Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Memorial song: Fellowship 330b

April 24, 2017

Saturday was the annual BASH (Bay Area Sacred Harp) all-day singing, this year at a Lutheran Church in Alameda (with an assembly hall that has a fine wooden ceiling, making for ringing acoustics). Part of the routine for “conventions” like this is a “memorial lesson”, during which someone lists singers who are sick or in distress and people who have died in the past year who were special in some way to a singer at the convention, and then we sing for them. The song for remembering the dead was 330b in the 1991 Denson Revision of The Sacred Harp, Fellowship, with a very familiar text (“Blest be the tie that binds”), excellent as a memorial song, but with a tune that was completely unfamiliar to me.

I realized too late that I should have added a name to the memorial list, but then used our regular Palo Alto singing yesterday to dedicate a song, and picked Fellowship because I had liked it so much at the BASH singing. As it turned out, another singer in the Palo Alto group picked it to lead, for reasons much like mine (but without the memorial function). So we all got to learn a “new” song (the words are 18th century, the tune mid-20th century).


Favorite operas

April 23, 2017

The Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Der Rosenkavalier moved several friends of mine to post on Facebook about their favorite operas, with Rosenkavalier as the starting point (a great many friends of mine are serious opera enthusiasts).  I’ll start with two of the lists, noting an oddity in them; then pass to some notes on opera and its history; and finish off with notes on Rosenkavalier and the new Met production.


Calla, calla, calla, California

April 19, 2017

An Easter gift from Kim Darnell on Sunday: a handsome purple calla lily, looking dark bluish-purple in yellow interior light, but in fact bright pinkish-purple in sunlight. Purple is the liturgical color for the Lenten season, white for the Easter season, so both white and purple flowers are appropriate for this time of year. I’ll start here with the gift calla, in two photos; move on to callas in general and their sexual symbolism, with a digression on George O’Keeffe.


Out gay male bands

April 16, 2017

(On way gay, outrageous, and confrontational male musicians, so plenty of sex talk. Use your judgment.)

On the 9th, from a poster in the LGBT district of Facebook:

I was listening to WFUV [in New York City] … at the gym this afternoon when they played a song from a band called PWR BTTM. Anyone heard of them before? Gay male bands are rare – I can only think of two: Pansy Division and Jinx Titanic – although I’m not an authority on the genre. They seem to have a following in larger cities as tickets are already sold out for their upcoming tour. Their site has a few of their songs.

And another poster extolled

Superfruit, which is made up the two gay members of Pentatonix, Scott and Mitch.

Both of these are bands of the minimum size: two members. And both, as well as Pansy Division and Jinx Titanic, tend to the outrageous and confrontational. I’m not an authority on the genre, either (but, yes, there have been other out gay male bands), so I’ll stick to these four: first, the duos, then the larger groups.


Hail to the Hyena-in-Chief

April 6, 2017

In my “presidential pet” posting yesterday, I suggested that a hyena would be the best pet for POTUS. This morning I realized that that choice would be particularly apt, since it’s entirely possible that POTUS is a hyena, probably a cross between a spotted hyena and a striped hyena, so it would only be right for him to be with one of his own kind, to become the Hyena-in-Chief, the Supreme Hyena.


The blat-bray instrumental report

April 5, 2017

Left out of yesterday’s posting on the verb blat: some illustration of the sound in question and its realization in (Western) music, via instruments that are heard as mimicking the human voice — and animal sounds that resemble the  human voice (like the braying of donkeys and mules). One of these is the clarinet, seen here on a “Happy Donkey” tag for a clarinet case:


Meanwhile, you can watch a short video here showing the blat of a donkey.


Quick, Bruce, the blat!

April 4, 2017

(Not for kids or the sexually modest, unless they/you have a high tolerance for weirdness and obscene allusion. No naughty bits will be on view, no acts of penetration will be detailed in print, it will all be in your mind’s eye. But that might be quite enough.)

Today’s morning name: the verb blat, which led me through a thicket of associations (largely phonological) having to do with beer, bars, baseball bats (real ones, of ash wood, and metaphorical ones, of manmeat), the Platte River in Nebraska, and then (by thematic association) to chiropterans, Die Fledermaus, Bruce Wayne and his boy wonder, vampires, and a lot of mansex — oh, those damn superheroes and bloodsuckers, it comes with the capes, they’re always sliding into Fagotopia, the fuckin’ flits. Along the way there will be two episodes of deranged free verse, none of it in the least bit wholesome, and some disastrous spraying by the Demon Dr. of Whoville.


The Ahab-Moby affair

March 31, 2017

Today’s Bizarro:


(If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page.)

A new version of the Ahab and Moby-Dick (the captain and the whale) meme, now set to music.


JoBroButts, Hills Bros. coffee, and gaybros

March 27, 2017

It starts with this image from a “JoBros” Pinterest board (you post about a Jonas Brother, Pinterest knows where you’ve been and wants to take you back there):


Nick, Kevin, and Joe, but especially Nick

I was going to just post this as a way to start the new week with a modest appreciation of male bodies (I’m unapologetic in these matters), but then I saw two directions for further comment: the Bros in JoBros, and the Jonases’ projections of masculinity (which is what leads to all those Pinterest boards and fan sites celebrating the three men, but especially Nick, who revels in displaying himself). And that will eventually take me to reflections on integrating a masculine identity with a gay one, made poignant by the gaybros movement.


Haley Bonar

March 21, 2017

or: Horses and Cowboys, take 2.

The background, from my posting yesterday on “Save a horse, ride a cowboy”:

Mentions of [the phrase] refer to it as a “saying” or a “familiar saying”, but I haven’t been able to track it back very far. In fact, the trail seems to go back only to a 2004 song. From Wikipedia [on the Big & Rich song] …

Peter Reitan on ADS-L quickly reported:

One year earlier, different singer:

With roots in Manitoba and Rapid City, S. D., [Haley] Bonar – pronounced like “honor” – exudes the bright-eyed charm of a small-town girl, but with hints of big-city cynicism.  On the CD’s opening track, “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” she half-heardedly dreams of a home on the range with horses and 12 kids. (The Star Tribune (Minneapolis), April 25, 2003, page E4)

It is not the same as Big and Rich’s “Hick Hop” rap of the same name.

You can watch it on Youtube here.

Different words, different music, totally different content and tone (it’s a woman’s touching fantasy about love with a wonderful cowboy). (And note that the phrase is in the title, but not in the lyrics themselves, suggesting it was a familiar expression.)