Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Power, Pathos, and Poetry

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

One of several events connected to the stunning collection of ancient Greek bronzes on exhibit through March 20th (three more weeks to get yourself down there!) at the National Gallery of Art.

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Mesmerized by Music/Mahler’s Third Symphony

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

I am sorry about two things: first, that Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter is a mere tiny purple splotch in this sketch; and second, that I didn’t know until too late that she also would be singing—among other things—Simon and Garfunkel later in November at the Library of Congress.

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Vox Vesunna

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

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Christmastide

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

A December tradition in our family is the Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton Consort Celtic Christmas concert at Dumbarton Church in Georgetown, where our Christmas season is annually launched by beautiful music for lute, harp, flute and drum, accompanied by Robert Aubry Davis’ readings. This ballad is a favorite. Merry Christmas, everyone. May joy, love and peace fill us all and “drive the cold winter away” from our hearts.

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When Christmastide
Comes in like a Bride,
with Holly and Ivy clad:
Twelve dayes in the yeare,
Much mirth and good cheare,
in every houshold is had:
The Countrey guise,
Is then to devise,
some gambole of Christmas play:
Whereas the yong men,
Do best that they can,
to drive the cold winter away.

When white-bearded Frost,
Hath threatned his worst,
and fallen from Branch & Bryer:
Then time away cals,
From Husbandry Hals,
& from the good Countrymans fire:
Together to go,
To Plow and to sow,
to get us both food and array:
And thus with content,
The time we have spent,
to drive the cold winter away.

—English Ballad, 1625

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Rise Up, O Flame

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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As we move into the darkest season, looking increasingly inward and reflecting on the year nearly past, and on our losses and our shortcomings, we encourage and inspire ourselves and each other with a multitude of festivals of light: Michaelmas, Dia de los Muertos, Diwali, Chanukah, Christmas. On November 11th we celebrate simultaneously Martinmas, the feast of kindly St. Martin of Tours, and Veterans Day, each with its acknowledgement of sadness, courage, and hope.

In our family, we follow a tradition begun when our children were tiny Waldorf kindergarteners, and we have a lantern walk at nightfall. Despite my [now very big] children’s inevitable complaints and eyerolling, we’ll all do the last dog-walk together, carrying our homemade paper lanterns and singing. Someday they’ll thank me…

In case you also would like to go singing through the darkness, here is one of the songs, a lovely round by Praetorius.

 

 RiseUpOFlame

Opera Night

Monday, May 6th, 2013

We were fortunate enough to have been invited last night by a fellow parent (ah, the perks of fellow-parent-hood!) for a delicious Indian dinner and an evening of music beautifully presented by soprano Nakia Verner and tenor Dan Noone. A full opera production on a huge stage is magnificent, but there is something indescribably moving about an aria sung in an intimate space.

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My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Today, on the birthday of Robert Burns (1759-1796), I post the words of his beautiful and heart-tugging verse, as well as this painting (created long ago for the cover of a CD by musicians Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton), because a romantic rugged landscape with a castle and a red, red rose—albeit a Lancaster Rose—says “Robert Burns” to me.

If you have your hankie ready, you can listen to it sung by Scottish singer Andy Stewart.

For another Robert Burns verse and a sketch, please see Call the Ewes to the Hills; for a mini-bio and a comic, please see Move Yer Hurdies. And pour yourself a wee dram o’ whisky.

Shamrock&Rose

O, my luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O, my luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun!
O I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

—Robert Burns

Come Live With Me and Be My Love

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

SylvanCourt

Although the imagery isn’t exactly appropriate for the weather, I post this verse and accompanying painting in honor of the baptismal date (his actual birthdate is unknown) of Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), poet, playwright, freethinker, and influential contemporary of Shakespeare. Anyway, March is just around the corner, so pretty lambs and melodious birds cannot be far off.

The combination of Marlowe’s successful career, yawning gaps in the biographical record, and early mysterious death in a tavern brawl have led to much speculation about his love life, religious views, and supposed alternate career as a government spy. I can’t think why his story hasn’t yet been made into a swashbuckling PBS mini-series.

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of th purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

—Christopher Marlowe

The painting above was created for the cover of a CD, The Sylvan Court.

Call the Ewes to the Hills

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

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Today is the birthday of poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), and if you are a lover of his poetry perhaps you may be inspired to host a Burns Supper tonight. You will have to make your own haggis from scratch, however (good luck with that), because apparently the importation of haggis to the United States remains forbidden, as are all food products made with lungs. (Mystifyingly, Spam, although of questionable provenance, can be purchased without a special license and is consumed in this country at the rate of 3.8 cans per second.) Along with sampling haggis, you may toast the poet and each other with whiskey, and when sufficiently inspired recite some of your favorite Burns poems.

In honor of Burns’ birthday I post a song (with a helpful glossary at the end) which I have sung many a time to my children as they drifted off to sleep. (You can listen to a far lovelier rendition by singer Anne Lewis here.) The sketch is actually from my Ireland sketchbook (gasp! don’t tell anyone), but the image seemed appropriate. For another Burns sketch, please see Move Yer Hurdies.

Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where the heather grows,
Ca’ them where the burnie rows,
My bonnie dearie.

Hark! the mavis’ evening sang
Sounding Clouden’s woods amang,
Then a-faulding let us gang,
My bonnie dearie.

We’ll gae down by Clouden side,
Through the hazels spreading wide,
O’er the waves that sweetly glide
To the moon sae clearly.

Yonder Clouden’s silent towers,
Where at moonshine midnight hours
O’er the dewy bending flowers
Fairies dance sae cheery.

Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear;
Thou’rt to Love and Heaven sae dear,
Nocht of ill may come thee near,
My bonnie dearie.

Fair and lovely as thou art,
Thou hast stown my very heart;
I can die–but canna part,
My bonnie dearie.

While waters wimple to the sea;
While day blinks in the lift sae hie;
Till clay-cauld death shall blin’ my e’e,
Ye shall be my dearie.

—Robert Burns

A-faulding: Sheep-gathering
Burnie: Small brook
Gang: Go
Knowes: Hills
Mavis: Thrush
Rows: Rolls
Yowes: Ewes

Imagine

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

RoseSunrise

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

—John Lennon

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