Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June Music

My June music order drifted seriously into Heavy-thrash-grind-death-whatever, but it started with Switched on Bach. Wendy Carlos worked on the development of the Moog Synthesizer and came up with a top selling recording called Switched on Bach. She later worked on the soundtrack of Clockwork Orange. Her interpretations of classical music are one of a kind and completely original, and also out of print so this one is iffy. Maybe we can get Switched on Boxed Set or maybe we can't. I briefly looked at Woodwind music and discovered that Bassoon ensembles are another strange corner of the music world. Peter Schickele of PDQ Bach fame is a bassoon player and composer and he is one of the composer listed on Wanted by the Bassoon Brothers. Then I devolved into the world of Heavy Metal. The Metal musical world has fractured like broken glass. Who Knew? I had to get Scum by Napalm Death. These were the guys that turned Thrash into Grindcore and their musical influences are everywhere. What's Trash and Grindcore? Hmm I'm not terribly sure. Punk beget Thrash which beget GrindCore which fractured into a variety of Heavy Metal sub-genres like Death Metal and as I was perusing the world of Heavy Metal influences I picked up Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast and the Seventh son of a Seventh Son and Judith Priest's British Steel which were two of the primary bands of the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" and I picked up Metallica's Black Album and Megadeth's Rust in Peace. The American punk rock group Dead Kennedy's slipped in with Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables and I even pushed back to my 70's roots with Uriah Heep's Demon's and Wizards and Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak. I wouldn't have even thought about Thin Lizzy except I saw the buzz about one of today's hot Metal Bands called Mastodon doing the soundtrack for a movie and they listed them as an influence. When I was reading up on Mastodon and I saw the reference to Thin Lizzy it rang a bell I researched them and bought it. I also decided to pick up two of Mastodon's albums Blood Mountain and Crack in the Skye. I know I've been buying a lot of Metal lately but.....

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Spring cleaning or Summer doldrums?

This months DVD buy is eclectic to say the least. We have a space problem at the Rogers Public Library. (Okay, ALL Libraries have space problems.) Our DVD collection is growing while our VHS collection is static. So I have been weeding our VHS collection to make room for DVDs. I think I've done a pretty good job of building a DVD Movie collection but the non-fiction DVDs collection is terrible. I have been systemically building up the movie collection but only sporadically working on the non-fiction collection. But now because of the space problem, something has to change.

Movies are wonderful. They are the art form that defined America in the 20th Century and because of this there are fantastic reviews sources and reference tools to help build a movie collection but building a non-fiction collection is at best haphazard. Review sources for non-fiction DVDs is almost nonexistent. Some subjects are very expensive to purchase on DVD. Business and industrial films on DVD are simply too expensive to justify purchasing for our collection. Also, large sets are a problem because if only one disk is lost or damaged the whole set must be replaced which is very frustrating for both the Library and the poor customer that might have to pay for it. So I'm always looking for reviews of non-fiction DVDs. Since I've been here I've occasionally built specific collections for specific reasons. This is why I have very good 'how-to' DVDs on sports and famous ballets. I found a good source for sports & fitness DVDs and I was trying to build up the Ballet collection because so many young girls take ballet but it is rare when a world class ballet comes anywhere near Rogers where young girls can see what a good ballet is supposed to look like.

My May order is actually May and June combined but I had to combine them to save on shipping costs. Thirteen titles from the Teaching Company cost over a thousand dollars which is what I had to order to get free shipping. Rude I know. I picked up several classic movies and some BBC-Masterpiece kind of stuff and a lot of non fiction.


Marooned Apollo type space craft gets Marooned. Gregory Peck, Richard Crenna, James Franciscus, Gene Hackman, and David Jansson.

Papa's Delicate Condition One of those movies the critic's love but nobody else ever heard of. It was a Broadway hit and has an Oscar winning song with Jackie Gleason.

Clark Gable Collection Vol. 1 Call of the Wild, Soldier of Fortune, Tall Men I got this one for Call of the Wild Directed by William Wellman with Gable, Loretta Young and Jack Oakie but Soldier of Fortune is good also with Gable, Susan Hayward, Gene Barry and Michael Rennie.

Associate A Whoopi Goldberg Comedy.

Frank Sinatra: The Golden Years; Man with the Golden Arm, Some Came Running, Tender Trap, Marriage on the Rocks, None but the Brave. Several of these are dated but I would have bought this set for Man with the Golden Arm or Some Came Running.

Smile Satire of a small town Beauty Pageant. Bruce Dern Barbara Feldon.

Big Hand for the Little Lady. Poker Game gone wild in the old west with Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards, and Burgess Meredeth.

Fountainhead Gary Cooper Patricia Neal and Raymond Massey from the Ayn Rand novel.

Charles Bronson Collection Telefon St. Ives See this one for Spy Thriller Telefon.

House Party Infectious comedy of black teens having a party.

Three Musketeers Every Generation does the Three Musketeers, 1921, 1935, 1939, 1948,1974, 1993 (we're about due for another one.) This is the 1948 version with Gene Kelly, Lana Turner, Vincent Price, June Allyson, Keenan Wynn, Gig Young and Angela Landsbury. Not as good as the 1974 version but what a cast!

Three Musketeers A 1930's serial with John Wayne in the Foreign Legion.

Touch of Frost Season 1
Touch of Frost Season 2
Touch of Frost Season 3
Inspector Morse: Dead on Time Collection
Lovejoy: The Complete Season One
Lovejoy: The Complete Season Two
Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Fifth Season
Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Sixth Season

Non Fiction
Yo-Yo Ma - Inspired by Bach: the Complete Cello Suites
Daniel BarenbItalicoim, Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma - Beethoven Triple Concerto & Choral Fantasy
American Civil War
Revolution the Series
Meteorology: An Introduction to the Wonders of the Weather
Einsteins Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Physics for Non Scientists
Great Ideas of Classical Physics
Iliad of Homer
Odyssey of Homer
Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle
Birth of the Modern Mind: The Intellectual History of the 17th Century and 18th Centuries
Great World Religions: Islam
Great World Religions: Judaism
Great World Religions: Hinduism
Great World Religions Buddhism
Before 1776 Life in the American Colonies

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Finishing up BB

This is kind of a clean up post. I usually buy most of my music from one of two vendors except for classical music which I buy from a vendor that deals exclusively in classical. Looking for something called the violin concerto in D minor on a Google type interface can really make life interesting so I use a vendor that is set up for searching a classical music database. This order is a fragment of my Billboard chart toppers from earlier in the year that I finished before moving onto the Brass Classical buy. I just got around to orderint it today. It finishes up my Christian music buy with two seminal rock albums thrown in.

10 MercyMe
Altar and the Door Live Casting Crowns
Awake Skillet
Innocence & Instinct Red
Over and Under Tenth Avenue North
Speaking Louder Than Before Jeremy Camp
Transformer Lou Reed
White Light/White Heat Velvet Underground

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April DVD' and the End of VHS as we know it.

The VHS collection is dead and has been for a long time. We don't purchase them anymore and they don't make them. We have been adding some donations to replace lost damaged and worn out items but as of April we won't even be doing that. It's dead technology. However while I think I have a respectable DVD collection so far it is almost entirely general release movies. The non-fiction collection in DVD is awful. So before I begin to bulldoze the VHS collection into oblivion I think I better begin building it's DVD replacement. (I just hope DVD technology lasts long enough for that!) So this month's order is almost entirely Art and History, but there several of those cinematic gems I'm always looking for. Elevator to the Gallows the French masterpiece famous for the Miles Davis score, Best Foreign Language Film Koyla, Olivia de Havilland goes crazy in the Snake Pit, Blake Edwards little known comedy What did you do during the war Daddy? And for some stupid reason I only bought three seasons of Soap when they only made four! And of course I found another great noir The Naked Kiss (how could I not buy a noir called the Naked Kiss.)

Elevator to the Gallows Jeanne Moreau's breakout movie Director Louis Malle's Debut and a wonderful murder /suspense that was the forerunner of French New Wave. Oh and Miles Davis improvised the score!
Snake Pit A stunning performance of a women having a mental breakdown got Olivia de Havelland an Oscar nomination.
Koyla Okay it's a melodramatic Polish movie about a Middle aged Cellist taking care of a lost Russian boy but it did win an Oscar for best foreign film. How many cello movies are there?
A Midsummer Night's Dream I keep ordering this. but Shakespeare with Jimmy Cagney and Mickey Rooney? How can I resist?
Naked Kiss Director Samuel Fuller was pushing the envelope with no budget and no big name stars but it's now considered a noir classic with raw dark honest maturity.
What did you do during the War Daddy? Blake Edwards did the Pink Panther and Victor/Victoria This is lesser known but its got a great cast and plenty of laughs with James Coburn, Dick Shawn, Carrol O'Connor, and Henry Morgan.

All About Prints: 500 Years of Prints and Printmaking
Anatomy for Artists: Man in Motion
Anatomy for Artists: the Human Head
Ancient Mysteries: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
Art of Baroque Dance
Art of Mexico
Artists of the 20th Century: Salvador Dali
Bach: Cantatas
Basic Watercolor Techniques
Discovery of Art: Leonardo Da Vinci
Drawing a Portrait from Life
Drawing Step By Step
George Segal: American Still Life
Goya: Crazy Like a Genius
Great Epochs of European Art: Art of Ancient Greeks/ Art of Ancient Romans
Great Epochs of European Art: Early Christian and Byzantine Art, Romanes Art, and Gothic Art
How to Draw Comics from Script to Print
How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way
Impressionists: Monet
In Search of History: Egypt
In Search of History: Roman Roads
In Search of History: The Aztec Empire
In Search of History: The Knights Templar
In search of History: The Maya
In Search of History: The Pueblo Cliffdwellers
Jackson Pollock
Landmarks of Western Art
Michelangelo Artist and Man
Navajo Code Talkers
Pablo Picasso
Post Impressionists: Gauguin
Salem Witch Trials
Soap: the Complete Fourth Season
Techniques of Scott Robertson
Vincent Van Gogh: a Stroke of Genius
Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner

Back to the future

Ops! I missed my March music post. It's really nothing to write home about. Each year I go through the Billboard Charts looking at last years top sellers. This list is the tail end of Country, Spanish and Christian best sellers.

Love on the Inside Sugarland
Learn to Live Darius Rucker
Foundation Zac Brown Band
Almas Gemelas El Trono de Mexico
No Molestar Marco Antonio Solis
Yo no Canto, Pero lo Intentamos Espinoza Paz
El Canto Autor Del Pueblo Espinoza Paz
La Borrachera Los Inquietos Del Norte
Mas Adelante La Arrolladora Banda el Limon
Te Presumo La banda el Recodo
The Last Aventura
La Revolucion Evolution Wisin & Yandel
Talento De Barrio Daddy Yankee
Wisin Y Yandel Present la Ment Maestra DJ Nesty
5to Piso Ricardo Arjona
Peace On Earth Casting Crowns
Revelation Third Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Brass

My music buy for April is classical brass and as I did my research I was shocked. I come from a string background so the idea of solo and concert pieces for cello, violin, and piano seems normal to me. I knew that developments in instrument technology influenced music composition for strings. Bach wrote six suites for the cello one of which was written for a five stringed cello that is no longer used. And I knew that the modern piano did not exist in Bach's time, he wrote for the harpsichord and clavichord but for string music the size form and abilities of modern string instruments were basically standardized for most of the famous composers. The Amati Family of instrument makers had basically perfected the form by the end of eighteenth century.

But the brass family of instruments is different. There has been a continuous change in the form and abilities of horns from the beginnings of classical music in the 1600s with the straight silver horns and animal horns of the French Court to modern b flat valved cornets. I had never considered that industrialization would radically change brass music and instrumentation and change is still going on. Compared to the cello, violin, and piano solo works for brass instruments in classical music are relatively rare. But the seventeenth and eighteenth horns were still primitive compared to the stringed instruments of the period. So much less music was written for them.

Another issue is the trend in recent classical music towards using original instrumentation meaning Haydn is played with eighteenth century instruments using eighteenth century techniques, rather than using modern instruments with modern arrangements. I'm not sure I agree, would Bach prefer a weaker cello with gut strings or a rebuilt cello with modern silver strings. So there are two classes of Brass music for the Baroque and Classical Periods,. One class is music played with modern instruments and the other is the same music played on period instruments. Oh well, these are just some of the concerns I found when looking for the 'core collection' of classical brass music. I think this buy just barely scratches the surface but here goes.

Classic Trumpet Concerti of Haydn and Hummel/Gerard Schwartz trumpet
This is a famous recording and both these Concertos were said to have been composed for the same great court trumpet player using new Trumpet technology.

Sound of Trumpets/Gerard Schwartz New York Trumpet Ensemble
Another famous recording but this time it is the Baroque trumpet music of Vivaldi, Telemann, Altenburg, Biber, and Torelli.

Art of Baroque Trumpet Vol. 4 Niklas Eklund 'natural trumpet'
More Baroque trumpet but played on a natural trumpet by a virtuoso.

Icon: Dennis Brain One of best French Horn players that ever lived.
His Mozart is a must listen to for horn players.

Vaughn Williams: Symphony No. 5 Three portraits Tuba Concerto
This recording of John Fletcher on the Tuba is supposed to be special.

Premier! American Brass Quintet
New composers writing for a new medium Brass Quintets

British Trombone Concertos
Christian Lindberg playing modern English works.

La Trompette de Toutes les Melodies
One of the world's best solo trumpet players playing Baroque and Classical concertos.

Toccata and Fugue
Summit Brass plays Bach (and others) arranged for Brass Ensemble.

Italian Baroque Trumpet Concertos

Haydn: Trumpet Concerto etc.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 2010 DVD's

It takes a few weeks for our new materials to make their way through processing which gives me time to blog about it without getting too far behind. This March I began by going after a list of classic Anime and of course it's about time I got caught on some of the more recent releases. I was going through the films of some of the current hot stars like Edward Norton and Jessica Biel, and while I was perusing Owen Wilson I realized I hadn't done Jackie Chan so I picked up some of his earlier pre Hollywood work including Supercop with Michelle Yeoh of Tomorrow Never Dies and the Mummy:Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. And for some reason I'm still stuck on Noir. I found a great list that included some highly rated Noirs I didn't have so if you're into it I think I may be approaching the definitive collection. As always I'm looking for classics I've missed. This month it was Fahrenheit 451. I thought for sure I already owned it but I guess not. Maybe it's been out of print. There was a request for more Silent Era and EGADS! I missed Hitchcock's later work.

Ghost in the shell
Ghost in the shell 2: Innocence Mamoru Oshii anime of the Manga classic.
Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki's celebrated anime. The Japanese Wizard of Oz.
Evangelion Movie: 1.01 you are [not] alone Movie version of the television series and not just for giant robot loving mecha - heads. (?)
My Neighbor Totoro Another Miyazaki favorite.
Girl who leapt through time based on a novel turned into Manga and now on DVD.
Tokyo Godfathers Anime. Three homeless in Tokyo try to find the parents of an abandoned baby.
Cowboy Bebop Movie version of the popular anime TV show.
Raising Helen Kate Hudson is a busy corporate assistant suddenly thrust inot motherhood.
Four Feathers Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson in a remake of the 1939 classic of a British officer in the Sudan fighting the Victorian era's Osama bin Laden.
Failure to launch. Mathew McConaughey won't leave home until Sarah Jessica Parker lures him out.
You me and Dupree. Owen Wilson is the old high school buddy from hell with Matt Dillon, and Kate Hudson.
Stealing Beauty Bertolucci directs Liv Tyler, Rachel Weitz and Jeremy Irons in an Italian villa.
Point Blank Lee Marvin is shot and left for dead with Angie Dickenson Keenan Wynn and Carrol O'Connor in a Noir rapidly gaining stature.
Primal Fear Richard Gere and Ed Norton. Gere is a lawyer that defends choir boy Norton in the role that put Edward Norton on the map.
Rounders Matt Damon and Ed Norton are pokers players. with Martin Landau and John Malkovich.
American History X Edward Norton is the ex white supremest trying to go straight.
Heist Gene Hackman is a career criminal in a David Mamet script with more twists and turns that a sidewinder.
Score Marlon Brando's last role with Robert DeNiro Brando Ed Norton and some great Jazz.
Death to Smoochy Robin Williams and Edward Norton. You'll never eat cookies in this town again.
Illusionist Illusionist Ed Norton falls for royal beauty Jessica Beil in period piece with Paul Giamatti.
Cellular Kim Bassinger is kidnapped with only a cellphone to to save her. With Jessica Beil and William Masey.
Next Nicolas Cage, Jessica Biel, Julianne Moore. Nicolas Cage saves Los Angeles by looking two minutes into the future.
Orphans of the Storm D.W. directs Lillian Gish in a silent classic.
True Heart Susie/Hoodoo Ann Two more Lillian Gish D.W. Griffith silents.
My Best Girl Mary Pickford, America's Sweetheart is a shop girl who falls in love with the boss's son.
Tess of Storm Country The evil landlord's son falls for poor noble Tess. With Mary Pickford.
Wind and the Lion Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, John Huston, and Brian Keith. Connery is a Moroccan Sheik that kidnaps an American Woman. Bold, noble, romantic adventure so naturally the critics hate it.
Wonder Boys Michael Douglas is a literature professor with a writers block with Tobey McGuire, Francis McDormand Robert Downey Jr. Katy Holmes and Rip Torn.
Gift Uneven southern Gothic with Kate Blanchett as a psychic with Hillery Swank Katie Holmes and Keanau Reeves.
Simple Twist of Fate Steve Martin Gabriel, Byrne Steven Baldwin and Laura Linney in a modern day adaption of Silas Marner.
Shanghai Noon Owen Wilson, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Comedy Kung Fu on the high plains.
Rush Hour/Rush Hour 2 Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan try the mismatched buddy cop picture thing.
Babel Kate Blanchett and Brad Pitt in a Morocco Mexico Japanese we've all got to communicate the critics loved it but no one went to see it post 9/11 movie. I think.
Invincible Mark Wahlberg and Elizabeth Banks in a true story of a regular that tries out for the Philadelphia Eagles Pro football team and makes it.
Big Hit Action adventure gangster movie with Karate and stunts galore. Mark Wahlberg Lou Diamond Phillips and Christina Applegate.
Rumble in the Bronx. Pre Hollywood Jackie Chan.
Young Master. Jackie Chan
Druken Master Woo-Ping, Jackie Chan
Supercop Jackie Chan, Michelle Kahn (Yeoh)
Shine Australian film of pianist pushed to the breaking point by dominating parents. Based on a true story.
Cheaper by the Dozen Clifton Webb Myrna Loy Jeanne Crane based on the real life family of the efficiency expert Galbraith.
Cheaper by the Dozen Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt have 12 kids but it's not really a remake.
Take the Lead Antonio Banderas To Sir with love meets "Dancing with the Stars".
Fahrenheit 451 Julie Christie Oscar Werner. Truffaut's only film in English, based on the Ray Brabury novel.
Hitch-Hiker a groundbreaking thriller directed by Ida Lupino.
Shadow of Doubt Alfred Hitchcock thriller currently undergoing renewed interest, with Joseph Cotton.
Detour Low budget thriller now regaled as the prototype noir.
Scarlet Street Fritz Lang Directs Edward G Robinson as a henpecked husband lured into a life of crime with Joan Bennett and Dan Duryea.
Brute Force Brutal prison movie with Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, and Yvonne De Carlo.
Film Noir Classic Collection Vol.2 Crossfire and Clash by Night we already own but Dillinger, Born to Kill and Narrow Margin are strong underrated noirs.
Ace in the Hole Billy Wilder directs Kirk Douglas as an unscrupulous reporter exploits a man trapped in a cave.
Killing Stanley Kubrick's breakout film about a race track heist with Sterling Hayden.
Helter Skelter Made for TV movie of the Manson Family. Based on the book.
Rat Race An updated version of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. With John Clese and Rowan Atkinson among others.
Cocoon Ron Howard directing Don Ameche, Hume Cronyn, Jack Gilford, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy, is a Geezer's ET.
Killer's Kiss Another early Kubrick.
Eyes Wide Shut Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman star in Stanley Kubrick's last film.
Family Plot Mild almost comic suspense with Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris in Hitchcock's last movie.
Frenzy Classic Hitchcock elements, suave murder and falsely accused hero in an underrated late Hitchcock film.
Topaz Hitchcock does spies and spying in New York, Cuba, and France.
Wrong Man Henry Fonda is falsely accused of robbery in a very un-Hitchcock documentary style.
Dial M for Murder Ray Milland Robert Cummings and Grace Kelly are directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
I Confess Montgomery Clift, Ann Baxter, and Karl Malden in one of Hitchcock's lesser films.

Monday, March 08, 2010

February Music

Each January Billboard magazine publishes the final year's charts which I use to order music. This year my music "best seller's" purchase will be spread over several months orders starting with February Pop. But it's not all best sellers there's some classic Rock and Disco I've been working on. This years Billboard was also the decade ending issue and they had several articles celebrating the career of Madonna. She's never been one of my favorites so I never realized all the top ten hits she's had. So if this order is heavy on Madonna, that's why.

The Music

Straight Up by Badfinger. If they sound like the Beatles its because they were produced by the same studio with some of their music and arrangements by John Lennon.
Chickenfoot by Chickenfoot A super-band with Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony from Van Halen, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and guitarist Joe Satriani.
True Blue by Madonna
Bad Girls by Donna Summer
I am...Sasha Fierce by Beyonce
E.N.D. by the Black Eyed Peas
Hard Candy by Madonna
Confessions on a Dance Floor by Madonna
Music by Madonna
Like a Prayer by Madonna
Justin Moore by Justin Moore
One of the Boys by Katy Perry
Funhouse by Pink
Circus by Britney Spears
Journey: Very Best of Donna Summer
Dark Horse by Nickelback
Mad Dogs and Englishmen By Joe Cocker
Stand Up Jethro Tull
For Those About to Rock We Salute You by AC/DC