Havergal Brian: Epic.


I am ready to offer my two cents on the Havergal Brian Gothic Symphony. I realize I am incredibly late to the party, considering the ballyhooed performance under Martyn Brabbins was almost 50 Proms ago; I wasn’t ready then, but no worries. No one has written extensively about the performance and the music. Certainly not this, or this, or this, or this) . Stay tuned for my upcoming feature on one Jerusalem rabbi who claims to be the son of God and the legion of followers he seems to be developing. THIS IS EXCLUSIVE SHIT, I THINK!

Now then, the title of this blog post contains one of my favorite words (hint: you’re not going to believe this, but it isn’t Havergal). I use the word epic all the time to describe everything from the song “Goodbye Train” by Big Sugar to Thai food to noteworthy sexual encounters. But according to my friend Webster, epic is actually defined as “heroic; majestic; impressively great” and “of unusually great size or extent.” And it is by that definition that I ascribe the word to Havergal Brian and his gargantuan 1st Symphony. Continue reading


In which I systematically refute the years of exhaustive and thorough research by several prominent scholars and intellectuals into the true intentions of Gustav Mahler and his stance on the order of the middle movements of his Symphony no. 6

Dude, that shit is way better with the Scherzo first.

Blast from the p(odc)ast

Back in the day, I did a podcast with some e-friends over at 49ersnews.com. Some of the time we talked football, especially how awful the 49ers were (and still are!), but we would always end up talking about some other random shit. I remember wonderful nights of calling James’ son Bobby even though his name was Billy. I remember doing a segment where I would drink whatever horrible thing I could find at 7-11 (which is how I ended up being the only person in America who ever drank Coca-Cola Blak, which was a) Coke mixed with coffee and b) as bad as it sounds). At some point I went on an 11-minute rant about the handicapped, the mentally challenged, and little people that I’m both ridiculously proud and incredibly ashamed of (mostly proud, though). Continue reading

The greatest 4 minutes in movie history?

Lee van Cleef

Not 100% relevant to this post, but Lee van Cleef. LEE VAN CLEEF!

Everyone knows the secret to making a successful Western is to have an Italian director. Sergio Leone is the most famous example, but he is far from alone. Ferdinando Baldi, Lucio Fulci, Enzo Castellari, Tonino Valeri, Sergio Corbucci and a bunch more all made several contributions to what became known as Spaghetti Westerns, which is somehow racist and endearing all at once. These were the movies that brought us some of the all-time bad ass motherfuckers in movie history: Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name, Charles Bronson as Harmonica, James Coburn as Sean Mallory, Lee van Cleef as everything he ever did. Some of these movies are pretty shitty, but many of them are awesome, and the common thread between most of the awesome ones is Ennio Morricone.
Continue reading

The endlessly changing musical reputation


God damn I look like Charlton Heston.

According to the official WordPress statistics, this is the 100th post on this blog.  What an achievement.  What a devoid-of-financial-compensation achievement.  Those are, after all, my specialty.  Anyway.

I’ve started writing for a local arts journal, and I reviewed my first concert for them this past weekend (it will theoretically be posted on something called “the internet” at some point).  Among the works performed was a Trio by Muzio Clementi, he of the piano exercise books and the “Sopranos” character name.  I mentioned in my review that Clementi is now remembered almost entirely for those piano exercises (and for his influence on Beethoven’s piano music to a lesser degree), which is pretty unfair, really.  Of course, that’s my personal connection to Clementi: he wrote something easy enough for me to pass a piano proficiency exam. Continue reading

Quick update and a YouTube video I keep watching over and over

Editor’s note: I’m going to pretend that people actually read this space on occasion.

I’ve been pretty busy of late.  I miss writing for this blog, but I’m struggling to find the proper time to say what I want to say.  Hopefully things will get back to a little more normalcy.  At the very least I hope I can write more shit, because I enjoy it and my massive and loyal readership deserves to hear my unchecked opinions.

Also, I’ve started writing for KC Metropolis, a local arts journal.  Hopefully more writing means more writing.  You can read some reviews there once things get going.

Here’s a video of Riccardo Muti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in the Rosamunde Overture by Schubert:

A few things to note about this video:

  • Riccardo Muti has supple and expressive hands that can pleasure any man or woman alive today
  • Chicks!  In the VPO!  Better late (seriously, really fucking late) than never
  • I’ve lost count of how many ridiculously cool oboe solos are in the standard repertoire…I would spit on a homeless person to play any of about 80 cool oboe solos.
  • Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I actually spit on homeless people anyway, oboe solos or not
  • I did not type that last bullet point
  • Franz Schubert, man.
  • Franz Fucking Schubert