They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. This edition of Instant Replay has music for everything the month throws at you, in one fantastic playlist!
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!
John Williams -- A Window to the Past (from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)
There's something about the third Harry Potter film that stands out from the rest. Alfonso Cuarón deserves some credit, certainly, but I'm talking about the soundtrack - which, despite still being a John Williams joint, is darker, deeper, and soars infinitely past its cinematic predecessors. This particular track has haunted me long after I've forgotten about the movie.
Daniel Wohl -- Melt
My choice for this month is "Melt" by Daniel Wohl from his album etat. I’m not sure if I’m listening to the soundtrack to a misty early morning walk on the beach, or adventuring in a cellar, or wandering through a forest on a cold evening, but it’s so eerie and so cool and I’m here for it.
BBC Philharmonic; Jan Pascal Tortelier -- Boulanger: D'Un Matin de Printemps
We've had a fairly mild winter (so far), and the signs of spring are already popping up. Lili Boulanger's D'Un Matin de Printemps perfectly captures the pulsing exuberance of nature's reawakening. While the original violin/piano version is lovely (check out Menuhin and Curzon's recording), Boulanger's shimmering orchestration transforms the spiky, nervous energy of the piece into exhilaration. Even if we get hit with one of New England's classic March (or April, or May) snowstorms, these brilliant 5 minutes will keep you in a spring mood.
Phamie Gow -- The War Song
March is "Women's Herstory Month," and this month I'm drawn to a 2007 album called "Moments of Time" by composer/pianist/Celtic harpist Phamie Gow. The Scottish composer's music is beautiful and relaxing, including my favorite on this CD: The War Song. It's NOT a nationalistic or bombastic thing, despite the title. Rather, it's a reflective piece, making us think about what we really lose when war breaks out. I like this for a month in which the name also sounds like a military order: March.
Wilderun -- The Cracking Glow
What happens when you mix folk, classical, and metal music? Outstanding question! The local gentlemen comprising Wilderun have these influences close to heart, and their debut album is a swashbuckling high seas adventure perfect for March’s stormy weather.
Robyn -- Hang With Me
When I’m biking around town, I clip a small Bluetooth speaker to my backpack so that I have something to listen to at red lights. The other day the battery ran out in the middle of this song and it was stuck in my head for the rest of the (silent) 45-minute trip… and then for the rest of the month. I’m not complaining.
Daníel Bjarnason, Iceland Symphony Orchestra -- Sigfúsdottír: Oceans
In doing research for the first March Out of the Box segment, which features Icelandic composers Anna Þorvaldsdóttir and Hildur Guðnadóttir, my ear was caught by a third Icelandic composer. Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir's work Oceans is so atmospheric, and brilliantly captures the multitudes of emotions we have toward the sea, as only someone from a tiny, cold, island nation can.
Patrick Doyle -- Overture, from Much Ado About Nothing
For years, my wife has known that, if she arrives home to find me watching Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, it likely means that my day was, well, less than enjoyable. Few things lift my spirits like this film (flawed though it may be - looking at you, Keanu and Robert), and a lot of the credit for that goes to Patrick Doyle’s fabulous score. Even without the visuals of beautiful people in the countryside excited to greet equally beautiful soldiers returning from battle in the sun-drenched Tuscany hills, this overture expresses an addictive, life-affirming exuberance.
Tim Ray, John Patitucci, Terri Lynn Carrington -- Nothing from Nothing
I'll admit, I don't usually listen to jazz. But when our audio engineer Antonio handed me this CD he produced and said "listen to this, I think you'll love it," how could I resist? This track opens the album on such a joyful note that I couldn't keep myself from dancing in my chair.
Listen to the full playlist here: