Basically, you need never be bored again. An immense archive of the great audio interviewer and social historian and researcher, Studs Turkel, speaking over 40 years with great thinkers, movers and shakers as well as people less famous – has been properly curated and placed online. This is America, talking to itself, about its hopes and fears in the 20th Century.
The National Portrait Gallery in London has come up with a twist on the usual museum audio tour: a choral choir!
Careful research prepared music which would have been contemporaneous with the portrait sitters and their time of influence on British society. The pieces are then sung by a specifically assembled Portrait Choir, together with voiceover by Simon Russell Beale.
“The idea is simple: this guide is a soundtrack to five centuries of magnificent portraiture – as well as feasting your eyes on the portraits, period-specific music will further transport you from 21st century Britain to the era each room evokes.” – from the introduction, Track One on the guide
Can sound and music help us seem to travel through time?
A delight. W H Auden writes – and reads – his response to Breughel’s picture about the fall of Icarus, in the Musee des Beaux Arts. 1 and a half minutes. He manages to draw out a life observation as well as describe the painting.
Intriguing – you can now listen to the “Sound of Music” without the music – simply the audio of what happens with the characters – storms, birdsong, phone ring…..
It looks like – and sounds like – this:
So, if you are an extreme fan of the film – or you just love living life to a dramatic soundtrack – then put this on in the background and live life as imagined in Austria in the 1940s.
Incidentally, I heard about this from Kate Young, a lady who bakes based on characters in books – from her Twitter feed – so it all fits perfectly within the remit of this blog – the arts interacting with life. Here: cookery, writing, music, film, audio.
Kate’s book “The Little Library Cookbook” is published this October – details here:
(I now know what I want for Christmas).
Just watched a BBC documentary on the making of the album “No Secrets” – which includes the song “You’re so vain”. Absorbing.
We get to hear from the producer, bassist, sound engineer, drummer, lead guitarist, her manager and most of all Carly herself. What were her inspirations for her songs? What was it like to be at the centre of recording such a phenomenally successful album?
A great insight into songwriting and the team effort which is recording an album. And also of the personal and emotional toll it takes on the performer, in the concentrated pressure chamber of the studio. Should be watched by all wouldbe musicians.
Much of the documentary is about the single “You’re so vain” because there are so many little separate elements which made it special. One of these is backing vocals by a very young Mick Jagger, whom Carly randomly met at a party shortly beforehand, and brought into the studio.
Carly also talks about how she was influenced by the soul stylings of singer Odette (photo featured above). The photo on the album and its title were not chosen til the very last minute. The photo used on the front cover was literally as Carly left the photo shoot, dressed in her own favourite clothes, to go back to the studio to work.
Much of this album and its making are indeed life and art combined – the life of one particular musician, at a particular phase in her life and in the technology of sound recording.
This one hour documnetary is available to view on BBC iplayer but only until 5 June – so watch or download soon.
Or both? In the 1980s film “Electric Dreams” you get both.
In this video, poet Ken Cockburn and artist Juliana Capes describe the great hall in the Scottish Portrait Gallery to a group of people with sight difficulties. They use poetic descriptions as well as poetry in what seems to be a very successful fusion. This and other similar events are organized by Artlink.
This film is part of Artlink’s Investigate Create project, bringing artists and audiences together to create innovative, accessible work. investigatecreate.co.uk