Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Music in the Music Collection

After a long semester and seemingly endless Finals Week you may want to kick back with some holiday music.  For compact discs to check out, go to CardCat's advanced search, select "Compact Discs, audio" as the format, and then type the holiday of your choice.  The Music Collection has over 250 CDs of Christmas music and several CDs of music for Hannukah and Solstice celebrations.

For something different, try out these non-traditional Christmas selections:
Christmas Comes Alive, by the Brian Setzer Orchestra
A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector
A Soulful Christmas, with classic R&B artists
The Temptations Christmas Card
This is Christmas, Luther Vandross
December, by the Moody Blues
A Smooth Jazz Christmas, by Dave Koz and friends
A Motown Christmas
Nuncrackers, the Nunsense Christmas Musical
Merry Texas Christmas, y'all, by Asleep at the Wheel
Christmas Island, by Jimmy Buffett
Merry Christmas, by Mariah Carey
Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits, 1955-1989
Dr. Demento Presents the Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All-Time

If you are already out of town, you can use your Ball State username and password to listen to Naxos Music Library's Christmas music playlist, a selection of classic and classical Christmas favorites.  (Log-in with Ball State user ID and password required off-campus)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy Hannukah from the Music Collection!

Hannukah music is part of the celebration of the season, and Jewish musicians (and even some non-Jews) have brought imagination and whimsy to this special time of year.  Try these CDs in the Music Collection:

Yeshiva Boys Choir' Hanukkah (or Chanukah) album:
Compact Disc 20790

 The LeeVees, and their rockin' take on the holidays:
Compact Disc 21103

The Klezmer Conservatory Band (there really isn't a
conservatory for klezmer!) offers up "Oy Chanukah!"
Compact Disc 18159

A Child's Hanukkah, by the Jewish Wedding Band:
Compact Disc 19275 

For something more reverent, try "Lights: Music for Chanukah"
by the Zamir Chorale of Boston:
Compact Disc 13531

If you'd rather make your own Hanukkah music, The Music Collection has song books, such as Jewish Holidays in Song by Velvel Pasternak.  (Call Number: M 2187 .H65 1997) and Hebrew Holidays and Folk Songscompiled by Rene and David Karp.  (Call Number: M 1850 .H43 2009) 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

K-Pop in the Music Collection

CDs in the Music Collection
The Music Collection has Korean popular music (K-Pop) in addition to popular music from around the world.  K-Pop is of recent interest because the video of "Gangnam Style" by PSY went viral.  Even before that, K-Pop had been increasingly popular in Asia and gaining a foothold in the United States especially with young audiences.  Billboard Magazine recently added K-Pop to its online series of popular music charts, the only style from outside of the Western Hemisphere (Latin American music has been a staple for years) to be tracked by the music media giant.

To search for Korean popular music, go to the Media Finder for non-Classical Music.  You can search for the style (rock, rap, etc.) and then select Korea as the country:

You can also search for an artist or band by using CardCat and searching for him/her/them as an "author."

PSY's album, with inserts for each song (in Korean)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Compact Disc!

30 years ago today the first CD player and commercial CD recording were released.  The CD player was by Sony and the CD was 52nd Street, by Billy Joel, also a Sony release.
52nd Street was originally issued as an LP in 1978 and proved to be a big seller for Sony.  Hit songs included "Big Shot," "Honesty," and "My Life."

The CD was meant to be indestructable, at least compared to the LP, which was easily scratched or warped.  As music librarians have come to learn, that promise was exaggerated just a bit, but it's true that it has proven to be a very durable format for recordings.  The Ball State Music Collection has over 17,000 CD titles, representing well over 20,000 individual discs.  Unlike many other formats that have come and gone, you can still borrow a CD and listen to it at the library or at home.  Use the keywords "and compact" with any other search terms, or select "Compact Disc, audio" as the format in Advanced Search in CardCat.

Read more in The Atlantic Monthly.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Music of Mourning

Music accompanies and portrays all human emotions, so it's no surprise that the world's most beautiful music has been composed to honor the memory of the departed.  From the Ancient Greeks to the present, some of the most enduring works of European art music have been associated with mourning.  The Requiem is the Catholic Mass for the Dead but many composers' versions have become popular for their emotional range, for example, Verdi's famous Requiem.

On September 11, we honor the memory of those lives lost in New York, Arlington, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. Many works of music have been composed to commemorate the day, but perhaps the most eloquent is On the Transmigration of Souls, by American composer John Adams.  Transmigration is a Buddhist concept, meaning the separation of the soul from its body and subsequent travel to either a type of Hell or to a new life.

In this work, a child speaks the names of the people lost as the chorus intones some of the messages on flyers posted in the city as people searched for their missing loved ones.  It premiered on September 19, 2002 for the anniversary of 9/11, in a performance by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, which commissioned the piece.  Later, it won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Check out the Music Collection's CD recording, or listen to the piece on Naxos Music Online (Ball State log-in required)

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Operas on DVD

The Educational Resources Collection includes almost 200 operas on DVD, most with subtitles in English to help you follow the plot.  Among the recent editions are some of the latest interpretations by today's stars:

La Clemenza di Tito, one of Mozart's historical operas based on a text by Metastasio.  Starring Elena Garança and Barbara Bonney among others, it was filmed live at the Salzburg Festival in 2003.
DVD Video 10089

La Traviata, Puccini's famous tale of a ill-fated courtesan (a.k.a. prostitute) and the man who loves her.
DVD Video 10090

Elektra, the tragic opera by Richard Strauss, about a woman obsessed with the death of her father.  Recorded in Salzburg in 2010.

Tosca, Puccini's tragic tale of star-crossed lovers.  (Zurich, 2009) 
DVD Video 10083

Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute), Mozart's masterpiece, featuring the famous "Queen of the Night" aria.  This production was filmed at the famous La Scala theatre.

Anna Nicole, an opera about a more recent tragic story, composed by Mark-Anthony Turnage.

The Rake's Progress.  This opera by Igor Stravinsky turns the genre on its head and features a man of ill-repute who meets a tragic end, rather than a woman.

American superstar Renee Fleming stars in Armida, set during the Crusades.  This production was broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House to movie theatres around the country.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Music for 4th of July

Celebrate the holiday with a variety of songs streamed from Naxos Music Library (log on required from off-campus):

Or search the word "patriotic" as a keyword to find other selections.  Naxos Music Library includes over a million tracks of classical and classic music to stream to your computer.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Flag Day

June 14 is Flag Day, the official commemoration of the adoption of the stars and stripes as the United States national symbol.  Many songs celebrate the flag, the most famous of which are "You're a Grand Old Flag,: and "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa.

Of course the most famous song about the flag is The Star-Spangled Banner, which dates from 1814.  The words are by Francis Scott Key, but did you know that the song was originally a drinking song?  One of the Music Collection's song books has both versions.  Check them out below.  (Note that the first two notes of the melody were different a hundred years ago, when the book was published).  Although well known almost immediately, it was not offically declared the national song until 1931.

The song you know:

The original song:

New Books, Scores & CDs received in May

You can find a list of the new books & scores here and a list of the new CDs here. If a score or book is still at the bindery, you can still place a hold/recall request on it. Simply log into CardCat and look it up, then you'll see "Hold/Recall Request" to the left of the full item description.
There is one new music DVD in the Educational Resources Collection: Jazz on a Summer's Day. Filmed at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1958, it features classic performances by iconic musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Dinah Washington, Thelonious MOnk, George Shearing and many, many others. It is the first true "concert film," and a classic documentary.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Billboard Award-Winning Albums in the Music Collection

The annual Billboard Awards honored artists, songs, and albums of merit from the past year.  Most of the winning albums and artists are available in the Music Collection.  Just click on the links to go to the CardCat listing for the artist or album:

  • Adele's "21" was the big winner:  Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album, Top Female Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Digital Songs Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Digital Media Artist, Top Pop Artist, Top Pop Album, Top Streaming Song, Top Alternative Song

  • Other winners:

  • LMFAO:  Top Hot 100 Song, Top Duo/Group, Top Digital Song, Top Pop Song, Top Dance Song, Top Rap Song
  • Coldplay: Top Rock Artist, Top Alternative Artist, Top Rock Album, Top Alternative Album
  • Foster the People:  Top Rock Song
  • Wiz Khalifa:  Top New Artist,
  • Lil Wayne: Top Male Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Album
  • Lady Gaga: Top Dance Artist, Top Dance Album
  • U2: Top Touring Artist
  • Lady Antebellum: Top Country Artist
  • Justin Bieber: Top Social Artist
  • Rihanna: Top Streaming Artist
  • Shakira: Top Latin Artist
  • Nicki Minaj: Top Streaming Song (Video)

    • ...and many of the nominated artists and albums are available as well:

      Michael Bublé
      The Black Eyed Peas
      Bad Meets Evil
      Scotty McCreery
      Bon Jovi
      Taylor Swift
      Foo Fighters
      The Black Keys
      Mumford & Sons
      The Band Perry
      David Guetta
      Britney Spears
      Jay-Z & Kanye West

      Thursday, April 5, 2012

      Jazz Appreciation Month: Jazz in the Movies

      Hallelujah (1929) -- the story of a cotton farmer, with music by Irving Berlin.  The DVD includes two musical shorts. Directed by King Vidor.
      DVD Video 7079

      Blues in the Night (1941) -- story about a jazz band on the road, starring Jimmy Lunceford and his orchestra.
      DVD Video 7210

      Cabin in the Sky (1943) -- Southern black version of "Faust" legend with music by Duke Ellington.  Features Ethel Waters, Lena Horne and Louis Armstrong.
      DVD Video 7080

      Stormy Weather (1943) -- includes the dance routine by the Nicholas Brothers that Fred Astaire described as the "best filmed dance sequence ever."  Also featuring Lena Horne, and the Cab Calloway big band.
      DVD Video 6313

      Birth of the Blues (1946) -- a story about Dixieland jazz, featuring trombonist Jack Teagarden.  The DVD includes Blue Skies (1941), with music by Irving Berlin.
      DVD Video 6337

      Anatomy of a Murder (1959) -- Otto Preminger film starring Jimmy Stewart, with music by Duke Ellington.
      DVD Video 267

      'Round Midnight (1968) -- stars saxophonist Dexter Gordon as a troubled sax player.  The film score is by Herbie Hancock.
      DVD 6687

      Buena Vista Social Club (1999) -- documentary about musicians in Havana
      DVD Video 413

      Sweet and Lowdown (2004) -- about the conflict between acoustic and electrified jazz.  Music by Dick Hyman
      DVD Video 2052

      These videos are available from the Educational Resources Collections.

      Monday, April 2, 2012

      Jazz Appreciation Month: Recent Acquisitions

      ML419.C645 A5 2010

      ML419.B297 Z57 2011

      ML429.G696 H47 2011

      ML419.J69 A3 2011

      ML 422 .K35 S63 2010

      The Music Collection has almost 200 biographies of jazz musicians!

      Compact Discs
      Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band: Tales of a Courtesan
      Compact Disc 18889

      Stuff Smith & Stephane Grappelli: Violins No End
      Compact Disc 20627
      Historic pairing of two giants of jazz violin.

      Miles Davis Quintet: Live in Europe, 1967 (includes a DVD)
      Compact Disc 20882
      First release of recordings made during this historic tour, including a live DVD.

      Louis Prima
      Compact Disc 20628
      The greatest hits of the trumpeter/singer/arranger who had his own television show in the 1950s.

      Great Jazz Legends: 40 Remarkable Recordings
      Compact Disc 20746
      The title says it all!

      Trombone Shorty: For True
      Compact Disc 20811
      One of the newest jazz acts to achieve wide acclaim

      Cal Tjader / Stan Getz Sextet
      Compact Disc 20610
      Pairing of the two saxophonists who put Latin Jazz on the map

      Straight No Chaser Band: 200 Mondays
      Compact Disc 20617

      Keiko Matsui: The Road
      Compact Disc 20615

      Thursday, March 15, 2012

      March is Disability Awareness Month

      March is Disability Awareness Month, though when a "disabled" musician performs, the last thing you're aware of is his or her disability.  Check out what "disabled" people with musical talent have accomplished:

      Blind Musicians:

      Francesco Landini, 14th-Century organist and composer, blinded by smallpox

      Antonio de Cabezon, a 16th-Century composer and keyboard player

      Joaquin Rodrigo, twentieth-century composer and pianist

      Blind Tom, one of the first famous blind musicians of the United States

      Blind Lemon Jefferson, early Delta Blues singer

      Blind Willie Johnson, early Delta Blues singer

      Clarence Carter, soul / R&B singer

      Ray Charles, famous R&B singer/pianist

      Stevie Wonder, famous R&B singer/pianist

      Andrea Bocelli, popular classical crossover singer

      Art Tatum, jazz pianist

      George Shearing, jazz pianist

      Diane Schuur, jazz pianist

      The Blind Boys of Alabama are a Grammy-award winning gospel singing group
      Musicians With Other Disabilities:

      Itzhak Perlman, one of the top violinists of our time.  A native of Israel, because of a childhood case of polio, he needs crutches to get around.

      Paul Wittgenstein was a famous pianist who lost his right hand in World War I.  Wittgenstein inspired, arranged or collaborated on piano music for one hand. Later injured pianists, such as Leon Fleisher, who lost the use of his right hand due to focal distonia, have been able to continue performing thanks to that repertoire.

      Rick Allen, drummer for Def Leppard,  lost his left arm in an automobile crash and continues to perform on an adaptive drumset and to encourage veterans (amputees and others) through his Raven Drum Foundation.

      Music, Disability, and Society by Alex Lubet ML 3820 .L823 2011

      Tuesday, January 31, 2012

      Black History Month: Classical Composers

      Although black musicians have been associated with popular and folk idioms around the world, there have been many black musicians and composers of classical music.

      Joseph Boulogne, chevalier de Saint-Georges (d. 1799), also known as Le Mozart Noir (The Black Mozart), is the earliest known classical composer of African descent.  He was born on the Caribbean island of Guadaloupe, but made his career in Paris.  There he conducted the premieres of Joseph Haydn's "Paris" Symphonies.  The title "chevalier" was due to his fencing ability, and he was also a military commander during the French Revolution.  His biography is shelved with books on French history (Call number DC 137.5 .S35 S56 1996).  His best-known works were composed for the violin.

      Harry T Burleigh (1866 - 1949) is best known today for composing art song versions of classic spirituals, though during his life he was a well-respected vocalist.  He also influenced Dvorak's New World Symphony when, as a student, he sang spirituals for Dvorak.

      Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912) was a native of England, though he composed music on American themes, most famously his Scenes from The Song of Hiawatha.  He was influenced by African-American musical pioneers such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Harry T. Burleigh, and by poet Paul Laurence Dunbar.  His music on black themes includes a musical tribute to Toussaint Louverture, the leader of the 1971 Haitian slave revolt and revolution, The African Suite, and an orchstral suite on the black Shakespeare character, Othello.

      Music and the Harlem Renaissance

      In the 1920s, the Harlem neighborhood of New York City became a mecca for African-American artists and writers.  The "Harlem Renaissance" inspired artists to use themes from African-American life and history in their works rather than assimilate European styles.  This coincides with the "Jazz Age" but the two movements were separate.

      Alain Locke, one of the founders of the movement, which focused on the visual and literary arts.  The movement sought to advance the cause of African-American artists without sacrificing their identity.  Members used African-American themes within European genres.  At first, Locke was disdainful of jazz, preferring spirituals as the musical expression of African-American identity and culture.  Eventually, jazz had become firmly established in American culture, opening the door for classically-trained artists to incorporate jazz themes.  The landmark book of the Harlem Renaissance is a collection of essays edited by Locke and titled The New Negro: An Interpretation.  In 1936 he set out his ideas on music in The New Negro and His Music.

      Even if not directly influenced by the Harlem Renaissance, the music of the following composers embodies its spirit:

      R. Nathaniel Dett (1882 - 1943) was born in Canada and grew up in New York.  While a student at Oberlin Conservatory, he was inspired by the music of Dvorak to incorporate the music of slavery into his compositions.  His most popular piano piece, In the Bottoms, includes a much-performed dance movement titled "Juba."

      Florence Price (1887 - 1953) composed three symphonies, a violin concerto, and many other smaller works piano and voice.  Some of her songs are settings of poems by Harlem Renaissance poets such as Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar.  She also composed settings of spirituals.

      William Grant Still (1895 - 1978) composed some music with African-American themes, such as his "Afro-American Symphony," but his output was diverse and includes instrumental and vocal music.

      William Dawson (1899 - 1990) is best known for his "Negro Folk Symphony."

      Duke Ellington (1899 - 1974) was a jazz bandleader and pianist who composed some long-form pieces that have been orchestrated.  Four Symphonic Works is a CD with arrangements that blend orchestral and jazz elements.  These works have African-American themes.

      For more information, check out these books:
      Deep River: Music and Memory in Harlem Renaissance Thought
      ML 3556 .A53 2001

      The New Negroes and Their Music: The Success of the Harlem Renaissance
      ML 3556 .S77 1997

      Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance: A Collection of Essays
      ML 3556.8 .N5 B6 1993

      After the Harlem Renaissance

      Later composers continued the tradition of incorporating black elements into classical music, but they didn't limit themselves to African-American or black themes.

      Margaret Bonds (1913 - 1972) studied composition with Florence Price and William Dawson while still in high school.  She went to study at Northwestern and Juilliard.  Some of her most well-known works are settings of poems by her friend, Langston Hughes
      Ulysses Kay (1917 - 1995) composed symphonic, choral, chamber, and operatic music.  Two of his operas, Jubilee and Frederick Douglass, portray African-American themes.

      George Walker, born in 1922, has composed in all classical genres, including orchestral, vocal, and band music. 

      Hale Smith (1925 - 2009) was adept in both jazz and classical techniques and composed in both.

      There are many more Classical musicians of African descent, and the best place to read up on them is in the two-volume International Dictionary of Black Composers, found in the Music Collection Reference area (ML 105 .I5 1999).

      Monday, January 23, 2012

      Music to Commemorate the Holocaust (Jan. 27)

      January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as established by the United Nations to remember the victims of the Holocaust and to prevent future acts of genocide.

      Music played a role in the Holocaust, as many of the victims were musicians, and many the soldiers who carried out the Nazi plans were music lovers.  Terienstadt (Terezin), a village near Prague where musicians and artists were sent, boasted concerts as part of a propaganda scheme to make Nazi "resettlement" efforts appear more humane than they were.   In work camps, prisoner bands or orchestras accompanied the work of the camp.  In death camps, orchestras accompanied victims as they marched to the gas chamber. Musicians came from all parts of Europe and included Romany (gypsies) as well as Jews. 

      Later composers have memorialized the victims, as heard on these compact discs.  You can also hear music of remembrance via Naxos Music Library, for example the Holocaust Cantata by Donald McCullough.

      The Music Collection also has many books on the history of Jews in Music, and Jewish music, including music from Biblical times to the present.

      Thursday, January 12, 2012

      Music of the Civil Rights Movement

      Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a preacher who knew the power of oratory as well as the power of music.  Throughout the American South, as activists protested against Jim Crow laws and unequal voting rights, they sang about the struggle for freedom and inspired others to sing. 

      The March on Washington in 1963 included music as well as the famous "I have a Dream" speach.  Singers included Marian Anderson, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez.  Check out this recording of selections from that pivotal day.

      The Music Collection also holds several other CDs of music that accompanied the march toward equality:

      Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs, 1960-1966

      Power to the Motown People:  Civil Rights Anthems and Political Soul 1968-1975

      Freedom is a Constant Struggle

      Classic Protest Songs

      Black Power: Music of a Revolution

      We Shall Overcome: Songs of the Freedom Riders and the Sit-Ins