Dumb Things

November 20, 2017 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | AUSTRALIANIA, Modern Music, MUSIC |
Photo of Paul Kelly by Andrew Braithwaite

Photo of Paul Kelly by Andrew Braithwaite

Songs in Our Heart # 88 Dumb Things (by Paul Kelly) (written by Paul Kelly; released January 1989) [Pure pop by a lyricist with classical learning and sensibility. They just don’t write these anymore, more’s the pity. Kelly has written over 500 songs, and there are lots of great pieces in that portfolio, but none better than this.] “And I get all your good advice It doesn’t stop me from going through these things twice I see the knives out, I turn my back I hear the train coming, I stay right on that track In the middle, in the…

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Carmen (Opera di Roma)

November 19, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | FILM, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
CarmenPoster

2017, Opera di Roma Border Control, Under the Volcano and Breaking Bad meet in this production of Opera di Roma, disastrously staged & directed by Valentina Carrasco.  Of which more later, but whilst any dumb directorial decision cannot defeat Carmen, it may nevertheless diminish it somewhat. Set impressively in the Roman Baths at the Terme di Caracalla (one was reminded of pop concerts at Red Rocks), the music stood out, with conductor Jesús López-Cobos content to let it do its own work in the main, and the leads in fine voice.  Veronica Simeoni is a fine exemplar of Bel Canto, although she…

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“Once More, With Feeling”

November 5, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, MUSIC, Opera, OPERA |
Statue of Hans by Johann Konrad Krausser (photo by T. Voekler)

Statue of Hans by Johann Konrad Krausser (photo by T. Voekler)

Hans Sachs (born 5 November 1494, in Nuremburg), was an early version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Carole King, Elvis Costello, all the great songsmiths and wordsmiths of popular music. Thing is, he did it solely for glory, not bread and jam; for the latter, he kept his day job. For his life, he got one of the great operas of all time; today, he gets birthday wishes from The Varnished Culture.

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Dance of the Screamers

November 3, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC |
IDmike

Songs in Our Heart # 87 Dance of the Screamers (by Ian Dury and the Blockheads) (written by Ian Dury and Chaz Jankel; released May 1979)           [Ian Dury (1942 – 2000) was unique, a unlikely Essex mix of Music Hall, New Wave and Court Jester.  Some of the songs were plonking but many were really interesting in terms of structure and lyrical feeling, and the sound was sure – from Sweet Gene Vincent, Billericay Dickie, Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick, Inbetweenies, This is What We Find, I Want to be Straight, Spasticus Autisticus to Lonely…

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Being Wagner

BW2

(by Simon Callow) (2017) Wagner was the Richard Nixon of Art: Revered, and reviled. Hugely accomplished and hugely flawed. Shining Knight and Scaly Dragon. So many words have been written by him, about him, for him and against him that when our literary friend Janelle sent us this book as a gift, it evoked a wan sigh – another Wagner book by an enthusiastic amateur, you might say!  Quelle Horreur you might say! Well, you all ought to be ashamed of yourselves!  This is a lovely book, full of sound insight and as easy to slip between its sheets as…

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