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United States Music

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Author Topic: United States Music  (Read 26779 times)
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« on: September 02, 2012, 06:23:44 pm »

Rock Requiem by Lalo Schifrin

Source LP, Verve 1971
LP Rip by Yoruba Jazz.
Unlikely to EVER be released on CD.

I was tempted to hold off on this until April Fool's day, but i can't wait.  Sometimes I believe we can learn the most from artistic misfires, and this one is definitely a poster child for the "What was he thinking?" award. Yes, what follows is my own opinion, and if you think differently, I welcome your opinion.

Lalo Schifrin has a strong musical pedigree.  The fact that he studied under Charles Koechlin and played piano with Astor Piazzolla means a lot to me.  He's also an artist that has been able to write serious "classical" music, arranged a lot of highly capable jazz, and also achieve commercial success-- such as his iconic theme music to Mission Impossible.  Karl Miller had sent a work by Schifrin which I was unable to share as it had recently been released on CD. However, this reminded me of an album of Schifrin's I picked up used for 25 cents are a used record store that still haunts me to this day.  (And not necessary in a good way.)   My copy is in bad shape, but i've found a version on the web to share with those of you who may appreciate a good train wreck.

I can see WHY Schfirin would try this.  Others were flirting with mixtures of rock and classical.  (There is Deep Purple's Concerto for Rock Band and Orchestra, conducting by Sir Malcom Arnold. The Videos on You Tube are amusing, to say the least.) And the Electric Prunes had their biggest selling album with their Mass in F Minor, sung in latin, which managed to get on the Soundtrack for Easy Rider.  And the album Jesus Christ, Superstar had just come out.  So why not write a politically correct Requiem for the Dead in South East Asia, mixing classical, jazz, rock, and some latin percussion?   How could he lose?  In a way, he might have forseen the formula that Golijov has based his success upon.

A lot of the parts make sense, if you don't try to comprehend them all together.  But some of the juxtapositions are, by turns, unintentionally hilarious and unintentionally tragic.  The segue form mid-stravinskian choral writing, to early funk wah-way guitar, the bongos and late 60s pscychedelic organ,  to the "popular" choruses that sound like commercial jingles, he has  created a anti-gestalt where the the whole is a lot less than a sum of the parts.   In some ways, I think Schifrin was trying too hard to be serious. Which is why I find this work so amusing and fascinating.  

If you don't wish to befoul your hard drive with this work, but do want to get at least a taste of what you may be better off missing, there are a couple tracks on youtube.

Okay, and one final indignity, as long as I'm on this topic, Alan Copeland won a grammy in 1969 for his mashup of the Beatles Norwegian Wood (3/4 time) and Schifrin's Mission Impossible theme (5/4 time) that is just.. wrong, IMO.

Don't worry-- I don't plan to make posts like this too often... I don't want to permanently reduce you to a lower state of consciousness...

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All download links I have posted are for works, that, to  my knowledge, have never been commercially released in digital form.  Should you find I've been in error, please notify myself or an Administrator.  Please IM me if I've made any errors that require attention, as I may not read replies.

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