End of Summer Playlist from Patrick (SoundMindHorn)
(or scroll to the bottom to play it directly through this post)
Hi, everyone! I just heard that it’s almost the last day of summer, which must make many of you sad. That must be why I started thinking about my own “Songs of Summer.” Here’s a little playlist of some music that I’ve been listening to and drawing inspiration from lately, and a link to the playlist on SoundMind’s Spotify page.
Now that I look at it, I’m realizing that it’s kind of a moody list. I guess I’m more of an autumn person…
1. Nina Simone - My Man’s Gone Now
Oh Nina. Where do I even begin with her? She was at once a powerhouse and enigma. She (thankfully) lives on as an inspiration for so many artists, though there can never be another spirit like her. I could choose any song of hers, but this was the first one I ever heard. It’s from Porgy and Bess, but she makes it feel like her own soliloquy. The control she has over the subtle wisps of melisma at the ends of phrases are just stunning, and like nothing I’ve ever heard. I’d like to think it’s something I might emulate on the horn one day.
2. Schubert - Auf dem Strom - Performed by Mark Padmore, Paul Lewis, Mark Watkins
I love this piece for countless reasons, and I could go on and on about how much detail and subtlety Schubert packs into this music. But instead, I’ll just say that this is a stunning performance by my very favorite Schubert pianist and tenor, joined by Mark Watkins playing the horn so beautifully that you’d think Schubert had set words for him as well. The build-up from about 4:30 to 5:00 will take your breath away. Just when you think they've reached maximum intensity, they give you even more.
3. Wilco - I am trying to break your heart
There’s not a single track on this album that I don’t love. Wilco is a band that never leaves me for too long, because they continue to evolve with every new album. This is the one I've been going back to this summer. Their drummer is a mad scientist.
4. Ane Brun - Orphan Girl
Ane Brun is a Norwegian singer-songwriter. I first heard her music when I was laying in shavasana at the end of an incredible yoga practice with one of my favorite teachers. Her voice sounds like crystal, and she brings a stunning clarity to American folk music, through a Scandinavian lens.
5. Sharon Van Etten – Our Love
An AMAZING artist and an incredible song. I can't get over the subtle modal mixture that she brings to the chorus, as it fades from consonance to dissonance and back again. Love is like that. It is often both beautiful and painful.
6. Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
I don’t know if Grace Slick had been listening to a lot of Ravel on LSD, but this song is Psychedelia’s answer to Boléro. One massive crescendo. It is so intense!
7. Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues
This entire album. Listen to it. Again and again and again. Then listen to all of their other albums. This band is one of the great revelations in the punk movement, and I’m obsessed.
8. Stravinsky - Symphonies of Wind Instruments
One of those pieces that you’ll never forget. I’ll never forget the first time I played it (and on the same concert as an entire Strauss Serenade and a Mozart Wind Serenade, meaning the night was ethereal in every way). Stravinsky’s sensitivity to color and extremely careful handling of articulation and dynamics throughout are so well-rendered in this recording, which is so fresh!
9. Penderecki - Sextet for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano
We Poles are a passionate and fierce bunch. This music is incredibly intense at times, and there's this through line of pulsation that almost feels like a musical heartbeat: you know it's there, but you only notice it when your emotions are elevated. This has become one of my very favorite chamber compositions, and I hope many more composers will follow in the footsteps of Penderecki (and Dohnányi) in writing for this odd but really compelling combination of instruments.
10. James Blake – The Wilhelm Scream
It’s starting to feel like autumn, and when the weather is cloudy, I listen to nothing but James Blake all day, and drink way too much coffee.
11. Laura Mvula - Bread
I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Laura Mvula, and I love this song off her new album so much. I saw her live a few weeks ago in Brooklyn, and she claimed to have no idea what this song means, but that it made sense in her soul. It was amazing to hear her say that, because I felt just the same way about it. It’s a tone poem with words, and it just touches you somewhere inside, even if you can't think your way through it.
12. Alfred Schnittke - Quintet for Piano and Strings
One of my favorite compositions by one of my favorite composers. There’s something about his artistic voice that really resonates with me. If you derive pleasure in slightly deranged and off-kilter, then the final movement is perfect for before bedtime. It will give you weird dreams.