Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘music’

Matthew Good

The MG(B) 20: sonic timescapes

Above/featured: see track no. 9 in the list below.

Music is a personal reflection, providing a living soundtrack to important personal highlights of joy and tragedy. For the amount of time I’ve spent on the road and within a city I love and adore, I’ve created the following lists:

The following 20 tracks are by Matthew Good, an artist who hails from Coquitlam in metropolitan Vancouver. I first discovered the Matthew Good Band in 1997 at Toronto’s North by Northeast music festival, and saw them live in small venues on Queen Street and at Lee’s Palace on Bloor West.

With this selection coming between 1995 and 2017, your kilometrage may vary. And if it doesn’t work for you, that fortunately isn’t my problem at all.

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Siegessäule, Grosse Stern, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

My Berlin: 24 bumper tracks in the capital

Above/featured: Siegessäule & Grosse Stern, at night – 13 Nov 2012 (HL).

I compiled a list of songs accompanying my travel, a soundtrack that’s full of meaning and memories. This is another set, a listing of 24 tracks I associate with the capital city of Germany. Music is always about personal selection, and every track fires a specific memory of time and place within Berlin. For example, watching “Lola rennt” (Run Lola Run) in a movie theatre in Toronto in the fall of 1998 planted the seeds for a move to Germany three years later. My first visit to Berlin soon after marked the beginning of my love affair with the “grand lady.”

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Austria’s Silent Night: 200 years, 300 languages

One of my early childhood memories surrounding Christmas is learning and singing “Silent Night”. This humble melodic carol is known around the world and sung in over 300 languages and dialects. 2018 is the 200th anniversary of the hymn’s first public performance, and that’s why I’m on a train traveling north from Salzburg to the Austrian town of Oberndorf.

With over 5000 residents, Oberndorf lies opposite the German town of Laufen along the winding flow of the Salzach river. Laufen-Oberndorf was once a single community whose people derived their greatest business and wealth with salt carried on barges from upstream in Hallein and transferred onto larger ships for transport downstream to the Inn river and Passau. After the arrival (and departure) of Napoleon’s French troops, the river became a border, and the town was split in two after over 1000 years as a single community#. Although Oberndorf and Laufen remain in separate countries, the European Schengen treaty has helped reforge their common bonds with the abolishment of border controls.

Short History

Between 1817 and 1819, Joseph Mohr lived and worked in Oberndorf as curate, minister, and schoolteacher for the salt-barger community. The organist for Oberndorf’s St. Nicolas Church was Franz Gruber, a fellow schoolteacher and sexton at a parish in nearby Arnsdorf. Mohr and Gruber tended to spiritual and education needs for their towns, and with their common zeal for music, they quickly became friends. On Christmas Eve 1818, Mohr brought his song to Gruber who added the melody. That very evening after evening mass at Oberndorf’s St. Nicholas Church, Mohr’s completed song, “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” was performed for the first time with Gruber on his guitar as the only accompaniment.

Over years and decades, the song had generally been considered to be Tirolian in origin, but handwritten letters show Joseph Mohr composed the song by 1816 when he lived in Mariapfarr, a town 120 kilometres southeast from Salzburg. The original German-language version of the song has six verses; the English version has three which are translations of verses 1, 6, and 2.

At Oberndorf’s Stille-Nacht-Platz (Silent Night Square), the two key elements are the Kapelle (memorial chapel) and the Stille Nacht Museum. The original St. Nicholas church was in bad shape and torn down in 1906. To maintain the memory of the first performance of the Christmas song, construction began in 1928 for a chapel at the same location, and the townspeople celebrated the chapel’s inauguration in 1937. With the museum’s opening in November 2016, exhibits describe the history of how the song came to be, highlight the lives of Mohr and Gruber, explain the context of culture and place of the times in the late-18th to early-19th century, illuminate the importance of the salt trade on the neighbouring Salzach river, and celebrate the song’s longevity and popularity around the world.

Every year, evening mass on Christmas Eve from the Silent Night memorial chapel is broadcast to the world on webcam.

# The 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna enforced the Salzach river as the border and separation between the nation-state of Bavaria (Laufen) on one side and the Austrian Empire (Oberndorf) on the other side.

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Lands End, Sutro Baths, Point Lobos, Pacific Ocean, San Francisco, CA, USA, myRTW, fotoeins.com

21 sonic landmarks to travel by

Above/featured: Late-winter sun over Lands End, San Francisco, USA – 18 Mar 2012 (HL).

These are sonic landmarks and signposts marking passages of time. They’re also some of my favourite tunes to set the tone by which I’ll travel or while away the hours. That’s when I allow my mind to wander in dreamless landscapes, disentangle wished-upon possibilities, trek through inaccessible realms, sail on faraway seas, and arrive at a distant universe where Dad’s kickin’ it large with age.

With a sprinkling of songs in German and Spanish, your kilometrage may vary with these songs between 1975 and 2017. Select a single track or the entire playlist; I hope you enjoy listening to one and all.

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New Zealand, true-colour image from NASA Terra satellite, December 2002.

New Zealand: Māori anthems Pokarekare Ana, E Ihowa Atua

New Zealand is located in a part of our planet that’s about as far as one can go. The country provides easy inspiration with her striking scenery and friendly people. Memories remain sharp and fresh after multiple visits to Wellington and Auckland, as well as a solid three weeks in early-winter on the South Island. Truth is: I’m in love with “Aotearoa“. The longer I’m in country, the more the land reveals deeper insights about her culture and language.

New Zealand has three official languages: English, Māori, and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Immediate connections to this land are two Māori songs, “Pokarekare Ana” and “E Ihowa Atua”, which are the unofficial and official national anthems, respectively.

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