Suggestions for Listening and Viewing - Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica-The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds - John Powell

Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica-The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds - John Powell (2016)

Suggestions for Listening and Viewing


A. Listening

Here is a very short list of stuff you might enjoy listening to. I’ve restricted myself to five each of classical, jazz, and world music, because otherwise the list would go on forever—and anyway I don’t think anyone would be interested in my selection of progressive rock from the 1970s. I hope you enjoy them.

World Music

1. Various artists, Real World 25. A selection of the past twenty-five years of world music recordings from Real World Records. This is my top recommendation of all.

2. Madredeus, O Paraíso. A lyrical acoustic Portuguese band with an amazing female singer.

3. Ry Cooder and V. M. Bhatt, A Meeting by the River. East meets West on slide guitars.

4. Various artists, The Very Best of Éthiopiques. African jazz—a great collection. (There are a couple of albums of this name. The one I have in mind is on the Manteca label, with a photo of someone pointing upward on the cover.)

5. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Mustt. Brilliant Pakistani singer.


1. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. Slinky jazz on trumpet, sax, piano, bass, and drums.

2. Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert. Improvised jazz piano.

3. Jim Hall and Bill Evans, Undercurrent. Piano and guitar duets of jazz standards.

4. E.S.T., Seven Days of Falling. Twenty-first-century jazz trio.

5. Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, Souvenirs. Hot swing from Paris.


1. Joaquín Rodrigo, Concierto de Aranjuez. This is the most famous guitar concerto of them all. My favorite performance of it is the one guitarist John Williams made in 1965 with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy. On CD you can often get it combined with Rodrigo’s Fantasía para un Gentilhombre, which is also excellent. Cheerful, sunny music from Spain.

2. W. A. Mozart, Clarinet Concerto. Often combined on CD with his Oboe Concerto and Bassoon Concerto.

3. R. Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Often combined on CD with other relaxing stuff like Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. I like the CD played by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Neville Marriner (ARGO 414595-2).

4. J. S. Bach, complete lute suites. My favorite performance is the CD by American guitarist Sharon Isbin (Virgin Classics 0777 7595032 8).

5. John Adams, Harmonium. John Adams combines modern minimalist techniques with tunefulness. My favorite recording is the one with the San Francisco Symphony orchestra conducted by Edo De Waart (ECM 821 465-2).

B. Viewing

Here is a very short collection of stuff you might find interesting, amusing, or impressive that I’ve stumbled across (or been told about) on YouTube.

1. The world’s oldest musical instrument (40,000 BCE).

Mammoth ivory and bird bone flutes from Germany, as discussed at the beginning of chapter fifteen.

2. The Concert for George, Anoushka Shankar, HD, parts 2-4.

Anoushka plays sitar and conducts an orchestra of Western and Eastern instruments and singers. Eric Clapton plays guitar.

3. KT Tunstall “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” Jools Holland debut, RAVE, HD.

KT Tunstall’s TV debut—just her voice, a guitar, a tambourine, and a virtuoso display of looping. (The looper is the electric gizmo on the floor that she treads on to record what she’s playing now to add it to what she plays next, to build up layer after layer of sound.)

4. Just intonation versus equal temperament.

Different scale systems.

5. Extraordinaire instrument de musique.

Fun animation.