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The Magic in Advertising series, more music, classics, mixes, snore

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — following on Advertising series 01: Music — maybe I’ll post three today — here’s the second ]
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Ludacris Mercedes– there’s a moment in the middle of this magical commercial where magic transforms opera into rap — the Mercedes driver’s preference, as we see at the end of the commercial, when he instructs the car to play his music:

Opera as luxe:

The aria is — well, here’s how the LA Times puts it, in a piece titled Does Volvo know it’s using opera’s most monstrous villainess to sell its SUVs?:

Volvo’s new spokesmodel for its SUVs, the Queen of the Night from Mozart’s “Magic Flute” (Diana Damrau), ordering up the murder of Sarastro, the High Priest of the Sun, in a production at Covent Garden.(Royal Opera House)

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Ha! For a different take, an opera-rap mix, see Twist of Fate Wines’ Embrace the Unexpected ad:

Like it? Switch modes of culture-clash:

Flight of the Bumblebee:

And go to Calvinball:

Last but not least, give things a sacred twist? Hallelujah:

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Previous episodes in the same series:

Advertising series 01: Music
Eros, the Renaissance and advertising
Authentic, spiritual magic!
The magic of advertising or the commercialization of magic?
Here’s magic!
The magic of miniatures
rhyming, twinning, pattern recognition
the purring, roaring Jaguar

I imagine there will eventually be about twenty posts in the series..

The Magic in Advertising series, the purring, roaring Jaguar

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — this series has been quiescent, and that’s a pity — so I’ll post two today, to re-kick-start the series ]
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Jaguar:

You’ll likely have seen the jaguar (cat) keeping pace with the Jaguar (e-pace), the cat and the car in parallel..

The cat-car association is embedded in the name: the addition of a beautiful woman never hurt from an ad-man’s perspective. Here’s a 1959 ad for an XK150 Roadster:

The same formula works today —

Eva Green features in an alluring, almost purring commercial in which her cat accompanies her to her car:

As the lady says, It’s just electric.

And in a docu-short, Ms Green tells us:

When I think of Jaguar I think of the power and the elegance of the animal, it’s such an iconic brand..

Cat and brand are no longer running in parallel, they’re merging..

**

Previous episodes in the same series:

Advertising series 01: Music
Eros, the Renaissance and advertising
Authentic, spiritual magic!
The magic of advertising or the commercialization of magic?
Here’s magic!
The magic of miniatures
rhyming, twinning, pattern recognition

I imagine there will eventually be about twenty posts in the series..

Advertising series 01: Music

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — trying to gauge the appropriateness of music in TV advertising, and getting the sense that music has a — frankly — higher purpose. And then? ]
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I’ve been trying to figure out, from the poetry plane, just what it is that music does or is, or where, and as I’m watching TV commercials, I’m struck each time classical music is used, and forced to consider the role that music plays — in the ads, in my life, and in our lives. Commercials, like haiku, are highly concentrated affairs, and I’ve been learning a lot.

In brief —

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I don’t terribly mind that you can jazz the greatest of composers IMO, in what feels more like a virtuoso exercise than music as such..

Flying Bach:Red Bull

And when the music is jazzy to begin with, no problem — fun, even ..

Rhapsody in Blue: United

Unh — and ditto, speeded up:

High speed Orchestra: Porsche

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But Ave Maria?

Ave Maria: Planters

I guess that’s arguably a Hail Mary overpass, and the Ave Maria only slips in very briefly while the peanut’s in flight, so I’ll let it slide by..

But then I must admit I do get a bit uneasy about the semi-sacred last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth being repeatedly associated with a somewhat silly sad for a line of sports-car, lovely though they are:

Ode to Joy: Alfa Romeo

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The Hallelujah Chorus comes from a sacred oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, to be sure, but Messiah has been drifting from the sacred towards the social for decades, maybe even a century… Boots, though?

Hallelujah: Boots and Shoes

That seems a bit off-kilter: ads are repetitive things, and the idea that millions of concert-goers may have a less than stellar shoe ad pop into their heads in the middle of Handel’s iconic work — not a great taste to leave in the metaphorical mouth, methinks.

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Compare this commercial using the Lacrimosa from Mozart’s Requiem

Mozart Requiem: DirecTV

— with this paragraph from the philosopher Cornelius Castoriadis:

Remember that philosophers almost always start by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is a table. What does this table show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever started by saying: “I want to see what being is, what reality is. Now, here is my memory of my dream of last night. What does this show to me as characteristic of a real being?” No philosopher ever starts by saying “Let Mozart’s Requiem be a paradigm of being, let us start from that.” Why could we not start by positing a dream, a poem, a symphony as paradigmatic of the fullness of being and by seeing in the physical world a deficient mode of being, instead of looking at things the other way round, instead of seeing in the imaginary — that is, human — mode of existence, a deficient or secondary mode of being?

DirecTV? You can count me out.

Kurt Vonnegut quite wonderfully explains:

I am enchanted by the Sermon on the Mount. Being merciful, it seems to me, is the only good idea we have received so far. Perhaps we will get another idea that good by and by-and then we will have two good ideas. What might that second good idea be? I don’t know. How could I know? I will make a wild guess that it will come from music somehow. I have often wondered what music is and why we love it so. It may be that music is that second good idea being born.

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Frankly, I don’t think commercials are up to the Castoriadis / Vonnegut standard.

But let me leave you with a puzzzlement, a koan — assuming you haven’t diverged too far from my perspective thus far. If the Mozart Requiem should be spared participation in TV advertising, what do you think of Bach — remember Bach? — being embedded in a grisly scene from Silence of the Lambs?

Hannibal Lecter plays Bach:

Masterpiece within a masterpiece? Okay?

Knowledge, London cabbies and American sommeliers

Friday, October 26th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — inheritor of yet another form of knowledge]
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  • NYT, The Knowledge, London’s Legendary Taxi-Driver Test, Puts Up a Fight in the Age of GPS
  • New Yorker, The Cheating Scandal That Has Shaken the World of Master Wine Sommeliers
  • **

    For Bates it came down to a lifetime of knowledge. “While many questions may seem simple taken on their own, it is really about the amount of information needed to correctly answer one question. For example, if a question was asked about the location of a village in Germany, knowing where that one village is located is a very small part of the preparation for that question. To be sure to get that one question correct, I had to learn every major wine producing village in Germany, broken down by region, in order from north to south and west to east, with 2 or 3 of the most important villages in each. In order to be able to recall that information on demand, I had to learn to draw a map from memory of every wine growing region in the country. All that for the sake of be able to answer one or two questions that, out of context, may not have been all that hard.

    McCabe turned east on Coldharbour Lane, wending through the neighborhoods of Peckham and Bermondsey before reaching the tunnel. He emerged on the far side of the Thames in Limehouse, and from there his three-mile-long trip followed a zigzagging path northeast. “I came out of the tunnel and went forward into Yorkshire Road,” he told me. “I went right into Salmon Lane. Left into Rhodeswell Road, right into Turners Road. I went right into St. Paul’s Way, left into Burdett Road, right into Mile End Road. Left Tredegar Square. I went right Morgan Street, left Coborn Road, right into Tredegar Road. That gave me a forward into Wick Lane, a right into Monier Road, right into Smeed Road — and we’re there. Left into Stour Road.”

    **

    In early September, fifty-six nervous sommeliers in pressed suits and shined shoes assembled at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. They were there to attempt the most difficult and prestigious test in their industry: the Master Sommelier Exam, a three-part, application-only ordeal that just two hundred and forty-nine individuals worldwide have passed—fewer than have travelled to space.

    It’s not enough to know every wine region, village and district in the world, candidates also need to know which years were better than others for each region. The blind tasting of six wines requires not only identifying the grape varietal, but the region it came from and the year it was made. That’s merely scratching the testing surface though; during the service portion examinees have to recall facts about sake, spirits, distilling methods, apertifs and of course ideal food pairings.

    Knowledge of cigar production, with special reference to Havanas, will be required.

    **

    When trees leave, they find a spot where the sunlight can get through despite the existing leaves, and put out a leaf there.

    Suggestion: find, on the limb, branch, and in time, twig of the tree of knowledge you feel most passionate about, a space nobody else is occupying, and know it — in the kind of detail a knowledgeable cabbie knows London, or a master sommelier the aperitifs, wines, beers, ciders, liqueurs, brandies, whiskeys and cigars of the world.

    It’s worth a try.

    **

    esto nobis praegustatum
    in mortis examine.

    In the case of such Knowledge as most concerns us, the examen is still to come.

    Sunday surprise, the selfsame song

    Sunday, July 8th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — whether willed by the brain or torn from the heart, the one, same cry for mercy — in chant, by Bach, and by Ray Charles & BB king ]
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    A stranger in my Twitter-stream just tweeted a link to a current Australian report on an opening window for rescue operations for the boys trapped in that cave in norther Thailand, two and a half miles under ground:

    [ the video in this tweet is from a continually updated news feed — at time of writing, the rescue op was just beginning ]

    Fate may be fate, prayer may or may not influence events — perhaps prayer may only help us, the watching world ouiside that cave, those circumstances, that peril — the urge to pray is no respecter of particular religions, Christians, Buddhists, Atheists, we all may feel the instinct to pray.

    The prayer is the most basic cry, as we shall see in three versions: the timeless Gregorian chant, the beauty of the Erbarme Dich from Bach‘s Matthew Passion, and that selfsame song as Ray Charles sings it with BB King.

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    Gregorian chant:

    Kyrie XI [ Lord, Have mercy ] from the choir of St Pierre de Solesmes, my favorite haunt when I was seventeen, with the greatest chant scholars and choir in the world:

    That floating, swooping melody is characteristic of the chant.

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    Erbarme dich, mein Gott [ “Have mercy Lord, My God, for the sake of my tears” ] by JS Bach

    If we lose have mercy, Lord from our conceptual vocabulary, we lose a higher octave of hope, of the necessity of surrender.

    Erbarme Dich may be the single sweetest moment in Bach‘s The Matthew Passion, itself arguably the greatest piece of church music ever written — a monumental, gloriously beautiful, grief-stricken work.

    **

    Pure blues: Sinner’s prayer, Ray Charles and BB King:

    If neither Bach nor the chant speak to you, perhaps the blues will — and if all three touch you, how wonderful the variety of expressions of the one prayer:

    Lord please have mercy .. have mercy if you please..

    **

    Footnote: Other unforgettable versions:

  • JS Bach, Kyrie from the B Minor Mass
  • WA Mozart, Kyrie from the Requiem Mass
  • **

    Lord have mercy on the boys in the cave — knowing that the rescue task will be arduous, we ask mercy with hope and a readiness to surrender, to greet whatever outcome with our hearts flung open to grief or joy as the case may be.


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