This week’s songlist was posted on spotify and shared on social media on Monday, but I always hate the idea of using tragedies to generate traffic on my blog, since this is a music blog, not a news site (my twitterfeed does often include news, but mostly just retweets from reputable sources). Anyway, now that the hunt for the bomber is fully underway and Boston has begun the tough transition from tragedy to recovery, it is high time I post this list before it is next week and time for the next list post. I had prepared a more up-beat songlist over the weekend, but since the Boston Marathon bombing occurred before I had posted that list anywhere, I created a different list, one which seemed to suit my mood better as I skimmed my twitterfeed for news. Somehow the happier list didn’t ring true against images of pools of blood and dismembered body-parts that were part of the unedited footage coming out of Boston on Monday afternoon.
2. Eric Whitacre- “Seal Lullaby” — This song was one I sang in a choir last year, one of the most beautiful lullabies I have learned so far. The fact that the composer is more attractive than most men who compose and conduct choral works helps, but Mr. Whitacre is also just very very good at writing beautiful choral pieces. I sang it in a 3-part SSA arrangement, as an alto (2nd alto when the altos split), and enjoyed the fact that his arrangements really do utilize the alto range as a distinct voice, not just a secondary echo or support under the sopranos. The SATB arrangement (with men AND women) is also lovely.
3. Josh Groban- “Vincent- Starry, Starry Night” — This song, off Josh Groban’s debut album, captures a sadness of losing someone prematurely. Thankfully, despite the terrible carnage, only 2 of the possible 5 bombs which apparently were found actually detonated, and only 3 people so far have died. Many more people have lost limbs, and the true challenge of recovery has only just begun. There may be further tragedies as survivors struggle to cope with the trauma of their experiences Monday, of course.
4. Phil Collins- “Another Day in Paradise”
5. Rhydian- “Ave Verum Corpus”
6. Rufus Wainwright- “Albatross”
7. Simon & Garfunkel- “America”
8. Ryan Kelly- “Not Far Apart” — I had not listed this song previously, despite the fact that it is Ryan’s only single so far off his album, because it is set at Christmas-time and because it reflects beliefs I do not share, and didn’t share even when I was a Christian. However, this song has become something comforting and quite meaningful to many people since Ryan initially released it on his album. In its most abstract sense it is that ‘message from beyond’ that so many people wish for from loved ones they’ve lost, and in that sense it belongs in this list this week.
9. Seana- “B’fheidir go b’fhuil, B’fheidir go won’t”
10. Guns N Roses- “November Rain” — The specific song file I included on my spotify list for this dramatic and tragic rock-ballad seems to have something wrong with it that causes spotify to freeze at the same point in the song every time it is played, so you may wish to hunt down other recordings of this song. The youtube video I included in my youtube version of this playlist (a new experiment) is the fantastic official music video I remember from MTV, well worth watching if you haven’t seen it in a while.
11. Journey- “Open Arms” — One can only dwell on tragedy and sorrow and loss for so long before turning to thoughts of those we love. The only way we can truly fight terrorism is by letting vicious terrorist attacks bring us closer together as families and as communities. If the people who became terrorists had enough friends and neighbors who knew them and cared about them, their activities in preparation for their attacks would have been harder to hide, and they might have even been less inclined to carry out such attacks. And, since terrorism wins by driving wedges of fear and anger between us all, when attacks do happen, it is our friends, family and community that combat terrorism’s power, not armies and politics.
12. Adele- “Make You Feel My Love”
13. Katherine Jenkins, Samuel Barber- “Agnus Dei”
14. Les Miserables- “The Sewers” — There is one piece of music that for me captures the silent horror of the aftermath of battles, natural disasters and terrorist attacks- that haunting oboe solo in the musical Les Miserables. This is that song, and if I was not trying to keep up a pattern of posting 20-song playlists, this might have been the only song I would have posted this week. Musicians help us find words to address tragedy and loss, but in the immediate aftermath of any terrible tragedy there really are no words sufficient.
15. Lesley Garrett, Gabriel Faure- “Pie Jesu”
16. Katherine Jenkins- “Love Never Dies”
17. Michael Ball- “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
18. Pachelbel’s Canon in D- “Rain (Piano Duet)”
19. Origen, Edvard Grieg- “Solveig’s Song”
20. Seraphic Fire, Brahms- “Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen”
The songs/recordings available on spotify are not all on youtube and vice versa, so some of the videos I chose on my youtube playlist are the same songs by different artists, sometimes several different videos, compared to what I chose from spotify. And, I chose an entire performance of Brahms’ Requiem, a particularly lovely one, which runs over an hour but is well worth it.