Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

From the YouTube Music Video Archives: ‘Ave Maria’ by Giulio Caccini Vladimir Vavilov

You’ve heard this lovely aria before, haven’t you? I’d probably heard it first in the movie Donnie Darko. Haunting, though it hadn’t really haunted me as much as it might have. (That could be said of the movie as well as the music.)

But one morning this week, during my commute, the DJ for the local classical station gave this piece a memorable introduction: This ‘Ave Maria’, though commonly attributed to the 16th-/17th-century Italian composer Giulio Caccini, is almost certainly a hoax. In fact (said the DJ), this piece was most likely composed around 1970 by a Russian who rejoiced in the name of Vladimir Vavilov… and who had a habit of publishing his original compositions as ‘Anonymous’, or under false attributions. Vavilov — a lutenist as well as a composer — evidently recorded his ‘Ave Maria’ for a Soviet state-owned record label, presenting it as some anonymous Baroque composition he had uncovered. After his death, it somehow picked up the Caccini attribution, and has been widely recorded since. (The fact that the aria’s only text consists of the two words ‘ave Maria’, rather than the full text of the prayer, seems to be a sign that it was written somewhere outside the spatio-temporal bounds of Latin Christendom — bogus as a three-rouble note.)

But the DJ, before he spun the record, gave this particular screw still another turn: He suggested that Vavilov might have borrowed the melody for his ‘anonymous’ aria from Jerome Kern’s 1939 standard ‘All the Things You Are’ — making this ‘Ave Maria’ not just a hoax, but a joke.

Credible? Judge for yourself:


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

  • Text by Archangel Gabriel
    • addressing mother of God Incarnate
  • Latin
    • translation from divinely-inspired Greek text of Saint Luke
      • presumably translated from Gabriel’s Aramaic (Hebrew?) original
  • Composed and recorded by Russian lutenist circa 1970
  • Published as anonymous work
  • Distributed by Soviet state-owned record company
    • Communist
      • godless
  • Wrongly attributed to Baroque-era Italian composer
  • Likely adapted from 1939 Broadway show-tune

Insert Trite but Incisive Point about Whupping the Yankees

Sword of Honour Radio Drama — Incoming!

‘Everyone thinks ill of the BBC’, Evelyn Waugh told a BBC interviewer in 1960.

Nevertheless, fourteen years later, the same BBC adapted Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy into a radio drama — a situation in which, though it may have seemed hard at first to judge whether Waugh, or the Beeb, had the last laugh, it’s clear upon reflection that neither did (corpses and corporations being equally incapable of laughter).

Now is the age of the reboot, and the BBC is preparing to broadcast a brand-new radio dramatization of Sword of Honour.

It’ll be a seven-episode series; Episode 1 is set to air on Sunday, September 29 on Radio 4. It’s supposed to become available online here.

Since it hasn’t been broadcast yet, I haven’t heard and can’t vouch for the new adaptation’s quality: This is a heads-up, not an endorsement. That said, it is an Evelyn Waugh radio drama: Whatever the outcome, there will be something worthwhile in that broadcast.

John Saw That Number

I’m nowhere near the Nekophiliac some contributors to Korrektiv are, but I did enjoy Ms Case’s spirited co-performance of Iron Maiden’s ‘The Number of the Beast’ with guitarist Dave Hill & al. on Episode 26 of the NPR show Wits, and now find myself compelled to direct your attention to a recording of said Case/Hill performance, which begins around the 54:30 mark of the below-embedded/aforementioned episode:

‘Let him who hath understanding reckon…!’

He liked to leave mysteries.

Happy deathday, Mr. Frost (h/t to IC)

Frost