My Work Week in Sound:
John Adams: Gnarly Buttons – performed by the London Sinfonietta
I have been obsessing over this piece for the previous month and change and this week was the culmination that binge. I am performing this work Saturday Feb 19th at 7:30 pm for FREE with the Peabody Camerata at the Peabody Institute of Music in Griswald Hall. (Shameless self-promotion!) This is not only my first time taking the stage with the Peabody Camerata, but it is also a rare opportunity for me to perform on banjo, mandolin, and guitar.
This work is an absolute gem for its ability to be funny without gimmicks or lyrics, showcase individual and ensemble virtuosity, and express some genuine moments of beauty and tenderness. This is really a special and unique piece, however it speaks best for itself when it is live so come see the show.
Sergio and Odair Assad: Infancia – composed by Egberto Gismonti
This piece is simply cool – I don't feel I need to say more than that, but I will. Sergio and Odair are Brazilian, brothers, and classical guitarists. Their musicianship and technical command of the instrument is unrivaled. What I enjoy most about this performance is there ability to make unequivocally clear the melody and phrase length while the piece is in perpetual motion.
This piece found its way into this list because I was listening to it with some of my classical guitar students after they performed in duos for the first time. If you can't better inform your duo practice after listening to the Assads, you might need to get out of the game.
Gustav Mahler: 5th Symphony Mvt IV Adiagietto – performed by Christoph Von Dohnayi & The Cleveland Orchestra
My listening this week was largely informed by my own performance and practice schedule. After this Saturday's Camerata concert (more shameless self-promotion, click here for details) I will being rehearsals for the next subsequent concert with the ensemble in which I will be playing the mandolin in Gustav Mahler's "Das Lied Von Der Erde". This catalyst got me listening to Mahler again recently and it started with a revisit to my favorite movement from his 5th Symphony.
In short, this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. I did not become acquainted with this symphony until my junior year of college; it's a mystery I ever made it that far in life without hearing this work. The delicacy and direction of this recording will stop me flat every time. My favorite moment comes about 2/3rds of the way through the performance when the harps make the return of the original melody.
The Velvet Underground: Loaded – Sweet Jane
This was the Monday morning announcement song of the day at the high school where I teach. Normally I detest the song selections but this Monday they got it right. Unfortunately, not one of my period one guitar students where familiar with the song or band.(!) A cold wave of utter disappointment and shock rained down upon them after this realization. I hope they have learned the errors of their ways. This is one of my all time top 5 favorite rock and roll albums ever, and really, who could argue that.
Happy Apple: Happy Apple Back on Top – The New Bison
Finally I wanted to include Happy Apple because they were a sort of aural pallet cleanser this week. When Happy Apple plays, the room should always stop and listen. The boys in Happy Apple have swag. I have always loved their music and their unapologetic, no holds barred approach to jazz.
If this collection is the result of a work schedule getting me down, then work is alright. You dig?