Favorite Music

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Tags: 
  • Classical
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Partita in D minor for solo violin BWV 1004 (1708)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048 (1721)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 (1722)
  • • Prelude No. 1 in C Major
  • • Prelude No. 3 in C sharp Major
  • • Fugue No. 4 in C sharp Minor
  • • Prelude No. 5 in D Major
  • • Prelude No. 6 in D Minor
  • • Prelude No. 12 in F Minor
  • • Fugue No. 22 in B Flat Minor
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - St Matthew Passion, BWV 244 (1727)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach - Mass in B minor BWV 232 (1749)
  • Joseph Haydn - The Op. 33 String Quartets (1781)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major (1785)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (1786)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Le nozze di Figaro (1786)
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Symphony No. 41 in C major (1788)
  • Joseph Haydn - Symphony No. 101 (1794)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor, op.27 no.2 "Quasi una fantasia", Op. 27 (1801)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 (1808)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111
  • Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 d-moll op. 125 (1824)
  • Hector Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique (1830)
  • Frédéric Chopin - Nocturnes (1827 - 1846)
  • Frédéric Chopin - Preludes (1839 - 1841)
  • Felix Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream (1842)
  • Giuseppe Verdi - Il trovatore (1853)
  • Giuseppe Verdi - La traviata (1853)
  • Richard Wagner - Tristan Und Isolde (1859)
  • Giuseppe Verdi - Aida (1871)
  • Giuseppe Verdi - Otello (1887)
  • Johannes Brahms - Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1884)
  • Antonín Dvořák - The Symphony No. 9 in E Minor "From the New World", Op. 95, B. 178 (1893)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker (1892)
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique, Op. 74 (1893)
  • Giacomo Puccini - La bohème (1896)
  • Richard Strauss - Don Quixote (1897)
  • Giacomo Puccini - Tosca (1900)
  • Giacomo Puccini - Madame Butterfly (1904)
  • Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 5 (1902)
  • Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 9 in D major (1909)
  • Igor Stravinsky - Le sacre du printemps (1913)

  • Hip-Hop
  • DJ Shadow - Endtroducing... (1996)
  • Jay-Z - The Black Album (2003)
  • Kanye West - The College Dropout (2004)
  • Ghostface Killah - Fishscale (2006)
  • Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III (2008)
  • The Roots - How I Got Over (2010)
  • A$AP Rocky - Live. Love. A$AP (2001)

  • Jazz
  • Duke Ellington - Ellington at Newport (1956)
  • Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners (1957)
  • Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers - Moanin' (1958)
  • Cannonball Adderley - Somethin' Else (1958)
  • Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959)
  • Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)
  • John Coltrane - Impressions (1963)
  • Charles Mingus - The Black Saint & the Sinner Lady (1963)
  • Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch! (1964)
  • Albert Ayler - Spiritual Unity (1965)
  • Horace Silver Quintet - Song for my Father (1965)
  • John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1965)
  • John Coltrane - Ascension (1965)
  • Cecil Taylor - Unit Structures (1966)
  • The Tony Williams Lifetime - Emergency! (1969)
  • Keith Jarret - The Köln Concert (1975)

  • Rock
  • Bob Dylan - Highway 61... Revisited (1965)
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  • Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)
  • The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)
  • The Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street (1972)
  • Television - Marquee Moon (1977)
  • The Clash - London Calling (1979)

  • Other
  • Elmore James - Blues After Hours (1961)
  • Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign (1967)
  • Buddy Guy - A Man & the Blues (1968)
  • Sly & the Family Stone - There's a Riot Goin' On (1971)
  • Al Green - Call Me (1973)
  • The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1986)

  • Collections
  • Louis Armstrong - Hot Fives & Seven
  • The Essential Charlie Parker
  • Ken Burns Jazz: Billie Holiday
  • The Very Best of Ray Charles
  • B.B. King - The Ultimate Collection
Author Comments: 

this list involves cheating.

What do you think of Acknowledgment off Love Supreme? I've always felt it's significantly weaker than the other tracks. My favourites are Track 2 & 3, though Psalm is great as well. I think Kind of Blue is my favourite jazz album at this point. Nice to see a list from you Mighty Marquee!

My favorite is hands down Pursuance/Psalm; but I do love Acknowledgement though, a lot. Although I feel that the album improves as it progresses, Acknowledgement is the perfect opening. It lays down a foundation that Coltrane builds upon until he seems to reach the heavens; I guess in ways I feel A Love Supreme is the Tower of Babylon (had it actually succeeded). Without Acknowledgement I think the impact of the three other tracks would be seriously mitigated. That's not to say it isn't spell-binding on it's own, the piece is incredibly profound and beautiful... the album is absolute perfection and my favorite piece of art ever.

Black Saint is probably the most stunning jazz album of all time however, it seems every time I come to Track 3 I hit a wall, my body feels like it's turned to stone and my spirits don't lift again until the closing of Track 4 comes about. Don't get me wrong, the piano playing and spanish guitar are cool, but the album totally loses me there. What do you think?

You realize you're out of your mind, right? I mean I realized that when I read your insights on Taxi Driver (not to mention your techniques on, err, self-pleasuring) but you've gone too far.

I find it difficult to explain my thoughts on music, but I'll give it a shot... like any great piece of music, the Black Saint & the Sinner Lady cannot be reduced to mere words. I feel that Track C is much more restrained than the rest of the album, and this sudden shift in the dynamics echoes his soul. The piece is tragic but never hopeless; the dissonance in particular really strikes a chord with me. I don't feel that he intended for the track to lift your spirits, at least not in a way that would bring happiness. But its richness lifts mine, which more than compensates for the fact that Track C doesn't exhibit the same brand of radiance as the rest of the album. It's utterly beautiful.

I think maybe you're onto something, that Track C makes me feel that way because it's conveying anguish or loneliness or something like that. I'll admit I'm a nut, but that doesn't necessarily discredit my opinion on anything. In any case, good insights. Thanks for the reply.

What do you disagree with specifically about Taxi Driver?

Oh no, absolutely nothing. It's just that despite being generally on point you always seem to throw in some off the wall and humorous remarks. (comparing dating to prostitution, referring to Jack's wifey as the "old sperm bank", etc)

You might be interested in this.

I agree with what you said about off the wall stuff except your examples, because I do think the traditional form of dating is a kind of euphemism for prostitution.

Hey, that was a pretty interesting review. He seems to take the original approach I had to the film: it doesn't really make sense. He made some interesting observations too: Travis treating the women in his life either as Saints or Whores, the darker side of multiculturalism & liberalism (for conservative thinkers anyhow). Thanks for the link.

Well, I listened to it last night and was pretty much blown away. Cranking the volume on that sucker really does help bring out it’s many layers. For me it’s definitely an album that can take some getting used to. Keep in mind I’m relatively new to the wondrous world of jazz, a jazz baby or a jazz virgin you could say (am I making you hot under the collar?) and the more I’m discovering jazz albums that I really dig (ie Giant Steps, Brilliant Corners, Mingus Ah Um) the more I’m starting to appreciate more complex works such as Black Saint & Love Supreme (and realizing how staggeringly emotional they are). I also realized last night that I was indeed way off base with Acknowledgement. By the way, the response you gave regarding Track C was surprisingly poetic "The piece is tragic but never hopeless; the dissonance in particular really strikes a chord with me. I don't feel that he intended for the track to lift your spirits, at least not in a way that would bring happiness. But its richness lifts mine. And you know, I think that was a very poignant comparison between Love Supreme and the Tower of Babel because Coltrane’s masterpiece really is a powerful testament to the unbounded creativity of humans beings. It’s true you know, there’s nothing we can’t achieve. In fact, works of that magnitude inevitably conjure up images of all of Man’s greatest achievements: The Hindenberg (well I mean, assuming it hadn’t crashed in a horrific ball of fire.) Oh, and the H-Bomb. Actually, maybe there’s a more fitting comparison…The Titanic? No. Well, anyways…they’re nonetheless extraordinary works.

Great call on Entroducing.

Seconded.

I'm digging the list. What are your top tracks from Exile?

I think with Exile a lot of the power is mitigated when the tracks are taken on their own. That's not to say they can't stand alone, but the work is constructed so that the songs are much better in the context of the album. With that said I absolutely love Casino Boogie, Tumbling Dice, Loving Cup, Sweet Virginia, All Down the Line, Shine A Light... Torn and Frayed... Shake Your Hips, Rocks Off... it's hard to choose. I even like Turd on the Run, which most people seem not to. It's by far and large their most complete work; while I really enjoy songs from albums like Let it Bleed and Sticky Fingers; they just don't come together like Exile.

Let it Loose is a great tune

I also like Turd On The Run and do not understand peoples' problem with it!

Hmm, may have to beg to differ on London Calling. Too much filler on that one, though I love "Death or Glory".

Nice man! I absolutely love Call Me. Such a gorgeous album.

Hey come on, you have one of the very best music lists. No need to archieve you silly fuck. THOUGH, I'd be interested in heearing your suspodesd reason for archieveinb. Really - great music list man.

Too haphazard, in short. I was adding albums I loved a lot, but without much thought, so the order became meaningless. One day I'll sort it all out and bring it back.

Thanks for the props yo. Also: you are a weird drunk. Although drinking in the morning is something I greatly condone.

In any case, I hope you bring it all back home. You have the know-how. And don't be so critical. Remember what Bresson said, it all comes from the unknown. Don't analyize it too much.

Philosophy Of The World is so weirdly sad and endearing. Glad you have it here.

Fun House! Yes! We have found agreement!

Yes at MBDTF!!! It's the best new music I've heard in a long long time. It's pure Kanye in music form. His ego, arrogance & brilliance.

Oh yeah, he really tapped into a new vein, I didn't think he had it in him. He stopped exploiting samples (which I loved), stopped singing (which I hated) and struck gold. What're your favorites tracks? I don't dislike anything on the album, although I think Devil in a New Dress could have been absolutely perfect without Ross. I dug the hell outta Runaway, Dark Fantasy, All of the Lights, Hell of a Life, Gorgeous. So Appalled... alright I'm on the verge of naming them all. I like the Power remix more than the original. And it's too bad Weezy was in jail.

Did you keep up with the G.O.O.D. Friday series? I was at first disappointed by the albums tracklisting because it overlapped with the two overlapped but it worked out just fine. My favorite from it was probably The Joy, but it's probably a good thing the album didn't include it because it wouldn't have been a good fit, sonically or thematically.

Dark Fantasy was the first thing that made me think it was something special (being the first track of the album and all). The updated Power version has been improved so much since the original. What I'm most impressed with, it's that all the little sounds seem to be exactly right. Everything has it's right place. Monster (nicki minaj's whole verse & 'i put the pussy in the sarcophagus'. Runaway, Blame Game, Lost In The World, Gorgeous etc...

Yeezy's rapping has improved greatly his well. Not only his words, but his phrasing & accents. One thing I remember I loved was when he said on Power, 'How's ye doing, I'm suriving. I was drinking earlier, now I'm driving'. The guest spots are particularly sweet as well. Raekwon's on Gorgeous, obviously Nicki on Monster. Chris Rock actually does something worthwhile with his fucking life on Blame Game. And Bon Iver was just a perfect choice by Ye for this album.

And yeah, I've been listening to them every week. I tried to catch up with all of them yesterday to try and hit up my Kanye fix. I really like Lord, Lord, Lord. But I haven't listened to them as religiously as his album yet, except for Monster.

I'm not so great at writing, but I hope I've got my point across that this is a fucking brilliant album.

I agree completely. Nicki came outta nowhere and just destroyed that verse. Unsurprisingly, though, her album was awful. What other hip-hop releases d'you dig from this year? Kanye's is my favorite, undoubtedly, but I also really loved The Roots' How I Got Over and Shad's TSOL... then maybe Kid Cudi's album. A few tiers down would be the Jake One/Freeway and Nas/Marley projects, the Curren$y album, I Am Not A Human Being (Gonorhea and Right Above it are uhmazing)... Big Remo's album was a disappointment, but I really liked Go and Wonderbread from it.

On another note, I like Ke$ha. But don't tell anyone.

The Roots' is a fine album. Odd Future have been putting out some real good stuff. Earl Sweatshirt's 'Earl' & Tyler, The Creator's 'Bastard' albums are seriously exciting stuff. Big Boi's stuff was good. Big K.R.I.T. Shabazz Palaces. Curren$y. Jay Electronica has been putting out some good stuff. And even hip hop inspired stuff like Salem has been good. It's been such a good year for hip hop. It seems like hip hop is entering a new wave.

This also reminds me to listen to Pilot Talk II.

Pitchfork gave Kanye's new album 10.0/10.

That, in itself, warns me that it is idiotic boring hipster-bait.

but MAYBE I SHOULD CHECK IT IF YOU LIKE IT. maybe.

Careful, don't let your jazz selections get too Scaruffian! Might want to rectify that with some Lee Morgan - Side Winder. Also what did you think of the new Janelle Monae album? Pretty impressive imo. Not only is she 25; she's also Black, and a woman. I tell ya, it's a crazy world.

Ha, nah dude. My jazz picks are mostly canonical, no Lennie Tristano here. The albums listed are mostly what I grew up with.

Sidewinder is pretty great--energetic as hell--but I think his performance in Moanin' set a standard that he couldn't quite reach again. It's especially amazing when you consider how young he was. They're both albums I like a lot in any case. I've never heard of Janelle Moanae (I don't know modern jazz at all), I'll get to it, thanks.

Well, good. That's the way it should be! I was referring of course to the Carla Bley, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra etc. I find it hard to imagine you grew up with that music, unless your parents were debauched intellectuals partaking in a creepy astro-cult - mine were : (

I dunno, Carla Bley is the only one that I'd say is non-standard. Ayler is highly regarded in most circles, and although opinion seems to be somewhat divisive re: Taylor, he still gets a lot of props. That said, there are some truly debauched individuals who would deny him even the label of jazz. As a side note, I don't know what the hell Scaruffi was talking about when he said Unit Structures is controlled by a "cold intelligence". Sun Ra is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, although I don't think Atlantis is all that. Good album and all but c'mon, masterpiece? Nah.

So I'm guessing you've come full circle in your opinion on jazz? I remember in between you were saying you didn't really enjoy it.

Well, I don't remember when or why I said that, probably an impulsive, in-the-moment thing, but jazz is something i definitely enjoy and appreciate. I've been a jazz fan since maybe the age of 17, I got a jazz compilation for xmas one year and really liked the sound of it. Got into Time Out & Kind of Blue, and started listening to a jazz radio station often. And maybe 2 years ago I started working thru the canonical picks, using this site especially. In fact, it was listening to those hard bop albums that finally made me realize why A Love Supreme was so good (it's basically a hard bop album with avant-garde leanings). So yeah, it was then I got a better feel for the structure of jazz, but it was Waltz for Debby that really did it for me. Probably the only album since Time Out & Kind of Blue that I really truly loved. Since then, I dabbled in some pretentious Scaruffi-jazz mostly, but Thelonious Monk was a revelation, easily my favorite jazz artist, because he is both catchy and weird (it's like Swing, Bop, & Avant-Garde all rolled into one). And now there are maybe a dozen or so jazz albums that I could honestly call a favorite. I am quite partial to the early stuff, which has led me into the realm of Traditional Pop music (a rich period of American music that Scaruffi completely ignores - oh wait scratch that).

As for Sun Ra, calling him "undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of the 20th century" assumes firstly that he is one of the utmost greatest jazz musicians, and I think that's arguable. He's not exactly Louis Armstrong, is he? Or John Coltrane or Miles Davis or Thelonious Monk. Even in the realm of Avant-Garde I wouldn't rate him as highly as Ornette Coleman or Cecil Taylor or John Coltrane (obviously). To me he is an interesting artist who carved out a weird little niche. 'The greatest artist of 20th century' is some pretty heavy competition no?

Paul's Boutique. Word.

Verdi's Requiem & Shostakovich's 15th. Sentence.

You have such enthusiasm and valuable insights on art, it would be really cool to see you extend (and preferably even make an attempt to rate/rank?) these lists. Maybe this was taken up elsewhere, but have you ever considered it?

Thanks for the kind words.

Honestly, the joy for me is in listening and the idea of taking the time to do precise rankings does not much interest me. I could say with some surety that I prefer Beethoven's Op. 111 to Dvorak's Ninth, but I can't call what's preferred between Aida and Tchaikovsky's Sixth, and going through an exercise of keeping score for the sake of it leaves me a little cold. The list is more of an imprecise log of what strikes me as particularly moving and accomplished than an attempt to carefully organize and understand my feelings about each piece in relation to each other. That said I, of course, enjoy reading other lists, discovering new works, and discussing art.

(My misgivings of the list's imprecision are at least mitigated by my awfully out of date, negligent, juvenile Favorite Paintings list..!)

Verdi's Requiem definitely has a very strong shot at making the list (I can't get enough of his music) and I listened to Shostakovich's 15th for the first time in ages last week, and couldn't figure out why I had been away from his music for so long . Very, very accomplished work. As for extending, pieces that have a shot at making the list include Strauss's Don Quixote, specific Preludes / Nocturnes by Chopin, more string work (Brahms's Op. 77, quartets by Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven's cello sonatas)... Maybe some of Schubert's sonatas and Unfinished Symphony, Turandot, Bach's The Art of Fugue... So much to hear... Such is life!...

Thanks, I can certainly understand where you're coming from.

Thanks for the brief rundown of what could make it on your list if you extended it. Would be great to see Verdi's Requiem and Shostakovich's 15th added. They each deserve to be on a (very) short list in my book. Shostakovich's 15th, while loved by some, is vastly underrated in general, even though (or because) it's among the most radical departures in symphonic history, and possibly the most fully realized, vividly detailed example of introspection in all of classical music. The profound depth and highly personalized, idiosynchratic nature of its evocations, introversion and self-reflection is probably unprecedented in classical music (especially symphonies), and perhaps only approached elsewhere in some of Beethoven's late works. And probably not approached anywhere in rock or jazz aside from Wyatt's Rock Bottom.

I can relate to your experience. There is a clear gap in my appreciation of Bartók's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and his 2nd violin concerto, but when I get down to specifics the lines begin to blur. And the more I focus on trying to define those lines the more I feel that I'm degenerating into a mechanical way of thinking, thus ultimately missing the point of the music. This isn't to say that I denounce the practice of ranking music, since I myself engage in it on occasion. Just saying that it isn't for everyone.

Proust, unsurprisingly, wrote beautifully about music, and not just La sonate de Vinteuil. In the following passage he may as well be writing about Toscanini:

"At the Conservatoire concert yesterday, the pianist in the Mozart concerto was Saint-Saëns. Coming away, one met many people who had been disappointed and who, not knowing why this was so, gave different reasons for it; he had played too fast, he had played without expression, the music hadn't suited him. Well, here is the reason: it was because it had been truly beautiful. For true beauty is the only thing that cannot respond to what a romantic imagination anticipates. Everything else lives up to those preconceived ideas: dexterity is amazing, vulgarity, soothing, sensuousness, thrilling, claptrap, dazzling. But beauty which from the beginning of all things has been joined to truth in an eternal friendship has not got all these charms at its disposal.

In Saint-Saëns' playing there were no pianissimos where you feel you'll faint if they go on any longer, and which are cut off just in the nick of time by a forte, no broken chords sending instantaneous shivers down your back, none of those fortissimos which leave you bruised from head to foot, as if you had been surf-bathing, none of those pianist's writhings and tossed back locks of hair, which infect the purity of music with the sensuality of the dance, which appeal to the listener's senses, to her idle fancies, and supply her with an element of pleasure, and a reason for enthusiasm, the framework of what she will remember and the substance of what she will afterwards talk about. There was none of this in Saint-Saëns' playing. But his playing was regal. Now kings do not make their appearance wearing golden crowns and being carried in palanquins on slaves' shoulders. It is by the way they bow, smile, hold out a hand, offer a chair, ask a question, or reply, that great kings, like great actors, can be recognised. It is the parvenu who is stuck up, the charlatan who shows off. But the king's grace and nobility are so natural to him that his nobility is no more astonishing to us than the nobility of an oak-tree nor his grace than the grace of a rose-wand."