The newest episode of Felicia Day’s Flog opens with a promise that she will play the violin. She follows that up by saying that people will be disappointed. Never underestimate the ability of a nerd or geek to undervalue their skills by choice or by accident.
The main content of the latest Flog is a performance of Tom Lenk’s song “Serenade for Carrie Fisher.” Aside from the name, the concept for the song caught my eye. I, too, was the music theory student who didn’t exactly follow the rules on composition assignments. I mean, I transcribed the “I Love You Song” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for a final assignment in Music Theory III where we could choose any published song that involved phrase modulation (without an actual key change) and analyze it. I also procrastinated so long that the professor still has my one and only handwritten copy of the song. And the actual sheet music came out the day after the assignment was due.
But I digress. I like the idea of a tongue in cheek Puccini-styled dedication to Carrie Fisher, especially in the context of being required to write like Bach. As my first college theory teacher said, “Everyone makes mistakes except for God and Bach.” He is the father of music theory and, unless you really like didactic order and precision, can be a bit dry to channel for assignments.
Just take a look at this…intriguing performance. The fancy embed code isn’t working right now. Just skip ahead to 2:40.
Lenk’s composition is solid. The main theme has a nice, lilting quality to it that I quite enjoy. In the second and third segment, he gets a bit more experimental with the violin part. The melody is left unresolved at key moments. It just builds a really nice sense of tension that feels a bit other worldly. They’re not Star Wars allusions, per se, but they’re informed by the sound of science fiction. You can just picture something unusual showing up at those moments in a TV show.
Let’s get to the real draw here. It’s one thing to put up a video of a lovely little song being played well by two competent musicians. It’s an entirely different thing to make a simple Romantic song (by way of mostly-stringent Baroque progressions) entertaining for a wide audience. From the snap costume changes to the looming invasion of sci-fi imagery, the Flog performance of “Serenade for Carrie Fisher” brings a less popular style of music alive in an entertaining way.
Felicia Day suggests that there might be more musical performances in the future. I can only hope so if this is the musical company she keeps.
Thoughts? Love to hear them.