POETRY IN MUSIC – The magical encounter between rhymes and melodies, Volume 01 (June-July 2017)

Inspired by the experiment I did with one my recent mixtapes (Crest of Waves Volume 1, where I introduces a few excerpts from Pablo Neruda’s “Puedo Escribir“), I decided to launch a new series of mixes where such fusion between music and poetry could become a constituting element rather than just a particularity linked to a single experiment. I realized that the medidative and ambient are maybe the best kind of music to become the sonic background to the acting of a poem, and here we are now with the first volume of a new series of mixtapes, POETRY IN MUSIC. I will include in every issue of the series the best new songs selected from the recent meditative, modern classical and ambient albums, and I will join these with a poem that fits with the music. I am really excited about the result I achieved with this first volume of the new series, I hope that you will enjoy likewise and let me have any comment. As usual, below the widget with the mixtape you’ll find my commentary.

 

∼ The Poem ∼

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 – 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

Dylan Thomas’ most famous work was written in 1947 when he was in Florence with his family. It has been suggested that it was written for Thomas’ dying father, but the speaker’s use of commands (“do not go gentle into that good night”) suggests a universal audience. The poem is about getting old and close to death. Instead of giving in and going gracefully the poem urges people – and particularly the narrator’s father – to protest and rage against the end of their life. It is a strong invocation for us to live boldly and to fight. It implores us to not just “go gentle into that good night,” but to rage against it. Even at the end of life, when “grave men” are near death, the poem instructs us to burn with life.

 

∼ The Music ∼

 

First two tracks of the mixtape comes from the beautiful recent album by Penguin Cafe, named The Imperfect Sea, which was released on May 5, 2017. Penguin Cafe is a band founded by Arthur Jeffes, the son of the Simon Jeffes who was the leader in the 70’s of the avant-pop band the Penguin Cafe Orchestra. Arthur Jeffes’ project started as a continuation of his father’s work and the new group, which today comprises more than 10 musicians, has now published the third LP. With the last album the new band is finally moving away from Penguin Café Orchestra and they’re consolidating their own sound based on slow and long melodic pieces. First track, Wheels Within Wheels, is an incredible cover of a Simian Mobile Disco’s song where beats are beautifully replaced with gentle layers of strings and delicate piano cycles. I believe that the subtle tension and drama created by the song fits perfectly with Thomas’ poem. Second track, Cantorum, is one of the best modern classical songs of the year, with droney strings and a yearning melody on top.

PENGUIN CAFE - 1280x300

 

Following track of the mix was inserted to momentarily interrupt the tension created in the first part of the mix… even if also this song is somehow talking about death… The piece, named Clara, comes from Room 29, the album resulted from the recent collaboration between English musician and actor Jarvis Cocker and Canadian eclectic pianist and producer Chilly Gonzales (the author of the wondeful Solo Piano albums). The album is a 16-episode song cycle telling some invented or real-life stories from the Chateau Marmont, the infamous and decandent hotel in Los Angeles. Clara tells about the pianist daughter of Mark Twain, who attempted to rouse the spirit of her dead husband at the Chateau.

COCKER AND GONZALES - 1280x300

 

Next two tracks sign a move towards ambient music. Songs Dilemma and Venatori have been selected from Endless, the dark and minimalistic album released on last May by the Italian duo Tales of Us for Deutsche Grammophon. The record marks a steady turn of the duo into modern classical sounds, far away from the techno-house with which the two have gained attention and popularity.

TALES OF US - 1280x300

 

Last two pieces belong to Nuit Blanche, the fourth chapter of a conceptual quadrilogy conceived and recorded by the Tarkovsky Quartet, thea modern classical and chamber music ensemble featuring pianist François Couturier (who actually created the quartet), cellist Anja Lecher, saxophonist Jean-Marc Larché and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier. All the music composed by Courtiers and his fellow musicians is inspired by the great Soviet filmmaker, who gave the name to the ensemble. Within the seven songs of the playlist, Urga and Cum Dederit Delectis Suis Somnum are definitely those most close to the world of classical music. Melodic and dreamy songs are however alternated with expressive and dissonant pieces which maintain that sense worry which characterizes the whole compilation.

Tarkovsky Quartet 2 - 1280x300

 

See you on next issue!

 

 

 

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