Monday, December 10, 2012

tunes recently enjoyed no. 3

Arpeggione Sonata in A Minor by Franz Schubert - Mstislav Rostropovich and Benjamin Britten

Lorin Benedict, who is a very fine singer of weird and wonderful songs, recommended this particular recording to me. It's intoxicating. There's such enormous sensitivity in it, like a conversation between two creatures in the dark whose skins are entirely covered with antennae tuned precisely to each other's frequency. I don't know enough about music to talk about it with any real intelligence. I'm trapped in the world of metaphors, in saying what things are sort of like, sort of remind me of, sort of, kind of, and not what they actually are. This is just... beautiful. Pleasant and interesting on my ear. Sounds, alternating anchors and wild kites, that pull me right up to them.

Symphony No. 3 by Charles Ives

I started listening to Charles Ives because of Leonard Bernstein, who I am completely obsessed with right now. (The Norton lectures that he gave at Harvard in 1973 are my current companions in the land of sleeplessness.) Ives's music makes me feel like I'm at the center of a collision between epic loveliness, creepy jocularity, and patiently endured, long suffered melancholy. He goes from something that makes me think of cathedrals and underground lakes to a maddening march with no remorse. It's interesting. And I can't get enough of interesting music right now. What does that limp word even mean? I don't know. I want music that makes me desire nothing so much as listening through to the end, that my ears want to puzzle over and my brain wants to think about. Not opaque stuff that abrades, but stuff with corners to peer around, sharp objects that stab you, layers to shuffle through.

This recording is, unsurprisingly, the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

Vanishing Lady - Rickard Brothers

I'm a sucker for anything that references magic shows. This song is ridiculous, swooping, and full of these amazingly maddening repeats. It spends almost three and a half minutes telling you to watch closely for this moment of vanishing, cranking you up and up for some sort of happening that never actually happens. And then it completely betrays you with a fade out. But, I like it.

I've Just Seen a Face - The Beatles

I love these lyrics. You know that absurd joy of recognition? Oh, yes! That is exactly how I feel and how I've felt. I know this. I know this! It's silly; why is it so satisfying to spot fragments of your own life in someone else's infinitely more clever, more well-turned, more piercing song?

Aside from the lyrics, this song makes me feel like running. It keeps going and going and those beautiful guitar bits come in with all these short, clipped words flying at you, and it makes me wish I could be a person with crazy parkour skills so I could leap off buildings and skitter off walls.

Nothin' in the World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl - The Kinks

This song is so pent-up and anxious and full of absurd angst. I imagine someone locking themselves in a closet and singing this. I like how the twangy, strong sounds pound away in the basement while the voice floats above it, high and fretting. I'm not sure why that makes me like it, but the space in between those two things feels somehow both silly and perfect.

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