Again, that wonderful muse, JunoMagic has passed along a very interesting meme. I like how unique they are, and how they make you think.
So here's to thinking.
They say every snowflake is unique. Name a musician who you think is unique and sounds like no one else.
This one is easy. Olivier Messiaen, of course. Oh my, I just realised, this is the 100th anniversary of his birth!!! Oh, the wonderful organ recitals that can be made from that fact alone! We all enjoyed the heaps of music penned by Jean Langlais and Dietrich Buxtehude when we celebrated the 100th birth anniversary, and 300th death anniversary, respectively.
But back to Messiaen. I will admit that for me, he was an acquired taste. I didn't start to appreciate him until I heard two organists interpret his works: first, Gail Archer. I heard her play at Duke Chapel one afternoon, and her interpretation of Messiaen's works opened my eyes to the beauty of his creation. It is truly interesting how he didn't think and compose in terms of pitch, but in terms of colour - the music he was composing was akin to putting paint onto canvas, and masterpieces of art were the result of his labours. The second person, who really turned me on to Messiaen was Colin Andrews. He showed works of art as a slide show as he was playing some of Messiaen's pieces, and the pieces he showed truly complimented the music he played. He first gave this performance at Duke Chapel some years past, and he repeated it recently at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Greenville, NC. (Admittedly, I think of it more as East Carolina University, considering the wonderful Organ and Sacred Music program they have over there, under the wonderful leadership of Dr. Janette Fishell.) After hearing Colin play, I was hooked. Messiaen is awesome!
Snowfall covers everything in sight. Tell us about a cover song you enjoy.
Cover song? Erm ... gollee, that seems to change with the season. I love choral music, done well. Oh, of course. I've blogged on it before. My absolute favourite setting of Ave Maria? Josquin des Prez' setting (Ave Maria, Virgo Serena ...) which is absolutely exquisite. I was so happy that we're bringing this one back, slowly, for Compline, and the abfab David Arcus coached us through the last 3 sections of the piece last Sunday evening. Truly a work of art.
It snows a lot in Canada. Tell us your favorite Canadian musician.
Erm ... well, I guess there is a reason I call my blog the Organ-ic Chemist. When I think Canadian musician, the first name that pops into my mind is Healey Willan. I love his settings of the Ordinary, and have had the pleasure of singing some of his choral works when I sang with Chapel of the Cross' Senior Choir. I'm hoping to be able to start working on some of his organ music as well.
My friend, Dr. Van Quinn, loves to relate this famous Willan quip to his choirs whenever they work on his pieces: "[Healey Willan was] English by birth; Canadian by adoption; Irish by extraction; Scotch by absorption."
Watching the snow fall can be very peaceful. Name a song that brings you peace.
I think I've mentioned it already: Josquin des Prez' setting of Ave Maria. Hmmmm ... come to think of it, I've stacked my playlist at Project Playlist with a lot of what I consider my Desert Island Discs. There are quite a few nice a cappella choral pieces strewn about the lot. The settings of O mangum mysterium by Lauridsen and Victoria come to mind immediately. So too do the settings of O nata lux by Lauridsen and Tallis. And Howard Helvey's O lux beatissima is wonderful, as is David Hurd's Love Bade Me Welcome, and Paul Manz' E'en So, Lord Jesus. I can go on and on and on ...
If you care to listen to my play list, it is easily accessible from my MySpace page. You don't need to friend me to have a look and a listen.
I pass the ball onto anyone's court who wishes to answer. I am keen to hear from Brian Michael Page, and perhaps his blogging sidekick, Jason Pennington. It would be also wonderful to hear from Charles Culbreth as well. This does not necessarily mean I'm limiting my tagging to these gentlemen, but would still like to hear from others, all the same. Thanks, Juno, for the interesting meme!