September 23rd, 2014
From “ The Pagan Book of Days “ …
“ a time when darkness overtakes light, and nights grow longer than days “
I quite like this time of year. I love the colors; the sun’s light has changed to a more red hue and of course the amazing shadows! And the plants loosing their chlorophyll and showing us who they really are. “ I’m not green like the rest of you, I’m an individual, I’m yellow damn it! YELLOW! “
I think the music of autumn changes as well. I have to confess that I just watched “ Melancholia “ so guess what I’m going to describe autumn’s music as? You guessed correctly as all my readers are intellectually gifted and today’s blog is all about the music of autumn. I see in a few past blogs I’ve been rather long winded so today, I’ll get right to it.
First is my favorite fiddle player of all time – the outrageous and incomparable Kennedy – the artist formerly known as Nigel Kennedy. I had the privilege to see Kennedy live a number of years ago at the Orpheum here in beautiful Vancouver, BC.
Such fond memories of that show! Before he’d even played a note he came on stage dressed like a football hooligan and uttered about 10 F Bombs in quick succession. Quite a number of elderly patrons in my section got up and left in disgust tut tutting about his language and attire and common decency. Well too bad for them for it was a tremendous night of virtuosity and Kennedy brought the house down. I meet him after the show and shook hands and he asked me if I was in music. I was embarrassingly tongue tied and muttered something that even today makes me laugh nervously and cringe. But hey. I’m only human! (or am I? )
Anyway, here he is with Autumn II from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons…
I’ll segue into another interesting piece called “ Forever Autumn “ which is from the concept album, “ War of the Worlds “ by Jeff Wayne. Huh? Jeff Wayne? Yes another English bloke! Jeff was a musician/composer who did commercials and scored documentaries. “ War of the Worlds “ was his labor of love and featured many prominent musicians of the time. 1978, and featured Richard Burton as the narrator. If you have never listened to it – please do, as it’s quite brilliant. The track I’m featuring is sung by Justin Hayward from the Moody Blues and it’s very…wait for it…. melancholy! Ha! I’m sure many of you are saying Moody who? Let’s just say that they picked an apt name.
And finally for today, a little ditty from folktronika star Beth Orton called “ Last leaves of autumn “. And why did I choose Beth? Well she is English and the tone of her almost breaking voice is very melancholic! I also think she is quite a fine songwriter and this piece really gets me visualizing the fall. And of course the title is a dead giveaway.
Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you next time.
September 17th, 2014
Jesus Christ Superstar
The long form of my first name is Christopher. I prefer Chris and the only time anyone uses the long form is when I’m in trouble as in., “ Christopher, what were you thinking? “ or “ Christopher, put some clothes on and leave the Beluga whales alone! “. Some friends have suggested that since my name is legally Christopher that an appropriate short-form would be Christ and those friends do in fact call me that. I quite like it and here’s some name trivia for you – Christopher literally means “ Christ Bearer “. So if you want to start calling me Christ – I’m more than ok with that.
And that’s my segue into today’s blog which is about a rather ancient music recording entitled, “ Jesus Christ Superstar “. Originally released in 1970 as a rock opera concept album with music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. An all star cast of vocalists and musicians played on the album with Jesus sung by Ian Gillan of Deep Purple fame, Judas sung by Murray Head and Mary by Yvonne Elliman. Naturally the album was based on the biblical Jesus and the last days of his life although it ignores the resurrection and is more about the relationship between Jesus and Judas, personally and politically.
The album was banned by the BBC as being sacrilegious but in the U.S. of A. it reached number one on the 1971 Billboard charts.
from our friends at Wikipedia…
“ The Broadway show and subsequent productions were condemned by some religious groups. Tim Rice was quoted as saying “It happens that we don’t see Christ as God but simply the right man at the right time at the right place.” Some Christians consider these comments to be blasphemous, the character of Judas too sympathetic and some of his criticisms of Jesus offensive. At the same time, some Jews claimed that it bolstered the antisemitic belief that the Jews are responsible for Jesus’ death by showing most of the villains as Jewish (Caiaphas and the other priests, Herod) and showing the crowd in Jerusalem calling for the crucifixion. The musical was banned in South Africa for being “irreligious”.”
Seems a bit tame by today’s standards but it must have really ruffled a few feathers back in 1970’s when the establishment was being picked apart by the young.
I have to admit that I know the film version much better than the original album although I will touch on both in this blog.
The film was released in 1973 and was directed by Norman Jewison. Only one cast member made it from the album version into the film and that was Yvonne Elliman as Mary. I love this film! The location, the minimalist sets, the sexy angels with their big white Afros, the music, the story and most of all the vocal performances. The three main players on the record and in the film are Jesus, Judas and Mary. The film version features Ted Neely as Jesus and Carl Anderson as Judas. I think all the cast of the film version are terrific but having now heard Ian Gillan as Jesus from the album – for me Ted Neely just doesn’t cut it. He certainly looks the part but next to Ian Gillan, Ted Neely doesn’t have the vocal strength or range. Here is Ian Gillan belting out Gethsemane
Love that version and love that he looses his lip synch about halfway through – oh analog, how I miss you!
Yvonne Elliman really nails the part of Mary Magdellan and she’s a real pro on both the album and film.
Now that was beautiful, don’t you think?
It’s funny that the star of the album is Jesus but for the film I feel that Judas is the real superstar. As previously mentioned. Judas is played by Carl Anderson and man can this guy sing! I definitely prefer Carl over Murray Head as Judas and that’s no disrespect to Mr. Head – Carl is just much better. I’m going to show you “ Heaven in their Minds “ and you might also want to check out “ Judas’ Death “ for another terrific performance. Carl is a powerhouse and a real chameleon with his vocal chords…
I highly recommend watching the entire film. You can find it for free and in it’s entirety on Youtube.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for watching and reading and I want to leave you with a very important question.
What’s the buzz? – tell me what’s a happening! What’s the buzz? – tell me what’s a happening! What’s the buzz? – tell me what’s a happening! …
September 15th, 2014
” Chris has unique and “out there” ideas that cross genres from Sci-Fi to Thriller. The story he has worked on diligently through 3 drafts has taken the script into other dimensions and realms not typically explored. He has the potential for a blockbuster in the psychological/psychic thriller he is writing.”
Jacqueline Forster. Owner – Life 101 Script Development Ltd.
The first script that I wrote, “ Awakening “ was a spec script for the X-Files. Being an adventurous guy and a risk taker – I tracked down Kim Manners, R.I.P. who at the time was a Director and Producer on the show. He called me directly and told me that he had read it, loved it and wanted to shoot it. I said to myself, ” could it really be this easy? “. The only obstacle were the Executive Producers in Los Angeles to whom I sent said script and alas they passed on ” Awakening “. Buoyed by Kim Manners kind words and excitement about my writing, I soon wrote another spec and this time for The Outer Limits. It seemed I was on a roll and I managed to get ” Worth ” directly into the hands of Producer, Brent Clackson. Imagine my joy when I returned home one day to find Brent on my answering machine saying how he had read the script, loved it and wanted to produce it! Once again, the only obstacle were the Executive Producers of the show and once again they passed. So close! So very very close!
Since those early days I have written, produced and directed two radio plays for CBC Radio and sold “ The Raccoon “ to Joel Wertman at Mustard Pancake Productions. And most recently I have utilized my previous biological work experience and consulted on the feature film, “ The Thaw “, for Anagram Pictures.
To date I have written 18 scripts. Number 17, ” Death’s Sweet Call ” has been completed as a first draft and I am also creating a science fiction television series, ” Conflict ” and have the pilot and first two episode story lines roughed out. Script number 18 is a sci fi feature entitled ” Icarus ” and I’m currently feeling out the characters and developing the story.
For any script info, please email me directly. You can also see my script cv on the left hand side of this website.
September 10th, 2014
“ Lazarus come forth “
I haven’t posted any new music in some time so I thought I better get to it and today’s odd audio blog is a resurrection of sorts.
Sometimes when I am noodling around on the keyboard, I get little clues as to what the piece might be about. I’ve been reading and watching a lot of horror these days including the new series, “ Penny Dreadful “ which by the way is terrific and don’t let the first episode deter you. Some of the best acting I have seen in some time, especially Miss Ives! Anyway, Frankenstein figures prominently and that along with the re-animating of the dead that I’ve been reading has obviously affected my creativity.
So when I started creating this piece I was thinking about Lazarus and how did he really feel about being resurrected? How would you feel?
Quite frankly I would be very pissed off! Since the Lazarus story comes from the bible, then I can only assume Lazarus was living it up in heaven and then whammo! All of sudden he’s back in his earthly body that’s been decomposing for four days. Perhaps that’s where the zombie idea stems from? But I digress. Poor Lazarus snatched out of heaven and now paraded around the Middle East like some circus freak.
So that was my motivation behind the music, which is in three parts. In the first section it’s business as usual in the bone yard and perhaps a bit melancholy. Then someone pushes aside the burial stones – you know who I’m talking about! Nudge, nudge! Wink, wink! And in the second part all hell breaks loose and nature is not impressed that someone (you know who) has broken one of the most sacred rules of nature. And in conclusion, part three is really the world through Lazarus’s eyes. It doesn’t look pretty compared to heaven and it’s rather confusing and off time or out of phase.
And there you have it – a peek inside my warped but highly creative and imaginative brain. I hope you enjoyed my latest musical offering and I have something pretty crazy planned for next time but it might take a few weeks. Be patient and see you again soon.