Category: Music

Who will sing for England


I watched a documentary about The Proclaimers over the New Year. I take an interest in musicians and how they achieve success in the creative field. I’m not over-judgemental and try to find aspects to admire even if I don’t like the final product. Hence I can appreciate the clever construction of a song or piece of music which is not to my taste at all. I exclude the tuneless Bananarama from this. For those of you who do not know, The Proclaimers are a couple of identical Scottish twins who burst onto the scene with great energy (a must-have in my book) in the late 80s with their anthemic song “I’m gonna be”, which most will know better as “500 miles”. They arrived as something different in the music landscape, heavily influenced by punk, folk music and the musical political activism of Kevin Rowland of Dexys Midnight Runners (“Come on Eileen”.) They made a deliberate decision to sing in their broad Leith accents. In the documentary they came across as intelligent, articulate and rather dour, by no means an unwelcome attribute in these days of emotional incontinence. Talking heads were wheeled out to show that the band generated a strong Scottish fan base, not least by openly espousing the cause of Scottish independence. Krankie described how they had radicalised her and many of her generation. As we know, their intervention was not decisive on the 55:45 vote which, much like Brexit, apparently remains open to “interpretation”. Nevertheless, the twins produced a pivotal song called “Cap in Hand”. Here is the chorus:

But I can’t understand why we let someone else rule our land
We’re cap in hand.

Continue reading “Who will sing for England”


The Blue Danube (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)

OldTrout, Going Postal
The Kiss (Der Kuß), Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)

The Kiss (Lovers) was painted by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt between 1907 and 1908, the highpoint of his “Golden Period”, when he painted a number of works in a similar gilded style. A perfect square, the canvas depicts a couple embracing, their bodies entwined in elaborate robes decorated in a style influenced by both linear constructs of the contemporary Art Nouveau style and the organic forms of the earlier Arts and Crafts movement. The work is composed of oil paint with applied layers of gold leaf, an aspect that gives it its strikingly modern, yet evocative appearance. The painting is now in the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere museum in the Belvedere palace, Vienna, and is widely considered a masterpiece of the early modern period. It is a symbol of Vienna Jugendstil—Viennese Art Nouveau—and is considered Klimt’s most popular work. Wiki

Continue reading “The Blue Danube (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)”


The Organ (ii)

Jethro, Going Postal


The accompanying image is taken from Dom Bedos’ ‘ l’art du Facteur d’ Orgues’ (1776), and shows, among other things, a single organ-blower, operating one of three ‘feeders’ – or possibly, pumping two of the levers together, while an Organist, using a Manual and the Pedals, is keeping a vigilant eye on the blower. There is a square-shaped ‘Conveyance’ to take the wind towards the pipes. Not, as it appears to be, on the wall, is a figure showing how the movement of a Pedal, through a series of levers – pull-downs, trackers, backfalls – will open the ‘Pallet’ (the dark block ‘b’), a sprung, leather-covered valve, that will allow wind into the ‘Windchest’, and to the relevant pipe, but with a ‘regulator’ interposed (‘17’), to act rather like the smoothing condenser capacitor in a power-supply, Again, as far as I know (‘despite Brexit’) the pressure is normally expressed in ‘inches of wind’(as it were, the Voltage), measured by the water-level in a simple U-tube manometer. Often, in a pipe-organ, the large amount of floor-space taken up by the instrument is because the Reservoir will be a very large set of bellows, the upper surface covered with cast-iron weights (often proudly bearing the Builder’s initials), perhaps assisted by a set of steel springs.

Continue reading “The Organ (ii)”


O Come, All Ye Faithful

OldTrout, Going Postal
“Holy Mother of God, be thou the cause of peace for Siena and life to Duccio because he painted thee thus.”

The Maestà, or Maestà of Duccio is an altarpiece composed of many individual paintings commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308 from the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna. The front panels make up a large enthroned Madonna and Child with saints and angels, and a predella of the Childhood of Christ with prophets. The reverse has the rest of a combined cycle of the Life of the Virgin and the Life of Christ in a total of forty-three small scenes; several panels are now dispersed or lost. The base of the panel has an inscription that reads (in translation): “Holy Mother of God, be thou the cause of peace for Siena and life to Duccio because he painted thee thus.” Though it took a generation for its effect truly to be felt, Duccio’s Maestà set Italian painting on a course leading away from the hieratic representations of Byzantine art towards more direct presentations of reality. Wiki

Continue reading “O Come, All Ye Faithful”


For Unto Us A Child Is Born – Winchester Cathedral Choir

OldTrout, Going Postal
The Mystical Nativity

The Mystical Nativity is a painting of circa 1500–1501 by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, in the National Gallery in London. Botticelli built up the image using oil on canvas. It is his only signed work, and has an unusual iconography for a Nativity.

The Greek inscription at the top translates as: “This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro, in the half-time after the time, painted, according to the eleventh [chapter] of Saint John, in the second woe of the Apocalypse, during the release of the devil for three-and-a-half years; then he shall be bound in the twelfth [chapter] and we shall see [him buried] as in this picture”. Botticelli believed himself to be living during the Tribulation, possibly due to the upheavals in Europe at the time, and was predicting Christ’s Millennium as stated in Biblical text.

Continue reading “For Unto Us A Child Is Born – Winchester Cathedral Choir”


Silent Night ( Stille Nacht, Sung By The Vienna Boys Choir)

The Silent Night Chapel

The Silent Night Chapel (Stille-Nacht-Kapelle) is located in the town of Oberndorf bei Salzburg in the Austrian province of Salzburg, and is a monument to the Christmas carol Silent Night and its librettist, Joseph Mohr and its composer, Franz Xaver Gruber. It stands on the site of the former St Nicholas’s Church, where on 24 December 1818 the Christmas carol was performed for the first time.

Continue reading “Silent Night ( Stille Nacht, Sung By The Vienna Boys Choir)”


The Coventry Carol

Several oil-on-oak-panel versions of The Massacre of the Innocents were painted by 16th-century Netherlandish painters Pieter Bruegel the Elder and his son Pieter Brueghel the Younger. The work translates the Biblical account of the Massacre of the Innocents into a winter scene in the Netherlands in the prelude to the Dutch Revolt against Spanish rule, also known as the Eighty Years’ War. Wiki

Continue reading “The Coventry Carol”


Angels We Have Heard on High

OldTrout, Going Postal
Adoration of the Shepherds, Domenico Ghirlandaio

The Adoration of the Shepherds, in the Nativity of Jesus in art, is a scene in which shepherds are near witnesses to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, arriving soon after the actual birth. It is often combined in art with the Adoration of the Magi, in which case it is typically just referred to by the latter title.

Continue reading “Angels We Have Heard on High”