Saturday, September 6, 2014

Almost (Record) Clubbed to Death

So what did I get next?


First and foremost, I feel I must make it absolutely clear that it wasn’t Mantovani! That must be understood from the outset.

Who he, you ask?

He’s the guy whose records would be peppered throughout the Columbia House Record Club ads like these:

when you (or at least I) would be scouring them for 12 pop records to justify a membership. I’d always find three or four, but they’d tempt you with things like “Mantovani Does the Beatles” (which sounds like this) hoping to catch the kids who didn’t know better.  Well I did know better, but not much.

Typically, this isn’t the type of clarification I’d feel compelled to make. It’s pretty obvious that I never cared for superficial pop music that (then) “old people” liked. I much preferred superficial pop music that (then) young and (now) old people prefer. You could tell the difference between the two because the latter had a beat and you could dance to it.

So what did I get?


Okay, I guess this nonetheless requires some explanation. It all has to do with my World History project which I’m waiting to end so I can write the definitive post about it. So I guess I can’t explain it after all.

Who he, you ask (again)?

An Italian dude from the seventeenth century, actually, who more or less invented madrigals around the time of the Renaissance. They represent a major development beyond the religious chants that popped up around 600 AD or so. And if you ask me, they're a vast improvement. It only took 1,000 years.

Yeah, I know Chants were a fad for about five minutes about twenty years ago. And I say it was still boring. I have the tenth anniversary of the original Chant record that was such a big hit. Meh.

It contains about thirty of them, and while any single one of them sounds nice enough, taken together they kind of sound the same.  Just a bunch of guys (and not even Fun guys) sitting around, singing kind of slow and straight. Not a single drinking song. And the only ones about girls are about the Virgin Mary.

Monteverdi was having none of this. He said (in Italian) hey, let’s mix it up a bit. Instead of a glee club on quaaludes, he gives each singer something different to do, and it’s a dramatic improvement. And the odd instrument here and there doesn’t hurt a bit either.

Supposedly these are songs about love and war but I’ll be damned if I can tell which is which.

This one’s also got about thirty songs, and sitting through all of them at one time is  bit much. But it’s the type of record you put on first thing in the morning. Especially good during the dead of winter.

Added bonus: After playing it, I get to feel like I went to Mass. (The Chants just make you feel like you live in the church and can’t ever leave.)

Additional added bonus: When asked what kind of music you like, you get to say things like “I’m partial to madrigals”.  Just be ready to run. B+

Monteverdi: "Altri canti d'amor, tenero arciero"

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