Friday, October 26, 2012

Music Video Round-Up for last wk of Oct--5 from France

During the early 1990s, people in the American music industry made fun of French music when the French government passed a law that French radio stations needed to devote airwaves to French music.  Then world music came along, and we learned that France had more to offer than sappy pop music, and the strains of Edith Piaf.

In fact, if you pick up French music compilations by Putumayo or Rough Guides for music, you'll find a banquet of French music ranging from world to jazz, to klezmer, and avante garde.  And let's not forget the world of classical music.  After all, two of my favorite composers, Debussy and Ravel hail from France.  And on some days, I need to hear Piaf belt out a Parisian chanson or listen to Django's French swing.

Let's start out with the eclectic Lo'Jo from Angers, France.  This video is several years old, but I like the song.

1.  Lo'Jo,

2. Christoph Rousset, baroque harpsichord,

3. The French actress Sandrine Kiberlain following a French pop tradition

4. Paroplapi, traditional music of Provence,

5. Edith Piaf, a French classic,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Practice--Frequency Muse (find yours)

 Muse Frequencies

Musicians talk about getting into the flow or about channeling music.  Some musicians such as Mary Youngblood in an interview I once did with her saw herself as a vessel of the Divine or God.  She mentioned her two-word prayer, “use me.” Then she would pick up her flute to record or perform live.  The Canadian virtuoso pianist Glenn Gould cited in biographical books and movies, which he had to transcend through the music in order to survive a performance on a badly tuned piano.

This brings up a good point and that musicians often need to contend with drafts, overheated venues, noise from audience members, problems with an instrument (I had my guitar pickup die on me once while I was giving a performance in London) and some musicians have to deal with awful sound engineers, bad microphones and the list goes on.

Fortunately, we have muses who come along to keep us inspired and to open doors for Divine energy to flow through allowing musicians to bond to the music and their listeners.  Musicians play the role of the middle person--the go-between the music and the audience.  Often musicians from all genres resemble psychic mediums as their bodies shudder, tremble and their faces contort into ecstatic expressions as if they’re in the throes of passionate sex.  And in a way they are, but instead of making love directly with another human, they make love through their instruments and Divine frequencies in some cases.

Children seem more attune with the higher frequencies.  Have you ever watched children around different types of rhythms and melodies? The children react to the raw power of music by dancing without inhibitions or they sing along, not caring if they can carry a tune.  Some adult musicians, such as Gould, who seemed like a child in the body of a man, also responded to music from music’s purist frequencies.  Movies about virtuoso musicians also give us the impression that musicians exist in another realm, and in a way they do.  Musicians tune into frequencies more easily than people who don’t pursue their creativity.  You cannot delight in the wonders of the world if you’re stuck in a pragmatic mindset.

However, even non-musicians can purposely tune into the higher frequencies while listening to music.  This takes practice through meditation to unclog the body’s channels.  And we must also practice the art of listening to music.  That means when we place that CD in the player or we plug into whatever music device, we must actively listen to the music and completely lose ourselves in the rhythms, melodies, instruments, and soon we also feel the energy of the musicians who perform the music.  I’ve never in my life not been able to do this and many times I have fallen under the spell of music.

When you see musicians such as Gould conducting to the music he hears, you can bet he’s absorbing musical vibrations deeply into every cell in his body.  While we can’t observe any footage of Bach or Mozart doing the same, we can watch interpreters of this music channel the music as if it is their own.  Take an online trip to YouTube and watch virtuoso performers playing any works by your favorite composers.  Write down notes of your observations. Watch different types of musicians from vocalists to pianist and cellist.  Do you find any common denominators? Do you feel embarrassed watching what seems like private sensual moments between the musicians and music? If that’s the case then you must let go of your own inhibitions where music is concerned.

In order to fully absorb musical frequencies and lift your vibration to a healthier level, you must form a new relationship with your muse.  That’s right we all have a muse.  And this muse allows us to embrace our inner and outer child and still take care of our adult needs.  After all, we can’t fulfill our creative potential when we stay stuck in the adult survival mode.  And oddly, when we realize that the adult survival mode is just fear posing as practicality and creating a block, we slip out of that mode and the abundance comes flowing our way.  This happens because we have become co-creator, and even the poorest musicians understand this.  The wonderful thing about music is that if you find the music you love, most likely if it comes from a higher frequency, it will love you back.  And maybe this is why so many people find music healing in their lives.

Try it.
Here are 3 examples of musicians with their muses
1. Corsican singers A Filetta,
2. Queen of the Night Aria, Mozart's Magic Flute (takes a lot out of a singer)

Monday, October 22, 2012

In review--Easter in October

Stile Antico
Passion and Resurrection
Harmonia Mundi

Stile Antico represents young English vocalists who specialize in renaissance church composers and these vocalists do this quite well.  Every vocalist in the choir possesses an exquisite voice, from hearty altos, to clear-razor sharp sopranos, intense basses and baritones to tenors that rival the famous Irish tenors.  The choir mostly performs the works of English renaissance composers, and similar to another favorite of mine, The Tudor Choir (Seattle), Stile Antico perform the works of Thomas Tallis, whose O Sacrum Convivium appears as track 3.  Those of you familiar with renaissance church composers will recognize John Taverner, William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons also of England. 

Rounding off the composers, the vocalists brought in works by three Spanish composers and three Flemish composers with pan-continental styles.  One modern chant by John McCabe (his first recording) is set to the same poem, Woefully Arrayed, as William Cornysh’s chant that opens the recording.  However, you can hear how history has transformed music, even polyphonic chants. I prefer the early music version and find McCabe's modern setting too dissonant for my tastes, even if the vocal performance is immaculate.

The program features polyphonic chants that chronicle Holy Week and Easter.  And I cannot tell you why this recording has been released at the other end of the year.  Do thoughts of hardship and redemption helps us to focus on the fall and winter days ahead?  Do these works, often with feelings of melancholy contrasting with elation help us to find hope in a chaotic world or give us hope?  Do I save this recording to listen to next spring? Perhaps, it feels like a gift I prefer to enjoy now, which I think most listeners of this stunning CD will agree.  After all, we have already grown accustom to listening to Handel’s Messiah during the Christmas holiday season, when in fact, Handel composed it for Holy Week and Easter.  So why not do the same with this program?

I’m now faced with a daunting task.  How do I choose a few tracks to describe? One favorite chant William Byrd’s In Resurrectione Tua that for me, echoes the counterpoint of John Dowland’s lute songs.  Here we have a strong and identifiable melodies sung with a joyful bounce.  Orlando Gibbons’ I am the Resurrection and the Life starts out with warm altos and tenors then the sopranos add their stratospheric vocals.  The chant reassures listeners with a sense of nobility and it ends on a harmonious and settled chord.  John Taverner’s magnificent Dum Transisset is the crowning glory of the recording.

With so much ethereal beauty presented on this recording, waiting until next spring to enjoy it, reminds me that we only have this moment.  Enjoy this recording any time, but don’t wait too long.