Aaron's PicksBrowsing Music
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Music that I enjoy(...at least well enough to bother saying something about.)
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The Four Seasons
Vivaldi - Gil Shaham & The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
I wanted my own CD recording of "The Four Seasons" for quite some time, but hadn't yet got to it. Then my sister, who had raved and raved about her CD recording of Orpheus' performance, brought it over to my home. I was instantly captivated as I listened to track 10, Allegro non Molto from Winter. I had to have my own copy of the CD. Needless to say, I was soon the owner of my own copy and I've not regretted it even the least bit.
I love it, in fact.
I usually preferred a small ensemble performance over a larger group unless the larger group has insane precision and clarity, both in choral works, and string works. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's crisp precision backing Gil Shaham's own amazing accuracy and skill blend together making this a recording that I give a whole-hearted rating of 5.
This is recording of "The Four Seasons" is a must have for any collection. Get it!
Heart of the Heartland
I first heard the name Peter Ostroushko while conversing on the telephone with my wonderfully talented mother. She was excited about a new CD she had just received, "Heart of the Heartland". She let me sample a bit over the telephone. It was a little bit like listening to a 33,600 bps. RealAudio stream with additional background noise. That is to say, it was horrible sound quality. (Can you tell that I despise modem-speed sound streaming technologies for listening to music? Give me a 128 bit MP3 (or even better, a VBR OGG Vorbis (see http://www.vorbis.com) audio file I can download then listen to anytime!) Even so, I heard enough to intrigue me!
A week or more later, as I departed from a visit to my parents' house, I snagged the CD from the kitchen table and asked if I could borrow it. Once home, I popped into my CD player and cranked up the volume. Delicious! I liked it instantly. I knew that I would be buying this CD. I especially like track 3, "Puppy Belly Dance", a lively fiddle of a song!
Sure enough, I did buy it. Over the Internet, of course! (It isn't often that the local music stores have what I want in stock at a good price these days.) Don't tell Amazon.com this, but I bought it at Music Boulevard (which subsequently merged with CDNOW). The prices were the same at Amazon.com and at Music Boulevard, but Music Boulvard`'s shipping blew Amazon.com's away.
So what's the low-down overall? Buy it! You'll love it! (Unless your tastes are different than mine, of course. *grin*)
I first heard Nickel Creek when they were guests on Prarie Home Companion on public radio. I like acoustic strings to begin with (the group consists of violin/fiddle, guitar, mandolin, string bass, and vocals) and their bluegrass folk sound.
My sister, whose musical tastes overlap mine considerably, let me borrow her Nickel Creek CD. I'm addicted! I love the instrumentals and the vocal selections. I didn't want to have to return her CD. Fortunately for me, we worked out an arrangement whereby she gave me the CD in exchange for my picking her up from the airport in Las Vegas when she gets back from her trip to Colorado later this month (February 2001). I think I got the better end of the bargain.
My favorite vocal tracks are probably track #2 (The Lighthouse's Tale), #5 (Reasons Why), and #11 (The Fox).
These guys are good! Nearly perfect, in fact. I'll give 'em a 4.5 out of 5.
The Sound of Glory
Mormon Tabernacle Choir with Orchestra at Temple Square
While I enjoy the grandios sound of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, I tend to prefer smaller choral ensembles with a tighter sound. Well this CD is an exception to this rule. I don't know if it's because it's a Telarc recording (and every Telarc CD I own is superb) and thus better captures the sound, if it's the Orchestra at Temple Square lending a magnificent instrumental performance, or if it's the glorious arrangements of Mack Wilberg, Barlow Bradford, and others, or a combination of all, but this CD is probably going to now be my favorite MoTab CD. The choir has a crisp, clean sound. Yes, they still are a choir of grand scale, compared to the smaller ensembles I usually prefer, but their big sound on this recording is exceptional.
Now I'm not knocking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or other large choirs. I enjoy listening to them. Particularly live, in concert. If you ever have the chance to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in concert, do not pass it up! You will not be disappointed. My personal preference just usually tends toward smaller choral ensembles of twelve to perhaps thirty members.
I have a hard time narrowing down which tracks are my most favorite. I like every one of the Mack Wilberg arrangements. But I also like Barlow Bradford's arrangement of All Creatures of Our God and King. In fact, that track brought goose chills to my skin as I listened to it for the first time on the 4th of July, 2003, while riding in my brother's car up to Pine Valley, Utah. Even over the road noise, on a car audio system that is nothing to rave about, the music had power and depth.
It is interesting that this CD compilation has so many selections similar to the BYU Men's Chorus CD, Awake My Soul, particularly a prevalance of Mack Wilberg arrangements. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a wonderful thing. I own both CDs and I love 'em both.
I'm going to have to give this one a 4.5 out of 5 rating. It just sounds so good. Maybe it's my new Klipsch THX computer speakers I play it on while working at the keyboard... Nah, it's just an excellent recording of excellent performers giving a stunning performance. It's good.
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