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Library News > Posts > This School Year’s Musical Offerings


February 07
This  School Year’s Musical Offerings

This school year we have acquired quite a few new music CDs, musical scores, and books on music.


Book CoverThe standout is the fascinating Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization by Steward Isacoff.  Although the history behind the tuning of today’s pianos is largely unknown to us moderns, its history is nothing short of amazing and that the tuning used on today’s pianos was once regarded as an offence to nature and God.  The heated debates on tuning involved some of the greatest minds of the Western World, such as Pythagoras, Plato, da Vinci, Galileo, Newton. 


Our CD collection has received the proverbial shot in the arm, with special attention to filling in some gaps in our classical collection, but other genres received loving attention also.  Below are some standout titles.

CD CoverBlack Woman by Sonny Sharrock.  Picked by Wire Magazine as one of the 100 records which set the world on fire, and that probably isn’t a bad description either.  This is Mr. Sharrock’s 1969 free jazz outing with then-wife Linda and Dave Burrell, Norris Jones, Ted Daniel and Milford Graves.  Imagine, if you will, a mix of free jazz, soul, gospel influences.  Nice!
Happy End by Kurt Weil   This is a 2006 production of the opera in San Francisco.  A bit reminiscent of his Three Penny Opera, it features the standards “The Bilbao Song” and “Surabaya Johnny,” but involves a plot that deals with a romantic link between a Chicago gangster and a member of the Salvation Army in the 1920’s, with the expected amount of social satire.  Says AllMusic Guide, this “is an excellent account of [Weil’s] score.
CD coverFantazias by Henry Purcell.  Purcell was one of the stars of English baroque music, and was dubbed the “Orpheus Britannicus” for his ability to mix piquant counterpoint with various word settings.  This recording is one of his extraordinary instrumental music, recorded by the fantastic London Baroque.

Girl On Fire by Alecia Keyes.   This Ms. Keyes’ latest and she collaborated with her longtime song writing partner Krucial along with Gary Clarke Jr., Jamie XX, Jeff Bhaskaker and others.  This is a contemporary  recording, but with a nod to classic R&B.

CD cover
Locked Down by Dr. John.  Attention Black Keys fans, yes that is Dan Auerbach on guitar, and he is playing at the feet of the maestro here, Dr. John.  Says the New York Times: “The album is a departure for Dr. John, who on recent records has stuck close to the mix of New Orleans jazz, funk and soul that he has mined since the 1970s. But “Locked Down” sounds raw, with staccato songs set to urgent, turbulent grooves, their beats drawing as much from African pop music as from American R&B.”
The Hurricane That Hit Atlanta by Rev. Johnny L. Jones.  For those unfamiliar with gospel music, this might be just the place to start as this is a strong brew with hypnotic guitar riffs, groove-based and rollicking organ, clapping choirs and Rev. Jones’ very soulful vocal delivery; you might just think it was rock and roll, well,  divine rock and roll.  These recordings were taken from radio broadcasts that Rev. Jones put on in Atlanta, and they are stunning.

CD CoverThe Expanding Universe by Laurie Spiegel. Ms. Spiegel is one of the godmothers of electronic music, and she was doing this stuff way before ambient, techno, electronica existed.  Yes, this is music played on analogue synthesizers and features slowly evolving textures and complex rhythms.  Oh, she’s also been rediscovered as her music appears in the movie version of The Hunger Games.   Not to be missed.

You can browse through our lists of new music-related acquisitions from the library catalog.


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