If you’re not watching The Americans you are a fool, and not just because it is the best show on TV. It is also a show that uses music magnificently. Last night’s episode featured Mark Bernes’ song, Cranes. Absolutely haunting. (Note: It says ‘with English subtitles,’ and yet, I see no subtitles in any language. That said, I know the song is about World War II Soviet soldiers being reincarnated into cranes.)
…we all need a little Jacques Brel now and again.
When I study in Italy, this man is my music teacher. I could not be luckier — attending his lessons is worth the cost of the trip to Italy and then some. (Yes, his last name does mean ‘sp*ders,’ the creatures of which I am so afraid I cannot even write out the word. This tells you how marvelous he is — normally I could not sit in the same room with someone so named. But he is worth it.) Please enjoy this clip in which he discusses Lutheran music, the Reformation, Bach, and in which he uses my absolute favourite hymn, A Mighty Fortress is our God, as a point of discussion.
Today is Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th birthday. I have posted about it on my other website (where I have also started posting letters, et cetera, again): please visit, and if you’re going to watch the Vera Lynn video, have some Kleenex handy.
Friends, readers, please enjoy this New Year’s Eve greeting, brought to you by ABBA. May your 2017 be as excellent as ABBA’s lyrics. Not being ironic – I believe they were among the best pop music lyricists in modern times. And they weren’t even writing in their own languages. I love all the Scando-angst in this song, and the Bergman-esque angles in the video. (On another note, what I wouldn’t give for a dress like the one Agneta is wearing.)
…and to all a good night. (More numinous here.)
Oh, how I love Kathleen Ferrier.
Sing a carol written by a Jew! There are plenty. Today, I offer you this one, from a couple of crooners you might recognize:
A George Harrison song I did not know, which is rather amazing. He is my favourite Beatle. Perfect for the season.
Here is some haunting Norwegian Christmas music. (My mom used to give me haircuts like the singer’s haircut. It’s a Norwegian thing.)
This day can mean only one thing – Frank Sinatra’s birthday. In tribute, here is some Sinatra Christmas cheer, with Der Bingle along for the fun. (And here is my HuffPost tribute to Frank last year, on what would have been his 100th birthday.)