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Messages - Jim Penn

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1
Cinema / Re: Re Hitchcock/Truffaut DVD (2016)
« on: May 01, 2016, 09:27:59 pm »
Fine documentary, Stanley - I caught it in a double bill at a cinema a couple of weeks ago (with Strangers on a Train - though sadly the so-called "British" version, missing the coda with the priest on the train).

One minor point of pedantry, though, if I may - it doesn't feature Akira Kurosawa, of course, but Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation, apparently!).

3
Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: April 13, 2016, 08:32:19 am »
For my commute soundtrack this morning, I've had a first spin of the first disc (organ music) of the Brilliant Classics set of the complete Zipoli keyboard works. Lovely stuff indeed.

4
The Coffee Bar / Re: Extraordinary album covers
« on: April 12, 2016, 04:37:45 pm »
...particularly the organ piece Gmeeorh which still hasn't been commercially recorded.

Ahem - The disc is out of print, but available in mp3 format.  ;)

(I still haven't got it, but I should really rectify that...)

EDIT - there's also this one on mp3, which I hadn't previously heard of... (ANOTHER EDIT - this one IS available on disc too!).

5
The Coffee Bar / Re: Extraordinary album covers
« on: April 12, 2016, 01:35:42 pm »
...he played the solo parts in the pieces with orchestra recorded under Arturo Tamayo.

I've got those recordings - rather remarkable they are.

VERY tempted to try and make a trip to Japan next February to hear him give the Japanese premiere of Opus Clavicembalisticum.

6
20th Century / Re: 20th Century Music Waffle
« on: April 12, 2016, 10:05:38 am »

7
The Coffee Bar / Re: Extraordinary album covers
« on: April 12, 2016, 08:42:33 am »

8
Baroque Music / Re: Domenico Zipoli
« on: April 10, 2016, 01:21:57 pm »
Once upon a time, I asked about Zipoli...

This weekend, I've just spotted (and immediately ordered) this new release of the complete Zipoli keyboard works.

9
The Coffee Bar / Re: The Minor Moan thread
« on: April 05, 2016, 02:28:56 pm »
My application has been rejected because they can't verify my identity. From the communications I've received about it, it's fairly obvious why; they have been spelling one of my forenames as "Alan", and presumably been trying to search databases with that. But it's not showing up, because it's actually spelled "Allen" (family tradition of using female family members' maiden names as middle names of offspring!). It's not exactly a major problem to rectify - just need to send them a scan of my passport, apparently.

After the rigmarole I had to go through to get myself on the electoral roll last October, including sending a scan of my passport to confirm the spelling of my "Allen" forename, my voting card has arrived.

They've spelled that forename Ala (no "n", sic).  :facepalm:

Council have got back to me. They assure me that my name is logged correctly on the electoral register, and that the error on the polling card must simply be a data error on the feed that went to the printer! Hmm, itchy chin, as they say in, well, plenty of places.... Still, the error on the card doesn't (shouldn't!) affect my entitlement to vote in a month's time, so that's the main thing.

10
The Coffee Bar / Re: The Minor Moan thread
« on: April 04, 2016, 06:19:36 pm »
My application has been rejected because they can't verify my identity. From the communications I've received about it, it's fairly obvious why; they have been spelling one of my forenames as "Alan", and presumably been trying to search databases with that. But it's not showing up, because it's actually spelled "Allen" (family tradition of using female family members' maiden names as middle names of offspring!). It's not exactly a major problem to rectify - just need to send them a scan of my passport, apparently.

After the rigmarole I had to go through to get myself on the electoral roll last October, including sending a scan of my passport to confirm the spelling of my "Allen" forename, my voting card has arrived.

They've spelled that forename Ala (no "n", sic).  :facepalm:

11
The Concert Hall / Re: Crrrritic!
« on: March 27, 2016, 06:04:52 pm »
Away for the Easter weekend, and happen to be stopping with someone whose Sunday paper of choice is the Mail On Sunday. Though that did at least afford me the chance to find this spectacularly awful bit of David Mellor...

This opener of the LA orchestra’s Barbican residency... was full of stuff most people didn’t know and, in the case of Ginastera’s First Piano Concerto, wouldn’t want to hear again. Despite the nimble-fingered advocacy of [Dudamel's] fellow Venezuelan, Sergio Tiempo, this piece was noisy in the opening movement, spooky in the second, full of clichéd plinkplonks in the third, and in the finale there was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. The film composer John Williams’s Soundings, receiving its British premiere, was better...

12
Theatre / Re: Evening at the Talk House - Dorfman Theatre
« on: March 16, 2016, 09:18:30 am »
Given how much I revere Wallace Shawn, it's taken me an awfully long time to finally get to see this, but last night, I finally did....!

I liked it - but not unquestioningly! I think it's quite a flawed work, not really up there with Shawn's best, but the overall effect is very strong. I think it's a bit problematic in that its political allegory is laid on a bit thick at times, and its talk of a regime involved in "targeting" is perhaps a little simplistically laid out in the fairly casual way the characters are either against it or complicit in it. I don't think the play is remotely a tacit approval of Syrian airstrikes - rather, I think it's a criticism of a simplistic approach to how the 'West' seeks to stamp out "people that want to harm us" (voiced particularly by Bill in opposition to Ted and Annette, and Robert's admonitions to Jane over some of her involvement with the regime, and how she might be failing to protect Dick and, by extension, Nellie), and how the 'West' doesn't understand that such action is only likely to inflame more hostility.

That ending - I'm not sure "enigmatic" is quite how I'd describe it. The enigma would be who engineered the thing that happened, I guess, but in some ways as an ending it seems quite similar to that of The Dumb Waiter. But it's a little abrupt, perhaps, although the thing that happens has been signposted during earlier talk of a Miss/Mrs Allbright earlier in the play. But the lights fading out while a descending bomb is revealed in the painted backdrop makes the ending rather emphatic, to my mind (no mystery in my mind whatsoever as to whether it had ended, but speaking personally, I just didn't want to applaud at that moment, as I was taking in the cumulative effect of the whole play).

While I think some aspects of the script could do with a bit of revision, I found the play's focus on characters actually talking to each other for most of the play rather interesting (I *love* Shawn's usual style of extended monologues with very limited direct character interaction, but found the departure from that style quite fascinating). I also rather like the way the play, erm, plays as an extension of various earlier aspects of Shawn's oeuvre. The regime outside the Talk House seems to be an extension of that in both The Fever and The Designated Mourner - indeed I could quite easily imagine that play's Jack being Talk House Robert's brother (or, at least, cousin), and frequenting a similar social and geographic milieu, particularly when Jane reminds the Talk House guests about the coffee shop that used to be next door (I couldn't help but see jack sitting there cremating his paper cup-cake cup as an act of remembrance at the end of Mourner). And Robert's opening monologue referring to his earlier play, a piece about a mythical kingdom with castles and royalty (and specifically being a play not well received or understood by critics) invoked very vivid memories of Shawn's last play, Grasses of a Thousand Colors.

Fine acting throughout, as HtoHe mentioned - I liked Josh Hamilton, who in his opening monologue captures Shawn's performance style very (Robert really is an avatar for Shawn himself, I think - just as The Designated Mourner's Jack is, and I remember how well Mike Nichols captured that aspect of Jack in the filmed version of that play). And Anna Calder Marshall is very good. Lovely supporting work from Stuart Milligan, Joseph Mydell and Simon Shepherd, particularly). And, as a huge fan of Wallace Shawn, it's always an enormous thrill for to see Shawn acting on stage - this is the third of his plays I've seen him perform now (after Grasses of a Thousand Colors, and a rehearsed reading of The Designated Mourner). But I think the revelation for me was Sinead Matthews as Jane. Never seen her on stage before, but I thought she was terrific.

I'd like to see it again before it closes in just under a fortnight now, but I suspect I won't have time. Though I might have to try and make time, as I suspect it's not something that's going to get many productions in future!

13
News and Current Affairs / Re: Peter Maxwell Davies (1934-2016)
« on: March 14, 2016, 02:37:14 pm »
Glad the BBC have got someone who knows something about music to write an article about Max's death (my emphasis):

Quote
He often referenced plainchant and medieval music, which he incorporated into avant garde serial compositions (simply put, pieces which repeat passages over and over for a significant period of time).

 :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm: :facepalm:

RIP Max

EDIT - thankfully, the Beeb have removed that woeful clause from the original article.

15
The Concert Hall / Re: Live Concert Thread
« on: March 04, 2016, 02:28:25 pm »
Anyone catch the BBCNOW concert of Grace Williams pieces on Tuesday night? Just listening to it on iPlayer - the Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunes and the Trumpet Concerto were not at all unpleasant, but I'm half-way through the Missa Cambrensis, and what a fine, dark, chunky beast it is.

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