Spider Sounds: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about 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” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Liza (class of 2017) and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver”. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Liza!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

If you haven’t heard of Bon Iver before, you can already get a feeling of their music with a glimpse at this album’s cover artwork.
Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded by the singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best New Alternative Music Album for Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

Differentiating himself from the typical sounds of “folk,” Vernon combined chamber pop with an edge to create his own sounds from scratch. His soulful voice remains a unique characteristic that no other singer sounds like; he evokes an earthy virtuosic voice that you can easily get lost in when listening to his lyrics.

The album is composed of 10 songs, each representing a place. In particular, “Holocene,” is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its ability to trigger dozens of emotions within seconds. I would recommend listening to Bon Iver when you’re in a “chill” and relaxed mood or even when you’re studying, so come by the Parsons Music Library to check it out!

Spider Sounds

New CDs added in September!

New CDs for September 2016


Beyonce – Lemonade
Bratmobile – Pottymouth
Pink Floyd – The Wall

Beyonce - Lemonade

The Runaways – The Best of the Runaways
Screaming Females – Castle Talk
Siouxsie and the Banshees – The Best of Siouxsie and the Banshees

The Suffers

The Suffers – The Suffers
Team Dresch – Personal Best
X-Ray Spex – Germfree Adolescents

X-Ray Spex - Germfree Adolescents


Benjamin Britten- Billy Budd

Billy Budd

Avant Garde

John Cage and Sun Ra – John Cage Meets Sun Ra: The Complete Concert, June 8, 1986, Coney Island, NY

John Cage Meets Sun Ra

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


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


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

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

New CDs added in December!

New CDs for December 2015


Susan Allen – Postcard From Heaven
Franz Schubert – The Unauthorised Piano Duos, Volume 3

Postcard From Heaven

Early Music

Psallentes – Missa Transfigurationis

Missa Transfigurationis

Film Music

Carmine Coppola and Francis Coppola – Apocalypse Now Redux
James Newton Howard – Snow Falling On Cedars

Snow Falling On Cedars


Various Artists – Soul Of Sue Records
Various Artists – I’m A Good Woman – Funk Classics From Sassy Soul

I'm A Good Woman


Lafayette Harris, Jr. Trio – Bend To The Light
Jacob Fischer- … In New York City
Donald Vega – With Respect To Monty

Bend To The Light

Band Music

The President’s Own U.S. Marine Band – Elements


World/Folk Music

George Wassouf – The Best of George Wassouf
Various Artists – Teen Dance Music From China and Malaysia
Voices of Ireland – Lord of the Dance and Other Famous Irish Songs &

Teen Dance Music From China and Malaysia

“There Are Places I’ll Remember …” – The Beatles’ Rubber Soul turns 50

The Beatles - Rubber Soul

Rubber Soul is the sixth album released by the Beatles. It was issued in the UK on December 3rd, 1965, fifty years ago. (And was released in an altered form in the US on December 6th, 1965.) The album was the first album the Beatles recorded during a continuous period (between October 12th and November 15th, 1965) instead of being recorded piecemeal between tour gigs. This gave the band an opportunity to craft an album that was a more cohesive and introspective unit. Rubber Soul‘s 14 songs (11 composed by John Lennon & Paul McCartney, 2 composed by George Harrison and 1 written by Lennon, McCartney and Ringo Starr) are stylistically diverse, incorporating elements of R&B, folk rock, pop, soul and psychedelia. It is also the first Beatles album to NOT include any cover songs (i.e., songs orignally written and recorded by other artists).

Rubber Soul was unique for many reasons. The Beatles were beginning to experiment with lyrics that were not necessarily about boy-girl romance and are more lyrically sophisticated than songs like “She Loves You“. “Nowhere Man” isn’t about romance at all — a first on a Beatles album.

The group also experiments with incorporating unusual instruments (for the time) and sounds onto the album. George Harrison’s use of the sitar on Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood” helped to spark a musical craze for Indian instruments in pop music. Other “world music” influences are evident in the jazzy French style of McCartney’s “Michelle” and a Greek flavored accompaniment on Lennon’s “Girl” (with acoustic guitars standing in for bouzoukis). “In My Life” features an instrumental bridge with a Bach-like passage played on piano, but sped up to sound like a harpsichord.

The Beatles’ willingness to experiment in the studio was a feature of their work that would continue to develop by leaps and bounds over their next couple of albums. The spirit of experimentation even extended to the album cover itself, which featured a distorted image of the Fab 4 and, unlike most pop albums of the time, did NOT feature the name of the band on the front cover.

Rubber Soul remains a fulfilling album to listen to and to quote music critic Walter Everett, “was made more to be thought about than danced to, and this began a far-reaching trend.”

Music for France


In light of the terrible events in Paris, France this past Friday, we at the Parsons Music Library have decided to share some music selections in solidarity with the people of France (and the victims of violence all over the world).

Many people have found ways to pay musical tribute to Paris, here are just a couple of lovely examples:

A man traveled to the Bataclan to play John Lennon’s “Imagine” near the site of one of the attacks. Read more from a Rolling Stone article here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-pianist-perform-john-lennons-imagine-outside-paris-bataclan-20151114

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City paid tribute on Saturday with a rendition of the French National Anthem “La Marseilles”. Here’s a New York Times blog post with more info: http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/at-metropolitan-opera-support-for-paris-sounds-out-with-singing-of-frances-national-anthem/?_r=0

You can pay the Music Library a visit and get many CDs featuring French music in all sorts of genres as well — here is a small sampling:

The Voice of the Sparrow: The Very Best of Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf cd

Indispensible Django Reinhardt
Django Reinhardt CD

Salute To France
Salute To France

Debussy: Great Orchestral Works
Debussy CD

French Flag

In the mood for something spooky?

Jack O Lanterns

It’s late October and many folks around campus may well be looking for fun things to help them get into the Halloween “spirit”.

Maybe you’re tired of the usual suspects like “Ghostbusters“, “Thriller” or “The Monster Mash” and want to branch out? (All of the aforementioned songs, incidentally, are available to check out on CD here.)

Well, the Music Library can definitely help you get your spooky on, if you are so inclined!

For example, we have quite a few film soundtracks that could spice up your Halloween listening:

Bernard Hermann‘s soundtrack to the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic film Psycho might fit the bill (just stay away from the shower!)

Psycho soundtrack CD cover

We also have other cool film soundtracks like Max Steiner‘s score for the 1933 film King Kong

King Kong soundtrack CD

And CD compilations like The Definitive Horror Music Collection which has horror movie music selections dating from 1922 to 2009.

The Definitive Horror Music Collection CD set

In addition to film soundtracks we have some movie musicals that might make good seasonal viewing such as the adaptation of Stephen Sondheim‘s bloody good melodrama Sweeney Todd

Sweeney Todd film poster

or the sci-fi/rock craziness of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show

You can also go DIY with Rocky Horror and check out sheet music with an accompaniment CD if you’re feeling especially Time Warp-y!

Rocky Horror Vocal Selections

You can also thrill to the ghostly sounds of the theremin — an electronic musical instrument that is controlled without physical contact. It was/is often featured in sci-fi and horror movies like The Day The Earth Stood Still. (Fun fact: Bernard Hermann did the music for this film as well!)

The Day The Earth Stood Still soundtrack

We have a cool documentary about the stranger-than-true story of the theremin that can be checked out, as well as an assortment of CDs that feature the instrument.

Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey

In a classical vein (pun totally intended) you can find recordings of things like Berlioz‘s Symphonie Fantastique, Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre or Mussorgsky’s Night On Bald Mountain in a variety of formats (LP, CD, streaming) for your seasonal delectation and delight.

Danse Macabre

We even have sound effects CDs to help you create your own spooky atmosphere at Halloween parties.


So why not pay us a visit and check out some Halloween fun? We’re dying to see you! *rimshot*

Halloween Music Collection - Midnight Syndicate

Richmond Folk Festival

Richmond Folk Festival Poster 2015

This year’s festival poster was created by RVA’s own Bizhan Khodabandeh

The Richmond Folk Festival has brought world class musicians to the City of Richmond since 2005.    It is a FREE event and attracts thousands of people to Richmond’s riverfront (Brown’s Island and environs)  to celebrate the richness and diversity of America’s culture through music, crafts, dance, storytelling and food. It also provides an excellent opportunity to experience music and performances that are not commonly seen in Virginia and to appreciate different musical styles.

This year’s festival takes place October 9th-11th and features an amazing mixture of performers such as:

DJ Grandmaster Flash

DJ Grandmaster Flash

Hip hop legend DJ Grandmaster Flash from New York, NY, best known for “The Message” and his work with the Furious Five. (We have several CDs, DVDs, and other resources featuring his work or information about it in our collection.

Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe

Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe

The Cambodian American Heritage Dance Troupe will perform in elaborate costumes with traditional instrumental accompaniment. You can find assorted resources to help you learn more about Cambodian classical music and dance in the library and online.

Feedel Band

Feedel Band

Feedel Band, an Ethio-jazz band from Addis Ababa via Washington, D.C. Ethio-jazz is a fusion of traditional Ethopian music with jazz, funk, soul and Latin rhythms.

Grupo Rebolu

Grupo Rebolu

Grupo Rebolu is an Afro-Colombian ensemble that plays a mix of indigenous, African and modern instruments and sings in Spanish. Their music is rooted in traditions of the Caribbean coast of Colombia and dancing is encouraged!

The Alt

The Alt

If you’re into Celtic music you can see performances by The Alt, a trio of master Irish musicians. The group takes its name from The Alt, a storied glen on the slopes of Knocknarea in County Sligo, said to be the final resting place of the ancient Irish warrior-queen Maeve.

In honor of the Richmond Folk Festival (and in case you can’t make it since it’s happening during Fall Break), the Parsons Music Library has created a small exhibit featuring examples of the types of music that you can find at the Folk Fest this year as well as some examples of specific performers that will be attending.   Items include books, CDs and DVDs. You can check out the exhibit in the library through the end of October.

We also have an assortment of streaming audio from musicians participating in the folk festival that can be accessed if you are a UR Student, Faculty or Staff Member. You will need to sign in with your UR email address and password to access most of our streaming content.

The Campbell Brothers - Sacred Steel

The Campbell Brothers – Sacred Steel On Tour

Sacred steel is a musical style and African American gospel tradition that developed in Pentecostal churches during the 1930s. Per the Richmond Folk Festival’s website: “Named for the metal bar – often made of steel – that players slide over strings to vary the pitch of notes, steel guitarists have provided the driving musical force for spirit-filled church services for nearly eighty years. The signature sound remains one characterized by single-note passages that uncannily imitate African American vocal styles. This unique musical tradition, rarely heard outside the church before the early 1990s, has since captivated the ears of the nation and world. Among the finest ambassadors of sacred steel are the Campbell Brothers.”

Here is a link where you can hear some of their music: https://newman.richmond.edu/login?qurl=https://search.alexanderstreet.com/view/work/385813

Shemkia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

Schooled in Texas blues by her father and raised in Harlem, Shemekia Copeland creates music that reflects gritty urban realities and weaves together blues, soul, and rock and roll.

Here’s a link to some streaming audio of her for you to enjoy: https://newman.richmond.edu/login?qurl=https://search.alexanderstreet.com/view/work/2130437

You can also have a listen to streaming audio by artists like rockabilly icon Sleepy LaBeef or out of this world big band free jazz groups like the Sun Ra Arkestra (which bears the name of its founder and bandleader, Sun Ra, who named himself after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun, and claimed to be from Saturn!).

The Richmond Folk Festival offers something for everyone and is well worth investigating further either by attending the FREE event yourself or by visiting the music library to learn more about resources that we offer relating to it!

Richmond Folk Festival Logo

New CD’s added this month!


Maurice André – Hummel | Molter – Concertos
Jonathan Dawe – A Noise Did Rise
Granados | Dosse – Complete Piano Music, Vol. 2
Festetics Quartet – Haydn: The Complete String Quartets Played on Period Instruments
Marin Marais – 6 Suites
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov – The Snow Maiden
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov – La Nuit de Mai
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov – Sadko
Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov – La Nuit de Noel


Keith Jarrett | Charlie Haden | Paul Motian – Hamburg ’72
Spanish Harlem Orchestra – United We Swing
Spanish Harlem Orchestra – Viva La Tradición
Vijay Iyer Trio – Break Stuff