Listening Log

September 2017

Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 659

This translates from German as “Now Come, Savior of the Gentiles”. It was originally choral music written by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Later the hymn was arranged for the piano by Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924). He was a big fan of Bach’s music. This piece is performed by Murray Perahia.

October 2017

Avalanche Op. 45, No. 2

This exciting and slightly-spooky music is sure to give you goosebumps. It was composed by Stephen Heller. He was born in Hungary in 1813 and studied music in Austria. When he was 25 years old he moved to Paris, France and was friends with other famous composers like Hector Berlioz, Frederic Chopin and Franz Liszt. This piece is performed by Randall Faber.

November 2017

The Moons of Jupiter

Did you know that the planet Jupiter is really massive? Its mass is 318 times the mass of planet Earth. It has 63 moons, because it has a really strong gravitational pull due to it’s enormous size. To learn more about Jupiter and its moons click here.

This piece was composed by Nancy Faber. She began composing music at the age of 7. She and her husband, Randall Faber, co-wrote the Piano Adventures series. He is playing her composition in this recording. They teach together at the Faber Institute in Michigan.

December 2017

Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24

The composers Paul O’Neill and John Oliva heard about a cellist that was born in Sarajevo. He was very good, so he moved away to play with orchestras throughout Europe. During the Bosnian War, he returned to his home town and found it destroyed by the fighting. Every night instead of going inside the safety of the bomb shelter, the man took his cello to the town square and played Christmas carols. He wanted to prove that the spirit of humanity was still alive there. This story inspired O’Neill and Oliva to compose this piece.

It is played in this recording by guitar soloist George Lynch and the Stahlwersfonie Orchestra.

January 2018

Mozart Piano Sonata No. 6 in DM K 284, Rondeau en Polonaise

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed this piece. His music is full of beautiful melodies and surprises, as you’ll hear in this recording.

Mitsuko Uchida makes this sonata sparkle. Her sensitive and emotional interpretations of Mozart’s music, her incredibly fast and agile fingers, and her stunning technique set her apart. When I want to listen to Mozart’s keyboard music, I turn to Ms. Uchida.

 

February 2018

The Sun’s Gonna Shine Again

Ray Charles composed and recorded this song with a band. It belongs to the rhythm and blues genre of jazz music. It is about a man that is sad because his wife is mad at him. Playing the blues makes him feel better and he is hopeful that the future will be “sunny”.

Mr. Charles was an excellent jazz pianist. He always wore sunglasses because he couldn’t see. He played by feeling the keys.