Symphony in F; Suite No. 2; etc. (2002) by Gustav Holst, performed by Munich Symphony Orchestra conducted by Douglas Bostock

Categories: 1899, 1900, 1911, 1922, 1934, 2002, and Music.

This is a collection of both short and long orchestral works by Holst. It’s a scattershot collection, like so many others. The ‘Cotswolds’ symphony intrigued me because I heard an excerpt from it on another collection (the elegy, to be precise). It’s a nice late Romantic symphony. Like so much other British work, it fails utterly to be revolutionary, but at least it’s pleasant. I think the elegy is the highlight of the work, which is slightly disappointing. “Walt Whitman” is one of those overtures without a main piece. It’s jaunty but, not knowing about Whitman the man or his Read More

Holst: Orchestral Works Including Hammersmith and Egdon Heath (1996) by London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Hickox

Categories: 1907, 1922, 1927, 1931, 1934, 1996, and Music.

This is a compilation of some of Holst’s shorter orchestral works. The “Fugal Overture” has a lot more appeal to me than some of his other works. It’s at times energetic and at other times somber and there is a lot going on. It’s hardly significant, but it’s enjoyable. My favourite Holst piece so far. The rhapsody lives up to its name, but it’s like so much of Holst’s work – it sounds like he composed it in a different century. The scherzo from an unfinished symphony is the kind of thing I like. Again, relatively conservative for the era, Read More

Piano Man! His Greatest Recordings (1995) by Earl Hines

Categories: 1928, 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1945, 1995, and Music.

This is collection of 25 recordings featuring Earl Hines – solo, leading his orchestra, with Armstrong, Bechet and some other, less famous bandleaders.  It jumps around a little too much… The title track appears to be the 1939 “Piano Man” (there are four, confusingly) and it’s more of a celebration of Hines’ legend than anything else. It’s basically the overture here. “Fireworks” is an absolutely classic Armstrong Hot Five from 1928. On a track like this you can hear why Hines was known as “Fatha” (when he gets his solos). “Skip the Gutter” is another Hot Five from the same Read More

The Complete Concertos (2011) by Alexander Glazunov, Performed by the Russian National Orchestra conducted by Jose Serebrier

Categories: 1890, 1891, 1900, 1904, 1911, 1917, 1931, 1934, 2011, and Music.

I can be quite picky about compilations, especially when there is a supposed theme to them, such as “violin concertos.” I generally want my music to be at least of the same era – and performed by the same people – rather than a hodgepodge that some record exec thought was a good idea. So this is a great little set: it’s Glazunov’s concertos, regardless of solo instrument (shock, horror). Instead of some featured violinist or pianist, we get an orchestra and a conductor tackling the set with various soloists. And frankly, I prefer it this way even though the Read More

Call it Sleep (1934) by Henry Roth

Categories: 1934, Books, and Fiction.

I have finally finished this book, but it isn’t just the books fault – at least some of the responsibility lies with our new puppy who, especially in November, did not leave me with enough energy read. Anyway, I’m finally done and I’m glad I read it. I must say that at first I struggled to care. Roth does an excellent job of creating one little boy’s world in early 1900s NYC but I found his parents unlikable and, as someone who had a rather nice childhood, I had trouble caring about his miserable but not truly horrible childhood. (I Read More

Right Ho, Jeeves (1934) by PG Wodehouse

Categories: 1934, Books, and Fiction.

This is a mildly amusing “comedy of manners” (for lack of a better term). It has dated a lot, as comedy – both written and live – has moved past these conventions some time ago. It’s still got it’s funny moments, but most of it reeks of the “I know this is humourous, but I’m not laughing” type stuff. It’s just been done so much that it’s hard to look upon it as fresh 80 years later. It certainly isn’t remotely close to one of the funniest books I’ve encountered and I’d advise anyone who’s grown up with comedy in Read More

The Black Cat (1934, Edgar G. Ulmer)

Categories: 1934 and Movies.

In the CD player: nothing…but I’m listening to Faith No More’s cover of Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s in Love.” I just bought Peel Slowly and See, the Velvet Underground’s boxed set for only $50, tax included. I’m super happy. Even though I really shouldn’t have spent the money. Watched The Black Cat. It’s pretty crazy for its time (1934). There are some cool angles and cuts. The hero isn’t really all good. Interesting but not for anyone who doesn’t like 1930s movies. 8/10 Guess I don’t have much to say about anything right now. Reading Week has basically started (though Read More