Friday, May 24, 2013

My three Bs

Some outdated version of music appreciation taught the grandeur of the three Bs--Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. No offense, boys (except to Brahms: lighten up, buddy), but I'm going to give you my three Bs. These pieces reliably exhilarate me every time I hear them.

In no particular order:

Brubeck's "Unsquare Dance"

Dave Brubeck's playful asymmetrical rhythm brings a freshness to jazz I always crave. There's a great Youtube video of some modernist ho-down choreography, but tragically, the sound has been warped.

Beck: Cell Phones Dead

Beck has always been a favorite, and this song demonstrates everything I like about his music. The coda, in particular, causes a transcendent experience every time I hear it (it shames the coda on "Hey Jude"). If you ask me any of life's daunting questions while the latter half of this song is playing, I can give you a great answer. 

Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14

I first heard this concerto in 2009 from a front-row seat at The Philadelphia Orchestra. I bought the ticket cheaply at the last minute, and though a front-row orchestra seat isn't usually ideal, I relished the soloist's proximinity; I could have shined his shoes without standing up. The piece functioned like a soundtrack to the things I was dealing with, lending some semblance of organicism to what felt chaotic on its own.