Wednesday 26 March 2003
Pix of the Day: Quattro Stagione and Obsession Thumbnails click to enlarge.
All around us Spring is manifesting itself in the most glorious way. Like teenage love birds my wife and I take pleasure in pointing out to each other some newly discovered delight: the glorious purple blossom in the picture was deemed worthy of a detour around the town for my appreciation. Some languages have better words for things than others: I have always preferred the musicality of the Italian word Primavera over the English word Spring, which has undesirable mechanical engineering nuances. We have been listening to Vivaldi's over exposed 'Four Seasons' (again 'Quattro Stagione' is so much more lyrical) on the last few evenings, and it still sounds wonderfully fresh however many times I hear it played. Most of the versions I have listened to have been true to the original, even if allowing themselves variety of expression: thankfully unlike 'Amazing Grace' we have so far been spared interpretations featuring bagpipe riddim or massed tap dancers.
Cursed with the sort of mind that wanders off into contemplation of the unknowable (something partially assuaged by the coming of the Internet) I wondered idly how many recordings had been made of the 'Four Seasons': I think this is the 'Guinness Effect', though I swear I haven't touched a drop in days. The disease seems to be highly contagious, possibly even contracted through reading the Guinness Book of Records, or visiting the Guinness World Records web site. Josef Svalander has 413 versions in his collection: if you are able to help he is still looking for some missing albums! The world owes us obsessives a great debt. Spookily I thought Josef looked a bit like me: perhaps it's a shared mark of being obsessive.
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
The version I have been enjoying from eMusic is by Vesselin Paraschkevov, violin, with The Telos Ensemble Koln on the Telos label. Like me the Emusic editor's pick is Track 10 the Allegro Non Molto opening movement of Winter: click the album cover or the title link to see all the tracks. The whole album is played with a bright, sparkling verve, which is only constrained for the languid parts of Summer. The album is playing as I write: a very pleasant accompaniment for this item. Now I wonder if Josef has this one in his collection?
Grinning Mormon Meteor Revisited Thumbnails click to enlarge.
In a recent item about Ab Jenkins, the Mormon Meteor, I pictured a model of his car located in the Dixie College, St. George, Utah. I had occasion to revisit the College earlier this week, and wandered past the glass showcase for another look. I was sadly disappointed in myself when I realized that on my first visit I had been so focussed on the difficult lighting for the car that I had completely ignored the bust mounted above the showcase. I do not know how often sculptors depict their sitters with a cheery grin, but it is something that receives my approval, which probably indicates my louche tastes in art. Although perhaps not technically correct, I also like to see eyes rather than those blank stares of classical sculptures. It is regrettable that the Vandals were not totally eradicated by the Romans, and enough survived to have their descendants damage the eyes of this bust. The Hammurabi Code is so seductive.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)