Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pluck, Volumes 1 & 2

Here are two compilations of instrumental music that I put together, mainly of acoustic guitar, but I made sure to include some electric sounds as well as other plucked instruments such as the ukulele, bouzouki, mandolin, veena, sitar, harp, and lute... hence the name "Pluck."

Download Vol. 1 here (no password):

Download Vol. 2 here (still no password):

Hope you enjoy - a little bit of all styles here, but I made sure the flow is good overall.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Grey Funnel Line

While I am still on the subject of English musicians (and I'm sure I'll return to the subject again soon), let me share a great tune about the sea:

"The Grey Funnel Line" is a song by Cyril Tawney that The Silly Sisters later performed in slightly modified form. The Silly Sisters, by the way, are Maddy Prior and June Tabor, and let me tell you, their version of this tune is one for the ages - uncommonly beautiful. I'll share that song along with another lighthearted surprise by June Tabor...

Download two songs here (no password):

Let me also mention a blog that has not only plenty of Maddy Prior and June Tabor, but an amazing variety of folk music from around the world - I'm grateful to the crew there for introducing me to so much music that I truly love and would never have known about otherwise.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From the Jacqueline du Pré Documentary

Entertaining clip from the documentary of cellist Jacqueline du Pré. John Barbirolli responds to comments that du Pré had too much showy energy. He pretty much says you should have that kind of energy when you're young.


Monday, July 4, 2011

The Third Symphonies of Copland & Harris

Happy 4th! Here's a good time to write about American music - the third symphonies of Aaron Copland and Roy Harris, two very different works, but both I admire. I've been reading The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, in which Alex Ross writes how the Copland symphony premiered at a time when twelve-tone music was more the "in" thing. Consequently, it didn't make a splash. I think Copland's symphony is a good contender for the title of Great American Symphony, even if it isn't exactly a perfect composition. I recommend listening to the whole thing, but if you must jump ahead, make sure to listen to the finale. It includes Fanfare for the Common Man. The music builds to one of my favorite conclusions, especially in this recording by Bernstein:

This is one of my favorite recordings that Lenny made. I never got into his Mahler as much, but he shines in this recording, which you can learn more about or download here at Amazon. In addition to the symphony, there is some fantastic trumpet work in Quiet City.

While I'm posting album covers, let me post the Harris recording:

This recording can also be found on Amazon here. I only downloaded the Third Symphony from this recording, since I only wanted to spend 89 cents at the time. That's the good news: you can get all eighteen minutes of this single-movement work for cheap, and it's a great recording. The work requires a good listener; it is far more cerebral and less gushing with emotion than Copland. But it is loaded with musical surprises. I have listened to it a couple of times already and find new things to appreciate each time. I've been meaning to listen to it for years, and when I finally heard it, I thought "This sounds completely different than I thought it would." Maybe that will be your experience too. I recommend it highly, not only because it is famous, but because it's quite an original work. Maybe I'll listen to the Fourth Symphony next.