Good Math, Bad Math

Friday Random Ten, June 30

It’s that time of the week again, when I bore you with my bizzare taste in music. Quite an eclectic mix this week.

  1. Spock’s Beard, “Thoughts”. A track from an oldish Spock’s Beard album. SB is an American neoprog band, which sounds something like a blend of old Genesis, Kansas, and Rush. Very good band. This isn’t my favorite of their albums (that would be “V”).
  2. Gentle Giant, “Way of Life”. A classic song off of a classic album.
  3. Whirligig, “Mister Fox”. An interesting little ballad by a wonderful NYC based Irish band.
  4. Peter Gabriel, “San Jacinto”. Peter Gabriel at his absolute best. He’s never done anything to match the “Security” album, and this is one of my favorite tracks off of there. Starts off mellow and kind of mysterious sounding, and gradually builds, and then fades.
  5. The Clogs, “Lady Go”. A track with vocals from one of those “post-rock ensembles” that I love so much. Very strange sounding; partly a capella falsetto; lots of dark rythmic stiff in other parts.
  6. Broadside Electric, “Tam Lin”. The old traditional ballad performed by a really cool local electric folk band. (And one of the members of the band is actually a math professor at Suny Stonybrook! But she hadn’t joined yet on this album.)
  7. Mel Brooks & broadway cast of “The Producers”, “Springtime for Hitler”. The original producers is one of my all-time favorite comedy movies. I still haven’t managed to get in to see the show. But the soundtrack is absolutely brilliant.
  8. Psychograss, “Looks like a Duck”. Psychograss is a thoroughly amazing band: Tony Trischka, David Grier, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, and Todd Phillips. They’re mostly bluegrass, but with various strange influences mixed in. This track has some of the most subtly amazing banjo playing you’ll ever hear, not to mention a knockout fiddle bit at the end.
  9. John Corigliano (performed by Stanley Drucker), “Clarinet Concerto, movement ii: Antiphonal Toccata”. I’m actually a classically trained clarinetist. I used to think that I didn’t like Stan Drucker’s playing. Then I heard this. I’ve since learned that while his performances of some of the old classical standards for Clarinet (Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto, the Weber concertos, etc.) are rather uninspired, he is utterly magnificent when it comes to modern music. He clearly loves playing the newer stuff, and it shows. This is also the most technically challenging piece for Clarinet that I’ve ever heard.
  10. Vasen, “Sluken”. Vasen is a Swedish folk band. The lead player plays a peculiar instrument called the Nyckelharpa – it’s a violin with a keyboard. They’re a great band, especially if you get to see them live.

Comments

  1. #1 Barry Leiba
    July 1, 2006

    John Corigliano (performed by Stanley Drucker), “Clarinet Concerto

    I have to say, I’ve never been able to get into Corigliano. I first heard his music when I saw the National Symphony Orchestra play his orchestral suite from the movie “Altered States”, but thought my revulsion to it was just because movie music doesn’t always lend itself to play in a concert hall (though Hermann, Rosza, Rota, and Polidouros, are all good examples of composers whose movie music does work). But then I heard the clarinet concerto, and… well, maybe if I played the instrument I’d appreciate the piece, but I don’t, and I don’t.

    And I do like clarinet pieces — Mozart and Weber, of course, but also the stuff by Copland and Bernstein, Crusell, Krommer, Malcolm Arnold, Hindemith, Nielsen… I dunno, maybe you should bring in the Corigliano CD some time and lend it to me, and I’ll try it again.

  2. #2 Mark C. Chu-Carroll
    July 1, 2006

    Barry:

    From what you said, I’d just guess that you don’t like Corigliano. My experience has with his music has been that most people are either taken by it right away, or they always think it’s absolutely horrible. (My wife is definitely in the “it’s horrible” camp, so I only get to listen to it on headphones.)

    I don’t know how to explain why I like it. The technique that Drucker uses in that piece is unbelievable. And that’s definitely part of it; I’ve heard a recording of Stoltzman playing it, and it sounds awful. But I find Corigliano to be a wonderful composer in general, not just in the clarinet concerto.

    My taste in music is just odd. My older brother, before he decided to give up music and become an ultra-orthodox rabbi, used to be a professional french horn player and composer. And as a kid, I just idolized him. He ended up teaching me a lot about music, and I used to trek up to Ithaca for his concerts. *His* tastes ran towards strange atonal modern music, and so I mostly picked that up. (I still can’t abide most 12-tone.) Corigliano is one of the composers my brother introduced me to, and I’ve never stopped loving his music.

  3. #3 Julia
    July 4, 2006

    Dang. I almost bought a Peter Gabriel album with that on it at the grocery store earlier this evening. Maybe just as well — I brought home 2 chairs, an electronic keyboard and a card table with enough of a lip around the edge that I should be able to do jigsaw puzzles without losing pieces all over the floor. (Yes, at the grocery store. It’s a kick-ass one that, if it had a clothing department, would seem to be trying to compete with Wal-Mart, but instead just lets me buy a lot of my food from a place that also has a small furniture selection, about 30 SF titles in stock at any one time, and an annoying CD section, in that if there’s a specific CD I want to buy for myself, they won’t have it, but they’ll have the one I want to buy for someone else and they’ll probably have something else by the artist I was looking for.)

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