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Friday, November 7, 2014

Top 7 for the time since I last did one of these posts

A Better Tomorrow + I Say a Little Prayer by Ground Zero

from Ground Zero Plays Standards

An epic blowout medley of the theme from a John Woo / Chow Yun-fat movie, and Roland Kirk's arrangement of the Bacharach and David number (with a quick Chopin quote for good measure). I'm not at all familiar with this group outside of this record, which is sort of a Naked City or Oranj Symphonette type idea (minus the hardcore screaming). The minute-and-a-half of record noise at the end gives you a soothing chance to wind down.

My Brightest Diamond at The Sinclair in Cambridge MA, September 22nd

Shara Worden is one of my favorite voices in pop music today and a fantastically creative all-around musician. This show did not disappoint. She was even loose and funny (my one reservation about her is that she can be kind of pretentious and theatrical and maybe a little precious in a Kate Bush kind of way). But her music grabs me in a way that Bush's does not (or not enough). All in all a great show (but, everyone, let's keep "Fever" on the shelf for a while, okay)

 Saare piiga laul merest (Island Maiden's Song from the Sea) by Lepo Sumera

as performed by Tonu Kaljuste conducting the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallin Chamber Orchestra

It's tempting to label this "indescribable" and just move on, but that's a cop-out.

It's the sordid tragic story of said maiden, taken from the Estonian epic poem Kalevipoeg told using an impossibly broad range of vocalizations, from angelic choral singing, to groups of persons laughing maniacally, to what sounds like excerpts of dialogue from Jabba the Hut.

It's a unique piece a music from a vastly creative composer who live too short a life, performed by one of the greatest choirs in the world.

Fifty Cahoots by Stuart Dybek

Fifty stories in 192 pages. With an average of 4 pages per story, some just a few sentences, some which take on an epic quality at twelve pages, this collection is a macrocosm of Dybek's stories themselves, moving from idea to idea, plot point to plot point, the way a walk down the same city street takes you from brownstone townhouses to Chinatown to the financial district.

Orfeo ed Euridice by Christoph Willibald Gluck

as performed by René Jacobs conducting the RIAS Kammerchor and the Freiburger Barockorchester

A deep and lucid orchestral sound and a gorgeous performance from Bernarda Fink as Orfeo. Reissued at a 2-for-1 price, a first choice for this opera.

The Crowd, dir. by King Vidor

at the Somerville Theater, October  5, with Jeff Rapsis providing live music.

An ode to that unique brand of optimism that exists in America, this is maybe the last great silent film (from 1928). An ambitious young man dedicates himself to scaling the corporate ladder, until he realizes that true happiness lies elsewhere. A visually engaging film even by today's standards, even with a second-rate print, and its most celebrated shot missing (image how it must have seemed 85 years ago).

The next offering in the Silents Please series, on November 16th, is an early film of Frank Capra's called The Strongman, looks quite interesting.

Cheyenne Autumn, dir. by John Ford

Ford's last western is a grand, yet sad, telling of the Cheyenne's migration north in the 1870's after a series of treaties were broken by the US government.

and features Edward G. Robinson as the namesake of my favorite New York City Park

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