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Posts Tagged ‘music’

There is a lot of trouble in the world right now, but we are not helpless. We are not hopeless. And if there’s any better way to remember that today than Star Wars, I don’t know it. Just thinking of the theme song raises my spirits. Here’s to building a better future. 

For motivation, check out this piece on the history of John Williams’ rousing theme:

Behind The Song: “Star Wars Theme” by John Williams – American Songwriter

And then, of course, there’s our scrappy band of Rebels.

“Would it help if I got out and pushed?”

— Princess Leia

Always.

May the Force be with us.

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via Pixabay 

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I am partial to the written word, of course, but there are times when words can fail us. That’s where music comes in.

Ukrainian violinist Illia Bondarenko made a recording of himself playing in a shelter in Kyiv. Since posting, he has been joined by musicians around the world…

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Do you play? You can join in by downloading the score and making your own recording:

Violinists Support Ukraine – Participate

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Original Photo by Beth Rufener on Unsplash

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My father is not into Wordle. I’ll admit that I was a little surprised to learn that the man who helped teach me to read, let us bring books to the dinner table (and anywhere else), and encouraged my every literary step looked at Wordle and said, “Meh, I’m just not that into you.”

But hey, that’s cool. To each their own, right? And today I found something that music lovers like him might prefer.

Meet Heardle – That daily musical intros game.

The answer library appears to draw mostly/exclusively from popular music so it may not be my father’s thing (a classical version would be perfect), but it’s fun to see people pushing the original idea out into other, equally creative spaces.

Speaking of spaces, geography nerds can also check out Worldle. Guess the country from a map outline and clues that hint at distance and direction.

Creative and fun!

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Photo by blocks on Unsplash

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Today is (probably*) Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday, and it’s a date I note every year. That’s because it also happens to be my adoption date. 

Like a lot of kids, mini me went through an early phase where I pronounced new words as they were spelled (like “Zay oose,” here’s hoping no Greek gods were paying attention). And so in some corner of my mind this German composer will always remain “Bee Thoven.”

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The 20 greatest Beethoven works of all time – Classic FM

Here’s where I admit that I find a lot of his work a little over the top, like he was angry at the piano or something. As my stepmother has been known to say, “Too many notes!” I still recognize brilliance when I hear it, and his approach is a lesson for creatives of all forms.

“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.”

― Ludwig van Beethoven

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Bring me my piano! Photo by Maria Lupan on Unsplash

* Beethoven was baptized on December 17th in Bonn, Germany, making it likely that he was born the day before. Let’s just go with it, shall we?

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Some days you take a break from the avalanche of news and realize you’ve got Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi stuck in your head. The chorus can feel too true to remember that there are reasons to be cheerful and the world is not, in fact, on a one way trip to Ugh Town. 

But other days? Like today days? With heartfelt respect to Ms. Mitchell,* you realize that the final lines of the song could be rewritten:

“They saved Paradise,

and took out the parking lot.”

And we’re just the people to do it.

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Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash
  • How does one address someone with this level of accomplishment? Award-winner? Multi-Hall of Famer? Fellow Canadian? Doctor (she has three honorary doctorates)? I went with the title that, I hope, conveys fundamental respect across all arenas.

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Today in creative women, we have two items you might find interesting. First, a podcast on one of our great science fiction writers: 

Octavia Butler: Visionary Fiction

Octavia Butler’s alternate realities and ‘speculative fiction’ reveal striking, and often devastating parallels to the world we live in today. She was a deep observer of the human condition, perplexed and inspired by our propensity towards self-destruction. Butler was also fascinated by the cyclical nature of history, and often looked to the past when writing about the future. Along with her warning is her message of hope – a hope conjured by centuries of survival and persistence. For every society that perishes in her books comes a story of rebuilding, of repair.

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I was also interested to see this piece on largely forgotten female composers, complete with interactive map. I’m not a classical music buff, but I didn’t even know Amadeus had a sister, much less one who was also a child music prodigy. Now I do, and I’m better for it.

‘They deserve a place in history’: music teacher makes map of female composers

Two siblings, both considered child prodigies, dazzled audiences across Europe together in the 18th century, leaving a trail of positive reviews in their wake. But while Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart went on to be celebrated as one of the world’s greatest composers, the accomplishments of his sister – Maria Anna – were quickly forgotten after she was forced to halt her career when she came of age.

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Here’s to not stopping.

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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Not Fade Away

My father started a friends and family email chain about An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, a window on a history that is both important and difficult. For a bit of balance, here are indigenous students doing something that is both important and uplifting.

Here’s to survival, and to hope.

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Students at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Cape Breton sing Paul McCartney’s Blackbird in their native Mi’kmaq language.

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Saturday mornings always remind me of cartoons and classical music.

We didn’t have a television when I was growing up (or junk food like sugary cereals), which was great for reading and not quite so great for social integration. (This was before there was a smartphone in every pocket, terabytes of entertainment at every turn, and the splintering of society. But I digress.) 

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I did manage to absorb a decent amount of after-school programming and advertising jingles at friends’ houses, and Saturday morning cartoons when we visited our grandparents.

They had a cute little house in Chicago, with a TV room in the back. That’s where I slept when we visited, and I loved it because it meant I could wake up early and start the day with a deliciously sweet diet of cartoons. My brother would join me soon after, and we’d watch until the rest of the house was up. 

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Most Saturdays, though, we’d wake up at home. What those experiences had in common was classical music. Cartoons have used classical scores for decades. My father is a big fan, and likes to start the day with classical music, played loud. Especially on Saturdays. One of the first albums he bought us as kids was Peter and the Wolf.

To this day, I can’t hear that Prokofiev tune without smiling.

I wasn’t the only one indoctrinated by the classical/cartoon connection, of course. Many of you were right there with me. Click through for a fun thread that identifies a number of the more recognizable pieces.

Or perhaps you are looking for a 2+ hour collection of cartoon music? Then this is your lucky day!

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Since I’m thinking of my father and music, here’s a link I think he might enjoy:

I have no idea what most of these shows were (United States Steel Hour?), but I hope that he does, and that some of this music brings a smile to his face, too.

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Happy Saturday!

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

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We’ve had guests in town and that’s always fun. We went to The Tallis Scholars at the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica last night (check out that vaulted ceiling in the photo below:) and it was a lovely experience. There’s nothing like soaring choral music to elevate the spirits, and the level of talent was extraordinary. A UK vocal ensemble formed by Peter Phillips in 1973, the group holds a well-deserved international reputation and have more than sixty albums out. If you have the chance to see them in person, I recommend it. The fact that this is the holiday season just made it that much more fun.

Me being me, the event also inspired some deliciously wicked ideas for a story I’m writing. Win win!

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RIP, Lou Reed

Such a shame; I grew up on his music.

Whatever

Very sad day for Rock and Roll, New York and the world.

Obit at Rolling Stone.

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