Category Archives: music


Richter absolutely owns Chopin’s Nocturne in E minor op. 72 no. 1

If Classical 96.3 had been playing this today, I would have had to pull over. Possibly my favourite Nocturne.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Poem: “High Flight”
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941) was an American aviator and poet who died as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during World War II. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States officially entered the war. Magee’s posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet “High Flight”, started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death. He had flown up to 33,000 feet in a Spitfire Mk I. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — “To touch the face of God.” He completed it later that day after landing.


Liszt Consolation #3

Written in 1849 as Chopin passed away, the Consolations divulge a slightly gloomy Liszt, almost sad. As he was writing a book in tribute to his Polish colleague, Liszt seems to have adopted his deceased friend’s language, especially in this third consolation, probably the most popular of all six pieces.

This is what Classical 96.3 was playing as Escargot and I skimmed along the sunny/cloudy Queensway this afternoon.

The cello truly plucks at the human soul, as in the first video interpretation of this beautiful piece:

Franz Liszt, Consolation No.3, Guido Schiefen (cello), Eric Le Van (piano)

In the second video, Sylvain Blassel performs this third Consolation, S.172, on a gothic styled, twisted column Erard harp from 1907!

Franz Liszt – Consolation No. 3 – Sylvain Blassel, harp

And in the third, of course, Horowitz has well over a million views for his sensitive piano interpretation:

Horowitz plays Liszt Consolation No. 3

But it’s always the cello that sings to me.



A brag about Escargot, my ice silver Mini Cooper S that I picked up on the weekend. Born in Oxford, England, with some BMW styling thrown in. Our first trip was to Paris (Ontario). Riding through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in her hair. Priceless. Eat your heart out, Lucy Jordan. No housework planned for the foreseeable future.

For my friend, Jim Marsh, who told me this car would be a lot of fun, and he was right.

Le Flâneur: Paris at Night in 2,000 Photographs

The elegance of Paris is captured in a stunning time-lapse video by Luke Shepard, a student at The American University of Paris.

The undergraduate student’s two-minute video titled Le Flâneur has gone viral since the Boston-native posted it on the popular video networking site Vimeo earlier this year.

The video is composed of 2,000 photographs which Shepard, 21, shot at night and in the early hours while roaming the French capital. Over the course of a few months, Shepard snapped photo after photo with his trusty Nikon D90 camera strapped to a tripod to prevent any unnecessary movement.

The video is set to the song Intro by The xx, an English indie pop band.

“Ever since I’ve been in Paris I’ve been wandering the streets at night either by bike or by foot,” Shepard told the Toronto Star.

“There is a very eerie feeling about it (at night). I wanted to tell its story through pictures.”

Excerpted from the Toronto Star, May 5, 2011.

Interview with Luke Shepard.

Cent Ans de Plus

Cent ans dans la peau de l’esclave
Et juste après cent ans de plus
Chercher des miettes sous la table
Avant que les blancs ne marchent dessus
Dormir sous des paquets de planches
Chanter seulement le dimanche
Tu vois la femme noire
Dans le rôle de la bonne
Avec tout à côté
Tout tordu sous bonhomme
Après ça faut pas que tu t’étonnes

C’est eux qui ont fait
Eux qui ont fait
Son House et Charlie Patton
Howlin’ Wolf et Blind Lemon

Bien rouge le sang de l’Afrique
Sur la jolie fleur du coton
La toute nouvelle Amérique
La belle démocratie “Welcome”
Bâteaux déportant les villages
Au bout de l’immense voyage
Gravé dans la memoire
Pour des années lumière
Chaque larme d’ivoire
Chaque collier de fer
Après ça faut pas que tu t’étonnes

C’est eux qui ont fait
Eux qui ont fait
Son House et Charlie Patton
Howlin’ Wolf et Blind Lemon

Toujours plaire aux marchands de fantôme
Elle qu’on achète et lui que l’on donne
Naître avec la peine maximum
Toujours vivant dans ce que nous sommes
Peuple interdit du reste des hommes
Cherchent le bleu de l’ancien royaume
Eux qui ont fait faut pas que ça t’étonnes
Son House et Charlie Patton
Blind Blake et Willie Diton
Ma Rainey et Robert Johnson
Howlin’ Wolf et Blind Lemon
Son House et Charlie Patton

Francis Cabrel, Cent Ans de Plus

The Gypsy Wife

Legendary Canadian troubadour and poet Leonard Cohen has won the ninth Glenn Gould Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts and communication, it was announced Friday at a ceremony in Toronto.

Cohen, 76, is the third Canadian to take the $50,000 international honour, established in 1987 to commemorate the life and work of pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982) and sometimes called “the Nobel Prize of the arts.” He is famous for such songs as Suzanne, Bird on a Wire and Hallelujah and books such as The Spice-Box of Earth and Let Us Compare Mythologies.

Globe and Mail, April 1, 2011

I’ve heard all the wild reports, they can’t be right
But whose head is this she’s dancing with on the threshing floor
whose darkness deepens in her arms a little more

And where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?
Where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?

Ah the silver knives are flashing in the tired old cafe
A ghost climbs on the table in a bridal negligee
She says, “My body is the light, my body is the way”
I raise my arm against it all and I catch the bride’s bouquet

And where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?…

Too early for the rainbow, too early for the dove
These are the final days, this is the darkness, this is the flood
And there is no man or woman who can’t be touched
But you who come between them will be judged

And where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?…

In Waltz Into Darkness, a 1947 noir crime novel by Cornell Woolrich (writing as William Irish) weaves a beautiful, terribly tragic tribute to the intricacies of human relationships and the depths that we are willing to sink to if we think worthy the person we make our descent with. This is, in essence, a romance novel under the guise of a noir crime tale.

Louis Durand is a man not accustomed to the ways of love and finds himself overwhelmed by the extreme emotional states that accompany it. He could be argued as a weakling and a coward, but any true romantic (a category under which I myself likely would fall) will be moved by his unchanged, unshakeable devotion to the woman that he has his heart set on. He compromises his own morals and safety and way of life to win her over.

The character of Julia Russell and her successor is the true star of the novel. She is a woman hardened by the world that has turned its nose up at her and throughout the novel grows out of her cynical, loveless, deceitful shell and evolves into a woman that she before was so afraid to become.

The novel is one of the definitive dark love stories of literary history, richly written by a brilliant author who clearly has personal stakes in the story. The novel will bear a much greater significance to those well versed in the ways of love and its darker faces. Detractors of love, cynics, and the naive in the world of relationships should steer clear, but for those who don’t fit those descriptions and those who are looking for a tale of truly moving love and lack thereof, pick up this novel immediately.

Book review shamelessly cadged from Amazon.

The Dog Song

I’m just a walking my dog
Singing my song
Strolling along
Yeah it’s just me and my dog
Catching some sun
We can’t go wrong

Well just go right to the pound
And find yourself a hound
And make that doggie proud
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about

Nellie McKay Dog Song

Playful, quirky, hilarious, endearing: not attributes of your typical political agitator. But singer-songwriter-producer-activist Nellie McKay merits the description. Her music is whimsical, colorful, catchy and as engaging as it is restless. Toying with antique genres and yet undeniably contemporary, it flirts with multiple styles of delivery while maintaining a sharp social conscience.

For these and other eccentricities, McKay has gained a devoted fan following. On stage and off, she’s an outspoken advocate of animal rights, a friend and ally to any arch political quip and — lucky for us — artistically uncompromising.

Excerpted from TED dot com

Image: “Lost Girls”

Nellie McKay website