Archive for category music

Richter – the Enigma

Over New Year, I binge-watched as many Glenn Gould videos as I could find. I was fascinated with what he had to say about Schoenberg, Mozart and life in general.

Then today YT suggested this vid of GG on Richter. Knowing Gould liked to play pranks, I thought at first he was pretending to be a British music critic for the purposes of parody (or just larking about), but apparently this was first shown on Russian TV and the original English audio was lost so they got someone to voice it over.

This documentary on Richter is well worth watching. Quite a different personality and musician from Gould. I liked what he had to say about playing in the dark: “That’s for the sake of concentration, so that the audience listens better.” “One shouldn’t watch?” asks the interviewer. “Watch what?” “The performer.” “His hands?” (Grimace.) “Nyet!” “The expression on his face?” “What for?”

Compare what Richter says about choosing a piano to play for a performance with the lengths Gould went to, and let’s not even mention his chair!

Just these bars of Richter playing Schubert completely won me over.

As did Glenn Gould’s Brahms Ballade N. 10, despite my being no big fan of Brahms.

Gerald who? More good English music and paintings

YT keeps introducing me to wonderful painters and composers I’ve never heard of. David Harris took the time and trouble to create this video that puts London-born, Yorkshire-bred Gerald Finzi’s music to paintings by Newton (no, not that Newton, Algernon Cecil Newton). Sit back and enjoy the soothing, sweeping beauty. The music puts me in a very sweet space. In that space, I ponder the patience and love of Newton, spending how many hours carefully observing, noting, sketching, drawing just a single view of a lake glimpsed through pine trees. One man’s experience of one facet of being alive.

David Harris has put up a few other music/painting vids. Check out his channel. (Or let YT’s auto-play function surprise you.)

Barry Lyndon and Schubert trio

A montage of scenes from Stanley Kubrick’s movie “Barry Lyndon”, based on a short and rather frivolous novella by “Vanity Fair” author William Makepeace Thackeray. Kubrick built it up into a gorgeous biography of a rags-to-riches-back-to-tragedy story of a life, with stunning scenes of rural England. I have not seen it since I first saw it as a university student, with my girl-friend (I think she fell asleep), but I’ve never forgotten it.

This piece of music just haunts me since I saw this video a few days ago. Can’t get it out of my head. It matches the scenes so perfectly, although I don’t think all these scenes had this music as background – it’s a montage, but an excellent one.

Here’s a scene which accompanies the music originally – right at the end of the movie.

Gara who? Music and pictures

Another composer I’ve never heard of. (The world is full of them!) Here’s his Wikipedia entry:

I find it haunting. Plus I’m a sucker for good piano music.

English music and landscape

Feeling a little sentimental. Came across this video of music and paintings. Both capture a perhaps romanticised vision and sound of England. The music harks back to Vaughan Williams, Delius and perhaps Holst. It reminded me of b/w movies I saw as a child. It may mean little or nothing to people who have not lived in rural Britain (I grew up in Sussex). Anway, here it is. I’d never heard of Harold Darke but I’ll be looking out for more by him.

Sting – An Englishman in New York +

This cheered me up. May it cheer you up, too.

The third song “Shape of my Heart” sounded familiar tho the title did not. It was sampled by British R&B singer Craig David for his song “Rise and Fall” and he actually got Sting to sing it with him. They are both great songs.

Wisteria and Vaughan Williams memories

Traveled to north Kyoto today to visit an old friend.

Last time we’d been this way was over 20 years ago. Along the way, we saw many flowering wisteria trees. They reminded me of the ones in St. Edmund’s Hall, Oxford. Vaughan Williams’ “Variation on a theme by Thomas Tallis” was playing on the sterero. “Teddy Hall” was my father’s college, and the Vaughan Williams was one of his favourite pieces. He passed away 2 years ago this spring.

Song for the week, and for a lifetime

“When you see another human being, what do you see?”
A fat person? A stupid person? A white person? A black person? A green person? A man? A woman? An old person? A young person?
Or do you see a human being?
Do we even know what a human being really is?
Do your eyes see? Is your heart open?

All is well

My father passed away recently. I was with him in his last days. I played this song over and over during those days. It gave me strength.

The words, or very similar ones, crop up in most parts of the world. The original may be from the Upanishads, I’m not sure.

If you know someone who might be comforted by this song, please go to for a free download. It is also available on Youtube with subtitles in various languages.

Video: The Great Unwind!