Oh, FUN!

How in the world did it take me this long to find Free-Scores.com and its “radio” streaming feature? Just too cool for words. While most streaming services seem to focus on popular crap, I’m able to define a broad or narrow range of what I deem “classical” and have it stream randomly or as my own designed playlist. Whiloe I’ve found a number of other “internet radio stations,” some of which are close to my needs/desires (see my right sidebar for a decent station in Australia), this one offers some unique advantages for my uses–particularly free downloads of the SCORES! (The inclusion, on the download page for a score, of historical/biographical info is a nice plus, as well.)

I like. Ever since Dr Karl Haas died a few years ago, even classical radio stations, for the most part, have been–save for re-runs of Haas’ program–mostly either just stale Romantic-period only or that with a mix of modern crap thrown in. *sigh* Of course, I enjoyed Haas’ program almost as much for his musicological commentary as for the wide array of music he featured, but yeh, it was definitely the selctions of really good music well-performed that had me coming back to his program for years.

Nothing like his commentary survives in any of the prissy, inbred platter-spinners’ patter today that I can find, so just finding another source with a wide array of good performances of excellent music is a real nice find.

Of course, if you wanted to explore more limited genres, I suppose Free-Scores might do that for you as well, but since the actual SCORES are available, that knocks out a lot of crap. Nice to download a score, then play the piece along with reading it. Sometimes nuances are more obvious that way, and it frequently gives me ideas of how I’d change a performance were I directing/playing. And for those who want it, the default “human performances” can be altered to be computer-only or human/computer “performances”–and sometimes even I prefer to hear a piece as a well-wrought midi file, espeically when just reading along for analysis).

Just fun!

Seriously recommended for anyone who appreciates a wide range of classical music, and even for those who do not but are open to learning something new.

Seriously delightful!

Continue reading “Oh, FUN!

Name Change

Michelle Malkin has a long post well worth your time, but the capstone, AFAIC, is her inclusion of Woodie Guthrie’s cover (and redaction) of Tom Paxton’s classic. See the YouTube video below. Needs no further comment from me.

Oh the price of gold is rising out of sight
And the dollar is in sorry shape tonight
What the dollar used to get us now won’t buy a head of lettuce
No the economic forecast isn’t right
But amidst the clouds I spot a shining ray
I can even glimpse a new and better way
And I’ve devised a plan of action worked it down to the last fraction
And I’m going into action here today

I am changing my name to Fannie Mae
I am going down to Washington D.C.
I’ll be glad they got my back
‘Cause what they did for Freddie Mac
Will be perfectly acceptable to me
I am changing my name to Fannie Mae
I am headed for that great receiving line
So when they hand a trillion grand out
I’ll be standing with my hand out
I’ll get mine

When my creditors are screaming for their dough
I’ll be proud to tell them all where they can go
They won’t have to scream and holler
They’ll be paid to the last dollar
Where the endless streams of money seem to flow
I’ll be glad to tell them all what they can do
It’s a matter of a simple form or two
It’s not just remuneration it’s a liberal education
Ain’t you kind of glad that I’m in debt to you


Since the first amphibians crawled out of the slime (of the slime!)
We’ve been struggling in an unrelenting climb
We were hardly up and walking before money started talking
And it’s sad that failure is an awful crime
It’s been that way for a millennium or two
But now it seems that there’s a different point of view
If you’re a corporate titanic and your failure is gigantic
Down in Congress there’s a safety net for you


UPDATE: Not to be left out of updating his classic, “I’m Changing My Name to Chrysler” *heh* Tom Paxton has his own revision out:

Good git fiddle work, and his lyric changes are, if anything, more biting. Not as singable are the melodic variations, but then, it was his song to begin with, as I recall, and he’s perfectly entitled to change whatever he likes about it.


Winterlude #1

Cold where you are? Maybe this’ll warm things up a tad:

Hey! At least it beats the “I love me” party Obama’s throwing in D.C. for entertainment value, and you don’t have to stand in line at a porta potty to enjoy it. And after the inauguration, partying and all, is passed, even then will there be enough disposal routes for all the B.S.?

(Nothing more from me today, cos in addition to my official–and essential–“to do” list, I have some mods to make to my primary computer. I may hose my system, but at least I’ll have fun doing it. :-))

Never Got Under the Tree @twc

Well, my Wonder Woman had a couple of small surprises up her sleeves, I suppose because Barnes & Noble wasn’t as quick to deliver as Amazon.com was (similar packages ordered at virtually the same time–the B&N actually first–arrived at hugely different times). Listening to one right now, Yo-Yo Ma & Friends: Songs of Joy and Peace, and enjoying the living daylights out of it. Have to do it in my office with the door shut, of course, since I like music at performance levels. It doesn’t mean I actually get the air movement of a live performance, but it’s closer than listening at “background music” levels, as far too many people do. But–even more “of course”–it’s worlds and worlds better than people who listen to stuff at excessively loud levels that are impossible without electronic amplification taken to its most hideous extreme.

Of the 22 cuts on the album, I count only two that I will NOT rip for storing on my mp3 player. That’s moderately to partly amazing, but then Yo-Yo Ma has made some amazingy musical decisions in both pieces to include and arrangements/performances of those pieces–few of which he uses as a showcase for his own considerable talent and skill on the cello. In fact, one of the ensemble pieces featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Dave Brubeck and Matt Brubeck is pretty wonderful itself, simply for the ensemble work of the two cellists playing together (No, Dave Brubeck doesn’t play cello :-)).

Really nice stuff–especially all the varied treatments of Dona Nobis Pacem, long one of my all time favs. Do yourself a favor and check this album out. Next up, The Priests. We’ll see how they fare…

Remarkably well. I didn’t want to see the PBS program earlier, because of several reasons, so all I knew of this buncha guys was what had come out in Mass Media Podpeople comments. Since Mass Media Podpeople are universally idiots, that was no help. Not bad voices (OK, very, very good, though not to the quality of Placido Domingo or Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, et al), very good arrangements and choral/instrumental performances. Sucker that I am for well-performed vocal and choral music, I know I’ll spend a lot of time with this one.

Continue reading “Never Got Under the Tree @twc”

“Silent Night”

Perhaps the mot-sung Christmas carol, this performance, again by “Celtic Woman” features two of my fav soloists from the group. Multiple favs? Yes: three. This performance features two: the soprano with the most consistently beautiful tone and vowels (Méav Ní Mhaolchatha), and the violinist (“fiddler” Máiréad Nesbitt). Lovely sounds, perfectly suited to this carol.

Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab’ im lockigen Haar,
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb’ aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund’.
Jesus in deiner Geburt!
Jesus in deiner Geburt!

Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn,
Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt sehn,
Jesum in Menschengestalt!
Jesum in Menschengestalt!

Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Wo sich heut alle Macht
Väterlicher Liebe ergoß,
Und als Bruder huldvoll umschloß
Jesus die Völker der Welt!
Jesus die Völker der Welt!

Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Lange schon uns bedacht,
Als der Herr vom Grimme befreit
In der Väter urgrauer Zeit
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß!
Aller Welt Schonung verhieß!

Stille Nacht! Heil’ge Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Alleluja,
Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
“Jesus der Retter ist da!”
“Jesus der Retter ist da!”

Continue reading ““Silent Night””

Thou Who Wast Rich Beyond All Splendor

Certainly this is one of the most powerful presentations of the Christmas story in brief song form. Chip Stam has this to say of this hymn:

Serving as Editorial Secretary for the China Inland Mission, Frank Houghton made a trip to China in 1934 to see first-hand the progress of the work. This hymn was written at a particularly difficult time in the history of the missions to China. Missionaries had been captured by the communist Red Army and released in poor health after over a year of suffering. Others had been captured never to be heard from again. In 1934 the young missionaries John and Betty Stam (my great aunt and uncle) were captured in Anhwei and beheaded . The news of these sorrows had reached the mission’s headquarters in Shanghai. Though this was a very dangerous time for both the Chinese Christians and the foreign missionaries, Frank Houghton decided he needed to begin a tour through the country to visit various missionary outposts. While traveling over the mountains of Szechwan, the powerful and comforting words of 2 Corinthians 8:9, “though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor,” were transformed into this beautiful Christmas hymn.

Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becamest poor;
Thrones for a manger didst surrender,
Sapphire-paved courts for stable floor.
Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour,
All for love’s sake becomes poor.

Read the rest of the lyrics at Chip Stam’s 1996 WQOTW post.

“Lo, How a Rose”

One of the most beautiful Christmas songs ever, rich in imagry, beautiful marriage of tune and text. Sample the choral voices singing in German, then click on through on the link below to hear the rest beautifully sung by Kathleen Battle. Her voice can be heard in the full performance found here.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
of Jesse’s lineage coming,
as those of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
the Rose I have in mind;
Mary we behold it,
the Virgin Mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
she bore to us a Savior,
when half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story
proclaimed by angels bright,
how Christ, the Lord of glory
was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
and in the manger they found him,
as angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor
the darkness everywhere;
true man, yet very God,
from sin and death he saves us,
and lightens every load.

Continue reading ““Lo, How a Rose””

“Away in a Manger”

Another Christmas Alliance post.

Away in a manger,
no crib for His bed,
The little Lord Jesus
lay down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky
looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus,
asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing,
the poor Baby wakes,
But little Lord Jesus,
no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus,
look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle
till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus,
I ask Thee to stay,
Close by me forever,
and love me, I pray!
Bless all the dear children
in Thy tender care
And take us to heaven,
to Live with Thee there.

Much better tune than what this song is usually sung to throughout most of the US. The tempo the snippet below is played at is too fast for singing the song properly, but the tune’s beautiful and works much better with the lyrics when sung at a proper tempo~75-100bpm (max).

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The Wexford Carol

As part of The Christmas Alliance, today’s offering is The Wexford Carol, piano performance by Jon Schmidt.

Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.

The night before that happy tide
The noble virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass:
From every door repelled, alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble oxen stall.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
“Prepare and go”, the angels said,
“To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely Babe, sweet Jesus born.”

With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God’s angel has foretold,
They did our Savior Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Wexford Carol – Jon Schmidt / Irish Carol

(And do see below the fold)

Trackposted to The Pink Flamingo, Leaning Straight Up, Rosemary’s Thoughts, Allie is Wired, Democrat=Socialist, Woman Honor Thyself, and The World According to Carl, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Continue reading “The Wexford Carol”