Loved on Screen: The Theory of Everything

Movies & TV

We recently saw the movie The Theory of Everything, a biopic of physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking focussing on the relationship between him and Jane, his first wife.

The Theory of Everything

I picked the movie basically because I really like the female lead, Felicity Jones; she also rocks in Northanger Abbey and Rogue One, plus visits as a society burglar in the Doctor Who episode “The Unicorn and the Wasp”. Every performance in Everything, however, was excellent, as was the writing and directing.

The stunning, gripping soundtrack is by Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, who was nominated for a Grammy, BAFTA and the Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for it. I really loved his work on Arrival, too. Jóhannsson sadly passed away in 2018, about a month before Hawking.

Here’s the end credits music: “Arrival of the Birds” & “Transformation” performed by The Cinematic Orchestra.

The Theory of Everything – Soundtrack ending scene (The Cinematic Orchestra – Arrival of the birds) via sintomopersistente on YouTube

I don’t think these two pieces are Jóhannsson’s, but they’re nevertheless so, so beautiful.

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Past Weekend’s Theme Song: Ode to Joy by Beaker

Behind the Scenes, Stunt Double

The past weekend wasn’t the best for me. In fact, it was a bit like the Muppets version of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” performed by Beaker:

Ode To Joy | Muppet Music Video | The Muppets on YouTube

Just to give one example, on Sunday (my dedicated social media day), my brain refused to brain blog work. Tumblr I was able to do, but blogging was like drinking tar. (Something being like drinking tar is an expression from my native Finnish.)

Ohwell. At least the funny Muppet video made me smile – and, after all, I got a blog post out of it, too. 🙂

P.S. Happy Lunar New Year!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

February 2018 Recap

Newsletters

This month started with finalizing and submitting the first tax-related return of the year. And there was much rejoicing!

And there was much rejoicing (yaaaaaaaay) – Monty Python & the Holy Grail via Malarsk on YouTube

I also had the (ahem) joy of hanging on the phone with my bank to try and solve a month-long issue. Fortunately their team did eventually solve the mystery glitch. I am so thankful – YAAAAY for tech support!

I’ve been working on small piecing / quilting prototypes (think placemats or table cloths) made from two different sizes of squares.

Piecing2 Ready Purple Blues Greens Yellows Reds

Unfortunately, a third type of paperwork issue slowed me down – I haven’t been able to proceed as fast as I’d like. That’s part of the creative life, though.

We only had two significant snowfalls in February. The morning after the first one, the yard looked like cotton batting or wadding. (Boy, I do indeed have a quilting brain on!)

Latest Snowfall Looks Lumpy

While sewing, I’ve been enjoying vocal folk hop by Tuuletar in my native Finnish. Blog posts on the group here and here.

Tuuletar Debut Album Tules maas vedes taivaal

And we saw Black Panther, and it was glorious!

Finnish Folk Hop Ensemble Tuuletar Lends Wings to Game of Thrones Ad

Arts & Crafts, Movies & TV, Thumbs Up

Alku (‘Beginning’), a piece by the Finnish vocal folk hop ensemble Tuuletar, appears in a Game of Thrones commercial. The band’s website says,

“’Alku’, the opening track from Tuuletar’s debut album “tules maas vedes taivaal” has been sold for the use of one of the most popular tv-series in the whole world, HBO’s Game of Thrones. The song will be heard in the season 7 DVD and Blue-Ray [sic] commercial, which will be broadcasted worldwide. The deal was made together with Finnish record label Bafe’s Factory and ThinkSync Music from London.”

The ThinkSync news page on the sale links to a German-language DVD / Blu-Ray trailer for GoT season 7 on YouTube with Alku in the background:

GAME OF THRONES Staffel 7 – Trailer #2 Deutsch HD German (2017) by Warner Bros. DE

Tuuletar mashes up a cappella, beatboxing and Finnish folk music and poetry into a unique combination. Their debut album, Tules maas vedes taivaal (‘On Fire and Earth, in Water and Sky‘), won the prestigious Emma Award (the Finnish version of a Grammy) for the best ethno album of the year in 2016.

Tuuletar IMG_0510-1024x683

Tuuletar.

Vocalists Venla Ilona Blom, Sini Koskelainen, Johanna Kyykoski and Piia Säilynoja make up Tuuletar. More videos at YouTube or Tuuletar website.

Congrats, Tuuletar! I first blogged about the band two years ago just before they released their debut record, and am absolutely delighted to see them doing so well. And Alku is so amazing it gives me chills – always a sign of greatness!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Jean Sibelius Day

My Spaces

Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) is the most well-known of Finnish classical composers. Today is a public flag day in Finland (Jean Sibeliuksen päivä), commemorating Sibelius and Finnish music.

Finlandia (and especially the Finlandia Hymn part) is perhaps the most famous of his compositions. The Liverpool Philharmonic’s version is lovely:

Jean Sibelius, Finlandia performed by Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko by Liverpool Philharmonic

Here’s a version of the Finlandia Hymn by Cantus Vocal Emsemble, with lyrics (I believe) from a Unitarian Universalist hymn book:

The Finlandia Hymn by cantussings

While Finlandia and the Finlandia Hymn are incredibly popular, they are by no means alone. I’m very fond of this intermezzo from his Karelia suite, for example:

Jean Sibelius: Karelia – Intermezzo I from legrandchene

I’ve been playing my Sibelius all morning while working. Hyvää Jean Sibeliuksen päivää!

Eurovision Song Contest Leads to Translation Spree

DIY, Geek out!, Stunt Double

Last weekend’s Eurovision Song Contest got me to do two things I’ve been putting off too long: I’ve updated my Eurovision playlists on YouTube, and started on refreshing my Swedish skills. Today I’ll talk about the latter in light of the former. But first, the song that combines the two.

Pernilla Karlsson – “När Jag Blundar” (Finland) via escDjpo2012

Eurovision 2012 contestant from Finland; written and composed by Jonas Karlsson, performed by Pernilla Karlsson

Discoveries: Tuuletar Folk Hop Ensemble

Arts & Crafts, Thumbs Up

The Finnish folk hop ensemble Tuuletar has almost entirely taken over my playlist this month! They mash up a cappella, beatboxing and Finnish folk music and poetry into a unique combination. Some of the elements they incorporate even sound like yoik to me.

Tuuletar Promokuva1_WEB

Tuuletar

At first I was baffled, not really being a fan of beatboxing, but the songs tend sneak up on you and before you notice, they stick around. Some of my new favorites are linked below.

In 2014, they made a go to be the Finnish representative in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Ruhtinaan tyttäret, made in collaboration with the Swedish producer Fredrik Arvidsson:

Ruhtinaan tyttäret (AUDIO) – Tuuletar feat. Fredrik Arvidsson via Tuuletar Vocalensemble

A 2014 live performance with audience participation at restaurant Kahvilla in Tampere, Finland:

Tuuletar – Tuu-kerää – LIVE Ravintola Kahvilla (25/7/2014) via Sini Koskelainen

Another live performance from the same year, this one at Klubb Ankaret in Göteborg, Sweden:

Pohjan Neito – Tuuletar – LIVE at Klubb Ankaret (22/10/2014) via Tuuletar Vocalensemble

Such innovative work – and you can tell they’re having fun themselves. 🙂 Tuuletar is about to release their first full album, expected in May 2016. I definitely need to remember this group!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

Doctor Who Theme on Piano with Cosplay

Geek out!, Movies & TV, Stunt Double

Composer and pianist Sonya Belousova and director Tom Grey staged a version of the Doctor Who theme with cosplay:

Sonya not only steps out of the Tardis, we see her play a Tardis-blue grand piano in a multitide of Doctor outfits in just over two minutes. Neat!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.

We Three Dwarven Kings & Happy Merry!

After Hours, Books & Mags, Geek out!

Happy Holidays to one and all! I’ll close off this blogging year with an appropriately Dwarvish-sounding and utterly, delightfully nerdy version of the 19th century carol We Three Kings:

We Three Kings of the Lonely Mountain, performed by author Max Gladstone and biophysicist / musician (what a great combo of interests!) Dan Jordan.

Have a great new year!

12th Doctor Trailer & Fan-Composed Theme

Geek out!

Something Doctor-ish must be in the air this week! First, BBC released the Doctor Who series 8 official full length trailer last Sunday.

Not only that, I ran into this fabulous fan composition: Who Am I? (12th Doctor’s theme by James Jarvis).

It went straight into my geeky playlist! One of the comments called the theme “dark yet mysterious.” I’d add that it has potential for contemplation or reflection, even melancholy. Even though we still don’t know much about this incarnation of the Doctor, it sounds like reflection of the past is the theme (or one of the themes) for season 8. The official trailer gives some clues (at approx. 0:25-0:35) when the Doctor says:

Doctor: I’ve lived for over 2,000 years. I’ve made many mistakes. It’s about time I did something about that.

And later, on the Tardis steps (at approx. 0:45-0:55), there is this exchange between Doctor and Clara:

Doctor: Clara, tell me: am I a good man?
Clara: I… don’t know.

Jenna Coleman’s hesitant delivery of Clara’s line is brilliant, as are Peter Capaldi’s pensive facial expressions picked for the trailer. James Jarvis’s composition captures the attitude of the trailer very well – try playing the trailer without sound with Jarvis’s theme in the background.

Can’t wait for season 8!

Note: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention this; just passing along a good thing.