Tag Archives: iTunes

Cultura 2006

Ah it’s that time of year again. Macworld announcements, and now this. Thanks jeantue for this wonderful distraction.

for those of you unattuned, this is just a casual list of friends that send around a list of their favorite cultural distractions for the previous year. I think it’s a fine tradition. For fun’s sake, I’m blogging mine this year. If you’d like to play, use a pingback to this post and any others you find, and tag it “cultura”.

From the creators, you are requested to write about…

…bands, djs, songs, films, theatre, moments, meals, photos, paintings, videos, tv shows, travels, egret sightings – whatever moved you! Whatever you liked best is what we wanna hear about.

The rules: There are none. Whatever format you want, whatever you wanna pick and whatever you wanna say is cool. A few people get elaborate. Many are brief. Some aren’t wearing briefs at all.

Here’s my picks for favorites for 2006:

Kaki King ~ …Until We Felt Red

This album knocked my socks off. Virtuosic, unique guitar style coupled with haunting songwriting. My faves:

I Never Said I Love You ~ Deeply sexy beautiful smoky dark early morning unrequited love music.

Yellowcake ~ Have your yellowcake and eat it too…

Gay Sons Of Lesbian Mothers ~ It’s not really as complicated as it sounds.

Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus

This album conjures up black turtlenecks, ber√�ts, triangular cocktails, and reefer madness.

All the Things You Could Be By Now If Sigmund Freud's Wife Was Your Mother ~ I could be 7 different kinds of fungus.

Yo La Tengo ~ I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind ~ Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhgmlb.

Duruflé: Requiem

I first discovered this piece playing a benefit concert last September with the Pacific Collegium. I can say nothing else about this sublime, underperformed masterpiece for soprano, orchestra, choir, boychoir, and pipe organ, except that you need to go and hear the entire recording.

Jascha Heifetz, Fritz Reiner & Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Brahms: Violin Concerto & Double Concerto

This is my favorite recording of these two Brahms works. Piatigorsky does the masterful cello work on the Double Concerto. This is in my mind the definitive recording of both works, although I’ve had arguments on this subject with others…

Sealing the crack

One of my biggest pet peeves about iTunes has finally been corrected. The Gapless Playback feature is described thusly:

Live albums, classical works, or any work that sounds best when it���s continuous, now seamlessly transitions from one song to another

I had been importing certain CDs as single files just to get around the gap problem. And downloads from the iTunes music store with segues and track delineations in the middle of works will be heard as they were intended – seamlessly.

My only question is: What took you so long?


Now finally, something to report of deep significance. Huge.

I think I’ve found the first instance of a podcast dedicated exclusively to double bassists: The BassCast, all the way from Tenerife!

I must say, one of the finest podcasts I’ve subscribed to. Well, I only heard the most recent episode, but I’m giving it excellent marks. I hope he can continue this level of quality in the future productions. Love it! So great to listen to double bass content in the podcast format! I look forward to hearing many more episodes…

I stumbled across this when doing a search for symphony orchestra podcasts. Which I might add are suprisingly light. Yakima is doing one. The New York Philharmonic is doing RealAudio broadcasts which is super great and all, but a subscribable podcast that would automatically find it’s way to my iPod would be preferred. That would rock, right? Get live radio-style broadcasts of your favorite orchestra via podcasting. I’m sure it’s time will come. I loved the format of the NY Phil broadcasts – just iPod the bugger please.

But anyway, how cool – we have a bassist podcast!! This kind of thing makes me smile. 🙂

Audio Avitars

I found the iTunes Signature Maker at the blog of Ryan Shaw this evening. Extremely cool little idea to take your iTunes playlist and make a short little audio avitar of your musical tastes. Here is mine.

The creation of the file requires you to trust a Java applet to scan your iTunes collection and make hashes out of some of your favorite music. The applet is signed by Thawte, which checks out, but the usual cautions should still apply here. You can set some parameters such as the number of tracks to pick from and how long each segment should be. Here’s what it came up with for me, which I found particularly interesting:

Title Artist Album Starting At Ending At
Trauermusik San Francisco Symphony Mathis der Maler, Trauermusik, Symphonic Metamorphosis 0:35.2 0:38.4
The Battle of Evermore Led Zeppelin IV 5:30.6 5:35.0
Summertime Miles Davis   2:24.2 2:29.0
Postcards Yellowjackets Four Corners 0:12.0 0:16.0
The Firebird Suite Igor Stravinsky   1:55.4 1:57.8
Panama Van Halen   2:37.1 2:42.7
47. Erbarme Dich, Mein Gott Johann Sebastian Bach Bach: St. Matthew Passion – CD 2 6:30.8 6:36.0
01 – Requiem Aeternum Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Requiem K626 3:27.5 3:30.3
String Quintet, Op.77 – 1. Allegro con fuoco The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Dvorak Serenade 4:05.2 4:08.8
05 E Alex Wilson Studios / Telltale Weekly Digital Pitch Pipes 0:00.0 0:06.0

I like how it finishes with a reference pitch that I use to tune to every time I practice. It makes a nice blend that tapers off into the solo E a nice touch. It was my first run of the applet, but I’m going to go with it.

Fantasia on classical downloads

Recently I had been looking for a recording of the Fantasia for Gutar and Piano by Mario Casteluovo-Tedesco. I was able to find numerous references to the work, but every site I tried listed these CDs as being out of print, or at least out of stock. Not a popular item, I’ll admit. It was not listed on the iTunes Music Store either. But it was listed as available for download at a site that I had never heard before: eClassical.com.

I was impressed. They have an extensive collection of rarities that go far beyond what I’ve been finding at the iTMS. The download came to me as an MP3 compressed at the higher quality 160kbps rate, and I had my two movements of the work downloaded instantly for about a dollar and a half.

The Fantasia is a gorgeous work that seems to be not terribly popular — probably due to the somewhat odd paring of guitar and piano — but it’s one of these gems that shouldn’t be overlooked. Obviously the pianist is going to have to love playing pianissimo; that is the predominant dynamic in the work and definitley anything above a mezzo-forte is going to render the guitarist nothing more than a harmonic suppliment. But for a masterful guitar and piano duo, it has got to be the star chamber work for the very limited repertoire that this combination has available.