Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Jean Sibelius: Luonnotar

I posted this one on YouTube a while back - best version ever! Here is text and translation:


Olipa impi, ilman tyttö
- There was a beautiful maiden of the air,
Kave Luonnotar korea.
- Luonnotar, a daughter of nature,
Ouostui elämätään,
- who grew tired of her life,
Aina, yksin ollessansa avaroilla autioilla.
- of always being alone in the vast plains of the sky.
Laskeusi lainehille,
- She descended into the sea,
Aalto impeä ajeli.
- where the waves impregnated her.
Vuotta seitsemän sataa
- For seven hundred years
Vieri impi veen emona
- she drifted about as the water mother,
Uipi luotehet, etelät
- swimming north-west, swimming south,
Uipi kaikki ilman rannat.
- to all the shores under the skies.
Tuli suuri tuulen puuska
- Then a tremendous gust of wind
Meren kouhuille kohotti.
- threw her up on the foamy waves.
Voi, poloinen, päiviäni!
- Oh, poor me, and my life!
Parempi olisi ollut ilman impenä elää.
- It would have been better to remain the Virgin of the Air.
Oi, Ukko, ylijumala, käy tänne
- O, mighty Ukko, supreme god, pass here by the one
- who implores you!
Tuli sotka, suora lintu,
- A gull appeared, an agile bird.
Lenti kaikki ilman rannat
- It flew to all the shores of the skies,
Lenti luotehet, etelät
- it flew north-west, it flew south,
Ei löyä pesänsioa.
- unable to find a place for nesting.
Ei! Ei! Ei!
- No! No! No!
Teenkö tuulehem tupani, alloillen
- Must I build my house in the wind, my living quarters on
- the waves?
Tuuli kaatavi, tuuli kaatavi,
- The wind would knock down my house,
Aalto viepi asuinsiani.
- the waves would carry away my nest.
Niin silloin veen emonen
- At that moment the water mother
Nosti polvea lainehesta.
- lifted her knee out of the waves.
Siihen sorsa laativi pesänsä
- There the gull made its nest,
Alkoi hautoa.
- and started hatching.
Impi tuntevi tulistuvaksi
- The maiden felt an ardent fire
Järkytti jäsenehensä.
- shaking her limbs.
Pesä vierähti vetehen
- the nest fell into the water
Katkieli kappaleiksi
- and broke into pieces.
Muuttuivat munat kaunoisiksi
- But the eggs changed into things of beauty:
Munasen yläinen puoli
- the top of the shell
Yläiseksi taivahaksi,
- became the firmament;
Yläpuoli valkeaista
- the upper part of the egg white
Kuuksi kummottamahan;
- the shining moon;
Mi kirjavaista tähiksi taivaalle,
- and the speckles turned into stars in the sky,
Ne tähiksi taivaalle.
- stars in the sky.

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Hope you enjoy!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Schumann - Kubelik

Have no doubt: this is music magic - Rafael Kubelik leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) in Robert Schumann's Third and Fourth symphonies, plus the Manfred Overture. The recording dates from the late 70s and has very good remastered analog sound.

I used to dislike Schumann's piano music, which caused me to hold off on listening to his orchestral music. When I finally gave a listen (recently in fact), I became fascinated with these works. They're bursting with vitality, structurally tight, well-orchestrated... even if the critics say orchestration wasn't one of Schumann's strong points, I can say it all sounds great to me. Give them a try if you haven't heard. I'm starting to get into the piano music as well.

I really like the front cover - found it online. Don't know what specific release it belongs to, but I made sure to include it here in lieu of the more mundane covers floating around out there.

Kubelik is another one of those conductors who never made a bad recording, at least from what I've heard. See Peter's blog here for an amazing live recording of Smetana's Má Vlast with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Wow! As for this recording...

Download here (no password):


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ukulele Underground

My laptop has had a stroke, so I'm relegated to using my touch screen cell phone for making posts until a replacement arrives. Let me share a site I've recently found:

I started posting in their forums under angusdegraosta. The ukulele is a ridiculous amount of fun to play. For now I got myself a cheap little red Makala Dolphin soprano - amazing how playable it is for only 35 dollars.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving! I'll write more once I get a machine with a normal-sized physical keyboard... should be arriving within the week.