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The Violinist Single (From the short film - A Brief History of Flight)

by The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library




The Violinist
It goes back a few years...to my grandfather, Frederick Epstein (1908-1988). I didn't have any opportunity while he was alive to have serious conversation with him about music, but I do know that he played the violin, and, according to my father, aspired at some point to build a career playing live accompaniment to film. (It wasn't really until the 1930s that "talkies" took over.) While I don't know that this career "change" had significant impact on my grandfather, I thought it was the same kind of fascinating transition as industrialization and the reduction of manual labor in favor of machines. In fact, I always remembered the Disney Paul Bunyan cartoon in which Paul and Babe the blue ox are defeated in a logging contest by a steam-powered saw and found something sad about it. Sure, the cartoon ends with Paul and Babe having fun instead of laboring, but it was clear that, although they were unstoppable giants, their time had come. I imagined the same sort of tale for a violinist so powerful, his playing was hypnotic. The experience of the film was more about his bowing than about the images accompanying it - a reversal of purpose of sorts. This inspired the song, "The Violinist." I had written the song during the time when The Motion Sick was active and we had played it quite a lot live, but never finished a recording of the song. It explored the legend of this character, so powerful that it was unimaginable that he could be replaced by sound pictures...but he was.

The lyrics:
and giant men they whisper
for giant men don't scream
and giant faces dither
out of the ether stream

and silent women shiver
and silent women dream
and silent faces wither
back to the ether stream

Back in a smoky corner
he bows his violin
the lost all gather 'round him
hear God absolve their sins
he will absolve their sins
oh God absolve my sins

Giant men they point their weapons
the horses buck and rise
tears across a screeching vengeance
fists raised up to the sky


released August 1, 2012

from the short film, "A Brief History of Flight"

Jane Allard - glockenspiel
Lisa Battiston - bass
Rachel Leah Blumenthal - flute, bass flute, voice
Sophia Cacciola - drums, voice
Holly Collins - kalimba
Tanya K. Palit - voice
Susannah Plaster - viola, voice
Michael J. Epstein - voice, guitar

Engineered, Mixed, and Mastered by Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola at The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library (Somerville, MA)

Copyright 2012


all rights reserved



The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library Somerville, Massachusetts

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library is a librarian-attired, downtempo, indie, ensemble-pop act featuring intricately constructed, tongue-in-cheek tortuous songs with an emphasis on narrative.

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