Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Guitar Favourites – Norbert Kraft [#562]

71dXBWuSKZL._SX522_When I was studying for an A Level in Music Performance my old college friend Min decided that rock guitar was “so last year” and turned his guitar playing skills from the electric to the classical guitar. I have to say, he was bloody good at both.

I’ve had loads of guitar playing friends over the years and, he’d probably hit me for awarding him such an accolade, but on this side of the celebrity curtain, I’d say Min was definitely the most talented of the lot. Of course, yet to see Jim play Asturias, Malagueña Salerosa  or Recuerdos de la Alhambra so that could change.

After many months practice Min managed to play Asturias with all the dexterity and finger twiddly of an accomplished guitarist almost, but not quite, like John Williams or Narcisio Yepes. Of course having spent many hours listening to him practice, the tune stuck in my head and, as a result, when I saw todays album in the bargain basket in WH Smith, I snaffled it.

Norbert Kraft is one such accomplished guitarist and I would wager he could out twiddle John Williams in a twiddle off. But then I suppose that’s like comparing Matt Howden with Nigel Kennedy. On this album, Kraft twiddles his way through 19 tracks of classic Classical classical guitar melodies effortlessly, though if a little allegro instead of vivace in places.

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Goth Stuff – Various Artists [#542]

This is an unusual compilation, and it is one that guided my ears in the direction I took when exploring the genre. It’s an unofficial compilation and, like all good music, not available in the shops. More of a mix tape someone put out onto the wibbly wobbly web back in the nineties.

The first track is Hoquetus I-VII by an unknown composer and by the third track, a Saltarello  also by an unknown composer, it starts to become clear that the compiler is trying to take the listener through their interpretation of goth music through the ages. Soon we hear Minstrel Hall by Blackmore’s Night. Not exactly goth but dabbling with medievalism, nicely leading us into track two, 18th Century Gypsy Music by Bubak and Hungaricus. Layers of folk influences building up. By the time we reach midway point, we are already being tricked into believing that Ataraxia’s Canzona is a faithful reproduction of a old classical piece.

Of course it’s not. But by this time you don’t care. Further tracks of the acoustic, goth, medieval theme float past including Eld’s interpretation of Death in June’s Death of the West, songs by Ordo Equitum Solis and Eden  also don’t seem out of place. The cherry on the top being Bauhaus‘ King Volcano. 

I’m still fond of this compilation, even though, in all honesty, I am missing a number of tracks from  the original compilation. Moreover, this album also saw me eager to discover more about bands like Ordo Equitum Solis, Blackmore’s Night  and Eden. Bands I would never have heard of if it had not been for illegal downloads of music from unregulated sources.

Of course, like home taping before it, downloading music illegally was the death of music and we know today how empty our lives have become because  music was killed.

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Classical Chillout – Various Artists [#278]

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 08.20.08Classical Chillout – Various Artists

And so I am now near the end of the week of compilations. Sometimes you get a week with a nice mix of artists, other times you get a week of crap. Sorry. That’s just the way it goes.

Today we have Classical Chillout. It seems that in the late nineties/early noughties there was a massive demand for Chillout. No idea why. It wasn’t exactly a stressful time. I guess it was just people liked to chillout. Possibly with drugs. Maybe with a bath. Whatever floats your boat.

Baths usually.

Anyway, today is Classical Chillout. A nice mix of classical music and modern chillout, which, if anything, I approve of, purely for the inclusion of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and Fauré’s In Paradisum and Cantique de Jean Racine. Which is why it is in my collection; I was looking for songs I used to sing when I was in Bishop Eton church choir.

– Barber* Adagio For Strings 9:31
Satie* Gymnopédie No. 1 3:12
Jenkins* Adiemus 3:57
Sakamoto* Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence 4:46
Puccini* O Mio Babbino Caro 2:03
Albinoni* Adagio 5:48
Beethoven* Figlio Perduto 4:37
Pärt* Spiegel Im Spiegel 4:00
Delibes* Flower Duet (Lakmé) 3:26
Nyman* The Heart Asks Pleasure First / The Promise 3:11
Fauré* Cantique De Jean Racine 5:44
Ungar* & Mason* The Ashokan Farewell 5:06
Debussy* Clair De Lune 4:54
Allegri* Misere Mei, Deus (vv 1-4, 17-20) 5:44
Horner* My Heart Will Go On 4:19
Jeffes* Perpetuum Mobile 4:28
J. S. Bach* Concerto For Violin & Oboe In D Minor (BWV 1060 – II: Adagio) 5:52
Górecki* Symphony No. 3 ‘Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs’ (II: Lento E Largo – Tanquillissimo) (extract) 4:27
Vaughan Williams* The Lark Ascending (Opening) 6:21
Satie* Gnossienne No. 1 3:23
Reich* Nagoya Marimbas 4:51
Bruch* Violin Concerto No. 1 In G Minor (Op. 26 II: Adagio) (Opening) 4:21
Tavener* Song For Athene 6:08
Morricone* Gabriel’s Oboe 2:11
Armstrong* / Del Naja* / Vowles* / Marshall* Weather Storm 6:02
Morricone* Chi Mai 5:04
Fauré* In Paradisum 3:25
Catalani* Ebben? Ne Andrò Lontana (La Wally) 4:49
Vivaldi* Winter (The Four Seasons – II: Largo) 2:29
J. S. Bach* Piano Concerto No. 5 In F Minor (BWV 1056 – II: Largo) 3:24
Mozart* Ave Verum Corpus 3:22

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Chronophagie – Lasry-Baschett (#273)

ChoronphagieChronophagie – Lasry-Baschet

British people over the age of 35 might recall a daytime television programme of their youth known as Picture Box.

The theme is Maneche by Jacques Lasry. Jacques Lasry was the  composer for an instrument known as the Cristal Baschet, a peculiar instrument resembling a sculpture designed and invented by the Baschet Brothers, François and Bernard.

This is a Cristal Baschet

Picture of a Cristal Baschet courtesy of Wikipedia

A Cristal Baschet

 

There, don’t say this project isn’t educational.

So, the Baschet brothers and Jacques Lasry and his missis Yvonne, used to tour the world with instruments like this playing at concerts and on TV. They became an avant-garde act and released a number of album soundscapes.

This isn’t the sort of music you might find yourself dancing around your boudoir to, nor is it the sort of music you might have playing while entertaining dinner guests. This is the kind of music you might put on while wearing a beret, a pipe and some slippers together with a corduroy beard and  a nice pair of sensible trousers. The kind of music you might listen to while leaning on the mantle piece of your home thoughtfully stroke your beard trying your best to look like a) you enjoy the music and b) you’re some sort of academic on the subject.

 

 

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Album #99 – Asturias The Art of Guitar – Narciso Yepes

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 15.03.46 Asturias – The Art of Guitar by Narciso Yepes

Classical guitar is one of my favourite genres of classical music. It’s difficult to play and often rocking guitar people will cower away from Classical guitar music because they are afraid that their prowess at wanking guitars will be shown for what it is.  Guitar wankery.

Classical guitar sets apart the men from the boys and the women from the girls. It’s all well and good getting on stage and wanking away to Stairway to Heaven or pretending you’re Jimi Hendrix but, in my book at least, if you can’t do a galliard or a Saltarello then you’re about as good as me with a yogurt pot and an elastic band.

Yepes has compiled some good examples of Classical guitar here including Asturias and Recuerdos de La Alhambra (two of my most favourite guitar pieces). In doing so he has made a distinctive compilation of background music for those summer evenings sat on the verandah, overlooking the hacienda while you sip mojitos and swat away mosquitos.

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