Mozart’s Requiem

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Mozart’s birth house stands over a shopping mall © Southampton Old Lady

I love Mozart to the point that I went with my husband to Salzburg last year to visit his birth house and family house. Everything in Salzburg evolves around Mozart.

Last night, we went to listen to over 150 people performing Mozart’s Requiem at Southampton’s Guildhall – by the Southampton Philharmonic Choir. It is wonderful to listen to such events like this in my city and to be able to support live music.

My husband tells me he would like part of Mozart’s Requiem played at his  funeral – Dies Irae. Most people like the Lacrimosa but my favourite parts are Rex, but mainly Confutatis

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Everything in Salzburg revolves around Mozart

Unfortunately I have no video or images of the Southampton Philharmonic Choir but you can click on this excellent YouTube link.

There is so much written about Mozart and his Requiem that if you are interested you can do an online search. I wish to commend the 1984 American period drama film Amadeus directed by Miloš Forman, adapted by Peter Shaefer from his stage play of the same name, for reviving peoples interest in Mozart.

One Day I’ll Fly Away & John Lewis spoofs

John Lewis ad 2016
John Lewis ad 2016

This year’s John Lewis ad Buster The Boxer features Randy Crawford’s  One Day I’ll Fly Away, which has been given an electronica twist by Vaults. You can view this HERE

Parady by Joe.uk featuring the US Presidential election 2016
Parody by Joe.co.uk featuring the US Presidential election 2016

In Britain everyone looks forward to the best television Christmas commercial. They are usually big-budget, clever, funny and sad, appealing to the whole family, and quite a topic of conversation. In the last 5 years the most popular title has gone to John Lewis department store, with the exception of Sainsbury’s supermarket’s moving WW2 themed ad in 2014.  As well as being stunningly visual, they often feature remixes of popular tunes that can get to the top of the charts.

Many have ‘sent-up’ this year’s commercial already with spoof remakes – one features House of Pain‘s Jump Up, Jump Up, Jump Around in the second half of the Dirty Fox Parody

But as the commercial came out the day after the USA Presidential election, the best spoof of the John Lewis 2016 Christmas ad has got to be this one by Joe.co.uk, featuring, Trump, Clinton and The Obamas! – Click HERE

Mack the Knife – Lotte Lenya & Louis Armstrong

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Lotte Lenya & Louis Armstrong

Further to my previous Kurt Weil,  Music Monday post. I must mention the Beggars’ Opera. Composer Kurt Weill (1900-1950) and playwright Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) transformed the sweet old-fashioned operetta forms of their time into sharp political perspectives with sounds of 1920s Berlin dance bands and cabaret.

The show’s opening number, Macky Messer (Mack the Knife) became one of the top popular songs of the 20th Century. Legendary and popular artists such as Louis Armstrong, Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Liberace, Michael Bublé, Robbie Williams have all done their own rendition of this tune, though only Lotte Lenya, the wife of Weil who it was written for, had the menacing voice that could be appropriate to a song about such a horrible serial killer!

It was known in English as The Threepenny Opera. The British/Hollywood film version does not have Mack the Knife as a song and includes Kenneth Williams in a remarkable straight-acting role. The original was first staged at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin in 1928. It eventually became a great success, playing 400 times in the next two years.

Click HERE to listen to a rare recording of Luis Armstrong and Lotte Lenya singing Mack the Knife in english:

Surabaya Johnny – Dagmar Krause

Lost in the Stars - a tribute to Kurt Weill
Lost in the Stars – a tribute to Kurt Weill

For my Music Monday this week click on: Surabaya Johnny sung by Dagmar Krause.  Krause also performed this on the album Lost in the Stars  a tribute to Kurt Weill.

As a fan of Kurt Weill, this is one of my favourite albums, with contributions from artistes around the world including British ones such as Sting and Marianne Faithful.

This song is from the three-act musical comedy Happy End  by Kurt Weill, Elisabeth Hauptmann and Bertolt Brecht.  The trio wrote this after their success of The Threepenny Opera, which were both performed during the late 1920s, just before the depression at the Theatre am Schiffbauerdamm  in Berlin.

Dagmar Krause a German singer, has a unique voice, which lends itself to the type of tragic ballads sung in Berlin Cabaret.

 

 

El mar (Rafael Alberti)

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Land’s End, Cornwall © Southampton Old Lady

Further to last week’s Music Monday about the sea, I also lived by the sea in Southern Spain and fell in love with the flamenco culture of the region. Here is part of a poem (with an approximate translation) by Rafael Alberti. He is one of my favourite poets who was born by the sea in Puerto de Santa Maria in the province of Cádiz, Spain, but moved with his family in order to live in Madrid,the capital city, when he was fifteen. Here he expresses his saudade or homesickness for the sea.

Click here too for the words sung in flamenco by  Lady Hagua

El mar. La mar.  The sea (m). The sea (f).
El mar. ¡Sólo la mar!    The sea (m). Only the sea!
¿Por qué me trajiste, padre,   Why did you bring me, father,
a la ciudad?   to the town?
¿Por qué me desenterraste   Why did you unearth me
del mar?   from the sea?
En sueños la marejada   In a dream, the swell
me tira del corazón;  is drawing my heart;
se lo quisiera llevar.  It would like to carry me off.
Padre, ¿por qué me trajiste   Father, why did you bring
acá?  me here?

Talent is talent

Teatro Cervantes de Malaga, Spain. Here for Donizetti's opera Elisir D'Amore © Southampton Old Lady
Teatro Cervantes de Malaga, Spain. Here for Donizetti’s opera Elisir D’Amore © Southampton Old Lady

 

Talent is talent whatever form it takes, I often tell people.

I am often met with surprise at my eclectic taste in art and music. How can I like classical artists such as Velasquez and also like Banksy?

How can I go and listen to a Mozart opera then go and listen to Johnny Rotten at a punk rock concert (they want to add “at your age”). In fact it was Public Image Limited (PIL)John Lydon (Rotten’s real name) moved on from punk in the 80s.

I tell them things like: “John Lydon uses his voice like an instrument which is what an opera singer does” (or a beat box singer for that matter) and that Mozart was a punk in his day who happened to be a creative genius.

My friend who is an opera singer is married to a lead singer in a rock band. They sent me this YouTube clip of Cristina Ramos, a contestant in Spain’s Got Talent 2016 who can sing a beautiful aria just well as a heavy rock number. It really is worth watching until the end…

https://youtu.be/yv6jiqVmmSI

Cristina Ramos on Spain's Got Talent 2016
Cristina Ramos on Spain’s Got Talent 2016