Day 166: Radio Days

41E6BFRBHMLRadio Days, the 1987 movie written and directed by Woody Allen, is “one big stroll down memory lane” (my wife’s words) told through witty and poignant voice-over narration provided by Woody, and visuals of a young boy growing up in the years just before and during World War II whose constant companion is the radio.

There are many guest stars in Radio Days, some of whom appeared in previous Woody movies.

This is an interesting movie from a nostalgia perspective. But I couldn’t get wrapped up in the story.

Radio Days isn’t a bad film. It’s just not one of my favorites.

Next up: September.

Day 49: The Creation (Part Two)

HaydnCD49This is the second part of Haydn’s “masterpiece” Die Schopfung (The Creation). It covers parts 2 & 3.

I don’t have much to add to what I posted yesterday. The performances are remarkable. It sounds like it took a master craftsman 2-3 years to compose this impressive oratorio. (By the way, if you do listen to The Creation, be prepared to get an earful of rolling Rs. This is opera, after all.)

Because it’s probably best appreciated in totality, I’ve offered another full performance of Haydn’s The Creation, courtesy of someone posting it to YouTube.

NOTE: This isn’t the performance to which I was listening today.

The clip below features Sally Matthews, soprano, Ian Bostridge, tenor, Dietrich Henschel, bass, and the London Symphony, conducted by Colin Davis.

Day 48: The Creation (Part One)

HaydnCD48Today’s musical selection is an oratorio titled Die Schopfung (“The Creation”), which — according to its entry on Wiki — is considered Haydn’s masterpiece…and a test of both his stamina and his faith in God.

Haydn was inspired to write a large oratorio during his visits to England in 1791–1792 and 1794–1795, when he heard oratorios of Handel performed by large forces. Israel in Egypt is believed to have been one of these. It is likely that Haydn wanted to try to achieve results of comparable weight, using the musical language of the mature classical style.

The work on the oratorio lasted from October 1796 to April 1798. It was also a profound act of faith for this deeply religious man, who appended the words “Praise to God” at the end of every completed composition. He later remarked, “I was never so devout as when I was at work on The Creation; I fell on my knees each day and begged God to give me the strength to finish the work.” Haydn composed much of the work while at his residence in the Mariahilf suburb of Vienna, which is now the Haydnhaus. It was the longest time he had ever spent on a single composition. Explaining this, he wrote, “I spent much time over it because I expect it to last for a long time.” In fact, he worked on the project to the point of exhaustion, and collapsed into a period of illness after conducting its premiere performance.

Haydn was between 64 and 66 when he composed this Continue reading