Thanks to Pandora Radio

Posted by Webster 
One of my favorite discoveries of 2009 is Pandora Radio. It’s a Web service that allows you to create your own radio station. As a Catholic I find it useful because I can gather in one place the kinds of religious music that I find most inspiring—stuff I didn’t even know existed. You start Pandora with a “seed” and it proposes other similar music to add to your station. You accept what you like, reject what you don’t, and slowly build your own list. Then you can listen to it at work (from your desktop computer), on the road (from your laptop), or even out for a walk (from your iPhone or Blackberry).

And now—I can share it with my friends! That’s right! Being the technical wizard I am (not), I have just figured out how to share an entire Pandora station with you. (OK, true confessions: Frank figured it out.) The secret is at the bottom of this post, so read on.

Several months ago, I named this station Bingen Radio, in honor of Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th-century religious and mystic who also happens to be the first composer of music of whom we have a detailed biography. I wrote a bit about her previously here. The image of Hildegard’s statue is cribbed from James Woodward’s fine blog, which I’m now going to follow, having once discovered it.

On this station you will hear a selection of mostly a cappella choral music from Hildegard to Arvo (Part), with stops along the way for Gregorian Chant, Josquin Desprez, Tomás Luis Victoria, and William Byrd, to mention but a few. No, I don’t know fact one about most of these folks. I only know that listening to this beautiful selection of music puts me in an entirely different space the moment I launch Pandora.

Another cool thing about Pandora is, once you download my Bingen Radio, you can make it your own. Every time a piece comes on, you can give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Pandora will continuously adjust the mix of music to your taste. You can start brand-new stations too. I have half-a-dozen, including Chopin Radio (piano-oriented classical) and Knopfler Radio (named for the Dire Straits front man who is my favorite pop musician).

So here’s what you do: Go to our fan page (YIM Catholic) on FaceBook, become a fan, and click on the link posted there. The Pandora station “Bingen Radio” will download to your computer. And the next time you join us at YIM Catholic, you can hum along.

Update: See the righthand sidebar for a link to the YIMCatholic Pandora stations=====>>>

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  • James

    Good idea. I'm not a 'facebooker' – not a Luddite either but I'm simply not that public an individual. It's just not me. Anyway, Abbess Hildegard's music is beautiful as is nearly all Gregorian chant. Having sung in a Cathedral choir as a boy chant is music I have a personal attachment with considering the number of High Masses and Ordinations we sang at. It was an honor and a blessing. If I could be so bold might I make a suggestion? Give Henryk Gorecki's Misere and his 3rd Symphony(musical response to the Holocaust) with Dawn Upshaw a listen. You may find them worth adding to your Pandora station. Also the soundtrack to "Into Great Silence" deserve's consideration but I've a feeling it's already included.

  • Webster Bull

    Hey James,I'm sending you the Bingen Radio link directly since I know your e-mail address, no need to go to FaceBook. I will definitely check out the pieces you mention.Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Great idea, to spread the word about Pandora Radio! Reminded me of the genius bar in Itunes, which has led me to some wonderful music. I am so happy to have something new to explore – thank you!If you haven't yet discovered Libera, they sang for the Pope in April of '08 at Yankees Stadium. Try "Gloria based on Organ Symphony" with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra for starters. YouTube has some neat video of them as well.Keep sharing your most interesting life!S.

  • Webster Bull

    Dear S., Thanks for suggesting the Libera Gloria. I have put up the YouTube video on our YIMC FaceBook Fan Page. Beautiful!!!Happy New Year.

  • Anonymous

    And Happy New Year to you too! I look forward to many new delights in 2010 – from you and Frank – and your vast following. One of the things that makes this blog so "tender hearted" is your thoughtful response to so many of your comments. You have so much you want to share (teach) but are just as open to what others want to offer you. That's rare!I was just thrilled that you liked the Libera Gloria. And I wish this topic could stand still for a few days so we (your numerous readers) could have a rich exchange of favorites… but I can see you have much territory to cover! (Perhaps Pandora Radio will take charge of that for us.)But, just in case it doesn't – here are a few more selections I'd like to extend, by way of thanks:Vesperae Solennes de Confessore (Coventus Choir Hayley Westenra)Vespers op 37:1 Choir of King's College – RachmaninovCorpus Christi Carol – Hayley Westenra Symohony No. 3 in F Major op 90 3rd movement Brahams (suggested by James, above)Let me Lie – May it Be – River of Dreams (Hayley Westenra)Dark Waltz (from Phantom of the Opera) on Youtube with Hayley Westenra And lastly, (for now!) in a different vein, Steven Curtis Chapman's Cinderella. Written before the death of his daughter, but performed more poignantly afterwards. (many Youtube versions).I hope you have time to enjoy this!S.

  • Webster Bull

    S. and also James—Thanks for your continuing comments. Thanks to you, I have posted a new survey about music that inspires. Please check it out.