Friday, April 13, 2007

FriPod: The Four Emotions

1. "Memories: B - Rather Sad" – Charles Ives, performed by Susan Graham. This song is gorgeous, a gentle sadness that is more nostalgia than sorrow.
2. "The Sad Café" – The Eagles, from Eagles Greatest Hits Vol. 2. I've always liked using this piece as an example of mode mixture in rock music (the minor iv chord). It is interesting that though the song is about sadness, it is mostly major. The mode mixture sounds more bluesy than a shift of mood.
3. "This Sad Burlesque" – Elvis Costello and the Brodsky Quartet, from The Juliet Letters. I like this song, though Costello's voice is not polished enough for this kind of lyricism. Note the bad vibrato on "cannot" as an example of this.
4. "Happy Go Lucky Local" – Duke Ellington. A straight-up blues, with a funky bass solo. Not James Brown funky, but rhythmically challenging funky. The sax solo does not sound happy.
5. "Get Happy" – Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. I have three performances, by Clifford Brown, Coleman Hawkins, and Bud Powell. Now this is a happy song. The Clifford Brown arrangement is a little too busy, taking away the simple joy of the piece. Coleman Hawkins is the most straightforward, though Bud's has a nice swing to it.
6. "Sometimes I'm Happy" – Clifford Grey, performed by Bud Powell. An elegant arrangement, it has the sophistication of someone who is only sometimes happy.
7. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" – Bobby McFerrin, from Simple Pleasures. I got really annoyed with this work while in high school. But I still like this website.
8. "Snarling Wrath of Angry Gods" – Gutbucket. Headbanging minimalism. Or perhaps a pissed-off Messiaen giving up on his Catholicism and grabbing a heavily distorted guitar.
9. "Angry Young Man" – Billy Joel, from Turnstiles. This doesn't give anger a good name. The young man is rather pathetic.
10. Four Peace Vignettes – John Levno, performed by Aries Brass Quintet. The first vignette, "Rainbow Chase," is as sophomoric as the title suggests. The second movement, "Solace," has a little more depth, though the performance is a little one dimensional. The third movement should apologize to Pachelbel for ripping off his Kanon with no improvement whatsoever. I'm not feeling peaceful form listening to this work. The last vignette, "Letting Go the Grudge," is more about the grudge than the letting go.
11. "Venus, the Bringer of Peace" from The Planets – Gustave Host. I have two performances: Chicago with Solti, and Montreal with Dutoit. This is peace, the shimmering waters of an impressionist painting, unfocused yet revealing inner truths.
12. "Peace" – Horace Silver (?), performed by Chet Baker, from Peace. This piece gets dangerously close to smooth jazz. But the combination of Chet's straight and soft trumpet tone with David Friedman's vibes are very nice.


ACB said...

Can I play?! I love these FriPod posts, and in the past few weeks I've taken the theme and gone through my own iTunes library. Mind if I appropriate this as a meme of sorts and post on the concert?

Thanks for sharing a great idea!

Scott Spiegelberg said...

Go for it!

Peter (the other) said...

Just a question, is there a reason that you refer to "classical" musicians by their last names, and yet banter about familiarly with the first names of jazz musicians? A friend of mine, who is writing on the subject of authority, pointed out to me how name usage is a primary tell tale. So now I am noticing discrepencies, perhaps more then I should.

Scott Spiegelberg said...

I hadn't noticed that I do that. My guess is that I assume people will know the jazz musicians but don't recognize the first names of many classical musicians. Or the first name alone isn't helpful, like Johann as a stand in for Pachelbel. But there might be some hidden assumptions of formality for classical versus casual for jazz. I shall have to examine that within myself.