Bond – Classical Crossover

If you love hot music and beautiful women, or possibly beautiful music and hot women, Bond may be right up your alley. It certainly is mine. They are an Australian/British string quartet that specializes in classical crossover music.

The group consists of Tania Davis (first violin, formerly viola, from Sydney, Australia), Eos Chater (second violin, from Cardiff, Wales), Elspeth Hanson (viola, from Upper Basildon, England)[4] and Gay-Yee Westerhoff (cello, from Hull, England). Hanson replaced original band member Haylie Ecker (formerly first violin), who left in 2008 to have a child.

Wikipedia says, Their debut album Born was removed from the UK classical chart, apparently owing to its “sounding too much like pop music”. Born later rose to the #1 position on 21 different charts around the world. Shine, their second album, went gold in six countries. Remixed, their third release, featured remixes from their first two hit albums as well as three new unreleased pieces. Their third studio album Classified was a popular and successful release: Classified went double platinum in Australia, reaching the number one spot on both the classical and pop charts. Explosive: The Best of Bond, their latest release, is a “best of” collection that includes three previously unreleased pieces. They also participated at the Miss World 2000 pageant in London.

The classical violinist Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra performed live on New Year’s Eve in Vienna in a set that includes many Strauss favorites, as well as an appearance from Bond performing “Victory”.

Bond-Play

More recently, Bond also performed “I Am the Walrus” alongside Russell Brand at the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony.

Tony

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Carmen Fantasy – Doc Severinsen

*Carmen was the first opera I ever attended and it remains my favorite. I wish there were some fascinating video to go along with this music, but I consider myself lucky to have found it. I first heard this piece by Doc Severinsen on an airplane on my way to Las Vegas years ago. It took me over a week to track down the CD. Trumpet Spectacular has Doc doing only selections like this from operas.*

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the opera.

Carmen is an opera in four acts by the French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto was written by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. The opera was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris, on 3 March 1875, and was not at first particularly successful; its initial run extended to 36 performances. Before this run was concluded, Bizet died suddenly, and thus knew nothing of the opera’s later celebrity. Bizet died on his sixth wedding anniversary, exactly three months after Carmen’s first performance

The opera, written in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue, tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naive soldier who is seduced by the wiles of the fiery gypsy Carmen. José abandons his childhood sweetheart and deserts from his military duties, yet loses Carmen’s love to the glamorous toreador Escamillo after which José kills her in a jealous rage. The depictions of proletarian life, immorality and lawlessness, and the tragic outcome in which the main character dies on stage, broke new ground in French opera and were highly controversial. After the premiere most reviews were critical, and the French public was generally indifferent. Carmen initially gained its reputation through a series of productions outside France, and was not revived in Paris until 1883; thereafter it rapidly acquired celebrity at home and abroad, and continues to be one of the most frequently performed operas; the “toreador’s song” from act 2 is among the best known of all operatic arias. Later commentators have asserted that Carmen forms the bridge between the tradition of opéra comique and the realism or verismo that characterised late 19th-century Italian opera.

Wikipedia continues, “The music of Carmen has been widely acclaimed for its brilliance of melody, harmony, atmosphere and orchestration, and for the skill with which Bizet represented musically the emotions and suffering of his characters. After the composer’s death the score was subject to significant amendment, including the introduction of recitative in place of the original dialogue; there is no standard edition of the opera, and differences of view exist as to what versions best express Bizet’s intentions. The opera has been recorded many times since the first acoustical recording in 1908, and the story has been the subject of a large number of screen and stage adaptions.”

I think every man has encountered at least one version of Carmen in his life. I know I did and it took me years to get over her. She is an archetypal character brought to life in this powerful opera.

Tony

Saint Preux – Concert Pour une Voix – Some Really Beautiful Music

I was introduced to Saint Preux’s Concert Pour Une Voix years ago by my then girlfriend, Joanne. I never new if Saint Preux was the artist, singer or composer. I only knew I had never heard anything as beautiful in my life. If you love it, there is an album by the same name.

Wikipedia says, “Saint-Preux (born 1950) is a French composer of contemporary classical music which also combines elements from popular music and electronic music.By 1968 he had already released several 45 rpm recordings of his compositions, including Une étrange musique (A Strange Music) which reached #71 on the French charts that year. In August 1969, he took part in Poland’s Sopot International Song Festival with his first major composition La valse de l’enfance (The Waltz of Youth). The song was Luxembourg’s entry in the festival and was sung by Henri Seroka with Saint-Preux conducting the symphony orchestra. The song won the Grand Prix de la Presse award at the festival and was released in that same year on Seroka (Festival FX 1583) and as a single on the EMI/Odeon label.[6][7] While in Poland he composed what was to become his biggest hit, Concerto pour une Voix (Concerto for One Voice).

When Saint-Preux returned to France, René Boyer, head of the music publishers Fantasia, took him under his wing and arranged to have Concerto pour une Voix recorded. Although originally written as a purely instrumental work for trumpet and strings, Saint-Preux heard the French singer, Danielle Licari rehearsing in another studio and decided to record it with her voice taking the part of the trumpet using a vocalise technique (similar to scat singing in jazz). The song, released on the Disc’AZ label in 1969, made both her career and his. In a few months it had sold over 3,000,000 copies in France alone, and gained recognition outside of France as well. In the week of August 22, 1970 it entered the charts in Mexico at #10 and Japan at #20, eventually winning a Gold disc and a Japanese “Oscar” for the best original music.

What do you think?

Tony

Thanks to ALL of You!!!

I started this blog on the first of September expecting to do a couple of dozen posts a year.

Somehow, three months later I am past 75 already. Haven’t a clue how that happened as I am still writing the One Regular Guy Writing About Food, Exercise and Living Longer one, too.

Likeable Blog Award

Likeable Blog Award

Anyway, thanks to each and every one of you for reading these little posts and taking the time to click like. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Tony

Fun Bicycling Videos

You don’t have to be a cyclist to enjoy these.

When I was in the news business one of our axioms was that if the readers didn’t know a fact, it was news, no matter how old. So, I consider these videos as very fun news. They have been around a while, but are brand new to me.

I don’t know who Robin Moore is (the guy in the vids), but I am his newest fan.

Tony

Ode to Bobbie Gentry

I have Sirius Satellite Radio in my car and my presets include music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. On a recent ride, Ode to Billie Joe came on and I found myself haunted by the writing as well as being transported by the eerie music backing it. I was really happy to learn that Bobbie Gentry, the singer, wrote it and this was her debut recording.

Although it was created just short of 50 years ago, I doubt that any current readers are not familiar with the song.

Here is the first verse:
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door “y’all remember to wipe your feet”
And then she said “I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge”
“Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”

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Look at how specific the phrases are: The third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day. Lovely alliteration with the d sounds, too. Very strong images. She paints such a clear picture for us to immerse ourselves. Great verbs in the next line Choppin‘ cotton and balin‘ hay. Very specific and also very vivid. In seconds, the listener is transported to the Delta on a summer day doing field work. And, then the day is done and we have a leisurely walt back to dinner. I love the introduction of Mama who runs the house reminding them to wipe their feet. And then the refrain … the horrible news about Billy Joe MacAllister.
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Toccata and Fugue For Glass Harp

Let me say in advance that I love music, but don’t care much for gimmicky performances of it.

I saw Walt Disney’s Fantasia as a child and was blown away by it. One of the songs in particular, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor took my breath away. I have it on my iPod to this day.

A friend sent me this You Tube video of it and I loved it.

I hope you feel the same.

Tony

Thank You – All 200 of You!

I just got this little badge from WordPress that said I had a LIKABLE BLOG.

When I started writing this blog last month, I fully expected to post about two dozen items over the coming year. Here I am in my second month and I am on number 35. Go figure!

I saw and loved the movie Premium Rush and wanted to write about it. It didn’t seem to fit the other blog that I co-write with my friend John, so I started this blog. I wanted to write about My Favorite Things as I said on my About page. I guess didn’t know that I had so many.

It’s gratifying that my simple message of positivity and beauty can find such a welcome.

I want to thank all of you folks who have visited my blog and taken the time to LIKE what you read and saw. I am thrilled that someone else likes my photos. I don’t think I am dry yet, so I hope you will return from time to time.

Just informationally, I also co-write a blog on Diet, Exercise and Good Health including Healthy Aging. It was John’s brainchild, an old friend from Reuters. You can check it out at: guysandgoodhealth.com.

Tony