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[WATCHED: December 29, 2014] The Legend of 1900

1900After really enjoying Novocento, I wanted to see what they would do with a film of the book.  I was especially curious how they took the sixty-some page monologue and turned it into a 2 hour film.

The film was written by Giuseppe Tornatore who directed Cinema Paradiso.  It was filmed entirely in Italy (which explains how they got the New York scenes to look so old world) and yet it was written entirely in English (apparently before Novocento was translated).  It starred Tim Roth as Nineteenhundred (not Novocento, like in the book) and a bunch of other people I didn’t know.

The movie was, as I say, written by Tornatore, based on the book. He kept virtually the entire book the same for the movie.  But he added a bookend section to give the narrator someone to talk to.  And this is how the film was stretched out to two hours.

The new parts are certainly interesting.  Max, Nineteenhundred’s only real friend and fellow shipboard musician, is selling his trumpet at a pawn shop.  This part confused me because the pawn shop owner is British, but I thought the ship was docked in New York.  But whatever.  He plays his trumpet one last time and the melody he plays is the same one that the shop keeper then plays on a phonograph. (more…)

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novocSOUNDTRACK: BUKKENE BRUSE-The Loveliest Rose (2002).

bruseI’m not entirely sure how I came to own this disc.  But I’m so glad I do.  This is a Christmas album from one of Norway’s traditional ensembles (pronounced: BUH-kayna BREW-sah).  They have been around since the 1990s and have toured extensively around the world.  This is their only Christmas album.  It was recorded in an Oslo church.

The album features four players on some great traditional instruments: Arve Moen Bergset – vocals, violin & Hardingfele; Annbjørg Lien – Hardingfele & nyckelharpa; Steinar Ofsdal – flute; Bjørn Ole Rasch – pipe organ.

The album is a wonderful collection of music.  I prefer the instrumentals, although Bergset does have a lovely singing voice.  What I found most interesting is that the sound of the music conveyed many non-Norwegian feelings.  I heard some Irish sounding traditional music and even some Native American (the flute in the final song).

The pipe organ sounds amazing and the fiddle, especially on “Father Fiddled on Christmas Eve” is fantastic.

Nine of the songs are traditional, the rest are written by the band, aside from St. Sunniva, the opening of which comes from ELP’s “Karn Evil 9, 3rd impression (I kid you not–it is quite stripped down here).

I really love this non-traditional traditional Christmas album.  I’m including the track listing mostly because I wanted to have all of this Norwegian in a post.

  1.   A Child Is Born in Bethlehem «Eit barn er født i Betlehem» (3:18) [great flute and a surprisingly catchy hallelujah]
  2.   Lullaby for Julie «Lullámus» (3:15) [great sound of the Hardanger fiddle which has two drone strings]
  3.   Spirit of the Grove «Haugebonden» (5:14) [a gorgeous melody]
  4.   Christmas Eve «Juleftan» (3:38) [unusual fiddle sounds and an unusual and captivating melody]
  5.   My Heart is with Jesus «Mit Hjerte Altid Vanker» (6:32) [the pipe organ really elevates this song]
  6.   St. Sunniva «St. Sunniva» (3:44) [organ and fiddle together in this Irish sounding song]
  7.   A Little Child So Pleasant/In the Sweet Christmas Time «Et lidet barn saa lystelig / I denne søde juletid» (7:20) [beautiful flute and solo violin]
  8.  Father Fiddled on Christmas Eve «Så spela far juleftan» (3:02) [that cool, unusual fiddle is back]
  9.  The Loveliest Rose has Been Found «Den fagraste rosa er funni» (2:35) [the voice is really great on this one]
  10.  Christmas Gangar «Romjulsgangar» (3:22) [beautiful fiddle and flute dance with some unusual sounds from both instruments]
  11. For Such Generous Gifts «For saadan’ mildheds gaver» (2:53) [a New Year’s tune that is rather haunting, I must say]

[READ: December 14, 2014] Novocento

In continuing with my obsessive reading of all things Baricco, I had to interlibrary loan this book from Johns Hopkins.

Novocento is confusingly titled because that is the Italian title as well and although it is a number (which could be translated) in this book it actually refers to a person, which would not get translated–so look carefully for the English edition (done by Oberon) and wonderfully translated by Ann Goldtsein).  It was designed as a play (and this edition is the play).  However, it is a one man monologue (with music ion the performance), so it doesn’t “read” like a play.

The book is 56 pages long.  They have also made a movie out of it (called The Legend of 1900, not just 1900 which is a different movie).  Amazingly the movie is 170 minutes (Italian version) and 120 minutes (international).  That must be a lot of music.

The story is simple, Novocento, as he is called, was born on a ship–an ocean liner that transported people primarily from Europe to America in the early 20th century.  His parents were undoubtedly lower class and left him on the piano aboard the boat (we don’t hear their story at all).  One of the crew finds him and names him Danny Boodman T.D. Lemon Novocento.  Danny Boodman is the man who found him, T.D. Lemon was on the side of the box he was left in and Novocento was the year. (more…)

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