December Question

I could use some more new music. Recently I’ve enjoyed songs by Taylor Swift, Pink, and Missy Elliot. (I tend to like a wide range of music from pop to rock to hip-hop to classical.) 


Any recommendations? What are your current favorite songs or artists?

9 thoughts on “December Question

    • Excellent. I’d love some Classical recommendations.

      Mostly I’ve listened to the popular works of Vivaldi, Mozart, and Beethoven, plus piano pieces by Chopin, Debussy, and Rachmaninov.

      I’d love to listen to violin, viola, or cello pieces.

      • I’m still sifting through names and stuff, been busy but I’ll get you a number of suggestions eventually (if I don’t flake). But here’s a quicky recommendation; O Nata Lux by Morten Lauridsen. It’s part of a larger work “Lux Aeterna” but this is the one I absolutely recommend, I just played a concert in which this was featured. I had to hide my eyes, cause you know it’s not manly to show tears in public.

        The rest of the work contains a very “hooty” style of organ work that I’m not fond of, still you might try samples of the whole thing to see if it interests you. This movement is acapella so it works for me.

        If you purchase from iTunes get the”Artists of Valley Entertainment” performance, if not (like Amazon or something), try to locate a recording by any of Robert Shaw’s groups as they are uniformly fantastic.

      • OK, so my insomnia riddled brain has managed to put a few things together for you.

        This will be a list of what I think are generally accessible composers. If you want something a bit more challenging let me know 😉

        Rimsky-Korsakov: He’s pretty well known within certain circles, and is fondly remembered for his musical fantasies. If ever there was a composer that personified the age of “Oriental” adventures and such, Korsakov was the man.

        George Bizet: Very few people remember him when listing the great composers of all time, but I’d throw his name in there without any question. His Symphony in C is one of my favorites. Any of his Symphonic Suites (such as the Suite from Carmen) are great!

        Sibelius: He’s a bit darker, but IMHO the greatest Symphonist since Beethoven. His Violin Concerto is my favorite, and his Symphonies are masterpieces never since matched by any composer. It’s probably best to start with his 2nd symphony, although his 4th, 6th and 7th are my favorites. He was also known for his distinctive Tone Poems which you may actually prefer to the Symphonies. En Saga, Night Ride and Sunrise, The Swan of Tuonela, and Tapiola are some great ones.

        Tchaikovsky: His violin Concerto is easily the most famous of all time, also some of his more nationalistic pieces such as Marche Slav and the 1812 Overture are a hoot. As far as Symphonies, I recommend his 4th. Of course who doesn’t like The Nutcracker, or as it’s known in the biz, The Ballbuster (or the Buttcracker for those like myself with a Jr. High sense of humor). It’s a serious BITCH to play!!

        Ralph Vaughn-Williams: This is some great Violin stuff. Specific recommendations here. The Lark Ascending, Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, and Four Variants on Dives and Lazarus. The ONLY recordings to get on these are with the Saint Martin in the Field Symphony, with Iona Brown as conductor/violinist. Nobody else gets this music as well and all the violists that have tackled this since Iona have failed miserably.

        Arron Copeland: Undoubtedly you’ve heard his music, but trust me, he’s got alot more to offer than beef commercials. His works are worth exploring, no-one found the sound of America better than him.

        Igor Stravinsky: Ok, a bit further out there…but trust me. Check out the Pulchinella Suite, Petrouchka Suite, and the Firebird Suite. If you wanna try and experiment you can go for The Rite of Spring, my personal favorite but not for everybody.

        Ottorino Respighi: You could start with The Pines of Rome and Ancient Airs and Dances. His stuff (especially Pines) is wonderfully expressionistic and evocative.

        Samuel Barber: Aside from Adagio for Strings he’s written some wonderful orchestral stuff. When I said the Sibelius Violin concerto was my favorite, I lied. The Barber Violin concerto is my favorite, I can’t recommend any particular violinist on this as I have very strong opinions about this piece (I’d have to play it for you myself to make you understand ;). I suppose the best known recording out there is the Issac Stern one, and is probably the best one to stick with. His music is filled with a huge amount of emotion, some may find it to be a bit much, but I love it!

        Aram Khachaturian: Start with the Suite from the Gayane Ballet and his Violin Concerto, there’s never been another like it. The only recording worthy of listening to is the old David Oistrakh ones, the man was a true master.

        Gustav Holst: Best known for The Planets, but perhaps better loved (by String players at least) for his St. Paul Suite, and Brook Green Suite. These are absolute joys to listen to (and play).

        Really I could go on for hours and hours, there’s such a breadth of excellent music out there! I have extremely eclectic tastes (even amongst musicians) and have collected a number of off beat composers as well. I don’t mention them here due to relative difficulty in finding their music, or that they might be a bit too esoteric.

        Anyhow this list should provide you with a huge amount of potential.

  1. I happen to be a fan of Talking Heads (particularly Stop Making Sense) and would recommend them for a fun non-pop (though perhaps pop-esque) listen.

    I have a fondness for Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple for harder rock from the 80s.

    Afro Celt Sound System (esp. albums 1 and 2) are great for trance-y techno beat stuff, and Blue Man Group’s Audio is very fun percussion.

    The George Martin album of covers of Beatles tunes, which I believe is called In My Life, is absolutely fantastic. Most of the covers are absolutely brilliant.

    That’s it for now. Hope it helps!

    Light and laughter,

  2. Recently I’ve been addicted to two groups:

    The Puppini Sisters – reminiscent of the Andrews Sisters. They do a mix of music from the 40s – 80s. On their first album they do an excellent version of “Sway”

    The High Kings – an all male Celtic group. They do a few songs a’capella. Their voices are amazing.

    I’ve also been listening to Lee Press-on and the Nails, Swing Rosie and Woods Tea Company. The last two I found on I-tunes (and Napster). Lee Presson is a bit more difficult to find…but excellent.

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