Every year in June I drive from Somerville, Ma. to Rainsville, Ala. to see my father, returning via Nashville to see my brother and his family. By the end of the school year, the idea of sitting in a car for two days there (and two days back) and listening to lots of music is appealing. (I also look forward to seeing my family, of course). I set out this morning early and got to Charlottesville, Virginia, one of my favorite places, after about twelve hours of driving. During most of that time I was listening to music:
Burt Bacharach–At This Time (The last time I was at the Tower Records in Harvard Square, when very little was left, all of it drastically marked down, I ran across this. I’m sort of a fan, and I was curious, and I figured that at that price I might as well see what it was like. I listened to it as well–all of it. I don’t feel that I’ll ever have to do it again. It’s no I Say Little Prayer For You or I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, or much of anything, in fact. It’s pretty bad. But now I know, and I had the time anyway. I begin to think that I was sorry I hadn’t bought a copy of the re-release on psclassics of the cast recording of Promises, Promises because I would much rather have been listening to it.)
Samamidon–But the Chicken Proved Falsehearted. (Great!)
Tschaikovsky–Serenade for Strings
The Beach Boys–Pet Sounds
Irving Fine–String Quartet
Joshua Rifkin–The Baroque Beetles Book (The person who sold me gas at the service area of the New Jersey Tunrpike liked this) (I do too)
Harold Rome–Pins and Needles (Songs from the union–meaning socialist–review put on by members of the Ladies Garment Workers for a long run sometime in the 30’s. This is a recording–a 25th anniversary recording–featuring Barbara Streisand, who’s great in the thing’s she does. It includes such wonderful songs as It’s Better With A Union Man, Sing Me a Song with Social Significance, Nobody Makes a Pass at Me, Status Quo, and One Big Union For Two.)
Benjamin Britten–Death in Venice–Act One. (I think this is Britten’s best opera. It’s so beautiful and wonderful! I especially like the way the scenes flow seamlessly one into another, the uncanny realistic effects–such as the imitation of the motor of the boat that takes Aschenbach to Venice–and the orchestration which is so beautiful, and so transparent and etherial–it just sort of hangs in the air like some kind of mirage or hallucination–and at the same time, or rather at certain times, so powerful and full, but always so colorful. I’m a little suprised that no more is made gnerally of the fact that Britten writes twelve-tone music to represent the sterility of Aschenbach’s work.)
Nico Muhly–The Only Tune.
By that time I started trying to find All Things Considered–without much luck for a long time-I always have trouble finding NPR stations in northern Virginia–so I guess I was listening to an indeterminat composition consisting mainly of white noise.