From Jackie Cantwell
Author: Taylor Swift
Title: 1989 [sound recording CD]
This is Taylor Swift’s first pure pop album. And it is nearly pop perfection. Even if you’re not the expected demographic listener for this CD, like me, you may find yourself humming these songs. Not only do I have a deeper respect for Swift’s songwriting abilities, I admire her collaborators such as Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote “Out of the Woods” and “I Wish You Would”. Antonoff plays acoustic, electric and bass guitar as well as drums and keyboards on these tracks. The strongest track is probably the first that was released, and that is “Shake It Off”. “Bad Blood” has evocative imagery and reminds me of Avril LaVigne. “Blank Space” and “All You Had to Do Was Stay” also remind me of Avril LaVigne songs which shouldn’t be a surprise, as they both collaborated with Max Martin, the Swedish producing marvel. The tone of the album seems to be nostalgia for lost love, but at the same time, it’s fun to listen to. Harry Styles is rumored to be the subject of “Style” and “Out Of the Woods”. “Welcome to New York” is another strong track which is about re-inventing oneself and taking on the challenge of a new city (or identity). “This Love” was written entirely by Swift and it’s a beautiful, dreamy song. “I Know Places” seems to warn lovers that the paparazzi will try to find them but she can hide: “They are the hunters, we are the foxes and we run.” “Clean”, co-written with Imogen Heap,likens the end of a relationship with going sober. Some songs repeat these phrases: wildest dreams, Oh my God, mad love, sink (or sinking) ships; while other songs repeat references to the words: ghosts, lips, cheeks, and insane. I love you, Taylor, but I hope you got a thesaurus for Christmas! Grade: A-.
From Edna Susman
Author: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: MOZART [SOUND RECORDING CD] : PIANO CONCERTOS K 503 & K 466 / MARTHA ARGERICH, CLAUDIO ABBADO.
As with preserving photos from the past by scanning and saving to computer or disc, the music world is fortunate to have recordings of the great conductors and performers to enjoy long after their passing. The library is acquiring this recording of the brilliant pianist Martha Argerich with conductor Claudio Abbado, who passed away January 2014. The performance was recorded live in 2013 at the Lucerne Festival. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times calls the performances “phenomenal”. Abbado’s conducting specialites included opera as well as the standard classical and contemporary works. This beautiful recording should be enjoyed by all as among one of the last by the great conductor.
From Edna Susman
Author: J. Peter Burkholder
Title: A history of western music
In 1960, Donald Jay Grout wrote the first edition of this one-volume standard history of music. It is now in its ninth edition and still serves as the THE definitive English-language general history of Western music used in colleges and universities. Since Grout’s death in 1987, the work has been co-written by Claude Palisca and J. Peter Burkholder. With this revision, we find new repertoire, new information on performance careers and practice, updated timelines and more. Chapters are organized chronologically and include the social and historical context, styles, key composers, genres, and works of each period.
From Edna Susman
Author: Beethoven Ludwig van
Title: Animals in music [sound recording CD]
This 2-CD set is an excellent vehicle to introduce classical music to anyone unfamiliar with it, children or adults alike. Pieces included are taken from the early Baroque period to modern day. Some include the piece in its entirety such as “The Wasps: Overture” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens. Others, just the relevant movement is included such as from “Pictures at an Exhibition: no. 9 Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks” by Modest Mussorgsky, from “Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67:2, The Bird or Op. 67:3, The Duck” by Sergei Prokofiev, from “Tale of the Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 – Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and from “Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 114, D. 667, The Trout, Theme with Variations” by Franz Schubert to name just a few. Since often only parts of the entire piece are played, this is a wonderful sampling of music especially for those wanting to learn more about classical music.
From Edna Susman
Author: Johannes Brahms
Title: Brahms Complete Edition [sound recording CD]
Just released in April 2014, this set of 58 discs is a treasure! To have all of Brahms’ works in one set is a gold mine for any classical music lover. The performers include the top names in the music world such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, the New Philharmonia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin, Sir John Barbirolli, Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, the Tokyo String Quartet and more. Each work from Brahms’ symphonic, solo, chamber music and vocal repertoire is listed separately so that it is easy to choose what you’d like to listen to. There are over 400 works in this set.
From Edna Susman
Author: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
Title: CPE Bach : the collection [sound recording CD]
In honor of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s 300th birthday, the Library has added this 13-CD box collection to its classical music collection. CPE Bach (1714-1788) was the second son of J.S. Bach and is considered an important figure in the transition from the Baroque to the Classical styles. He wrote in numerous genres which are presented here, from keyboard works for both harpsichord and piano, to works for various solo instruments (flute, oboe, organ and cello) to symphonies for full orchestra. Renowned and influential figures such as Gustav Leonhardt perform on this wonderful collection
From Margaret Mezzacapo
The Baroness by Hannah Rothschild
This is the true story of how Nica Rothschild, of the rich and powerful European Rothschild family, chucked her husband and four children to become a devotee of jazz musician Thelonius Monk. Needless to say, this raises quite a few eyebrows, both in America and back home in Europe. Racial prejudice, World Wars and family opposition assault Nica in her pursuit of happiness. An interesting and provocative read.
From Ellen Druda
Author: David Browne
Fire and Rain: the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor and the lost story of 1970
1970 was a pivotal year for me too, so I was really looking forward to enjoying this behind –the-scenes look at some of my favorite musicians from that time. Browne does a good job of interweaving the groups’ careers and personal lives, how they intersected and splintered, and rose and fell. Despite my affection for the subject matter and time period, I found the writing a bit dry. Not much fire and rain, but an interesting read if you remember the year.
From Jackie Cantwell
Author: various performers
The Beatles [sound recording CD] : the rock biographies : the world’s greatest music performed by top musicians
One has to have audacity to produce an album of cover versions of the Beatles music. Musicians as diverse as Little River Band and Molly Hatchet to Dweezil Zappa and Air Supply tried to bring something new or different to classic Beatles tunes. I think they all failed miserably with the exception of Jackson Browne who brings an ethereal and lilting voice to the song ”Across the Universe”. Ordinarily I’m floored by the talents of Fee Waybill of The Tubes, but his version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” was dull and uninspired. Some of these songs are even painful to listen to. Leave me with my memories of the Beatles!
From Chris Garland
author: Johnson, Eric
Up close [sound recording]
Texas guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson returns with his latest album, Up Close. If you are fan of guitar music, this album delivers. The album has a more spontaneous feel than previous Johnson efforts which tend to strive for sonic perfection. Thematically the album is pop/rock with a touch of blues and country, a departure for Johnson since on past albums he delves into all musical genres. Guests include Steve Miller on the blues classic “Texas” where Johnson and Jimmie Vaughn trade solos. Another standout track is the autobiographical tune “Austin” where Johnny Lang takes the lead vocal. Eric shines on the pop instrumental “Gem” and adds one of his greatest guitar solos to the song “Arithmetic”. The album concludes with Johnson paying tribute to his father on the tune “Your Book” where Sonny Landreth add his poignant slide guitar. Up Close is a terrific disc that stands up well to the artist’s best work.