Saturday, October 09, 2004

Crumbs for a Starving Girl

I should have one of those signs like Lucy had in the old Peanuts cartoons - you know, 'the music consultant is IN'?

Karen wanted to give her elder son an actual gift for his birthday and had no idea what to get musicwise (The decision was to give him a couple CDs, but when she asked him what he wanted, he answered in what I consider the old apple doesn't fall far from the tree fashion: "If I want it, I get it. There is nothing that I need."). What to get, then, for a Morphine fan who has everything? How to broaden his horizons? My initial suggestions (Poulenc? Satie? Sibelius?) seemed a bit, well, hardcore(???) and off-putting, so I suggested some Jazz. Ix-nayed for not being classical. (Why? There are as many if not more Jazz snobs out there as classical ones. Joe Henderson has some amazingly eerie/angsty stuff to make even the most hardened 'alt rock' fan get his back up on.) Finally - what about some minimalism? I recommended some Philip Glass - no. John Adams? Love his Chairman Mao Dances from Nixon in China. Karen wasn't too keen on that. Glass/Adams/Cage - minimalism/modernism really strikes fear in the hearts of some.

Finally - Tan Dun. You know, the guy who wrote the soundtrack music for Crouching Dragon, Hidden Tiger? I love the nods to new classicism and to minimalism. Love the western sensibility mingled with the eastern feel. Love the heavy percussiveniss underlying the rich lyricism. Found her an Amazon link for his Symphony 1997(my favorite so far of his work) - a piece written in commemoration of the handover of Hong Kong to China. As one commenter on the review page put it - it's not often that a commissioned piece lives up to the event it's commemorating.

Also sent her a link to Kind of Blue. There's nothing I can really say about that work that will explain it better than just listening to it. I'm giving her a spare one of mine (for some reason, I have multiple copies), because she was so impressed with it and was going to buy an extra one for herself.

She added in a collection of Andres Segovia playing his hits, to round things out.

Great choices, all of them. I was glad, too, to get a chance to talk music with someone - and not just Boston Ballet or BLO stuff, either.

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