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Most commonly, JM's column reminds me of why I started ditching that philosophy survey course in college, ultimately earning a D. Rich vocabulary and interesting sentence structure are one thing, but ...."adequately informed participation in democratic society requires a basic familiarity with our common cultural legacy as much as it does a familiarity with the mechanics of our system of government."?? The word "ostentatious" bubbles up.
Nonetheless, I found his column in the April, '07 Stereophile to be one of the most fun-to-read short pieces on musical Americana that I have come across. He's endeavored to construct a list of 12 key or core recordings that define and have influenced modern American music, and does a nice job of succinctly describing the nature and importance of each. This eclectic compilation ranges from the Marvin Gaye to the Beach Boys to Christopher Parkening (classical guitar) to Ellington to.....Steely Dan? I ran right downstairs and played Rhapsody in Blue, and will now log on and buy a nice copy of that Marvin Gaye CD. Many of the cited works are in my collection, but had been not thought of for a long time.
But you forgot to mention the competition and prizes.
The 12 best lists sent to email@example.com with the subject line "Cultural Literacy" each will win something from Stereophile's online store. Deadline: May 1, 2007.
In the context of the theory of cultural literacy, inclusion is not so much a matter of having been "influential" as of being content that today's content creators will assume their audiences are familiar with. So, a musician can be very influential on other musicians, but, if their stuff does not get "recycled," it is less important for cultural literacy.
Not the best explanation possible, but a pointer in the right direction.
Ironically enough, today's mail brought a pre-release review copy of a new SACD release of Rhapsody in Blue. Wish it had been here three months ago.
That was a strange photograph. I must have misundermissed the announcement of the caption winner in your column....
- This signature is two channel only -
Dear Stereophile Readers,
Now that the May issue is out, the Jane Monheit Photo Caption Contest from my "The Fifth Element" column in the April issue has concluded.
I received more than 30 entries.
Entries that violated the spirit of the rule that the caption be G-rated by indulging in sexual innuendo were disqualified.
There were some good entries, but I thought that two were a cut above, so, I declare a tie, and both entrants will receive the "33 1/3" CD, courtesy of Hyena Records, http://www.hyenarecords.com
Here are my selections for the winning entries:
"This next song is dedicated to the people seated on the ceiling."
I liked this one because it keys off the photo's unusual pose, and is more clever than silly.
"He walked to a window and stood looking up at the sky. His head thrown back, he felt the pull of his throat muscles and he wondered whether the peculiar solemnity of looking at the sky comes not from what one contemplates, but from that uplift of one's head."
-Ayn Rand, "The Fountainhead"
I liked this one because it is literary, and as does the other, directly relates to what makes the photo striking.
Winning entrants, please email me your delivery addresses.
"Ironically enough, today's mail brought a pre-release review copy of a new SACD release of Rhapsody in Blue. " You, too? Hard for me to listen to that piece these days.
This new SACD and most commercial releases are not the Rhapsody in Blue people first heard. They are the Ferde Grofé orchestration for conventional orchestra.
Michael Tilson Thomas has long championed the original. I think he has three recordings: early and late jazz-band versions (the first one more than 20 years ago) and one that uses a player piano to punch in Gershwin's playing, which didn't wow me.
Going from the big orchestration to the original is just like the buzz people get the first time they hear early-instruments Baroque.
Ferde Grofe also scored the original "dance band" version heard at Aeolian Hall.
But my favorite "original" re-creation is the Maurice Peress MusicMasters 2-CD set which actually re-creates, more or less, the entire February 12 program. RIB soloist is Ivan Davis, who plays an un-cut version here.
MP3's of Paul Whiteman's 1924 acoustical recording of Rhapsody can be heard at the site linked below. This was recorded a few months after the premiere with George Gershwin himself playing piano. The piece was edited slightly to fit it onto one 78's limited playing time. It's an incredible, electrifying performance and as close as we can come to hearing what Rhapsody In Blue sounded like at Aeolian Hall on February 12, 1924. A poor recording of a brilliant performance always beats a state - of - the - art recording of an unimaginative performance.
Some information about the 1924 recording and other versions can be found at the Classical Notes website .
Oops. For some reason AA seems to have truncated the long URL into gibberish. Here's a shorter link to both parts of the 1924 Rhapsody that works: http://tinyurl.com/yt8gjr
Thanks. I grew up with the Paul Whiteman 78s and I have the MTTs somewhere in the closet along with many others. While I agree that the bloated orchestration is detracting, fundamentally, I no longer like the music much unless the performer does something new and surprising.
If you want to try something unique and original (it's your call if you like it), try Marcus Roberts' Portraits in Blue on Sony Classical from 1995.
Curious to hear your opinion.
It took me several plays to get to like it.
It sure is a newer take!
It's just hard to sit through philosophy lectures on things like free will vs predetermination given by mumbling introverts like the prof that I had.
From Positive Feedback:
"I remember now: this is an issue of the mobility of infinite silence as an unsubstantiated variable in non-linear equations expressing the thud or unheard die off from a one-handed monk slapping air in a distant forest otherwise depopulated."
And this goes on and on and on.........
Hey, I like a good laugh like the next guy. And I consider myself slightly north of average intelligence, but "Dude!!!!, that shit is a tough read.
"Rich vocabulary and interesting sentence structure are one thing, but ...."adequately informed participation in democratic society requires a basic familiarity with our common cultural legacy as much as it does a familiarity with the mechanics of our system of government."?? The word "ostentatious" bubbles up."
It is not ostentatious at all. It is perfectly good English written at the 15th grade level instead of the 10th grade level used for business writing (and probably also the guide for popular magazines).
It is an interesting read. It took a topic pounded to death on the Internet and made me think about it anew. The limit of 12 forces cuts: Favorite? Significant? Genre? Hmm.
Ok, now I am thinking about it:
2. Take Five - Album
3. Duke Ellington - not sure which album but I can see the cover in my mind.
4. Rolling Stones - The one my older brother had from the late 60s.
5. Elton John - Yellow Brick Road
7. Blondie - Parallel Lines
8. English Beat - the first one, I have it in the basement on LP.
9. Rick Derringer - All American Boy
10. Julie London - Midnight hour. Trying to remember the other female that preceded her. I hate old age!
11. Allman Bros - Whatever the big one was.
12. Micheal Jackson - Beat it/ BAD
Oh wait, this was American only. Well some of those affected American music a lot. Tomorrow I would come up with another completely different list.
of Zarathustra's meeting with the forest dwelling hermit... Could it be possible ...?
I suspect Marks would still be prattling on even were the USA to declare some fool Emperor and officially reinstate slavery!
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