Massenet’s Méditation from Thaïs is one of the most beautiful pieces ever composed. Even if you don’t recognize the title, it’s likely you’ve heard it in a movie or commercial – it recently appeared on the soundtrack to Liberal Arts. You can download a recording featuring Scottish violinist Nicola Benedett and French pianist Julien Quentin at the Gardner Museum Music Library.
Benedetti was also featured on a recent Tiny Desk Concert, performing the theme from Schindler’s List and the Chaconne from Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin. I also love her version of Spiegel Im Spiegel.
All Those Days to Feel Better is the latest release from busy Chicago-based singer-songwriter Derek Clegg. It’s a wonderfully twangy collection of songs. That album as well as several others by Clegg are available for free download at Bandcamp and the Free Music Archive.
The Grammys broadcast this year was perhaps my favorite of the past decade. The crossover of indie-rock artists to mainstream Top 40 radio is a welcome change. Among my favorite moments of the night was seeing pop luminaries enthusiastically joining in with the chorus to “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. That song is included in this live set from KEXP, recorded in April of last year.
One of my favorite songs this past year has been “Hold On” by Alabama Shakes – it is now available for download as a free, legal mp3 on Amazon as part of the MTV Artists Sampler. Kodaline, Stars, Everest, Samantha Crain, and Two Gallants are among the other artists featured.
Listening to my ipod on shuffle, an unfamiliar track came on and I thought to myself: “Is this Norah Jones?” The singer was Marium Bria, a singer/songwriter based in Charleston, West Virginia. Marium Bria’s voice is like Norah Jones fused with Julie London – I yearn for her to record a jazz standards collection. Bria’s coruscating lyrics prove the profundity of simple love songs.
Some highlights from Marium Bria’s debut album, Billet Doux, include the appealingly Dylanesque “It’s Alright,” the bluesy “Die For Me,” and “In the Midnight,” which cries out for placement on the soundtrack to the upcoming Before Midnight. “You and me and the night makes three…“
You can stream selected tracks from the album here and purchase at the links below.
Dublin’s Wonderland Productions released a new audio recording of James Joyce’s Dubliners, just in time for me to purchase a copy at Hodges Figgis during a visit to Ireland last month. It is an immersing audio experience with music and sound effects.
You can listen to the audio trailer below and purchase a copy (for about quarter the price I paid!) at Amazon.
The collection is not quite complete, so I also recommend the recently released Librivox collection narrated by Dubliner Tadhg Hynes. You can also find my narration of the concluding story, “The Dead,” at Librivox.
I’m a couple of years late to the party on this one but, my goodness, I love this song. The Shangri-Las have been resurrected (with all due respect to the still rocking Mary Weiss)! Hunx & His Punx describe their music as “Hairdresser Pop.” You can download the free mp3 of their song, “Lovers Lane,” below…
Richard Strauss’ exhilarating symphonic tone poem, An Alpine Symphony, transports you along on a climb to the top of the Alps. It’s an often overlooked masterpiece and you can download it free thanks to Deutsche Welle. It was difficult to find credit, but I believe this recording is by Kent Nagano with the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester.
I have loved this music, particularly the adagio, since hearing it in a movie in the mid-90s. Clarinetist Umesh Shankar has generously made Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto available in its entirety for free download along with many other works. There are two versions, the second seems to have less background noise…