Music Review http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/music en Crooner of the Sea http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4321 <span>Crooner of the Sea</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" lang="" about="/index.php/users/brandon-judell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brandon Judell</a></span> <span>June 6, 2024 - 17:52</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/148" hreflang="en">Cabaret</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity align-right"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-06/michael-shapiro-singer.jpeg?itok=bFP0_QAI" width="522" height="596" alt="Thumbnail" title="michael-shapiro-singer.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p> </p> <p>Here I am, sitting at the helm of the World Voyager. Day 3 of my itinerary. We left the coast of Spain yesterday. Tomorrow France.</p> <p>Yes, this is the first time if someone told me I was "at sea," it would be a compliment.</p> <p>The determined waters of the Bay of Biscay pound away as I sip my third coffee of the morning for medicinal purposes. The sky is one huge blue-grey cloud with slivers of white. No coast in sight in any direction.</p> <p>So, what could be a more appropriate time to recall Michael Craig Shapiro's never-less-than-engaging performance of last night? At 9:30 PM in the Atlas Lounge, <i>Showtime! A New York Cabaret </i>began for those who signed up for the Atlas Ocean Voyage "10-Night Lisbon-to London" trek.</p> <p>Now for some Shapiro background. This attendee of the University of Colorado Boulder, when not letting loose vocally, is this yacht's cruise director. He also conducts weddings, organizes cocktail parties, and even hosts gastronomic pastry demonstrations. Throughout the day and night, he's seen everywhere on the boat's seven levels, making sure there's not a morose passenger within ten feet of himself.</p> <p>On dry land, Mr. Shapiro also acts. In the past, he's appeared in vehicles such as the NoHo Arts Center's <i>Yo Ho Ho! A Pirate's Christmas </i>in North Hollywood—and I believe he was somehow involved with <i>Pest Control: The Musical. </i>Doublecheck that.</p> <p>Well, let's start the show.</p> <p>The blue-jacketed, serenely starched, white-shirted Mr. Shapiro opened with some advice he garnered from Tony Bennett: make sure your set is no longer than 45 minutes, or the audience will leave. He followed that advice, and no one left. Instead, there were screams of "Encore!" which were succumbed to.</p> <p>His track list was perfectly chosen for his audience, including old chestnuts from Cole Porter to Kander and Ebb to Mama Cass, but as essayist Joseph Epstein noted, "Familiarity breeds content." Clearly, in every seat, on every couch, there were folks mouthing the lyrics of the chosen tunes.</p> <p>There was a heavenly "Stairway to Heaven," a wry "They All Laughed," and a quite persuasive "You Can't Take That Away from Me."</p> <p>Mr. Shapiro then captured the winsome romance of George Gershwin's "He Loves and She Loves":</p> <p>"He loves and she loves and they love,</p> <p>So why can't you love and I love too?</p> <p>Birds love and bees love and whispering trees love,</p> <p>And that's what we both should do!"</p> <p>(When you have time, check out Ella Fitzgerald's take.)</p> <p>Two songs later came "Just a Gigolo," Irving Caesar's 1929 adaptation of the Austrian tango "Schöner Gigolo, armer Gigolo." You might recall David Lee Roth's hit version. For this rhythmic treat, the singer pulled a traveler from San Francisco, the quite game Ms. May Lee, who was transformed in seconds from being a just delightful young woman into not a bad copy of Ginger Rogers.</p> <p>A pitch-perfect "Dream a Little Dream" reminded me of a recent article declaring Mama Cass did not die from eating a ham sandwich. A sly "Sara Lee" made me hunger for the poundcake of my youth, while Mr. Shapiro's poignant rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star" especially showed off his vocal skills. "New York, New York," meanwhile, had a sassy blonde with a drink in each hand bopping to her seat as she sang along. The audience, as noted, went wild, and the encore was a solid "My Way" that came with a concise history of the song.</p> <p>Accompanied on the piano by the pleasing Dan Murphy, the song fest had now ended, and a highly contented crowd climbed up one flight to the Dome to view the stars and the moon and feel the gusts of Mediterranean winds upon their smiling faces.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4321&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="TRSY4a0xuM10xbBwhZw_hfheM-V6J3o6GdOhliKI5PI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 06 Jun 2024 21:52:43 +0000 Brandon Judell 4321 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: " There's No Mountain" http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4230 <span>Song of the Week: &quot; There&#039;s No Mountain&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>May 31, 2024 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/580" hreflang="en">folk rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NMz-AxuMvsA?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>"There's No Mountain," indeed. We can overcome. And, in these days of turbulence, cynicism, and divisiveness, we need songs that connect.</p> <p><meta charset="UTF-8" /></p> <p data-pm-slice="1 1 []">Some songs beg to be played again and again and again. I don't know how this wonderful one slipped through the cracks last year without fanfare, but it did. This gorgeous, heartfelt love ballad is from the fifth solo album by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOUXj7dIrW6y-9MuxUPBGFA" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow" target="_blank">Glen Hansard</a>, <em>All That Was East Is West Of Me</em> ( Anti-Records, 2023).  As some of you know, Glen i the frontman of the Irish band The Frames--a worthy band in their own right. Some will know him from his moving indie film <a href="https://youtu.be/k8mtXwtapX4?si=gYlEV5nhNNXZdbjO" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow" target="_blank"><em>Once</em></a><em> </em>(2007) and the Grammy-winning tune "Falling Slowly;" moreover, the Broadway play won 8 Tonys.</p> <p>But for me, Glen as a singer-songwriter, is the biscuit. Watch and listen and live and learn. This is a <em>life</em> song about staying in love, climbing any mountain to endure the peaks nd valleys. Glen is the rare ba d who bares his soul on every song he shares. d most of them are excellent. This one is a keeper, a corker, a love lesson.  His lyrical prose borrows from Jackson C. Frank's majestic ballad "Blues Run the Game" and a traditional gospel tune "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning," and it does so with humility and honesty. His voice sells it and sells it again and again.</p> <p>"In love, it's the same<br /> There's no doubt blues is running the game<br /> Keep your lantern trimmed and burning till the end of the night<br /> Put your cheek to the wind<br /> When you go without, then you'll go within<br /> If it comes to blows, take it all on the chin<br /> There's no worthier fight"</p> <p>Truth. </p> <p>Love <em>is</em> all you need. And it <em>is</em> worth the fight. And it <em>is</em> worth scaling. And a song this authentic connects with our souls finds a small area in hearts to occupy, and affords us optimism.</p> <p>Won't you grant him the courtesy of a genuine listen, add the song to your playlist, or buy his CD or vinyl album? He'll be at the Beacon Theatre in NYC on Sept. 6th.</p> <p>For further exploration, here are a few of my favorite songs from his pen and guitar:</p> <p><iframe allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="352" loading="lazy" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/playlist/03Oi86I3NhKsh3e4m0v2Wt?utm_source=generator" style="border-radius:12px" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>(Thanks for your attention, I needed to get this off my chest for months.)</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4230&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="E75hrKfTpGOj3YmeN3EdKbbiYNC2d_MV3gs1ietJoUM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 31 May 2024 14:00:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 4230 at http://www.culturecatch.com I Came for Copland. I Will Remember Ray Chen http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4304 <span>I Came for Copland. I Will Remember Ray Chen</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" lang="" about="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">C. Jefferson Thom</a></span> <span>April 11, 2024 - 19:51</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/458" hreflang="en">classical music</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-04/sso.2024.04.04_carlin.ma-1125.jpeg?itok=7NHvruU7" width="1200" height="845" alt="Thumbnail" title="sso.2024.04.04_carlin.ma-1125.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><em><b>Appalachian Spring</b></em></p> <p><strong>Seattle Symphony</strong></p> <p><b>Benaroya Hall, Seattle</b></p> <p>There's a decent chance I just witnessed the most incredible live performance by a violinist I will be privileged to experience in my lifetime. Ray Chen has a reputation for the intense passion that precedes him, but any hype was dimmed by the supernova burst of hearing him live.</p> <p>This was my favorite of many memorable evenings spent with the Seattle Symphony at Benaroya Hall. Beginning with a dynamic modern composition by Dorothy Chang titled "Northern Star," the fuse was lit for a night of explosive energy. Chang masterfully wields the loud-quiet-loud with a contrast that offers a more extraordinary richness to both ends of that spectrum. This fuse beautifully burned its way to the readied dynamite of Erich Korngold's "Violin Concerto in D major" and Ray Chen's waiting violin.</p> <p>Chen breathes intensity through the bridge, strings, and bow. He speaks directly through his violin as an extension of himself. If there is a division between the two, it is difficult to see and nearly impossible to hear. He reads the language of Korngold's music, knows it, and shares it as his own with the deepest feeling due to each note. His vibrato resonates through his arm, wrist, and fingers. His double stops sing with a choral unison. His bowing seems endlessly seamless, stretching onward into a continued infinity. His joy and love are ever present, and we in the audience were graciously lavished with wave after wave of passion, playfulness, and pure celebration. If there is something exceptional about being human, moments like these best make a better argument.</p> <p>Also exceptional was the work of conductor Xian Zhang. Of the many conductors I have seen lead the Seattle Symphony, Zhang coaxes a new level of intensity, bringing this body of musicians closest to dancing on the razor's edge. Aside from having the mastery to answer Zhang's call, the members of the Seattle Symphony should be credited for the adaptability of maintaining their consistent level of play while rotating through so many conductors. Since I began attending their performance in December of last year, I don't believe I've seen the same hand lift the baton twice, but these musicians make that flexibility look effortless.</p> <p>Closing out the program were the soothing sounds of Aaron Copland. If America were ever to live up to the purity of its professed ideals and intentions, it might sound something like Copland's <em>Appalachian Spring</em>. This is a piece that has brought me to joyful tears many times, and it was this offering that drew me to Benaroya Hall last Saturday night. What a perfect way to wrap up a program of forceful fireworks. The calm after the storm… and how wonderful it was. My heart is cradled in these bars—the quiet which gently builds. The strings work double-time, and the brass supports with sustained notes from below. There is such hope. Such yearning. Such a desire for better. Maybe, like the films of Frank Capra, it's an idealism that stretches too far and sees not so clearly. Still, I have fallen for Copland ever since I first heard what he had to say and getting to listen to his <em>Appalachian Spring</em> played so wonderfully live was a gift, the warmth of which still gives me a little smile.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4304&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="dR1OdNiqxjjDoDwY2DQO6ss7znBDr54x43de6UwopF8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 11 Apr 2024 23:51:19 +0000 C. Jefferson Thom 4304 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Wanting and Waiting" http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4298 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Wanting and Waiting&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>March 28, 2024 - 17:05</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/780" hreflang="en">classic rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/He2SLYTykZ0?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>The Brothers Robinson (Chris &amp; Rich) are back, albeit 11 years after releasing a double live album, <em>Wiser for the Time</em> (2013), and taking no effin' prisoners. These are real musicians playing real instruments with no auto-tuned vocals. "Wanting and Waiting" off of <em>Happiness Bastards </em>(2024) is brimming with classic Crowes' hard rock swagger with killer guitar hooks and soulful background vocals. They're missing the "thump" of original founding band member drummer Steve Gorman being left out in the cold. It's too bad; my only complaint about the song's arrangement is that they miss his power and energy. (If you've not read <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Handle-Death-Crowes-Memoir/dp/0306922029/ref=sr_1_1?crid=U9WSS0AOE7VG&amp;dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9._E2PYhjYWi5rn2m8BmY3Cg.4RUJ8ZnxxpmISDf1R2PVnh6YNXqxvKx6DAdbPa37pX4&amp;dib_tag=se&amp;keywords=steve+gorman+hard+to+handle+hard+book&amp;qid=1711661166&amp;sprefix=steve+gorman%2Caps%2C64&amp;sr=8-1" target="_blank">Mr. Gorman's memoir</a>, do so immediately.) On tour now; <a href="https://www.ticketmaster.com/the-black-crowes-tickets/artist/734564" target="_blank">check out dates here</a>.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4298&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="bZztrcxfcMmRwY2ep8Msz_V95-RCcKkSjNaRhiF8meA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 28 Mar 2024 21:05:36 +0000 Dusty Wright 4298 at http://www.culturecatch.com How Your Great-Grandma Rocked Out http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4297 <span>How Your Great-Grandma Rocked Out</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" lang="" about="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">C. Jefferson Thom</a></span> <span>March 24, 2024 - 20:22</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-03/2324_social_glen_miller_1080_x_1080.jpeg?itok=bNgIRVBi" width="1200" height="1200" alt="Thumbnail" title="2324_social_glen_miller_1080_x_1080.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><a href="https://glennmillerorchestra.com/"><b>Glenn Miller Orchestra</b></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.seattlesymphony.org/en/concerttickets/calendar/2023-2024/23glennmiller"><b>Benaroya Hall, Seattle</b></a></p> <p>If your great-grandmother wanted to piss off her parents when she was a teenager, she might have slipped into her Keds, pulled on a flared skirt, and danced all night to the risqué sounds of Duke Ellington or Benny Goodman. If she were really into the hard stuff, maybe she would have swung with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which we were doing here in Seattle this past Friday night… and grandma rocks hard.<br /> It began with a moonlight serenade. God, I love this music! It was so joyous, celebratory, innocent, and contradictory to what was happening outside the venues it first played in. I suppose a decade weighed down by The Great Depression, followed by a World War II chaser, necessitated some cheering up. And so, starting in the late 1930s, the Glenn Miller Orchestra began that effort and has continuously brightened the spirits of audiences up to the present day.</p> <p>While the begrudging grasp of time has denied us any remaining original members, this manifestation of the Glenn Miller Orchestra is part of a tradition that has carried on bearing its originator’s name for nearly eighty years. Erik Stabnau, the band’s present Music Director and a man with more hands than Vishnu, glides seamlessly through the many hats he gracefully wears. Playing a mean saxophone, singing in a clean and golden baritone, introducing the numbers, and offering a little backstory without turning the music into ancient history, Stabnau makes weaving his tapestry look easy.</p> <p>The band itself is immaculate. With fourteen dedicated musicians seated behind the trademark stand fronts, these legendary songs are kept alive. The brass section bursts with an exuberant celebration, the drummer bounces the rhythm between the snare and high hat, and the woodwinds wail with a heightened vibrato that makes me miss my grandparents. Listening to these soothing sounds makes it easy to see why people often think life used to be simpler and better and it just made more sense back in the day. While I don’t subscribe to those theories, this music makes me wax nostalgic for times I never knew. The band is joined by vocalist Jenny Swoish, who initially came on pretty strong, verging on the forced, but ultimately backs her swaggering confidence with powerful vocals.</p> <p>If you have either an appreciation for or a curiosity about the swing era, a living tradition is tuned to scratch that itch. Like Zoroastrian priests tending to the sacred flame of Yazd, the Glenn Miller Orchestra carries the torch of a beautiful moment in music, breathing fresh life into it today. Bravo to the Seattle Symphony for its diverse and diligently curated programming. If you haven’t checked out what they have going on at Benaroya Hall, I highly suggest looking at their calendar to see what’s waiting to draw you in.</p> <p>For more information and show dates for the Glenn Miller Orchestra:</p> <p>https://glennmillerorchestra.com/</p> <p>Seattle Symphony: https://www.seattlesymphony.org/</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4297&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="f96RULTj-jxFNReo0HqB3xJCccmS02wlf33xbeRfsi0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 25 Mar 2024 00:22:50 +0000 C. Jefferson Thom 4297 at http://www.culturecatch.com Tales of Bad Parenting & A Hatred for Opera http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4292 <span>Tales of Bad Parenting &amp; A Hatred for Opera</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" lang="" about="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">C. Jefferson Thom</a></span> <span>March 17, 2024 - 16:54</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/850" hreflang="en">opera</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-03/2324-concerts-bach-passion-brandon-patoc_0005.jpeg?itok=Djy0HS_0" title="2324-concerts-bach-passion-brandon-patoc_0005.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo: Brandon Patoc</figcaption></figure><p><b>Bach's <em>St. John Passion</em></b></p> <p><b>Benaroya Hall, Seattle</b></p> <p>The subject of this libretto follows the Passion of Jesus according to the Gospel of John. If I didn't know better, I would think that this God fellow was a kind of shitty father. But what pains me more than the suffering of Christ is the vocal styles of operatic singing.</p> <p>I didn't do my research and ended up listening to opera. <em>St. John Passion</em> by Johann Sebastian Bach began with forcefully wonderous choral arrangements and the soundings of a scaled-down orchestra. I enjoyed this very much, particularly the duetting oboes; they were so sad and hauntingly beautiful. I love oboes and celebrate their showcasing. I also love Bach. Hence, my haste to hear anything composed by this God of the Baroque, but I forgot that so many of my favorite composers had a far greater appreciation for operatic singing than I did.</p> <p>I have tried numerous times over many years, and, for the most part, I simply do not enjoy operatic singing. Though I recognize the discipline and mastery of the craft and that opera singers are likely some of the most technically skilled vocalists walking the planet at any given time, my ears just aren’t hearing any of it. It usually sounds like a parody of itself but is devoid of any intentional humor. I respect the ability to reach a large music hall without microphones; that's very impressive, but it's still like getting a super-fast delivery of take-out food that you don't like. It doesn't matter; it’s just lost on me. It doesn't help that the singing is usually accompanied by what I consider cartoonish over-acting. I feel like I’m watching real-life humans do their best impersonations of Disney princesses and villains. With the broad gestures and over-emotive expressions made for daytime television, I can't take it seriously. Unfortunately, this performance of Bach didn't break any of those stereotypes for me. I appreciated the vocals offered by tenor Andrew Haji, finding them to be clean and with a fine balance of vibrato, but that's about what I could take away before tuning out. After the choir and orchestra began supporting the solo vocalists, my ears drifted, and my eyes examined the lighting fixtures. If I had focused on the stage, I would have had to suppress laughing at what I find absurdly comic, and I don't want to be rude.</p> <p>As a life-long advocate and aficionado of musical theatre, I have often been on the opposite side of this taste argument. Just as I am convinced that those repulsed by the sounds of a showtune and its unique vocal stylings are missing out on something wonderful, I am likely really missing out on opera. I mean, it's been around so long; there has to be a reason people still dedicate their free time to it. While I <em>know</em> this in my head, my heart, ears, and soul do not care. On some theoretical level, I can muster a profound respect for this art, but in practice, I wonder if I wouldn't prefer listening to reggaeton. On second thought, probably not, but did I mention that I really don't like opera?</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4292&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="4NJVG2yt0CIZYfNgZ0ML7pShODcUumabz14jFtq7jA0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 17 Mar 2024 20:54:34 +0000 C. Jefferson Thom 4292 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Floating On A Moment" http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4284 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Floating On A Moment&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>February 17, 2024 - 16:01</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/636" hreflang="en">indie rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ldrx0eSqV-E?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I came very late to trip-hop, but once I did, I immersed myself in it from its beginnings with Tricky and Massive Attack through iterations from everyone from Bjork to Portishead and beyond. [N.B. Although many have disagreed with me, trip-hop found its apotheosis with Amy Winehouse, and what she and others call neo-soul is an amalgamation of trip-hop, soul, and jazz elements. I have considered writing an article on this but haven't found the time.]</p> <p>In any case, I became a huge Portishead fan as soon as I heard them and a Beth Gibbons fan. I consider her among the most criminally underrated vocalists of our time.</p> <p>Ms. Gibbons is about to release her first solo album in over 20 years, entitled <em>Lives Outgrown</em>. "Floating on a Moment" is the first single from the album, and it is simply terrific. With touches of trip-hop, soft rock, and "torchy" vocals, its insistent softness is strangely compelling, even at five-and-a-half minutes. Lyrically, its central theme -- that even a single moment can be a journey -- might seem obvious, even trite. But in her hands, it is turned into something far more ethereal and more thoughtful.</p> <p>The video accompanying the song is one of the trippiest, most psychedelic videos in some time and almost worth the entire price of admission.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4284&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="xCdDlH1k3OkVgQaRwpVem47WOHOnmPIJ_ZpYj1wOG4w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 17 Feb 2024 21:01:46 +0000 Ian Alterman 4284 at http://www.culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "Dark Matter" http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4283 <span>Song of the Week: &quot;Dark Matter&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>February 17, 2024 - 15:53</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/145" hreflang="en">alternative rock</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6Fx8LprPMIU?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>I am not a particularly huge Pearl Jam fan, though I have a handful of their albums, love many of their songs, and understand their place in rock history (vis-a-vis the Seattle sound). I am also aware of socio-politics and (slightly less often) child abuse and mental health.</p> <p>This is Pearl Jam sounding their angriest, with a vibe closer to "metal" than even their occasionally strongly aggressive sound suggests. And, as is often the case, Vedder's enunciation and elision of lyrics leave one wondering what the song is actually about. (A reading of the lyrics suggests a socio-political theme, but what, exactly, is not clear.) In other words, this is "classic" Pearl Jam, only even more obscure and aggressive than usual.</p> <p>Still, for all that, the song is a good one (and remarkably short, but complete, at just over 3:30), and bodes well for their upcoming album, of which the song is synonymous.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4283&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="c14JZU4WZxrVtvIe8d-tJNtkzXe53-2tqxGszHDjyjU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 17 Feb 2024 20:53:10 +0000 Ian Alterman 4283 at http://www.culturecatch.com The Old Ludwig Van… http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4276 <span>The Old Ludwig Van…</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" lang="" about="/index.php/users/c-jefferson-thom" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">C. Jefferson Thom</a></span> <span>February 7, 2024 - 15:59</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/837" hreflang="en">classical</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="675" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-02/beethoven_concert_2024.jpg?itok=5DhUqT1W" title="beethoven_concert_2024.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>photo credit: James Holt</figcaption></figure><p><strong>Various Works </strong><br /><strong>The Seattle Symphony</strong><br /><strong>Benaroya Hall, Seattle</strong></p> <p>It's 7:55 pm on a Saturday at Benaroya Hall. The audience saunter to their seats as a steady stream of musicians trickle onto the stage, joining their tuning colleagues. The lights dim. The acknowledgments about First Nation lands are made. Conductor John Edusei raises his baton. We begin.</p> <p>Starting with "Con brio" by composer Jörg Widmann, this playfully percussive piece was designed to reference Beethoven's symphonies. Instead of being utilized for accent alone, drums here rule with Eric Schweikert leading from his commanding timpani through a disjointed maze of aggressive rhythms. Amidst the jolting movements, woodwind players blow into their instruments sans mouthpieces (a device called "extended techniques"), adding exciting and sometimes comical textures. Posing a stark contrast to the melodic majesty of Beethoven to follow, it is always fascinating to hear the work of a contemporary composer who is still among us.</p> <p>Then there was Beethoven, specifically "Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major" (a.k.a. "Emperor Concerto"). And so enters the heart-wrenching sounds interwoven with the pulse of the human soul. Pianist Steven Osborne demonstrates the strength of a gentle touch. Seething with an energy that wants to explode, Osborne masterfully releases the fire inside him with the intense precision of a steady stream. With the final note of each solo, he physically pops back from the ivory keys as if propelled by an unseen electrical charge. The piano solos work with the rest of the orchestra in a sort of call-and-response manner, with Osborne lying down a theme and the orchestra then offering their interpretation. This concerto lives up to its common name, possessing more grandeur than most of the crowned heads of European history. Conductor John Edusei navigates these three very different pieces with seeming ease and is hypnotizing as he leads with an evident love for the music he cradles.</p> <p>The program ended with "Ein Heldenleben" or "A Hero's Life" by Richard Strauss. This was the first time I've had the experience of wandering in and out of the music while listening to The Seattle Symphony. I don't believe this was any fault of the musicians, but rather some disconnect between my ears and Strauss. Powerful moments drew me back in, and Concertmaster Noah Geller plays his violin with great force and passion, yet I struggled to remain continually connected. I will leave it at that.</p> <p>In the end, it was yet another fantastic night at Benaroya Hall, and I remain enthralled with the emergence of this new relationship in my life and all the beautiful sounds it brings.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4276&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="lD3QL8_9l8IgtSI06MkvcVcAXOq0y_lS5dnu0XVMy9Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 07 Feb 2024 20:59:15 +0000 C. Jefferson Thom 4276 at http://www.culturecatch.com My Musical Ear http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/4272 <span>My Musical Ear</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" lang="" about="/index.php/users/ian-alterman" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ian Alterman</a></span> <span>January 27, 2024 - 22:34</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/890" hreflang="en">pop music</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2024/2024-01/good-people-single.jpeg?itok=Zy5Q8oK0" width="880" height="492" alt="Thumbnail" title="good-people-single.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>At the risk of sounding self-aggrandizing, I like to believe that I have a particularly well-attuned musical "ear" (14 years of music theory, 50+ years of piano, and 60+ years of music listening will do that), including the ability to hear commonalities between songs. These commonalities can take several forms, of course, ranging from "unintended influence" to "flat-out rip-off" (with several stages in between). I tend to catch these similarities more quickly than most people, and often when others don't pick up on them at all.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IaDHJaJ6b9c?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>For example, when the Cars' song "Best Friend's Girl" came out in 1978, I immediately recognized -- and told everyone I could (lol) -- that the guitar riff used after each chorus was (sorry, Ric) a total rip-off of the guitar riff that George (or Paul) uses on "I Will" on the <em>White Album</em>. Not the kind of connection most people would make, but when you've listened to enough music over a decades-long period, and have an "ear," these things simply pop out at you.<br /><br /> And so we have a new song, released about a week ago by Mumford &amp; Sons &amp; Pharrell, called "Good People." I heard it for the first time on Thursday. It's a nice enough song, but the minute I heard it, I recognized that it sounded strangely similar to a song by Adele. Now, I'm not much of an Adele fan and know very little about her music, so I had to actually listen to several songs before finding the one I was looking for.<br /><br /> The song is called "Rolling in the Deep" and was one of her hits (which is the only reason I recognized it at all). Although the two songs do not <i>seem</i> particularly similar when first listened to back-to-back, the structure (and even parts of the melody) of "Good People" are close enough to Adele's song that it set off my "rip-off" bells.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rYEDA3JcQqw?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Pharrell sings the main lines of the song (verses), with Mumford &amp; Sons providing a response to each line. Were it not for these responses -- i.e., if Pharrell sang all four lines of each verse one after the other -- the similarity to Adele's song would be even more obvious. But by breaking up the verses with these choral "interruptions," the song gets away with using the structure and melody of Adele's song without overtly ripping it off.<br /><br /> Still, it was so close that I heard it immediately. And as I do when I find these, I wrote an email to the two radio stations to which I listen, pointing out the similarity to Adele's song. Usually, I get a "thank you" email and even an occasional quasi-validation from the program director.<br /><br /> However, in this case, they must have heard what I did because last night they played "Good People" and followed it up directly with "Rolling in the Deep," with the DJ making a quick comment about the similarity (which, for some reason, was even more obvious when heard on the radio back-to-back). And the station did it again early this afternoon. It is almost as if they are inviting Adele to consider suing for copyright infringement. (This is not my intention, though it is worth mentioning that Pharrell seems to have a penchant for this, given that he also co-wrote and co-produced Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," which was successfully sued for copyright infringement by the family of Marvin Gaye for plagiarizing elements of Gaye's "Got to Give It Up.")<br /><br /> Whatever happens, it was really nice to have my "ear" validated to such a significant degree. (I always wondered how one becomes an "expert witness" in musically-related copyright infringement claims.)</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=4272&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="9D9UVzs6svybGQksdCi2SiCDDnGy6GZgf6_p_xywFJ8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 28 Jan 2024 03:34:59 +0000 Ian Alterman 4272 at http://www.culturecatch.com