Ives: Symphonies Nos 2 and 3; The Unanswered Question (1966) by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Berstein

Categories: 1901, 1902, 1910, 1911, 1935, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1987, and Music.

This is a compilation of the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Berstein’s performances of the middle symphonies and The Unanswered Question, originally a piece paired with another but one that has found a lot of attention as a standalone. Bernstein was one of the great champions of Ives once he was “discovered,” but these performances are actually significantly later than the premieres, which were handled by other conductors in the ’40s. Apparently Bernstein made some somewhat radical changes to some of the tempi and these changes have entered the repertoire. That’s not something that necessarily bothers me, though I understand Read More

Marnie (2000) by Bernard Herrmann, performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Joel McNeely

Categories: 1964, 2000, and Music.

Marnie is considerably more traditional than Herrmann’s most famous works from the ’60s, but that doesn’t make it bad. The score is highly memorable (i.e. catchy) and features not just a compelling main theme but some other pieces that really get in your head. There’s nothing innovative here. It’s just a pretty good score by one of the great American film score composers. Worth checking out if you’re into Herrmann, or Hitchcock, but certainly not among his very best. 7/10 Read More

Idle Moments (1964) by Grant Green

Categories: 1964 and Music.

Sometimes great music happens by accident. Apparently that’s what happened with the title track – it was never supposed to be so insanely long but somebody messed up and the band played the melody too many times. The result is pretty wonderful, if you love your cool jazz.And you know I don’t really. But I can respect it. And it’s not all cool, they do get “hot” (so to speak) on one of original tracks. The band is pretty stellar, particularly Hutcherson. Henderson appears to be really going against the grain, especially on the title track.But Wes was my first Read More

Seven Up! (1964, Paul Almond)

Categories: 1964 and TV.

This is TV program, which actually started the Up documentaries, is a dated and kind of simple attempt to capture the socioeconomic differences among British children and how those differences may affect their lives down the road. The film oversimplifies the social psychological / sociological research of the day but it is compelling to see how class differences already exist at age 7. It’s too bad the production has dated so much. 6/10 Read More

Complete Organ Works (2003) by Maurice Durufle, performed by Friedhelm Flamme

Categories: 1926, 1930, 1932, 1942, 1953, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1971, 2003, and Music.

The pipe organ must be one of the seriously neglected instruments of 20th century “classical” music, at least from the perspective of us musical naifs. I mean, even though there are plenty of notable organ and organ-centric compositions, very few of those have actually made it into mass awareness. The little bit of organ music we know is baroque. Read More

Michel Brault: Oeuvres 1958-1974

Categories: 1958, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1974, and Movies.

Though not every film is absolutely stand out, this collection is mostly filled with great stuff and very well worth watching, especially for Canadians. We can see that the Canadian film tradition was a little richer than more recent NFB material might have led us to believe. Here we have engaging, sometimes provocative, examinations of both minor and serious issues within our culture. Brault’s work should be far more well known outside of Quebec than it currently is. It should be watched in schools. Here are the films included in the collection. Titles in quotes are shorts and italicized titles Read More

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

Categories: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, and Music.

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg, Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression and how he turned gritty soul and R and B into funk and thus got sampled more than any other band leader ever. The one downside is that this compilation of his hit singles is missing one of his biggest hits. Hard to understand that Read More