Lazy Sunday Afternoon – Baaaaaaaa…

Spring is sprung and the lambs are a-gambolling in the lush green fields, so here are four pieces of an ovine nature.

Michael Nyman’s soundtrack to The Draughtsman’s Contract is derived from ‘grounds’ (sort of classical basslines) by Purcell, overlaid by Nyman’s own melodies. The most famous  is Chasing sheep is best left to shepherds. If you knew this piece and always assumed that it was from the 17th century rather than the 1980s, then don’t worry, nearly everybody does.

Mancunian duo Lamb also used classical music as inspiration for their biggest hit. The 1997 smash Górecki – a melodramatic number and one of the last hits of the short-lived but highly-infleuntial Bristol-led ‘trip-hop’ era of British pop – samples the second movement of Henryk Górecki’s Third Symphony (The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs). Here’s a live version.

Bach’s reputation seems to be growing to the point where he poses a serious threat to Wolfgang A and Ludwig V for the title of ‘The Greatest’. The New York Times’ classical music critic Anthony Tomassini put him at number one, anyway. Here’s Emma Kirkby with a sweet rendition of Sheep May Safely Graze (Recitative and Aria “Schafe können sicher weiden”)

Finally, we couldn’t get through this post without including something about the Welsh and woolly animals, could we? Welsh band Super Furry Animals (close enough) came to prominence in the 1990s Britpop boom and outlasted it to create some of the most inventive and frankly, nutty pop music of the last 20 years. Frontman Gruff Rhys is a great maverick loon (he recently created an art installation formed from countless hotel shampoo bottles amassed over his long touring career) but has an uncanny ear for a great melody. Here’s an early string-laden gem from 1996, If You Don’t Want Me to Destroy You….

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8 thoughts on “Lazy Sunday Afternoon – Baaaaaaaa…

    March 13, 2011 at 15:08

    My kind of selection!! Although I can’t listen to goreki any more because as a teenager I thought it frightfully deep and moving and now my current self finds that rather embarrassing! For sheep music I always rather liked the various ovine samples in the klf’s chill out album (check out the video ‘waiting’ on YouTube for more sheepy antics and cool tunage)

    March 13, 2011 at 15:56

    Great album, Chill Out. I was playing it every night at one point.

    March 13, 2011 at 21:24

    Thanks Brit for that reminder of the Welsh nutters – the music scene could do with a bit more of that sort of lunacy. Their last (I think?) album had plenty of subversive adventurous music, with the track titles alone ( Pric / The Very Best of Neil Diamond / Cardiff in the Sun ) giving a clue to the group’s world-view

    March 13, 2011 at 21:49

    Love the Nyman – and the curiously groovy set in the Super Furry Animals clip.

      March 14, 2011 at 09:26

      I think it’s Jools Holland’s set, Susan.

    March 13, 2011 at 23:08

    The Scots, ever inventive, designed the bagpipes. As a form of foreplay, in their never ending love affairs with sheep, pouring over the south facing slopes of the Cheviot, Windy Gyle, the Schill and Wooler Common, we will not even mention the Hen Hole. The Kerrs, now of course the Dukes of Roxbourgh were pre eminent among the blue faced sheep shaggers. This is the glaring obvious reason for the looming oval ball whitewash, having four legs and a porridge scoffer at the rear not being conducive to a good line out.
    Where did Nyman get those glasses? not Specsavers, 1950s NHS maybe.

    Joey Joe Joe Jr.
    March 14, 2011 at 11:59

    Nice selection, Brit, although I would have been inclined to include some ‘Ewe 2’, or Michael Jackson’s Baaaaad, perhaps.

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