Saturday, 6 December 2014

Alice - where art thou?

 Alice, Midge & My Dog Sighs

One of the stand out pieces at My Dog Sighs and Midge's exhibition in Portsmouth recently was Alice (pictured above).  Alice was painted onto a page of found sheet music, titled Alice (romance) by J Ascher.  Alice must have been a favourite for Midge and My Dog as they chose variations on the theme for the advertising posters and flyers.  Here she is without musical notation in the Kings Window:

Together in Solitude, Midge and My Dog Sighs

So, what did Alice (Romance) by J. Ascher sound like?  Well, let's find out:

Not easy to pick out the lyrics at first listen.  However, the wonders of modern science can help with that.  So here's another instructional video:

"Alice, where art thou?", written by Joseph Ascher in 1861, was one of the most popular songs of its time. This typically sentimental ballad of a melancholy man lamenting the departure of a girl taken too soon is one of the quintessential standards of the popular music of the late 19th century. It was, like so many others, overplayed, and it eventually sank into oblivion.  

Not totally into oblivion as Mahler allegedly borrowed it for his Rheinlegenchen.  As a piano piece it was much loved but challenging - another reason it may have sunk into oblivion.  Here are two manufactured versions of the song, the first a modern one generated by computer, the other an Ampico Piano Roll.  Both are worth watching and listening to. Enlightening.

Moving on, here's a cornet version which you might recognise

And here is why you might recognise it  - if you're a Brit and watched tv in the '80s.

Together in Solitude, Midge and My Dog Sighs

footnote: Anouk: Together Alone and Urban Solitude.  Just sayin'.  The eyes have it.

and finally an avant garde joke:

Knock (pause)
Knock (pause)
Knock (pause), Knock Knock
Knock (pause), Knock Knock
Knock Knock, Knock Knock
Knock Knock Who's there
Knock Knock Knock Knock
Who Who Who Who
Knock, Who's there, Knock
Who's there, Who's there
Knock, Who's there, Knock
Knock Who's there Philip
Glass Philip Glass Who
Who Philip Glass Who
Knock There Philip Glass
Knock (end)

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