Author Topic: Great Novelty Records  (Read 1522 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Great Novelty Records
« on: December 09, 2019, 01:40:04 PM »
I'm thinking about recordings that did something novel, unusual, outlandish (etc.), but transcended their novelty and had real musical value. In other words, not the typical novelty or "party" record, that you play for a laugh once or twice and then forget about.

I'm thinking about recordings like the following:

Glenn Gould, Consort of Musicke - playing Elizabethan virginal music on a completely wrong instrument (grand piano) and making it sound right
E. Power Biggs plays Joplin on pedal harpsichord - similar to the above, except going back in time with the instrument rather than forward
Ensemble Modern plays Conlon Nancarrow - mechanical music played successfully by humans

Any others?
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2019, 02:16:36 PM »
I think that Lukas Foss’s Art of Fuging is just a party record, but you may disagree.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2019, 02:20:41 PM »
I think that Lukas Foss’s Art of Fuging is just a party record, but you may disagree.

I had that one. Didn't find it interesting enough to keep, so I may not disagree.
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Offline dissily Mordentroge

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2019, 02:21:41 PM »
I’m tempted to suggest Anna Russel’s cogent analysis of the Ring Cycle but no doubt none of you would take her seriously.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2019, 12:28:29 AM »
W. Carlos' original "Switched on Bach", I guess, but I am too young to remember early synthesizers as "novelty".
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline dissily Mordentroge

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2019, 12:30:23 AM »
W. Carlos' original "Switched on Bach", I guess, but I am too young to remember early synthesizers as "novelty".
It’s a mystery to me how this happened but the original ‘Switched on Bach’, despite the cheesy sound, is actually a very accomplished performance.

Offline dissily Mordentroge

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2019, 12:35:24 AM »
W. Carlos' original "Switched on Bach", I guess, but I am too young to remember early synthesizers as "novelty".
What is novel is Walter Carlos ‘changed’ to Wendy Carlos.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2019, 12:53:56 AM »
The synthesizer was barely beyond its experimental stage. I don't remember the details but I don't think Carlos could play anything simply on a keyboard. He had to create all the sounds "by hand".
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2019, 07:12:16 AM »


<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ghWdgcYIcSk" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ghWdgcYIcSk</a>
« Last Edit: December 10, 2019, 07:14:24 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline aukhawk

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2019, 10:10:07 AM »
The synthesizer was barely beyond its experimental stage. I don't remember the details but I don't think Carlos could play anything simply on a keyboard. He had to create all the sounds "by hand".

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/switched-on-bach-how-a-transgender-synth-pioneer-changed-music-1.3699133
Quote
The different voices and elements had to be painstakingly tracked and layered in the studio, expression added by adjusting filter, oscillator and envelope controls with one hand while melodies were played with the other. It was a mammoth undertaking for both Carlos and producer Rachel Elkind. The album stands as a monumental technological feat and as well as a musical milestone. Carlos and Elkind had to tune the synth before each take and hope it stayed in tune for the duration of each track.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2019, 12:36:39 PM »
Thanks for the quotation. I probably read a similar piece some time ago or they explained it in the booklet as I have a more recent CD issue. As I said I was not even born when the first Switched on Bach Album appeared but I dimly recall that it was still considered something of a novelty (maybe only among more conservative classical listeners although the really conservative ones would probably just ignore or despise it) when I was a kid in the mid-1980s.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2019, 05:52:50 AM »
Thanks for the quotation. I probably read a similar piece some time ago or they explained it in the booklet as I have a more recent CD issue. As I said I was not even born when the first Switched on Bach Album appeared but I dimly recall that it was still considered something of a novelty (maybe only among more conservative classical listeners although the really conservative ones would probably just ignore or despise it) when I was a kid in the mid-1980s.

I bought it to 'demonstrate' my first stereo system, in the late '60s.  In my parents' home I had recently upgraded from a single large floorstanding corner speaker (which was home to a family of mice) to a pair of small Wharfedales perched on chairs.  An elderly uncle (born about 1900), who was a violinist in a provincial orchestra, came to visit one day, and I sat him exactly between the two speakers - pointing at him like giant headphones - and played 'Switched-On Bach'.  After the initial jaw-dropping moment, he couldn't get enough of it.  ;D

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2019, 08:27:56 AM »
This might be one. Spaced-Out Bach, featuring "the orbiting harpsichord of Joseph Payne":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vopj60a8G5w&t=854s

Apparently never reissued on CD. I found it at the Harpsichord Vinyl Gallery, which has a lot of obscure harpsichord recordings.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline SimonNZ

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2020, 10:09:00 PM »
The Swingle Singers in their original lineup '62-'72 with Christine Legrand.

Most of Jacques Loussier.

Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2020, 07:38:16 AM »

1973

The Portsmouth Sinfonia was an experimental English orchestra founded in 1970 by composer Gavin Bryars.  It was composed of musicians playing an instrument about which they were completely unfamiliar, and players with no musical training.  Bryar's professed intention was to remove pomposity from classical music.   What I find remarkable is that despite the obvious distortions the work played remains essentially intact.


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6piDRKOwh88

They were fun, I used to have the "Classical Muddley" single. They actually did a pretty good job on Brian Eno's "Put A Straw Under Baby" 8).

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2021, 10:53:51 AM »
I had no idea this album existed until today:



Yes, none other than the great songstress of the avant-garde Cathy Berberian, singing the Beatles. This is an entire album. At first listen, these covers sound hilariously wrongheaded. But I could see this being a great party record. Here's a sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgxCwdvUt74&list=PLgDsV9tDImDN6Z1YPZlQxWBDFsh05dlbm&index=4

formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Online Brian

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2021, 11:31:32 AM »
I had no idea this album existed until today:



Yes, none other than the great songstress of the avant-garde Cathy Berberian, singing the Beatles. This is an entire album. At first listen, these covers sound hilariously wrongheaded. But I could see this being a great party record. Here's a sample:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgxCwdvUt74&list=PLgDsV9tDImDN6Z1YPZlQxWBDFsh05dlbm&index=4
Oh
my
god

 :o :o ??? ??? ??? ;D ;D ;D :'( :'(

I have not stopped giggling. This is stunning.

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2021, 12:27:35 PM »
Oh
my
god

 :o :o ??? ??? ??? ;D ;D ;D :'( :'(

I have not stopped giggling. This is stunning.

This record is beyond categories of good and bad. It is positively Nietzschean in its resonance. Once heard, it can never be forgotten, no matter how much you may want to forget it. It exerts its Will to Power independently of your wishes.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline Cato

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2021, 12:41:07 PM »
This record is beyond categories of good and bad. It is positively Nietzschean in its resonance. Once heard, it can never be forgotten, no matter how much you may want to forget it. It exerts its Will to Power independently of your wishes.



Okay, in that vein, then try this, which almost caused me to wreck the car 25 years ago, when the local classical station - for reasons inexplicable, outside of satire or a wise guy D.J. -  played it on the air!



<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/WgeAO3oQ28E" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/WgeAO3oQ28E</a>









Composed by ...


...


(Are you ready?)...


...





Harpo Marx



Mario does not seem to think it is a joke!   0:)
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Offline steve ridgway

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Re: Great Novelty Records
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2021, 09:43:41 AM »


Who was it who said the following? :P

I'm thinking about recordings that did something novel, unusual, outlandish (etc.), but transcended their novelty and had real musical value.