Some of my favorite music
This is a sampling of some of my favorite things to listen to. If you find that we have similar tastes in music, maybe you'll find something new here that you want to try.
- Mozart: Try Symphony #40, as well as the operas, like The Marriage of Figaro.
- Beethoven: Violin Concerto, plus Symphonies #5, #6, #7, and #8
- Tchaikovsky: Symphony #6
- Mahler: Symphony #2 gives me chills. So does Symphony #5.
- Elgar: Enigma Variations.
- Vaughn Williams: Variations on a Theme By Thomas Tallis
You'll notice that I'm biased toward symphonic music, as opposed to, say, chamber music. This is probably because I'm a bassist, so I tend to prefer pieces that have bass parts. Speaking of bass, I would be remiss if I failed to mention:
- Edgar Meyer. In my opinion, he is the world's greatest living bassist. In good record stores, you can find recordings of solo bass pieces that he's composed and performed. While mainly a classical bassist, Edgar's music also includes jazz, bluegrass, and other influences. Great stuff! When I taught at Vanderbilt, he was a fellow faculty member.
- Billy Joel: Still my favorite singer/songwriter
- Barenaked Ladies
- Lyle Lovett
- Sara McLachlan
- The Indigo Girls
- Huey Lewis and the News
- REO Speedwagon
I think that Radio Paradise is a really good example of an Internet radio station. You can hear a very eclectic mix of music, and learn about artists you've never heard of before. Check out their most recent playlist to see an example. I find that I typically have heard of only about 20% of the artists they're playing. Perhaps this is the future of music distribution?
Broadway shows are probably my favorite art form. I would probably like opera this much, too, if it were sung in English. Here are some of my favorite shows:
- Once on this Island
- Note: these first two shows were written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, my favorite musical-theater writing team. I also love their lesser-known shows, such as My Favorite Year and Lucky Stiff. Notably, Lynn Ahrens got her start writing (and singing!) such great tunes as Interjections, A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing, Interplanet Janet, Elbow Room, and The Preamble for Schoolhouse Rock.
- Les Misérables
- Phantom of the Opera
- Into the Woods
- Miss Saigon
- South Pacific
My favorite Broadway performers include the tenors Michael Crawford and Mandy Patinkin.
Exciting Music You've Probably Never Heard
Some of the best music is also the hardest to categorize.
- Groovelily are a trio who write really smart, tuneful, and moving songs. Brendan plays keyboards, Gene plays drums, and Val plays electric violin. They've also written a holiday musical theater show called Striking 12, which is an excellent modern retelling of The Little Match Girl.
- Béla Fleck and the Flecktones are sort of a fusion jazz band fronted by a banjo player, but their music really defies description. I'm proud to say that they live in Nashville. Band member Victor Wooten is one of the world's best electric bass players. You've got to hear it to believe it.
- Moxy Früvous is the name of a great band from Toronto. Their best features include terrific vocal harmonies and clever lyrics. I get goosebumps listening to their albums.
- Ruth Gerson happens to be a friend of mine from college, but she's an artist every bit as good as the others I mention on this page. She's a folk-rock singer/songwriter whose work manages to be simultaneously "gritty" and melodic.
- Peter Schickele has composed a number of pieces of serious music, but is most famous for having created the fictitious composer P.D.Q. Bach, along with hilarious compositions ranging from the 1712 Overture to the opera The Magic Bassoon. My favorite of his works is his weekly public-radio program Schickele Mix, which is a wonderful way to learn about all sorts of music, from Simon & Garfunkel to Stravinsky.
Learn about additional music at Radio Paradise:
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This page was last updated on 4 September 2005.