February 15, 2019

Yukio Mishima - A Man of Honor

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Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫 Mishima Yukio) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威 Hiraoka Kimitake, who was born on January 14, 1925, in Tokyo, Japan. He was a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model and film director. He is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. He was considered for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, instead the award went to Yasunari Kawabata.    

His works include the novels Confessions of a Mask and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and the autobiographical essay Sun and Steel. His avant-garde work displayed a blending of modern and traditional aesthetics that broke cultural boundaries, with a focus on sexuality, death, and political change. He executed the ultimate ideology/art performance, ritual suicide by seppuku.   

I had never heard of Mishima until I saw the brilliant 1985 film, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, directed by Paul Schrader who also directed American Gigolo, Cat People (link below) and many other films. After I saw the film, I did a tremendous amount of research on Mishima; this was early computer days for me, so, that says something about the power of this film.       

The film is based on the life and work of Mishima (portrayed by Ken Ogata), interweaving episodes from his life with dramatizations of segments from his books The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses. Francis Ford Coppola (link below) and George Lucas (link below) were executive producers of the film. There are surreal segments and vivid colors in the film.      
Mishima was scored by Philip Glass (link below) which ranges from full orchestra to string trio to instrumental rock and is brilliantly dramatic; for me it is his best work ever. I used some of the music from the soundtrack for several Obiko fashion shows (link below).          
        
Yukio Mishima was active as a nationalist who founded his own right-wing militia, the Tatenokai. On November 25, 1970, he and four other members of his militia attempted a coup d'état when they seized control of a Japanese military base, took the commander hostage, then tried but failed to inspire a coup. With a prepared manifesto and a banner listing their demands, Mishima stepped onto the balcony to address the soldiers gathered below (YouTube link below). His speech was intended to inspire a coup d'état to restore the power of the emperor. He succeeded only in irritating the soldiers, and was mocked and jeered. Mishima then committed ritual suicide by seppuku. The coup attempt became known as the "Mishima Incident".       


Mishima delivering his speech in the failed coup attempt just prior to performing seppuku
(November 25, 1970) 
photographer unknown 
 
      
       
Viewfinder links:     
     
All things Star Wars        
Cat People & John Heard            
Francis Ford Coppola               
Philip Glass      
George Lucas       
Obiko ~ Craft of the Costume art-to-wear fashion show     
         
Net links:     
      
Culture Trip ~ Mishima: Turbulent Life Of A Conflicted Martyr  
History ~ Mishima commits ritual suicide 
The Japanese Times ~ Yukio Mishima      
Little White Lies ~ The tragic life and death of Yukio Mishima   
Nippon.com ~ The Importance of Being Mishima             
NY Times ~ The Life and Death of Yukio Mishima
O Magazine ~ Yukio Mishima ~ "Sun and Steel" book review     
The Paris Review ~ Yukio Mishima’s Haiku       
WXQR ~ Mishima discusses The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea   
        
YouTube links:           
           
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) original movie trailer      
Philip Glass ~ Mishima (complete Soundtrack)  (46 min., 46 sec.)  
     Temple of the Golden Pavilion-"Kinkakuji" (9 min., 50 sec.) 
     Ranaway Hoses-HONBA      
Yukio Mishima 1969 Interview In English
       
     
     
"What transforms this world is — knowledge." 
                       ~ Yukio Mishima  
     
             
          
Styrous® ~ February 14, 2019  


           
           













Francis Ford Coppola articles/mentions

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The Lovin' Spoonful    
      
          
       
      
      
  
      
  
      
Tomorrow promo photo
      
  
      
  
      
  
      
  
      

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George Lucas articles/mentions

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All things Star Wars       
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
George Lucas - 1968    
photographer unknown      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     

















February 14, 2019

Thursday, February 14, 2018 Oakland flood

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Styrous® ~ Thursday, February 14, 2018            

         
       
     












February 13, 2019

45 RPM 29: Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) ~ Der Räuber Und Der Prinz

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Of all the astonishing New Wave songs that I love, Der Räuber Und Der Prinz, by the German group, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF)  has to be up at the very top of my list.  


Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) ~ Der Räuber Und Der Prinz
12" 45 RPM vinyl single detail
detail photo by Styrous®


Räuber is on their very first album, Alles Ist Gut, as well as this 12" 45 RPM single. The song is actually on the "B" side of the single; Der Mussolini is the "A" or featured side, which happens to a lot of really great music.


Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) ~ Der Räuber Und Der Prinz
12" 45 RPM vinyl single "B" side
photo by Styrous®



12" 45 RPM vinyl single "A" side
photo by Styrous®


The tune is moderately fast with a bouncey beat that gives it the feeling of being faster than it really is; you can almost feel the galloping of the men on horses as they travel through the woods. The instrumentation is exquisite with a tinkling, metallic synth, lots of electronic effects and many surprises (link below).

Der Räuber was covered by G.Rag & Die Landlergschwister; it is a faster acoustical version, accordion, tuba, trumpets, etc. and it is a lot of fun to watch as the people dance to it (link below).   


12" 45 RPM vinyl single "A" side detail
detail photo by Styrous®


Der Räuber Und Der Prinzr is a simple song that tells the tale of a group of robbers who find a prince, lost in the woods, and take his possessions. The prince falls in love with one of his robbers; the gender of both is masculine, as indicated by the article, "der".


Lyrics: 

German
Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz

Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz

Ein schöner junger Prinz
verirrte sich im Wald

Da packten ihn die Räuber
Doch einer von den Räubern
Liebte diesen Prinzen

Ich liebe diesen Prinzen
Ich liebe dich, mein Räuber
Ich liebe dich, mein Räuber
Ich liebe dich, mein Räuber

Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz

Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz
Der Räuber und der Prinz

Dunkel und Gold


English translation
The Robber and the Prince
The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince

The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince

A beautiful young prince
Got lost in the forest

There the robbers grabbed him
But one of the robbers
Loved this prince

I love this prince
I love you, my robber
I love you, my robber
I love you, my robber

The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince

The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince
The robber and the prince

Dark and gold

   

Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (DAF) ~ Der Räuber Und Der Prinz
12" 45 RPM vinyl single "B" side
photo by Styrous®
12" 45 RPM vinyl single "A" side
photo by Styrous®

Viewfinder link:          
         
Gay Gaze 'n Daze       
       
Net link:             
          
Der Elektrische Reiter ~ Der Räuber und der Prinz (review)     
       
YouTube links:          
        
Der Räuber Und Der Prinz         
Der Räuber Und Der Prinz (live)        
G.Rag & Die Landlergschwister ~ Der Räuber Und Der Prinz     
Der Mussolini (Original Version)   



       
Styrous® ~ Wednesday, February 13, 2019
        



 
  





phonography articles/mentions

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Phonography (ήχο γραφής) ~ What is it?     
Thomas Edison & the phonograph    
Pathé Records & early phonography     
   
  
   
   
 
  
  
   
R. E. Thompson copper phonograph horn   
photo by Styrous®  
   
   
  
   
   
  
   







February 11, 2019

Early phonography ~ Thomas Edison & the phonograph

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Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877. Below is a photograph of him with his second phonograph, in Washington, D. C..        


 Thomas Edison - April 1878 
photo by Levin Corbin Handy 


Early disc recordings were produced in a variety of speeds ranging from 60 to 130 rpm, and a variety of sizes. I have no doubt this must have caused some confusion. As early as 1894, Emile Berliner's United States Gramophone Company was selling single-sided 7-inch discs with an advertised standard speed of "about 70 rpm". 

One standard audio recording handbook describes speed regulators, or governors, as being part of a wave of improvement introduced rapidly after 1897. Early record players were hand-cranked. The 1898 Berliner Gramophone shows a governor. This model Berliner, Style 5, (with the optional brass horn) became the trademark of first the Berliner Gramophone Company, then the Victor Talking Machine Company and later RCA Victor as a result of a painting, "His Master's Voice", by Francis Barraud which was purchased along with the copyright by the Berliner Company.    





There are great detail photos of the Berliner player on the Phonograph Company website (link below).


Berliner, Style 5 phonograph
Circa 1897




There is a really interesting article on the manufacturing of early discs by Fred Gaisberg on Sound Of The Hound (link below), as well as a video of an Edison player on YouTube (link below).   



Viewfinder links:          
      
Audio equipment      
Thomas Edison   
Edison, Nikola Tesla & the incandescent bulb      
Pathé Records & early phonography       
phonography articles/mentions     
      
Net links:            
         
Phonograph Company ~ Berliner, Style 5      
   
YouTube link:            
          
First Ever Record Player 1900 by Thomas Edison       
     
     
       
Styrous® ~ February 11, 2019  




Golden Globe Award articles/mentions

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Golden Globe Awards ~ In the Black   

 mentions:
110 In the Shade       
Ingrid Bergman ~ The shy lion  
Dirty Dancing @ 41      
High Society          
The King and I ~ when Debora Danced
Madonna ~ Don't Cry for Me Argentina  
Oprah for President
Political Fashion
Psycho      
        
     
       
      
















February 10, 2019

20,000 Vinyl LPs 169: Jacques Offenbach ~ Tales of Hoffmann

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photos by 
      
     
      
      
     
    
      
     
The opéra fantastique by Jacques Offenbach, Tales of Hoffmann premiered on the 10th of February in 1881. Tales was based on three short stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann.          



        
There was an extraordiary interpretation of the opera in a 1951 British Technicolor film written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. It starred Robert Rounseville, Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann and Léonide Massine; all film or ballet legends.    


Tales of Hoffmann movie poster 


I loved the film but it didn't get great reviews. Following its world premiere in New York City, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote:      
[D]espite its opulence, coupled with a brilliant rendering of the score by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Thomas Beecham's bristling baton and some masterly singing of the libretto (in English) by a host of vocal cords, this film version of the opera is, in toto, a vastly wearying show. And that is because it sates the senses without striking any real dramatic fire ... The inevitable question about this picture is how close does it come to matching the beauty and excitement of the same producers [sic] The Red Shoes? Although the two films are basically different, a comparison is fair to this extent: The Red Shoes had warmth and vitality, Tales of Hoffmann is splendid and cold.    

Ya can't please everybody!   
          




Firmly seated n the Pantheon of beautiful and melodic arias of opera is Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour (The barcarolle) from the third act of Tales. A barcarolle is a traditional folk song sung by Venetian gondoliers, or a piece of music composed in that style. The aria occurs during the second story of the opera and my favorite version of it was in the film. While in Venice Hoffmann falls for Giulietta, a courtesan, but she seduces him to steal his reflection for the magician Dapertutto. The languid tempo of the music was brilliantly matched to the movement of the gondola as it slowly glides down the Venetian lagoon with the long scarf of Giulietta trailing in the water behind the boat (link below).
       
    


One of the opera's most-famous arias is in the first act of the opera. It is sung by Olympia, an automaton created by the scientist Spalanzani. Hoffmann falls in love with her, not knowing she is a mechanical doll To warn Hoffmann, his friend, Nicklausse, possessing the truth about Olympia, sings a story of a mechanical doll with the appearance of a human, The legend of Kleinzack (Klein-Zack) (link below) but Hoffmann ignores him. Coppélius, Olympia's co-creator and this act's incarnation of Nemesis, sells Hoffmann magic glasses to make Olympia appear as a real woman.     


The Olympia act, as staged at the 1881 première
illustration by Pierre-Auguste Lamy


Olympia sings Les oiseaux dans la charmille (The birds in the arbor, nicknamed "The Doll Song"), during which she runs-down and needs to be wound-up before she can continue. Hoffmann is tricked into believing his affections are returned, to the bemusement of Nicklausse, subtly attempting to warn his friend. While dancing with Olympia, Hoffmann falls on the ground and his glasses break. At the same time, Coppélius appears, tearing Olympia apart to retaliate against Spalanzani after cheating him of his fees. With the crowd ridiculing him, Hoffmann realizes he loved an automaton.      


 


Then there is the delightful aria, Klein-Zack, sung by Robert Rounseville; a sort of tavern drinking song with many stanzas. There is a great version sung by Hanns Nocker on YouTube (link below).

 


The soundtrack was recorded at Shepperton Studios, located in Shepperton, Surrey, England, between May and September 1950, with the orchestra conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham. Decca obtained permission from London Films to release the soundtrack on LP. In response, Beecham sued: he had not approved the release, because the soundtrack did not truly represent his interpretation of the opera, due to the changes made for the film. On 20 March 1951 he failed to obtain a High Court injunction to prevent the release, but received assurances that it would be clearly labelled as taken from the soundtrack.




The three-record boxed album set included a beautiful 5.5" x 5.5" Libretto (link below) illustrated with stills from the film; the film is in color but the images are black and white.      











Tracklist:

Side 1:

A1 - Prologue - 20:30
A2 - First Tale (Beginning   

Side 2:

B1 - First Tale (Continued) - 22:05

Side 3:

C1 - First Tale (Conclusion) - 21:10
C2 - Second Tale (Beginning   

Side 4:

D1 - Second Tale (Conclusion) - 19:25

Side 5:

E1 - Third Tale (Beginning - 23:16

Side 6:

F1 - Third Tale (Conclusion) - 20:22
F2 - Epilogue   

Credits:

    Baritone Vocals – Bruce Dargavel
    Bass Vocals – Fisher Morgan, Owen Brannigan
    Chorus – The Sadler's Wells Chorus*
    Composed By – Jacques Offenbach
    Conductor – Sir Thomas Beecham
    Contralto Vocals – Monica Sinclair
    Orchestra – The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Soprano Vocals – Ann Ayars, Dorothy Bond, Margherita Grandi
    Tenor Vocals – Grahame Clifford, Murray Dickie, René Soames, Robert Rounseville

Notes:

London maroon labels with silver text
Long playing microgroove full frequency range recording
The original sound track of the London Films production
Made in England
Box printed in U.S.A.
Includes a 5.5 x 5.5 in. booklet and a London Records opera recordings catalog

Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Matrix / Runout (Side A Label): ARL.735R
    Matrix / Runout (Side B Label): ARL.736
    Matrix / Runout (Side C Label): ARL.737R
    Matrix / Runout (Side D Label): ARL.738R
    Matrix / Runout (Side E Label): ARL.739
    Matrix / Runout (Side F Label): ARL.740R
    Matrix / Runout (Side 1 runout stamped): CA ARL-735-2D R H RT 21
    Matrix / Runout (Side 2 runout, stamped): ARL-736-2DR M RT 1
    Matrix / Runout (Side 3 runout stamped): CA ARL-737-1DR M RT 21
    Matrix / Runout (Side 4 runout stamped): ARL-738-2DR BU RT 1
    Matrix / Runout (Side 5 runout stamped): CA ARL-739-2DR BB RT 21
    Matrix / Runout (Side 6 runout stamped): CA ARL-740-2DR A RT 21

Offenbach*, Sir Thomas Beecham, The Sadler's Wells Chorus* And The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra ‎– The Tales Of Hoffmann
Label: London Records ‎– LLPA-4, London Records ‎– XLL.346, XLL.347, XLL.348
Format: 3 × Vinyl, LP Box Set
Country: US
Released:  1951
Genre: Classical, Stage & Screen
Style: Modern, Romantic, Opera

       
             
Viewfinder links:          
         
Jacques Offenbach                
Tales of Hoffmann libretto        
       
Net links:          
Jacques Offenbach                
Tales of Hoffmann film cast       
Tales of Hoffmann libretto        
       
YouTube links:          
        
Jacques Offenbach                
Tales of Hoffmann (movie trailer)
Les contes d'Hoffmann (complete) (2 hr., 26 min., 27 sec.)      
Barcarolle     
The Doll's Song           
Klein-Zack   (1971 film)    
  
    
     



       
Styrous® ~ Sunday, February 10, 2019  
        












Jacques Offenbach ~ The Tales of Hoffmann libretto

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This is the libretto which came with the 1951 London Records soundtrack from the film, The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach (link below).     















 



 

 














































   
Viewfinder links:     
     
Jacques Offenbach     
Tales of Hoffmann vinyl LP        
      
     
      
       
Styrous® ~ Sunday, February 10, 2019