Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Back to Infinity (and Beyond)

I mentioned yesterday that all the old videos I (and others) once posted on Google Video (one-time competitor to YouTube) are being taken down in the next few days. However, I've just discovered a nice little silver lining to the disappearance of this cloud storage. Whereas YouTube puts a 15-minute limit on video uploads, Google Video had no such limits. The silver lining is that Google Video has made it possible, with one click, to transfer videos over to YouTube - including the really long ones! This means I was able to sneak this 49-minute video through the back door and onto YouTube.

It's sneaky in a couple of ways as I don't really have the rights to the audio, but I haven't been able to find this audio (or the video version) available anywhere else, and I think people need to be able to hear it. (I will, of course, remove it if asked.) I lifted the audio off an old LP that was boxed with a Bernstein set I own - it's a recording of Bernstein's Omnibus lecture entitled The Infinite Variety of Music. The script for this lecture is featured in the Bernstein anthology of the same name. There are seven other such scripts featured in The Joy of Music and the live tele-versions of those have recently become available on DVD - and, of course, on YouTube. But this one, which was always my favorite, I still haven't found elsewhere.

I posted it on my blog a few years back, so here is a chance to reintroduce it. I don't mind admitting that reading this script as a teenager had a major impact on me. I read it over and over, and then listened over and over when I stumbled on the LP. As I wrote back in 2007:
In a way, it's kind of embarrassing now because I understand better the tricks that Lenny had up his sleeve, but I still think it's wonderfully done and it shows him at his inspirational best. His basic device is to take a simple four-note melodic pattern and show how many different famous melodies have been spun from it. (The fun-with-themes starts about 9 minutes in.) It's not accidental that the sol-do-re-mi pattern he chose is such a classic tonal formula, but the fun is to see how different the notes can sound according to context. 
So, here it is, complete with my own homemade score examples that are based on the ones found in the book. (It's posted under my secondary YouTube account, since I reserve the MMtube channel for multimedia I've actually created.) The heart of the talk, the "How Dry I Am" discussion, starts around 9 minutes in.

Even if you decide to skip ahead to the 9:00 mark, it's worth hearing L.B.'s basso spoken intro and the wonderful bit of Daphnis et ChloĆ© that starts the program proper.

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