Arachnophonia: Death Cab For Cutie “Transatlanticism”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student worker Cole (class of 2021) and features Transatlanticism the fourth studio album by indie rock band Death Cab For Cutie originally released in 2003. Thanks, Cole!

Death Cab For Cutie


Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism

“So this is the New Year
And I don’t feel any different”

So begins Death Cab for Cutie’s 2003 album Transatlanticism, and so too begins another calendar year. I mentioned this record in my previous Arachnophonia post, so I found it fitting to further detail it for my first submission of 2018. Written entirely by front man Ben Gibbard and recorded at the same time as The Postal Service’s Give Up, Transatlanticism offers a darker and more personal rumination on love than the synth-pop optimism of Gibbard’s collaboration with Jimmy Tamborello. Whereas Give Up dwells on relationships past, it ultimately is a celebration of those experiences. Transatlanticism is principally about the distances from others–physical and otherwise – that prevent us from being happy. It condemns, rather than celebrates, past failures.

Gibbard’s obsession with destructive distance is evident from the first moments of the album, and indeed the record’s name itself. The aforementioned intro track “The New Year” finds him mocking the inane celebration of the New Year’s holiday. Eventually, the song drops its cynical façade and ends with an honest rumination about the first type of distance addressed in the album – geographic:

“I wish the world was flat like the old days
Then I could travel just by folding a map
No more airplanes, or speed trains, or freeways
There’d be no distance that can hold us back”

Gibbard has become disillusioned about the “magic” of the New Year. Rather than celebrating with his friends the progression of time, he chooses instead to lament about “the old days” when the world was flat, senselessly believing that this would somehow allow him to be closer to his estranged lover.

Further on, numerous songs wrestle with an entirely different form of distance – temporal. In “We Looked Like Giants,” the second to last track of the album, Gibbard reminisces over the novelty of first love.

“I’ve become what I always hated when I was with you then
We looked like giants in the back of my grey subcompact
Fumbling to make contact as the others slept inside”

He notes the irony of how much he’s changed in the days since his high school affair and views the entire experience with an acute awareness of their naïveté. Unlike most other songs from Transatlanticism, Gibbard doesn’t pine for anything here. “We Looked Like Giants” reminisces but doesn’t dwell. It examines an old flame for what it was, not what it might have been, and in doing so provides the closest thing to a sense of closure found on the album.

Contrarily, “Title and Registration” recounts a personal experience of Ben Gibbard, stumbling across pictures of an ex-lover he “tried to forget” while searching for a legal document in the glove compartment of his car. He reminisces about this love lost thus:

“There’s no blame
For how our love did slowly fade
And now that it’s gone
It’s like it wasn’t there at all
And here I rest
Where disappointment and regret collide
Lying awake at night”

Gibbard takes an intriguing stance in this verse, first asserting that there’s “no blame” for the end of the relationship, but still expresses “disappointment and regret.” He takes issue not with the ending of the affair, but with how both parties allowed their love to extinguish with whimper. It’s only now, since distance has developed from the ending of the relationship, that Gibbard is tormented by his failure.

The final form of distance addressed in Transatlanticism, and indeed the most crucial, is emotional. As suggested in “Title and Registration,” Gibbard’s deepest wounds are delivered not by betrayal, but the slow division that sedates love into apathy. In “Expo ’86,” he critiques the very pursuit of love itself:

“Sometimes I think this cycle never ends
We slide from top to bottom then we turn and climb again
And it seems by the time that I have figured what it’s worth
The squeaking of our skin against the steel has gotten worse
But if I move my place in line, I’ll lose
And I have waited, the anticipation’s got me glued
I am waiting for something to go wrong
I am waiting for familiar resolve”

Like Sisyphus eternally rolling his boulder up a hill, only for it to roll back once he’s reached the top, Ben Gibbard feels trapped in a never-ending cycle of relationships. He desperately wants more than anything to just finish. This fixation with repetition prevents him from truly engaging in any meaningful way. Instead, he’s just “waiting for something to go wrong.”

Death Cab For Cutie

This dissociation from romantic endeavors is what drives Gibbard in “Tiny Vessels.” Here, he confesses to his emotional detachment, painting himself in a selfish and potentially even misogynistic light:

“So one last touch, and then you’ll go
And we’ll pretend that it meant something so much more
But it was vile, and it was cheap
And you are beautiful
But you don’t mean a thing to me”

Heartbreak after heartbreak has driven Gibbard from seeking passionate love to purely physical stimulation – the very transformation he despises. While “Tiny Vessels” proves to be a moral recession, it exists to embolden the revelation of the next song, the title track “Transatlanticism.”

Just shy of eight minutes long, “Transatlanticism” stands as the focal point of the album. In many ways it proves to be antithetical to every other song on the record. Rather than a cynical dismissing of past relationships, the title track is a heartbreakingly honest plea for true love. While the song is literally about a man being separated from his lover by the birth of the Atlantic Ocean, in truth it details the death of a relationship at the hands of a widening emotional disconnect.

“Most people were overjoyed
They took to their boats
I thought it less like a lake
And more like a moat”

Gibbard makes use of all three forms of distance – physical, temporal, and emotional, – and in doing so, produces the most genuine and stunning track of the album. Unlike “Title and Registration,” in “Transatlanticism” the speaker hasn’t resigned to simply regret the death of his relationship, because a fragment of it still remains. Rather than accept the slow death, he fights tooth and nail to preserve the love that’s slipping through his fingers. The song crescendos with a simple refrain – “I need you so much closer” – repeated twelve times, and then finally climaxes with the outro:

“So come on, come on
So come on, come on
So come on, come on
So come on, come on”

In my personal opinion, this is Ben Gibbard at his absolute best. Sparse, honest, and absolutely agonizing.

Since its release, Transatlanticism has been near-universally accepted as Death Cab for Cutie’s greatest work, and a seminal album of indie rock. While the band’s fan base consistently ridicules them for their more recent, upbeat outputs (fans often ironically lament how they want Ben Gibbard to be miserable again), Gibbard himself remains realistic about the band’s necessity for evolution. In a 2015 interview with Medium, Gibbard offered this:

“I cannot be the 25-year-old who wrote Transatlanticism as much as the fan can’t be the 19-year-old college student going through a break-up again.”

So I implore you, while you have the opportunity to be that 19-or-20-or-however-old-college-student-going-through-a-break-up-or-whatever-else, listen to Transatlanticism and be it.

Death Cab For Cutie

New CDs added in July!

New CDs for July 2017

Orchestral Music

Ernest Bloch – America (An Epic Rhapsody)
Margaret Brouwer – Orchestral and Percussion Music

Bloch - America

Diana Cotoman – Symphonie No. 1
Diana Cotoman – Symphonie No. 2
Diana Cotoman – Tableaux & Poemes
Frederick Delius – Appalachia / The Song of the High Hills
Henri Dutilleux – Metaboles / The Shadows of Time
Henri Dutilleux – Symphony No. 2

Delius - Appalachia

G.F. Handel – Water Music / Music for the Royal Fireworks
Hans Werner Henze – Drei sinfonische eduden / Quattro poemi / Nachstucke und arien / La selva incantata
Hans Wener Henze – Ode to the West Wind / Five Neapolitan Songs / Three Dithyrambs
Vincent D’Indy – Jour d’ete a la montagne, Op. 61 & Symphonie sur un chant montagnard “Chevenole”, Op. 25
King’s Consort – The Coronation of King George II
Olivier Messiaen – Turangali^la symphony
Christopher Rouse – Odna Zhizn / Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 / Prospero’s Rooms
Bright Sheng – The Phoenix

Bright Sheng - The Phoenix

Chamber Music and Concertos

Martha Argerich – Debut Recital: Chopin, Brahms, Liszt, Ravel, Prokofiev
Ludwig van Beethoven – Bearbeitungen Fur Blaser
Ludwig van Beethoven – Legacy: The Spirit of Beethoven – Gwendolyn Mok
Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Ebb & Flow Arts – Explorations

Martha Argerich

Soovin Kim; Jeremy Denk; Jupiter String Quartet – Concert in D Major; Chausson / Sonata No. 1 in A Major; Faure
Steven Mackey – Banana Dump Truck: Music of Steven Mackey
Sphinx Virtuosi – Live in Concert
Richard Strauss – Violin Concerto / Sonata in Eb
Charles Wuorinen – Ashberyana / Fenton Songs
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich – Violin Concerto / Rituals

Banana Dump Truck

Popular Music

The Chainsmokers – Bouquet
Kaia Kater – Nine Pin
Josh Ritter – Sermon on the Rocks

Chainsmokers - Bouquet

Duncan Sheik – Legerdemain
Various artists – Tamla Motwon : Connoisseurs
Suzanne Vega – Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles

Tamla Motown

Band Music

Thomas Coates – Thomas Coates : The Father of Band Music in America

Thomas Coates

Cantatas, Choruses, Operas and Oratorios

J.S. Bach – St. Mark Passion
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy – Psalmen un Moetetten / Oratorium Christus Op. 97
Ludwig van Beethoven – Fidelio
Ludwig van Beethoven – Missa Solemnis
George Frideric Handel – Amor e gelosia : Operatic Arias
George Frideric Handel – Delirio : Italian Cantatas
George Frideric Handel – Rinaldo

Handel - Rinaldo

Witold Lutoslawski – Twenty Polish Christmas Carols
Musica Ficta – Danske julesalmer og sange
Ariel Ramirez – Missa Criolla / Navidad Nuestra
Paul Schoenfield – Concerto for Violin & Orchestra / Four Motets / The Merchant and the Pauper (excerpts)
John Tavener – Lament for Jerusalem
Kurt Weill – The Seven Deadly Sins

Musica Ficta


Seamus Blake & Chris Cheek with Reeds Ramble – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
Jane Ira Bloom – Early Americans
Avishai Cohen – Into The Silence
The Cookers – The Call of the Wild and Peaceful Heart

Cookers - Call of the Wild

Fred Hersch Trio – Alive at the Vanguard
Harold Lopez-Nussa – El Viaje
Joe Mulholland Trio – Runaway Train

Harold Lopez-Nussa El Viaje-1

Musicals & Film Music

City of Prague Philharmonic – Psycho : The Essential Alfred Hitchcock
Osvaldo Golijov – Youth Without Youth : Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Maury Yeston – Titanic : A New Musical

Psycho: The Essential Alfred Hitchcock

World / Folk Music

Sheila Chandra – Monsoon
Maarja Nuut – Une meeles = In the hold of a dream
Various Artists – Why The Mountains Are Black : Primeval Greek Village Music : 1907-1960
Various Artists – Women of Africa

Women of Africa

It was 50 years ago today …

The BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album was released on June 1, 1967 in the UK and on June 2, 1967 in the US. It became the soundtrack for the fabled “Summer of Love” both influencing and reflecting the flower powered youth culture of the time, but its appeal has proven to be timeless.

Beatles - Sgt. Pepper album cover

The Beatles stopped touring in August of 1966, and took some time off. The group reconvened in November of that year and spent over 400 hours in the studio between November 1966 and April 1967 completing the album. (This was a far cry from their first foray into EMI Studios to record their first album in 1963 — that entire album was recorded in less than 24 hours!) This studio time led to all sorts of interesting musical experimentation and since the group had decided they were done with touring, there was no need to worry about whether the songs could be produced live on stage. The album as a whole is a fascinating almalgamation of harmonium, harpsichord, brass band, fairground noises, harp, psychedelia, Leslie speaker tweaking, multi-tracking, tape loops, full orchestra, crashing apocalyptic piano chords, dog whistles and more. The Beatles’ musical ideas required lots of technical innovation from producer George Martin and studio engineers.

Sgt. Pepper gatefold

The eclectic mix of songs was loosely held together by the “concept” of a fictional Edwardian alter-ego Sgt. Pepper Band and the songs are wonderfully joyful. From the psychedelic marching band music that introduces us to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, to the psychedelic imagery of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” ( title inspired by a drawing by John Lennon’s young son, Julian), to the music hall whimsy of McCartney’s “When I’m Sixty-Four”, to the spiritual tone of Harrison’s sitar-laced “Within You Without You”, to the amazing shifting tones, full orchestral crescendo and avant garde surrealism of “A Day In The Life” (one of the greatest ever Lennon/McCartney collaborations in this author’s opinion), there is much to enjoy, right through to the startling tape loop ending inserted into the run-out groove of the original LPs (and included on CD reissues if you wait for it). The Beatles drew inspiration from varied sources like an 1843 circus poster (“Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite”), a TV cornflakes commercial (“Good Morning, Good Morning”), news stories about runaway teens (“She’s Leaving Home”) or car accidents (“A Day in the Life”).

An alternate take from the Sgt. Pepper cover photo session

An alternate take from the Sgt. Pepper cover photo session

There is just as much to enjoy in a perusal of the album art itself. The cover features a pop art inspired collage of various folks (famous and not so famous) that the Beatles chose as inspirational to them, elaborate gatefold sleeve packaging (with bonus cardboard mustaches and pseudo-military insignia in early pressings) and includes the lyrics to all of the songs printed on the back cover, something that had never been done before with a pop album.

Sgt. Pepper back cover with lyrics

Sgt. Pepper signaled that pop & rock music could also be considered high art or even progressive social expression and more than just disposable entertainment. Musicologists cite Sgt. Pepper as continuing the musical maturation of the Beatles as a group that began with Revolver and Rubber Soul. It was also extremely influential on the development of progressive rock with its emphasis on studio experimentation, elaborate instrumentation and insistence on pushing the boundaries beyond conventional subject matter and track lengths. The album has been an influence on countless others since its release in 1967.

Here’s a sampling of a few of (many) parody takeoffs on the iconic cover:

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention – We’re Only In It For The Money

Frank Zappa & The Mother's Of Invention

The SimpsonsThe Yellow Album

Simpsons - "The Yellow Album"

The RutlesSgt. Rutter’s Only Darts Club BandRutles - Sgt. Rutter

Golden Throats – a compilation of critically lambasted cover songs

Golden Throats

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band consistently ranks in critics and fans listings of best albums of all time. Among numerous accolades and awards, it is ranked # 1 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It’s included in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry and is one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Whether Sgt. Pepper is an old favorite or if it’s brand new to you, this classic album / cultural touchstone is well worth a listen!

Sgt. Pepper cut outs insert

Sgt. Pepper cut outs insert

New CDs added in October!

New CDs for October 2016

Ballet Music

Atlantic Sinfonietta- Music For Martha Graham
Atlantic Sinfonietta- More Music For Martha Graham
Atlantic Sinfonietta – Music For Martha Graham III

Music for Martha Graham


Joey Alexander – Countdown
Seamus Blake – Bellwether
John Daversa- Kaleidoscope Eyes: The Music of the Beatles

John Daversa - Kaleidoscope Eyes

Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson – Dream in the Blue
The Fred Hersch Trio – Sunday Night at the Vanguard
Marquis Hill – The Way We Play

Gazarek/Nelson - Dream in the Blue

Charlie Hunter – Everybody Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Mouth
Charlie Hunter Trio – Let The Bells Ring On
Steve Lehman – Se´le´be´yone

Charlie Hunter - Let The Bells Ring On

Steve Lehman Octet – Mise en abime
Lage Lund – Idlewild
Jeff Parker – The New Breed

Jeff Parker - The New Breed

Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau – Nearness
Catherine Russell – Harlem On My Mind
Dayna Stephens featuring Walter Smith III – Reminiscent

Catherine Russell - Harlem On My Mind

Scott Tixier – Cosmic Adventure
Steve Turre – Colors for the Masters
Ben Wendel – What We Bring

Scott Tixier - Cosmic Adventure


Antonio Carlos Gomes – Il Guarany

Gomes - Il Guarany


Leopold Stokowski – The Columbia Stereo Recordings

Stokowski  - The Columbia Stereo Recordings


Babes in Toyland – Spanking Machine
Bikini Kill – The First Two Records
Huggy Bear – Weaponry Listens To Love

Bikini Kill - The First Two Records

Kate Nash – Girl Talk
Sleater-Kinney – Sleater-Kinney
Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out

Kate Nash - Girl Talk

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:

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.

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.”