Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Another Bag Full For Today!

It seems I have another bag full of goodies for you guys today.  I will start with the inspirational story I read yesterday over at Out Sports by former collegiate coach Derick White.  Derick begins his story in a very straight forward manner "I’ll get right to the point.  My name is Derick White and I am a former collegiate head coach.  I am also gay.  I remained in the closet for my entire coaching career because of one simple factor –  fear."  We have all been there, I know I have.  However, Derick like most of us has conquered his fear "I knew that there was something different about me that I didn’t understand.  It took me until I was 29 to finally admit what that was — I was gay.  But in that time, I learned a lot about myself and just how strong I could be....Many factors contributed to my decision to keep quiet about my sexual orientation until now.  For many years I was ashamed of being gay.  That shame then turned to fear.  And I allowed that fear to run my life until I took action. It allowed me to finally feel joy and acceptance, not only from my family and close friends, but also from myself.  The biggest obstacle that I encountered in this journey was me … it just took me a while to discover this."  There is much more to his story and you should read it for yourselves, I think you will be just as inspired as I was.

Last week I wrote about the 'Friend' project in this post and the 28 city fund raising tour Elliot London is embarking on shortly.  Elliot and I have been talking about the open date on the tour for May 28 and I am working on setting up a stop here in Fort Worth for that date.  If you live in the Fort Worth area and would like to help out, provide lodging or have any suggestions for me, please contact me at gerrym0527@gmail.com in the next few days.  I believe in this film project and would like to see my local GSA's benefit from the film.  So, please if you can do anything to help Elliot and I make a success of this project, get in touch with he (elliotlondonfilm@yahoo.com) or I as soon as you can.  

I found an marvelous musical experience in my You Tube subscription inbox yesterday that I would like to share with you guys today.  The video is a classic 1960 recording of the cantata, 'Carmina Burana', by German composer Carl Orff with performances by Janice Harsanyi: soprano; Rudolf Petrak: tenor; Harve Presnell: baritone; The Rutgers University Choir; and The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy.  The program notes below do much more justice to the description of this masterwork than I could:

Carmina Burana, Cantiones profane ("Profane Songs")
Carl Orff
Born July 11, 1895 in Munich, Germany
Died March 29, 1982 in Munich

After he completed Carmina Burana in 1936, Carl Orff wrote to B. Schott & Co., his music publisher: "Everything I have written to date, and which you have, unfortunately, printed, should be destroyed. With Carmina Burana, my collected works begin." Orff was then 41 years old and had been publishing music since he was 16. Born to an aristocratic Bavarian family, he learned to play the piano and cello early on and began to compose songs as a boy. He graduated from the Munich Academy of Music in 1914 and found work as a music coach and conductor at various theaters in Germany. His restless search for an original musical personality led him to explore diverse paths of the contemporary European musical landscape. He was influenced at first by Claude Debussy, then Arnold Schönberg, Richard Strauss and Hans Pfitzner, but the pathway that led to the break-through to his unique mature style came through teaching music to children. In 1925 he helped to found the Günther School of Music in Munich, where he taught for eleven years and gradually evolved a revolutionary system of teaching music to children through rhythm, body movement and improvisatory musical games using simple percussion instruments. He codified this system in a five-volume graded course titled Schulwerk ("School-work"), which was adopted by several German elementary school-systems. The Orff-Schulwerk system went on to become an enormously influential educational tool that is still in use today throughout the world, and it reflects Orff's fascination as a composer with musical forms and textur es that were derived from ancient, more "primitive" sources. Along with teaching, Orff studied classical Greek theater and adapted operas from the late Italian Renaissance for performance. This kindled a desire in him to create a "total theater" similar to what he envisioned the ancient Greek tragedies had been: a direct, overwhelming spiritual experience achieved through the combined powers of music, words and dance. Orff said, "I have never been concerned with music by itself, but rather with music as a spiritual dialogue. The more fundamental and simple the statement, the more immediate and powerful its effect."

In 1935, one of Orff's friends told him about the Carmina Burana ("Songs of Beuren"), a collection of 200 secular thirteenth-century poems that had been discovered a century earlier at the monastery of Benediktbeuren near Orff's home city of Munich. The poems were by a group of medieval poets nicknamed the Golliards, or "big mouths" -- a disapproving reference both to their vulgarity and their inclination to consume mass quantities of fermented grapes and grains. The Golliards were young renegades: students, monks and priests who left their libraries, monasteries and churches to "hit the road," living as thieves, beggars and wandering musicians. Today they would probably be hanging out in coffee-houses and bars, singing for their supper, or cruising down the highway, their guitars strapped on the backs of their motorcycles. Occasionally one of this medieval "wild bunch" would be clever or lucky enough to find work as a minstrel at a noble court, and his songs, sung in a mixture of Latin, Old High German, and Old French, were written down and preserved. Orff's imagination was fired by these nonconformist poems which celebrated the joys of food, drink, sex, nature and the life of freedom, along with poking fun at the rich and powerful both at court and in the church. Old in language and origin but stunningly fresh, direct and relevant in content, the poems dealt realistically with universal themes and embodied everything Orff was striving for in his music. He wrote music for them that aims for maximum impact. Writing for a huge orchestra with a massive battery of percussion instruments, he used simple, bold strokes of sonic color and line: elemental driving rhythms, bright, clear harmonies, straightforward, memorable melodies. Everything is striking, immediate, reduced to essentials, focusing the listener's attention on the words and the emotions they evoke.

Carmina Burana, which Orff subtitled "Profane songs for singers and chorus to be sung to the accompaniment of instruments and magical images," was spectacularly successful and catapulted Orff to international fame. Producers and choreographers all over the world were inspired to create their own staged interpretations of the work, for Orff had intended that the elements of dance, mime and theater were as much of its essence as the music itself. Lucy E. Cross writes: "Orff and the Golliards, united in Carmina Burana, may be said truly to have taken up permanent residence in Western consciousness. The piece has enjoyed wave after wave of enormous popularity...some ascribe mystical or primordial power to it; it has even become an object of cultish adoration. Yet those anonymous thirteenth-century Golliards, with their clear-sighted cynicism, might be surprised to see their humble rhymes riding so high on Fortune's ever-turning wheel."

Program notes copyright © 2006 by Matthew Naughtin

These program notes as well as all the lyrics in the original Latin alongside the English translations can be seen in .PDF format here.   I am sure you will find this musical experience to be as pleasurable as I did. 

That brings us to the man candy section of this post which is as usual for a Tuesday chock full of nubile half naked hotties that are our sultry, Sexy Studs in Swimwear frolicking about the page below the video.   Once again it is time to kick back with the headphones, your favorite beverage and a little time to spend immersed in musical mastery and the beauty of the male form.  Thanks for spending part of your Tuesday with me, see you again soon.  Until next time as always, Enjoy!

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