This month, we've got the blues -- and music for every other mood, too! Sit back, relax, and enjoy our favorite tunes for March.
Oscar Peterson Trio -- You Look Good To Me
One of the best birthday gifts I've given my husband over the years is a big, beautiful collection of Oscar Peterson recordings. There are nights when he'll look at me and just say, "Oscar?" It makes things better. Here's a sampling of the elegant virtuosity that is the hallmark of Oscar Peterson, along with his irresistible groove and kaleidoscopic palette of sounds.
Boston -- More Than a Feeling
I have pretty seasonal music listening habits, and sometimes a particular month is set aside for something special each year. Well, here we are now in March, which is always that much-needed glint of optimism and reminder that spring is right around the corner. It’s the most Boston month, I think – St. Patrick’s Day, Evacuation Day, the Bruins being in full swing, the term “Red Sox” once again back in daily parlance – so I always associate the month with this classic.
Kirill Gerstein -- Adès: Mazurkas: No. 2, Prestissimo molto espressivo
A quick glance at one of my recent projects will make abundantly clear the reasons I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Thomas Adès. But for all the magnetism of the Piano Concerto, the thematic heft of Totentanz, or the careening, off-kilter extravagance of Powder Her Face, this crystalline Mazurka is the thing that’s lodged itself in my ear. What an exquisite little jewel.
Nathalie Joachim, Spektral Quartet -- Fanm d'Ayiti
I first heard Nathalie Joachim's music in an astonishing performance by cellist Amanda Gookin several years ago. Her 2019 album is a love letter to her native Haiti, a quietly joyful blend of Joachim's skills as a flutist, electronic artist, vocalist, and arranger, with an understated assist from the Spektral Quartet. Oh, and it was nominated for a Grammy.
Daniil Trifonov, Mariinsky Orchestra, Valery Gergiev -- Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 16: IV. Finale: Allegro tempestuoso
As a pianist I'm drawn to piano albums. I got this new album last fall shortly after its release, but I kept putting off hearing it until I could give it some real focused time. Glad I did. Trifonov's album focuses on the composers who shaped 20th century Russian piano music. His playing is clear and warm at the same time throughout the album, but the way he plays the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 2 will knock your socks off!
The Wailin' Jennys -- Light of a Clear Blue Morning
I can't remember the first time I heard a song by The Wailin' Jennys, but I do remember thinking their harmonies were some of the most beautiful I'd ever heard. I've had this song stuck in my head for nearly a week, but I can never quite recall it exactly the way they sing it -- it's somehow even more beautiful each time I hear it.
Jordi Savall, Le Concert Des Nations -- Corelli: Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op. 6 No. 4
I often think of Handel’s Concerti Grossi as pleasant background music that helps me focus while I’m working, but when Cathy played this particular recording the other day it made me perk up and listen right from the beginning. There is an optimistic warmth and exuberance to Savall and The Concert of Nations’ performance here that really drew me in, and I’ve been bumping this album since. Give it a listen -- I promise it’ll brighten the cloudiest day. (Note: the track here is the finale, but the whole piece is tracks 1-6.)
Hilary Hahn, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mikko Franck -- Rautavaara: Deux Sérénades (Written for Hilary Hahn): No. 1. Sérénade pour mon amour, Moderato
I was thrilled to be able to talk to Hilary Hahn about her newest release, which features Einojuhani Rautavaara’s final work - Two Serenades for Violin and Orchestra. These serenades are not only beautiful, but were written for Hilary Hahn, and were discovered after the composer’s passing in 2016. The music is a poignant reflection on love and life, and the performance represents, as Hahn says, both an end and a beginning.
Buddy Guy -- Damn Right, I've Got the Blues
It seems like now just might be the time – now that we’re officially one year into this pandemic, with all its troubles – now just might be the time…for the blues! Tightly wound, high-energy 8-bar blues - it’s something I turn to when life is getting crazy. So join me: let loose, with one of the best, Mr. Buddy Guy. All together now: “Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues!”
Listen to the full playllist: