1943 in Music

Music released in 1943, and my reviews.

1. Bernard Herrmann: Jane Eyre (9/10)

I have never seen the Orson Welles version of Jane Eyre (come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve seen any version of Jane Eyre) but after listening to this, I really kind of want to.

This score is awesome – at times it sounds like a horror movie and, frankly, everything about it makes me want to watch the film. But it works outside of the film, as well, as it shows a composer using virtually every known trick in the book (though not really from other books, but that’s okay) to set all sorts of different moods.

This has to be considered one of Herrmann’s great early film scores. It’s just fantastic. Can’t say enough about it.

2. Memphis Minnie: “Looking the World Over” (8/10)

Strong sound quality reveals a particularly rangy vocal from Minnie and some fine playing from her accompanist.  One of the highlights of her 40s recordings, I think.

3. Lukas Foss: Piano Concerto No. 1 (7/10)

This piece was apparently originally written for clarinet and orchestra and you can sort of get a sense why. The piece starts off in almost a neo baroque or neo medieval vein, but once the piano comes in, there’s a slight jazzy vibe to the piano (very slight) which I can clearly conceive of played by a clarinet.

In the Andante, I’m pretty sure I hear clarinets, so I guess it was going to be pretty clarinet-forward.

I have no musical training, so what I am about to say is a guess, but it does sound like there is a mix of tradition and more forward-thinking stuff, at least to my ears. There are parts of the concerto which sound extremely out of place for 1943 and other parts which sound quite contemporary. And I like that.

Benny Carter and His Orchestra: “Midnight” (???/10)