The Soothing Genius of Leo Kottke

Kottke

I can still vividly remember the first time I heard Kottke play. It was during those early college days, as my roommate and I were just starting to feel each other out. Discovering how much we had in common (and also, not); what we liked and disliked (musically, ideologically, liturgically, snack-food-wise, etc.); negotiating how to [Read More...]

Tomaso Albinoni and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad “One-Hit Wonder” Moniker

Albinoni

For years, I’ve been fascinated by Tomaso Albinoni, the Baroque composer whose presence in the public “eye” is tied almost exclusively to a single piece: the bleak and ubiquitous Adagio in G minor, which he didn’t really even write. In 1945, Remo Giazotto, a Milanese musicologist traveled to Dresden to complete his biography of Albinoni and his [Read More...]

Prejudice-Free Soundtrack Listening

QuestionMark

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across a promotional featurette involving A Film That Shall Remain Temporarily Nameless But Which I Have No Intention Of Watching Any Time Soon. While the details are hazy to me at the moment — tabbed browsing can get a bit crazy at times — the Trailer in Question somehow ended [Read More...]

Zimmer and Whitacre: Strange Musical Bedfellows

POTCStrange

Earlier today, I was browsing through Eric Whitacre’s website in pursuit of “Sainte-Chapelle:” a composition commissioned by the Tallis Scholars to commemorate  their 40th anniversary, and which they performed for the first time this past March. As I wandered harmlessly through the site, searching for a “Chapelle” snippet to share, I stumbled upon this, all unsuspecting:Now, what’s [Read More...]

Musical Pop Quiz

bach

I’ve always been fascinated by the aural  and emotional differences between “The Big Three” keyboard instruments — the organ, piano, and harpsichord. The organ’s ability to serve as a sort of mini-orchestra is astonishing. The harpsichord’s tintinnabulatory clarity is wonderfully suited to the continuios (continuii?) that underpin so many of my Baroque favorites. And my personal experience [Read More...]

Music From Up On Poppy Hill

PoppyIV

Somehow, I managed to fight my way through the weekend’s Graduation Insanity. An unanticipated benefit of my (frankly, unexpected) survival was last night’s opportunity to sit down and watch my sadly-neglected screener for Studio Ghibli’s latest, From Up on Poppy Hill. It was the perfect antidote to the craziness of the past few days — gently [Read More...]

When Classical Stars Align

DuPre

The brilliance of the stars plucked from the Classical Firmament for the creation of this video is mind-boggling. Daniel Barenboim, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Jacqueline du Pré, AND Zubin Mehta, you say? All in the same recording? And performing one of the greatest chamber works ever composed: Franz Schubert’s Quintet in A major, “The Trout?” [Read More...]

Ella, Enchanting

OfficialElla

In honor of Ella Fitzgerald, the extraordinary artist whose birth is commemorated by today’s particularly charming Google Doodle, here’s a little bit o’ Ella and Mack: And Ella and Louis: Actually, just go here. And listen. And be entranced. Something about that particular doodle struck me when I saw it this morning. It’s unusual; almost 3D-ish. Which [Read More...]

“Howlin’ Ukuleles, Batman!”

JackII

This VOX Ukulele commercial is a ton of fun — partially because of the music, partially because of the performer, and partially because “UKULELES!” May it brighten your Tuesday as much as it has brightened mine.The fellow doing the pickin’ is Jack Mauro – the same guy who wrote and performs the song. And he’s got [Read More...]

No Commentary Necessary — Bach-Rostropovich Edition

MRJSB

On days like this, when my jangled soul needs soothing, I often find myself turning to Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites, as interpreted by the incomparable Mstislav Rostropovich. I don’t quite know why the sound of the cello is so calming to me — and calming it is, even when Rostropovich is performing at his technically-masterful-but-breakneck pace, e.g. [Read More...]


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