that I like. Strangely, I am more likely to like arrangements that are really “wrong” than I am those that are just a little bit “wrong.”
So, apparently, TED Talks are not all alike. (Seriously, you really have to watch this.)
I suppose most people would consider this “solemn” but to me it sounds happy and serene.