Archive for the 'Music' Category

Mozart (Süßmayr): Requiem – Benedictus

Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier, Walter Berry, Chor der Wiener Staatsoper

Wiener Symphoniker, Karl Böhm

1971

Yes: Perpetual Change

From their album The Yes Album (1971).

The Clash: I’m So Bored with the U.S.A.

From their debut album, The Clash (1977).

Radiohead: Karma Police

Live in Chicago 2016. From their album OK Computer (1997).

Roxy Music: The Battle of Britain

From their album Roxy Music (1972).

Franz Schubert: Ständchen

Aus dem Schwanengesang

Peter Schreier (1935-2019), Tenor, Rudolf Buchbinder, Klavier.

Marie Laforêt: Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes

1966

Brian Eno: China My China

Promo video. From his album Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974).

Le Orme: Sguardo verso il cielo

From their album Collage (1971).

Genesis: Supper’s Ready

From their album Foxtrot (1972); Supper’s Ready.

This is considered by many of the best prog connoisseurs to be the greatest of all prog songs. The reason why I do not agree really has little to do with the qualities of the song itself, in its own category, and almost only with the very special factors that place Yes in a category of their own. That category is such that comparison with Genesis, beyond noting the general categorial differences, is seldom meaningful.

On my analysis, i.e., primarily in terms of the direction in which Yes were moving, nothing comes even close to what the philosopher and critic Bill Martin, the author of the best book on Yes, calls their “main sequence” of albums in the 1970s. Yes must simply be left out of most comparative discussions. But Genesis, in their corresponding main sequence, are very clearly the second greatest prog band. There is some considerable distance to the rest of the great prog bands, which, among themselves, are not quite as easily ranked. And it must be said that Supper’s Ready does have the structure of a major Yes song, in fact even the hymnic quality in the concluding section. If, despite what I just said, anything does come close to Yes, it is this.

Ranking of this kind does have a place in criticism, if done in a careful and serious way, but must never be exaggerated, never downplay uniqueness and a plurality that makes hierarchization irrelevant, and it must also avoid undue generalization of the kind that obscures the fact that individual songs of these last mentioned bands are sometimes on the same level as Genesis.

It seems to me we still await the further development of the genre of progressive rock, beyond what was achieved by these bands in the 70s – the further development, the further progression, which is what I am primarily interested in, because of the enormous artistic potential that has, in principle, already been revealed. Prog has of course developed, in a sense, but not, in my view, in the direction I always hoped for, i.e. further beyond rock, away from rock. Instead, there have in some cases been admixtures with the new problematic form of rock called “metal”. But I am not familiar with everything that has happened in prog in recent decades, and it is possible that I have missed things that match the criteria I have suggested.

Roxy Music: Triptych

From their album Country Life (1974).

Radiohead: Lucky

From their album OK Computer (1997).

Tito Schipa: Cercherò lontana terra

1932

10cc: Wall Street Shuffle

Live 1974. From their album Sheet Music (1974).

Audience: The House on the Hill

The title track of their 1971 album.

Bryan Ferry sings Aznavour’s “She”

Live at the opening of the Cannes film festival in 2009, with Aznavour singing along in the audience. They recorded a version of this song together for Aznavour’s album Duos the year before.

Andrea Schroeder: Helden

2014

Lucia Popp: Una donna a quindici anni

1971

Metro: Jade

From their album Metro (1977).

Gaetano Donizetti

Donizetti

Roxy Music: A Song for Europe

Live in London, 2001. From the album Stranded (1973).

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf: Zeffiretti lusinghieri

1952

France Gall: Si, maman si

Live 1977

Bryan Ferry: The Right Stuff

From his album Bête Noire (1987).

John Cale: The Endless Plain of Fortune

From his album Paris 1919 (1973).


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All original writing and photography © Jan Olof Bengtsson

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