A slightly belated celebration of the news that Abba are releasing two newly recorded songs. Here’s a completely joyous performance of Fernando by Pink Flamingo and the Von Trapps:
The Von Trapps are great. They really are descended from the family in the Sound of Music. The songs here are quite lovely:
This great collaboration between Trio da Kali and the Kronos Quartet:
How about some jazz for a wet bank holiday Monday. Here’s Billie with a wonderful band (including her last appearance with Lester Young) singing Fine and Mellow in 1957:
The look on Billie’s face…
For an extra treat Geoffrey Smith put together a programme showcasing Billie and Lester’s partnership on Radio 3. You can find it here.
This is a time limited post!
Over on the Berliner Philhamoniker site they are letting us watch and listen to their performance of St Matthew Passion for free – but only until the 17th April.
Which is fair enough. Actually it’s more than fair – the music is wonderful of course, but for this performance they involved a chap called Peter Sellars to ‘ritualise’ it. Singers and choir move about, partly acting out the Passion. It isn’t opera, the effect is much slower and more stylised, but it is immensely moving and powerful.
You can find it all here.
Watch a snippet here too:
A couple of months ago we went to see Nicola Benedetti play a concert of chamber music at Warwick Arts. There was Ravel and Brahms (wonderful, both) a duet by Mark Anthony Turnage written for Benedetti and her partner Leonard Elschenbroich and a new piece by Arlene Sierra called Butterflies Remember a Mountain.
It was inspired by a natural phenomenon – the epic migration of Monarch butterflies and the way that at a point in the journey they swerve to one side and back again as if to miss an invisible obstacle.
The amazing part of the journey is the sudden eastward turn that monarchs take over Lake Superior. Monarchs fly over the lake, necessarily, in one unceasing flight. That alone would be difficult, but the monarchs make it tougher by not going directly south. They fly south, and at one point of the lake turn east, fly for a while, and then turn back toward the south. Why?
Biologists, and certain geologists, believe that something was blocking the monarchs’ path. They believe that that part of Lake Superior might have once been one of the highest mountains ever to loom over North America. It would have been useless for the monarchs to try to scale it, and wasteful to start climbing it, so all successfully migrating monarchs veered east around it and then headed southward again. They’ve kept doing that, some say, even after the mountain is long gone.
The piece was beautiful. Here it is now: