Arimathea
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In Greek mythology, the muses were the daughters of Zeus the king of the gods and Mnemosyne the goddess of memory. The muses inspired men to create what we commonly call the fine arts. In this digital realm, you will find music of both high and low culture, from literature to the visual arts to what we narrowly call music in English. Enjoy and be grateful for being human; for the muses have richly blessed our race.
Wednesday, January 28, A.D. 2009
Tannhäuser

Some of you may know of my love of Richard Wagner’s works. Among them, my favorite opera is his Tannhäuser. The story is typically ennobling and beautiful, but the music is magnificent.

Below is video footage from A.D. 1948 of the Overture by the N.B.C. Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

Part I:

Part II:

It is sad that N.B.C. used to feature Toscanini’s performances in the same room currently used by Saturday Night Live in Rockefeller Center—Studio 8H. I suppose that high-minded liberals have failed to enculturate the masses with the best of the West. Poor Mill! It was—and remains—a pleasant American folly of a goal. Long live P.B.S.

Though without footage, I recommend the following A.D. 1962 recording of the Overture by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by René Leibowitz:

Part I:

Part II:

Tannhäuser‘s “Einzug der Gäste auf die Wartburg” is a jolly good piece. I learnt it by heart as a kid before I ever took German—notably following my memorization of Schiller’s poem in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Nena’s “99 Luftballons.”

Here is the simple chorus of knights and nobles:

Freudig begrüßen wir die edle Halle,
wo Kunst und Frieden immer nur verweil,
wo lange noch der frohe Ruf erschalle:
Thüringens Fürsten, Landgraf Hermann, Heil!

Joyfully we greet the noble hall,
where may art and peace alone linger ever,
and the joyous cry long ring out:
To the Prince of Thuringia, Count Hermann, hail!

I had to add the following impressive instrumental performance at a Berlin military tattoo, conducted by Colonel Dr. Michael Schramm. I confess that I also found it perversely amusing to see Germans in uniform performing Wagner (please follow the link if the embedding is disabled).

Unlike Basil Fawlty, I say let bygones be bygones . . .

Posted by Joseph on Wednesday, January 28, Anno Domini 2009
High Culture MusicCommentsPermalink
Thursday, January 1, A.D. 2009
Robert Burns’ Gift

Scotland’s Bard of Ayrshire Robert Burns gave the world our new year’s hymn, “Auld Lang Syne.” Here is the ever talented, beautiful, “practically perfect in every way” Julie Andrews:

The lyrics for “Auld Lang Syne”:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ auld lang syne.

Chorus:
And for auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
Frae mornin’ sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

Modern translation:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And days of old long past.

Chorus:
And for old long past, my joy (sweetheart),
For old long past,
We will take a cup of kindness yet,
For old long past,

And surely you will pay for your pint-vessel!
And surely I will pay for mine!
And we will take a cup of kindness yet,
For old long past.

We two have run about the hillsides
And pulled the wild daisies fine;
But we have wandered many a weary foot
Since old long past.

We two have paddled in the stream,
From morning sun till noon;
But seas between us broad have roared
Since old long past.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me a hand of yours!
And we will take a right good-will drink,
For old long past.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, January 1, Anno Domini 2009
Folk MusicCommentsPermalink
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