Saturday, October 17, 2009


I actually was on the verge of posting L7's Pretend we're dead when, upon researching their career a bit, I found out they were the founders of a pro-abortion outfit called Rock for Choice or sumpin. That pissed me off so much I decided it was gonna be someone else for tonight. It don't mean Pretend... won't show up some time - it's not because your brains are screwed up that you can't make good, ballsy rock - just not now.

And then I was thinking for some reason of Elvin Bishop's "Fooled around and fell in love" and that sounded okay. At least for me:

Quintessential American music. If Mr. Ghost is around, he'll say it's Old Fogey again here but I don't frikkin care. Fooled around... is the most memorable single by Bishop, a Glendale, CA native (1942). Kind of ironic too, if irony is the correct word in connection with Bishop's personal tragedy, that the song is actually a tribute to one of his love interests, a certain Jenny Villarin, who became the mother of his daughter Selena. In 2000 Jenny, by then separated from Bishop, and Selena were brutally murdered. It took the artist 5 years to recover somewhat.

Bishop has been active for almost five decades now, releasing his latest CD in 2008. Over here in Europe, Fooled around... is basically the only single that's known of him, but then - correct me if I'm wrong - it's not his usual line of work, since he's basically a blues artist, a genre that's never been popular over here.

Then Ludwig Van Beethoven, and mind you, it's "van", not "von". That is because Beethoven's grandfather, Michiel Van Beethoven, was from Mechelen, a town roughly between Brussels and Antwerp. At some point Michiel left Mechelen for lack of money to Bonn in Germany, to try his luck there. As for today's music piece, I chose a well-known theme from Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. There's a couple of good performances around, and I couldn't decide between the one by Herbert Von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker, and Charles Latshaw. In the end I took the latter. It seems to me Latshaw's performance is the most convincing one.

This is a piece that was premiered in Vienna on December 8, 1813 at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the Battle of Hanau, which was fought on 30 - 31 October 1813 between Karl Philipp von Wrede’s Austro-Bavarian corps and Napoleon's retreating army during the War of the Sixth Coalition. This battle came itself on the heels of the infamous Battle of Leipzig earlier in October, in which Napoleon was defeated, but at Hanau he won again. True, compared to Leipzig, of which the strategical implications were crystal-clear (the end of Napoleon's hegemony on the European battlefields) Hanau was but a small tactical victory for l'Empereur. But it probably greatly affected Beethoven who, though a German native (born in Bonn in 1770) had settled in Vienna, Austria already two decades before. Very likely willing to do something significant for "his" wounded compatriots, he conducted the piece himself.


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