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Swann/Tolkien Road Goes Ever On

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  • David Lenander
    One nice thing about the song cycle is that it s a common, widely available text and music that fans can share and sing together--even approved by Tolkien. I
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 8, 2004
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      One nice thing about the song cycle is that it's a common, widely
      available text and music that fans can share and sing together--even
      approved by Tolkien. I think, for any fans that want to interact with
      other fans, it's essential. There are filksongs, too, like those in the
      old _Middle-earth Song Book_, an unofficial, unapproved "
      non-publication," and some of which have appeared in varioius places,
      such as _The Tolkien Scrapbook_, or other filksong collections, but
      they're not as widely available, not "approved" and only rarely as
      lovely. Though perhaps the Marion Zimmer Bradley/Kristoph
      Klover/Margaret ______ musical settings in _The Starlit Jewel_ (also
      available as a songbook) might someday begin to approach the Swan
      music, at least in fan circles, I suppose. But this is unlikely to be
      available in public libraries or bookstore chains like the Swann book.
      (The Bradley settings originally appeared in _The Middle-earth Song
      Book_, too).

      Perhaps fiddlers may not find the Swann music helpful, but many years
      ago a classical guitar student, Tom Diedrich, played the music for us
      in the Rivendell Group (twin cities, MN, discussion group of the
      Mythopoeic Society) and I thought that the arrangements that Tom worked
      out seemed much closer to Middle-earth--or at least to Hobbiton--than
      the piano music accompaniment that we were used to--or which you may
      hear on the Caedmon recording featuring tenor William Elvin (I hope
      that was his name, I haven't had that LP out of storage in many years).
      I wish that I had a nice recording of that.

      On Jul 8, 2004, at 6:20 AM, mythsoc@yahoogroups.com wrote:

      >
      > There are 10 messages in this issue.
      >
      > Topics in this digest:
      >
      > 1. Re: Impressed by the books AND the movie trilogy.
      > From: "karlstar2" <jalaubacker@...>
      > 2. Claims of expertise (was Re: Newest Greenman Review)
      > From: "Michael Martinez" <Michaelm@...>
      > 3. Re: Newest Greenman Review
      > From: "Michael Martinez" <Michaelm@...>
      > 4. Re: Newest Greenman Review
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > 5. Re: Newest Greenman Review
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > 6. Re: Paul Hazel
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > 7. Re: Claims of expertise (was Re: Newest Greenman Review)
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > 8. Re: Claims of expertise (was Re: Newest Greenman Review)
      > From: Margaret Dean <margdean@...>
      > 9. Re: Newest Greenman Review
      > From: "dianejoy@..." <dianejoy@...>
      > 10. RE: Re: Impressed by the books AND the movie trilogy.
      > From: "dianejoy@..." <dianejoy@...>
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 1
      > Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004 21:30:36 -0000
      > From: "karlstar2" <jalaubacker@...>
      > Subject: Re: Impressed by the books AND the movie trilogy.
      >
      >> Me neither. I really expected to hate the movies, and I rather liked
      >> them.
      >> They weren't perfect, but in my little universe, movies are such a
      > sad
      >> second to a book anyway, that these were no worse than any other, and
      > better than many.
      >>
      >> Then again, I like the Rankin-Bass version, too.
      >
      > Ack! Lizzie, if I didn't know you better, I'd say that was a blatant
      > attempt at trolling!
      >
      > By the way folks, Lizzie invited me to join the list, and I've been
      > enjoying the messages. That R-B version of Return of the King is
      > just horrible!
      >
      > Jim
      >
      > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth Apgar Triano"
      > <lizziewriter@e...> wrote:
      >>
      >> Can't wait for the extended version of "Return of the King"!
      >>
      >> -Leelan Lampkins >>
      >>
      >>
      >> Me neither. I really expected to hate the movies, and I rather
      > liked them.
      >> They weren't perfect, but in my little universe, movies are such a
      > sad
      >> second to a book anyway, that these were no worse than any other,
      > and
      >> better than many.
      >>
      >> Then again, I like the Rankin-Bass version, too.
      >>
      >>
      >> Lizzie
      >>
      >> Elizabeth Apgar Triano
      >> lizziewriter@e...
      >> amor vincit omnia
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 2
      > Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004 23:11:44 -0000
      > From: "Michael Martinez" <Michaelm@...>
      > Subject: Claims of expertise (was Re: Newest Greenman Review)
      >
      > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, David Bratman <dbratman@e...> wrote:
      >> At 06:52 AM 7/7/2004 -0400, Jack wrote:
      >>
      >>> Grey never claimed to be a Tolkien expert, just a fan.
      >>
      >> On the contrary.
      >
      > [snipping to get to the point]
      >
      >> But Walker didn't say that. Walker said, "If you only have one
      >> reference book on Tolkien on your shelf, it ought to be this one."
      >>
      >> That IS a claim of being a Tolkien expert. It states that the
      >> writer has a thorough knowledge and has made a considered judgment
      >> of the entire field.
      >
      > I don't agree. It is an expression of opinion, or preference. It is
      > also an endorsement, but anyone is free to endorse anything. Idiots
      > and fools make endorsements on every topic every day. Experts do,
      > too. In almost any given field of study, you pretty much have to be
      > or become an expert in order to weed out the informed (unsupported)
      > opinions from the uninformed ones (regardless of whether the latter
      > offer support).
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 3
      > Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004 23:15:53 -0000
      > From: "Michael Martinez" <Michaelm@...>
      > Subject: Re: Newest Greenman Review
      >
      > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, Patrick Wynne <pwynne@g...> wrote:
      >> On Jul 7, 2004, at 12:36 PM, Jack wrote, assessing the value of
      >> _The Road Goes Ever On_:
      >>
      >>> Not everything Tolkien wrote is interesting. This work is a bit of a
      >>> minor
      >>> fluff.
      >>
      >> The first sentence is a matter of taste; the latter sentence is a bit
      >> of major nonsense.
      >>
      >> The scholarly value of Tolkien's linguistic commentaries on
      >> _Namárië_ and _A Elbereth Gilthoniel_ included at the end
      >> of RGEO is well known to anybody who has delved into the
      >> serious study of Tolkien's invented languages. There is much
      >> information here that is found nowhere else, and RGEO is a
      >> major text that is regularly cited in linguistic analyses. I should
      >> know; I've written a lot of them myself.
      >
      > It is a very good resource for the study of the mythological world
      > itself, not simply the linguistics. There are historical and cultural
      > details in this book which are found nowhere else.
      >
      > So, I would strongly agree that THE ROAD GOES EVER ON is anything but
      > fluff.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 4
      > Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 18:01:23 -0700
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > Subject: Re: Newest Greenman Review
      >
      >
      > From: "David Bratman" <dbratman@...>
      >>
      >> And Jack Merry, reviewer of Swann's _The Road Goes Ever On_, is bored
      >> by sheet music. Spare me from the easily bored, or at least spare me
      >> from
      >> reviews about how easily bored they get.
      >
      > I don't know who this Jack Merry is (I read the review, too), but if
      > he's
      > bored by sheet music, he's no musician! I would much rather have a
      > copy of
      > the sheet music than recorded music. I find it quite helpful not to
      > have
      > someone else's interpretation (many of which I dislike anyway) of
      > music. I
      > much prefer the source.
      >
      > Berni
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 5
      > Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 18:10:41 -0700
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > Subject: Re: Newest Greenman Review
      >
      >
      > From: "Jack" <jack@...>
      >
      >> David, are you a fiddler? Most fiddlers including myself do not find
      >> sheet
      >> music all that exciting. If we did, than such tunes as Simon Jeffe's
      > 'Music
      >> for a Found Harmonium' would never ahve come to be considered
      >> traditional
      >> by Irish musicians!
      >
      > David's not but I am. But you're talking about traditional folk music
      > and
      > _The Road Goes Ever On_ is *art song*, a whole other genre of music.
      >
      > It's more like Shubert -- you must look at the original source, both
      > text
      > and music. See how the composer set it. In art song, the piano and
      > voice
      > are partners -- Schubert was really the first to make them equal
      > partners in
      > his lieder. Listen to his "Gretchen am Spinnrade" and you can hear the
      > piano filling in the emotional moods in places where the text has
      > broken.
      > After the singer sings about his kiss, the spinning wheel
      > accompaniment of
      > the piano stops and makes a few tentative starts, unable to get back to
      > business, as it were. After a few measures, both singer and piano are
      > back
      > on the main theme. This is the tradition which Swann is working in.
      >
      > Berni
      >
      > P.S. "Erlkoenig" is very mythopoeic, too.
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 6
      > Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 18:17:04 -0700
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > Subject: Re: Paul Hazel
      >
      >
      > From: "Elizabeth Apgar Triano" <lizziewriter@...>
      >
      >> So, as I was unpacking the box that had been stashed farthest deep in
      >> the
      >> hot attic, I got a rude surprise. I thought that I had had two books
      >> from
      >> a Guy Gavriel Kay trilogy, and recently (well, last year or so) got
      >> the
      >> middle book, and was all set to read it now, although with some
      >> trepidation, given the discussions here lately about GGK. But lo and
      >> behold, the two books I have are Paul Hazel's Yearwood and Winterking.
      > The
      >> missing book is still Undersea. This book is out of print (but
      >> available
      >> used, which is fine), and there are reviews for the first on amazon
      >> but
      > not
      >> the second. Is anyone familiar with this trilogy and want to say
      >> anything
      >> about it?
      >
      > I had sought the books out because a friend whose opinion I respect
      > liked
      > them a lot. They didn't do it for me. The first book was okay but
      > didn't
      > melt my Velveeta[tm]. I stopped reading the second book and have no
      > plan to
      > read the third.
      >
      > If you want to send me your snail mail address privately and a reminder
      > which book you're missing, we might be able to persuade Mr. B. to mail
      > it
      > off to you.
      >
      > Berni
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 7
      > Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 18:19:13 -0700
      > From: "Berni Phillips" <bernip@...>
      > Subject: Re: Claims of expertise (was Re: Newest Greenman Review)
      >
      >
      > From: "Michael Martinez" <Michaelm@...>
      >>
      >> It is also an endorsement, but anyone is free to endorse anything.
      >> Idiots
      >> and fools make endorsements on every topic every day. Experts do,
      >> too. In almost any given field of study, you pretty much have to be
      >> or become an expert in order to weed out the informed (unsupported)
      >> opinions from the uninformed ones (regardless of whether the latter
      >> offer support).
      >
      > "Best book I've read all year!" -- Marion Zimmer Bradley ---> seen on
      > so
      > many books it's become a catch phrase in the Bratman household.
      >
      > Berni
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 8
      > Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 14:29:50 -0400
      > From: Margaret Dean <margdean@...>
      > Subject: Re: Claims of expertise (was Re: Newest Greenman Review)
      >
      > Berni Phillips wrote:
      >
      >> "Best book I've read all year!" -- Marion Zimmer Bradley ---> seen on
      >> so many books it's become a catch phrase in the Bratman household.
      >
      >> From my days in the publishing industry I also recall that Anne
      > McCaffrey was extremely generous in the handing out of encomiums
      > to put on book covers.
      >
      >
      > --Margaret Dean
      > <margdean@...>
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 9
      > Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 21:35:58 -0400
      > From: "dianejoy@..." <dianejoy@...>
      > Subject: Re: Newest Greenman Review
      >
      > A wonderful writer and scholar on the Inklings. The work I know of
      > hers
      > best is *Splintered Light: Logos and Light in Tolkien's World.* It's
      > published by Eerdman's in Grand Rapids, MI. An Amazon search may net
      > you
      > some of her later work.
      >
      > Original Message:
      > -----------------
      > From: Elizabeth Apgar Triano lizziewriter@...
      > Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 14:41:05 -0400
      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Newest Greenman Review
      >
      >
      > Who is Verlyn Flieger?
      >
      > thanks
      >
      > Lizzie
      >
      > Elizabeth Apgar Triano
      > lizziewriter@...
      > amor vincit omnia
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --------------------------------------------------------------------
      > mail2web - Check your email from the web at
      > http://mail2web.com/ .
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      > Message: 10
      > Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 02:09:37 -0400
      > From: "dianejoy@..." <dianejoy@...>
      > Subject: RE: Re: Impressed by the books AND the movie trilogy.
      >
      > I consider the R-B version a "comedy." The version of "The Hobbit"
      > with
      > "Where There's a Whip <crack!> There's a Way" is embarrasingly bad.-djb
      >
      > Original Message:
      > -----------------
      > From: karlstar2 jalaubacker@...
      > Date: Wed, 07 Jul 2004 21:30:36 -0000
      > To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Impressed by the books AND the movie trilogy.
      >
      >
      >> Me neither. I really expected to hate the movies, and I rather liked
      >> them.
      >> They weren't perfect, but in my little universe, movies are such a
      > sad
      >> second to a book anyway, that these were no worse than any other, and
      > better than many.
      >>
      >> Then again, I like the Rankin-Bass version, too.
      >
      > Ack! Lizzie, if I didn't know you better, I'd say that was a blatant
      > attempt at trolling!
      >
      > By the way folks, Lizzie invited me to join the list, and I've been
      > enjoying the messages. That R-B version of Return of the King is
      > just horrible!
      >
      > Jim
      >
      > --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Elizabeth Apgar Triano"
      > <lizziewriter@e...> wrote:
      >>
      >> Can't wait for the extended version of "Return of the King"!
      >>
      >> -Leelan Lampkins >>
      >>
      >>
      >> Me neither. I really expected to hate the movies, and I rather
      > liked them.
      >> They weren't perfect, but in my little universe, movies are such a
      > sad
      >> second to a book anyway, that these were no worse than any other,
      > and
      >> better than many.
      >>
      >> Then again, I like the Rankin-Bass version, too.
      >>
      >>
      >> Lizzie
      >>
      >> Elizabeth Apgar Triano
      >> lizziewriter@e...
      >> amor vincit omnia
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --------------------------------------------------------------------
      > mail2web - Check your email from the web at
      > http://mail2web.com/ .
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      > _______________________________________________________________________
      > _
      >
      >
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
      > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
      > -
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > -----------------------------------------------------------------------
      > -
      >
      >
      >
      >
      David Lenander
      d-lena@...
      2095 Hamline Ave. N.
      Roseville, MN 55113
      651-292-8887
      http://www.umn.edu/~d-lena/RIVENDELL.html
    • David Bratman
      The Swann settings are not really suited for singalongs, and I don t believe I ve ever heard anyone try it. A few of the Bradley/Klover/Davis versions are
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 8, 2004
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        The Swann settings are not really suited for singalongs, and I don't
        believe I've ever heard anyone try it. A few of the Bradley/Klover/Davis
        versions are possible that way, but they were so finely recorded that
        nobody seems to have wanted to do them as singalongs either, outside of
        invited audience participation at Broceliande concerts.

        In general, art songs and singalongs are different musical genres. They
        don't mix much.

        As for transcribing Swann's piano accompaniment - transcription of piano
        accompaniment for guitar is a standard practice with a long history: guitar
        is an instrument well-suited for taking over that kind of piano music. A
        violin, with its relatively narrow range and its lack of propensity for
        chords, would not be.

        What a violin, with its lyric quality, could play is the vocal part. You
        could play Swann's songs as violin-and-piano music, no problem. The thing
        is, though, that the musical style and ethos would still be entirely unlike
        that of Irish fiddle folk music, and if Jack tried to judge it by the
        standards appropriate to Irish fiddle music, it wouldn't come off well. It
        needs to be judged by different standards.

        I'm sure that, as you say, Tom Diedrich's guitar arrangements of Swann were
        much more appealing than the original recording with piano. But that need
        not have been because it was an arrangement. I've heard live performances
        with piano (at one of the Long Beach Mythcons, as I recall) that were
        better than the recording, which simply wasn't a very good performance.
        When performed sympathetically, Swann's songs are much better than that.

        - David Bratman


        At 04:24 PM 7/8/2004 -0500, David Lenander wrote:
        >One nice thing about the song cycle is that it's a common, widely
        >available text and music that fans can share and sing together--even
        >approved by Tolkien. I think, for any fans that want to interact with
        >other fans, it's essential. There are filksongs, too, like those in the
        >old _Middle-earth Song Book_, an unofficial, unapproved "
        >non-publication," and some of which have appeared in varioius places,
        >such as _The Tolkien Scrapbook_, or other filksong collections, but
        >they're not as widely available, not "approved" and only rarely as
        >lovely. Though perhaps the Marion Zimmer Bradley/Kristoph
        >Klover/Margaret ______ musical settings in _The Starlit Jewel_ (also
        >available as a songbook) might someday begin to approach the Swan
        >music, at least in fan circles, I suppose. But this is unlikely to be
        >available in public libraries or bookstore chains like the Swann book.
        >(The Bradley settings originally appeared in _The Middle-earth Song
        >Book_, too).
        >
        >Perhaps fiddlers may not find the Swann music helpful, but many years
        >ago a classical guitar student, Tom Diedrich, played the music for us
        >in the Rivendell Group (twin cities, MN, discussion group of the
        >Mythopoeic Society) and I thought that the arrangements that Tom worked
        >out seemed much closer to Middle-earth--or at least to Hobbiton--than
        >the piano music accompaniment that we were used to--or which you may
        >hear on the Caedmon recording featuring tenor William Elvin (I hope
        >that was his name, I haven't had that LP out of storage in many years).
        >I wish that I had a nice recording of that.
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