A tune has been obsessively bouncing around in my head for quite some time now... it's a flamboyant Syd Dale piece entitled The Hell Raisers; you may have heard it before. It's a two minute bit of commercial music written in 1968 intended to be used for... whatever. It was used as promotional music for a sleazy 1966 film about prostitutes called Another Day, Another Man, it was in an episode of the old animated Spider-Man show (you know, the one with the snappy "Spider-Man/Spider-Man/Does whatever a spider can" theme song) and was also used in network and local sports broadcasting. No doubt other stuff as well. But it's great! Very catchy. I know I sound old when I write this, but it's true: they just don't write over-the-top jazz band stuff like this any more. Do you, like me, enjoy this kind of thing? Search on youtube for "syd dale" or "kpm klassics." (KPM was the British music library Dale often wrote for.)
Last night I killed an hour and a half of my life watching an utterly ridiculous film from 1978, Buffalo Rider about, you guessed it, a man who rides a buffalo across the west and his adventures therein. Why did he decide to ride a buffalo rather than a horse? (A buffalo, like a 600 pound ape, pretty much goes wherever it wants to go.) I don't know. The funny thing is that this epic is supposedly based on the true life of an early conservationist Charles "Buffalo" Jones - but I can find no mention anywhere that Jones ever actually rode a buffalo. He was just interested in preserving them (after a stint as a buffalo hunter, that is.) I suspect the bit about Jones actually riding a buffalo is a result of some excessively creative thinking or bad weed on the part of the producers. I have to admit, there were some good laughs in this... when Jones finally learns to ride the buffalo there's a heartfelt theme song which is sung as incidental music which had me in tears. And the climatic scene, when Jones hunts down some murdering hunters, is pretty funny: he and the buffalo storm into a bar, knocking down tables and other furniture (buffalo don't care for such finery), Jones shoots up the place and the hunters, and departs. The narrator dutifully says, "... and nobody in the Crystal Palace ever forgot that day!" Well, I guess not.
I am ashamed to admit that my alma mater, Brigham Young University, had a hand in this daft production. Perhaps not surprisingly, the copyright has expired on this film and it is now in the public domain. You can see it here on youtube in its entirety, yeee-haa giddyup buffalo!
Syd Dale, Buffalo Rider... it wasn't all intellectual slumming last night. I also watched a couple of Robert Greenberg lectures. I learned something interesting about Bach's Brandenburg Concerti, especially about my favorite, #3 in G major. It's in three movements, but the second movement is nothing more than two chords, a "Phrygian half cadence." As the wikipedia article states, current performing practice can be anything from simply playing the two chords to improvising an extended cadenza to inserting another Bach piece. I've heard a number of recordings of this piece but I didn't know that! You can see it performed here, all fourteen seconds of it. As always, the youtube comments are funny: "I've got this WHOLE movement memorized," "This was written on a tissue while Bach went for a coffee break," "Isn't it funny that 247,487 people watched the shortest movement of baroque music ever?" Haha!
I'm currently on the Mozart concerti... thank goodness. I find baroque music to be pretty dry, actually. Most of it, to use Greenberg's own phrase in a prior lecture, sounds to me like musical wallpaper. I have always preferred the greater freedom and expressiveness in Romantic, late Romantic and 20th C. music. I am just now coming to appreciate the Classical period, however (via the Haydn London symphonies).
We got four new tires put on the VW last night at COSTCO: $435. Bridgestones were on sale. I wanted Michelins, but not for $150 more. (We have been slammed with expenses this year, not the least of which was a wedding.) I am happy to report that the car's ride feels grippier than before. A part of the recent "catch up on chores" weekend was putting a new headlight on the VW; what a pain. It's a good car and seems to be well-designed, except for the headlight assemblies, which require patience, accuracy, strength and technical acumen to remove and reinsert. In fact, when I arrived at work this morning I noticed that the headlight wasn't on - a shove on the assembly got it lit. %^#$%!$!@! I guess I need to tighten up on the locking cam when I get home. I needed a buy a 5mm socket to do it. Have you ever tried to find a 5 mm, 1/4" drive socket you can put on the end of a long shaft? Another delight.
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