Friday, April 20, 2012

Levon Helm (1940-2012)

"...they never should have taken the very best" is right. Thank you for a lifetime of great music, Levon Helm.

Though Levon hailed from Arkansas, the other members of The Band come from Canada, including Robbie Robertson, who wrote this song. Robertson is half Mohawk, half Jewish. He did the writer's job of putting himself in another person's shoes when he created the character Virgil Caine in this song. But Levon brought it to life, especially in this performance from The Last Waltz. If you want to hear more of The Band, definitely definitely get the live album Rock of Ages, recorded December 28-31, 1971 at the Academy of Music in New York City. Love Levon's solo work as well. Too bad I missed The Midnight Ramble up in Woodstock.

In dearest sympathy,

Friday, April 13, 2012

Music by Prokofiev

This is a great photo of Sergei Prokofiev, accompanied here by two recordings not currently in circulation.

The First and Fifth symphonies, as recorded by Previn in this 1986 recording with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, are a gem. The First is called the "Classical" Symphony. If you haven't heard it, give it a listen, and you will understand why. As much as I love all of the Fifth, I am addicted to the last movement. Total insanity!

The Third Piano Concerto, here performed awesomely well by the then-thirteen-year-old pianist Evgeny Kissin and the Moscow Philharmonic, is all in one MP3 file. This whole performance is just as fun to hear as the ending of the Fifth Symphony.

Beyond these performances, I'd also recommend the violin and piano concertos, Peter and the Wolf, the Scythian Suite, the Sixth and Seventh symphonies - and everything else. Prokofiev is one of my favorites.

Download here (no password):


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Beth Orton - She Cries Your Name

This is absolutely smoking hot. I got around to listening to Trailer Park and Central Reservation - both excellent albums.