Spider Sounds: The Carpenters “Now and Then”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Xixi, one of our student workers, and features the mellow 1970s pop stylings of The Carpenters. Thanks, Xixi!

The Carpenters

Now And Then

The Carpenters - Then And Now

In the Carpenters’ 1973 album Now and Then, we got to hear some of the world’s best known songs like “Jambalaya” and “Yesterday Once More.” With Karen Carpenter’s deep melodic voice and Richard Carpenter’s skilled and classical use of string instruments, we hear a smooth harmonious mixture of country, folk, and bluegrass music. The Carpenters were a big hit in the UK, US, and Japan during the 1970s. Many of their songs have been revisited and covered by other artists.

When you feel stressed, frustrated, or lost, listen to the Carpenters’ Now and Then. Every single song aims to tell a story of happiness and sorrow, memories of past and present. You are welcomed not just as an audience, but also a listener, a participant, and a close friend, thinking of “those were such happy times and not so long ago, how I wondered where they’d gone.”

To me, listening to Carpenters’ music is beyond the expression of words, and I always have different thoughts about it at different time periods. I guess that’s the charm of this album and
the Carpenters’ music, that no matter when or where you hear them, you can always be renewed and enriched by the lyrics and rhythm of their songs.

Come visit the Parsons Music Library and discover what we have available!

New CDs added in March!

New CDs for March 2016

Classical

Helene Grimaud – Water

Helene Grimaud - Water

Opera

Giuseppe Verdi – Attila
Giuseppe Verdi – Oberto

Verdi - Oberto

Verdi - Attila

Pop/Rock/R&B

David Bowie – Blackstar

David Bowie - Blackstar

Jazz

Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest – Sylva

Snarky Puppy - Sylva

Blues

Buddy Guy – Born To Play Guitar

Buddy Guy - Born To Play Guitar

Spider Sounds: John Mayer “Continuum”

Editor’s Note:“Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is a bit unusual — two different student workers actually have chosen to write about the same 2006 album by John Mayer. So we are presenting both Aly and Mary’s individual takes on this album in the same post. Thanks to student workers Aly and Mary for contributing to “Spider Sounds”!

John Mayer

Continuum

John Mayer - Continuum

Aly’s thoughts on “Continuum”:

ContinuumJohn Mayer (2006)

Continuum, John Mayer’s third studio album, is a fresh take on guitar-driven pop music. Chances are, you’ve probably heard a few songs from this album before, such as “Gravity,” “Dreaming With a Broken Heart,” or the uplifting “Say (What You Need to Say).” These songs all come together on an outstanding album, which dominated the 49th Grammy Awards – there, Mayer performed “Gravity” live, then went on to sweep the titles for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for the recognizable “Waiting on the World to Change.”

As with all of Mayer’s albums, Continuum features tracks with incredibly vivid lyrics that stand far above many other pop songs that tend to feature an overused dialogue. Mayer’s messages are artful, inspirational, intelligent – they’re quick and concise, and stick with you. In
Continuum, many songs have positive, feel-good themes that any listener would love.

To add to the rich lyricism in Continuum, many tracks have rich guitar rhythms throughout, both acoustic and electric – and Mayer himself does most of it. His technique is undeniably masterful, and should not go unnoticed.

My personal favorite track on the album is “The Heart of Life” (the song’s refrain was actually my senior quote in my high school yearbook!). A sunny, poetic dialogue, effortless vocals, and a fresh guitar foundation – the track embodies everything that makes John Mayer a standout pop singer-songwriter.

John Mayer performs "Gravity"

John Mayer perfoming “Gravity” at the 49th Grammy Awards show. 11 February 2007

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Mary’s thoughts on “Continuum”:

If you’re looking for songs that are deep and meaningful, John Mayer’s third album called Continuum is the way to go. His songs in this album invite you to look at the world, your relationships, and your own life and ponder upon them. After listening to his songs, you would feel as if any brokenness or uncertainty are relieved temporarily. His calm voice placidly talks to you as if you’re sitting with your close friend at a café on a fair day, just talking about how life is going.

If you feel like you have a lot of burden in your life, come check out Continuum at the Parsons Music Library and let music share your burden for a bit.

John Mayer - Continuum

Spider Sounds: Purity Ring “Another Eternity”

Editor’s note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Liza, one of Parsons Music Library‘s student workers and features an album by the Canadian electronic music duo Purity Ring. Thanks, Liza!

Purity Ring

Another Eternity

Purity Ring - "Another Eternity"

If you haven’t heard of Purity Ring, you’re missing out! As a fairly new addition to the Parsons Music Library, Purity Ring combines their own genre of “future pop” with electronic indie in their newest album Another Eternity (2015). The Canadian duo Megan James and Corin Roddick recorded and produced the album themselves, showing off a sharper focus on James’ vocals and Roddick’s evocative percussive skills than in their first album Shrines (2012).

Purity Ring’s songs deliver dream-like melodies intertwined in electronic landscapes as heard in “Bodyache” and “Begin Again.” The duo continues to give rise to prevailing styles in indie music through their resonance of intensive trap beats and smooth, atmospheric lyrics.

If you missed Purity Ring on September 20, 2015 at The National in Richmond, then come to the Music Library to check out their CDs Another Eternity and Shrines!

Purity Ring - "Shrines"

Spider Sounds: Wicked

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by KyungSun, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features the Broadway musical Wicked based on “The Wizard of Oz” and Gregory Maguire‘s literary reimagining of the story. The musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz premiered in 2003 and is still going strong on Broadway and on tour. Thanks, KyungSun!

Wicked

Wicked

It’s one thing to see Broadway or even claim you love live musical theater. But we all know that as artists or avid fans, we LOVE to sing along (or at least try to).

Wicked is one of my favorite musicals. I saw it twice, and teared up both times. Why? If you haven’t seen it, it’s more than cheesy story about friendship. It’s also about the political manipulation, perception, and the power of language. Even more than that, Wicked has gotten me through some pretty tough times. If you haven’t heard of the song “The Wizard and I,” I highly recommend you listen or even better – sing it! – to find your inner confidence. The line, “My future is unlimited. And I’ve just had a vision almost like a prophecy. I know – it’s truly crazy. And true, the vision’s hazy. But I swear, someday there will be a celebration throughout Oz, that’s all to do with me.” This line reminds me to keep dreaming even when your own hometown is literally against you. If you’ve seen the beginning of The Wizard of Oz film, you’ll know why this particular lyric is important. Sure, other songs like “Popular” aren’t something we can (or should) sing as our life anthem, but it’s so much fun to try out…in your own room. Be sure to check out the Parsons Music Library‘s extensive collection of your favorite musicals if you’re ever in need of a sing your heart out moment!

New CDs added in February!

New CDs for February 2016

Classical

Alexsandr Scriabin – Complete Preludes
Jean Sibelius – Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6
Jean Sibelius – Symphonies Nos. 6 and 7: “The Tempest” Suite No. 2

Sibelius -  Symphonies 6 & 7

Jazz

Joey Alexander – My Favorite Things

Joey Alexander - My Favorite Things

Pop/Rock/R&B

Florence + the Machine – How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Florence + the Machine - How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful

Spider Sounds: Simon & Garfunkel “Live 1969”

Editor’s Note:“Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Cate, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features a classic live album by Simon & Garfunkel. Thanks, Cate!

Simon & Garfunkel

Live 1969

Simon & Garfunkel - Live 1969

I have a special liking for Simon and Garfunkel. They were one of the few artists my parents could agree on, so they made up much of the soundtrack for long car trips, and I remember falling asleep to the music thinking of flower crowns and the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo.

As always with Simon and Garfunkel, the melodies are lovely, woven with simple but really poetic lyrics.

I don’t usually go for live recordings, but listening to the audience was a lot fun. Art does most of the talking, understated and clear, introducing the band politely and quietly prefacing their new song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (a hit with the crowd, unsurprisingly). The album, like one of their songs, starts softly and builds in intensity before letting us go with a gently wit an echo of the melody, and (except for the end) the crowd responds in kind, quiet so that they can listen but becoming more and more excited as the concert goes on.

Hearing the concert performance itself is a real treat. They sound freer; the harmonies swoop higher and swing lower, the guitar is more fevered, the words, still soft, are exposed and bittersweet. A band accompanies them for a few songs, giving “Mrs. Robinson” a more energetic vibe, closer to that of the Lemonheads‘ cover than one would expect from Simon and Garfunkel’s traditional sound. But my personal favorite track, “The Sound of Silence” is just the two of them — more ragged here, and beautiful as ever.

Like awesome music from a couple of guys with a guitar? Stop by the Parsons Music Library and check Simon & Garfunkel — Live 1969 out. Don’t like awesome music from a couple of guys with a guitar? Stop by anyways. We’ve got awesome music in every variety ready to be listened to.

Spider Sounds: Alabama Shakes “Sound & Color”

Editor’s Note: Our “Spider Sounds” feature returns! “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Kasey, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features a CD by a group that just won several Grammy awards (including “Best Rock Song” and “Best Alternative Music Album”). Thanks, Kasey!

Alabama Shakes

Sound & Color

Sound & Color

If you’re looking for something with soul, substance and breadth look no further than Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes. The band’s Southern roots can be heard throughout the album backing raw vocals from their lead singer Brittany Howard and an array of instruments – some expected and some not. Whether you’re doing homework, hanging out with friends or cruising around town, Sound & Color by Alabama Shakes is sure to have your head bobbing to the beat. Find this album and many more at Parsons Music Library!

New CDs added in January!

New CDs for January 2016

Jazz

Herbie Hancock – Future Shock

Futureshock

Pop/Rock/R&B

Adele – 25

Adele 25

Aerosmith – Honkin’ On Bobo
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color

Sound & Color

Drake – If Youre Reading This Its Too Late
Elle King – Love Stuff
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

To Pimp A Butterfly

Lamb of God – VII: Sturm und Drang
Bettye Lavette – Worthy
Mark Ronson – Uptown Special
Mavis Staples – One True Vine

Mavis Staples - One True Vine

Tame Impala – Currents
Taylor Swift – 1989
The Weeknd – Beauty Behind The Madness

The Weeknd - Beauty Behind the Madness

Celebrating Mozart’s 260th Birthday!

Mozart's birthday

Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg on January 27th, 1756. He was a musical prodigy and wrote half of the number of total symphonies he would create between the ages of 8 and 19. Here is a cool little feature article with GIFs about his early life: http://www.sinfinimusic.com/uk/features/other-features/classical-buzz/young-mozart-1756-1791-the-early-years-of-musical-child-prodigies-nannerl-and-wolfgang.

Baby Mozart

Although he only lived to be 35, he composed over 600 works during his lifetime. Many of which are acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music. He is among the most enduringly popular of classical composers, and his influence on subsequent Western art music is profound.

In honor of his birthday here are some interesting facts:

* Mozart, his father, and his sister traveled around the noble courts of Europe to perform music. Travel was difficult in those days, and all three Mozarts suffered serious illnesses on the road. Wolfgang never grew to be a strong man, and researchers believe his many illnesses as a child left him small, pale, and delicate.

* While in Vienna as a child, Mozart performed for Empress Maria Theresa. He amused her when he asked one of her young daughters to marry him. She was Marie Antoinette, the future queen of France.

* Among Mozart’s prolific musical creations are 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, 5 violin concertos, 27 concert arias, 23 string quartets, 18 masses, and 22 operas.

* When Mozart visited the Sistine Chapel as a child, he astonished everyone when he remembered and wrote down, note for note, Allegri’s Miserere. This composition had been previously kept a secret.

This grand piano is attributed to Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, a friend of the Mozart family, whom Leopold Mozart (Wolfgang's father) helped to secure the job of court organ and instrument maker in Salzburg. In the 1980s, an extensive cleaning revealed the initials of Wolfgang Mozart scratched inside long ago. It is possible that Mozart played this piano in Salzburg.  You can see this instrument at the Metropolitan Museum of Art now.  http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/505526

This grand piano is attributed to Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, a friend of the Mozart family, whom Leopold Mozart (Wolfgang’s father) helped to secure the job of court organ and instrument maker in Salzburg. In the 1980s, an extensive cleaning revealed the initials of Wolfgang Mozart scratched inside long ago. It is possible that Mozart played this piano in Salzburg. You can see this instrument at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

* Constanze Weber was Mozart’s wife and her father Fridolin’s half-brother was the father of composer Carl Maria von Weber. Constanze had three sisters, Josepha, Aloysia and Sophie, who were all were trained as singers and later performed in premieres of a number of Mozart’s works.

* Mozart’s compositions were cataloged in the 19th century by Köchel, and they are now generally distinguished by the K. numbering from this catalog such as Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus K.618.

* In the largest-ever recording project devoted to a single composure, Philips Classic produced 180 compact discs in 1991 containing the complete set of authenticated works by Mozart. It comprises over 200 hours of music and would take over 6.5 feet of shelving.

* Mozart’s music has featured in quite a few films. For example, his “Duettino- Sull’aria” from one of Mozart’s most popular operas The Marriage of Figaro makes an appearance in The Shawshank Redemption.

We have all manner of interesting recordings, scores, books, and DVDs featuring the works of Mozart here at the Parsons Music Library. Why not come and see what we have to offer? We are always happy to assist.

Here are a very few (out of hundreds) of possibilities (links will take you to the relevant records in the library catalog):

Mozart speaks : views on music, musicians, and the world : drawn from the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other early accounts  / selected and with commentary by Robert L. Marshall.

Mozart speaks : views on music, musicians, and the world : drawn from the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other early accounts / selected and with commentary by Robert L. Marshall.


Mozart speaks : views on music, musicians, and the world : drawn from the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other early accounts

Mozart's opera  "Don Giovanni" premiered in 1787.  This is but one of many recordings.

Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” premiered in 1787. This is but one of many recordings.


Don Giovanni

Score of Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor
Symphony no. 40 in G minor, K. 550 ; Symphony no. 41 in C, K. 551

Actor Tom Hulce plays "Wolfie" in the 1984 film adaptation of Peter Shaffer's play "Amadeus."

Actor Tom Hulce plays “Wolfie” in the 1984 film adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s play “Amadeus.”


Amadeus on DVD

We have many recordings of Mozart's Piano Concertos.   (This one happens to be on DVD.)

We have many recordings of Mozart’s Piano Concertos. (This one happens to be on DVD.)


Mozart : great piano concertos : vol. II, nos. 1, 4, 23 & 24

Staging Scenes from the Operas of  Mozart
Staging scenes from the operas of Mozart : a guide for teachers and singers by William Ferrara