Instant Replay: 030
"Mellow" is the name of the game in our 30th (!) edition of Instant Replay! Chill out with us when you listen to this playlist of our favorite music of the month, featuring Ben Folds, the Indigo Girls, Nanci Griffith, and more.
Ben Folds — Fred Jones, Pt. 2
Over my week of vacation this summer, I found myself returning to some high school nostalgia in the form of binge-listening to Ben Folds's "Rockin' the Suburbs" album. I particularly found myself belting this song out while winding my way through the beautiful back roads of Berkshire County. Oddly enough, when looking up the album to learn more about it, I found out it was released on September 11, 2001.
Leif Ove Andsnes, Mahler Chamber Orchestra — Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 21 in C Major, II. Andante
It has been a while since I treated myself to a new Mozart album. I've always admired Leif Ove Andsnes's ease at the piano. I saw him (and actually chatted with him) at Symphony Hall many years ago. So, I decided to check out the new "MM1785" on which Andsnes is joined by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. What a bright, yet warm-sounding collab on pieces Mozart wrote in a stellar composing year, 1785. I've always loved his Piano Concerto No. 21 (the one that's called the "Elvira Madigan" because it was used in the movie of that name), and Concertos Nos. 20 and 22, and in addition to these gems, there are his Fantasy in C Minor and Masonic Funeral Music. Happy to recommend this one over and over.
Nanci Griffith — From Clare to Here
When Nanci Griffith died last month, tributes and obituaries consistently highlighted her career as a songwriter whose work often found its greatest commercial success through the voices of others. But to me, her own voice was utterly magical. Technically, it was an amazing instrument, and her phrasing and inflections drew the finest emotional nuances out of any song she sang, whether it was one from her own pen or a cover of someone else’s. “From Clare to Here” is one of my favorite examples, where her voice lifts the excruciatingly painful longing of the ex-patriot Irish in London to a universal conflicted experience of leaving home to seek a better life, all through a song by Ralph McTell.
Fermata Chamber Soloists — Price: String Quartet in G
I don’t remember who told me to seek out Florence Price’s String Quartet in G, but I will be forever grateful. It’s absolutely gorgeous, alternating between nostalgic longing and unbridled joy. I can’t find a commercial recording of it (get on that, music industry!), but check out this stop-you-in-your-tracks stunner, with the ensemble Fermata Chamber Soloists. As an added bonus, this recording is from our Fraser Performance Studio, with our fabulous colleague Antonio Oliart Ros as the audio engineer. I can’t think of a better piece to put on repeat while we feel the air crisping up with the onset of Fall.
Indigo Girls — Watershed
I'm trying to attend as many live performances as possible, including an Indigo Girls concert this month at the Wilbur Theater! I had to confront the fact that the Indigo Girls weren't a big part of my 90s soundtrack, so I've been listening nonstop.
Stevie Ray Vaughan — Lenny
Once in a while, maybe once a generation, a true poet of the guitar steps into our lives. I’m not talking about just a guitarist, I’m saying a real dramatist of the instrument. Stevie Ray Vaughan is that voice for me, and it’s likely most apparent in this tribute to his wife – he named this song, then this very guitar, after her. It pays to love guitarists!
La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hesperion XXI, Jordi Savall — de Victoria: Officium Hebdomadæ Sanctæ
James Bennett II
OK, so I’m going to speak from experience: there’s a peculiar species of hangover that visits after you’ve been to three weddings in as many months (with, at the time of writing, two more to go). Upon waking, you aren’t gripped by nausea or a desire to plunge into the sea. Instead, you’re made keenly aware of the emotional weight you carry while bearing witness to expressions of love. It feels weird. But there’s a balm in this collection of music for Tomas Luis de Victoria’s Officum Hebdomadæ Sanctæ — or, in literal plainer English — "music for the Offices for Passion Week." Despite the heavy, sometimes grisly nature of the text at hand, Jordi Savall and his crew serve up a celestial display that physically eases emotional burdens, while still addressing your probable need to indulge in pensiveness.
Aretha Franklin — Think
I've been listening to a lot of albums on vinyl lately, and this collection of Aretha Franklin's greatest hits has really been doing it for me. It's hard to pick a favorite song — I mean, come on, it's Aretha — but I've found myself humming this one more often than not.
Listen to the full playlist: