Music reviews about music that came out in 1937.
1. Dmitri Shostakovitch: Symphony No. 5 (7/10)
Shostakovitch is a composer I have heard a lot about, but heard only some music from. His symphonic cycle is claimed by many to be the greatest of the 20th century. I have only heard a couple of these symphonies before and, if I’ve heard the 5th, I don’t remember hearing it previously.
Shostakovitch is a more conservative, more traditional composer than the 20th century composers I usually enjoy. I understand that at much of that conservatism comes from the fact that he lived and worked in the USSR and was forced by threat of imprisonment or even death to write in certain ways. Given that, he still took some risks albeit, not with this symphony (from my understanding).
Shostakovitch’s music has, for me, almost a Mahlerian quality to it, where you can hear the sophistication and the thought in the music, and you can hear the interest in more modern ideas, but everything is routed firmly in tradition. But this symphony strikes me as more conservative than some of the other pieces of music of his I’ve heard. Maybe it’s a piece I need to give more time, but it feels to me like this was not the place for me to start anew with his work (I haven’t listened to him in years) and I’m not as impressed as I was hoping to be.
Benny Carter: “Blues in My Heart”
Didn’t rate individual tracks at the time. One to revisit.
Benny Carter and Lionel Hampton: “I’m in the Mood for Swing”
Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Lazy Afternoon”
Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “My Buddy”
Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Nagasaki”
Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Skip It”
Benny Carter and the Ramblers: “I’ll Never Give In”
Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Mighty Like the Blues”
Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Pardon Me Pretty Baby”
Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Somebody Loves Me”
Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra: “Mean to Me” (7/10)
This is a ballad that features plenty of instrumental solos before you are even aware Billie Holiday is here (1:20 in). In both this and the earlier track, you can here the distinctness of her voice. No other jazz vocalist sounded like this.
Earl Hines Orchestra: “Honeysuckle Rose” (6/10)
The piano sounds way better mic’d (than Hine’s other recordings) so I am assuming this is the 1937 version, given how much clearer everything is. Pretty trad for that time, though.
Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra: “Stampede” (6/10)
“Stampede” feels like more of a bid to stay with the trend and have something to dance to. Not my favourite.