Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Virtual Aaron Copland Concert

After I read the dead tree version of William Robin's April 12, 2016 "New York Times" article "Asking Whether Copland’s Abstruse Works are the Exception or the Rule," I wanted to hear the musical pieces referenced. In counterpoint to Ms. Baum's lament:

I found it convenient that the online version hyperlinks most of the pieces referenced in  the article. I decided to create my own virtual concert and chose to embed different artist versions from ubiquitous youtube selections.

"When Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic visited 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert' last month, it was only natural that they performed Aaron Copland’s 'Fanfare for the Common Man'” (1942)'"

Fanfare for the Common Man, New York Philharmonic, James Levine standard orchestral version:

Emerson, Lake and Palmer aka ELP electronic version:

"But when Copland’s music graced a CBS broadcast a half-century ago, it was in an entirely different idiom. For the 1962 televised gala celebrating the opening of the Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center — now David Geffen Hall — the composer provided his first 12-tone piece for orchestra, the snarling and cacophonous 'Connotations.'"

Copland: Connotations For Orchestra : Intenso - Drammatico · New York Philharmonic Orchestra · Leonard Bernstein

"At intermission, the first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, approached him. Stunned, she simply said: 'Oh, Mr. Copland. Oh, Mr. Copland.' A nationwide audience of millions watched the broadcast, and both the orchestra and the network were subsequently inundated with letters from viewers outraged by this densely avant-garde music."

I'm afraid I share the outraged viewers Philistinism at Copland's avant-garde-ism.

"The question will be raised once more on Wednesday, when Michael Tilson Thomas leads the San Francisco Symphony at Carnegie Hall in a triptych of Copland’s thornier works: the Piano Concerto (1926)"

Aaron Copland: "Piano Concerto" Bennett Lerner, pianist Zubin Mehta, conductor New York Philharmonic

Aaron Copland: the Orchestral Variations (1957) Michael Tilson Thomas San Francisco Symphony:

an arrangement of the Copland’s 1930 Piano Variations Boston Symphony Chamber Players

the serial “Inscape” (1967), Copland’s last major piece - The American Symphony Orchestra diretta da Leon Botstein

I agree with Stephen Jablonsky youtube comment:

"A much more user-friendly piece than 'Connotations'. It uses the modern idioms in very Coplandesque ways. For me it is as if 'Billy the Kid' were translated into another language. The sadness and the longing is still there but the landscape has changed and we find ourselves in an alien land."

Going off a tangent from the "New York Times" article in case you want to comapre and contrast "Connotations" with "Billy the Kid" "Listening Guide: Copland's Billy the Kid" Philharmonia Orchestra (London, UK)

Copland: Billy the Kid - Ballet Suite Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra

Back to 'Inscape', from Barry Gurley youtube comment:

"I love how Copland's lyricism comes through no matter what idiom he employs. Even in the 12-tone style, you hear is essential personality-traits: declamation, tenderness and a pared-down simplicity. Beautiful."
The "New York Times" also discusses Copland's shift to the 12-tone system:

"Copland first began exploring 12-tone writing in 1950, in the shadow of Cold War paranoia and after the New Deal-era Americana of his score for 'Billy the Kid,' like the New Deal itself, had fallen out of favor. Never mind that music in that vein is now a shorthand for a patriotism as blameless as a bald eagle and has been paraphrased for campaign ads for Ronald Reagan and Rick Perry (incongruous, given Copland’s political proclivities)."

In case you wondered what is the 12 tone system, I don't really know. My guess was that it was a shift from standard major and minor scales that encompassed 7 tones of "The Sound of Music" 'Do-Re-Mi" fame:

Hence, the simplest example, playing C Major on the keyboard, just requires playing all the ivory keys from C (Do/Doe) to B (Ti/Tea) = 7

I then figured 12 tones would entail playing all the ivory keys (7) plus + all the sharp/flat ebony keys (5) = 12 tones, but not certain how this Common Core math translates musically, except as an homage to Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney 1980s collaboration:

The Encyclopedia Britannica article just made me more confused:

The new unifying principle in composition would then arise from the particular order given to a collection of the 12 tones, an order that would be different for each composition. The basic order for any one composition came to be known as its basic set, its 12-tone row, or its 12-tone series, all of which terms are synonymous. The basic set for Schoenberg’s Wind Quintet (1924) is E♭–G–A–B–C♯–C–B♭–D–E–F♯–A♭–F; for his String Quartet No. 4 (1936) it is D–C♯–A–B♭–F–E♭–E–C–A♭–G–F♯–B.

The basic set is not a theme, for it has no specific shape, rhythm, or loudness. It is a backbone, a musical idea that permeates the composition in which it is used. Because of the various principles of composing and manipulating the basic set recognized by Schoenberg and others, it is not often possible nor even desirable to hear the basic set when the composition is performed. This situation has led many people to attack Schoenberg’s method as unmusical and as mathematical madness. Such views seem unjustifiable, because, as Schoenberg pointed out, his method specifies only a tiny fraction of the total nature of a composition—certainly no more than composing with tonality specifies.

As far as I can tell, Copland's new musical style is being equated to abstract modern painting to avoid anti-Communist censors:

"Copland’s history as a leftist intellectual — in the heady years of the 1930s, he once wrote a song titled 'Into the Streets May First'"

 — brought him to Senator McCarthy’s attention. In 1953 a performance of his 'Lincoln Portrait,' in honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inauguration, was canceled when a congressman declared it Communist propaganda. 
Leonard Bernstein conducts the National Symphony (Washington, D.C.) in a concert celebrating Aaron Copland's 80th birthday (1980) featuring Copland's "Lincoln Portrait", with Copland as the narrator.

Soon afterward, Copland was summoned to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. The fraught political climate may have pushed him toward an abstract language distant from one marked by populist (and potentially Communist) sentiment.

Simultaneously, Modernism was on the rise. Copland was not one to fall behind the musical curve, and in 1949 he visited Paris to witness the radical avant-gardism of the youthful Mr. Boulez firsthand.  At a party, Mr. Boulez played his fiery, atomized Second Sonata; Copland responded by performing the severe Piano Variations, then two decades old, as if to declare that he had done that kind of thing first.

"The San Francisco Symphony concert juxtaposes Copland’s early and late experiments with Modernism. In this presentation, the sound that made Copland famous — the open-prairie simplicity of 'Billy the Kid' and 'Appalachian Spring' — might represent a blip in the composer’s artistic development. 'You could look at the music for which he is best known as an interlude in the middle,' Mr. Thomas said."
Appalachian Spring, Orchestral Suite, written in 1944-1945 Composer: Aaron Copland - Orchestra: Ulster Orchestra - Conductor: Thierry Fischer

Sunday, February 21, 2016

David Barton vs #GlobalWarmingAlarmism

Clip from TBN "Foundations of Freedom" with David Barton, "The Bible and Science" program


Rick Green: I thought this debate [on global warming] was over?

David Barton: Oh yeah, that's right, we're told the debate's over. This is an area I've been actually called to testify at the U.S. Senate on global warming issues.  And so let's just deal with global warming for a bit. I've got some charts and we'll just use here.  Here's a global warming chart that goes back to 1880. And so this is what concerns everyone right here, is there is a rise in temperature.

Rick Green: It's a good looking chart. It looks like it's going up fast and not slowing down.

David Barton: It's a scary looking chart, man.  And so what do we do? Well, what [global warming alarmists] believe science tells us is that the  problem we have here is that this is commensurate with an increase in carbon dioxide.  As carbon dioxide goes up, then the temperatures have gone up. That's why we've got to get fossil fuels under control, that's why we've got to do all the solar stuff, all the wind stuff because it's the fossil fuels that are gonna fry us on this earth. Alright now, here's the next chart and here's what we saw with the temperatures, right? Here is carbon dioxide emissions going up  right here. You see them rising here.

Rick Green: In the green

David Barton: And so the green is going up and generally the temperatures, but see there's a problem here for a science guy.  A science guy will look at it and say, well no, wait a minute, [the temperature numbers] were falling here and they were falling here, why didn't carbon dioxide go down there?  If we're saying that carbon dioxide is what's creating the temperatures

Rick Green:  If [carbon dioxide levels] the cause for the effect [of rising temperatures], then why did the effect change and the cause didn't?

David Barton: That's right.  

Rick Green: Yeah

David Barton: Well that's where guys like Dr. Willie Soon at Harvard and guys from MIT have said, well, what if it's not carbon dioxide? What if it's something else? What if it's something like solar flares, because when there's a solar flare on the sun you've now moved the sun about a million miles closer to earth and that's a whole lot of burning temperature that's suddenly a lot closer.  So when those solar flares go out, they go, you know, forever.  And they go really much closer to earth proportionally, and so Willie Soon and others said, well why don't we chart the solar flares and see what that does with temperatures? Well here is that chart.  Now you see, the blue is the temperatures on earth, but the red is the occurrence of solar flares. It looks to me like the temperatures on earth are pretty much matching what's happening on the sun.  

Rick Green: The cause and effect are staying together, yeah.

David Barton:  I don't think...

Rick Green:  But that doesn't meet the [leftist] agenda so. We're not hearing much about that.  It might be the scientific and the truth but..

David Barton:  And you know there's not just a whole lot that the Congress is going to be able to do to pass a law to control the sun.  

Rick Green: Right.

David Barton:   They can pass a law control our lives, to control what we drive, but they can't control the sun.  


David Barton: And then the other thing that's kind of interesting is let's go back to charts lie, oh I don't know,  let's take this chart.  We're looking at this chart.  You see here the dates across here are from 1880 and we're up, it shows 2000 but the chart doesn't reach 2000.

Rick Green:  Yeah, there's a gap between

David Barton:  But now we're a long way past 2000.  You know, we're a long way past but how come they stopped the chart back here in 1997?  Because we've got lots more years we could be.  But the chart stops in '97.  Well that's where this next chart is of interest.

David Barton:  This is what's happened to temperatures since 1997.  They were going up, now they've flattened off.  Now this line through here, this is increase in carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide's still going up, but the temperatures aren't.  But we can't talk about the earth cooling off.  We've got global warming.

Rick Green:  Well of course we can't because this is what we've been teaching in schools for thirty years.

David Barton:  That's right.

Rick Green:  I mean this is the mantra is that increase in carbon dioxide is the cause and yet you're showing me the cause still going up exactly the same and the temperatures going down.

David Barton:  And since 1997 the temperature...

Rick Green:  It takes away the agenda.

David Barton:  And if you're after truth, is it Christians that are anti-science?

Rick Green: Yeah...

David Barton:  They're pro-truth.  They'll go where truth leads.  

Scientist, Willie Soon, cited in above program is, of course, being smeared by leftist ideologues:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Judy Garland, Steve Allen, Mel Tormé American Songbook Medley

"The Judy Garland Show" included a wittily arranged and executed trio with three performers, each singing a separate medley of tunes, artfully interwoven and braided together @3:45:

A highly motivated youtuber by the moniker TheManThatGetsAway already reversed engineered the song titles for each singer's medley. The closed captioning keyboard exploded in places, so I transcribed the tidbits of lyrics from each song as bet as I could make out:

Ain't Misbehavin' (Judy) /
 With lyrics by Andy Razaf and score by Thomas "Fats" Waller and Harry Brooks

"No one to talk with
All by myself
No one to walk with
But I'm happy on the shelf
Ain't misbehavin'
I'm savin' my love for you"

Sung by Sarah Vaughan:

Makin' Whoopee  (Mel)/
Gus Kahn

"Another bride, another June
Another sunny honeymoon
Another season, another reason
For makin' whoopee"

Sung by Ella Fitzgerald

The Glory Of Love (Steve) / 
Billy Hill

"You've got to laugh a little, cry a little
Before the clouds roll by a little
That's the story of, that's the glory of love"

Sung by Dean Martin:

Way Back Home (Judy) /

Al Lewis and Tom Waring

"The trees are the sappiest
The days are the nappiest
The dogs are the yappiest
The kids are the scrappiest
The jokes the snappiest
The folks the happiest
Way back home"

Sung by Bob Crosby:

Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (Mel) /
Harry Barris

"Your castles may tumble
That's fate after all
Life's really funny that way
No use to grumble
Just smile as they fall
Weren't you King for a day"

Sung by Bing Crosby:

You Took Advantage Of Me (Steve) /
Lorenz Hart

"I'm so hot and bothered that I don't know
My elbow from my ear.
I suffer something awful each time you go
And much worse when you're near."

Sung by Rosemary Clooney:

Mean To Me (Judy) /
Ahlert, Fred E./ Turk, Roy

"It must be great fun to be mean to me
You shouldn't, for can't you see
What you mean to me"

Sung by Billie Holiday:

The Girl Friend (Steve, Mel) / 
Rodgers and Hart

"Isn't she cute?
Isn't she sweet?
An eyeful you'd die full
Of pleasure to meet.
In my funny fashion
I'm cursed with a passion
For the girl friend!"

Sung by George Olsen:

Tip Toe Through The Tulips (Judy) /
Joe Burke

"Tiptoe through the window
By the window, that is where I'll be
Come tiptoe through the tulips with me"

Tiny Tim w/his ukulele ruined this song for ever and all time:

 Truckin' (Mel) /
Rube Bloom; Ted Koehler

No, Mel Torme did NOT sing the psychedelic Grateful Dead version:

"We had to get something new
A dance'll do up here in Harlem.
So someone started truckin'"

Sung by Ivie Anderson:

Gypsy In My Soul (Steve) /
Clay Boland and Moe Jaffe

"I've  got  to  give  vent  to  my  emotions
Cause I'm  only  content having  my  way"

Sung by Doris Day:

Nice Work If You Can Get It (Judy) / 
George Gershwin

"Just imagine someone
Waiting at the cottage door
Where two hearts become one
Who could ask for anything more?"

Sung by Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee

The Glory Of Love (Steve) /
Billy Hill

"That's the story of, that’s the glory of,
That's the story of, that’s the glory of,
That's the story of,
That's the glory of love"

My Heart Stood Still (Judy) / 
Rodgers and Hart

"I took one look at you
that's all I meant to do 
and then my heart stood still! "

Sung by the Mamas and the Papas:

Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love) (Judy, Steve, Mel)/
Cole Porter

"Some Argentines without means do it
People say in Boston even beans do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love"

Sung by Louis Armstrong:

And in case the above Judy Garland Show video link breaks, here's a cludgy recording:


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kasich on #CommonCore

Most voters support 1990s fiscal conservative Rep Kasich vs current RINO Gov Kasich

John Kasich explains his support for Common Core in a October 5, 2014 interview during his reelection campaign for Ohio governor:

Kasich: 41%, by the way, of Ohio students who enter college are taking some sort of remedial education which shows that we need to beef it up K-12. Those higher standards have to be met by a curriculum that local school boards write.  We're [Ohio state government] not writing what they should teach, and the federal government, or Barack Obama  is not writing what they should teach, contrary to what some people think. It is decided by local school boards with advice from parents who live in the school district. Ah, if it was anything other than that, I wouldn't support it.  But I do support higher standards, and I support local control. And there's a test that is going to take a look at how kids are doing. We have delayed the impact of that test for year [conveniently, until after Gov Kasich's reelection bid]. If the test appears to be, you know, out of line, goofy, or whatever, we'll just get rid of the test, but we're not getting rid of higher standards.

Interviewer: Common Core. So you're, as it stands right now, you're supporting? 

Kasich: Again, for higher standards. That's what it is, a buzz word. I just want people to understand what it is.  If you support higher standards, and local school boards, and local communities devising them, then, I'm for that--if that's what common core represents, great!   The other thing that is really important is that we reiterated this, in our last budget, and we now have parental advisers who can advise those school boards to make sure that curriculum -oh, and by the way it only covers English and math. It is, we're not going into history or any of these other things with the common core.

It seems Gov Kasich is taking Gov Huckabee's advice: once voters find out about common core, change it's name to protect the guilty.  From DR. SUSAN BERRY 1 Feb 2014 Breitbart article "Mike Huckabee to Common Core Creators: Rebrand, Don't Retreat"  

"According to The Washington Post, at a recent meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the organizations that created the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Huckabee urged state education officials to get rid of the “Common Core” name because it has become “toxic.”
As the Post indicates, however, Huckabee still intends to support the standards.
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” Huckabee reportedly told CCSSO members."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Joy to the World

My boss, the drummer, forced me to put an impromptu jazz band together for our squadron Christmas party back in the day:

The One Hit Wonders: The Hypergolic HipCats
Where are they now? The Hypergolic Hip Cats performing their hit "Joy to the World" in 1994. 

When in doubt, just add 8-12 measures of a drum solo to your arrangement and voila!

In case you couldn't tell, this arrangement was loosely inspired by Boots Randolph's from his "Christmas at Boot's Place" album:

Admittedly, the only similarity between the two versions is that they are both swing jazz adaptations of the same song.

After the musical interlude, everyone in attendance was provided standard issue Christmas ordinance devices:

In case  you don't know what a Christmas cracker is, here are the Teletubbies to explain:

If you are still confused, the staff of "Are You Being Served" illustrate, with a few double entendres, @20:25 how you're supposed to celebrate a proper, or in their case, a somewhat rude and improper, British Christmas:

And if this motivates to make your own Christmas crackers, Tesco uploaded a helpful how to video:

So, in the spirit of Ye Olde English Christmas .... Feliz Navidad!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wonder what Santa gave Margaret Thatcher for Christmas

In my continuing saga to fight my hoarding instincts, I emptied out some more cardboard boxes this year and ran across an old audio tape from my high school days recording 92 Rock Harrisburg, Pennsylvania [which I think has changed its format since I was in high school - it was more Top 40 vs hard rock] Christmas Eve broadcast that tracked Santa's whereabouts. The DJ informed his listeners that old Saint Nick visited Margaret Thatcher:


"92 rock Well, we didn't really lose Santa Claus there, actually, uh, somebody unplugged my computer, uh, we’ll get that person though.   Santa Claus was last reported flying over Wales. He was in Scotland a few minutes ago, a matter of fact, he stopped & talked to all the guys in Big Country & was in London about 10 minutes ago, as a matter of fact, he stopped in to say ‘hello’ to Margaret Thatcher. Can you believe that? What a nice guy Santa Claus is. Now his next destination is supposedly somewhere in France. See he kind of went over the Northern part of Europe and he has got to go back down just to hit France and into Spain and into Italy & so on & start his trek to North America.  We’ll tell you little bit more about that in the next report in about a half hour."

The flags with Christmas multilingual greeting didn't come out clearly in the above video:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#LNYHBT during Battle of Arnhem in WWII

I was watching a World War II documentary about the ill fated Operation Market Garden - Battle of Arnhem "Theirs Is the Glory" which was filmed with actual military veterans after the war was over:


The British government shows scenes of airborne rangers preparing for battle. One scene depicts a chapel service where the chaplain quotes one of Sean Hannity's favorite Bible verses "let not your heart be troubled" where you can even buy t-shirts with his "slogan" emblazoned on them:

But Erick Erickson in his rather heart wrenching April 18th, 2013 "Red State" article "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled" reminds people of the verse's original context:

"Let not your heart be troubled is not just something Sean Hannity came up with on his radio show. It is not just some trite expression people use to superficially aid and comfort others. It is a phrase spoken by Jesus Christ found in the first verse of John 14. 'Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.'"


This Bible verse has been adapted many times into song. Albertina Walker singing gospel version "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled":

Operation Market Garden was the subject of the film "A Bridge Too Far" with a march theme of an upbeat melody punctuated by discordant counterpoint:

Along the lines of the law of unintended consequences, and something I never considered until reading the answer to a FAQ of "What Happened Afterwards?" on imdb, of all places:

"Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the failure of Market Garden was that the delay allowed the Soviet Union to occupy Eastern Europe rather than the Western Allies, which lead to the Cold War."

However, it's nice to have the presence of mind to remember that even if one doesn't win every battle, you can win the war if you keep your chin up and remember John 14:27 "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

Saturday, December 5, 2015

USA Media acts like Lucy Liu 's lying cheating #Chicago boyfriend

Insane USA media who seemingly can't find a motive for ISIS shooting in San Bernardino, California:

act like pompous boyfriend of Lucy Liu character in Chicago


"What an amazing illustration of where this country is just watching the news media since last night following this event.  Folks, there's so many things here that are just rock solid simple that are being made complicated, obfuscated. It's absurd and it is obscene to watch the efforts of the left cover this up.  It's as though they think they did it.  I'm talking about the Democrats that are talking about this, the media that is talking about this, trying to pin blame on people that had nothing to do with it.  It is almost as though the people on the left in this country feel guilty and are trying to transfer that guilt in order to protect their political agenda."