The sun is shining, everything is green, and it's not too hot or humid yet -- there is so much to love about June in Boston. Spend the beginning of summer listening to our favorite music of the moment!
This series highlights our favorite music of the moment – discoveries we’ve made when we’re at home cooking or cleaning, at the office, or out and about. Classical or otherwise, old, new, or just really cool, these are the tracks we’ve had on repeat this month. Find a cumulative playlist at the end of this post. Happy listening!
Attacca Quartet -- Shaw: Plan & Elevation: IV. The Orangery
The world gifted me two albums the week of my 30th birthday, which I've been bumping on repeat ever since: Lizzo's "Cuz I Love You," and the Attacca Quartet's Caroline Shaw album, "Orange." I spent a rainy afternoon sitting on the floor of my living room listening to the Shaw album a couple of times through, and as "Plan and Elevation: The Orangery" came on the second time, the skies cleared and the sound of chirping birds joined the shimmering arpeggiations of the Attacca Quartet for what became a truly magical experience. (The track goes straight into the next one, so for the best listening experience, listen to both "The Orangery" and "The Beech Tree.")
Claudia Corona -- Rolón: Les Papillons Blancs
Ask however many people are sitting next to you in Symphony Hall about Mexican composer José Rolón (1876-1945) ... and chances are they won't know anything about him. That's a shame, because Rolón's cheery, optimistic music is just what the world needs right now. Claudia Corona is an amazing pianist who needs to be better known here in America. I can't pick out just one track (OK... maybe "White Butterflies"... no, wait...) because I like it all -- I'm listening to the whole 2-CD set, on repeat.
Emmanuel Pahud -- Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor, VII. Badinerie
I have a good friend who’s entering the wonderful world of classical music – he really likes Bach and wanted to use that as an entry point. For Friday night entertainment, Bach wrote music for a house orchestra at a local coffee house in Leipzig, the most famous of these works being his Orchestral Suites. I found this performance of the Badinerie from the second suite featuring flutist Emmanuel Pahud, and it blew us all away.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado -- Mahler: Symphony No. 7, V. Rondo-Finale
I grew up listening to the CSO, which was never less than thrilling, and this Mahler is the shot of pure adrenaline that shows why. I pulled it up last month when reading the late Andrew Patner’s book A Portrait in Four Movements, and was reminded again of how, even though the 7th is supposed to be the most perplexing of Mahler’s symphonies, there’s nothing perplexing at all in the clarity and rush of this movement, thanks to Abbado’s interpretation and the unbelievable CSO brass section.
Carly Rae Jepsen -- I'll Be Your Girl
Two things influenced my pick for this month: the fact that (a) I'm moving apartments, and have needed to listen to as much upbeat pop music as I can get my hands on to motivate myself to keep packing, and (b) CARLY RAE JEPSEN RELEASED HER FIRST NEW ALBUM SINCE 2015. This song is exactly what I love about her bubblegum sound: it has a great beat, a great bass line, and, of course, a great saxophone part.
Pascal Rogé -- Debussy: Estampes
When everyday tensions clog up my connection to the magic of the natural world, it’s helpful to turn to Debussy. “The music I desire,” he said, “must be supple enough to adapt itself to the lyrical effusions of the soul and the fantasy of dreams.” Pieces like “Pagodas” from Debussy’s Estampes can turn the most casual glimpse of a passing landscape into a sensational, floating world of light and color. For me, it’s a miracle. A hidden door into the shimmering universe that’s always there, just beyond our busy eyes.
Orphei Dränger -- Trad.: Hej, Dunkom, so länge vi levom!
When Orphei Dränger (“The Sons of Orpheus”) sings this, it gives me chills. I had the privilege of hearing it live once and I’ll never forget it. There’s something about a group of 80-100 men’s voices – all singing effortlessly in tune, in time, a carefree folksong about carousing and having fun – that just carries me away. And this recording really captures it. I feel like I’m right in the midst of them.