Welcome to the latest Music & Movies newsletter! Some selections from the New Zealand International Film Festival have already arrived on our shelves, along with some picks from last year’s festival. There are also plenty of great music picks, plus books on both movies and music so you can read the stories of your favourite actors and musicians. Don’t forget you can also hop over to our Wellington Music blog for news and nostalgia in the Wellington music scene.
Some movies showcased in this year’s international film festival have already arrived at the library. They are A Most Violent Year, Inherent Vice and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. From last year’s festival, two fantastic documentaries (Dior and I, The Salt of the Earth) and the acclaimed Russian film Leviathan are also available now.
|Mad Max. Fury road / Village Roadshow Pictures presents in association with Warner Bros. Pictures ; a Kennedy Miller Mitchell production ; a George Miller film.
“A return to the world of the Road Warrior, Max Rockatansky. Haunted by his turbulent past, he believes the best way to survive is to wander alone. Nevertheless, he becomes swept up with a group fleeing across the Wasteland in a War Rig driven by an elite Imperator, Furiosa. They are escaping a Citadel tyrannized by the Immortan Joe, from whom something irreplaceable has been taken. Enraged, the Warlord with his gangs pursues the rebels ruthlessly in the high-octane Road War that follows.” (Syndetics summary)
|Dior and I / a film by Frédéric Tcheng.
“A thrilling behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’s highly anticipated first Haute Couture collection as Christian Dior’s new Artistic Director. Beautifully melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with an elegant reverence for the history of Dior, Tcheng’s colorful homage is nothing short of magical.” (Syndetics summary)
|Leviathan / a film by Andrey Zvyagintsev.
“Kolya lives in a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia. He owns an auto-repair shop that stands right next to the house where he lives with his young wife Lilya and his son Roma. The town’s corrupt mayor is determined to take away his business, his house, and his land.” (Syndetics summary)
|A most violent year.
“The tale of an immigrant and his family trying to live the American Dream and expand their business amidst rampant violence, urban decay, and corrupt city officials during one of the most dangerous years in the city’s history.” (Syndetics summary)
|A girl walks home alone at night / a film by Ana Lily Amirpour.
“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is set in the fictitious locale of Bad City, a stunningly crafted black-and-white world riddled with random events and flawed people that takes its visual cues from Sin City (2005) and the early films of Jim Jarmusch. Sheila Vand stars as The Girl, a sassy loner who roams the streets on a skateboard she stole from a kid. The unsuspecting object of her affections is Arash, a handsome James Dean-type who is dealing with his own family issues. In the off-kilter world they inhabit, a touching and unconventional relationship develops.” (Syndetics summary)
Film and television books
Here is a great selection covering the history of Hollywood, famous movies and famous people.
|Hollywood traitors : blacklisted screenwriters : agents of Stalin, allies of Hitler / Allan H. Ryskind.
“Too often, the “Hollywood Ten” brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee are memorialized as victims of an unjust witch-hunt and heroes who stood up for free speech. The truth is shocking: Not only did these supposed liberal paragons adore Josef Stalin and take their orders directly from the Communist Party, but they also sympathized with Adolf Hitler. Ryskind, who grew up in the heart of the Hollywood scene and personally knew many of the key players in this real-life Hollywood drama, has penned a definitive, myth-busting account of the Hollywood Ten and Hollywood Blacklist that will forever change the way you think about the ideological battle waged in the movie capital of the world.” (Syndetics summary)
|Ultimate Star Wars / written by Patricia Barr, Adam Bray, Daniel Wallace, Ryder Windham.
“Become an expert on the Star Wars galaxy! Ultimate Star Wars® is an in-depth visual feast exploring the characters and storylines from the Star Wars galaxy. This is a beautifully illustrated guide that is structured chronologically and packed full of information about key characters and storylines from the Star Wars movie saga, The Clone Wars , and Rebels(tm) . Ultimate Star Wars will get new and old fans caught up and knowledgeable on all things Star Wars.” (Syndetics summary)
|A wish your heart makes : from the Grimm brothers’ Aschenputtel to Disney’s Cinderella / Charles Solomon ; introduction by Kenneth Branagh.
“With its kind heroine who receives her just reward with the help of her Fairy Godmother, ‘Cinderella’ is one the most beloved fairy tales throughout the world. A Wish Your Heart Makes will trace the history and many incarnations of the fairy tale, emphasising its strong ties to Walt Disney and his studio. The book will conclude with the making of the 2015 live-action film Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh, including interviews with Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Derek Jacobi and Lilly James.” (Syndetics summary)
|Year of the fat knight : the Falstaff diaries / Antony Sher ; with illustrations by the author.
“Year of the Fat Knight is legendary stage actor Sir Antony Sher’s account–splendidly supplemented by his own paintings and sketches–of researching, rehearsing, and performing one of Shakespeare’s most iconic characters for a 2014 Royal Shakespeare Company production. This follow-up to Sher’s 1985 classic Year of the King is a terrific read, rich in humor and excitement, that also stands as a celebration of the craft of character acting.” (Syndetics summary)
Some new music for August. New CDs from some established artists, some new artists & some re-issue Box Sets round off our selection.
|Progeny : seven shows from seventy-two
“Over 12 hours of epic progressive rock classics from the legendary 70s Yes lineup of Jon Anderson, Rick Wakeman, Steve Howe, Chris Squire and Alan White. 7 Previously Unheard, Complete Concerts From 1972…” (Product description from Amazon.com)
|The Holy Bible
“The limited edition 12” x 12” box contains the original album on 180gm heavyweight vinyl (on vinyl for the first time since a limited run in 1994), remastered by James Dean Bradfield, plus 4 CDs and a 40 page book. The CD’s contain the remastered full album, the remastered US version, b-sides, mixes, live versions and a previously unreleased version of ‘Revol’. There is also a live CD of the band’s last performances with guitarist Richey Edwards from the Astoria, December 1994…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)
“Leon Bridges is the ‘out of almost nowhere’ story that only comes along once in a while. Awareness of Leon Bidges and his unique craft continues to grow authentically and consistently. It was only last summer that Leon was singing open mics in his hometown Fort Worth, TX. One of those open mics was attended by Austin Jenkins and Josh Block of the notable indie band White Denim who were absolutely floored by Leon’s voice, songs, and creative vision. They soon after set-up shop in a makeshift studio and recorded the album’s opener “Coming Home” completely live to tape. This first take is exactly what you hear opening the album. The remaining 9 songs followed in a burst of creativity and inspiration. Leon was the breakout artist of 2015′s SXSW…” (Product description from Amazon.com)
|Live in Paris
“Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are pleased to announce the release of ‘Live In Paris’. The double album and accompanying DVD was recorded live at Theatre Trianon in Paris on February 24 2014, during the band’s sold out tour of Europe. In addition to the full concert, the DVD also includes the documentary film ’33.3%’ by Yana Amur, which shows fans an intimate side of the band never seen before…” (Product description from Amazon.co.uk)
|Miles Davis at Newport, 1955-1975.
“The newest entry in Columbia/Legacy Recordings’ critically-acclaimed Miles Davis Bootleg Series, NEWPORT 1955-1975 clocks in at 296 minutes, nearly four hours of which is previously unreleased. From Miles’ debut performance at NJF in 1955 (a hastily arranged jam session featuring Thelonious Monk and Gerry Mulligan, that immediately led to the trumpeter’s Columbia signing), to the full-length concert performances alone of Miles’ famed “Kind Of Blue” Sextet (with Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers, and Jimmy Cobb), and second great quintet in ’66 and ’67 (with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams) also live performances by Miles’ stellar band lineups 1969, 1971, 1973, and 1975, in Newport, Rhode Island, New York City, Berlin, and Switzerland….” (Product description from Amazon.com)
Books on popular music
From fantastic photography of pre-famous Bob Dylan to fascinating memoirs by Ringo Starr and John Lydon, to handy guitar instruction books, new books on popular music, once again, offer a great read. Have a browse!
|Bob Dylan : NYC 1961-1964 / photography by Ted Russell with Chris Murray ; foreword by Donovan.
“It was in late 1961, photographer Ted Russell recalls, that he first heard about an “up-and-coming young fellow who was coming out with his first album.” A freelance photographer on the lookout for good subjects, Russell was intrigued by a rave review from The New York Times of the raw-voiced folk singer. Russell’s subject was a twenty-year-old Bob Dylan, a young folk singer whom nobody knew, and Russell photographed Dylan in 1961. The book contains photos of Dylan in his tiny Greenwich Village apartment, writing and practicing; snuggling with girlfriend Suze Rotolo; and performing at celebrated folk club Gerde’s.” (adapted from amazon.com)
|Ringo : with a little help / Michael Seth Starr.
“With a Little Help is the first in-depth biography of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, who kept the beat for an entire generation and who remains a rock icon over fifty years since the Beatles took the world by storm. With a Little Help traces the entire arc of Ringo’s remarkable life and career, from his sickly childhood to his life as The World’s Most Famous drummer to his triumphs, addictions, and emotional battles following the breakup of the Beatles as he comes to terms with his legacy.” (Syndetics summary)
|Your band sucks : what I saw at indie rock’s failed revolution (but can no longer hear) / Jon Fine.
“Jon Fine spent nearly thirty years performing and recording with bands that played various forms of aggressive and challenging underground rock music, and, as he writes in this memoir, at no point were any of those bands “ever threatened, even distantly, by actual fame.” In it, Fine tracks how the indie-rock underground emerged and evolved, how it grappled with the mainstream and vice versa, and how it led many bands to an odd rebirth in the 21st Century in which they reunited, briefly and bittersweetly, after being broken up for decades. Like Patti Smith’s Just Kids, Your Band Sucks is a unique evocation of a particular aesthetic moment.” (Syndetics summary)
|Girl / Pharrell Williams.
“(Piano/Vocal/Guitar Artist Songbook). Grammy Award winning producer and artist Pharrell released this, his second solo album, in 2014. Featuring the mega-hit “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 , the album reached as high as #2 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Our matching folio includes all the tracks from the CD: Brand New (featuring Justin Timberlake) * Come Get It Bae * Gush * Gust of Wind * Happy * Hunter * It Girl * Lost Queen * Marilyn Monroe * Know Who You Are (featuring Alicia Keys).” (Syndetics summary)
This week we have a colourful mixture of mostly late nineteenth and twentieth century compositions, from one up and coming soloist and several seasoned performers.
|Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 2, Lutoslawski. Performed by Krystian Zimerman (concerto) with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Simon Rattle.
“Lutoslawski’s Piano Concerto was completed in 1988 and is dedicated to Krystian Zimerman, who also first introduced it to Salzburg audiences in the same year, in 1992 DG released a first version of the concerto with Lutoslawski as conductor and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The piece features extremely virtuosic demands, its dense pianistic gestures at times recall the piano concertos of Bartók and Prokofiev. Both the Piano Concerto and the Symphony No. 2 are inspired by the music of John Cage. The Symphony No. 2, created with techniques of limited aleatoricism (Lutoslawski) fascinates with its orchestral surfaces that offer an insight into their creators ability to organize sounds in a very precise way and their iridescent and colorful vitality.” (Amazon.com)
|The Age of Puccini. Performed by Jonas Kaufmann.
“Jonas Kaufmann, ‘the hottest tenor in opera’ (New York Times), presents arias by Puccini and his contemporaries – who developed and embraced the verismo style. This album contains some of Kaufmann’s greatest roles recorded in resplendent Decca sound. He is joined by Renée Fleming for the duet from Puccini’s La rondine.” (Cover)
|Joyce & Tony, Live at Wigmore Hall. Performed by Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano.
“Joyce DiDonato and Antonio Pappano – at the piano rather than on the conductor’s podium – opened the 2014-15 season at London’s Wigmore Hall with a dazzling programme of song, emphasizing Italy and the USA. Recorded live on this 2-CD set, the two artists were described by The Times as ‘mezzo diva supreme’ and ‘golden maestro and piano accompanist to the stars.’ The first item on the programme was Haydn’s dramatic cantata Arianna a Naxos (which, back in 2003, also launched DiDonato’s debut recital at Wigmore Hall). Then came two songs by a composer who has played a defining role in Joyce DiDonato’s operatic career – Rossini… and four luscious late-Romantic numbers written in 1908 by the little-known Neapolitan composer Francesco Santoliquido.” (Amazon.com)
|The Piano Concertos, Brahms. Performed by Daniel Barenboim, with the Staatskapelle Berlin, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
“Barenboim has recorded Brahms’s piano concertos on several previous occasions and always with partners who have meant a lot to him… Although performing both concertos on a single evening represents a tour de force, Barenboim has frequently included them in the same programme, most notably with Sergiu Celibidache in Munich in 1991 and with Mehta in Berlin in 2002, when the pianist was marking his sixtieth birthday. For Daniel Barenboim, both concertos are loyal companions that bear witness to his own journey through life, providing a connection with Brahms himself: in the course of his life, Brahms played the First Piano Concerto thirty-five times, the Second Piano Concerto some forty times. And it was as the conductor of both these works with Eugen d’Albert as the soloist that Brahms bade farewell to the stage in Berlin on 10 January 1896.” (from amazon.com)
|Cello Suites, Bach. Performed by David Watkin.
“Bach’s cello suites are renowned as the pinnacle of the instrument’s repertoire, and are performed here in period performances by internationally acclaimed cellist David Watkin. The Suites are performed on two gut-string cellos: Suites 1-5 on a Francesco Ruggieri from 1660, and Suite No. 6 on the five-stringed Cremona cello by A. & H. Amati from c.1600, both tuned to Baroque pitch. This is thought to be the first time that the five-stringed Amati has been used to record the sixth suite, and is the only original five-string cello in existence in the UK” (amazon.com).