Sunday, 13 January 2013

Forgive them, Father, for they have not a clue…

Front room, M8   Hexanon 50mm 1.2, 17-Aug-12 [largest]

A corner of the Cave
(snapped by Grumpy, with his lovely new lens…)

William Byrd
Music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book
Fritz Neumeyer (harpsichord)
Archiv 13 026 AP (rec. 24 & 25 May 1954)

Once again, many apologies for my long silence. I’ve been finishing a certain pressing task – which, I’m glad to say, is finally done: last week, I sent off my thesis to be printed and bound, for submission to the examiners. They now have 8 weeks, poor chaps, to read all >ahem!< 86,184 words (not including footnotes or appendices)…

While I was desperately trying to focus my thoughts, I found myself craving mostly modern music: Birtwistle, Berio, Boulez, Dufourt, Grisey, Haas, Ligeti, Stockhausen, and I forget who else… plus a lot of Stravinsky, as ever: I finally learned to love his Concertino, for instance, thanks to a cracking DG disc of his shorter pieces, superbly performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

We also spent two weeks in New York, where we witnessed Hurricane Sandy, and I was lucky enough to meet fellow-blogger Squirrel. He and his marvellous mate received me most hospitably, plying me with tea and delicious home-baked cookies. Their Nest is in a fascinating neighbourhood, which Squirrel guided me round most informatively. Then we went to a concert of Scottish and English viol music and songs, ravishingly performed by New York-based viol consort Parthenia, with the counter-tenor Ryland Angel. I see they’re repeating it this coming Tuesday (14 January) in Greenwich Village, at St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street – do go if you can!

So, no time for LP transfers (though I’ve been buying 78s aplenty). Also, my ‘main’ PC suddenly died, disrupting my audio workflow; and my new hobby (photography – bad, for a spendthrift like me) demands that I invest in some new hardware, for digital image-processing. So I’ve  got to do some techy research before I take the plunge. One thing I can tell you right now, though, and for free: I’m not touching Windows 8.

Still, I have some transfers on the stocks, so, in homage to Squirrel and Parthenia, here’s one to tide us over until I get back into those grooves. (Also, we’re away in New Zealand until early February.) Not the greatest harpsichord playing, but it is one of the earliest LPs devoted entirely to Byrd’s keyboard music I know of. The best performance here, for me, is of The Bells.

1 Praeludium to the Fancie [BK12]; Fantasia [BK13]
2 Fortune My Foe, Farewell Delight [BK6]
3 The Bells [BK38]
4 The Third Pavian [BK14]
5 Galliard in D 'Sol Re' [BK53]
6 An Almane [BK89]
7 La Volta [BK91]

The 7 mono, fully tagged FLAC files are in a .rar archive, here.

So what’s with the the title of this post? Well, a kind visitor to the Cave just alerted me to the fact that another harpsichord LP, of the same vintage (Jean-Claude Chiasson playing Couperin on Lyrichord), has become the first of Grumpy’s droppings to fall foul of the censors: it is now marked ‘©  This file is copyrighted and cannot be shared’. They’re wrong, actually, but never mind.

The large record companies have lost the plot so completely, that I’m almost past caring. Though it made me very cross when I saw an upload by Discobole, of orchestral music by Chabrier conducted by Jean Fournet – in 1952, for goodness’ sake –, blocked with the message,
‘Permission Denied. Not provided by submitter by Not provided by submitter can be downloaded from one of these fine retailers.’
I can’t work out if the lack of a modern commercially available alternative was down to the ignorance of the sad snitch who grassed Discobole up, or of the company which supposedly ‘owns’ Fournet’s recording (it doesn’t: the LP entered the public domain about ten years ago, which is why Naxos has been able to reissue it).

Something similar happened to an upload by Damian, of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Serenade conducted by Franz André, but that time the message was along the lines of, ‘Buy this from Orinoco, played by the False Claims Orchestra on the Lobbyist label’. I have absolutely no time for piracy but this is not it. The sheer bad faith and idiocy of this procedure are breath-taking. Grumpy is getting grumpier by the hour.


  1. Many thanks for this post – good to see you back.
    One little hiccup: the link seems to point to the Neumeyer/Mozart K.311 rather than the Byrd. (I'm actually glad it did, because I missed that one before.)
    I wonder about the takedowns you mentioned: could it have been machines rather than people doing the snitching? I suspect so, given the casual approach to accuracy in the 'permission denied' messages; and if so, that would make it even worse. One can't establish a context for honourable behaviour when dealing with something that isn't programmed to recognise that such a thing exists.
    Anyway, thanks again.

  2. So nice to follow your posts again !

  3. Dear Chris, Thanks for both your points! I dimly realised I was doing something wrong with the link, which I've now repaired. I also wondered about copyright-cowbots, and I suspect you're right about that too. I didn't have time to set out one tenth of my gripes about the current situation for us lovers of recorded classical music, and I'm slowly simmering a sort of manifesto. But it'll be a while... Best wishes, G

    1. Thank you, Soon-to-be-Dr G!
      Lovely recordings, these, and enjoyable playing.
      Neumeyer's harpsichord certainly sounds far more conventional here than the pianoforte in the Mozart K.311. (No complaints of course. The left-hand part in the Rondo had me jumping out of my seat: marvellous!)
      When you get time, do turn your hand to that manifesto. The more said about this kind of thing, the better. Although it's a pity it needs to be addressed at all.
      Good luck with your examiners!

  4. A manifesto! All of it no doubt warranted.

    Congrats on finishing your scholarly work. Do we call you "Dr. Grumpy" henceforth?

    1. Dear Buster, Thank you but not yet - no chickens may be counted until I've been examined! Best wishes, G.

  5. The trouble with Mediafire is that is based in USA, so they apply their copyright laws which are different from the rest of the world, thats why Naxos can't make it available there. Clearly Mediafire is no longer an option when it comes to file sharing.

  6. Oh, I am sorry to hear that you cannot download my marvelous Chabrier! Nobody had told me before. It works in France, though. Definitively, I will consider another place in the outer space where to store music....

    1. Dear Discobole, Yes, my apologies, I meant to post a comment about it on your blog, but I was busy - and also grumpy, which made me fear that I would write something too grumpy. It's very odd that the download should still work in France, though... I can't quite understand that! (I'm talking about the FLAC version.) Best wishes, G

  7. I checked both versions,and they work, at least in the Southwest corner of France....
    Finding a new vault is not going to speed up my publication rate!

  8. dear Grumpy, i've tried to d/l the mentioned Byrd pieces after your link, but obtained Mozart Piano Sonata in A, KV 331 in 3 parts with the easily-recognized Rondo alla Turca finale.
    file description taken before d/l also states that it's Mozart, not Byrd. and it is stated to be released by Archiv, but having another release index (13013 instead of 13026).

    i have meet the similar situation to the described, when tried to d/l the bootleg of one Bruckner symphony played somewhere in Scotland by the local BBC SO under Horenstein's baton.

    Mediafire also put the ban to d/l the finale as if it was copyrighted...

    maybe, it's time to say 'farewell' to MF?

    1. Dear Ananasiy, Thanks to Chris's message (above), I corrected the link. Try forcing this page to refresh - your computer may be reading the incorrect link from the old version in your web cache? But, yes, soon I think it will be time for me to say goodbye to MF. Best wishes, Grumpy

  9. Glad the old thesis is put to bed even if it is now going to be put to the test by a group of bods who are probably not up to it. At the very least it gives you more time to play, play records and generally muck around.


    1. And tidy records! Thanks, Jolyon - though I should say, I have every faith in my examiners... if they actually manage to survive the tedium of reading the thesis! Playing happily right now... G

  10. Nice to hear that you wethered the storm ok (sorry, that was a while ago,been busy too and haven't visited your fine blog for too long)
    Good luck with the thesis, and thanks for the music

    1. Dear Pilgrim, Thanks for your kind comment, and apologies for my late reply - just back from a long trip, far, far away! Best wishes, G

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