What are you listening to/watching?

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KaiTheHomoSapien
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

I'm listening to Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice". I have a digital recording but recently acquired a recording on vinyl and I prefer listening to opera on vinyl [:D]
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by eldin raigmore »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 03 Mar 2021 07:16 I'm listening to Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice". I have a digital recording but recently acquired a recording on vinyl and I prefer listening to opera on vinyl [:D]
“ed”? Which language has “ed” for “and”, again?
Turns out Italian uses “ed” instead of “e” if the next word (conjugand, usually, I suppose) starts with a vowel!
I didn’t know that!
OTOH I wouldn’t have guessed Christoph Willibald Gluck was an Italian name, either!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

eldin raigmore wrote: 03 Mar 2021 08:27
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 03 Mar 2021 07:16 I'm listening to Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice". I have a digital recording but recently acquired a recording on vinyl and I prefer listening to opera on vinyl [:D]
“ed”? Which language has “ed” for “and”, again?
Italian

“ed” is the form of “e” (I’m assuming the original form) used before vowels (mostly before /e/)

Gluck was German but wrote operas in Italian and French. :)
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

eldin raigmore wrote: 03 Mar 2021 08:27
OTOH I wouldn’t have guessed Christoph Willibald Gluck was an Italian name, either!

Not sure if this is sarcastic, but if not: opera (as the name suggests) was invented in Italy (around 1600), and the vast majority of opera is written in Italian. Operas in other languages were generally rare before the rise of nationalism - or at least, 'opera' in other languages was most often limited to more popular forms of entertainment (vaudeville, essentially), and often given other names - German singspiels, Spanish zarzuelas, American musicals. The biggest exception to this is French: as Paris developed into the cultural capital of Europe, you start to get operas written in French. [twice, actually: first in the late 17th and then 18th centuries, when Paris became the musical capital, and then again in the 19th century when it became just the cultural capital generally]. German opera likewise was developed only when Vienna became the musical capital, and always remained relatively rare. [though there's a lot of 20th century German operas, as the genre declined in France and Italy].

Mozart, for instance, wrote between 18 and 23 operas, depending on definitions - but only between 3 and 8 of them are in German. Of those, only 1 is a full-length completed opera on a serious subject - and for Mozart even to write that 1 was considered controversial at the time, and probably wouldn't have happened even a couple of years earlier. Indeed, that 1 (Die Entfuehrung aus dem Serail) was something of a nationalist project: the Emperor, as part of his nation-building plans, created a national opera company specifically to start performing operas in German (mostly translations from Italian), and Die Entfuehrung was originally intended by that company to be used to entertain the visiting Russian Crown Prince, to demonstrate Austria's importance and sophistication as a world power (though in the end they chickened out and went with something in Italian by Gluck). (The opera company only lasted a few years, since opera in German was such a bizarre idea, although Die Entfuehrung was wildly popular and frequently performed for many years). Goethe commented on all this with some bemusement, since he'd written his own libretto and couldn't find anyone to write music to it: Goethe had assumed that for an opera to be written in German it would have to of an extremely simple and rustic character, musically and thematically, and he was a bit bewildered by the fact that Mozart had written a highly sophisticated opera with a dramatic (and exotic) plot.

[Mozart's other German 'operas':
Spoiler:
Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots is arguably an oratorio, and Mozart only wrote the first of three parts, and he was 11 at the time; Der Stein der Weisen is likewise collaborative, and Mozart only wrote one song and parts of another; Thamos, König in Ägypten is really just a couple of pieces of incidental music for a play, though it does include choruses and even a solo for one of the main characters - but it's not known if it was ever actually performed; Zaide is a proper opera, but Mozart never actually completed it;Bastien und Bastienne is complete, but it's a one-act rustic parody written when he was 12 (and not performed for another century); Die Schauspieldirektor is complete, but it's a one-act comedy play with four songs in it (the play is about opera singers, so the songs are partially or entirely diagetic). Other than Die Entfuehrung, the only 'real' German opera he wrote was Die Zauberfloete... and even that is a comedy.
]

[More specifically: most opera was written in Italian by just a single man: Metastasio (like Mozart, a prodigy: a grocer's son, he made his name as a child star in Italy's prestigious urban rap battle scene before being adopted by a passing nobleman who liked his verses; he translated the Iliad into Italian verse at 12.) He wrote around 30 opera libretti, but each was set to music dozens upon dozens of times - his most successful, Adriano in Syria, has more than 60 musical settings.]
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 03 Mar 2021 08:34 Gluck was German but wrote operas in Italian and French. :)
A small correction: Germans claim that Gluck was German, but it's probably more reasonable to say that he was Czech. He was definitely born in Germany... but he moved to Bohemia when he was 3 and had his entire upbringing there, and referred to Bohemia as his 'homeland'. His father was born and grew up and worked in Germany, but his grandfather and all his family to that point were probably from Bohemia. People who knew Gluck said that Czech was his native language and he was never fully comfortable in German, making himself understood in a combination of German, French and Italian. He spent his most famous years in Vienna, but he also lived in Paris and in Milan. Contemporary records say that he even wrote comic operas in Czech, though none of these have survived (this sort of popular entertainment was often not preserved by the theatres, and a huge number of his own scores were lost in a house fire, so that's not implausible).

Back then, of course, the concept of nationality was rather more nebulous than it is now...
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Indeed. A number of composers became "national composers" even though they were not originally from the nation they came to represent. Handel (German) became the foremost British composer. Lully (Italian) was Louis XIV's court composer.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 03 Mar 2021 19:02 Indeed. A number of composers became "national composers" even though they were not originally from the nation they came to represent. Handel (German) became the foremost British composer.
To be fair, we were really desperate. Who else were we going to have? Thomas Arne!? Even if we went as late as the fin-de-siecle, we'd still be scraping the barrel of Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford, and Samuel Coleridge Taylor (and Stanford was actually Irish, as was John Field). You have to give us someone! It's not like the Gemans needed him...
Lully (Italian) was Louis XIV's court composer.
I didn't realise he was Italian! Though apparently he moved to France as a teenager (like Metastasio, he was picked up by a random passing nobleman who saw him performing in the street as a child; they really didn't understand safeguarding back then, did they!?).
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 03 Mar 2021 07:16 I'm listening to Gluck's "Orfeo ed Euridice". I have a digital recording but recently acquired a recording on vinyl and I prefer listening to opera on vinyl [:D]

I have some more or less classical music on vinyl. And, of course, two albums by Queen.
Salmoneus wrote: 03 Mar 2021 23:48 To be fair, we were really desperate.
[xD]

I'm listening to a German podcast while scanning a book.
Spoiler:
For those interested: Obst, Wolfgang and Fabian Schleburg. Lieder aus König Alfreds Trostbuch: Die Stabreimverse der altenglische Boethius-Übertragung. Universitätsverlag C. Winter, Heidelberg, 1998.

Old English alliterative verse (Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy), with a German translation.
You can't even buy it from the publisher anymore, I got mine used from eBay.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

*sigh*

My Boethius does not have German translation*. It's a nice copy, though, I think it's an old Folio Society or the like.




*I only have one philosophy book with both German and English texts, and that's the Philosophical Investigations.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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From a more pop/rock playlist: A singer/musician from where my mother grew up recently passed away (popular musician in that part of the US, at least from the late 70's to about early 90's; also worked as a DJ on the one Cleveland radio station), so I've been listening to some of his songs. Like this.
Spoiler:
Especially for those of you from NE Ohio, it's Michael Stanley.
And I'll dance with you in Vienna,
I'll be wearing a river's disguise;
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder,
My mouth on the dew of your thigh...

Looking for subjects to appear on banknotes. Inquire within.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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So the German state-funded TV aired the Norwegian mini-series Fremvandrerne (Beforeigners) yesterday.
I watched the first episode today (yay internet) and got hooked.
Unfortunately, the dubbing isn't optional, but the Old Norse parts have been left untouched, save for subtitles.
I'm going to watch the other five episodes later.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

Just a reminder: season 6 of Line of Duty is starting on the 21st of March. So now would be a great opportunity to catch up!


For those who don't know, Line of Duty is a UK TV show by Jed Mercurio* (who in his spare time also created Bodyguard, which the UK was obsessed with back in 2018 (highest viewing figures for any new drama on the BBC in the multichannel era)). It's a slow-boil detective show about police internal affairs investigations, and it's really, really good - it's been on respected lists of the top 10 police shows ever, and the top 50 TV shows of any genre of all time.

It essentially follows two plots: a plot of the season, and an overarching plot. Each season centres on one investigation by 'AC-12', an internal affairs unit in the midlands, and on one person of interest, usually played by a brilliant actor (so there's a kind of "long-form Colombo" element to it, although in Line of Duty the guest star isn't necessarily the villain):

- in season 1, a DCI (played by Lennie James) comes under suspicion for having unusually brilliant crime-solving statistics
- in season 2, a DI (Keeley Hawes) comes under suspicion when a convoy under her command transporting a protected witness is ambushed
- in season 3, an AFO (I guess in America this would be a member of SWAT?) comes under suspicion when he shoots a suspect
- in season 4, a DCI (Thandie Newton) comes under suspicion of mishandling evidence in a high-profile murder inquiry
- in season 5, an undercover officer (Stephen Graham) comes under suspicion when he cuts off contact with his handlers and appears to become the ringleader of an armed robbery gang that attacks a police evidence convoy

Meanwhile, each season gradually (some more than others) contributes to an overarching story of systemic corruption and infiltration of the police and local politics by an organised crime group.

The big gimmick is that LOD combines US-style melodramatic, thriller plotting and UK-style realism: there's lots of twists and turns and cliffhangers and improbable moments, but there's also a lot of acronyms and police regulations, and the famous centrepiece of the show is its flair for tense, by-the-book interrogations (with capable lawyers present and rarely ending in any grand confession). It pulls this off with some great character acting, and a willingness to tease the audience with ambiguities. And the genius decision to have the chief investigator be from Northern Ireland, complete both with accent and with Catholic exclamations.

The first season is promising, but doesn't quite work, in my opinion; it really caught fire (both artistically and in the public imagination) with the second season, thanks to Hawes' amazing perfomance. Unfortunately, the overarching plot, in my opinion, has ended up going too far into implausibility and melodrama... when you take a step back. But on an episode-by-episode basis, it's seriously good.



*Mercurio has been an acclaimed but rather overlooked writer for a long time. He broke out when, while still a doctor, he wrote "Cardiac Arrest" in the 1990s (which in 2000 was voted by doctors as the most realistic medical show to that point, though it was controversial at the time for its unvarnished portrayal); his even more grimdark "Bodies" (about clinical malpractice and a culture of mutual protection among doctors) won the BAFTA for Best Series.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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Salmoneus wrote: 16 Mar 2021 20:37 *Mercurio has been an acclaimed but rather overlooked writer for a long time. He broke out when, while still a doctor, he wrote "Cardiac Arrest" in the 1990s (which in 2000 was voted by doctors as the most realistic medical show to that point, though it was controversial at the time for its unvarnished portrayal); his even more grimdark "Bodies" (about clinical malpractice and a culture of mutual protection among doctors) won the BAFTA for Best Series.
I read about Cardiac Arrest. Actually does sound interesting! From what I read, sounds pretty much spot on. From Claire Maitland the unethical and incompetent angel of death right on through to the rigorous and character building treatment of residents / junior doctors. Though I do note the tone that the Guardian article takes seems to cast the juniors as the poor downtrodden masses, while everyone else is entirely dysfunctional. I suppose not unexpected considering the writer's experience! Rest assured! Junior doctors are just as dysfunctional as the rest of the hospital staff!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by KaiTheHomoSapien »

Eluveite's reconstructed Gaulish is so euphonic; I could listen to it all day. This is what I want Arculese to sound like:

Eluveite - Lvgvs
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 21 Mar 2021 20:45 Eluveite's reconstructed Gaulish is so euphonic; I could listen to it all day. This is what I want Arculese to sound like:

Eluveite - Lvgvs
Nice!

For what it worths, here's the Breton tune they're playing.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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elemtilas wrote: 21 Mar 2021 20:52 Nice!

For what it worths, here's the Breton tune they're playing.
Oh cool [:D] I didn't know the tune was based on a folk song.
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by Salmoneus »

A sort of music that people may not be familiar with: Prelude in A Minor, by Elizabeth Jacquet de la Guerre. It's actually originally for the harpsichord (or other keyboard), but is here played on a (replica) contemporary Spanish guitar. The instrument choice is period-appropriate, but not region-appropriate: this is a distinctively French genre (though sometimes imitated by Germans, and very occasionally by the English).

What's going on here? Well, this is an example of a 17th (and early 18th) century avant garde musical genre known as the prélude non mésuré, or 'unmeasured prelude'. They evolved out of earlier French lute music, but later were exclusively associated with the keyboard. Often (as in this case) they served as toccatas, introducing a suite of more formally-constrained music (usually dances); sometimes they were played alone, and sometimes they even took on the guise of another form (often the allemande, a dance that was often quite abstract in its music). Many are written in the ancient French tradition of a tombeau: a mournful piece composed in memory of a mentor or earlier composer, and some even reuse specific melodic motifs associated with tombeau preludes in particular.

But why are they called 'unmeasured'? This sheet music shows why! This is a similar piece by Couperin, the composer most associated with the genre; and, as you can see... there are no bar lines! Nor are there any note values! In this piece, I don't think there's even any clear marking of which notes are meant to be played simultaneously. Instead, the composer indicates which notes are to be played, but the timing, the stress, the tempo, the manner of playing (even whether notes are to be held down) is all left to the taste of the performer.

Composers didn't completely give up the chance to give advice. In Couperin's notation - one oddity of the genre is that each composer reinventing their own notational schemes, and weren't even consistent between pieces... - he uses what look like slurs and phrase markings - although some of them are placed in impossible ways (some even become vertical lines) to guide the melody. However, the simple slur line evidently serves multiple purposes, sometimes ambiguously; often, it is really serving, it is believed, not to unite notes, but to separate them (notes bound together by slurs form groups, within which the performer is free to apply their musical taste in playing the notes, but ought not, it seems, to combine a note inside a group with one outside the goup). Other composers used other devices - often extremely counterintuitively for the unwary. Many distinguish white and black notes - but not in marking duration. Rather, white notes mark harmonic structures, while black notes mark melodic patterns. Some unmeasured preludes even appear to be measured, with bar lines... but the bar lines are really Couperinian slurs turned vertical, acting not to count the pulse but simply to group and divide notes.

This example by D'Anglebert shows a more (misleadingly!) normal-looking system. Here, he distinguishes quavers, semiquavers, and semibreves... but while the first two might indicate rhythm perhaps (though I think it may be about melody vs grace notes?), the semibreves clearly aren't meant to be played as such. (Here, by the way, is another example by D'Anglebert, without visible score, which I include not just because it sounds nice but because wow that's a stunning-looking harpsichord!...)

But why? What's the point of going to all this trouble - given that composers spent decades trying to devise a notation system for this genre, distinct from all other classical music, and each seemed to feel they couldn't just settle for the scheme invented by another, they clearly felt this was important. Why not use the existing mainstream western notation? Well, this music wasn't just meant to be visually unmeasured: it actively attempts to defeat the instinctive hearing of pulse and beat, to form a continuous melodic whole that exists, in some sense, outside of time. This is seen in a much wider pattern in this genre of fighting against recognisable repetition of any kind; I've seen notation of some of JdlG's works, for instance, that make clear that some sections are composed of repeating arpeggio patterns... but broken up asymmetrically by the insertion of dissonant tones, to prevent the ear from fully catching their regularity. Similarly, adjacent phrases are often intentionally of different lengths, so that even if a lazy performer attempts to impose a repeating rhythm on the notes, they can't succeed. And although it's not relating to time, you may notice that the genre is often harmonically adventurous even by Baroque standards, with many unexpected and even dissonant harmonies. And in some of these examples perhaps you've noticed the rather odd, inconclusive endings...

You can get a better sense of the oddity of this music by comparing it to 'normal' music of the time. Not only can you do this in a suite, but even in some of these preludes themselves, which juxtapose mainstream and non mésuré sections. In this piece by Rameau, for example, the prelude itself contains, as it were, an unmeasured prelude-within-a-prelude, leading into a much more typical Baroque second half (at 1:35). Finally, in this piece Couperin begins in the unmeasured style, before returning to normality (2:50)... only to fade back into unmeasuredness to end (4:20).




Anyway, I didn't really have anything to say about it. It just struck me that this entire episode is a really unusual moment in the history of Western music, which many people are probably completely unaware of, so I thought it was worth mentioning...
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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KaiTheHomoSapien wrote: 21 Mar 2021 20:59
elemtilas wrote: 21 Mar 2021 20:52 Nice!

For what it worths, here's the Breton tune they're playing.
Oh cool [:D] I didn't know the tune was based on a folk song.
Indeed! I rather like the Chieftains' rendition better. Celtic Wedding is a fantastic album, but the way!
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

Post by lsd »

listening to them will not save the endangered languages of the end of the world...
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Re: What are you listening to/watching?

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lsd wrote: 25 Mar 2021 20:45 listening to them will not save the endangered languages of the end of the world...
True!, but it is not even the point to save through listening.

Without a committed community of speakers willing to use and save their language, that language will eventually and naturally die out only to be replaced by a different language!
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