Friday, February 02, 2007

FriPod: The challenge

I (and all of my pointy-headed musical peers) have been challenged by Phil Ford to "post a randomly-generated Ipod playlist on your blog, with relevant commentary." This is suspiciously like my old attempts at iChing. But I'll play along, especially as that linked iChing has turned out to be scarily applicable.

1. Carmen Suite No. 1: Entr'acte (Act II) Georges Bizet, performed by Herbert von Karajan; Philharmonia Orchestra. Carmen is one of the best operas ever, and this Entr'acte is very charming. When I was at Eastman, I took a class on Intermediate Keyboard Skills. For our final project each of us transcribed a portion of Carmen and performed it in relative order. I chose parts of the Prelude rather than this Entr'acte, but it still brings back good memories.

2. "Did You Ever Cross Over To Sneden's?" Bob Levy. The title track from my undergraduate trumpet professor's latest jazz CD. It features Janet Planet on vocals, a very sentimental song with a sad ending. It is a little predictable for me, but again brings back good memories of the nine years I studied with Bob.

3. "Mood Indigo/Hot And Bothered/Creole Love Call" Duke Ellington From The Best Of Duke Ellington: Centennial Edition. This is old school Ellington, with shimmering winds and dixieland-ish banjo-led rhythm section. The mix of tunes is nice, especially the growling trumpet solo in "Hot And Bothered." The slow-fast-slow arrangement of the medley makes this like a little suite.

4. Breves Rencontres-1 Divertissement Jacques Castérède, performed by Terry Everson, Trumpet; Susan Nowicki, Piano. I love Castérède. I played his Concertino for Trombone and Trumpet on my college roommate's senior recital, and his duet suite with my wife on my graduate recital. His music is so French, but without the sarcasm of Poulenc and the other Six-ers.

5. "Why do the nations" from The Messiah George Friedrich Handel, performed by Samuel Ramey; Andrew Davis, Toronto Symphony, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Just today I read a poem by Theresa of Avila that uses the nations raging line to symbolize emotions and desires warring within ourselves and the divisive nature of the Christian Church post Reformation. Handel gets both meanings across in this aria.

6. "Tabuh Teluh" Sadha Budaya Gamelan Gong Suling from Bali - Gamelan & Kecak. This gamelan piece features pipes and voices rather than percussion. The bright timbres of the pipes keep me from getting lulled by the repetitive nature of the melodic patterns, so I can notice the rhythmic shifts. There is also a subtle accelerando on this piece, an amazing feat with such ambiguous metric accents. It slows back down towards the end. Today I was told to embrace ambiguity. This piece reflects that balance of change and stasis well.

7. "Give Me One Reason" Tracy Chapman from New Beginning. This is one of the only songs by Chapman that I knew before Mary brought this CD into our relationship. Tracy has such an easy approach to the blues, not pop-ified but not hard core blues either. There is a lot hope to this song, tempered by the rules of the blues.

8. Symphony No. 6, Op. 68 "Pastorale" (F Major): I -- Allegro ma non troppo Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by New York Philharmonic - Leonard Bernstein. This is a truly lovely movement, as long as I can keep the dancing cherubs out of my head. Symphony No. 7 remains my favorite, but 3 and 6 both have excellent features. This movement is very restful while remaining Allegro, full of grace and joy.

9. Carnaval: 11. Chiarina Robert Schumann, performed by Claudio Arrau. "Chiarina" was Schumann's nickname for Clara Wieck, then the 15 year-old daughter of his piano teacher, later to become his wife. This is a very complex work, not gushy romanticism or childlike innocence. It is waltz-like, somewhat passionate yet not overly so. It sounds rather unstable, as if Robert isn't sure what his feelings for Clara are yet.

10. "Why Worry" Dire Straits from Brothers In Arms. Yes, almost all of my popular music is very old. This song is not nearly as well known as "Money for Nothing" or " ," but it is very beautiful. It explicitly states to balance opposing forces: "there is laughter after pain, sunshine after rain," and that hope and love will prevail. A good ending to the challenge, Mark Knopfler is telling me to stop worrying, after an introduction that is far too long to get played on the radio.

1 comment:

Terminal Degree said...

3 and 7 are my favorites. I played the ostinato movement from 7 for my freshmen last week, and they loved it. We may have to take an entire class period just to play Beethoven symphonies. I can think of worse ways to spend an hour.