Monday, May 04, 2009

More of spring.

This really is the last one before we go away, in a quick bit of time snatched between a trip to the launderette to make Molly's bedding presentable for the very chic looking B&B we'll be staying at in Chartres, and a trip to the dentist for a check-up for me and an appraisal of a broken crown for Tom, then I'll be packing. The early May drive across some part of France has been a part of our life almost every year we've been married, even before we lived here; I look forward to it so much.

The first thing is a spring melodies meme, passed on from Jonathan, who hovers in virtual space between Paris and Norway, to name seven favourite musical things to be listening to in this season. This was actually rather nice,as it made me think about what I actually fancied listening to, to accompany my vernal musings, as well as the earworms that were already wiggling about in my head.

I am not a seriously musical person at all; I have no talent for the performing of it and limited discrimination. I have scarce any knowledge of current pop, I have never really succeeded in acquiring a taste for jazz, except when I'm at Tall Girl's place, where the jazz always sounds wonderful. Though I've come to classical music a lot more of recent years mostly through Tom, my tastes in it are generally pretty middlebrow and obvious. I like early music probably because it's often a bit less complicated, and also frequently melancholy and solemn, and I like melancholy and solemn. However, I have been fortunate enough to have had many people in my life with a real gift for music, so inevitably some osmosis has happened.
Even for spring I like some melancholy; however joyful the season, it is always so exquisitely, poignantly fleeting, but I have looked for things with some lilt and lift too. So:

1) The Messiah, a bundle of mixed arias and choruses, enough so that the earworms show some variety. We often seem to have a Messiah Day or two at this time of year, which I love. We have yet to find the Perfect-Messiah-as-Tom-Remembers-It, which I think is without too many of the (authentic) twiddly bits. This may be something like Parsley-Liquor-for-Pies-Like-the-Pie-Shops-of-his-Youth-Used-to-Do-It, which is to say, a piece of lost time impossible to retrieve, but we enjoy the ones we have anyway. (The Messiah recordings, not the parsley sauce).

2)Bax, Spring Fire Symphony. I just put this on. It is nice in parts, but I think I'm partly beguiled by the title, which seems so redolent of the blazing bright urgency of it all, as well as those welcome fires one still sometimes lights on chilly evenings in early spring ...

3) Canteloube, Songs of the Auvergne. We took a holiday there at this time of year a few years ago. Actually it turned into something of a nightmare, because the place we were staying at, which was pretty and luxuriant and green beyond imagining, and full of lovely wildlife, also turned out to be full of ticks, not so lovely wildlife. The only day Molly and I didn't acquire any was when we visitied Vichy, which is a delightful town, its historical associations notwithstanding. The paintings by Alphonse Osbert in the old pump room reminded me of Cantaloube's music(that link is fun, you can fly around the room!).

This music also reminds me of my mum; not that I ever remember her listening to it. She always said she liked it, and I bought her a cassette of it late in her life, but in fact she rarely listened to music at all. Partly because she was deaf, partly because, like me, she didn't think to do it, the music-playing equipment wasn't so handy then, but also I think because she wouldn't allow herself the indulgence of it, the time to do something pleasurable just for herself. So I got a CD of it a while ago, and took the time to get to know and enjoy it, as it were for her, though I'm not sure in quite what spirit I have done this...
It's samey in places, and irritating in others, but there's something about that opening phrase of 'Baïlero - lero -lero!', that makes my heart soar.

4)Van Morrison. Some standards - And It Stoned Me ('oh, the water...), Bright side of the Road, Have I Told You Lately... you know the kind of thing.

5) Bhundu Boys - Jit Jive. Their 'True Jit' album, which I used to have on vinyl but lost along the way, is difficult to obtain now on CD or download (which I don't do anyway). Lilting and joyous, I listened to it obssessively at a time I seemed to recall was not particularly joyous, but it has completely transcended the memory. I have this one track on a World music compilation, though there were others I liked better. While listening, I also rediscovered ...

6) Hugh Masekela. Tall Girl gave me a cassette of 'Waiting for the Rain' more years ago than I care to remember, which I wore out listening to on a clunky old Walkman every night going to sleep on sometimes tense visits to the parental home.

7) Yann Tiersen's soundtrack music for 'Amelie'. Very winsome!
No time for many appropriate links, I'm afraid. Now, I have to tag 5 more people, so I'll choose those I know are considerably more musically literate (if that makes sense), than I am. Tall Girl, Sheila, Julia, Rosie and Barrett Bonden, seven spring melodies, or collections thereof, if you please.

And of course, and I know this makes 8, what is more appropriate the Vaughan Williams? Not my beloved Tallis Theme or Dives and Lazarus, say, which are solemn and wintry, but the English Folk Songs Suite, for example. Here's a video I made the other day, as a kind of round-up of the season. I still can't make head nor tail of the Windows Movie Maker, so it's done with Picasa again. I put the slides together first, then loaded the music, which helps with the jumpy scratchiness, though it's not perfect.





~~~
Finally, and my toothbrush is calling, my response to Joe's demand for lunch, is over at Compasses.
~~~
Sorry if I haven't got around to visiting everyone before I go. See you soon!

15 comments:

Jonathan Wonham said...

Hello Lucy. That's a nice choice, much more atuned to the season than my own. It was a pleasure to discover Vichy on a sunlit afternoon while listening to Canteloube's La Delaissado.

Zhoen said...

I have the same limited appreciation for jazz, and classical. But I've found I can listen to Cecilia Bartoli no matter what she sings, voice like butter.

Bonvoyageee!

zephyr said...

lovely!
Forget windows movie maker...the upgrade, "Windows Photo Story 3" is much easier and nicer to work with. Then I use the (free!) Vimeo, which does not compress as much as YouTube does so the images in the final show are much better resolution.
You might consider playing with these when you get back/have the notion to do so.

Hope you have a lovely vacation.

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: Seasons are defined by the weather and the weather here is variable. So straight off we'll have Goldberg, followed by the Diabelli plus LvB's variations on WAM's "Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen" (dig those crazy umlauts; they add so much authority). It's corny but he only lived a few miles away (and in any case they're almost his magnum opus) so we'll add in Enigma. That's four. And since jazz is all variation let's say Bird's "Embraceable you", Miles's "Summertime" and Albert Nicholas's "High society." I'm sure I've cheated but surely you'd expect no less given my seedy former profession. Now, is there something technical I'm supposed to do?

Lucy said...

Jonathan - thanks, it was a nice one. La Delaissado is one of the best I think - Vichy really does go with them doesn't it?

Zhoen - thanks, off in an hour or two!

Zephyr - that sounds useful advice. I looked at Vieo the other day, and thought it looked a better thing than YouTube, didn't know about the compression, or about the Windows upgrade, thanks for that.

BB - no, that's just fine!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm with you on Hugh Masakela and Bhundu Boys, though at this time of the year I'd switch off almost anything to hear the birds...

Bee said...

I don't know any of your song choices well -- except for the Handel, Van Morrison and Vaughan Williams (whose music I love most fervently). Your video was wonderful, Lucy -- and so appropriate for May. Enjoy your trip . . . and bring home some treasures for us, please!

herhimnbryn said...

A couple unknown to me, so shall chase them up as am feeling a little jaded music wise at the moment. YOur film is so evocative of Spring 'back there' for me.

Happy travelling on your holidays.

Peter said...

Enjoy your drive, Lucy. I've driven through France exactly once, and it was one of the great pleasures of my life.

Sheila said...

This is just lovely! I won't be making a video, but I'll do my best to respond within a few days. Been a packed week....

Reluctant Blogger said...

Hope you had a good time. When are you back?

Michelle said...

Lucy, an exquisite Spring 2009 video.

Happy trails.

PS. 'And It Stoned Me' is one of my favourites!

Dick said...

A glorious video with music to invade the tear ducts! Bon voyage et bon retour.

stitchwort said...

Beautiful spring pictures and music - the glimpse of stitchwort was especially appreciated!.
Have a good trip!

Isabelle said...

Beautiful. What perfect flowers! - no beasties eating them in your garden? I love the duck - for a second I thought it was the Loch Ness Monster! Maybe I need to get glasses? Have a lovely trip.