Monday, January 21, 2008

Careful with that bike, Eugene Ernest

Chausson giving a helping hand to Debussy.

Everyone has that handful of artists he or she feels is their own, that no one else knows about, that they alone possess. It used to be like that for me way back in the Dark Ages of the mid-1980s with Metallica. Then everyone started liking them. Then they started becoming musically mediocre. But I'm not here to rehash Metalli-bashing. I'm here to sing, well, type, the praises of French composer Ernest Chausson, whose works, at least in the United States, never seem to get played.

The dark, somber piano trio in G minor, the concert for piano, violin and string quartet in D, the thick, Wagner-esque symphony in B-flat, some of my all time favorite classical pieces were penned by this dude. In addition, Ernest has the distinction of having proved just how dangerous riding a bike can be. A shame he died with easily two or three decades of composing ahead of him.

Assuming he decided to walk everywhere.

So when you're pedaling through your illusion of sporting the yellow jersey of the Tour de France leader, don't be a, er, dope [I can almost hear the guffaws, thanks]. The next great American novel might never get written. Oh, and happy purposely-belated-by-one-day birthday, Ernie.

The brilliant David Oistrakh playing the first half of Chausson's Poème for violin and orchestra. Forget the fact that there's no hot string-on-string action to see. Close your eyes and dig the music, mes amis.

I'm hoping it'll soothe the savage beast that is my anger at the Packers for their loss to an inferior team. Blah.


Candace said...

"I'm hoping it'll soothe the savage beast that is my anger at the Packers for their loss to an inferior team. Blah."

Yep. Now you know how I feel.

P.S.: Thanks for the nice listen.

pissed off patricia said...

It was kind of fun to watch two kick ass games and not give a fu*k who won.

Mary Ellen said...

I did watch most of the Packer game and to be honest I have to give credit to both teams for playing in that ungodly cold. I also have to say, those were true fans who sat in that cold during the entire game...with overtime. It's one thing to be on the field where at least they had the chance to move around, but sitting still in those seats, that had to be misery!

So...hat's off to the fans in the stands!

Mathman6293 said...

Well thanks for the Chausson lesson. I learn something new about the old every day.

Scarlet W. Blue said...


I used to feel that way about Emily Bronte. Nobody seemed to get it.

Dean Wormer said...

Very nice.

But I'm still pissed at Favre. Not as much as John Madden probably is. He had to be talked off a ledge last night.

Randal Graves said...

Candace, I do, but the Packers are only my backup. I was at the Drive, now THAT sucked. ;-) P.S. You're welcome.

POP, that's how I'll be for the Bowl. Normally I'd root for the underdog, but I'm sick of 72 Dolphins crowing about their schedule-assisted 17-0.

ME, I've been at cold Browns games, but not with -20 wind chill. Hell, you could see the linemen's arms turning purple!

mathman, it's really good stuff and easier to find recordings of than even only 10 years ago.

SWB, which is good literary stuff. I should go read some while listening to Chausson!

dean wormer, it is, and I never thought of that angle. He loves Favre more than Favre's wife!

Betty C. said...

Tu es trop! Where else could I read a patchwork of an obscure French composer, Metallica, Oistrakh (I play the violin) and the Green Bay Packers?

Blog on...

Randal Graves said...

What can I say, I'm a strange guy. ;-) You play? That's great! I did for about 5 minutes in 2nd grade. Oh, what an evil, Old World (in the worst sense of the term) teacher I had. Our youngest has started the cello and her teacher is very cool, so I'm happy there's at least a decent chance she'll stick with it.

Becca said...

That's it by bringing the man to public attention you've doomed the world to hear mediocre versions of Chausson...possibly played by Metallica...LOL!

Did you hear that recent version of Morricone's Ecstasy of Gold by Metallica? I'm not a huge Metallica fan but I thought it was pretty darn cool.

Suzi Riot said...

Having been playing piano since age 5 and having formally studied for 10 years in my youth, I'm ashamed to say I've never heard of Chausson. Thanks for the introduction!

Randal Graves said...

becca, noooo! If Apocalyptica does, then that's fine, but I'm not sure I want to hear speed metal versions of chamber music. Well, if done properly, perhaps. :)

I heard that as well and was mildly impressed. I'm sure their new album will still prove to be garbage.

suzi, another player? Shit, I should learn something so we can all start an internets band!

Anonymous said...

It did soothe my anger but my rage didn't stem from the Packers.

Thank you for the youtube clip, it was pretty and what I needed this morning as I eat my french toast and coffee.

Tom Harper said...

I never heard of Chausson. But I love DeBussey and Ravel.

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