Song of the Day #1828

Song of the Day: Ode to Joy, composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, constitutes the fourth movement and finale of his Ninth Symphony (in D minor, Op. 125). It is one of the most performed works from the corpus of the great composer, the 250th anniversary of whose birth is being noted this month. The master based the choral sections on a poem by Friedrich Schiller. But it is a theme that has been used by both dictators and freedom fighters the world over, giving it a particularly checkered history [YouTube link]. And yet, it is no coincidence that the great Leonard Bernstein conducted the full symphony as an “Ode to Freedom” on the occasion of the collapse of the Berlin Wall (the finale itself can be heard, triumphantly, in two parts: part 1 and part 2) [YouTube links]. Bernstein embraced the Ninth Symphony [YouTube link], as a jubilant celebration of peace and brotherhood, having recorded it two previous times: first with the New York Philharmonic in 1964 and again with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1979. It has also been embraced by diverse cultures for its exuberant spirit; in Japan, for example, in keeping with the holiday season, it has become a veritable Christmas carol. And it has been used by dissenters throughout the world in protests such as those against the oppressive Pinochet regime in Chile and in those that rocked Tiananmen Square. What better way to end a two-day celebration of this important anniversary!

Song of the Day #1827

Song of the Day: Symphony No. 6 in F-major (Op. 68) was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, who was baptized on this date in Bonn, Germany, 250 years ago. The piece made its debut this very month in 1808 [22 December] at the Theater an der Wien. Also known as the “Pastoral Symphony or Recollections of Country Life,” there have been so many performances of it through the history of recorded music. Among the most notable are those conducted by Otto Klemperer, Carlos Kleiber, Sir John Eliot Gardner, and Colin Davis [YouTube links]. The symphony has entered popular culture as well through two notable films: Disney’s 1940 masterpiece, “Fantasia,” conducted by Leopold Stokowski [YouTube link] and in an excerpt during a key scene with Edward G. Robinson [YouTube link; spoiler alert!] from the 1973 sci-fi film, “Soylent Green.” We don’t know the exact date of Beethoven’s birth, but his enormous legacy remains among history’s greatest musical achievements.

Pearls Before Swine Strikes Again!

From my favorite comic strip, courtesy of Stephan Pastis in today’s New York Daily News:

Ain’t it the Truth!


Song of the Day #1826

Song of the Day: Come Rain or Come Shine, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, made its debut in the 1946 musical, “St. Louis Woman.” The song first hit the pop charts in a rendition by Margaret Whiting with the Paul Weston Orchestra. Other notable recordings include those by Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and Barbra Streisand, and among instrumentalists: Bill Evans, Joe Pass, and Return to Forever (with vocalist Gayle Moran) [YouTube links]. But today, I highlight a recording from the 1962 album, “Sinatra and Strings“—to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of the Chairman of the Board. Check it out on YouTube.

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish friends! Lord knows, we all need a Festival of Lights!

❤

Song of the Day #1825

Song of the Day: See Love [lyric and song link], words and music by Jodi Arlyn, appears on the artist’s 2012 album, “Stars Up On the Ceiling.” I’ve known Jodi for umpteen years as both a colleague and friend at NYU. I had no clue that she had another life beyond the university! What a sweet discovery! Check it out!

Song of the Day #1824

Song of the Day: Girlfriend, words and music by Jason Kasher Hindlin and Charlie “Perfect Pitch” Puth, who turns 29 today. This is really a fun song with an adorable music video (even with the Old School Tube Socks!). Check out the video single, the Haywyre Remix and a live performance of the song on the The Late, Late Show with James Corden [YouTube links]. Happy birthday to this genuinely talented musical prodigy.

Yes, It’s Come To This!

H/T Ryan Neugebauer and Devin Alexander on Facebook

Song of the Day #1823

Song of the Day: Stuffy Turkey, composed by jazz pianist Thelonious Monk is actually an extension of saxophonist Coleman Hawkins‘s composition, “Stuffy” [YouTube link]. As a paean to Hawk, it is a standout track from Monk’s sixth album, “It’s Monk’s Time.” The album features Charlie Rouse on tenor saxophone, Butch Warren on bass, and Ben Riley on drums. The title may not please the vegans among us, but it is a jazz nod to today’s Thanksgiving holiday. To say that 2020 has been a year of challenges and heartache is an understatement of unfathomable proportions. I acknowledge the feelings of loss and grief that have dominated this year and my heart goes out to so many folks who have shared in these struggles. But speaking for myself, I can only say that I count my blessings that I am here to feel weary, to feel apprehensive, to feel loss, to feel grief—and to feel that with life, all things remain possible. On that “note,” I wish my friends and family a very Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving. Swing on Monk [YouTube link].

Some Godfather Therapy

This has been quite a year for so many folks, and the therapy business is, no doubt, booming.

Folks know I’m a big-time fan of “The Godfather Epic“… so, if Don Vito Corleone could use a little group therapy now and then, it must be a good idea …

John Belushi as Don Vito Corleone (Vintage Saturday Night Live clip)