We've been enjoying the repeat of 'A Very British Renaissance' on BBC4. Found Dr James Fox a bit bumptious at first, but then decided I liked him, he's only a sprig but knowledgeable, charming and not reliant on the irritating, patronising and specious modern parallels so many TV historians seem to think are a good idea. (I let Simon Schama off this judgement, Bettany Hughes I don't).
I wanted to share the bit he did on Tallis's Spem in Alium, and wondered if it was available on Youtube. As a short clip it wasn't, but in fact the whole three part series is, and in quite good HD quality. However, when it came to the section with the Tallis, though the music soundtrack had been present until then, Spem itself was removed at that point, which rendered the scene somewhat incomprehensible and pointless*.
So I wondered if I could make my own. This took a bit of fiddling about: finding out how to download the complete video, then take a clip from it, then taking the track from the Tallis Scholars CD, then matching the section of the track with his actions, fading it out satisfactorily, and then I'm not sure it's quite synchronised perfectly, but I'm quite pleased with the result. Of course I don't really have time to mess about doing such long-winded and fiddly things on the computer, re-inventing the wheel since I haven't much of a clue what I'm doing, have to use a lot of trial and error, and will have forgotten what I've learned if I try to do it again.
Anyway, I'd recommend the series, and finding it on-line was a boon as we can't get BBC i-player here and had to miss the second episode because of our visitors.
Who have now left. It was tiring but mostly in a good, energetic, getting-out-being-a-tour-guide way, rather than in a tense and frustrating trying-not-to-be-affected-by-parents-nagging-their-recalcitrant-slug-a-bed-kids way. There was only one offspring who, when here with his sister last year, had largely dissolved into a surly adolescent blob, but now, out of her shadow perhaps, was much more forthcoming, pleasant and appreciative, not at all bad company, and we were inclined to hope that the rather original, funny, curious and chatty little boy he once was has not entirely disappeared after all.
Rather rainy and autumnal outside, nice to be to ourselves again.
(The entire Tallis' Scholars Spem in Alium is on Youtube here. You do need good sound quality, headphones, speakers, whatever, and of course I don't really need to tell you to save your sanity and not read the comments.)
*I don't know why, perhaps the recording copyright owner (I'm not sure who the artists were performing) insisted on having it removed, as happened with the Gothic Voices Dufay piece I'd used for a slideshow video a couple of years ago; Hyperion, the recording company, must have done a sweep of Youtube and pulled the video on copyright ground, along with a number of others. I know they had every right to do this, and I had no right to use it, but I found it mean-spirited and cutting off their noses to spite their faces, since more people might have heard it and been inclined to follow up links and even buy their recordings after seeing it than will now, and I never bother reading their newsletters or even think of ordering from them any more. Better I think to take the line that the Tallis Scholars do, that you can use their music for personal videos but just don't try to monetise it, the right to do so being theirs (Youtube are now very quick to pick up on and label third party content now, and give guidelines about this, which is good really). Whole massive albums of music on Jordi Savall's Alia Vox label are available on Youtube, and no one seems to worry. They are, I imagine, seen as free promotion; they make a point of making their CDs objects of beauty with abundant material included that you would want to have for its own sake, and their live performances experiences beyond the recorded music. Rant over.