A Real Rhapsody playlist blog of questionable quality

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Rest Is Noise, An Occasional Companion: Salome

I've mentioned a couple times that my Christmas stocking brought me the Alex Ross book The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. As a complete philistine when it comes to this kind of thing, I've been thoroughly enjoying the stories, the writing, and the music. Rhapsody (along with those new speakers) has been a damn handy resource for doing the actual listening along to the twentieth century. There are some pages that name-check up to ten different pieces of music, so investigating them all in hard copy would be a pretty daunting and expensive task.

Mister Ross' own site includes an annotated chapter guide with sound samples, and links to some pieces on iTunes.

I haven't been playlisting every single piece, but have come across a few helpful things I'll tack up here as they get organized.

The first chapter starts with the premiere of Richard Strauss' opera Salome. I was able to follow the action in this one more closely after finding the side-by-side German-English libretto on Google Books.

And, when there are multiple recordings of a piece in Rhapsody I've been fumbling around Wikipedia, Amazon reviews, and odd forums for guidance on picking a winner. For Salome, this imperfect method led me to this Decca recording by the Wiener Philharmoniker, with Birgit Nilsson in the title role.

Richard Strauss' Salome [Rhapsody Online Version]

Richard Strauss' Salome [Rhapsody Player Software Version]

Friday, March 21, 2008

Out To Lunch With Jesus Friday Playlist

Here's a little something to fill in the day around that one meatless meal observant Catholics are limiting themselves to today. I'm dedicating the Rockin' Holy Week Playlist this year to my late father-in-law, who played guitar in a church folk group for many, many years. I always paid more attention to the song choice and structure than the ceremony when we went to visit, and remember being completely freaked out by Lord Of The Dance, the first song below. It's simultaneously peppy, macabre, and defiant in a way that makes even Leonard Cohen's lonely wooden tower sound like a jungle gym.

Happy Season of Renewal, everybody.

Out to Lunch With Jesus Friday Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Out to Lunch With Jesus Friday Playlist [Rhapsody Player Software Version]

Lord of the Dance - Ian Campbell Folk Group
Faith - Violent Femmes
Jesus In The Temple - Marah
God Knows I'm Good - David Bowie
Sitgmata Martyr - Bauhaus

Addendum: For another installment in my findings from listening through Alex Ross' The Rest Is Noise, let's add Igor Stravinski's Symphony of Psalms to the Rockin' Holy Week playlists this year. This version is taken from the monumental Original Jacket Stravinski Conducts Stravinski box set. Sometimes I try not to be too much of a Rhapsody fanboy, but if constant access to things like the entire Original Jacket Collection isn't worth fifteen bucks a month, I don't know what is.

Symphony of Psalms - Igor Stravinski [Rhapsody Online Version]

Symphony of Psalms - Igor Stravinski [Rhapsody Player Software Version]

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Loud and Clear Fresh Catch Playlist

Today, another fresh catch batch of songs collected while roaming the Rhapsody catalog, with an emphasis on things that still sound good at loud volumes. We've got a perennial classic from the Mighty Diamonds, the Pops Staples version of Papa Legba, and a track from the fourth album to find its way into Rhapsody from 2007 Ribaldry and Schmaltz poster boy Philippe Katerine.

Loud And Clear Fresh Catch Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Loud And Clear Fresh Catch Playlist [Rhapsody Player Software Version]

Right Time - Mighty Diamonds
Papa Legba (Pops Staples Vocal Version) - Talking Heads
Les Grands Magasins - Katerine

Friday, March 07, 2008

Out To Lunch Friday Playlist

Today out to lunch, we again emphasize songs with lush, big sound, something that will probably continue for another year or two, unless I go deaf.

First up, we welcome this reissue of the first two Flo & Eddie records to Rhapsody. It's an education for me, and a balm for ears still mourning the loss of the Frank Zappa and the Mothers catalog from Rhapsody so long ago now.

Next, a fine specimen I came across while listening to Jah knows what last week (maybe the new Ray Davies record?). It appears to be a group of guys from Norway performing interpreted versions of Kinks songs, to fine effect.

Then, last year I was gratefully exposed for the first time to the music of Juan Torres Y Su Organo Melodico. I've been slowly working my way through his large and growing catalog in the Rhapsody. Here's the highlight from his album of movie soundtracks: the Godfather.

Happy Friday, kids.

Out To Lunch Friday Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Out To Lunch Friday Playlist [Rhapsody Player Software Version]

I Been Born Again - Flo & Eddie
En Veldig Respektabel Mann - "Kassa" Olsen
El Padrino - Juan Torres Y Su Organo Melodico

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lifting the Veil Thursday Playlist

Obviously I was plenty happy for years listening to Rhapsody all day with a set of the cheapest speakers on the shelf at Wal Mart. So my quaint existence has been completely ripped apart by the depth and power of these new speakers. A mote has been removed. A veil lifted. I may have been driven a little insane by what I've heard beyond that veil, but the fact I can still question my sanity must mean all is not lost, right?


And I know I pointed this out a long time ago, but the sequence that starts soon after the two minute mark in Napalm For Breakfast is the reason good speakers and volume knobs were invented.

Lifting the Veil Thursday Playlist [Rhapsody Online Version]

Lifting the Veil Thursday Playlist [Rhapsody Player Software Version]

Flash's Theme - Queen
Napalm For Breakfast - Rhythm Devils
Bat Chain Puller - Captain Beefheart