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Messages - Jim Penn

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The Concert Hall / Re: Crrrritic!
« on: Yesterday at 03:45:03 pm »

News and Current Affairs / Re: Humphrey Searle
« on: Yesterday at 06:41:15 am »
Ooh, might have to have a listen to the symphonies today...

Cinema / Re: Edgar Reitz - Die andere Heimat
« on: August 24, 2015, 04:35:50 pm »
I always thought the various components were "a bit short for my liking".  :naughty: But a 50 hour oeuvre does indeed sound my cup of tea... (oolong, perhaps!).

Mind you, I still feel like I should get through Fassbinder's "Berlin Alexanderplatz" first. Last attempt, I made it half way through, but lost the plot somewhere, so I've let some time pass and I think I'm getting close to another stab.

Cinema / Re: Edgar Reitz - Die andere Heimat
« on: August 24, 2015, 02:41:13 pm »
I saw this last night at our local cinema. Admirers of Reitz's three earlier 'Heimat' films, and I know there are several here, will not want to miss his return to the world of Schabbach and its neighbouring villages in the Hunsr├╝ck. Have no fear, this is every bit as meticulous and lovingly created as those earlier films, and no less keenly critical of the harsh conditions of the lives it depicts. This time Reitz goes back to the almost-revolutionary 1840s. The 'other' Heimat of the title refers to the emigration of many families in the region to a hoped for better life in Brazil in that period, and in particular the plans and dreams of two brothers in the Simon family, some of which are fulfilled and some of which are not. One of the great pleasures of the film, incidentally, is encountering the wonderful Marita Breuer again. She was Maria Simon in the previous films and this time plays an earlier member of the extended Simon family, Margarethe, the mother of the two brothers Jakob and Gustav and their sister Lena. As ever with Reitz's films, the casting is impeccable with every character somehow matched with an actor who can only have been born to play them. There is a stunning and very moving central performance from Antonia Bill as Jettchen but the whole cast is outstanding (there is one famous name who makes a brief appearance as another famous name and I'm far from sure that either the episode or the casting was a good idea but that's only a quibble).

It's a long film lasting just under four hours (plus, in our case, a ten minute interval at a natural break point, gratefully received) but sufficiently compelling throughout that it feels much shorter. It's almost entirely in black and white but, just occasionally, an object of particular emotional or other significance is briefly shown highlighted in colour. Now, I think it can safely be said that Edgar Reitz knows more than I do about how to make good films, but I still wish he hadn't done that. It's a variant, I suppose, on his decision in the earlier films to shoot most scenes in black and white but some in colour. That, to my mind anyway, worked far better than this singling out of particular objects. (Maybe it was something he did in the earlier films too(?) but I don't remember it and, if so, it was certainly less intrusive.) Again, it's only a quibble, but I definitely would have preferred it without.

The title it has been given in English, by the way, is 'Home from Home'. Highly recommended. 


Thanks for the description, George. Somehow, I've never seen any of the Heimats, though they're high on my "to do" list. :)

Cinema / Re: Now screening
« on: August 24, 2015, 01:37:27 pm »
I've recently had a first watch of Swedish film director Roy Andersson's "Living" trilogy - "Songs from the Second Floor", "You, The Living", and the fantastically named "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence". They're all rather bleak, but darkly comedic, films, absurd (in the proper 'theatre of the absurd' sense), surreal, and utterly utterly wonderful... The plots are fairly minimal, they're all really musings on aspects of the human condition, loosely hung on slender linking narratives (the first film is "about" a furniture salesman trying to commit minor insurance fraud in a collapsing economy, the second about a woman trying to come to terms with her own depression, and the third is about an hilariously unfunny pair of travelling salesmen hawking joke shop novelties).

They are all remarkably inventive visually - each film is made up of a sequence of singular vignettes, each a self-contained scene only tangentially related to what comes before and after, and each vignette is a single static shot held for several minutes (well, almost static - across the three films, the camera moves only on three occasions, I think). The set designs are phenomenal, and the staging therein (often including hundreds of extras) is remarkable. And in amongst the philosophical musings, some little comments about Swedish history (allusions to Swedish involvement with the Nazis, and a remarkable and indescribably surreal scene in one of the films about King Charles XII's military downfall!).

I really can't compare them to anything else whatsoever - I've never seen anything remotely like any of them. But for anyone of a more serious "world cinema" bent, I recommend them without hesitation.

The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 20, 2015, 11:05:37 am »
Snow leopards entering extinction phase, sadly.


The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 19, 2015, 03:55:45 pm »
Negligent economist readily venerates extreme solutions.


The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 19, 2015, 09:16:46 am »
Serbian harpsichordist accidentally rapped knuckles sharply.


News and Current Affairs / Roger Smalley
« on: August 19, 2015, 09:09:10 am »
I see that composer/pianist Roger Smalley passed away yesterday... :(

The Coffee Bar / Re: Six Letter Word Game
« on: August 17, 2015, 01:36:21 pm »
With hindsight, every neocon candidate exasperates.


Proms / Re: proms 2015
« on: August 17, 2015, 09:05:46 am »
Owing to some unavoidable circumstances, I've missed two of my heavy pencils for this season (Shostakovich's 7th a couple of weeks back, and Foulds' Three Mantras last week), and owing to some other unavoidable circumstances, I'm going to have to miss the one concert I thought was an absolute lock-in (this Friday, featuring Jon Leifs' organ concerto), and there's been no convergence between my diary and my tastes any other time thus far.

So I figured I'd at least console myself with watching the BBC4 broadcast last night of the NYO playing Mahler's 9th under Sir Mark Elder. But, what's this, explanatory musicological films BETWEEN the movements...??? Sheesh....

News and Current Affairs / organist John Scott
« on: August 13, 2015, 11:45:49 am »
Oh my, just read that organist John Scott (much recorded on Hyperion, inter alia) has died suddenly in New York, days after finishing a European tour.

Broadcast and Recorded Music / Re: Now spinning ...
« on: August 12, 2015, 10:44:41 am »
On Monday, I listened to Stockhausen's "Tuesday from Light". Yesterday, I listened to Stockhausen's "Wednesday from Light". Today I'm listening to Stockhausen's "Friday from Light". Tomorrow will probably involve Stockhausen's "Two Days' Time from Light" and on Friday I'll probably spin "A Fortnight Last Thursday from Light".

The Coffee Bar / Re: The new pedantry thread
« on: August 11, 2015, 05:31:13 pm »
Just saw a headline on BookFace that said military engineers were "diffusing" a WW2 bomb in Bethnal Green....

The Concert Hall / Re: Forthcoming concerts in London
« on: August 11, 2015, 01:57:55 pm »
I'm sure this'll interest a few people round here... A small UK tour of Stockhausen's "In the Sky I Am Walking", along with a new work by Daniel-Lewis Fardon and a bit of Cardew (the performers were involved in the recent Union Chapel performance of The Great Learning, which I bloomin' forgot about!).

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