Architecture Monday

While the Voxman Music Building’s exterior is fine enough, it’s the spaces within where the project really shines, crafting some wonderful, inventive, and playful spaces that don’t neglect the other senses even as beautiful music is being made within them.

The main hall’s got this expressive ceiling that does triple duty of being a visual focus while also honing the acoustics and providing concealed lighting space.

And if you think I’m going to avoid mentioning the pipe organ on the back wall, well, not a chance!

Even better, there is an entire hall dedicated for pipe organ recitals!  The extra tall space, accented by the recessed wood “arches” and clerestory windows does a perfect job of drawing attention to the instrument of choice, which itself is nicely contrasted yet complemented by the white lattice over the sound-absorbing wall, the tracery paring well with the leaf motif on the light wood organ.

But for me the greatest of these three is the fiery red recital hall, not the least of which because it is both asymmetrical and angled in floor plan, but also for the unusual feature of the giant windows that extend outward from the building’s façade, casting strong light over the stage and bringing out the complex geometries of the wall acoustic treatments, whether red on the one side or deep wood on the other.

There’s lots of great details and design twists happening throughout the new building, where nearly every space has been considered as spaces for performances.  On the whole it’s a grand and exciting performance venue.

The Voxman Music Building by LMN Architects

Wonder Wednesday

There is a new full-length documentary out on Halyx, the “space rock band” that Disney created for Tomorrowland in 1981, and it is amazing (both the band and the documentary):

If you want more, the user Bangoe has been posting on his channel recordings of the band’s performance that he himself recorded as a guest at Disneyland in 1981.

And for those of you who are not familiar with Defunctland, the Youtube channel who made this, the above is only the tip of the iceberg of the great videos they make not only about old and removed rides and attractions (the ‘defunct’ part of their name), but also deep dives into Disney and general theme park history, old children’s TV shows, an incredible multi-part series on the life and art of Jim Henson, and more.  If any of that piques your interest, I highly, highly recommend a subscribe!

Wonder Wednesday

When you can’t go to the symphony… And the symphony can’t come to you… And the symphony can’t even get together… the music still can bring us all together.

Here’s the Rotterdam Philharmonic playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, playing their respective parts from home:

And, not to be outdone, here is the Toronto Symphony Orchestra doing the same, with Copland’s Appalachian Spring:

And here is Toronto opera singer Teiya Kashara belting out operatic amazingness from her balcony near the shore:

Thank you everyone for all the beauty you create and share with the world.

Wonder Wednesday

From the moment I first heard/saw it on the Laserdisk release, I’ve always loved this early version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight.  It’s just Simba and Nala singing to each other, though not actually singing to each other.  It’s quiet and intimate and there’s something raw-er and more emotional present here than in the “heavenly choir” version used in the film.  And also something more… profound?  That might not be quite the right word for it, but there’s a greater sense of two lions becoming aware of their attraction while also dealing with what they’re carrying from their past.  It feels much more authentic and real than the polished and grand production number used in film.  The simpler orchestration here also really works for me.

All in all, an absolutely lovely version and definitively my favourite version of the song!

Philosophy Tuesday

“There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

There are not more than five primary colours, yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever been seen.

There are not more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”

— Sun Tzu

Wonder Wednesday

What a powerhouse of a song.  I’ve long loved its oomph, its emotion, and I love how interpretable it is to so many people.  For me it is full of perseverance, verve, and possibility, the choice to take what’s so and to continually strive forward with peace, passion and gusto.  Freddie Mercury had an amazing vocal range and it’s used here to great effect, especially in the tail end as he begins singing in mildly low tones about the butterfly and continuing to build and build, flying ever upward to reach into the stratosphere in the final chorus.  Love it.

What’s even more amazing is the story behind the recording – Freddie was quite ill by that point and could barely walk, and Brian May was unsure if Freddie would be able to sing such a dynamic and difficult piece.  But Freddie just stood up, said “I’ll fucking do it darling” and proceeded to nail (nay, totally kill) it in one take.  Absolutely extraordinary.

Wonder Wednesday

Sometimes, one can only jam along to the glory that is before them:

Yes, the masterpiece that was 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12, officially titled the Pinball Number Count, debuting on Sesame Street in 1977.  Sung by none other than the Pointer Sisters (!) in a delightful funk/jazz/Caribbean melange.  Accompanied by wild visuals with fun themes.  And featuring sequence number 8 (titled Forest Follies) that ends with the best delivery of an “eight” ever recorded.

Great stuff.  It’ll be stuck in your head now* for the rest of the day, and that’s a good thing!

 

(When I used to teach at my previous job, if the class was getting a bit listless I would begin singing the tune and trail off starting around 6… never did it fail that at least a few people would carry the song all the way to 12.)