Happy Birthday, Richard Wagner

RW

200 years ago today, Richard Wagner was born. As an historical figure, he is undoubtedly controversial. His personal traits and character flaws have been documented extensively and his popularity with the 20th Century’s  darkest regime is perhaps the single best known fact about him, and probably the reason so many people are reluctant to engage fully with his music. But on his birthday, I ask indulgence and a few moments attention to try and demonstrate quite why his music is among the most sublime ever written…

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Will you do the Fandango? Or I bet you never thought you could dance to Harpsichord music…

soler_stamp

Just thought I’d put up a brief post highlighting a favourite piece of music of mine that has been rattling around my head recently; Antonio Soler’s Fandango.

Antonio Soler is regarded as a key figure in Spanish classical music, often regarded as the only composer who worked to keep Spanish cultural traditions alive in music during the 18th Century, when most of the world was in thrall to the sounds emanating from Italy. He was born in Girona (Catalonia) in 1729 and received his musical education at the beautiful  Monastery of Monsterrat before becoming a monk at the Monastry at El Escorial near Madrid. He was a prodigious composer of keyboard music, writing no less than 120 keyboard sonatas – but it is his famous Fandango  that I want to draw attention to.

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There’s always the Sun…

Winter sun through a window in Pamplona (C)lgconnolly

Winter sun through a window in Pamplona (C)lgconnolly

So with all of the excitement in the world of organised religion this week, I found myself pontificating (how apt) about the strangeness of it all. It was prompted specifically by some comment that I read about “primitive religions” worshiping the Sun – and for some reason that really rankled with me… Continue reading

On the Water…

full moonOverWater

I’ve never written a post for The Spill before. Isn’t that shocking? So I thought it was about time I made amends and started chucking the odd thing on over here, as it’s nice to break loose from the RR confines when time permits and do something about what is lighting my fire currently. As I’m still getting used to the vagaries of WordPress, I thought I would just throw something out and use it to work out how to do the techie bits;  so hoping to work those out whilst writing this but hopefully still say something interesting…. Continue reading

It was a bright cold day on the ‘spill, and the clocks were striking 13…

11-12-13-rr-game

My 11 most played albums of ’12 in ’13.

My end of year round up is now turned into the ‘spill game:
you know the score DUMP one (or all of them – see if I care)

It’s pop and it’s fun – don’t take it too seriously.
Remember, they are my most played – I’m not claiming they will change the world – I just liked them.

Band names in BOLD – for those who believe I make stuff up:

1 Stroke My Curls The Dodoz Forever I Can Purr 2012
2 Cuka (feat. Ikonoklasta) Batida Batida (feat. Mck, Circuito Feixado, Ikonoklasta, Beat Laden 2012
3 The Empty Man Whitey Lost Summer 2012
4 Genevieve Stealing Sheep Into The Diamond Sun 2012
5 Horn For The Whole Damn World Lazarus and the Plane Crash Horseplay
6 Passenger Emily Wells Mama 2012
7 Kevlar Sweethearts Diablo Swing Orchestra Pandora’s Pinata 2012
8 Be Strong (Blakkat Remix) The 2 Bears Be Strong (Deluxe Edition) 2012
9 Rat-at-at The Skints Part & Parcel 2012
10 Clap Hooded Fang Tosta Mista 2012
11 Circus Sunday Driver The Mutiny 2012

And now; it’s time for an ‘Intermission’

 

As promised here’s the video I made of Emma Pollock backed by my pals in the 12 piece Electric String Orchestra. The song’s called “Intermission” (maybe) and during the soundcheck me & the camera guys were trying to google the lyrics because it sounded so mighty and familiar, but we couldn’t put our finger on the song. Turns out it was an original, hence the lack of googlable lyrics, which makes this kind of an instant classic really. Like a James Bond theme for the best Bond film that never got made, I think.

Strings Attached

My friends in The Electric String Orchestra put on a big show in Glasgow a few months back, which I was lucky enough to catch on camera. They do rock n roll & popular covers with a 12 piece orchestra (Bowie, Muse, Lady GaGa, GnR, King Creosote etc) and have guest singers also (Emma Pollock, Twilight Sad still to come, I will post when they’re ready!).

This clip is of fine Highlands folk singer Rachel Sermanni performing one of her songs, Rachel has gone down well on The ‘Spill previously, so I thought you may like to see this.

And after the jump, Britney Spears gets tackled.  Continue reading