Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan, Luciano Sgrizzi, Leonard Cohen: Playlist for The Open Window for October 5 and 8, 2009

The Open Window airs at www.cjly.net, Kootenay Coop Radio, at 6:30 am Mondays and 10 am Thursdays

Listen to a podcast of this show

Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer: six tracks from Music for Two (Sony Classical)

The re-imaginer of the banjo
and a genre-crossing classical bass player give us the unique sound of bass-banjo duets, sometimes in classical music (Bach) and otherwise with acoustic improvs of various kinds.

Nuzrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook: My Heart, My Life; Lament; and My Comfort Remains from Night Song (Real World)

This 1995 CD is a classic of world music, with the Canadian guitarist Michael Brook taking Nuzrat's music some distance into the west. Nuzrat (1948-1997) has been called both the Bob Marley of Pakistan and the Pavarotti of Pakistan, not surprising considering his revered status there. He has also been called the most popular singer in the world, some of his concert crowds rivaling most western cities in population. He sings a kind of Sufi devotional trance music, altered here somewhat for this experiment with Brook. The grooves and the improvizations and the quiet moments on this CD have grown on me very much over the years and it's one of my all-time favourites.

Luciano Sgrizzi: Suite in C by Domenico Zipoli, from 18th-Century Italian Harpsichord Music (Nonesuch )

This was requested by a beautiful Italian woman at a party-- the first actual request I've ever had. I've since discovered that Sgrizzi (1910-1994) was quite an eminent musician with dozens of recordings.

Leonard Cohen: Villanelle for Our Time from Dear Heather (Columbia)

These me
morable lyrics are by Frank Scott (left) (1889-1985), the Canadian poet who was a professor of Cohen's in university in Montreal, and also a mentor. The words would have to be exquisite to stand up alongside any of Cohen's songs and they do, in fact they are quite Cohenesque. Or maybe all Cohen's songs were influenced by Frank Scott. Here's the poem, but you have to imagine it read by Cohen at his deepest and most resonant.

From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.
The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.
Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.
Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart,
We rise to play a greater part.

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