Classical composers – the August edition

I have broad, perhaps somewhat eclectic taste in music. This is by accident rather than design. Most of the genres outside what gets airplay on popular radio I have luckily stumbled upon while on other paths. Our culture doesn’t really expose young people en masse to much more than current popular music, and that’s a shame. I feel like it’s a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are links to 31 works of classical music by composers you’ll find on my iPod, and two links to works by composers most of us would know – all artists born in August, whose works I have enjoyed.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Claude Debussy

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor     

 

  1. Hans Rott     
  2. Arthur Bliss   
  3. Karl Amadeus Hartmann     
  4. Anthony Payne     
  5. Henri Berger      
  6. William Schuman      
  7. Friedrich August Kummer      
  8. James Scott Skinner   
  9. Oskar Merikanto   
  10. Ernesto Lecuona     
  11. Adolf Busch   
  12. Jacques Hétu    

    Salomon Jadassohn
  13. Reynaldo Hahn    
  14. Albert Ketèlbey    
  15.  Alexander Glazunov    
  16. Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber     
  17. Salomon Jadassohn
  18.  John Ireland    
  19. Leopold Hofmann     
  20. Jan Koetsier     
  21. Jacques Ibert    
  22. Francesco Canova da Milano      
  23. Ernest MacMillan     
  24. Herman Berlinski     

    George Enescu
  25. George Enescu     
  26. Moritz Moszkowski     
  27. Ernst Krenek     
  28. Constant Lambert    
  29. Stefan Wolpe    
  30. David Maslanka    
  31. Jean-Paul-Égide Martini    

July earworm roundup

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my July earworms.

Petula Clark – Kiss Me Goodbye

Alicia Bridges – I Love The Nightlife

Roxy Music – Love Is The Drug

Carmen Lombardo & Grady Martin – Coquette

Johnny Cash – Camptown Races

Manic Street Preachers – Suicide Alley

Kay Starr – Rock and Roll Waltz

Blue Oyster Cult – Godzilla

Dobie Gray – The In Crowd

Spooky Tooth – That was only yesterday

Buddy Knox – Party Doll

The Spencer Davis Group – Keep on Running

Dr Feelgood – Riot In Cell Block No 9

Phoebe Snow – Poetry Man  

Suzanne Vega – Toms Diner

Huey Lewis And The News – I Want A New Drug

The Monks – Drugs in my Pocket

Village People – Go West

Little Feat – Willin 

Heatwave – The Groove Line

Poly Styrene – Virtual Boyfriend

Ratt – Round And Round  (I almost went insane for these few hours)

John Waite – Missing You

Lifehouse – Broken

Joan Osborne – One Of Us

The Champs – Tequila

The Champs – Beatnik

Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville – Don’t Know Much

Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

Triumph – Follow Your Heart

Kim Mitchell – Go For Soda

They’re playing our song – two national anthems

Both Canada and the US threw parties in the first week of July. National anthems were a big part of those patriotic celebrations. The anthems were written and chosen purposefully to tell a story, so here’s my little blog about the anthems and the story they tell. 

 

July 1 – Canada Day

July 1 marks marks Canadian confederation – the creation of the nascent dominion of Canada. It’s like a birthday, or maybe a wedding. It marks a becoming, and a coming together.

Interestingly, it was not called Canada Day until 1982. Until then it was called Dominion Day.

The Canadian national anthem – O Canada – was written by Calixa Lavallée. It wasn’t officially our anthem until 1980 but it had been performed and sung as an anthem for decades. It had some early competition in the songs The Maple Leaf Forever by Alexander Muir, and God Save the Queen.

 

July 4 – Independence Day

Americans celebrate their independence day on July 4th. It is a celebration of becoming autonomous from the British Crown. It’s a coming of age party. It marks a becoming, and a breaking of old ties.

The American national anthem is The Star-Spangled Banner, which uses the tune of a popular British song called To Anacreon in Heaven written by John Stafford Smith (is that ironic? maybe? declaring independence from Britain but always celebrating it by singing a British song?) 

 

 

June earworm round-up

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my June earworms. Good luck getting them out of your head.

the SweetLittle Willy

SkyhooksWomen In Uniform

Bronski BeatSmalltown Boy

Bay City RollersSaturday Night

.38 SpecialBack where you belong

Shirley & CoShame Shame Shame

Shakespeare’s SisterStay With Me

The SundaysHere’s Where The Story Ends

Paul McCartneySilly Love Songs

Patti Page & Vic DamoneSay Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart

The KinksSuperman

Cyndi LauperShe Bop

The Flamingos – Jump Children

Jimmy JonesHandyman

The RembrandtsI’ll be there for you

Atomic RoosterTomorrow Night

Simply RedSomething Got Me Started

Harry NilssonEverybody’s Talkin’

Billy “Crash” CraddockRuby Baby

Mike & The MechanicsAll I Need Is A Miracle

Guns N’ RosesSweet Child O’ Mine

Jerry KellerHere Comes Summer

Rocky BurnetteTired Of Toein’ The Line

Little River BandLonesome Loser

All About EveOur Summer

Three Dog Night – Shambala

The Psychedelic FursHeaven

T.RexGet It On

Little EvaLoco-motion

Depeche ModeJust Can’t Get Enough

A life in song titles

I did a little music challenge in the early days of Facebook. I haven’t really delved into my love of Tom Waits on this blog, so I thought this would be a good way to demonstrate it.

The challenge was: Answer the following questions using only the one title s of one musical group or artist.

 

PICK YOUR ARTIST: Tom Waits

ARE YOU MALE OR FEMALE: I’m a “Gun Street Girl” for sure, for sure!

DESCRIBE YOURSELF: I am usually “Semi Suite”, but “In the Morning” I am “A Sight for Sore Eyes”.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF: I am a bundle of contradictions: “Baby, I’m Not a Baby Anymore” but “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” either.

DESCRIBE WHERE YOU CURRENTLY LIVE: I live in a quiet neighbourhood – in the “House Where Nobody Lives” at the intersection of “9th & Hennepin” and “Virginia Avenue” “On the Other Side of the World”. I used to live on “Heartattack and Vine” but I relocated on doctor’s orders.

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU GO: Am I in a “Los Angeles Mood”? Not today. I’ve always wanted to go to “Singapore”. Hmmmmm? “I’ll Take NY” anytime but right now “I Wish I Was in New Orleans (in the Ninth Ward)”.

YOUR FAVOURITE FORM OF TRANSPORTATION: The “Downtown train” of course.

YOUR BEST FRIEND IS: You, my sweet little “Coney Island Baby” (at least “‘Til the Money Runs Out”).

YOUR FAVOURITE COLOUR IS: “New Coat of Paint”.

WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE: It’s like a “Flower’s Grave” out there right now. We are experiencing “Strange Weather”; “More Than Rain”. Last night I lay awake thinking “Blow Wind Blow” and in my dreams I imagined the “Earth Died Screaming”. They say “You Can Never Hold Back Spring” but my goodness, Mother Nature seems to be trying her best to just that. Brrrr.

FAVOURITE TIME OF DAY: Well it’s certainly not “Closing Time”.

IF YOUR LIFE WAS A TV SHOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED: “Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards)”.

WHAT IS LIFE TO YOU: Wow, that’s a profound question.
Life is kinda like a “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis”, y’know?
You waste so much time “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night” and “Fumblin’ With the Blues” that you end up with a “Bad Liver and a Broken Heart” wondering “How’s It Gonna End”?
You stumble in the dark on the “Lowside of the Road” carrying your “Little Drop of Poison” in a brown paper bag.
But you keep going, drinking one “Jockey Full of Bourbon” after another; then you find a little tavern and “Tango Till They’re Sore” until “Everything Goes to Hell” and they toss you out on your drunken ass “Dragging a Dead Priest” in your wake looking for “Just The Right Bullets” with “$29.00” in your pocket.
You been “Falling Down” more than standin’ up and wonder why it feels like you got “Shore Leave” in a “Town With No Cheer”.
“What Keeps Mankind Alive” if “Misery Is the River of the World” and we’re all “Lost in the Harbour”?
Profound question indeed; what is life? “The Part You Throw Away” man, “The Part You Throw Away”.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE TO GIVE: You are “Innocent When You Dream” so when you feel like you are “Starving in the Belly of a Whale” just buck up and “Whistle Down the Wind”.
It may seem some days like “God’s Away on Business” but “Hold On” and just remember “Jesus Gonna Be Here” soon.
Oh and, “I Never Talk to Strangers”.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE YOUR NAME, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Martha”  “Rosie” “Muriel” “Georgia Lee” “Alice” “Lucinda” Hoover.

YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD IS: That’s easy – it’s got to be a “Chocolate Jesus”.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “We’re All Mad Here”.

HOW I WOULD LIKE TO DIE: “All Stripped Down” – metaphorically of course 😉

MY SOUL’S PRESENT CONDITION: I used to feel like “Just Another Sucker on the Vine” – but “Lord I Been Changed” by a “Little Trip to Heaven (On the Wings of Your Love)”.

MY MOTTO: “Come On Up to the House”.

May earworm roundup

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my May earworms.

10 Songs of Springtime

Spring is finally here in the north. It seems like we go to bed one day to dull, dead brown last year’s grass, and wake up the next to flowers, leaves and birds singing.

To celebrate the welcome arrival of colour and birdsong, here are 10 of my favourite popular music songs about spring.

  1. Frank Sinatra – Spring Is Here
  2. Astrud Gilberto – It Might as Well Be Spring
  3. Ella Fitzgerald – Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most (Holly Cole does a great version of this song too)
  4. Lou Rawls – Spring Again 
  5. Barbra Streisand – You Must Believe in Spring
  6. Judy Collins – So Early, Early In The Spring
  7. Tom Waits – You Can Never Hold Back Spring
  8. Sarah Vaughan – Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
  9. k.d. lang – I Dream Of Spring
  10. Mario Lanza – Younger Than Springtime

 

Classical composers – the May edition

I have broad, perhaps somewhat eclectic taste in music. This is by accident rather than design. Most of the genres outside what gets airplay on popular radio I have luckily stumbled upon while on other paths. Our culture doesn’t really expose young people en masse to much more than current popular music, and that’s a shame. I feel like it’s a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are links to 31 works of classical music by composers you’ll find on my iPod, and two links to works by composers most of us would know – all artists born in May, whose works I have enjoyed.

Richard Wagner

Johannes Brahms  

Richard Wagner 

Gabriel Fauré 

Erik Satie 

  1. Hugo Alfvén 
  2. Jean-Baptiste Barrière
  3. Ludwig August Lebrun
  4. Hans Christian Lumbye 
  5. Jean-Frédéric Edelmann 
  6. Carl Stamitz 
  7. Louis Moreau Gottschalk 
  8. Giovanni Paisiello 
  9. Julius Röntgen
  10. Jan van Gilse
  11. William Grant Still

    Joseph Marx

  12. William Grant Still
  13. Josip Štolcer-Slavenski
  14. Johann Baptist Wanhal 
  15. Franz Anton Hoffmeister 
  16. Giovanni Battista Viotti 
  17. Adolf von Henselt 
  18. Otto Klemperer
  19. Boris Parsadanian 
  20. Andrei Eshpai 
  21. Francesco Pasquale Ricci 
  22. Otto Klemperer

    Werner Egk 

  23. Jean Cras 
  24. Andrea Luchesi 
  25. Ignaz Moscheles 
  26. Józef Wieniawski 
  27. Jean Françaix
  28. Paul Paray 
  29. Claude Champagne 
  30. Isaac Albéniz 
  31. Alfredo Antonini

Arts intersecting – Pablo Picasso

I am a lover of all things arts. They are the happiness I pursue. So when any of the arts intersect it makes me very happy, I suppose that’s because it makes my pursuit of happiness a little bit easier.

For example music and the visual arts find inspiration in one another.

Probably the most well known example is Don McLean’s song Vincent (Starry, Starry Night), which I did my first Arts Intersecting blog about, but the song Pablo Picasso by Jonathan Richman is the crossover arts song that I am most likely to play on my iPod. I love that it successfully rhymes Pablo Picasso with the word asshole.

Well some people try to pick up girls
And get called assholes
This never happened to Pablo Picasso
He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare and
So Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

Well the girls would turn the color
Of the avocado when he would drive
Down their street in his El Dorado
He could walk down you street
And girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not like you
Alright

Well he was only 5’3″
But girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso never got called an asshole
Not in New York

Oh well be not schmuck, be not abnoxious
Be not bellbottom bummer or asshole
Remember the story of Pablo Picasso
He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare
Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole
Alright this is it

Some people try to pick up girls
And they get called an asshole
This never happened to Pablo Picasso
He could walk down your street
And girls could not resist his stare and so
Pablo Picasso was never called…

This is may be my favourite, but it’s not the only song inspired by Picasso.

David Bowie incorporated part of the Johnathan Richman song into his own song called Pablo Picasso.

The lyrics for Picasso’s Last Words by Paul McCartney & Wings mention a grand old painter, but only the title references Picasso specifically. 

Bulletproof Picasso by Train doesn’t really talk about the artist but talks about the artistic character in a generic sort of way.

Citizen Cope also has a song named for Pablo Picasso. Why it’s named Pablo Picasso I don’t know because it never mentions the artist in the lyrics, but it’s the thought that counts.

Blue Period Picasso by Peter Bjorn and John is interesting. 

There is a song by Jay-Z too, but I don’t like it so I won’t include it. It’s my blog after all.

 

Cover image: Pablo Picasso, 1921, Nous autres musiciens (Three Musicians), oil on canvas, 204.5 x 188.3 cm, Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

Easter songs

When it comes to western holidays Christmas wins the pop culture game. Easter runs a distant second. Easter is seen either as a day only for kids, or as a solemn religious celebration with not a lot in between for us secular types. I’m not religious, and I don’t need more chocolate, but I have found some music that I go to every year in early spring.

See the music and pop culture clips below.

Gene Autry – Peter Cottontail – Gene Autry
Judy Garland – In Your Easter Bonnet (From the movie Easter Parade)
 Here Comes Peter Cottontail – by Rankin/Bass Productions
The Tale Of The Bunny Picnic – with Jim Henson’s Muppets
I Want an Easter Egg – Bugs Bunny
Everything’s Alright – from Jesus Christ Superstar
And finally, because as I said above, Easter is for kids:
Who Fed the Chickens? – Ella Jenkins

 

Happy Easter!