Thursday, March 13, 2008

Adventures in media

I got my hands on a recording of Glenn Gould doing The Goldberg Variations. I love Bach's music, but I have not (yet) been trained to appreciate the theoretical delights of baroque music. I may get around to it. About the middle of the CD (track 16), there was one that was fast and surprising and crazy. It blew my mind. Normally I listen to albums all the way through, but that one earned a previous track.

I don't normally listen to rap, but I make a few exceptions, and now one of them is the Jurassic 5. I listened to the album FeedBack today. It was very entertaining. If I've interpreted the music and the liner notes correctly, it's a mostly Muslim hip-hop group that spends a good deal of time being upbeat and simultaneously deconstructing gangsta. They keep the swearing to a minimum for the most part, and they have an amazing sound and mind-expanding lyrics.

Unfortunately, they are breaking up (or already have). I first heard of them when another one of those crazy rap-salsa-activist bands that I love (Ozomatli) had Chali2na and Cut Chemist as guests on their self-titled album, way back in my undergraduate days. Once again, I am the last person to the party.

I cackled and howled at a movie tonight for the first time in a while. It was Mr. Bean's Holiday. Go see (rent) this movie immediately. Unlike the voyage to America ten years ago, which was a heart-warming family comedy, this was classic Mr. Bean in France, and it was dazzling. The plot makes as much sense as a Seinfeld episode. Mr. Bean wins a vacation in Cannes, and takes the long way around. I don't think I had a single dull moment. And if you know anything about France, it's that much more perfect. And I should mention that Willem Dafoe has a perfect, hilarious part as a self-important emo director with a film premiering at Cannes.


vince said...

Gould is fastidious with Bach. His mechanical expertise expresses the mathematical quality of the Goldberg Variations wonderfully. You should listen to Gould's interpretation of Bach Fugues and Preludes (though interpretation doesn't seem to be a good description of Gould's incredible mechanics). Gould's exacting presentation of Bach's Fugues are incredible to listen to.

I am no longer bothered by his quirky humming as he plays.

Dan Lewis said...

So that's what that was. My CD says Goldberg Variations plus arias. I just assumed that the singing along was a subtle little aria. I am not positive, but I don't think he just hums the melody line either. It's something else.

I was reminded of my love of Bach recently by reading the first quarter of "Godel, Escher, Bach". I had to return it because someone put a hold on.

I listened to Bach nonstop as I was growing up, but it was more violin music than keyboard stuff.

vince said...

Bach still amazes me after many, many hearings. Especially his Fugues. I must thank Felix Mendelsson (1809-1847) for pulling Bach (1685-1750) out of obscurity. Bach was forgotten, then Mendelsson orchestrated "The Passion of Saint Matthew", my absolute favorite work by Bach. Mendelsson said, "To think that it took an actor and a Jew's son to revive the greatest Christian music for the world!" (I am not sure of his "actor" reference.)

I also must apologize to Felix, because I do not listen to Mendelsson much. I am not a big fan of the romantic era. There are a few beautiful pieces but often the glitz of romanticism wears on me after a couple of hearings.