Metamorphosen

Composed by Richard Strauss during the final months of the Second World War, it may reflect his sadness at the destruction of much of Germany. Certainly it is melancholic. Though it is also beguiling.

Ironically, my introduction to this piece was accidental. I subscribed to a classical music magazine when CDs were still relatively new. Continue reading

Slow, mesmerising, and unforgettable – Gorecki Symphony No. 3 “Sorrowful Songs”

For the first time since its liberation, permission was granted for music to be heard in Auschwitz.

The Music

This forms the central section of a three-part symphony by the Polish composer Henryk Górecki. He was relatively unknown until 1992 when the whole symphony including this piece was released and went on to become a sensation, with over a million sales, topping the classical charts in both he UK and the US. Continue reading

Leaving On A Jet Plane

From a time when flying especially in a jet plane was still rare.

I remember age 11, in my first year at the new school, one of my class playing her guitar and singing this in our music lesson. The classroom had posters of Curved Air, and Simon and Garfunkel and a fabulous, young music teacher, with hair like Simon Rattle. And a passion for Petrushka; I can still see him now dancing slowly around the room while we listened to it.

Ruby Tuesday

The video image is poor, so turn the screen away and just listen – Melanie at her best. A song written by The Rolling Stones. I prefer this version, perhaps because I heard it first.

Pacific (G)Rim

Just watched what should have been a great film. Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro and featuring Idris Elba.

What a waste. Pseudo-dinosaurs boxing with gigantic humanoid robots. In an age of nuclear weapons, they prefer the left hook?! Cue macho male leads and a solo, subordinate, woman. Life’s too short. Very disappointing. Going back to Pan’s Labyrinth.