Friday, 28 January 2011

Richard Georg Strauss

Well, not really. I generally find classical works to be a bit meh, with the exception of some of the more doom-laden stuff like Wagner and Holst; and even then, it's not anything that I would generally choose to listen to.

But this week, in between feverish bouts of engineering coursework and the occasional mild panic attack, I've been somewhat slightly obsessed with his "tone poem" Also Sprach Zarathustra and it's many cover versions.

Also Sprach Zarathustra is more commonly known as The Music From 2001: A Space Odyssey. For reference, here is what it should sound like.

Even for an uncultured philistine such as myself, it's hard to deny that it's a pretty powerful piece of work. The first version of it that I ever owned was in fact far more appropriate for an uncultured philistine such as myself; it was by Toadliquor, a filthy doom/sludge/grind outfit that I had never heard of and know almost nothing about. The disc came as a freebie bundled in with some other stuff I got from the good people at Southern Records - thanks chaps.

Some years ago, my private braincare specialist/local smutmonger/friend Tim pointed me in the direction of this Deodato Funk Odyssey version from an album full of lounge covers of film soundtracks. Gotta love a bit of funk.

But I think my favourite version is this next one, on account of the sheer eye-swivelling lunacy of the concept.

It's by the Portsmouth Sinfonia, an orchestra for which the entrance requirements were that players either had to be non-musicians, or play an instrument that was completely new to them.
It shows, I think.

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