Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Here's another Dowland piece by this incredible duo of Valeria Mignaco, soprano & Alfonso Marin, lute. This one is in a very old form of Spanish.
Vuestros ojos tienen d'amor no se que,
Que me yelan me roban me hieran me matan,
Que me matan, me matan a fè:
Porque me mirays con ta asticion,
y al mi coracon me aprisionays,
Que si vos me mirays yo os acusare.
I love this song! It has the perfect heavy dose of Elizabethan melancholy. The performance by Valeria Mignaco, soprano & Alfonso Marin, lute is just wonderful.
"Flow my tears"
Flow my teares fall from your springs,
Exilde for ever: Let me morne
Where nights black bird hir sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorne.
Downe vaine lights shine you no more,
No nights are dark enough for those
That in dispaire their last fortunes deplore,
Light doth but shame disclose.
Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pittie is fled,
And teares, and sighes, and grones
My wearie days of all joyes have deprived.
From the highest spire of contentment,
My fortune is throwne,
And feare, and griefe, and paine
For my deserts, are my hopes since hope is gone.
Hark you shadowes that in darnesse dwell,
Learn to contemne light,
Happy that in hell
Feele not the worlds despite.
I bought "Songs From The Labyrinth" a few years ago and it is always on my Mp3 player. The songs of John Dowland are beautiful and with heavy doses of melancholy. Stings' approach is fresh and the presentation of the whole album is lush and inviting. I have a real weakness for lute music! RR
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I have been playing with my new Peavey Windsor Studio guitar amplifier and I am loving it. I like to play electric blues and jazz for relaxation and I got tired of playing through the amp I was using. I wanted something nicer with that vintage tube tone and this does the trick very nicely. Check out the demo and see how versatile this amp is!
Some folks are surprised when I tell them that I enjoy playing electric guitar. They think that it's a waste for me to spend time with this instrument when I am so capable on native flute and classical guitar. My response is that electric guitar takes a completely different set of chops to play well. I like it because the notes sustain which classical guitar just can't do. I also like the power! I hope to record a jazz and blues album someday and I also hope to add an "electric" set to my show somewhere down the road. I just like guitar in all its forms! RR
Monday, October 20, 2008
Derek is an amazing guy. He founded CDBaby which has become a great distributor for Indies and has helped me get my music into lots of places. He is a great motivator and has an insight into the music business that is based on reality. In this video he gives a talk to first year students at Berklee College of Music on opening day. His topic is what he wishes he knew when he first attended Berklee.
I never went to music school and am self taught. I had to learn much of what Derek is talking about on my own. I wish I had heard this talk when I first embarked on this journey. The music business is highly competitive. What makes it possible for people like me to succeed is that a great number of musicians just don't have a very good work ethic. Those of us who do have a good work ethic float to the top because we show up in a good condition to give great performances. In addition, many musicians feel like they are selling out if they make money with their 'art'. That's fine with me...I don't mind making money with my art. In fact, I like making money with my art and I like running my own music business. One of my favorite American Indian artists wears a t-shirt that says: "Real Artists Don't Starve!". It has become my personal motto! RR
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Performance anxiety is a real challenge for many if not most musicians. I experience it before I go on the concert stage. Once I start playing and settle down I feel great but the ten or fifteen minutes before showtime can be difficult. Flute performance is a breeze but guitar performance is the test. If my wife is handy, I ask her to hang out with me so we can just talk while I warm up my hands. If she's not there, I will often ask someone I know in the audience to be with me for a little while. This gives me a chance to focus on something other than the clock.
I know lots of musicians who have given up on concert performances because the anxiety is just too overwhelming. I have never gone that far although I totally understand the sentiment. I find that the trick is preparation which builds confidence. I can then lose myself in beautiful music and that is where the best performances seem to be found.
Hey...if it was easy, everyone would be a performer! RR
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
This is a fascinating dialogue between two great masters of the 20th Century. The act of recording is very different from the act of concert performance. Listening to these two discuss the differences was very enlightening for me. I am a recording artist as well as a performance artist. There are aspects of both that I enjoy and disdain. I identify with both of these masters' viewpoints on the subject. Recording can be a very intense experience where the number of small details can be very overwhelming during the process. I look forward to the end of the recording process so that I can share my work with other people. Performance is also an intense experience because of the anxiety that it can induce. Again, sharing my performance is the payoff. In my perfect world, I would probably do neither and just spend my time learning and practicing Bach!
A personal observation...can you imagine what Glenn Gould would have done with today's digital recording technology? RR
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Nick Reynolds, a founding member of the Kingston Trio, passed away last week. The Kingston Trio were a group that made it possible for others in the folk music genre to follow. Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary and even John Denver owe a debt to the Kingston Trio. I still listen to the Kingston Trio as it reminds me of a simpler time. RIP Nick... RR
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
This is a great overview of Classical music. The 7 part video series contains excerpts of musical masterpieces composed by the greatest Classical music composers. I enjoyed this playlist one rainy afternoon while I was working on music business paperwork and was surprised by how fast the time went by. I was reaquainted with some "old friends" that afternoon and decided to share it with my viewers.
I was reminded of an investment I made when I was a college freshman. In the mid-seventies, Funk and Wagnalls published a 22 volume set of record albums with masterpieces of Classical music. They made them available through Safeway grocery stores at a very reasonable price. I collected all 22 over the course of a year and they became the basis for my Classical music collection. I still have them and they still sound great. Classical music collections are very affordable and are a great form of entertainment. This kind of music never gets old or dated. I guess that's why they call it Classic! RR