Saturday, November 07, 2009


Inner smile, a hit by UK band Texas, which formed in Glasgow in 1986. And if Mr Ghost thinks it's Old Fogey Night again, the second clip takes thou back to 1580 or so. Texas prolly sounds like an incongruous name for a Scottish band but they took it reportedly from the 1984 Wim Wenders movie 'Paris, Texas'. Wenders is an artsy fartsy German film director, emphasis on f.a.r.t., and also a f*cking leftist asshat, and it's always pretty cool to hang round these guys or connect in one way or another when you're in zhe muzik biznes. FYI, another Scottish band, Travis, featured here before, are named after the lead character in Paris, Texas; yet other Scots, Primal Scream, sampled actress Natassja Kinski on one of their albums; the movie reportedly inspired the U2 album The Joshua Tree; for Kurt Cobain it was the best movie he'd ever seen... so,...

... where was I? Oh yeah, artsy movies by leftozoid directors attract cool people in the music industry. Either way, I've always liked Texas (the band). It's not that I'm that greatly impressed, but they have a string of reasonable hits. As for singer Sharleen Spiteri, it's one of those women I've been asking myself my entire life whether they're hot or not. I'm still not decided, maybe someone out there can help me with it.

Then the movie adaptation of Fantasia, an orchestral piece dating from 1910 by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). For the movie it was cut short to about five minutes, but normally it lasts about thrice as long. Fantasia is itself an adaptation if you want from a much earlier work, a theme by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585), an acclaimed church composer and organist in 16th century England. Tallis' talent was such that not only was he sought after by high-ranking employers, from famous abbeys and cathedrals to a series of Kings and Queens, but also that it let him survive the religious strife between catholics and protestans (from founder of the Anglican Church Henry VIII over the Catholic Queen Mary to Queen Elizabeth again). Having written music solely for churches and royal chapels, it should come as no surprise that Vaughan Williams' adaptation is 'made' to resemble church music and indeed, Fantasia, though it is to be performed by a string orchestra, 'sounds' like an organ. The string orchestra is to be divided in three parts: one a full sized string orchestra (the 'great division'), the second a single desk from each section (the 'choir division'), and the third a string quartet (the 'swell division').

As for the movie, it was quite good. Russel Crowe convinces as the tough captain who outsmarts the enemy, courageously leads his men into battle, and in a heavy storm does not hesitate to cut off rigging keeping a broken mast tied behind the ship, threatening to sink it - but in doing so he dooms a sailor thrown overboard who's still clinging to the rigging. Fantasia plays during this scene.


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