music monday

Music Monday: Libro Quarto d’intavolatura di Chitarrone 1640

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Kapsberger Image One
Image Credit: cuerdaspulsadas.es

Three hundred, eighty years ago, the Libro quarto d’intavolatura di chitarrone (Fourth Book of Chitarrone Tablature) was published. Composed by Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger (Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger), a highly skilled GermanItalian early-Baroque musician, it consists of 12 toccatas, 16 preludes, 10 passacaglias, 5 chaconnes, along with other pieces including variations, canzonas & dances. Kapsberger was known for lute & theorbo (chitarrone) mastery. He was in the service of Cardinal Francesco Barberini by 1624, working along side Girolamo Frescobaldi and Stefano Landi, as well as the future Pope Clement IX.

Kapsberger Image Two
Image Credit: last.fm

Some of his contemporaries, including Landi, criticized Kapsberger’s composing skill. Due to his unusual rhythmic groupings, sharp contrasts and non-conforming to the rules of counterpoint, it was suggested that he was an inferior composer. A current lutenist, Rolf Lislevand commented in liner notes in 1993:

“Kapsberger was as bad a composer as he was a fine instrumentalist […]. The ideas are often badly developed and are freely associated with one another […]. [N]o real musical discourse is built up […] the rhythm, even after serious efforts at fathoming it, wavers between inspired cleverness and total confusion.

Despite the above complaints, Kapsberger greatly contributed towards advancing European plucked string instruments of the time. At least six collections were published during his lifetime, two of which are currently lost.

There is very little else written about this specific composition. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources:
Kapsberger: Interview with Anne Marie Dragosits (Cuervas Pulsadas or Pulsed Ravens Website)
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (Wikipedia)

Music Monday: Greensleeves 1580

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Lady Greensleeves Dante Rossetti Image One
My Lady Greensleeves 1863
Artist: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Harvard Art Musems
Model: Mrs. W. J. Knewstub
Photographer: Maris Stella
Reverse Image
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Moving forward to 1580…

Henry VIII

A widespread belief exists that the song Greensleeves was composed by none other than King Henry VIII following an early rejection of his love by his future wife Anne Boleyn. The lyrics of this song of unrequited love have been seen to relate to his courtship of Anne in the 1520s. Many of the verses of Greensleeves imply a rich and extravagant courtship […]. Henry VIII was a composer and musician of some merit […]. [C]ourt officials […] attribute to Henry many compositions which were not his and the consensus of expert opinion, today, is that Greensleeves was composed rather later in the Tudor era, during the reign of Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I. [T]he piece is based on an Italian style of composition that did not reach England until after Henry’s death […].

Origins

A broadside ballad […] was registered at the London Stationer’s Company in September [of] 1580, by [a] Richard Jones, as A Newe Northern Dittye of ye Ladye Greene Sleves. Six more ballads followed in less than a year, one on the same day […]. Needless to say the rights to the song were in very hot dispute. It was in 1584 that Jones printed his final version of the melody and this is the one we know today. It was titled A New Courtly Sonnet of the Lady Green Sleeves […].

Lady Greensleeves Dante Rossetti Image Two
My Lady Greensleeves 1859
Image Credit: Rossetti Archive

Who was Lady Greensleeves

[W]hy would anyone be named for their green sleeves? Interpretations […] usually have a sexual connotation, most notably in the phrase “a green gown”, a reference to the grass stains on a woman’s dress from engaging in sexual intercourse outdoors. Was this lady a prostitute? [T]he song lyrics mention a “discourteous” rejection of the singer’s advances, suggesting to some that the lady in question was actually virtuous but, perhaps, was mistaken for a prostitute as a result of her green sleeves. [A]nother explanation is quite the opposite to promiscuity […]. [I]n heraldry, colour also had symbolisms and green indicated truth and fidelity […]. [A] knight may give a green armband to his true love to wear to show his devotion to her, giving rise to the familiar phrase “wearing your heart on your sleeve” meaning, to show your true feelings.

None of these theories, however, really seem to reflect the song’s true meaning, which clearly expresses an unrequited love by a rich man for a fair lady. All that we can confidently deduce, is that “Lady Greensleeves” is a nickname, not a title. Exactly who she was, remains a mystery.

Trivia Bits:
♦ In Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, the character Mistress Ford refers, twice, to “the tune of ‘Greensleeves'”.
♦ The tune was the basis for “Home in the Meadow,” a recurring song throughout the 1962 epic film How the West Was Won.
♦ A rendering of the tune, titled the “Lassie Theme”, was used extensively in the Lassie television show, especially the ending credits.

Everyone will remember this tune as What Child Is This? ~Vic

Sources & Additional Reading:
The Folk Song Greensleeves (Greensleeves Hubs)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Rossetti Archive)
Lyrics (Six Wives Website)
Greensleeves (Wikipedia)

Amy Nuttall

Song Saturday: Africa (Toto)

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Toto Africa Discogs Image
Image Credit: discogs.com

Changing things a bit. I’ve got Music Mondays and I’ve had Tune Tuesdays (I may return to that) that showcase music by release date, in five year increments (if I can). Early on, I listed number ones, only. There was also my jump into the 30-Day Song Challenge back in December 2018. Now, I’m stretching Saturday out a bit for some music, too…an idea I got from the Nostalgic Italian. I might even stretch it to Sunday, if I take a notion to. It just depends upon my mood. All blogs evolve and, I’m always looking for new and different things.

This is a song on my playlist on my phone. I have a lot of music on my phone…things that I love to hear when I go out for my afternoon and evening walks or, just sitting in my Adirondack chair, watching the sunset. ~Vic

This song came out in the US in October 1982 and is the tenth track from the album Toto IV. Written by David Paich and Jeff Porcaro, it made it to number one for one week in February 1983.

From Mix Online:

Paich recalls writing Africa on his living room piano.

“Over many years, I had been taken by the UNICEF ads with the pictures of Africa and the starving children. I had always wanted to do something to connect with that and bring more attention to the continent. I wanted to go there, too, so, I sort of invented a song that put me in Africa. I was hearing the melody in my head and, I sat down and played the music in about 10 minutes. And, then, the chorus came out. I sang the chorus out as you hear it. It was like God channeling it. I thought, ‘I’m talented but, I’m not that talented. Something just happened here!'”

Paich, then, proceeded to work on the lyrics for another six months. He brought the skeleton to drummer Jeff Porcaro with the idea of having percussion being an integral part of the composition.

“Jeff got out African sticks with bottle caps that his dad (Joe Porcaro) and Emil Richards (both percussionists) used on National Geographic films. He brought in a marimba and a wooden xylophone kind of thing. This was pre-synthesizer. We didn’t have samples back then. You’re hearing bass marimba, that other instrument and you’re hearing, probably, one of the first loops that was ever done.”

Sadly, Jeff Porcaro passed away nearly ten years later.

I hope you enjoy my Saturday evening submission.

Music Monday: Staatskapelle Dresden 1548

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Semperorper Image One
Die Semperoper in Dresden bei Nacht
The Semper Opera in Dresden at Night
Photo Credit: Sese Ingolstadt
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Leaving the 1520s and entering the 1540s…

Formally known as the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Staatskapelle Dresden is a Dresden-based German orchestra, one of the world’s oldest. Maurice, the Elector of Saxony (Prince Elector Moritz von Sachsen) founded it in 1548. Its precursor ensemble was Die Kurfürstlich-Sächsische und Königlich-Polnische Kapelle (The Electoral Saxon and Royal Polish Orchestra). The orchestra is the musical body of the Staatsoper Dresden (Dresden State Opera). The venue of the orchestra is the Semperoper.

Lovely music. ~Vic

Additional Reading & Sources
Staatskapelle-Dresden (Official Site)
Staatskapelle Dresden Tracks (Last FM Site)
Maurice of Saxony (Encyclopedia Britannica Site)
Chief Conductors (Wikipedia)

Eine Alpensinfonie – Richard Strauss – Staatskapelle Dresden – Fabio Luisi

Music Monday: My Lady Carey’s Dompe 1520s

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My Lady Carey's Dompe Image
Image Credit: youtube.com

Coming forward in time, I was reading around in the 1400s & 1500s (noticing some of the composers that died in the plague) and discovered another interesting little piece: My Lady Carey’s Dompe (a lament or dirge), a traditional English dance tune. Written for a harpsichord and, possibly, a lute, the composer remains unknown, though suggested attribution is Hugh Aston and, the specific date is questionable. It could be 1525 or, 1528 if the song was, indeed, composed for the death of William Carey, a courtier in the service of Henry VIII. Lady Carey could refer to his wife Mary Boleyn, a mistress to Henry and sister to Anne Boleyn but, could also refer to his mother, sisters or his sister-in-law.

In any case, the song is lovely and, catchy. Enjoy.

Sources
My Lady Carey’s Dompe
1520s in Music
Allmusic Write-Up
The Anne Boleyn Files
Sheet Music
British Library (Record of the Composition)
Internet Archive (History of Keyboard Composition)

“One of the earliest surviving keyboard pieces we have…”

Music Monday: Pearl Jam 1994

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Pearl Jam Image One
Photo Credit: vinylthriftchaser.wordpress.com

Twenty-five years ago, this week (November 19/25, 1994), the song Spin the Black Circle by Pearl Jam debuted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart (Page 79/ called Album Rock Tracks in 1994), entering at #16 (also its peak). Released November 8, it was the first single from their third album Vitalogy. Produced by Brendan O’ Brien, it was written by Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard.

Mike McCready had difficulty with the leads and Jeff Ament didn’t like the punk sound at the time. Per Vedder, the lyrics reflect a love of vinyl records but, there could be interpretations of similarities with drug addiction.

From Jon Pareles with The New York Times (December 4, 1994):

The most [Vedder] will do is proselytize against the extinction of the LP, as he does in “Spin the Black Circle,” one of the few songs from Seattle in which a needle has nothing to do with heroin.

From Al Weisel with Rolling Stone (December 15, 1994):

Vitalogy has a number of gripping songs that match the soaring anthems of Ten. The first three tracks are a promising start: “Last Exit,” “Not for You” and especially “Spin the Black Circle,” a revvedup thrash tribute to vinyl, rock harder than anything Pearl Jam have ever done.

Pearl Jam Image Two
Image Credit: pinterest.com

From David Browne with Entertainment Weekly (December 9, 1994):

Pearl Jam still hasn’t developed an individual style to match that of its profoundly uptight singer, Eddie Vedder. Guitarists Stone Gossard and Mike McCready continue to play sloppy, characterless riffs. [T]heir punk song, ”Spin the Black Circle,” is a little flabby, like dinosaur rockers trying to prove they’re into Green Day.

The song peaked at #18 November 26 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the first Pearl Jam single to enter this chart. It also peaked at #11 on the Billboard Alternative chart (called Modern Rock Tracks in 1994). It peaked in the top five in Australia, New Zealand and Norway.

The single won Best Hard Rock Performance at the 38th annual Grammy Awards. Vedder famously remarked:

I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything.


 
Lyrics (From LyricFind)
See this needle
Oh see my hand
Drop, drop, dropping it down
oh so gently
here it comes
touch the flame
Turn me up
won’t turn you away

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
whoa

Pull it out
a paper sleeve
Oh my joy
only you deserve conceit
Oh I’m so big
and my whole world
I’d rather you
rather you, than her

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
whoa

Oh you’re so warm
oh, the ritual
as I lay down your crooked arm

Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin
spin the black, spin the black
Spin, spin
spin the black circle
Spin, spin

[Repeat: x5]
Spin the black

circle

Spin the black circle
Spin the black circle

Music Monday: Skyy 1989

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Skyy Image
Image Credit: youtube.com

Thirty years ago, today, Real Love by the R&B band Skyy debuted on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart (called Hot Black Singles back in 1989), entering at #80. The third release from the album Start of a Romance, it spent 16 weeks on the chart, reaching #1 for one week and, also peaked at #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.


 
Lyrics (via LyricFind):
I said I would get over you
Now I’m here out on my own
Trying to live my life
And now you wanna come back
But I don’t need no brand new lies, listen up

I want a love that’s serious
No time to play love games
I don’t wanna be nobody’s fool
So if you wanna be with me
You gotta give it up

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

All my friends are telling me
I should give you another try
But I don’t need opinions
To deal with what I have on my mind, listen up

I want a love that’s serious
No time to play love games
I don’t wanna be nobody’s fool
So if you wanna be with me
You gotta give it up

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love

Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah (Oh, yeah)
Oh, oh, ah

Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah
Oh, oh, ah (Give it up)
Oh, oh, ah

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love

Ow, ow, ow

Real love
I know I wanna have one
Real love
Gonna try and get some

Real love
Everybody needs one
Real love
Got to have real love

Real love
Real love (Huh…uh…uh…)
Real love (I don’t need opinions)
(Don’t need your advice)

(Real love)
(Got to give real love)
Real love

Music Monday: Keith Whitley 1989

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Keith Whitley Image
Image Credit: countryrebel.com

Thirty years ago, today, It Ain’t Nothin’ by American country singer Keith Whitley debuted on the Billboard Hot Country chart, entering at #59. The second release from the album I Wonder Do You Think of Me, it was written by Tony Haselden and Keith was a co-producer. Released posthumously, it spent 17 weeks on the chart and became a #1 hit January 13, 1990, seven months after his death. It also reached #1 on Canada’s RPM Country chart February 3, 1990.


 

Lyrics (via LyricFind):
My boss is the boss’s son and that makes for a real long day.
When that day is finally done I’m facing 40 thousand cars on the interstate.
Feeling lower than a well diggers shoes
knee deep in a mess of blues.
But those blues just fade away
When I hear my baby say.

[Chorus]
It ain’t nothin a little bit of love won’t fix
It ain’t nothin but a scratch, a little bit of love can’t stitch.
It ain’t nothin a little bit of love can’t heal.
Your love makes me feel.
No matter what hands me — it ain’t nothin, it ain’t nothin.
It was written all over her face she was about to climb the walls.
She said you gotta get me out of this place cause even
Cindarella got to go to the ball.
If you multiply hell times three that’s what this day has been like for me.
I said honey we’ll do the town.
Just don’t let it get you down.
Cause……

[Chorus]
[Chorus]
It ain’t nothin, it ain’t nothin, it ain’t nothin, naugh it ain’t nothin, it ain’t nothin

Music Monday: Billboard Rant

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Well, well, well…silly me. I was planning to do a post on a fresh Billboard chart entry for the week of September 23, 1989. After having done a Hot 100 entry and an Alternative Rock entry, I was looking at Adult Contemporary, Hot R&B, Hot Country and Mainstream Rock. Ladies…Gentlemen…if you so desire to look at Billboard’s history charts other than the Hot 100 chart, YOU ARE SHIT OUT OF LUCK. You can’t look at ANY of their charts, even the new ones, except the Hot 100…UNLESS YOU PAY THEM. This has happened, just in the last week.

I’m not paying these assholes $12/$13 a month just to LOOK at their damn charts. I was attempting to showcase ALL music pieces instead of just the number ones or stuff on the Hot 100, only. Not every song debuts on the Hot 100. Most country music goes straight to the country chart. Most rock, what new rock there is left to listen to on the radio, goes to rock charts. Now, I have no way of knowing what debuted when…or where. If anyone out there knows where I can get this information, let me know. FUCK THEM.

This situation tells me that Billboard magazine is in trouble and hemorrhaging money.

Billboard Screen Capture
Screen Capture from the site.