The Spring Sale has come and gone, and here I am still reviewing my CD finds from half-price day at last fall's Friends of the Multnomah County Library Annual Booksale.
I don't know a lot about French popular song, but I usually like it when I hear it. I know next to nothing about Edith Piaf, but I certainly recognize her as a Big Name in the Chansons tradition. So, I expected that this collection of nostalgic old numbers would evoke cozy afternoons in a shabby but cosmopolitan Paris cafe, or something. I thought I'd dig it.
What I actually got was music that I think it is fair to describe as "grating." The recordings are apparently quite old; one way or the other they are about as tinny as you can get this side of a wax cylinder. During the early years of recorded music, musicians would often work around the technology with arrangements that played to the technology's strengths and avoided its weaknesses, but no such effort seems to have been made in this case. In most of the numbers, it sounds like most of the musicians are playing in the next room over.
I'm not sure if I'm getting an accurate representation of Piaf herself, but there's a slightly grinding quality to her voice here that rubs me the wrong way. The songs themselves have a monotony to them, and you can tell without knowing a word of French (I don't) that they are the usual tired recitations about the excitement of romantic love, the melancholy brought on my loss of love, the pain of love gone bad, and perhaps a saucy romp or two on the subject of hilariously sexual love.
Prognosis: Yours for the asking.Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 5, 10, 19, & 20
Hey, it's Beethoven! Played by a great pianist! On a great classical label, Deutsche Grammophon (German for "German Gramophone"). Of course it's awesome! But as I've said before, solo piano music is more chillout music for me than it is music I can sit down and listen to intently. But whatevs!