Friday, October 2, 2015

Weekend Recommendations From DEEP into the past

OK OK I know, if you are reading this you already think I am nuts.  And maybe you are right.  Who am I to argue?  But I was thinking, people are always asking my opinion of what is good, and what they should go see (meaning movies) or what book to read.  And frankly, I don't read much that is new.  And I don't go see movies (I do watch with Netflix, although, rarely).  So this is just a brief piece to throw some ideas into the fan and see what makes it through the blade.  And yes, these are all selections from dead white guys.  I realize that is my tendency to recommend regarding older stuff.  But, the stuff remains good.  (click on each pic to read the fine print ).

Arthur Rimbaud was an amazing burning star.  He wrote insanely powerful and evocative poetry from an early age, and stopped, to the chagrin of the poetry world at age 19.  His book A Season In Hell is a great testament, it is without flaw and deserves multiple readings.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote horror prose and poetry far in advance of 99% of the writers of his day.  He was personally odd, had strange fixations and desires.  His life was filled with sorrow, and sad events.  So when he wrote these dark impossibly sad tales, they ring more than true, they stick inside your mind like they were applied with super crazy glue.

Guy de Maupassant was a French writer who was enormously prolific, writing in many genres, including horror.  At the end of his young life, 42, he was in a private mental asylum, he suffered from health affects of syphilis, and after suicide attempts he was quite mad.  His work The Horla is about a creature who haunts the dark, and feeds upon the life force of the unknowing.  It was called by some a vampire, but it was not, it was an invisible force that was a very dark presence.  In any event, it was early, smart horror, and writers such as Lovecraft and others praised it and borrowed from the concepts.  It is that good.

Lord Dunsany was a writer who used language as an exercise in extravagance.  He'd write such lavish sentences and paragraphs it read as poetry, and you'd get lost in the sounds and lose the meaning of the work.  He was a powerful story teller in many ways, and his work The King Of Elfland's Daughter is a lovely tale of the limits of mortality, and the beauty of the other world outside our own.

Giacomo Puccini has been called "the greatest composer of Italian opera after Verdi. His works instilled a sense of pride in the new country of Italy.  Turandot is an opera.  It was written first as a play elsewhere, but this opera gave humanity one of the finest works of our existence:  Nessun Dorma...  The play/opera story "is set in China and involves Prince Calaf, who falls in love with the cold Princess Turandot. To obtain permission to marry her, a suitor has to solve three riddles; any wrong answer results in death. Calaf passes the test, but Turandot still refuses to marry him. He offers her a way out: if she is able to learn his name before dawn the next day, then at daybreak he will die."
(Borrowed from Wiki)

OK so another opera... yeah I hear the groaning.  Get over it.  Opera is magnificent.  In French composer Ernest Reyer's opera Sigurd we get to hear and see the epic story of the dragon slayer.  Later told in German fashion by Richard Wagner, Sigurd with Reyer is a lovely change, and is well worth seeking out, on youtube or via compact disc.

Enjoy your weekend.  Try something new, that happens to be old. 

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