Archive for the ‘Music’ tag
The Pope finished reading Keith Richards autobio, Life.
I did too.
I’ve consistently done a horrible job memorializing the books I read and films I watch1 because I’m a damn lazy blogger. Before I started working for myself, which coincidentally was also before the omnipresent distraction of the internet and Netflix, I easily consumed five or ten books a week, every week, for years and years without fail. Those days are gone, but still, I do manage to read a few dozen books a year, too bad I haven’t been more diligent about recording which ones.
Films aren’t so hard – I don’t have a moral objection to posting the blurb about movie with a sentence or two of my own reaction, and in fact, expect to see more of those sorts of blog posts in 2011, but book posts are more difficult.
I assume part of the problem is that I always am juggling ten or fifteen books at any given moment: I keep a stash of books in most places I might snatch a moment or two of leisure time – office(s), bedroom, living room, camera bag, iPad, wherever. Unfortunately, this often translates into me *not* finishing books nearly as often as I finish.
Also, since I have fond memories of being a history student at UT, I catch myself wanting to delve a little too deeply into my reviews, instead of tossing out a few thoughts. I’ve had a blog since 20032, so know myself well enough to be cognizant that long posts are rarely completed. Nobody is issuing me a grade based on the profundity of my thoughts, I need to stop pretending .
Long winded intro aside, new year, new rules. Well, attempted new rules. Check back in a few months, and see.
Keith Richards and James Fox wrote Life, an enjoyable romp through the 1960’s, 1970’s, and beyond through the eyes of the most interesting member of the Rolling Stones. Richards frequently claims the reason he survived his decade of being a junky was because he was never greedy about trying to “get more high”, but a few pages later, Richards is so out of it, he’s nodding off while driving a carload of people. Internal contradictions, and unreliable narrator, in other words. Some of Life is a bit self-serving, especially when Richards boasts of his drug-induced stamina, and some is cringe-worthy such as when describing his relations with women met on tour, but fun nonetheless. By the mid-1980’s, Richards runs out of interesting things to say, and the last chapter is even worse – less recollection directly from Keef and more from various compatriots in his circle, or his son, Marlon.
No matter, the Rolling Stones made three great, desert island records,3 another near great album,4 and a bunch of great songs on various other albums, or as singles, and Keith Richards would be a fun dude to be buddies with, if you could handle it. If they would have broken up as they released Tattoo You, I’d respect them a lot more, since nothing released since then5 has been much good. I cannot really criticize musicians for continuing to do what they love, we’ll just say I’m not interested in the current incarnation of the Stones.
He’s been a global avatar of wish fulfillment for over four decades and managed to eke more waking hours out of a 24-hour day than perhaps any other creature alive (thanks, Merck cocaine and amphetamines!). As Keith puts it: “For many years I slept, on average, twice a week. This means that I have been conscious for at least three lifetimes.”
You better believe it. This cat put the joie in joie de vivre. As the legendary guitarist for the Rolling Stones, Keith Richards has done more, been more and seen more than you or I will ever dream of, and reading his autobiography, “Life,” should awaken (if you have a pulse and an I.Q. north of 100) a little bit of the rock star in you.
“If you want to get to the top, you’ve got to start at the bottom,” he says, “same with anything.” Born in 1943 to parents who met as factory workers, Keith was raised in Dartford, an industrial suburb of London. Through the marshes behind the many “lunatic asylums” that seemed to populate Dartford in disproportionate numbers, Keith learned what it felt like to be helpless and afraid, serving as a daily punching bag for bullies on his way home from school. By the time he fought back and won, he’d discovered a fury in himself for which he would later become infamous. The plight of the underdog was his passionate crusade, and anyone or anything that represented injustice in his eyes was fair game. Kate Moss recounts a hilarious anecdote from 1998 in which Keith, sidestepping the festivities of his daughter Angela’s wedding at his manor house, Redlands, finds he’s short some spring onions he laid on a chopping block while fixing himself a light nosh of bangers and mash. When the thieving guest totters into the kitchen with the greens playfully tucked behind his ears, Keith grabs two sabers from the mantelpiece and goes chasing after the poor guy in a homicidal rage. I won’t even touch on the incident involving shepherd’s pie.
(click to continue reading Book Review – Life – By Keith Richards – NYTimes.com.)
It is 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time in the New York office of Keith Richards’s manager, a place that might look ordinary if every wall and shelf were not crammed with some of the world’s most glorious rock ’n’ roll memorabilia. Mr. Richards has a 3 o’clock appointment. “Come on in, he’ll be here in a minute,” an assistant says — and here he comes in a minute, at 3:01. This from a man who once prided himself for operating on Keith Time, as in: the security staff ate the shepherd’s pie that Keith wanted in his dressing room? Then everyone in this packed stadium can bloody well wait. The Rolling Stones don’t play until another shepherd’s pie shows up.
Chalk up the promptness to the man’s new incarnation: he is now Keith Richards, distinguished author. True, he is far from the only rock star to turn memoirist, and far from the only Rolling Stone to write a book about himself — very much about himself. The raven-haired Ron Wood wrote “Ronnie,” in which he described Brian Jones as “me in a blond wig.” Bill Wyman, the band’s retired bass player and bean counter, wrote “Stone Alone,” in which not a 15-shilling demo disc went unmentioned. Now Mr. Richards has written the keeper: “Life,” a big, fierce, game-changing account of the Stones’ nearly half-century-long adventure.
“It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done,” he says about the book. “I’d rather make 10 records.”
(click to continue reading As Keith Richards Remembers It, and He Says He Remembers It All – NYTimes.com.)
For legions of Rolling Stones fans, Keith Richards is not only the heart and soul of the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band, he’s also the very avatar of rebellion: the desperado, the buccaneer, the poète maudit, the soul survivor and main offender, the torn and frayed outlaw, and the coolest dude on the planet, named both No. 1 on the rock stars most-likely-to-die list and the one life form (besides the cockroach) capable of surviving nuclear war.
Halfway through his electrifying new memoir, “Life,” Keith Richards writes about the consequences of fame: the nearly complete loss of privacy and the weirdness of being mythologized by fans as a sort of folk-hero renegade.
“I can’t untie the threads of how much I played up to the part that was written for me,” he says. “I mean the skull ring and the broken tooth and the kohl. Is it half and half? I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it.”
(click to continue reading ‘Life,’ Keith Richards’s Memoir – NYTimes.com.)
You get the idea…
For me, the gossip about Mick Jagger’s “tiny todger”, and Brian Jones beating Anita Pallenberg and that Chuck Berry was kind of a dick, and so on, was less interesting than discussion about the music. Keith Richards figuring out open string tuning, for instance, or that multi-track recording is less interesting than pointing microphones at the wall and collecting what bounced off it.Footnotes:
This looks rather interesting
Roscoe Holcomb is one of the giant iconic figures in American traditional music. He personified the “high lonesome sound” so celebrated and admired today for its powerful and haunting effect. His style of singing and his brilliant banjo and guitar playing transport the listener straight back to the earliest roots of American music, a style that remained vital in his native eastern Kentucky long after disappearing everywhere else. Although Roscoe died in 1981, his masterful performances have only gained in recognition and respect since then. This DVD gathers together 2 documentaries about Roscoe made by filmmaker John Cohen and classic performances captured in the 1960s. It presents a comprehensive overview of Roscoe’s great and varied artistry as well as offering an incisive and intimate portrait of the man himself and his background and environment.
(click to continue reading Amazon.com: Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb: Roscoe Holcomb: Movies & TV.)
ABC published this:
Odds are you haven’t heard of Roscoe Holcomb. If you’re a fan of American music, though, his is most certainly a voice worth hearing.
Holcomb was the “high lonesome” singer of eastern Kentucky, a man whom performers from John Cohen to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton revered as a source of spare, original mountain music and the hardship behind it. His voice, which reached almost into falsetto at times, told of work and pain and wondering — stoicism and emotion delivered by a man on a porch with his banjo and the traditions within him.
In the early 1960s, Cohen, a musician and historian, traveled to Kentucky to film a stark, black-and-white movie about Holcomb called “The High Lonesome Sound.” It helped propel the aging Holcomb into a career that took him away from manual labor and, for a time, into a world of performance where people appreciated him for his music.
Now, Cohen has taken unused footage from that session and several others to create a compelling new movie, “Roscoe Holcomb From Daisy, Kentucky.” It is the anchor of a definitive new DVD called “The Legacy of Roscoe Holcomb” that also features other rare video of performances and a copy of the original 1962 movie.
Quiet, introspective and moody, the new film reveals a man trying to make sense of his life and his music — a kind of music that Dylan referred to as “an untamed sense of control.” In long, lingering clips around Holcomb’s house, interspersed with performances, he comes across as a man lost in time, figuring himself out. In short: authenticity, the kind that any Nashville wannabe today would hand over his pickup and his hound to acquire.
(click to continue reading Review: DVD Revisits a ‘High Lonesome’ Musician – ABC News.)
Marble Arch, London
Playing either Bob Dylan or Radiohead, can’t remember.
photograph © Herman Leonard –1 Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington at the Downbeat Club
I’ve always loved this photo, especially Duke Ellington’s expression of unmitigated joy…
Duke Ellington sits at the piano in a blackened theater, a brilliant shaft of light casting him in heroic silhouette.
Billie Holiday (sic – actually this is Ella Fitzgerald) stands before the microphone, lips slightly parted – as if in mid-phrase – smoke billowing softly behind her.
Oscar Peterson performs in close quarters with bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis, Peterson’s hands a blur above the keys of his piano.
The black-and-white images could be the work of only one man, Herman Leonard, perhaps the most revered jazz photographer of the 20th Century and the subject of an exquisitely produced new book, “Jazz ” (Bloomsbury, $65). Though not the first, and probably not the last, published collection of Leonard’s photographs, “Jazz” captures the textural sumptuousness of Leonard’s photography, while crystallizing his personal philosophy about the music.
Leonard, in other words, chose to celebrate the jazz life, rather than demonize it. While many jazz lensmen sensationalized the dark side of jazz – as in those ghastly photos of a drug-ravaged Chet Baker toward the end of his life – Leonard went in the opposite direction. To him, jazz musicians were to be admired, not scorned or pitied. He saw poetry where others saw melodrama; he portrayed romance where others focused on decay.
(click to continue reading A new collection of Herman Leonard’s photography, ‘Jazz,’ portrays the music in a heroic light – chicagotribune.com.)Footnotes:
- Tribune typo labeled this woman as Billie Holiday [↩]
Sleep apnea begone!
Seemingly operated on the same sort of principle as a shofar1, but more difficult to get a good solid sound, probably because the mouth opening is wider. Still pretty fun, though tiring.Footnotes:
We’ve discussed Cocksucker Blues before,1 but apparently if you are wealthy enough2 to purchase the Super Deluxe package release of Exile On Main Street, you’ll be able to see snippets from Cocksucker Blues:
It’s hard to know what the Stones expected from [Robert ] Frank, whose previous films, including the Beat landmark “Pull My Daisy” (1959), showed little interest in conventional narrative of either the fiction or nonfiction variety. (At one point, Frank theorized he was chosen because his friend Danny Seymour, who appears in the film, was adept at procuring hard drugs, which made him a valuable commodity in the Stones’ circle.) In any case, the Stones didn’t like what they saw — or at the very least considered it unwise to release. According to one account, Jagger told Frank he liked the film but worried that “if it shows in America, we’ll never be allowed in the country again.” The band successfully sued to prevent the release of “Cocksucker Blues,” with showings limited to those at which Frank was physically present (a requirement that has been slightly loosened in recent years as the 85-year-old Frank’s ability to travel has been curtailed). Video was verboten as well, of course, although VHS bootlegs and now Internet downloads have always been within the reach of the curious and determined. It’s also made appearances on various streaming video sites, although its tenure is inevitably short-lived.
“Cocksucker Blues” is infamous for its scenes of debauchery, like an incipient orgy on the Stones’ private plane where women shriek as their shirts are pulled off and Jagger and Richards bang instruments like a satanic house band. (Carefully edited snippets appear on the “Exile” DVD, although the Glimmer Twins now seem to preside over a mild outbreak of tickle fighting.) But such spectacles would hardly have damaged the reputation of a band whose image was based in excess. And besides, the Stones are absent for many of the movie’s most notorious scenes, including those in which unidentified hangers-on stick needles in their arm and a sperm-spattered naked woman sprawls on a hotel bed and fingers her crotch in postcoital reverie.
What was perhaps more damaging — and, to the outside observer, most intriguing — is just how dull the life of the world’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll band could be. At times, Frank goes out of his way to portray the drudgery of life on the road, as when he intercuts footage of a couple shooting up in a hotel room with scenes of Keith Richards quietly playing cards. In one sublime sequence, included on the “Exile” DVD, a lugubrious Richards makes a slurred and unsuccessful attempt to order a bowl of fruit from a woman in a Southern hotel.
There’s concert footage as well, much of it astonishing; many fans regard the 1972 tour as the Stones’ finest hour. It’s a shame the “Exile” DVD only shows us the second half of their duet with Stevie Wonder, who toured as their opening act, picking up with “Satisfaction” but omitting the segue out of Wonder’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright).” But the vividly colored stage performances only heighten the dolorous feel of the black-and-white behind-the-scenes footage. In his novel “Underworld,” whose third section is named for the film, Don DeLillo described it thus: “The camera phalanx in the tunnels. People sitting around, two people asleep in a lump or tripped out or they could be unnoticeably dead, the endless noisy boredom of the tour — tunnels and runways.”
(click to continue reading The Rolling Stones’ forbidden documentary – Documentaries – Salon.com.)Footnotes:
Duly noted. And, ouch, that’s gotta sting a little.
Not long ago, Kenny G put out a recording where he overdubbed himself on top of a 30+ year old Louis Armstrong record, the track “What a Wonderful World”. With this single move, Kenny G became one of the few people on earth I can say that I really can’t use at all – as a man, for his incredible arrogance to even consider such a thing, and as a musician, for presuming to share the stage with the single most important figure in our music.
This type of musical necrophilia – the technique of overdubbing on the preexisting tracks of already dead performers – was weird when Natalie Cole did it with her dad on “Unforgettable” a few years ago, but it was her dad. When Tony Bennett did it with Billie Holiday it was bizarre, but we are talking about two of the greatest singers of the 20th century who were on roughly the same level of artistic accomplishment. When Larry Coryell presumed to overdub himself on top of a Wes Montgomery track, I lost a lot of the respect that I ever had for him – and I have to seriously question the fact that I did have respect for someone who could turn out to have such unbelievably bad taste and be that disrespectful to one of my personal heroes.
But when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis’s tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician. By disrespecting Louis, his legacy and by default, everyone who has ever tried to do something positive with improvised music and what it can be, Kenny G has created a new low point in modern culture – something that we all should be totally embarrassed about – and afraid of. We ignore this, “let it slide”, at our own peril.
His callous disregard for the larger issues of what this crass gesture implies is exacerbated by the fact that the only reason he possibly have for doing something this inherently wrong (on both human and musical terms) was for the record sales and the money it would bring.
Since that record came out – in protest, as insignificant as it may be, I encourage everyone to boycott Kenny G recordings, concerts and anything he is associated with. If asked about Kenny G, I will diss him and his music with the same passion that is in evidence in this little essay.
(click to continue reading JazzOasis.com – Pat Metheny on Kenny G.)
Louis Armstrong is an American hero, Kenny G, not so much…
Via Aaron Cohen, Kottke guest blogger.
(Merge in HD function in CS5)
pretty good busker, didn’t get his CD though, didn’t have time to cross over the median.
apparently featured in some form at Explore Chicago (the official tourism site for the City of Chicago), though for the life of me, I can’t find where. They must not give credit to the photographer correctly. Remind myself not to add anything else to this Flickr group.
Update: ah, found behind the Wall of Facebook. Still, I don’t think I’ll add any other photo to Explore Chicago until the photos are not restricted to viewing by Facebook users only.
I wish more newspapers would praise Iggy Pop on their editorial pages. Sigh. Much more interesting than sales tax increases or whatever topic de jour.
“Before he began flogging car insurance, Iggy Pop, aka James Newell Osterberg, aka the Iguana, aka the Godfather of Punk, was the singer for the Stooges. Well, we say singer, but he was more like a human shock absorber for a band that did not so much give concerts as go to war with audiences. Going by this newspaper’s review page yesterday, some of that antagonistic spirit is still on display as the band tour the UK this week: our man noted that Iggy Pop ‘flings himself into the audience at the slightest provocation’.
Such gonzo hostility was never merely a matter of idiosyncratic stagecraft, but ran all the way through the band’s albums too. Search and Destroy, on the 1973 classic Raw Power, sums it up nicely: ‘I’m a streetwalking cheetah with a heart full of napalm / I’m a runaway son of the nuclear A-bomb’. Like many good things in pop music, the Stooges came out of industrial Michigan in the 60s, but Iggy’s band didn’t go in for Motown’s melodic optimism; no, their songs were marked by a reckless nihilism. I Wanna Be Your Dog, for instance, combined lyrics such as ‘Now we’re gonna be face to face / And I’ll lay right down in my favourite place’ with a leering, distorted guitar and a one-note piano riff. Perhaps their best album was Metallic KO – ostensibly a concert recording, but it sounded more like what would happen if you stuck a rock band in a Cortina and drove them off a cliff. Its high point? That would have to be Louie Louie, which must be the closest pop has ever come to a public flagellation.”
(click to continue reading In praise of … Iggy and the Stooges | Editorial | From the Guardian | The Guardian.)
Wowsa. Ella Fitzgerald Live at Montreux 1969
and of course, the original Cream version is much different. Good in its own way, but a bit over-played, and ultimately not as much fun, at least for me.
(via Chuck Sudo)
Sad news, Alex Chilton died, entirely too young.
Pop hitmaker, cult hero, and Memphis rock iconoclast Alex Chilton has died.
The singer and guitarist, best known as a member of ’60s pop-soul act the Box Tops and the ’70s power-pop act Big Star, died today at a hospital in New Orleans. Chilton, 59, had been complaining of about his health earlier today. He was taken by paramedics to the emergency room where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack.
His Big Star bandmate Jody Stephens confirmed the news this evening. “Alex passed away a couple of hours ago,” Stephens said from Austin, Texas, where the band was to play Saturday at the annual South By Southwest Festival. “I don’t have a lot of particulars, but they kind of suspect that it was a heart attack.”
The Memphis-born Chilton rose to prominence at age 16, when his gruff vocals powered Box Tops massive hit “The Letter.” The band would score several more hits, including “Cry Like a Baby” and “Neon Rainbow.”
After the Box Tops ended in 1970, Chilton had a brief solo run in New York before returning to Memphis. He soon joined forces with a group of Anglo-pop-obsessed musicians, fellow songwriter/guitarist Chris Bell, bassist Andy Hummel and drummer Jody Stephens, to form Big Star.
The group became the flagship act for the local Ardent Studios’ new Stax-distributed label. Big Star’s 1972 debut album, #1 Record met with critical acclaim but poor sales. The group briefly disbanded, but reunited sans Bell to record the album Radio City. Released in 1974, the album suffered a similar fate, plagued by Stax’s distribution woes.
The group made one more album, Third/Sister Lovers, with just Chilton and Stephens — and it too was a minor masterpiece. Darker and more complex than the band’s previous pop-oriented material, it remained unreleased for several years. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine would name all three Big Star albums to its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
[Click to continue reading Memphis music legend Alex Chilton dies » The Commercial Appeal]
I’ve loved Big Star for as long as I knew their music (probably late 1980s or early 1990s), and the box set, Keep an Eye on the Sky was my favorite collection of last year. Big Star rewards repeated listens, especially with headphones.
Sigh. I’m sure there will lots of obituaries around the web, Big Star and Alex Chilton had influence far beyond their units-sold1.
Hello, I’m (downloading) Johnny Cash1
The lucky recipient of a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card (and a whole lot of press) is 71-year-old Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia —a retired real estate agent, onetime Navy radar operator, and grandfather of nine who just wanted Johnny Cash’s 1958 single “Guess Things Happen That Way” for his new Nano, a birthday gift from his children. And he bought it on a PC: “I do not own a Mac, no,” he chuckles. “I knew somebody was going to ask me that question.”
Sulcer has spent the last day fielding calls from, among others, Apple head Steve Jobs (“I thought it was my son, he’s always a joker. I kept saying, ‘Come on, Kevin, I know it’s you!”) and Cash’s daughter Rosanne (“she had her husband, who is her guitarist, play the song to me over the phone. That was real nice.”).
He has been a devoted Johnny Cash fan for most of his life, he says: “I went to Georgia Tech on a football scholarship, broke just about every bone in my body. All those boys on the team, we just loved country music… My whole life, I had never understood why people go see movies twice, but I’ve seen [Cash biopic] Walk the Line four times. My kids finally bought me the DVD. And I was pretty sure I had all of his music, but I was just checking iTunes, listening to those little 20 or 30 second clips, and I found this one. It has some good pickin’ in it!”
A sweet story, really. The song itself is pretty typical for a Sun Records Johnny Cash song; also there’s a version floating around the intertubes that is a duet with Bob Dylan, circa Nashville Skyline.
from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Jobs congratulated him, thanked him for using Apple products and chatted a bit.
“He was real nice,” Sulcer said. “I told him I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed iTunes and the iPod. I really enjoy country music.
“He asked me if I played the guitar, and I said, ‘Oh my goodness. That is my lifelong frustration.’ “
Sulcer has been trying to learn the picking style of Luther Perkins, Cash’s guitarist, but he has not had much luck.
“[Jobs] said he had been messing around a little with [the guitar], too,” Sulcer said.
Later Thursday, after his doctor appointment, Sulcer was expecting calls from near and far. Apple public relations people have been calling him to ask whether he would consent to an interview with Rolling Stone, the rock magazine, and other publications.
“I said, ‘Rolling Stone is going to be so disappointed with this old man.’ “
He did get a call he found a little more special. “Rosanne Cash also called this morning to thank me for listening to Johnny Cash,” Sulcer said. She told Sulcer her father would have turned 78 on Friday. Then she had one more surprise for him: Her husband, musician John Leventhal, played the song he bought over the phone for him.
[Click to continue reading Woodstock man wins $10,000 iTunes contest | ajc.com]
Wow, talk about nostalgia. I remember when Poi Dog Pondering used to busk on The Drag1 near the UT-Austin campus. Amazingly, they are still around, and still performing.
Poi Dog Pondering is digging deep into its mid-1980s roots and original influences to play two shows at 8 p.m. Feb. 26 and 27 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.
“We’re sort of in the mood for a much more intimate show,” said Frank Orrall, lead singer and leader of the 23-year-old bohemian band. “Our last show there was kind of a big bombast with 18 people on stage. We’re approaching the show in a way so that we can take advantage of the intimacy of the Metropolis Theater.”
I think I still have their first album (on vinyl, of course) in storage back in Austin. They played at a house-party we had in a co-op I used to live in, that was probably the first time of several I saw them play on a stage. Even once, here in Chicago sometime in the 1990s, if memory serves. Can’t say they were a particular favorite, but their live shows were pretty good.
Damn, now I feel old…Footnotes:
- Guadalupe Street [↩]
If I get a chance, I’d like to hear this performance. You should go if you can.
Chicago Opera Vanguard continues it’s 2009/2010 Season with the Chicago premiere of WINTERREISE by composer Franz Schubert. WINTERREISE’s limited run begins Friday March 5 in the Fasseas White Box Theatre at the Menomonee Club Drucker Center, 1535 North Dayton Street, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
The most difficult journey begins with a single step. The team behind last season’s hit Orpheus & Euridice bring you a new look at Schubert’s beloved and haunting song-cycle of love and loss. WINTERREISE! This romantic masterwork receives the unique staging that only Chicago Opera Vanguard could conceive!
Premiered in 1827 and traditionally relegated to the concert hall, Chicago Opera Vanguard has put the task to Artistic Director Eric Reda to create a unique, highly visual staging of the work in the raw, storefront theatre aesthetic for which he has become know in the Chicago theatre and music scenes. Joined by an impressive team of performers and visual artists from across Chicago’s creative community, this is a “Winter’s Journey” that will not soon be forgotten!
“I have been haunted by these songs since first hearing them over two decades ago and have always been struck by the operatic scope of their construction,” says COVArtistic Director Eric Reda. “I am so excited to explore and share WINTERREISE not only as a dazzling musical masterpiece, but also as a dramatic tour de force.”
WINTERREISE (Winter Journey) is a cycle of 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller, best known as the song cycle set for male voice and piano by Franz Schubert (D. 911, published as Op. 89 in 1827). It is the second of Schubert’s two great song cycles on Müller’s poems, the earlier being Die schöne Müllerin (D. 795, Op. 25, 1823). These two works, in their scale, their dramatic coherence and power, their musical and literary unity, and their interpretative demands, stand in a league of their own within the song-cycle genre.
In his introduction to the Peters Edition of this work, Professor Max Müller, son of the poet, remarks that Schubert’s song-cycle has a dramatic effect not unlike that of a full-scale tragic opera. While normally presented in a recital setting, the work’s strong narrative through line and emotional intensity has prompted several international stagings in the past.
“I like these songs better than all the rest, and someday you will too,” Franz Schubert told the friends who were the first to hear his song cycle WINTERREISE.
WINTERREISE performs 8PM Fridays and Saturdays & 3PM Sundays, beginning Friday March 5, in the Fasseas White Box Theatre at the Menomonee Club Drucker Center, 1535 North Dayton Street, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. General Admission is $25; a limited number of $10 student discount tickets are available for all performances. Tickets are available online at www.chicagovanguard.org. Running time is approximately 80 minutes with one intermission.
[Click to continue reading CHICAGO OPERA VANGUARD | SEASON 0 – GREEK]