Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Music Makes You Braver

That is a tag line for the music of Two Steps from Hell founded by Thomas Bergersen and Nick Phoenix. When I was working as a clerk-typist (information specialist) for the Texas Military Department editing, distributing, and sometimes writing plans, procedures, and policies, I searched out music on YouTube to put in my headphones in order to keep out noise while I tried to concentrate. I found their album Battlecry. I signed up for the channel and bought access and then a download for that, Skyworld, Invincible, and Unleashed.

Katica Illényi delivered a full-bodied performance of Vittorio Monti’s “Csárdás.” (I find it acceptable that the best Hungarian dance would be written by an Italian.) It is just the first half of this YouTube video:
She also has a violin performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 a work usually scored for the piano. (At least, that was Liszt’s intent.)


Speaking of things Hungarian (such as my maternal grandparents), serving in uniform, I identified with this guy, whatever his mission was that day. 

“Ide Születtem” by Hungarica


My brother’s band, Styrenes, recorded “Minstrel Boy” as a mock, but I liked the energy (and Paul’s brogue).

I think that the Hans Zimmer version is the best modern instantiation. Written for Blackhawk Down, it goes well with a similar yarn, Battlestar Galactica. We were fans of the first three seasons, though Ron Moore’s post-modernist sense of life took the plot and theme  into entropy. Minstrel Boy/Battlestar Galactica


The performance of “Men of Harlech” from Zulu is iconic. “Very good, mind ye, but they have no top tenors.” Of all the versions I listened to, Charlotte Church’s performance takes the prize.


One May Day, I went looking for The Internationale and following links, I ended up at “Minka.” It was a song that we learned (in English) in grade school. Our neighborhood was very ethnic. When the teacher passed out the sheet music, one girl said, “Our dog’s name is Minka!” and another girl rejoined, somewhat saddened, “My mom’s name is Minka.” 


Minka with Ukrainian lyrics and English liner notes.

A more modern theatrical rendition here:


Arturo Toscanini conducts The Internationale

Billy Bragg version

Oddly enough, in We the Living, Ayn Rand describes the song in positive words. What she hated about communism was communism. For her the October Revolution was a betrayal. She was all for modernism, globalism, and an end to nationalism and racism.


Also misunderstood, I believe, is our own national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. We sing it as a dirge. It drags the hearse down the street and the carriage is a travois. It should sound like this: 

1814 Version

It was set to a drinking song for a reason. We celebrate a victory. Drink to it!

“The Anacreontic Song” Soloist: Jacob Wright Conducted by Jerry Blackstone from the University of Michigan’s American Music Institute.  “The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine!” here:


When I was very young my heroes were cowboys, of course, and they were men on their own, not members of large groups. I liked Gene Autry. (“Whoopee-tie-aye-ay! I go my own way ... Where you sleep out every night and the only law is right.”) “Back in the Saddle Again.”


“The Ballad of Paladin” here:


Being on your own is fine until it is not. Of the very many versions of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” I sent this one to Laurel.


Previously on Necessary Facts 


After Action Report: Heartbreak Ridge 

Financing a Revolution 

Rebels: A Well-Regulated Militia 


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