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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Wunderkind of Salzburg

the-music-is-not-in-the-notes-but-in-the-silence-in-between

Image courtesy of PictureQuotes.com

 

One of my favorite things about being a librarian is that I’m paid to be curious.  People often apologize for asking questions, especially if they think the information will be difficult to find.  The tough questions are often my favorites because they allow me to learn something new — and I love learning something new!

Writing for the library’s blogs also provides an outlet for my curiosity.  I like to flip through Chase’s Calendar of Events when I’m planning what to write next; because it’s such an extensive list of what’s happening and why we should care, it’s a wonderful introduction to a wide range of topics.  I noted that January 27 marked the birthday of a famous composer and I also noted that while I enjoy listening to classical music, I don’t really know that much about it.  So, I decided to do a little research.  Just for fun — and for this blog post, of course 🙂

  • At four years-old, he could learn a piece of music in 30 minutes.
  • At eight years-old, he began writing symphonies.
  • He was one of the first musicians in history to go freelance, without the backing of a church, court or rich patron.
  • To date, he is probably the only composer to write masterworks in every musical genre during his time period.

Who am I referring to? Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His father, Leopold Mozart, was a violinist, minor composer, and vice-kapellmeister at the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Young Mozart accompanied his father on tour, absorbing various European musical styles along the way. His greatest works are noted for their melodic beauty, formal elegance, and richness of harmony and texture. A sampling is listed below:

Despite being a successful composer and a renowned piano virtuoso, Mozart struggled financially for most of his life. He was just beginning to achieve financial stability when he died in Vienna at the age of 35. He was buried in a common grave, the exact location of which remains unknown.

Intrigued?  ACPL has a variety of ways you can enjoy his work.  Click here to browse a list of music cds in the collection, here to browse a list of dvds, and click here to see what’s available for download through Freegal.

Further Reading: Wolfgang Mozart, Early Life; Mozart; Mozart Project.

 

 

 

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Julian Casablancas by NRK P3 via flickr.com

Julian Casablancas by NRK P3 via flickr.com

I like the idea of Julian Casablancas having a new band and making some new rock music; however, I’m not sure about the actuality.  Tyranny, the album released in September of last year by The Voidz, has some gratifying moments of weirdo-pop rock listenability, but for a lot of the album I feel like Casablancas is just trying to make my car’s speakers give up the ghost through death by distortion.  They’re not great speakers anyway, so perhaps that’s not a bad way to go, at the hands of a not-inestimable rock god.  You’re welcome, Julian.  You’re welcome.

Suggested Use: Background music for leveling up on your favorite video game.  Farming some experience points from a familiar area of a cherished RPG?  Put this album on.  Seems appropriate for cynical, sneering debasement of bad guys you’ve vanquished a couple of times already.  Afterwards, for a more positive listening experience and some toe-tapping-dish-washing music from another member of The Strokes, you can always turn to Albert Hammond, Jr.  He’s had a couple of albums that are worth a listen, or so I’ve heard.

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parquetIt is somewhat inexplicable to me how the song “Instant Disassembly” on Parquet Courts’ album, Sunbathing Animal,  manages to be so ear-grabbingly compelling.  Maybe it’s the lazy, yet premeditated, vocal delivery.  Maybe it’s the song’s audacious/obnoxious six-minute-plus running time.  Maybe it’s the quality of the lyrics.  Maybe it’s actually compelling in spite of these things, but what then makes it so?  It’s a mystery I’m comfortable with.  Albums and songs are, after all, for listening more so than for answers, and if something makes you want to listen, that seems to be plenty.

Suggested Use: Wake up call.  By the time you struggle out of bed, make coffee, and jump in the shower, the album will most likely have gotten to “Instant Disassembly,” a song that seems to need (and is long enough for) an “assembly” sequence like putting on a matching pair of socks, buckling a belt, and making an informed choice about a cardigan for the day.

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Everything Will BeThe truth is, I don’t really feel qualified to judge Everything Will Be Alright in the End, Weezer’s latest musical offering, because I haven’t listened committedly to anything beyond PinkertonI’ve been instructed by someone I trust that after Pinkerton things go downhill and disappointment is certain and I’ve never gathered enough energy to begin the exploration of the purgatorial and subterranean caverns of that metaphorical hill slide … side.  However, when I read that Ric Ocasek was back in the role of producer and that perhaps Rivers Cuomo was motivated once again to dig deep on the promised material, I got interested, and after digesting the album this afternoon (I will need to make a return to it to be more sure), I feel that perhaps my hopes have not been in vain.

Suggested Use: Doctor’s orders.  For experimental use only.  Risk involved.  Apply liberally to jaded areas of the psyche, entertain hope.  Call the nurse in the morning.

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Holiday music in the air

If you’re a Christmas music lover, ACPL can help with your holiday listening needs.  From secular to sacred, from classic to contemporary, we have a wide array of Christmas music available in two different formats.   You can borrow CDs from the Main Library or any of our 13 branch locations.  You can also download music from home for free using your ACPL library card and Freegal.  Freegal allows the download of five songs per week, so if you begin now, you can have a great playlist built up by Christmas day.  Different selections are available via the two different formats, so be sure to check both options if you’re having trouble finding your favorite song.  Here are some favorites:

Cover image for A Charlie Brown Christmas [sound recording]A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi Trio (On CD)

 

 

 

 

Cover image for Christmas collection [sound recording]Christmas Collection by The Jackson 5 (On CD)

 

 

 

 

Cover image for O holy night [sound recording] : Christmas favoritesO Holy Night: Christmas Favorites by David Phelps (On CD)

New Release!

 

 

 

Cover image for Noel [sound recording]Noel by Josh Groban (On CD)

 

 

 

 

Cover image for Heavenly Christmas [sound recording]Heavenly Christmas by Jackie Evancho (On CD)

 

 

 

 

Cover image for Christmas In New York [sound recording]Christmas in New York by Renee Felming (On CD)

New Release!

 

 

 

Cover image for What a wonderful time [sound recording]What a Wonderful Time by Yolanda Adams (On CD)

 

 

 

 

Cover image for Holiday wishes [sound recording]Holiday Wishes by Idina Menzel (On CD)

New Release!

 

 

 

 

Cover image for One wish [sound recording] : the holiday albumOne Wish by Whitney Houston (On CD)

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

Image via Amazon.com

Christmas in Rock by Elvis Presley (Via Freegal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

Image via Amazon.com

Christmas Joy in Latvia by The New York Latvian Concert Choir (Via Freegal)

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

Image via Amazon.com

Christmas with Soul by James Brown (Via Freegal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

Image via Amazon.com

Wrapped in Red by Kelly Clarkson (Via Freegal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

Image via Amazon.com

A Music Box Christmas by Rita Ford (Via Freegal)

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foxygenThis is a party I wouldn’t get invited to.  And if I did, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.  I’m not this cool, except when I’m in my car, by myself, with the radio at 11.  At least I have that.  At least I can vicariously share in the sort of imagined moments this album conjures because the young people that make up the band Foxygen recorded them for me on a compact disc called We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & MagicI’m glad I can participate without the social danger of actually going to a party.  Who needs that?  I mow my own grass and shovel my own snow … mostly … and keep my neighbors and the mailman happy.  I don’t really need more social pressure.  Be sure to check out Foxygen’s new album, … And Star Power, out this Fall.  Everybody’s doing it.  Don’t get left behind.  Like me.

Suggested Use: Trimming the Christmas tree … Alone.  Who needs Christmas music … or company?  I like rock and roll.

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Suggested (m)use: Dr. Dog

Dr.Dog

Dr. Dog via Flickr

Dr. Dog’s most recent album, B-Room, is still bouncing around a bit in my head.  I haven’t yet decided how I feel about that.  It’s just that, as with previous albums, the musical leaps this band makes often leave me waffling between two questions, “Are they trying too hard?” and “What if I listen to it one more time?”

Suggested Use: Put this in the rotation for your next low-lit porch party.  It’s mellow rock rhythms and occasional upbeat melodies seem as if they would facilitate the consumption of adult beverages, slouching conversation, and impromptu dance-downs, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.

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