Friday, June 6, 2008

A Music Meme

Borrowed from JunoMagic.

Here are the rules:
1. List your top five favorite musical artists.
2. List your top five favorite songs from each artist.
3. Tag five people to do the same.
I’ll have to admit that this one is a difficult one for me, mainly because I haven’t really paid much attention to the most recent popular music. Most of what I’ve listened to of late have been organ music that I’m currently working on.

I did post on my personal jukebox that I set up using However, to pinpoint five favourite musical artists, followed by my top five favourite songs from each artist ...

Well, I know when I was much younger, I listened to an awful lot of Depeche Mode, Kate Bush, the Cure, the Smiths, and New Order. Oi, that’s five right there!

Well. Let me give this a go.

My top five, in no particular order:
1. J. S. Bach
2. Simon and Garfunkel
3. Dan Locklair
4. Joe Hisaishi
5. Lea Salonga
1. J. S. Bach. I love love love his music. I have Wolfgang Rubsam’s recordings of Bach’s Die Kunst der Fuge (Art of the Fugue - Contrapunctus I-XIX), which I always enjoy because I always seem to hear something different every time I hear it. Could I play it? Well, if I can learn how to read other clefs (alto clef is one such that I seem to run across whenever I see the music for these pieces). Oh, but I was supposed to list five pieces.
a. Prelude and Fugue in E-flat Major ("St. Anne" – BWV 552). Now here is one set I’d love to learn how to play. My friends like to play the fugue on Trinity Sunday, mainly because of the motifs of threes that seem to crop up in this piece. Why is it called the St. Anne? Well, listen to it carefully – if you’re familiar with the hymn, "O God Our Help in Ages Past," to the hymntune ST. ANNE, then you will hear some familiar themes woven through this piece.

b. Fugue in g minor ("Little" – BWV 578). This was the first major Bach fugue my organ teacher had me work on. I can now play through it, but it is far from being performance-ready. But it is an absolute joy to listen to this.

c. Sonata No. 3 in g minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord (BWV 1029). It is specifically the second movement ("Adagio") that has me so charmed. I first heard this when I watched the late Anthony Minghella’s directorial debut, Truly, Madly, Deeply, starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman. Stevenson was on the piano, and Rickman on the cello, and this was the piece they played. It was absolutely haunting, and I was completely hooked. I do have this movement on my Project Playlist, performed by Jonathan Manson on viola da gamba and Trevor Pinnock on harpsichord.

d. Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11. This was probably one of the most challenging works I had the pleasure of performing with the Senior Choir at Chapel of the Cross. I was hooked, and this is one I could listen to over and over again.

e. Mass in b minor, BWV 232. What’s there not to like about this one? Right now, I’m listening to Andreas Scholl singing the Agnus Dei. I’ll have to admit – anywhere a countertenor is indicated, the one countertenor’s voice I have immediately in mind is that of Jonathan Hiam. We sang together with the Senior Choir when he was a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill. He has a lovely voice and he makes it all sound so easy.
2. Simon and Garfunkel. I could listen to these guys all day.
a. Sounds of Silence. Sure, it was called bad poetry back in its day, but this piece never fails to move me. That and …

b. Bridge Over Troubled Water. Garfunkel’s natural countertenor sails above all. Too bad he had a tendency to go flat from time to time, but I won’t hold that against him.

c. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream. This came from their first LP, "Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m." The message is still very relevant today, never mind that this piece was written over 40 years ago.

d. My Little Town. According to Wikipedia, this was performed on Saturday Night Live in October, 1975. I really liked this one the first time I heard it back when I was in high school, at least 10 years after it was first heard. It was a good reminder of how well their voices blended together, even if they personally did not at the time.

e. Scarborough Fair. I just love how their voices blend, and Garfunkel’s sense of harmony was quite good.
3. Dan Locklair. Professor Locklair is in the Music Department at Wake Forest University in Wake Forest, NC. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him, thanks to my organ teacher. He is genuinely nice, and said many encouraging words when I told him I was learning how to play the organ. I’m not sure if I can give, specifically, five pieces, but will five movements from one work suffice? If so, then it will have to be his Rubrics: A Liturgical Suite for Organ, of which there are five movements. I hear organists play movements from this lovely piece of work quite often, most especially the last two movements, "The Peace may be exchanged" and "The people respond – Amen!" I hope to be able to have the entire suite in my repertoire at some point in time in the future.

4. Joe Hisaishi. He composed a lot of music paired with Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films. I love his work, both the instrumental, and the vocal. Never mind that I can’t understand the Japanese. There is a lot of the whimsical in his work, and I’ve never tired of listening to it.
a. Tonari no Totoro (ending theme of the film of the same name (My Neighbour Totoro)).

b. Sanpo. It is the opening theme of Tonari no Totoro. Once upon a time, I was able to sing this, in Japanese, from memory. That’s how charmed with this song I was. And it’s awfully cute – talking about going for a walk

c. Ruuju no dengon (Message in Rouge; opening them of Majo no Takkyuubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service)). This is another I loved to sing to, and it comes from one of my favourite films.

d. Yasashisa ni tsutsumareta nara (If enveloped in tenderness; ending theme of Majo no Takkyubin).

e. Kimi o nosete (Carrying you; ending theme of Tenkuu no Shiro Laputa (Laputa: Castle in the Sky)). Specifically, I loved the version featuring the Suginami Children’s Choir. It is stunningly beautiful.
5. Lea Salonga. She has a wonderful voice, and has been singing since she was a wee little one. My cousin had a copy of her original "I am but a small voice" on cassette. Unfortunately, that was one of the things she lost in an earthquake back in 1987. At least it was re-released on CD.
a. I am but a small voice – she was probably around 10 years old when she recorded this one. It was written by Dana Batnag when she was around 13, and with Roger Whittaker, became this very charming song.

b. Tagumpay nating lahat. This came off her CD Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal. This is the voice that Broadway aficionados have come to know and love. Speaking of which ...

c. Soundtrack from Miss Saigon. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint specifically one song from this work, which helped launch Lea’s international career. Perhaps I still believe or Last Night of the World. I heard she was a pre-med student at Ateneo when she was asked to try out for the lead role. I don’t know if this is true or not.

d. On My Own (from Les Miserables). I love her take on this.

e. Nandito Ako, also from Bakit Labis Kitang Mahal.
I wish I had more of her recent stuff. But no matter, I can listen to her sing forever and ever.

Of course, there are others who didn’t make this list, most notably Jose Mari Chan, Dietrich Buxtehude, Olivier Messiaen, Jean Langlais, amongst others. Perhaps I’ll save them for the next meme.

Taggage? Well, really, anyone interested enough to fill this in, feel free. It took me a couple of months to do this, but did it I did. Thanks, Juno!

1 comment:

Brian Michael Page said...

Answers are at: