Chill winds blow and it gets darker earlier every day. What you need is some cozy music to take you through November! Hear our favorite music of the moment in the latest Instant Replay.
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!
Quatuor Arod -- Webern: Langsamer Satz
I’ve been enjoying the expressive playing of the Quatuor Arod in Anton Webern’s Langsamer Satz (“Slow Movement”). The title doesn’t tell you much, but the music itself has a lot to say. Apparently Webern wrote it in 1905, after a walk in the woods with his cousin Wilhelmene Mörtl, with whom he was utterly in love. "To walk like this forever among the flowers, with my beloved beside me, to feel myself so utterly at one with the Universe, without a care, as free as a lark in the sky above—Oh, what splendor . . . Our love filled the air. We were two drunken souls . . . " He and Wilhelmine were married in 1911.
The Oh Hellos -- There Beneath
Do you ever listen to a song that makes you feel like you're very, very small in the grand scheme of things? The Oh Hellos have a way of doing that to me, and that's why they're my favorite band. This song feels like you've been dropped into a fantasy epic halfway through the story, picking up details about the world from context clues.
Dobrinka Tabakova -- Praise
I first became aware of British-Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova when her piece, Praise, was performed in St. Paul's Cathedral at Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee in 2002. The piece struck me because it was such a seamless mix of styles from Gregorian Chant to modern choral. I'm so happy to have Praise, and about a dozen other tracks on this new CD, released by Regent Records. Finding this "Works for Choir" compilation in time for the darker days of November does a few things for me: it fills me with inner peace and reminds me that there are bigger things tying us all together in this Universe. Truro Cathedral Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra do a fine job, and Joseph Wicks' playing of her Diptych for Solo Organ---makes me want to go to church again.
Florence + the Machine -- No Choir
It's late fall, which means it's time to get wistful about romance. Ethereal forest nymph Florence Welch is guaranteed to get you there.
Hermitage Piano Trio -- Rachmaninoff: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G Minor
In their debut album, the Hermitage Trio sends us incredible performances of Rachmaninoff’s two “elegiac” trios - one inspired by a similar trio by his teacher, Tchaikovsky, and one for that same teacher upon his sudden and unexpected death. The trios are tender, dark, brimming with sadness and love, and, I find, utterly impossible not to listen to over and over again. (Incidentally, this album was recorded at Worcester’s beautiful Mechanics Hall.) Enjoy!
Metallica -- Nothing Else Matters
In 1999, Metallica joined forces with the San Francisco Symphony for a singular musical experience: an evening of thrash metal anthems accompanied by one of the world’s leading orchestras. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that concert, the band again joined the SFS this past September, this time conducted by the orchestra’s long-time Music Director, Michael Tilson Thomas. The concert was released as a two-night-only movie theater experience across the globe, and we’re all very much hoping it will be released on audio disc and DVD. Until then, here’s one of the more intimate (but heavy!) tracks from 1999.
Qasim Naqvi, Jennifer Koh -- The Banquet
Qasim Naqvi's "The Banquet" is ethereal and prismatic, haunting yet hopeful. The subtly-shifting drone of Naqvi's modular synthesizer lends a meditative quality to this piece, which opens an album in which each track is a duet between one of 8 composers and violinist Jennifer Koh.
Booker T & the MGs -- Green Onions
When I need a break from the gigantic orchestral repertoire and Bach cantatas that make up most of my listening for work, I turn to an eclectic set of tunes that pulls my brain out of the concert hall and onto some two-lane highway out west under a big sky. Booker T & the MG’s are part of that collection, and Green Onions always does the trick.
Ready for more? Hear our cumulative playlist: