May they rest in peace, and may we be wise enough to take the actions necessary to change things for the better so that our kids don’t find themselves in such despair.
For music this week, I’m going to show you a different side of my taste. You see, your Truth Wins Out writer has another passion which has existed much longer, long before he started yelling at wingnuts and rousing all you rabble about equality for LGBT people. I’ve been playing piano since I was four, majored in classical piano performance in college [for a time...], and I’m also a singer/songwriter/pianist. I’ll be recording my first EP this winter, which will be decidedly not classical [banjos and mandolins will feature prominently, and of course, my piano], but I still fiercely love playing and listening to “classical” music [to use a broad, colloquial term]. When I was Asher Brown’s age, Seth Walsh’s age, Billy Lucas’s age, when I was the one being targeted in middle school and early high school with daily bullying, my refuge was the grand piano in the sunroom of my house. I may not have been athletic, and I may not have been the most social child, but dammit, that was something I could do, and better than anyone else. Through the insanity of this past week, in which I experienced for the first time the sadness, frustration, helplessness and anger that can come with this gig, the music of Maurice Ravel has been calming me at times, sustaining me at times, and providing an outlet for my frustration at others.
One of Ravel’s darkest, most violent and most beautiful pieces is his Piano Concerto in D, for the left hand. It’s written for the left hand only for a reason: it was commissioned by the Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm in World War I. Left hand piano repertoire fascinates me, and this piece is on My List of things to learn, someday when I have the time and a decent piano. The recording I have is by Werner Haas and the Orchestre National de l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo, but I found this other performance from the pianist Eliso Virsaladze and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic which, quite frankly, glued me to the back of my chair in awe until it was over. The piece is in three movements, which flow directly into each other, and because of YouTube time limits, it’s in two sections. When the first video is over, hit play on the second one as fast as your fingers will take you.
So we’ll start with that, hit shuffle on the old iTunes machine and see what happens. As it is a Random Ten, it will, of course, be all over the place, but that’s the point. More videos after the jump.
1. Tori Amos – “Marianne” [How insane that the first song in the shuffle is about a high school friend of Tori's who committed suicide. Here's video of Tori talking about Marianne.]
2. Robert Shaw Festival Singers, cond. by Robert Shaw – “Pour Mourner”
3. Lenny Kravitz – “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over”
4. Matthew Perryman Jones – “Bomb Scare”
5. Alexander Scriabin: Prelude in B-Flat Minor, Op. 11, No. 16, played by Gordon Fergus Thompson [Scriabin, for the record, is my very favorite composer.]
6. Nick Thorburn – “Gone Bananas”
7. RENT, Original Broadway Cast – “I’ll Cover You”
8. Department of Eagles – “1997 (Doctor Rosen Rosen REMIX)”
9. Leisure – “It’s Alright (On the Suez Canal)”
10. Nina Simone – “Backlash Blues”
Told you this one was all over the place, but if you listen to the videos below, in the order I placed them, I think you’ll agree that my iTunes did something fiercely appropriate this week.