Posted a few days ago, a handy round-up of Reports and Recordings from PulpFest 2018. Links to convention reports, plus a series of author interviews as .MP3 files.
A curious thing, but welcome. A 54-minute reading of a scholarly essay, in an audiobook style more suited to reading Conan. The essay is by Rusty Burke and Patrice Louinet, “Robert E. Howard, Bran Mak Morn and The Picts”, and it appears to have been recorded because it was part of the Howard collection Bran Mac Morn: The Last King, Del Rey, 2005. Now on YouTube.
A 53-minute documentary on Robert Aickman (1914-1981) who was a well-regarded British author of weird tales and, like Lovecraft, a conservation pioneer. Successfully so, in his case. As he championed the enduring British restoration of our narrowboat canal network, which now provides so much to boaters, walkers and cyclists alike.
“The fantastic geology of Verne, Poe and H.P. Lovecraft” (August 2018) is a new 70-minute video of a talk in Spanish by Dr. Blanca Martinez Garcia. Garcia is a geologist and researcher at the Aranzadi Society of Sciences.
A few nights ago a new orchestral work by Guillaume Connesson premiered in Germany, “The Cities of Lovecraft” (aka “Les Cités de Lovecraft”, aka “Les Trois Cités de Lovecraft”). The National German Radio service (NDR) now has a complete audio recording of the 25 minute performance online and this is accessible from outside Germany. The Lovecraft work opens the recording I’ve linked.
Here’s my approximate translation of the key descriptive section in the venue’s German programme notes brochure, with some descriptive additions of my own which reflect my hearing of the work:
Celephais: In the opening movement, Randolph Carter goes to meet his old friend Kuranes in the shining port city of Celephais. Brass fanfares describe the bronze gate through which he enters the dream-city, before a melody of violins evokes the weaving and bustling dream-life of the city’s streets. In the section “The Temple of Turquoise” colourful trumpets express Carter’s encountering of pagan celebrations, followed by a quiet chorale titled the “Rose and Crystal Palace of the Seventy Delicacies” as he enters ascends to more refined parts of the city. The “Seven Processions of the Orchid Crowned Priests” are then encountered, and given a great crescendo to end the first movement.
Kadath: In contrast to the radiant first movement, the scene then shifts to “Kadath”, the gloomy outpost of ancient gods located in an icy region of Antarctica named “The Plateau of Leng”. Lamenting violas emerge from the noise of the wind machine, then twelve-tone passages disseminate culminating chords (so-called “clusters”). Nyarlathotep, the eerie envoy of the ancient gods, approaches a throne room… He is given voice in a solo viola that sings and ripples in half and a quarter tones above kettle-drums and mad titterings.
The Golden Dream-City: Without a pause, a third short movement follows: Mr. Lovecraft begins to drift up from his nightmare slumber and the scene of his dream begins to change into his familiar dream-vision of a distant mighty city in the golden sunset. This is briefly evoked in the form of an intoxicating short dance, but some orgiastic overtones emerge in it at the very end.
Newly online from Signum University, free Mythmoot V recordings of talks. Mostly these talks are of interest to Tolkien scholars, but there’s also an excellent hour with the great SF/fantasy scholar Tom Shippey, titled “The Hero and the Zeitgeist”. This ranges widely across the nature of heroes and the state of the culture, and is outstanding in both delivery and content.
The playlist omits a good focussed 90-minute round-table discussion of Tom’s new book on Vikings, titled Laughing Shall I Die: Lives and Deaths of the Great Vikings (Reaktion, 2018), with the author. It also has clear and listen-able audio. Those interested in the background of the long R.E. Howard – Lovecraft discussion on Nordics and barbarians may find this one especially interesting.
As I mentioned here a few posts ago, for auto-downloading of YouTube playlists as .MP3 audio files on a desktop PC, I highly recommend MakeHuman’s Free YouTube to MP3 Converter. Just make sure you fiddle with its Settings after install to: i) turn on ‘Expand Playlist Automatically’ and; ii) tighten up the privacy by turning off ‘send anonymous usage statistics’.
Earlier this year BBC Radio 4’s flagship In Our Time programme had an almost Lovecraftian wobble, when in quick succession they did excellent programmes introducing the science and current knowledge of Cephalopods and Fungi. Both are very clear round-table discussions, done in the usual In Our Time manner. Audio downloads in .MP3s are available, and apparently there are no UK-only region-locks on them. Be aware that the Cephalopods programme has spoilers for the science-fiction movie Arrival.