Ravel, Tartini and Bach

Next on the classical shelf is a nearly 8 hour mp3 collection of work by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Giuseppe Tartini (1692 –1770) & soprano Amelita Galli-Curci (1882 –1963).

Ravel is best know for his Bolero & perhaps his Pavane for A Dead Princess But he did actually write more than that :-). His string quartet is often paired with Debussy’s string quartet which reflects the impressionist style that Ravel wrote in. I have the Bolero & Pavane in other collections. In this one I have the complete solo piano music & his piano Concertos, which includes the concerto for left hand written for a concert pianist who lost his right hand in the war.

The Bolero unwittingly set the template for much popular music. It starts with a single instrument & every 8 bars or so adds another layer or beat – which is how many jazz, pop arrangements are constructed. It’s almost mathematic in the progression & variations. Sadly Bolero itself is a piece of music I don’t care every to hear again though. The Pavane is elegant & so relaxing it frequently shows up in collections of the most relaxing music ever.

The solo piano is similar to Debussy but a bit more mathematical as opposed to impressionist. Dreamy, relaxing. I love the sonatas. The String Quartet is surprisingly sensuous as the strings wrap around each other & you.

I had one of Tartini’s violin concertos as lp to cd transfer but wanted a better quality, so picked up the Complete Violin concertos. Best known for the Devil’s Trill, these are great Baroque pieces full of trills &, I’ve been told, virtuoso challenges for violinists.

Also in this collection is Leopold Stokowski’s Bach Transcriptions which includes the Toccata & Fugue. The orchestral sound is lush, soothing & even spiritual at times. I love the toccata & this is one my favourite versions. Stokowski turns Baroque Bach into orchestral Beethoven. Stokowski is best known for his work on Walt Disney’s Fantasia – which is a movie that introduced many generations to the power of classical music & his orchestrations are the key to the success of the movie.

Finally in this collection is Amelita Galli-Curci. She was one of the most popular operatic singers of the 20th century. I’m not a big opera fan but this set of 1917-1928 recordings is one way of stretching my ears to music I’m not that familiar with. The sound quality is okay, as it is often is with these period recordings. I’m happy with these but don’t ask me to decide who is better her or Maria Callas 🙂


“Get your lazy ass over here! You hear me. Get that lazy ass of yours over here pronto!” Jen hung up the phone satisfied she had done all she had to do. 

It wouldn’t be her fault if Jim didn’t get there on time. No one could find fault with her. Unless it was because she had made the call. It wasn’t up to her to be anyone’s alarm clock but she didn’t want to see Jim get fired. 

Jim was told if he was late one more time that would be it. She didn’t really like Jim but was used to him. She didn’t want to have to learn how to put up with some other jerk off.

She went to the customer washroom. There was still time to check to make sure she looked okay. Her hair was not too wild but not too tame either. Her lip ring was healing. The redness gone. It didn’t distract too much from the eyebrow piercing or the shock of pink she’d had put in her hair for the week. Something  to change appearances around a little. The customers liked variation. Jim felt consistency was reassuring. He didn’t like change.

She could tell by the way his eyes sort of narrowed looking for a safe place on her face to look at. There were no safe places.

She glanced at her wrist watch. Hello Kitty’s face looked so snug strapped in the middle of her full sleeve, roses & koi tattoos. Expensive but not nearly as painful as the she had expected. Both arms. A girl never had to worry about what to wear with these. She held both arms out in front of her, turned them to enjoy the wrapping and overlapping vines, castles stars & comets that danced along and over her shoulders down her back. Sweet. Sweet Sweet. What would she get done next.

Jen went to the front of the shop. She didn’t want to open up till someone else was there. The design books were laid out, a sketched pad was by her station & she began working on the pirate ship she knew would look good on Jim. 

Yes today was the day he would get his lazy ass inked once and for all.
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Koto Vivaldi

Next on the classic shelf are four cd’s of various stringed instruments: koto, lute, mandolin & guitar. Two are lp to cd transfers of the Koto Ensemble performing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (rounded out with a different group performing Japanese Melodies), the other of the Ensemble doing Mozart’s Nacht Music & Symphony 40 (rounded out with more Japanese Melodies & Bernard Hermann’s The Impressionists).

pillows composition in white and yellow 

The Koto pieces are, shall we say, very plucky – the music flutters by rapidly, there is some assistance from a violinist on the Seasons – more a curiosity than anything else but satisfying. The Melodies are traditional folk melodies which I love. The Hermann is another curiosity. I found this cheap at a garage sale & couldn’t resist it. Best known for his film music here he conducts music by Debussy, Ravel etc. sweet.


etude in roots flat

Lutz Kirchhof plays Lute Music for Witches & Alchemists: Renaissance music that isn’t as emotional as the album title suggests. Pleasant enough and I do love the sound of the lute.

snowcapsolo rhapsody in white

An lp to cd transfer: Virtuoso Mandolins is like the Koto recordings – as 10 mandolinists tackle Vivaldi, Scarlatti for a very plucky session of fun music. An energetic rush of orchestral strength washes over these pieces for some rousing music. I topped this off with selections from a 5 lp set of music for Lute, Guitar, or Mandolin. It spans eras & composers. I remember buying the set in Halifax and wanting to hear all of it all at once.


March 26 – Thursday 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam – Supermarket – 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto


April 26, 2015 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.


May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –



June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC



(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/


register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info


June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto


September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo



October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice


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“Nothing you do surprises me or anyone.”

“So you’re angry! Think of how I feel for a minute. Have you even thought to do that? Have you?”

“Look Carl, we have done nothing but that, but just because you are in pain is no reason we should suffer too.”

“Then get the fuck out of here. I don’t want your pity.”

“You aren’t getting our pity. I try to be helpful or at least as helpful as you will let me but I don’t have to put with this bullshit from you or anyone. Just because you may be dying is no reason for me to put up will your crap.”

“Then do as I suggest. Get the fuck out of here and send in someone who knows what they are doing. I’ve been getting nothing but promises since I got this room here. Let me tell you, it hasn’t been worth the the effort it took to get here.”

“That isn’t my fault. I just happen to be one of the guys who work here. I am trying to make things easier for you.”

“Don’t do me any goddamn favours Stew or Brad or Dickie DooDoo or whatever your fucking name is. Just leave me alone. When I want some incompetent asshole to come I promise I’ll ring for you.”

“With that attitude you can ring all day before anyone will come to help you.”

“Crap crap & more crap. No one ignores the dying. Us poor martyrs get heard.”

“I’m surprised you’d want to be heard by any of us considering how incompetent we all are.”

“Have I hurt your feelings. Oh poor baby I’m so sorry that I don’t give a shit. You get to walk out of here alive. I’ll be wheeled out of here on a gurney. That is if someone can manage to get one of here without dropping me down the stairs again.”

“No one dropped you on the stairs.”

“Then how did I end up on my fucking bony ass. Good thing I didn’t break anything.”

“Well, you didn’t end up on your bony ass and besides that was over two weeks ago. Must have been the highlight of your life the way you go on about it all the time.”

“Get out. I don’t need this.”

“No one needs this Carl but we are stuck with it. Can you reach the lunch tray from there?”

“I am not totally incapacitated, and, yes I can reach the lunch tray from here. Not that I can eat much.”


“No, I’m just a picky eater who doesn’t like to see his lunch puked up five minutes later.”

“Then don’t look.”


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Liona Boyd

Liona’s first lp, Classical Guitar, was a small sensation when it was released in 1977. Canada suddenly had a world-class, stunningly good-looking, female classical star. Long blond hair and seen in public, dating, the likes of Pierre Trudeau. Strangely classical guitar remains male dominated so she’s still an exception there.

glove02 the gloveless life

Now there’s nothing unusually about her choice of material on that first lp – standard classic per material give exceptional playing – I loved the Debussy. This is one of my lp to cd transfers.

mitten Mitt roamer

On the shelf this one and the next include: Ernesto Bitetti: Four Centuries of Spanish Guitar Music; Betho Davezac: Elizabethan Guitar Music; Rodrigo Riera: Renaissance Guitar; Turibio Santos: Five Centuries of French Guitar Music. The tip of my classical guitar iceberg.

glove01 what the right hand knows

Works for or adapted for guitar by Sor, Granados, Debussy, Bach, Chopin, Albeniz and others, scattered through these two cds. I have multiple versions of some of these pieces, from the original piano versions to full orchestral. And some remain my favourites even when done mariachi style or on accordion [shudder].

Strange to say my intro to classical guitar was Asturias by Isaac Albeniz as used by the Doors on Spanish Caravan. So I can thank Jim Morrison for more than a few teenage wet dreams.


That Was No Accident

“You did that on purpose.”

“I did not. Why would I do something like that on purpose.”

“Because you are like that.”

“Like what?”

“Nasty. Mean. Only thinking of yourself.”

“Sounds like you are talking about yourself again. Not that that surprises me. Seems everything comes back to you, doesn’t it.”

“Does not”

“Does too?”

“Why did you do that.”

“I didn’t.”

“What do you mean, ‘you didn’t’? Who else could have?”

“I don’t know, but it wasn’t me.”

“Was too.”

‘You calling me a liar.’

“If the shoe fits ….”

“I’m not going to put with this any longer. If you get any comfort out of thinking I did that, and that I did it deliberately, then you are welcome to think that.”

“Sorry. I just wanted to …”

“I know. Put the blame somewhere else. For all I know you did it.”

“Me! Why?”

“For the same reasons you think I would have done it. Maybe it was an accident.”

“An accident?”

“Yeah some things happen that aren’t anyone’s fault. They just happen.”

“It’s always somebody’s fault. Always. You are just trying to avoid the consequences once again.”

“Consequences. Of what?”

“You know, of your actions – consequences of perhaps apologizing or fixing things.”

“Is that what you are fishing for – someone to do the dirty work for you.”

“Look, someone has already done the dirty work. I want the guilty party to clean up. Is that too much to ask. Or am I going to be stuck with that myself.”

“Looks like you are stuck with it, because I sure as hell didn’t do it and therefore feel no compunction to deal with the aftermath. None at all.”

“How typical of you.”

“Yes. That’s right I am nasty and mean. Isn’t that what you said.”

“I left out self-centred and cruel.”

“Ohh, I’m getting more character as time passes. Here I always thought of myself as being rather dull and uninteresting But self-centred and cruel makes me sound more than interesting. In fact makes me almost as interesting as you.”

“That’ll be the day. Where are you going?”

“Out. I have things to do. People to met. You know. I can’t hang around here all day yakking with you, you know.”

“Great. Just bloody great. Leave me with mess to clean up. A mess, I might add, I am sure you made. But go on. Get out of here. Go. I’ll do it. I’m used to this by now.”

“I am going.”

“I can see that you are. And don’t hurry back. Not unless …”

“I’m not going to hurry back. I am sorry though …”

“What! You are admitting that you did this?”

“No. I did not do it. It was like this when I came into the room. But I am sorry you are so upset by it.”

“The mess doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that you won’t own up to it. Come clean. Honesty is good for the soul. Confess. Get it over with. That’s all you have to do.”

“Have it your way. As I said, if it gives you any comfort to think I did this, then you are welcome to think I did this. You have no one to blame but me. Satisfied.”

“No. I won’t be satisfied till you say ‘I did it. I am the one.’”

“See you later.”

glove03 glove in a dangerous time


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Animals of Change

There’s a tattered book on the cover of Winds of Change to indicate that Eric Burdon & The Animals are moving in a more literary direction, I guess. This is a transitional album as Eric tries to push beyond the blues, r’n’b, format into new territory. He was probably hearing the progressive work being done by the Yardbirds, Cream, Jimi Hendrix & the Moody Blues.

caddilac snow bound caddy 

I remember borrowing this from someone when it was first released. The fold out cover, reading the text on the front and thinking ‘heavy, man.’ The inside cover was a more of the same with some fuzzy b/w pictures of the new band. I was expecting something special and was let down. Just what I hoped for I can’t recall – San Francisco Nights was on the radio & nothing else on the lp sounded like it. The music goes from this radio friendly stuff to adult r’n’r.

There’s an excellent booklet in the cd re-release, and some bonus tracks too. All originals except for a great cover of the Stones Paint It Black. Eric is stretching as a writer & singer with spoken word here & there, the moody The Black Plague. The ‘hit’ San Franciscan Nights works but, to me, is a bit soft.

plant snow bound plant

Man – Woman & Motel Hell are two dynamic, aggressive tracks with a real sense of experimental thought. The trumpet work is perfect, uncredited but I think I read some where it was Hugh Masekela (contract reasons kept his name off the lp). The Hendrix influenced ‘Yes I’m Experience’ lacks the explosiveness of Jimi but if a good effort.

church snow bound church

The Animals don’t quite shake off the solid bar band blues basics even as they try to transition into the psychedelic sixties, which is a good thing. That doesn’t happen until there next lp – Never the Twain – more about that next week.


June 6-8 – attending – Bloody Words


June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont https://www.facebook.com/events/589522924455695/


set sail for Loyalist

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada http://www.fanexpocanada.com




my folks

had this Reader’s Digest

box set of famous composers

or was it the Longines Symphonette

up to ten lps

each side devoted to a different composer

Brahms Beethoven Debussy

that I remember

the box had Monet’s water lilies

on the cover

 each slip case a different pastel shade

all orchestrated by

Eugene Ormandy

and played by The Boston Pops

I have to be honest

most of them bored me

except for Debussy

today I know he was an impressionist

like Monet the painter

then I had no notion of those connections

I don’t even recall all the pieces

on his one lp side of

or who was on the other

but it started with Gardens in the Rain

and ended with In a Submerged Cathedral

Cathedral submerged my Beatles mind

every time I heard it

a more complex trip

than anything psychedelic could manage

with a choir

bells undulating harps

watery wavering violins

that drowned me in longing

for another era

for another place

where a boy’s dreams of poetry were possible

not discouraged

because his spelling wasn’t good enough

for him to be a writer

that box set had disappeared

which is odd

because my folks were budding hoarders

keeping the bulk of my books

Tom Swift Jr. Hardy Boys

lots of their original lps

were stashed away

I’ve gone through that stuff

with my sister

who inherited the house

the contents

tossed lots

recycled some

reclaimed some

I was hoping to find that box set

so I could hear that Debussy once more

bought other versions

I’ve searched on line too

record stores with no luck

looking to get back to that

boy in the submerged cathedral

one more time

river03 this way to the cathedral