I was rummaging through our old house "archives" of cd's and tapes (my dad was a junkie for those kinds of things and he picked up a ton of ... awesome music) when I found several CD's of interest. First, there was an ancient Enya CD (what??? My dad listened to Enya??? No wonder he told me her music was good XD). Then, there was this -- 22 Famous Western Film Tracks (that's the title folks). I'm listening to it for the first time (skimming through it of course) and here are my thoughts --
- High Noon: Love the sound of this song. So, pretty and waltzy (almost).
- Wand'rin Star: Umm, ok, I didn't like this one so much. It sounds like it's out of Aladdin or something.
- Once Upon a Time in the West: Starts off like a lullaby and then kinda...reminds me of Enya's stuff. I wouldn't classify it as western.
- Rio Bravo: Hmm, more my kind of stuff. I actually thought there was a real dog growling when I realized it was the music. It's got that trumpety brassy sound and the drum beat is nice and distinct. Made me think of five evil guys facing off somewhere in a closed up town. The trumpet was nice...yeah. And when the beat picked up...uhh, it kinda reminded me of some sort of Mexican Sombrero Hat Dance or whatever :P
- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: *shakes head* okay, this started out like some kind of techy dance music...the guys voices? Remember Robin Hood in Shrek 1? Remember that song the guys did? Think of that and think of techy dance music and western and electric guitar. Does it fit? err not really. But it was a fun listen :)
- Hang'm High: Best song EVER!! First time I've listened to it. It seriously reminded me of a hanging (not that I've ever seen one) but the drums and the violins were AWESOME! Hehe, there was a part where it sounded like pogo-sticks in the background, but other than that, it was a catchy tune.
- A Fistful of Dollars: Imagine, some sleazy thief crawling through back alleys, stalking two good cowboys on their dutiful cow ponies. Then imagine an army stalking those two guys. And the two guys just walk off into the sunset. That's kinda the mood of this song.
- A Gun for Ringo: Again, sounds more like a waltz. It was a'right.
- The Magnificent Seven: I swear, I've been seriously spoiled by Eric Kunzel's orchestra composition of this song. It sounds nothing like it "should". Really it's more metallic and "modernized" than what it should be.
- How The West Was Won: Ok, by now I'm beginning to wonder whether this Hollywood Studio Orchestra is more modern rather than classical. Seriously, this song sounds awful :S I was hoping for better. Mexican Hat Dance again. :(
- The Man With the Harmonica: Ok song, I didn't like the vocals for it but it was alright.
- My Name is Nobody: Very electronica sounding. That weird sound at the beginning of the song (whatever it is) sounds just...wrong XD :P It sounds like someone is blowing bubbles in milk. The flute was beautiful! And those fun slides they did were kinda cute :P
- A Fistful of Dynamite: I enjoyed the drum beat, but the piano (or electric piano, whatever that odd thing was) just didn't fit. I kinda liked the weird sound effects, they fit with this tone. I especially loved the last quarter or so of the song where they introduce the violin. It was epic.
- Johnny Guitar: This started out sounding more or less like some kind of Native American music, rather than Western. Then they introduced the electric guitar *sticks out tongue* icky. And later they had some kind of Mexican guitar...I couldn't quite tell what it was. Maybe a mandolin.
- Pancho Villa: They had some sci/fi sounding stuff in this one, but aside from that it was ok. There was a catchy beat -- methinks it would make great dancing music ;) Definitely reminded me of a Mexican get-together party :) fun stuff.
- A Few Dollars More: I loved the beginning of this song. It's just so...catchy. That whistle thing (piccolo maybe?) sounded grand. This was a pretty good song. Weird vocals, but other than that, it was pretty good.
- Ballad of the Alamo: Imagine standing on the top of a hill with the wind blowing all around you, rustling the grass -- then imagine your friend comes up beside you (you're both on horseback) and you race down the side towards a smoking village. The tune was more major than minor, but it was fitting.
- The Comancheros: This was hilarious, if a song can be called hilarious. Imagine three dopey looking guys with scraggly straw hats and drooping gun holders, swaggering their way toward town. They're walking all bow-legged, hauling their horses behind them with their reigns in hands. Their spurs click the dust, causing small puffs to come up in the air. The rest of the song is a free-for-all. (I liked this one)
- Bye Bye Colonel: As the title suggests, the song is in a minor key and has a very sad sound to it, probably suggesting someone's death (*ahem* someone being a colonel? Maybe). I can almost taste the acrid film of the smoke in my mouth -- just think of a burning Mexican city (yeah, this CD reminds me of the Mexican side of the west for some odd reason) with injured cowboys rummaging around and tending to the dead or wounded. You're in the middle of it all and before you lies your best friend...the colonel. A bullet through his chest; he just finished stuttering out his last words, now he's gone.
- The Return of the Seven: *sigh* This wasn't what I expected it -- Eric Kunzel's doing again ;) I figured that they just don't hold the notes long enough and they don't have the great background music. The timing is a bit weird, but it's another variation of how I've heard it.
- Good Luck Jack: Kind of reminded me of Bye Bye Colonel, but with a bit of a lighter mood. Let's say, a funeral procession. It has that churchy feel to it.
- La Libertad: As the title suggests, it's a cheesy kind of liberty/freedom sort of song. I felt like I was staring at cowboys as they dashed towards Chucky Cheese's entrance door. :S
All in all, this CD was a disappointment to me. I was hoping for some better songs--more western like rather than electronica/dancy feeling.
Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Now this was a stunning find. I LOVE it. Ok, so I'm going to listen to it and then type out what I kind of imagine as I listen. It should be interesting.
A beautiful woman enters, with a flowing grey gown. She stands beside the edge of a crystal clear lake, staring solemnly into the water as it twists and twirls before her eyes. The image of her loved one appears to her, kind of like a ghost. Yet she cannot reach him, for he is but a reflection in the water. A tear drops from her eye and settles into the water, catching itself on the reflection of her lover's face. She kneels before the water, bending close so as to get a closer look, but ...
Her lover drifts off and floats away. The woman has a terribly sad look on her face as she watches the reflection shimmer itself away. Drying her tears, the woman swallows hard and gets up, dusting off her elegant dress.
Guards dressed in black armor watch as their mistress walks along the side of the indoor cavern/lake. She paces back and forth, her royal poise is accentuated as she steps, barefooted, from rock to rock, recalling to mind the memories of her lover and her as they had once strode around this lake in the past.
Okay. that took us to the 3 minute 43 second mark. It goes on for another 7.5 minutes :P I'll spare you the angst. That piece, in case you were wondering, was called Moderato, from the CD mentioned above.
Wagner: Die Walküre - Ride Of The Valkyries
This song was epic. Absolutely EPIC! The title, Ride of the Valkyries really does kind of explain everything. The sliding violin strokes, the deep brass notes, the trills in the background -- they all lead to a sensation of tension and fleeing/majesty. I really love this song. It's got some bright parts, but for the majority, the dark undertones take control of the direction of the piece. It definitely reminds me of valkyries (check that link in case you don't know the term). Okay, okay, I'll tell you. In Greek mythology (which none of us here believe in, I hope :P ) the valkyries were maidens of Odin who, essentially, chose who would be destroyed in battle. Lovely job description eh? Thus you can see why this song, Ride of the Valkyries, has such dark undertones. :P And the sweeping violin strokes really do help get that tone.
The Best of Bandura -- played by Victor Mishalow -- Echo of the Steppes
This song is played with the Ukranian bandura, a multi-stringed instrument. Check it out (seriously crazy for someone to play it...lots of practice lol!)
So, here's something I saw on the CD package (what I could read lol...the English description of course, my Ukranian isn't very polished...especially since it's not a required language in Canada; I've studied more French, Italian, and German than Ukranian, but since it's part of my heritage, I've tried to learn some...the reading is hard though, because of the different letters).
The bandura is a multi-stringed Ukrainian folk instrument with a history dating back to the seventh century. It was extremely popular among the Ukrainian Cossacks, and was adopted by the "Kobzari", wandering blind minstrels who traversed the country side singing epic ballads about heroic exploits of the Cossacks. Although the Kobzari have disappeared, the legacy of their art has survived, and is currently undergoing a Renaissance. The modern concert bandura has 65 strings and is chromatically tuned through 5 octaves. The strings are plucked with fingertips, resulting in a sound similar to that of a harp and harpsichord combined.
So there is some history for you. I hope you've enjoyed this rather intriguing musical review session :)
Signed with a glissando,