Five-Phrase Fridays 2015

ICYMI: Here’s a round-up of all 19 Five-Phrase Fridays I posted in 2015. I’ll be adding the list to my blog’s Five-Phrase Fridays menu tab for reader convenience as well. Enjoy!

  1. Five-Phrase Friday (1) – hints of politics in poetry
  2. Five-Phrase Friday (2) – snippets (tippets?) of Emily Dickinson
  3. Five-Phrase Friday (3) – terms of endearment for my dog
  4. Five-Phrase Friday (4) – compound modifiers in action
  5. Five-Phrase Friday (5) – 1980s comedic cinema
  6. Five-Phrase Friday (6) – favorite Apples to Apples matchups
  7. Five-Phrase Friday (7) – funny, punny small-town slogans
  8. Five-Phrase Friday (8) – select lines from cherished poems
  9. Five-Phrase Friday (9) – Shakespeare-style insults
  10. Five-Phrase Friday (10) – Outlander‘s Frasers & Mackenzies
  11. Five-Phrase Friday (11) – Halloweenish rock band names
  12. Five-Phrase Friday (12) – phonetics of bird calls
  13. Five-Phrase Friday (13) – Emily Dickinson reprise
  14. Five-Phrase Friday (14) – depiction of a cycle of terrorism
  15. Five-Phrase Friday (15) – blessings I’m thankful for
  16. Five-Phrase Friday (16) – first and last lines from my NaNoWriMo novels
  17. Five-Phrase Friday (17) – best songs from a beloved Christmas album
  18. Five-Phrase Friday (18) – books on perfectionism (we shall overcome . . .)
  19. Five-Phrase Friday (19) – five pop culture lists of five great things

Five-Phrase Friday (19): In My Loving Arts

For the end of the year, and to make up for posting late (well, it was Christmas Day, after all), I’ve collected a year-end finale of five sets of five pop culture things I love. Usually represented in the form of a phrase, these are only samples of the many objects of my admiration. So here they are in no particular order.

I. Five titles of some of the most endearing Scottish folk songs Bear McCreary uses in the Outlander Starz TV Season One Original ScoreSheet_music_comin_thru_the_rye_duckduckgo_photostock

  1. “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye,” which supports at least three different scenes in the series
  2. “Maids, When You’re Young Never Wed an Old Man” – in two different scenes and speeds: Jamie’s drunken evening and Jamie’s hangover the next morning, both in ep112 “Lallybroch”
  3. “My Bonnie Moorhen” in Jenny and Claire’s part of ep114 “The Search”
  4. “Weel May the Keel Ro” – described by composer Bear McCreary as a “fun jig” for the first part of Claire and Murtagh’s search in the same episode
  5. “Sleepy Maggie” – for the up-tempo rescue  sequence in ep116 “To Ransom a Man’s Soul”

II. Five of the novels I have most enjoyed (that I hadn’t already read)

since early 2011:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – 4/5
  2. 1984 by George Orwell – 4/5
  3. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner – 4/5
  4. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (4th novel in the Outlander series) – 4/5
  5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – 5/5

III. Five favorite movies I have seen recently (I’ve got lots to catch up on, especially from 2014):

  1. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens – 5/5
  2. Still Alice – 4/5
  3. The Martian – 4/5
  4. Spy – 4/5
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy – 4/5

IV. Five of my favorite alternative music hits from 2015 – heard on SiriusXM’s AltNation:

  1. “Trip Switch” by Nothing But Thieves
  2. “Leave a Trace” by Chvrches
  3. “First” by Cold War Kids
  4. “Sedona” by Houndmouth
  5. “Now” by Joywave

V. Five of my new favorite TV shows (not necessarily new shows–in order to have a life, I’ve limited my exposure):

  1. Outlander
  2. Penny Dreadful
  3. Archer
  4. Parks and Recreation
  5. the prospect of watching Netflix shows one day, as well as Orphan Black, The Americans, and season two of Outlander

I hope you are counting your diverse blessings, too, and that they number well over 25, as mine do. I wish you all the best in 2016. Now and always, may the phrases be with you.

Five-Phrase Friday (17): Hark! The Herald

This week, I highlight five cozy little Yuletide tunes from a delightful jazz/blues Christmas album. The crossover folk band Over the Rhine released Snow Angels in 2007. Bejewelled with the smooth, smoky pipes of vocalist Karin Bergquist, my top five from the record follow. Ranging from sacred to sinful, all of the album’s tunes fit well together for a seasonal soundtrack or to warm you on a cold winter’s night.

This top-rated Over the Rhine albums on Amazon will make a great Christmas, Chanukkah (this weekend or next year), Kwanzaa, or music-lover’s gift.

So fill your mug with hot cocoa, throw in a peppermint stick, sit by the cracklin’ fire (or one of those crackling scented candles), and wrap your ears around these December-lovin’ beauties. Follow the link for a sample.

  1. “Darlin’ (Christmas Is Coming)” – gentle swingin’ into the holidays
  2. “Little Town” – a lovely variation on “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
  3. “Here It Is” – a jolly, driving-rock love testimonial
  4. “North Pole Man” – steamy blues that far outstrips “Santa, Baby”
  5. “Snow Angel” – a sweet commemorative ballad
The other great tunes on the album:
“White Horse” – a waltzing Christmas lullaby (“Hush now, baby . . .”)
“One Olive Jingle” – a jazzy “Jingle Bells” with slurry (drunken?) vowels
“All I Ever Get For Christmas is Blue” – slow, plaintive blues
“New Redemption Song” – a halting Christian folk anthem
“Goodbye Charles” – a Charlie Brown-like piano tribute to Charles Schultz
“Snowed In With You” – sensual, bluesy jazz like a tame night-club tease
“We’re Gonna Pull Through” – a slow, wistful ballad of solace

Originally from Cincinnati, where I first learned of them, the band also released an album called Ohio in 2010. Their most recent record is Blood Oranges in the Snow (2014)

Additional Over the Rhine CDs I own and enjoy:

The Trumpet Child, 2007
Films for Radio, 2001
Good Dog, Bad Dog, 2000 version

 

Happy Holidays, Baby.

Adapted Bawdy Lyrics: Outlander TV Series, Episode 114, “The Search”

Caution: This post contains old-time and foreign, though no less explicit, lyrics.

If you read my last post “Scotland’s Burns and Outlander rival Shakespeare’s bawdy” and wondered what the TV version lyrics of this naughty song were, I’ve added below what I could best discern from watching and listening. The earlier post includes a Scots terms glossary for both song versions. Also note that no details of Claire’s singing appear in the book; this content is unique to the show.

Stop_quoting_bible_Claire_drag_Murtagh_stage_TheSearch.gif

Here are Outlander Starz TV‘s adapted lyrics of traditional Scots bawdy song “The Reels o Bogie.” Arranged to the tune of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” featured in Season 1, Episode 114, “The Search,” and sung by actor Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser in drag, or as Murtagh puts it, “a Sassenach lady dressed as a laddie”:

Scene 1

[As stage fright hits her, Claire prefaces her performance with a 20th-century expletive, omitted here]

Verse 1:

Here’s to all you lads and lasses that go out this way.

Be sure to tip your coggie when you take her out to play.

The lads and lasses toy and kiss.

The lads never think what they do is amiss.

Because there’s Kent, and Keen, and there’s Aberdeen,

And there’s nane [none] as muckle as Strath-bogie-wogie.

Verse 2:

For every lad’ll wander just to have his lass,

And when they see a pintle rise, they’ll raise a glass,

And rowe about their wanton een.

They dance the reel as the troopers go over the lea.

Because there’s Kent, and Keen, and there’s Aberdeen,

And there’s nane as muckle as Strath-bogie-wogie.

A-root, a-toot, a-rooty a-doot….

Scene 2 (continuation)

[scatting]

He giggled, goggled me.

He was a banger.

He sought the prize between my thighs,

became a hanger.

[next is only a partially audible stanza as attention shifts to the crowd where Murtagh makes inquiries about Jamie Fraser]

[something] muckle chump [?]

I suppled both the ends…. [per 6th stanza of the original song (see link from previous post for details)] [something, something] boogie

[refrain repeats:]

Because there’s Kent, and Keen, and there’s Aberdeen,

But there’s nane as muckle as the Strath-bogie-wogie.

[Claire signals instrumental accompaniment to halt for her a capella finale:]

No, there’s nane as muckle as the wanton toun of Strathbogie.

Credits: song by Don Raye and Hughie Prince (1941), brought to popular culture by the Andrews Sisters; lyrics based on “The Reels o Bogie” and adapted by the writers and producers at Outlander Starz and Sony Pictures Television.

For fascinating insights into the score created for what he calls Outlander’s “trilogy” of episodes concluding with “The Search,” visit series composer Bear McCreary’s Outlander site at the following page: http://www.bearmccreary.com/#blog/blog/outlander-lallybroch-the-watch-the-search/. He emphasizes the ever-present Scottish folk elements in these episodes of the series.

To learn the meaning of these adapted lyrics and to access and learn about the original—much naughtier—song lyrics, see my earlier post: “Scotland’s Burns and Outlander rival Shakespeare’s bawdy.”

To see and hear the adapted song and lyrics in action (totally worth it), catch re-runs of the episode “The Search,” showing this week on Starz, or stream it online. Mature audiences only.

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Scotland’s Burns and Outlander rival Shakespeare’s bawdy

Caution: Post contains old-time, though no less explicit, lyrics.

As a demonstration of the extent of my obsession with Outlander these days (largely what has been keeping me from blogging), here is an in-depth look at the words and music re-purposed for the most recent episode of the Starz TV adaptation.

Just as the main characters Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) of author Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander book series are both funnier and (he) more brutish than their TV series counterparts, the real Scottish bawdy song upon which the song used in the most recent episode, “The Search,” was based is both longer and raunchier. And yet, ramping up the humor this time, Caitriona Balfe’s and Duncan LaCroix’s (Murtagh Fraser) performances evoked guffahs galore from this avid viewer.

“It’s a bonny tune, but you need a Scottish song,” says Murtagh to Claire’s attempt to help him improve his show by singing to him her own century’s “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.” I loved the screenwriters’ innovation of using the tune as the anachronistic foundation for Claire’s provocative, though reluctant, cross-dressing performance meant to summon her missing husband Jamie. Oh, the things we do for love. I would be equally interested to hear the tune of the original Scottish folk song (still looking for a recording with words). If you find that, let me know.

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser playing

Actor Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser in drag, Outlander Starz TV episode 114, “The Search.” Image credit Sony Pictures Television

Before you bugger off to the link of the song lyrics farther down the page, here’s a quick glossary of Scottish dialect and slang terms to help you enjoy their full effect. This list draws upon both the Scots Glossary at The Mudcat Cafe and the Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL), as well as Wikipedia and Dictionary.com. The rest of the commentary is my interpretive opinion.

abootadv., about

baithadj, both

bogien., can mean outhouse, or boogie man, or cooking galley of a fishing boat (among other meanings), but is more likely a reference to the River Bogie (from Wikipedia): Note: Mention of Aberdeen in the tune helps to confirm this interpretation, though it’s possible there is double meaning intended in the song.

“The River Bogie (Scottish Gaelic: Balgaidh), also known as the Water of Bogie, is a river in NW Aberdeenshire in the north east of Scotland. Starting with the confluence of the Craig and Corchinan burns (57.2943°N 2.8910°W), near the parish of Auchindoir and Kearn, the River Bogie flows northeast for about 11 miles through Strathbogie (see entries for strath and Strathbogie below) to Rhynie and Huntly.” – Wikipedia

The TV episode’s rendition of the song refers to “the wanton toun (pron. toon) of Strathbogie,” and the Burns collection’s version refers to both the “reels of Bogie” and the “toun of Strathbogie.”

cluen., a ball of wool; fig., property, wealth, prize. In context, a sewing euphemism for sex: “bobbin on my wanton clue.” See entry for reel below.

coggien., diminutive of “cog,” meaning cup, vessel (according to the Scots dictionary). Also, a cog as “a gearwheel, esp a small one” or “any of the teeth or projections on the rim of a gearwheel or sprocket– from Dictionary.com’s listing of British Dictionary definitions. The association with spinning wheels matches the other metaphors in the song.

Its use in the TV version of the tune, “tip yer coggie,” suggests the male’s sexual agency. This imagery is similar to that used in the film Shakespeare in Love when Viola dressed as a man finds herself in a brothel being urged to “dip your wick” (as of a candle) into the “flame” of a prostitute’s loins. The wording in the online song lyrics, “tip her coggie,” however, suggests accessing the woman’s sex; thus, the notion of a woman’s vagina as “cup” or “vessel,” tipped to whichever parts of the male he chooses. Ahem….

daev., do

eenn., pl., eyes

langadj., adv., long

mairadj., adv., more

muckleadj., great, huge, tall; good (the word appears in the episode only)

pintlen., “a pin or bolt, especially one on which something turns, as the gudgeon of a hinge.” – Dictionary.com. Metaphor for penis. See entries for clue and reel.

reeln., “a cylinder, frame, or other device that turns on an axis and is used to wind up or pay out something.” In the song, a type of dance, associated with weaving and spinning, emphasizing this kind of pattern and movement (i.e., “dance the reel”). “Chiefly British. a spool of sewing thread; a roller or bobbin of sewing thread.” See entry for clue above. A metaphor for the sex act. Quoted definitions come from Dictionary.com.

rowev., to roll

snawn., snow

sochtv., sought

spreidv., spread

Strathbogien., “the old name of Huntly, Scotland, and the strath to the south of it” – Wikipedia

strath – n., “A strath is a large valley, typically a river valley that is wide and shallow (as opposed to a glen which is typically narrower and deep).[1]  An anglicisation of the Gaelic word srath, it is one of many that have been absorbed into common use in the English language. It is commonly used in rural Scotland to describe a wide valley, even by non-Gaelic speakers.” – Wikipedia

For the song’s purposes, the name of the town itself may also serve as a sexual metaphor, in the sense of its wideness and openness, i.e., lasciviousness or moral looseness.

thiesn., pl., thighs

tounn., town

I think the rest is reasonably discernible from context.

The atmosphere created by the sum of the lyrics is one of wild, whirling entertainment featuring drink, dance, the overt mechanisms of the sexual act, and a lust insatiable beyond “staying power.” The song relates the town of Strathbogie as a notorious den of reckless, extravagant (“wanton”) pleasure taking.

And without further delay, the Scottish bawdy folk song “The Reels of Bogie,” as retrieved online from pages 2 and 3 in the collection titled Merry Muses of Caledonia by famous Scots poet Robert Burns. Note that “The Reel of Bogie” is also claimed and played as an Irish folk song.

Actor Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser in drag singing

Caitriona Balfe as Claire Fraser in drag singing “The Reels o Bogie,” image credit Sony Pictures Television

To read the version of the song lyrics adapted for the episode, see my other post on this topic: Adapted Bawdy Lyrics: Outlander TV Series, Episode 114, “The Search.”

To locate the whole region that was once a town in Scotland, see Strathbogie on a map in the district of Aberdeenshire.

For a comprehensive look at Scots music and cultural tradition, visit Scots Language Centre.

Catch the next and likely so-far darkest episode of Outlander on Starz this Saturday at 9pm EDT. Brace yourself, though. The omnipresence of the sex motif, so playfully explored in “The Search,” takes a turn into the disturbingly perverse in “Wentworth Prison.” #BlackJackIsBack


As of October 2016, my new post excerpts and analyzes an original poem by Robert Burns: Famous Poets’ Nature Poetry, 5: Of Mice, Men and Rabbie Burns

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Writing 201: Poetry, Weekend Potluck

One of my favorite poems, of which there are dozens, is “Beethoven, Opus 111” by Amy Clampitt.

The poem appears in Clampitt’s original anthology, The Kingfisher (Knopf, 1983), and in the posthumous The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt (Knopf, 1999), which is edited with a foreword by my former poetry professor, Mary Jo Salter, 1997.

In her own “opus” of sorts, Clampitt draws thematic parallels between her father’s farm-bound efforts from her childhood and Beethoven’s compositional work on his opus from Piano Sonata No. 32. The dual spectacle of protagonist passion, fury, frenzy, obstinacy, and the journey of creation/destruction blend with a deeply personal recollection of Clampitt’s father.

Adding her mastery of rhythm, alliteration, internal rhyme, and other sonic devices to unusual word choice, varied allusions, startling use of enjambment coupled with thematic transitions, and circumnavigating phrasal refrains, Clampitt pays tribute to Beethoven’s musical form and artistry while presenting her own.

Prefaced by a quotation from Osip Mandelstam on which the poem builds, and spanning a total of 117 relatively short but densely packed lines, the piece merits reading and re-reading and reading about. In response to coming to view the work as a slice of poetic genius, I have added the poem’s first published home, The Kingfisher, to my Goodreads to-read list.

My first introduction to Clampitt and “Beethoven, Opus 111” came in college with my 4th edition copy of The Norton Anthology of Poetry, also co-edited by Salter, who used it in at least one of my poetry courses, as I recall.

Other, more well-known and beloved poems of Amy Clampitt’s featured there include “Beach Glass” and “The Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews.” As I am a bird lover, her avian poems “The Cormorant in Its Element” and “Syrinx” delight me just as much as the other two, but “Beethoven,” as usual, wins top prize–so far.

Lark Ascends from Dr. Welles to Barber, Meyer, and Hahn

Link to The Guardian article by Kerry Andrew on British people’s love of Williams’ “The Lark Ascending”

Whether lark song, train whistle, or violin flourish, many things ascend and sometimes converge (to riff on a Flannery O’Connor title) in trails of influence in the arts world, much to our art-loving joy and enrichment.

Author and fellow blogger HL Gibson‘s post Welcome Home, Dr. Welles discusses the connections between writing her recent novel, featuring main character Dr. John Welles, and listening to Ralph Vaughn Williams’ composition “The Lark Ascending.”

Gibson also shares a full audio recording and the text of George Meredith’s poem of the same title that inspired Williams’ piece. Here, I embark from her post on a path through the musical delights of another work that listening to “Lark” has, in turn, conjured for me.


Yes, HL, this piece is quite lovely–very modern, meandering, romantic. See the Ralph Vaughn Williams Society website press release of a documentary on the story behind just this composition: “The Lark Ascending.” An article excerpt reads: “Today, the work represents music for all occasions and is used in rites of passage; births, deaths and marriages and by filmmakers looking to create a quintessential English pastoral feel.” It is unclear whether it was January 13th, 2015, or some year past when the half-hour film aired on BBC4.

I especially like this type of classical music. I have a beloved CD of Hilary Hahn playing violin to Barber & Meyer selections. Although I’m not a classical music expert, my trained musical brain hears an overall similar sound in Barber/Meyer to Williams’ “Lark.” And yet, my favorite piece on the album is a contemporary concerto with a more dynamic tempo and different moods than “Lark” presents.

Performed by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Wolff, and written by contemporary American composer Edgar Meyer, this work naturally showcases the violinist Hilary Hahn’s virtuosic skill. Followed by the faster (presto in moto) third movement of Samuel Barber’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 14,” which is also delightful, Meyer’s “Violin Concerto,” with two movements over CD tracks 4 and 5, to me lies at the heart of the collection’s beauty and power.

The Meyer concerto was commissioned personally by Hahn, specifically for Hahn, and released in 2000. I heard the piece on NPR classical radio years ago, immediately became enraptured, and decided I had to have it. Join me, won’t you, as I venture into examining more closely this composition, of which HL Gibson’s embedded one reminded me?

Click the image for more info on the CD.

Broadly considered, the syncopated rhythm throughout Meyer’s “Violin Concerto” presses my listening pleasure buttons; syncopation is one of the rhythmic elements I enjoy most in music. I absolutely love the pulsing, up-tempo sections of the whole concerto, with their off-beat dynamic accents.

Movement I’s faster portions feature a melody in G# key and a “gravitational pull of E,” as Meyer explains in the liner notes, with ascending wisps of violin repeatedly but irregularly accenting the ride. I love the surging orchestral segments that precede the wisps just as much as I do those solo flourishes.

Hearing this music, I picture sunlight flashing through the windows of a passenger car on a steam train through the countryside as those higher violin notes alight, and the gaps in between are the clouding tree leaves or shadow-casting hills. What’s remarkable is that when I follow this image, the music continues to suit the scenario of a train excursion rather well.

Not knowing the specific letter keys of tunes by sound alone, I would have described Movement I simply as being in a minor key. The overall effect is a forlorn meditation befitting a journey home or away, overlain with an energizing lyrical dance achieved by featured musician Hahn. Like English poet Meredith’s lark, she fiddles her morning “song of light.”

Time to catch the mighty 16:04, Movement II. This longer movement in the key of C builds slowly and drives forcefully, insisting on being heard as it ventures deeper into the wilder parts of the country. Arrival in the fourth minute of the prevailing melody teases the listener as it dissolves into slower tonally focused parts with long-held notes–travelling on a vast plain. Are we there yet?

2007-08-17.050.Skotland.Glenfinnan-viadukten.Damptog.PSAbout halfway. The low, slow, steady hum of the orchestra behind the soft solo work of the violin gives way at the seven-minute mark to a somewhat folksy sounding restart of the train engine with a cello- and bassoon-laden transition, almost as if the train has begun its steep climb up the mountain, into a new, more daring mode. Rapidly picking up speed back down the slope at around 8:15, the journey returns to the solo refrain hinted at in minute 4.

Then, it’s full steam ahead as all converging trains seem to race to the finish. The established momentum plunges into the second half of the movement, where the overall dynamic pattern repeats and then resolves in an even faster, more frantic push.

The final, commanding violin flourish on the runaway train halts in station on a screaming high note, and imprints the listener with the work’s exhilarating vigor and the awesome powers of performance bringing it to such bracing life.

In reply to the Meyer concerto’s, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s, and Hilary Hahn’s just demands to be heard, I currently have the roughly half-hour long composition coursing through the digital landscape of my media player. It serves as my own track of sound for blogging, and it is a trip worth repeating.