Mike Schilling

Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    I consider ragtime to be classical music, in the sense that I am not surprised when I hear it on a classical station. This doesn’t mean it was classical when it was written. “Classical” is a moving target. In related news, negro spirituals, when sung by opera performers. See also John Philip Sousa. In none of these cases is this meant to suggest that the “classical” category is exclusive. I am perfectly happy with multiple categories.

    The Baroque Beatles: meh. It is easy for someone with the right training to produce a pastiche of mediocre baroque music. Actual baroque composers vomited forth vast quantities of the stuff, most of it quite forgettable. Inserting pop tunes into a pastiche is mildly amusing, but only briefly. In related news, I was quite enchanted with Switched On Bach in my youth. It was re-released some years ago, probably hitting some round-number anniversary, so I heard it again for the first time in decades. I was struck by how poor the performance was. Bach can withstand a lot of abuse, but this simply was Not Good.Report

    • Mozart is also classical only in retrospect. At the time, he was just this guy trying to keep his patrons happy. Gershwin, for instance, is a little more complicated. His songs were just this guy trying to write songs people would like, while Porgy and Bess or Rhapsody in Blue were a conscious attempt to be popular and arty at the same time. But it’s all good. Self-conscious or not, Summertime is one of my favorite songs in all the world.Report

    • Avatar J_A says:

      On the Beatles, I totally disagree with you.

      Peter Breiner’s 2001 Beatles Go Baroque has always been one of my top music selections. Four concertos grosso (no vocals, just music) in the style of Bach (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jpKIvyy6jg8), Handel (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EhoXnMqPKN0 ), Vivaldi, and Corelli are extraordinary arrangements worth listening over and over.

      Plus, in Ringworld (a classic on its own right) the protagonist thinks, hearing the music in the background “Beethoven. …. Or The Beatles. Something classic”. Quod erat demonstrandum.Report

  2. Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

    This reminded me of an album I bought several years ago that I really enjoyed: Elena Kats-Chernin’s Ragtime and Blue. I stumbled across it when the San Francisco Ballet did a program choreographed to some of the music. Kind of obscure, but it’s what you get when a contemporary composer trained in the Soviet Union plays around with th ragtime style. Hard to find real recordings to link to:

    Alexander Rag

    Suburban RagReport

  3. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    What a wonderful post. So much here, and so much still left to discuss. I appreciate you leaving so much spare on a topic like Joplin. Many interesting choices, many more interesting choices…

    Thank you for the Beatles connection (I’ll get there in a minute…).

    Yes, of course Maple Leaf. Yes. I became particular to the Labeque sisters rendition, which I can’t find (easily) freely available online. So, maybe their version of The Entertainer (something which must be included in a discussion of Joplin) will be representative enough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsy3NZ8Nfes. (Wait for it…)

    Also, let’s include a Scott Joplin recording of Maple Leaf Rag, for comparative purposes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc.

    Pineapple Rag always had an appeal for me. More playful, explorative. Maybe that’s just me… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-PtpGBmr5E

    One from The Sting that I’ve always liked the version (Solace): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOwachalNNw

    Ok, Beatles…

    Your thing reminded me of The Kings Singers – the older group (not sure how many groups of them there have been). I made a copy (so sue me) of a record that I checked out from the library back in the day (on casette) of the 10th anniversary gala or something (they only had one record of the two record set…). And one of the songs was this (o-bla-di obladah, you know the one…): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-m1riZN434

    I can’t find “When Pa was courtin’ Ma” that they also did on that record, they have lots of great stuff, I think. They even did a Beatles album, if I remember right, Madrigal History Tour, right?

    Next, we’ll be talking about John Cage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN2zcLBr_VM

    Better to introduce PDQ Bach before Cage, I think…Report

    • I watched that video of 4’33” all the way through, hoping he’d turn the page on the sheet music.

      Solace (which Joplin called “A Mexican Serenade”, though I don’t hear that) is in two parts. The Sting only used the second part, which, I admit,is much prettier. There’s a complete version here.

      Thanks for the Scott Joplin piano roll; I’d not heard that before. It’s much faster and tinklier than the way Rifkin plays it, which I had always thought of as authentic. Though I’ve never heard anything on a piano roll that didn’t sound like it should be accompanying a silent movie, so perhaps it’s because of the medium.

      A few other Joplin piece I really like:

      Elite Syncopations

      Rose Leaf Rag

      Also Top Liner Rag, by Joseph Lamb.Report

  4. Avatar John Howard Griffin says:

    Too many links again. Comment awaiting moderation.Report