Mercoledi Musicale

I’m a big fan of the off-the-wall films of the Right Honourable the Lord Haden-Guest ever since This is Spinal Tap, my favourite is Best in Show.  Of all his “mockumentaries”*  A Mighty Wind is not as outright funny as the others but has a little more heart and affectionate moments.   One of those moments is when the duo of Mitch and Mickey reunite to sing their signature song:   A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow.

The song was written by Michael McKean (a member of what has become Guest’s rep company) and his wife Annette O’Toole.  It  was up for a Oscar that year and in an interview with the New York Times McKean said:  It’s more of an affectionate pastiche …We looked at it as an experiment to write something that could have been 150 years old ….”



Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy have appeared on screen as husband and wife so often I’m sure there are people who believe they are married in real life  The connection between them goes back to the old SCTV days and is still going on today with their popular new series Shitt’s Creek.

*A appellation Christopher Guest doesn’t much appreciate as he says he never “mocks” any of his subjects – and truth be told he doesn’t.

On this day in 1989:  in Egypt, a 4,400-year-old mummy is found near the Pyramid of Cheops.

Lunedi Lunacy

Another bit of musical mashup lunacy thanks composer/conductor/educator Akira Miyagawa:


And as we try, fruitlessly, to train the Hounds from Hell a video that could explain a bit about the dachshund credo – and wait for the very end:


On this day in 1884: The first volume (A to Ant) of the Oxford English Dictionary is published.

Mercoledi Musicale

“There is a definite limit to the length of time a composer can go on writing in one dance rhythm (this limit is obviously reached by Ravel towards the end of La valse and towards the beginning of Boléro).”
Constant Lambert
Music Ho – 1934

The recent Roaring 20’s Festival of classical music by the National Arts Centre Orchestra ended with that splendid Ravelian war horse.  It’s one of those pieces that you either love or hate – or perhaps love and hate – and I tend to stand firmly with the love team (though I must say there has been the odd time when I’ve hated it).  It can be a real test of an orchestra, conductor and, let’s admit it the poor percussionist trapped into playing that bloody snare drum.


The long suffering player would no doubt sigh with relief if they saw this on the Wiener Cello Ensemble 5+1’s programme.

It’s interesting to see that for some reason the cello is mounting in popularity with groups such as Wiener Cello etc (their website is in German only but is fun for all that),  and, I’m told, there are entire  rock bands out there made up of cellos bowed, strummed, slapped and otherwise abused.  But with nary a snare drum to be seen.

On this day in 1501: Ballet of Chestnuts: A banquet held by Cesare Borgia in the Papal Palace where fifty prostitutes or courtesans are in attendance for the entertainment of the guests.

Lunedi Lunacy

Well the fall season has started here in Ottawa – both weather-wise and culturally. The trees along the Canal are turning red and gold, there is a decided chill in the air, and the concert and theatre season is well underway.

In honour of Alexander Shelley, our new maestro at the National Arts Centre, I thought this little cartoon by Halas & Batchelor would be fitting for a bit of lunacy as the season begins.

H & B (if I may so bold as to call them that) used many of Gerald Hoffnung’s witty and wise drawings for their cartoons and I have featured at least one of them here before.

But I shouldn’t really single out the Maestro – given a few things that occurred during the first concert of the Festival that began this week perhaps the audiences here in Ottawa should know the score!

Music ... Always Often Music

On this day in 1216: John, King of England loses his crown jewels in The Wash, probably near Fosdyke, perhaps near Sutton Bridge.