It’s hard to overstate the importance of Leonard Bernstein in the classical music landscape of the United States, and the rest of the world. If there ever was a megastar conductor in the US, Bernstein was that. Flamboyant, outspoken, and an immense musician, Bernstein contributed to the growth and development of classical music for several […]
Between February, 1962 and June, 1964, Bob Dylan, at the dawn of his career, made a number of recordings for two publishing companies, Leeds Music and M. Witmark & Sons. These recordings were released in 2010 as The Bootleg Series: Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Dylan had recorded his first album […]
In my occasional series of posts about essential music, I’ve covered some well-known musicians and composers, and many lesser knowns. But it’s almost a given that Pink Floyd fits in the essential music category, at least for people who like a certain type of music. Last night, I watched two documentaries about the band: The […]
In the late â€™70s, amidst the rubble of punk rock, a group of angry young men came onto the scene in Manchester, UK. Joy Division, whose name Iâ€™ll let the reader research on the Web, was fronted by deep-voiced singer Ian Curtis, and their music was, at best, gloomy, dark, and depressing. Yet it was a different kind of depression than the â€œno futureâ€ of the punk rockers; this was the depression of absolute despair and ultimate nothingness, rather than unemployment and the dole.
Originally called Warsaw, the group changed its name in 1978, and during that year recorded what would be their first LP: Unknown Pleasures . This album was released in June 1979 and quickly helped develop the cult following that the group would have throughout its short life. A second album, Closer, soon followed, which would be their last.
Charles Ives was one of America’s most singular composers, and arguably the first truly American voice in classical music. However, his music was hardly known beyond a small circle of outsiders until the early 1950s. By then, Ives had long since stopped composing, having created a body of work that includes four symphonies, two piano […]