uh oh Obohemia – Oboe Comics by Esther Wheaton » 2007 » September » 16

Archive for September 16th, 2007

I Hereby Promise I Won’t Give Up On the Oboe Because of Alex Klein

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Thanks to *cough*Patty*cough* for the encouragement.

When Oboe Excerpts Show Up In Pop Songs

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

One of the things that is becoming extremely exciting for me right now is the crossover between Independent Canadian music and “classical” music. Owen Pallett, for example, was a music major, has written operas, and once was as fully ensconced in the world of art music as he currently is in the world of popular music. The Bell Orchestre and Torngat are two bands who fall under the title of “Orchestral Post-rock”. It’s great! It’s exciting! It’s the amalgamation of the two worlds I’m finding myself increasingly pulled between.

Anyway. I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the band Stars, and getting to go see them at the Starlight Lounge. I also wrote a review of the concert for my school paper, The Cord. (Side note: I’ve been pondering starting up an unofficial music faculty newspaper–occasional and more or less underground–and calling it “The Chord”. Wouldn’t that be awesome? But I digress.)

All this to say, there is a song on Stars’ second album “Heart” called ‘Look Up’ which includes, incorporates, and is somewhat based on an excerpt from the third movement of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. It’s just a six note theme, but I’d say it’s one of the most memorable moments in the entire symphony (other than the inevitable “March to the Scaffold” of course). In it, the oboe represents a farmer in the hills, calling to another farmer (represented by the english horn) who answers. The protagonist of the piece hears them while he’s lying in a field. By the end of the movement, one of the farmer’s calls is only responded to by thunder, and it begins to storm. In comparison, the lyrics of “Look Up” end with the line ‘rain is falling, looks like love.” And, of course, with Symphonie Fantastique actually being a whole love story, that comparison can be drawn as well.

Someone on SongMeanings.net wrote this comment, which I find interesting and appropriate:

MindsTheatrre:

I’m so glad somebody else pointed out the Berlioz connection. I first heard this song at a Gap, immediatly after a semester spent studying the Symphonie Fantastique. I was at first I was angry that it had been ripped – but then…
As ohpioneer points out, the storm idea does connect, and it’s nice that way. Except the entire movement of the Berlioz isn’t about a storm, necessarily, it’s about lonliness. The oboe is absent at the end, the melody at some points in the middle drops out entirely, it’s far from a love song, it’s a lost song. Plus, the entire symphony is more about dark obsession than pretty lovey-dovey. So I freaked out – Stars had missed the point entirely. But I re-evaluated. The call itself, the only part that’s used in Look Up, is a love call. It’s just never answered. But that small little 6 note pattern is the essence of love. And in that Stars did Berlioz justice.

It’s a great song, certainly one of the strongest off of “Heart,” and I was *so* happy when they played it at the concert two weeks ago.
I find it something to be excited about, you know? My two favourite kinds of music coming together, and it working!

We’ve hosted the mp3 for your listening pleasure:
“Look Up” – Stars

Your friends hold the lullabys
They watch the way the night lies
Soft sounds, heads like a radio
Hearts wrapped in blankets, laying low
Hearts wrapped in blankets, laying low

You’re cold, maybe you just miss the sun
You fall feeling like it’s just begun
So far keeping it together’s been enough
Look up the rain is falling
Looks like love

Your boy is like a memory
With some sense of touch and a melody
Your girl she’s a renegade
A hurricane that keeps you there, safe
Hurricane that keeps you there, safe

You’re cold maybe you just miss the sun
You fall feeling like it’s just begun
So far keeping it together’s been enough
But look up the rain is falling
Looks like love

You’re cold maybe you just miss the sun
You fall feeling like it’s just begun
So far keeping it together’s been enough
But look up the rain is falling
Looks like love

You’re cold maybe you just miss the sun
You fall feeling like it’s just begun
So far keeping it together’s been enough
But look up the rain is falling
Looks like love
Rain is falling
Looks like love