Posts Tagged ‘Baroque Music For Trumpets’

Doubleshot Tuesday: The Brandenburg Concertos/Baroque Music For Trumpets

22 December 2009

[Today: Hide the holiday music…]

I know it’s not a popular sentiment to broadcast, but holiday music generally blows egg nog. Although the argument could be made that most Christmas carols just aren’t very good songs, the problem here is one of quantity not quality. The world is still singing the exact same batch of songs it was singing when I was a kid, and anytime you’re subjected to the same music in perpetuity, bad things will happen. What was inspiring and uplifting as a seven year-old becomes tired and dull several decades and a few hundred thousand listens later. Whenever I hear about homicides during the holiday season, I always suspect ‘Deck The Halls’ as a mitigating factor. Strangely, there don’t seem to be many new additions to the holiday music canon, and most of the recent memorable holiday songs are of the ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ or ‘Santa Got Run Over By A Reindeer’ novelty/kitsch varietal. In other words, we’re talking about a pretty stagnant pool of music.

So what are discerning listeners to do this time of year, besides gouge out their ears with a pencil? There are certainly a handful of very good holiday albums by excellent interpretive musicians – John Fahey’s The New Possibility comes to mind here. It’s an album of guitar instrumentals, and unless you were paying very close attention, it’s unlikely you’d realize you were listening to a holiday album. Which in my book is almost perfect.

But an even better idea is to skip the interpretations and move away from holiday music altogether. There’s a certain strain of classical music that sets the right kind of mood for the holidays, and two of my personal favorite examples of it are Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and Wynton Marsalis’ Baroque Music For Trumpets. The obvious huge disclaimer here is that if you’re not down with classical, this isn’t much of a solution. But I think we can all agree that almost anything beats yet another three minutes spent with the likes of ‘White Christmas’. Call it humbug if you must, but there’s no reason to let bad music dampen your holiday spirit.

Listen: Brandenburg Concerto #1 – in F [Bach]

Listen: Concerto for 2 Trumpets and Strings in C-Major, RV 537: I. Allegro [Marsalis]

Listen Concerto for 2 Trumpets and Strings in C Major, RV 537: II. Largo [Marsalis]

Listen: Concerto for 2 Trumpets and Strings in C-Major, RV 537: III. Allegro [Marsalis]

Buried Treasure: Baroque Music For Trumpets

4 May 2007

[The ‘Buried Treasure’ series is my attempt to uncover some great albums that deserve a larger audience. Today: the other side of Wynton Marsalis…]

Marsalis - album

Wynton Marsalis is primarily known as a jazz trumpeter, but he’s got some serious chops in the classical arena as well. Here he tackles Vivaldi, Telemann, Pachelbel, Haydn, and Biber. On the latter piece, Marsalis overdubbed 8 separate trumpet parts to achieve a majestic whole. Recorded in St. Barnabas church in North London in 1987, the acoustic clarity of the entire album is stunning. The liner notes include complicated diagrams that explain how the microphones were positioned in the church to capture this sound, but all you really need to know is that it sounds fabulous.

Marsalis will rightfully go down as the most important jazz player of his generation. Do your ears a favor and take a listen to the other side of a trumpet legend.