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Dobroye utro, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo ran off The Hunt For Red October last evening for the umpteenth time and was once more struck by a feeling bordering on, well, nostalgia for the Good Old Days when Job One of foreign policy was stopping Ivan.  Seems so much simpler than the current state of the world, doesn’t it.

One of the things I like about this movie (out of many) is its soundtrack, particularly its heavy reliance on the National Anthem of the Soviet Union.   The musick is of a style that I have come to think of personally as the Heroically Futile.  There’s something about it that combines the drive for the glorious with a certain sense of inevitable failure, provoking a sense of simultaneous uplift and resignation, pride and disappointment, and a curious comfort in that you knew it was all going to come crashing down anyway.   I doubt very seriously if the fellah who composed it had this idea consciously in mind, but I strongly suspect that it is and always has been a large part of the underlying Russia psyche.  If this sounds, well, psychotic, I will only note that Peej O’Rourke once described Russia as “the idiot step-sister of Western Civilization” and I very much think he was on to something.

On a completely different musickal note, the local classickal station is featuring as its CD Pick O’ The Week a new recording of the complete Handel violin sonatas by one Ariadne Daskalakis and the Ensemble Vintage Cologne.  These people are new to me, but I’m happy to report that the tracks I’ve heard so far have been excellent, combining the crisp and the dramatic in a way representing what I consider to be the very best of period instrument movement practices.  I often thank my stars to be living in a time when I can so easily listen to Baroque musick the way it was intended to be performed, and not under a heavy patina of more modern sensibilities.   (And not just the Baroque:  Some months back I ran off Fantasia for the first time in about 40 years and was appalled by what ol’ Leopold Stokowski did not just to Bach, but to Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Ponchielli, as well.  I’d say Schubert, too, but the fact of the matter is that I really can’t stick his “Ave Maria” in any form.)  If you’re into Handel, I strongly recommend checking it out.


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May 2012