The English-speaking world usually believes nobody sang in English in the Soviet Union. Well, sometimes there were made films that required an English soundtrack – like The Silence of Dr. Evans, written and directed by Budimir Metalnikov and released in 1973. I’ve not seen it myself, but as I’m going through a revival of my life-long love for Valeriy Obodzinsky, I’ve come across the song The Way, composed by a famous Russian composer and pioneer of electronic music Eduard Artemev. Artemev also composed music to Solaris (1972), The Mirror (1975) and Stalker (1979) by Andrei Tarkovsky.
I’ve heard many versions of this song, but the first time it was recorded for me by my father on an audio cassette. It was around 1994 or 1995. Mungo Jerry from last week’s Saturday Music was also on that cassette, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that both songs come as a sort of inseparable pair. It is perhaps a kind of song that doesn’t leave much room for an experiment, but the drive and rhythm are such that you want to go to that Yellow River… via a Yellow Brick Road
Sometimes it takes you a lifetime and a rather different career to get to the point when you can turn the time back and fulfill a dream. In case with Anthony Hopkins, the Oscar-winning Welsh actor, it took him 50 years to hear the music he wrote in his youth to be performed by an orchestra. It was the day of his life, probably more important than the Oscar ceremony when he had won the award. The name of the piece is rather poignant. The waltz goes on – you just have to keep on dancing.
Dilla da l’Acqua is a 16th c. song deploring the fate of a lover who has to overcome the tricks of an obnoxious guardian that protects his beloved. The guardian is not spared every imaginable epithet, including a “pig’s face”. I first heard it interpreted by the British chamber music orchestra, Orlando Consort.
The piece belongs to the 16th c. Italian composer Francesco Patavino (c. 1478-c.1556) from Santa Croce in Padua. He was a rather important figure in the realm of sacred music of the Italian Renaissance and introduced the principle of a “broken choir”, then widely used by the Venetian school of polyphonic composition. Dilla da l’acqua must be one of the seven “profane” pieces that Patavino composed in his lifetime. He died in Loreto (Ancona) around the year 1556.
John Coltrane — tenor saxophone,
Red Garland — piano,
Paul Chambers — bass,
Arthur Taylor — drums.
A prominent 20th century psychologist Viktor Frankl was a survivor of Holocaust. He spent years in several concentration camps, and in each and every one of them he was able to continue his doctoral and academic practice. He found salvation in Love, and subsequently became a source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists. The video contains an extract from his lecture at one American university in 1972 in which he speaks of the importance of idealism as a path to true realism in life.
My mother knew nothing about Frankl, and neither did her mother-in-law. Still, they both brought up their children – me and my father, respectively – as people with a total belief in their ability to do something. Somehow I’ve also had a total lack of fear instilled in me – or so my mother and those who know me say.
As for me, I always, totally go out of my way, if only verbally, to encourage someone to do something they want to do but are afraid of doing. I’ve thought myself to be an incorrigible idealist, and indeed, this is so, but I’ve never seen a problem with it, and now, having watched Frankl’s video, I have no doubt this is the only way to be. It may be hard, and you may find that sometimes you play a glass bead game with someone who does not really need your encouragement, for they are entirely happy to follow a course of mediocrity and land miles away and off-course from the goal. But the beauty is that someone else, who is in a much greater need for what you have to say, will hear, be inspired and do something that will live forever.