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Great pieces of music, detailed information


Sanctuary, John McLaughlin & Mahavishnu Orchestra

From "Birds of Fire", Mahavishnu Orchestra, CBS 32280 CB 211, 53.
1973; Copyright &Copy; 1972, Sri Chinmoy Lighthouse.

Guardian Angel(s), John McLaughlin

This can be found (entitled Guardian Angel) on the LP "Friday Night In San Francisco", played together with Al DiMeola and Paco de Lucia.
CBS, Philips, Phonogram, 1980.
Also (very short, and entitled Guardian Angels) on John McLaughlin with the One Truth Band / Electric Dreams, recorded 1978, remastered for CD 1992.


Nuages (That Which Passes, Passes Like Clouds), King Crimson

King Crimson: Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, Bill Bruford.
From "Three of a perfect pair" (1984) (third of the trilogy of which also Discipline (1981) and Beat (1982) were part.
EG Records Ltd. / Polydor.


Ela Me Deixou, Charlie Byrd

From Latin Byrd, recorded 1962, Remastered 1973, Copyright © Milestone Records, 1973.


Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)


Polonaise No. 4 in c minor; Frédéric Chopin

Polonaise No. 5 in f sharp minor; Frédéric Chopin

Études Opus 10, No. 6, E flat minor; Frédéric Chopin

24 Préludes Opus 28, nr 2, A minor, Lento; Frédéric Chopin

24 Préludes Opus 28, nr 4, E minor, Largo; Frédéric Chopin

24 Préludes Opus 28, nr 6, B minor, Lento assai; Frédéric Chopin

24 Préludes Opus 28, nr 9, E major, Largo; Frédéric Chopin

24 Préludes Opus 28, nr 24, D minor, Allegro appassionato; Frédéric Chopin

Ballade no. 1 Opus 23; Frédéric Chopin

The highlight of this Ballade for me is near the end: a chord containing a minor third (B flat on the tonic G) tending to go up, and a much higher major sixth (E below tonic G) tending to go down.

On the cd I have it is played by François-René Duchable. He takes the time to play this chord (a fermate; is it also in the score?), then gradually accelerates. This gives the listener the chance to hear and appreciate this wonderful musical moment.
However, on June 26, 2006, I heard a version of the same piece (on Portugal's classical station Antena 2), played by the famous Vladimir Horowitz. To my amazement, he played the whole episode much too fast, and he didn't play a fermate on that important chord, thereby ruining the whole effect!
This shows how important timing is in music, not just jazz music, but also classical music. Strange that a famous pianist like Horowitz can do this so horribly wrong. Wrong in my opinion, that is, but maybe opinions vary as does taste.

A helpful fellow Chopin fan sent me a copy of the relevant page of the score. The point I mean is in the last line of the last page, bar 258. There is no fermate, but it says "poco ritenuto". Apparently, Horowitz takes this "poco" literally, and plays only a little slower there, whereas Duchable makes it "molto ritenuto", which to me sounds so much better, although it's not what the score says. Perhaps it's also not what Chopin intended? We'll probably never know.


String Quartet No. 3 in C sharp minor, Bartók Béla

The other five String Quartets are fascinating too! But the third is ugly and beautiful to the extreme, especially the "gathering of forces" (that's what it sounds like to me) just before the part called "Coda: Allegro molto".
By the way, you may wonder why I write Bartók Béla, not Béla Bartók: that's because Hungarians write last names first, and first names last. Also, the acute accents are not stress marks; all words in Hungarian, including names, have initial stress. The accents are length marks, and also influence vowel quality. An approximation of the pronunciation, for speakers of American English, is Bartoak Baylaw (but keep the aw short), of for speakers of Dutch, Bartook Beelah (ah as the a in Rotterdam or The Hague "dak"; ee and oo as in Twente).
And remember, don't stress the second syllable.


Violin Concerto, Aram Khachaturian

This concerto contains a nice example of why an A flat is not the same as a G sharp, and audibly so. More on this in this separate article.


Sour Times, Portishead

From Portishead CD "Dummy". © 1994 Go! Discs Limited.


Firestarter, the Prodigy

From Prodigy CD "The Fat of the Land". © 1997 XL Recordings Limited.
The same CD also has the track "Smack my bitch up" on it. Again, great music, but the title and the video clip are disgusting.


Five per cent for nothing

From Yes the LP Fragile, 1973, © Atlantic Recording Corporation.
Written by Bill Bruford.


Heart of the sunrise

From Yes the LP Fragile, 1973, © Atlantic Recording Corporation.
Written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford.


Hommage a ma mère, by Manitas de Plata

From the Hommages LP, CBS, 1967.
I believe his real name is Ricardo Baillardo; the artist's name Manitas de Plata is Spanish for "Little Hands of Silver".


Technically improved (though still rather primitive) on 7 February 2012. The (misused) <H3> tags were unclosed, which caused the text to become larger all the time. Also changed the <H4> tags to simple <p>’s.




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