Music Monday – Classical Music

I love classical music, but I am woefully ignorant of it (hence Herr WMFH’s Music Appreciation class. Hey, it isn’t all about me being a man crazy nympho!) I am one of those hunt and peck classical fans. I listen to things I like, follow the recommendations on eMusic (I hate iTunes, they are overpriced and draconian in their restrictions), and generally just try to find things that work for me. I used to buy albums (that’s vinyl LPs, kiddies) at used record stores just to try things out. I have no idea if what I am listening to is considered “good”, I just know I like it. I tend to like Beethoven for symphonies and Wagner for opera. Chopin gives me serious girl wood. Literally, listening to Chopin physically turns me on, I’m not kidding. I recently discovered Faure’s Requiem and fell in love with his shimmering, icy, angelic beauty. I have a total crush on Gustav Mahler, his music has this brilliant awkwardness to it, as if he’s a brooding teenager who desperately wants to say something profound but it never comes out right. And people can smack talk Sarah Brightman all they want, she has an incredible voice and flexibility, I don’t care if she was a disco biscuit in her day.
After memorizing (and now being able to recite from memory, thank you very much) “Der Erlkönig”, my next German conquest is learning to sing “Ode an die Freude” from Beethoven’s 9th. Unfortunately, because I was always stuck in the 1st tenor section in choir that’s all I can manage to sing in a choral situation (I’m actually a Dramatic Mezzo Soprano, but I project best in my lower register. When I was singing daily my voice was like a weapon: strong, loud and powerful. Sadly, I am completely tone deaf and lack the precision to actually do anything with it. In other words, I’m a total Ethel Merman).

Most Played Classical Tracks This Week
Tristan & Isolde: Isoldes Liebestod – Richard Wagner
A Village Romeo and Juliet: The Walk to the Paradise Garden – Frederick Delius
Lohengrin Prelude to Act III – Royal Philharmonic/Richard Wagner
Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, “Heroic” – Chopin
The Flower Duet (Lakmé) – Leo Delibe
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Ging heut morgen übers Feld – Gustav Mahler
3 Gymnopedies: 1ere Gymnopedie. Lent et douloureux – Erik Satie
Messe Basse – Kyrie eleison – Gabriel Fauré
Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57 – Chopin
Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 1 – Johannes Brahms
O Mio Babbino Caro – Maria Callas/Puccini
Finlandia: Op. 26 – Jean Sibelius
9th Symphony (Choral) – Ludwig van Beethoven


Music Monday

Since I am taking Music Appreciation this quarter, and I haven’t addressed the subject here before, I am here to tell you I freakin’ love music. I am one of those nerds who has (or rather USED TO have, until my hard drive crashed, I am still rebuilding. *sniff*) a music collection that would be the envy any reputable DJ out there. Granted, my tastes are odd and eclectic (I collect Hawaiian music, sound effects, and sea shanties on vinyl), but I love Funk and Punk and Rock and Folk and Classical and World and Country and Electronic and you name it. Except Hip Hop and the majority of what passes for Top 40 these days. That shit makes me cringe, the lone exception being Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, which is the single greatest pop song of the last 20 years. But, as usual, I digress…

When I say that music is the second most sacred thing a person can do, I mean it. Music, whether you are performing it or listening to it, is the closest thing to ecstasy I can think of. I distrust anyone who doesn’t like music, or worse yet, is apathetic about it. I don’t understand people who’s only contact with music is when they flip on the car radio to whatever station the billboards tell them is the one to listen to. My husband doesn’t listen to music, and it boggles my mind. He likes music, but he never actively seeks it out. In the car we fight over my music and his NPR. I have just resigned myself to headphones, which is fine because I prefer the solitude when I am listening anyway.

I was rather amused at the patchwork of genres of this last week’s “Top 20” most played on my iTunes:

This Weeks Top 20
Ecce Mundi Gaudium – Mediaeval Baebes
Prospero’s Magic – Michael Nyman
The Drum – Slapp Happy
Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley
Coyote – Joni Mitchell
Kick out the Jams – MC5
The Ship Song – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
FAURE: Requiem, Op. 48: Sanctus – Gabriel Faure
Another Nail In My Heart – Squeeze
Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here – She & Him
Cadillac – T. Rex
Hungry Wolf – X
Suo Gan – Ambrosian Boys Choir
Save Me – k.d. lang
Infected – The The
Sea Talk – Zola Jesus
Come to Daddy – Aphex Twin
Third Uncle – Brian Eno
Straight To You – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Nobody writes the soundtrack to an epically doomed love affair like Nick Cave.

Gabriel Faure’s Requiem is a recent discovery of mine. I had heard some of his choral music before and enjoyed it, but his Requiem is like butterfly kisses from an angel, and I mean that in a good way. It manages to be soft and embracing, yet somehow detached at the same time. The Sanctus and Pie Jesu are particularly lovely.

And as far as Squeeze is concerned, even today I would still volunteer to be the tomato in a Difford & Tilbrook sandwich. Genius turns me on. Musical genius even more so. Being adorable and British doesn’t hurt their cause either.

Today’s musical discovery is Genya Ravan. I have heard some of her music before, but didn’t have a name to go with it until now. Bitch has the Funk in a huge way, she’s my new rock chick hero. I love really good, nasty Funk and Soul. It’s like Gospel music for fucking, the most ideal Dionysian soundtrack in my book. When it’s done right, it makes you want to throw the object of your affections against a wall and undress them with your teeth.

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