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Andrew

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About Andrew

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    And a good day to you, sir!

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    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/
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    psychiatrist

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  1. Andrew

    Elbow

    A handful of their albums have generated threads over the years, but howzabout a thread just dedicated to the band itself? I think I discovered them only four or so years ago, but a number of their songs are now on frequent play at home or on the road: Mirrorball, With Love, The Birds (probably my favorite), Real Life (Angel), Magnificent. Guy Garvey's voice is the immediate draw; I think one AllMusic critic likened it to the feel of soft flannel, which seems apt. The music itself is welcoming, gentle, and humane, hardly easy listening but inviting like an old friend's porch on a cheery day. And the lyrics contain plenty of inventive twists and metaphors to keep me coming back (see, again, The Birds). During the shelter in place, they've been dropping lovely renditions of their songs onto YouTube 1-2 times weekly. (It's worth sticking around after the credits, for the occasional charming bonbon at the very end.) Here's one:
  2. I had some time this afternoon to track down a performance of Sibelius' 2nd Symphony and give it a listen. I'm not completely happy with my choice (the Sinfonica de Galicia seems to fall apart a bit in the transition between the 3rd and 4th movements), but overall, the sound quality is better than the Bernstein and Tortelier performances that popped up at the top of my YouTube search, and the climax-upon-climax of the final movement gave me the chills that a good performance of Sibelius' Second ought to. In reading the overview of this symphony in Edward Downes' Guide to Symphonic Music, evidently a couple of Sibelius' close friends confirmed that it has a program behind it: commencing with an idyllic notion of a free Finland, folding over to outside oppression, before concluding with the rise of a deliverer. I can certainly see this: the first movement, after a serene string intro, passes around a lovely melody from the oboe on to the clarinet, French horn, and flutes. But overall, this and the third movement have a harried feel to them. The second movement, which I really dig, also has an unsettled vibe to it, but it's more somber and dark-hued, especially at the beginning. I love how Sibelius gives 3 full minutes to pizzicato bass/cello and a bassoon melody, before the full strings get in on the action. This movement has a tender string melody, while the third movement has a lovely oboe-dominant interlude, but again, darkness and unease predominate until the Finale. The fourth movement never gets old for me. I count three climaxes, with softer breaks between them, before the closed cadence, brassy "Amen!" at the end (quite a contrast to the end of his First Symphony!). At the end of the first climax, there's a feeling that the wheels could fly off this symphony, with the surprising dissonance that starts with the flutes. Then there's a gorgeous Romantic lushness before a cinematic second climax (the swirling flutes give me a picture of wind blowing through the sails of a storm-tossed ship). The triumphal groundswell of the final climax feels well-earned after the tumult preceding it.
  3. P.S. I think my blurbs on Late Spring and Grave of the Fireflies from lists of yore have held up well, so I'm content keeping them as is.
  4. Oops...I definitely want to sign my blurbs by name and with a hyperlink to Secular Cinephile. Is there a way for to go in and edit, or do you need to do that?
  5. Sounds good to me - I just posted my Cave of Forgotten Dreams blurb, so I'll move on to Kurosawa next.
  6. Thanks - I'll try again later today or tomorrow, and if unsuccessful, I'll email you the info.
  7. I've gotten an error code EX1406 twice now when I've tried to save my Embrace of the Serpent blurb. Do you know what this signifies?
  8. I'd love to - this one'll take a bit longer, though, since I never wrote a review of it.
  9. Wow, thanks Ken. It helped that I had reviews of both I Am Not Your Negro and Embrace of the Serpent on my website, that only needed minor tweaking. And on that note, what next, boss?
  10. Just a parenthetical aside, but doesn't it seem like Bruce Beresford dropped off cinephile radar? In the 80s and 90s, he had a number of well-regarded, understated dramas: Black Robe, Tender Mercies, Breaker Morant. And I see from IMDb that he's still making films, but I don't think I've seen one since the early 90s.
  11. Ken, I'm a little confused on the blurb app: what goes in the "Description" box? I'm assuming the actual blurb goes in the larger "Info" box?
  12. I'll have my blurb for I Am Not Your Negro completed before the afternoon is out. What shall I write about after that, Ken?
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