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Topic ClosedThe Night Watch by Rembrandt/King Crimson

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Cluster One View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Night Watch by Rembrandt/King Crimson
    Posted: March 01 2006 at 22:20
(time to get 'high-brow')

THE NIGHT WATCH


Inspired by the painting of the same name by Rembrandt, this unheralded gem of a song from the underappreciated "Starless and Bible Black" is to me what prog is all about. The blending of music, lyrics and art into this masterful piece of music causes one to contemplate its meaning. Fripp's transcendant guitar and the atmospheric percussion of Bruford, combined with Wetton's emotive vocal performance and Cross' strings place this high in the pantheon of 'prog classics'.

I remember seeing the actual painting myself in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1995. Even then I thought...WOW! Painted on a massive canvas (5 metres+ if I remember correctly) there is much detail to unearth, and something unique for each viewer. Just as Crimson's song provides something unique for each listener...

Check out the painting below, read the lyrics, listen to the tune a few times, and lose yourself in the brilliance of it all!

The Night Watch
(Rembrandt van Rijn, ca. 1642)



The Night Watch
(Bruford, Cross, Fripp, Wetton)
 
Shine, shine, the light of good works shine
The watch before the city gates depicted in their prime
The golden light all grimy now
Three hundred years have passed
The worthy Captain and his squad of troopers standing fast

The artist knew their faces well
The husbands of his lady friends
His creditors and councillors
In armour bright, the merchant men

Official moments of the guild
In poses keen from bygone days
The city fathers frozen there
Upon the canvas dark with age

The smell of paint, a flask of wine
And turn those faces all to me
The blunderbuss and halberd-shaft
And Dutch respectability

They make their entrance one by one
Defenders of that way of life
The redbrick home, the bourgeosie
Guitar lessons for the wife

So many years we suffered here
Our country wracked with Spanish wars
Now comes a chance to find ourselves
And quiet reigns behind our doors
We think about posterity again

And so the pride of little men
The burghers good and true
Still living through the painter's hands
Request you all to understand...


Edited by Cluster One
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Soulman View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2006 at 23:36
Wow, I always kind of passed off the lyrics on that song as just pretentious nonesense (I mean that in a good way, I love that song). But that makes that song even deeper for me. Thanks. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Don't Kill the Whale, Dig it Dig it" - Jon Anderson

I shall live by those words all my life Jon
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Zac M View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 01 2006 at 23:40
Ah, I love that song.
"Art is not imitation, nor is it something manufactured according to the wishes of instinct or good taste. It is a process of expression."

-Merleau-Ponty
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 00:11
"The Night Watch" was originally untitled; an entry in the family album of Banning Cocq identifies it as "De jonge heer van Purmerland als Capitein geeft last aan zijnen Lietenant de heer van Vlaerdingen om sijn compaignie Burgers te doen marcheren" ("The young lord Van Purmerland as Captain gives order to his Lieutenant the lord Van Vlaerdingen to march his company Civilians"). it was erroneoulsy titled "The Night Watch" because until 1940 it was covered with a dark varnish that made it appear to depict a nocturnal scene. after the varnish was removed it became clear the watch is not nocturnal at all.
here the pic in question:


Edited by BaldJean


A shot of me as High Priestess of Gaia during our fall festival. Ceterum censeo principiis obsta
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 00:29
That song is lovely ... and the correlation with Rembrandt is well-founded,in my opinion.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 00:34
Originally posted by BaldJean BaldJean wrote:

it was erroneoulsy titled "The Night Watch" because until 1940 it was covered with a dark varnish that made it appear to depict a nocturnal scene. after the varnish was removed it became clear the watch is not nocturnal at all.


Excellent. You can clearly see the difference between the 'light' version that I posted, and the 'night' version that Baldjean posted Thanks.


Edited by Cluster One
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pero View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 03:46

Some of the original painting was cut of to fit on museum wall.

I'm shure nobody can cut of Fripp's music

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 03:59
Originally posted by pero pero wrote:

Some of the original painting was cut of to fit on museum wall.

I'm shure nobody can cut of Fripp's music


yes, the painting was of a monstrous size


A shot of me as High Priestess of Gaia during our fall festival. Ceterum censeo principiis obsta
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 04:27

Didn't that painting get savagely attacked by some asshole with some vitriol in the mid-90's?

_____________________________________________________

 

As for the KC track, Nightwatch is the only one I like on that very messy (and dare I say poor) first side of SABB album. I much prefer the two lenghty tracks on the second vinyl side

Side 1

1. The great deceiver (4:02) >> correct at best
2. Lament (4:00) >>> yuck never has a such disjointed track ever been written (badly sung too)
3. We'll let you know (3:46) >>> not quite as correct as Deceiver or Nightwatch
4. The night watch (4:37) >> correct at best
5. Trio (5:41) >>>>> Sleepy and boring
6. The mincer (4:10) >>> cannot even really remember it, does that not say it all

Side 2


1. Starless and bible black (9:11) >>> finally some meat in this album
2. Fracture (11:14)>> the pinnacle of the album

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 04:29

Great topic about this Dutch master painter, a blend of interesting lessons about history and prog lyrics, thanks from Holland!

By the way, I am glad that after the Spanish invasion ("Our country wracked with Spanish wars") we now are invaded by Spanish prog!

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 05:55

Didn't that painting get savagely attacked by some asshole with some vitriol in the mid-90's?

Yes I think it was attacked twice.

Once with knife, and once with bottle of acid, but it was recovered.

During the world war II it was also hidden in some underground bunker for 4 years, but hopefully it was ok after.

 

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 06:57
Best song on the album for sure 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 07:13
But seriously, guys, does anyone really need rock songs about Rembrandt? Another uncomfortable detour from the vision and purpose of '73-4 Crimson...

... Not that it isn't cute or anything. There's a good sense of magic to it. I do cringe at the last couple of lines, though.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 07:15
I cringe at the chorus of the great deciever. I would never play that song in front of my friends. I'd feel embarrased lol
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 07:47
Night watch is one of my favorite songs by KC.  ranked lower only than Fallen ANgel.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 07:55

I was never very impressed by King Crimson's lyrics, but Palmer-James did come up with a couple of pretty good ones including The Night Watch (except for the last couple of lines) and The Book Of Saturday.

Coincidentally, I'm not very keen on Rembrandt except for this particular painting - there's obviously something about the subject matter that brings out the best in creative artists. 

'Like so many of you
I've got my doubts about how much to contribute
to the already rich among us...'

Robert Wyatt, Gloria Gloom


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 02 2006 at 14:41
I have very little interest in paintings, yet Rembrandt's works somehow resonate with me. The KC song is just so complimentary. I love it to bits!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2006 at 03:07

Originally posted by S Lang S Lang wrote:

I have very little interest in paintings, yet Rembrandt's works somehow resonate with me. The KC song is just so complimentary. I love it to bits!

I generally have a good interest for painting, but not the classics>> more like photography of previous centuries>> realism is astounding, but no artistic interpretation

Impressionism, Fauvism get interesting but still classic subjects

Picasso around the start of the century is the first Artist and the 20th century in general even if some of the worst garbage was produced during that lapse of time

I get more moved by the guernica (even with leaving out the dramatic background of the civil war) than i do by Rembrandt, Brueghel, Gaugin, Van Gogh or Manet

Folon is more my kind of painting , but Modern painting  does have a limit too!!! Dadaism and some of that conceptual art

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 03 2006 at 11:45
nice song, dont know the album, but I know to play this song
...live for tomorrow...
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