12-06: Pavlos Sidiropoulos & Spiridoula : Flou 1978 - Wagner Die Walküre : King / Crespin / Frick / Nilsson / Hotter / Ludwig / Fassbaender / Watts / Solti 1965 - The Definitive Leadbelly 3 Discs

1716 – Benedictus Buns (Dutch Carmelite priest & composer)
1746 – Lady Grisel Baillie (Scottish songwriter)
1785 – Kitty Clive (English actress & soprano)
1865 – Sebastián Iradier Salaberri (Basque composer of habaneras "La Paloma" & "El Arreglito," the latter used by Bizet in Carmen)
1867 – Giovanni Pacini (Italian opera composer)
1903 – Frederic Grant Gleason (American composer)
1920 – Karel Kovařovic (Czech composer, conductor, harpist, clarinetist & pianist)
1933 – Auguste Chapuis (French composer, organist, choirmaster & teacher)
1939 – Charles Dalmorès (French operatic tenor)
1943 – Hermann Löhr (British composer of Austrian ancestry, active also in Australia)
1946 – Maximilian Steinberg [Максимилиан Штейнберг] (Russian composer, pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov, peer of Stravinsky, teacher of Shostakovich)
1949 – Lead Belly [Huddie Ledbetter] (American blues & folk singer, guitarist, accordionist, pianist, violinist & songwriter)
1951 – Léon Rothier (French operatic bass & violinist)
1957 – Evan Gorga (Italian lyric tenor, creator of Rodolfo in Puccini's La bohème in 1896)
1958 – Erwin Bodky (German-born American pianist, harpsichordist, clavichordist, composer & author)
1966 – Hermann Heiß (German composer, pupil of J.M. Hauer)
1971 – Hugo Godron (Dutch composer, violinist & teacher)
1973 – Justus Hermann Wetzel (German composer, author & teacher)
1983 – Lucienne Boyer (French diseuse & cabaret singer, "Parlez-moi d'amour")
1988 – Bill Harris (American R&B guitarist, The Clovers)
1988 – Roy Orbison (American rock & country singer, guitarist & songwriter)
1989 – Sammy Fain (American pop song composer & pianist, "I'll Be Seeing You")
1990 – Pavlos Sidiropoulos [Παύλος Σιδηρόπουλος] (Greek rock singer, songwriter & guitarist)
1995 – Claire Polin (American composer, musicologist & flutist)
1997 – Eliot Daniel (American popular composer, "I Love Lucy", "Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)")
2000 – Aziz Mian Qawwal [عزیز میاں قوال] (Pakistani quawwali singer, songwriter, harmonium player, poet, author & philosopher)
2003 – Hans Hotter (German bass-baritone)
2005 – Danny Williams (South African pop singer)

I'd been wanting to get through an entire Ring cycle before this blog has run its course. (No, we won't be here forever!) We've already had a fine Das Rheingold, and now Hans Hotter's moving and authoritative Wotan provides us with our next opportunity, in the superbly sung and recorded Die Walküre we have for you tonight. I mean, just look at that cast. And with Solti reining them all in... this particular installment of his studio Ring cycle is a sonic and performative landmark.

And Lead Belly. King of the 12-string. I guess with Wagnerian opera coming before, you could say he serves as the foil. This particular compilation is supposed to be the best, unless you want to have every song the man ever recorded.

Now about our headliner. Pavlos Sidiropoulos is considered perhaps the greatest singer in the history of Greek rock music. In the 70s, when almost all Greek rock musicians were still singing in English, he went against the grain and insisted on singing in Greek. He had substance abuse issues, and died young - but he's still one of the most popular rock singers in Greece, more than 20 years later. His 1978 album Φλου (Flou), recorded with the group Spiridoula, is one of his very best, and still gets a lot of airplay in Greece. I downloaded it, and listened to it, and of course I didn't understand a word... but I can understand how this music is loved and appreciated, and I hope to listen to it a lot more, and get it under my skin. You should too! Expand your minds, open your hearts. It's a big world out there, and maybe we no speak-a the same language, but music is universal.



  1. Not too familiar with Wagner. Although a documentary called "Metal, the headbangers journey cites Wagner as being a precursor to Heavy Metal itself. I'm listening to it now and I can see the link.

  2. What was it that Jimmy Page said once about "power, mystery, and the hammer of the gods?" But to me, it's not so much the music as it is the imagery and all the trappings of it. Wagner had a big influence on the fantasy literature genre, and so there's definitely that connection. And now you have sub-genres like Viking metal which draw on some of the same legends Wagner was exploring.

  3. Of course my introduction to Wagner was the "Kill the Wabbit" bit. Even the cartoon was metal!

  4. "What's Opera, Doc"! A cartoon masterpiece if there ever was one. My favorite part is when Bugs rides in as Brünnhilde on that huge fat horse!