Classical Music for Spring

Classical Music for Spring - YouTube

Spring: It’s when the world comes back to life. The frost of winter is shaken off and nature blossoms in the warming temperatures. Masters of the Classical music era have tried to capture the magic and beauty of spring and have produced some amazing results. Here is a look at five magnificent examples of Classical era compositions that usher in spring with much due excitement and anticipation.

“Spring” by Antonio Vivaldi

There are few instrumental compositions that can sum up the season of spring better than Antonio Vivaldi did with his “Four Seasons Suite.” In “Spring,” the feeling of the world coming back to life after months of bitter cold and frost is present and undeniable. This song creates imagery of lush fields, meadows, flowers opening the warmth of a spring breeze. The “Spring” portion of the “Four Seasons Suite” is nothing short of spectacular.

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach

Another song that beautifully evokes images of spring is “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Light, airy and upbeat, “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” has an ethereal quality to it, and elevates the listener to a more peaceful state. Few composers could compare to the majesty of Johann Sebastian Bach’s majestic gift, and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is just one example of why.

“Peer Gynt Suite No. 1” by Edvard Grieg

Often called the “Morning Song,” “Peer Gynt Suite No. 1” by Edvard Grieg is a very well-known composition thanks to television and films that have used it as background music. This song easily evokes imagery of a sun rising over a country town, animals rising from a long night’s sleep and the world coming to life after a long slumber.

“Air” by Johann Sebastian Bach

Another magnificent song by Johann Sebastian Bach that easily evokes emotions of spring is the composition “Air.” There could be no more perfect title for this composition. “Air” is a beautiful composition, played with gentle ease, the strings sing with longing and it is a delight to listen to.

“The Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Straus II

“The Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Straus II is another well-known composition that has remained popular in modern culture thanks to the film and television industries. Similar to the other compositions noted above, “The Blue Danube Waltz” has a light and airy feel to it – perfect for the season of spring.


Baby Scream: Weird Shows, Inspiring People: Exclusive Interview with Frontman Juan Mazzola


Ahead of the release of new EP Identity Theft, and having recently reviewed Baby Scream’s delicious Monsters EP, a simple and elegant lesson in melodic songwriting for guy-and-a-guitar types everywhere, Indie Suite decided to talk to the band’s founder and main driving force, Juan Pablo Mazzola, about the weird and wonderful experience of performing live.

Musician’s Rite of Passage: The Empty Gig

Where are your best memories of performing?

JM: Playing at the Subrosa bar in Dortmund, Germany with and for my friends, in particular doing a Big Star cover with my friend Pille. Also I remember touring Germany with The Cheeks, opening their set with an acoustic guitar. Magic moments.

Once in Argentina a few years ago we played a really funny gig. You see I used to complain that nobody cared about Baby Scream and people were always telling me that our lack of success was my fault, the same people that never came to one of my shows! Anyway, there was this one night, we were playing in a real dive of a venue and the audience consisted of only 2 or 3 guys, and there were 4 of us onstage! In Argentina the laws got really strict about start times for shows because of a concert tragedy where 200 kids died. So we did the soundcheck at 19:50 and started at 20:00, nobody turned up until 20:30, by which time the show was over and we were already out of there. In a way that was probably one of the greatest shows I ever did, we played to noone and we played like it was our last show. The day after the show I was frustrated as hell..…. and people still insisted that it was all my fault, [he laughs].

Stupid Little Ducks and Football Stadiums

What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you while you’ve been performing?


JM: That definitely has to be playing in a football match in Bodoe, Norway, near the arctic pole in 2007. I played before the match and there were 5000 people, it was freezing and I was playing a song called “Slut”. In the song, there is a part in which I sing “Stupid little f**k”, they asked me not to say f**k because of the kids there. So I ended up singing: “I’m a slut, stupid little duck” and I remember thinking, “this is really weird, 5000 Norwegians near the arctic pole and I am doing a solo acoustic gig….singing that I am a stupid duck”. Yep, I thought I was losing it.

Muddy Stardust and Childhood Heroes

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever worked with?

JM: Muddy Stardust, I was introduced to him by my friend Ariel Belont. Muddy is a genius.

He plays everything, plus he was one of my heroes when I was a kid so meeting him and working with him was amazing. Also, Osvaldo Mollo, he was my guitar teacher in Argentina when I was 13 years old. Nowadays we play together, his sound reminds me of Jeff Beck / Gary Moore, bluesy and deep.

Baby Scream’s EP back catalogue is available to buy now. New EP Identity Theft is due for release before 2010.…

The Spark for Folk Music

His name is Kristian Matsson. Born in Dalarna, Sweden, he is currently performing as a one-man act under the moniker The Tallest Man On Earth, which, like most folk music dating back to the 60s, creates its sound with simply a voice and some basic instruments. The Tallest Man On Earth, excluding rare piano appearance, generally contains just a guitar as a background. The simplicity was coveted, yet forgotten in recent years in favor of electric power chords that make up the majority of popular music today.

However, Matsson plans to change that soon. His previous album, entitled Shallow Graves, received positive reviews everywhere it was heard; people automatically began comparing his act to Bob Dylan. And rightfully so: his endearing vocals, soothing guitar melodies, and best of all indescribable voice attracts listeners of all tastes.

His newest release The Wild Hunt, set to hit the shelves on April 13th, 2010, is superior to his critically acclaimed Shallow Graves in every way. His sound is more refined, the quality is better produced, and the songwriting has improved vastly. The previous album, at times, strayed from a general idea to the song at hand and simply strummed and sang. This, while acceptable and even welcoming sometimes within the genre, is deserted in favor of masterful, remarkable songs that maintain coherence. Good thing, too, because all ten songs are composed so exceptionally well that any lapse in its forward movement would jeopardize the listener’s attention.

So besides the fact that Matsson’s voice is beautiful, eccentric, and homey, what makes this release so notable? Well, many folk fans, even those passionate to the genre, have been well aware of its deterioration since the 1970s. Folk used to contain such timeless themes and address such prevalent issues, all the while maintaining and unparalleled sense of personality and passion. What happened? When did it get ditched for hair metal and dub-step?

That doesn’t matter now, some would say, after listening to this record. It is sweet, tranquil, and impressionable, all of the vital qualities for this music. The only other recent folk phenomenon, Bon Iver, toured the country in 2007 after his succesful album For Emma, Forever Ago, and he took along with an unknown band that turned heads at the ticket line in confusion. Well, that band, The Tallest Man On Earth, made sure that all Bon Iver fans exiting the venues would eventually address the undeniable quality of the opening singer/songwriter they’d never heard of. Hopefully, they’d rave long enough to wish for his return. Well, he’s returned, with such an incredible album that is should re-popularize an entire genre. 10/10. Get this the day it comes out and not a moment before.

“Kids” gives you a feeling of being young and free like you are running around outside on a very warm Summer day and it makes you want to get up and do a little booty shakin dance. Its cute and innocent but really plays up the lighthearted nature of being a kid. I spontaneously laugh sometimes at myself as I hear this song.

“Electric Feel” has a retro feeling to it on top of it already being sheer genius. I heard this song and seriously felt like I was weird for liking it. I heard it again and didn’t care if I was weird for liking it I knew I just loved it. I think you will feel the same way. I assure you are not weird for liking this song, its just so quirky you can’t help but enjoy it.

My latest obsession has been with Indie Rock. Now those of you who do not listen to Indie Rock must know it either really sucks or its really great! With Indie rock (just like indie movies or indie anything) you are going to have the best of the worst or the best of the best.They master the “indie rock electronica” genre. It is pure Genius!

If there was not such a thing there certainly is now and it has been brought into the mainstream. If you haven’t hear these songs yet you probably will. I predict these to have maximum staying power. Watch out for these guys MGMT, you will be blown away. This is like nothing I have ever heard before and it is sweet in my ears. I hope that we can look forward to their innovative music well into the future. I predict international superstardom…remember this article because I’m just going to smile and say “see I told you so”.


Politics and Music- an Urgent Call for Harmony

Download - Harmony

Since writing this, the ordinance discussed below has been shelved, at least temporarily, thanks to a ground roots campaign that resulted in almost 6000 emails (in just 4 days!) protesting the proposed law. Even so, it could still resurface and be passed at a later date. I would ask that you still read the message below and respond as you see fit.

The Chicago city council is trying to push through an ordinance that would severely restrict the ability of musical groups to be able to play at many, mostly smaller venues, i.e. clubs, bars, restaurants, etc. It’s known as the “Events Promoters” ordinance and will have the effect of seriously diluting the live music scene in the city. The results could be devastating to the local music scene. The new law could apply to a Mozart-playing string quartet as well as a head banger rock band.

It’s a knee jerk reaction to a tragic event several years ago in which a number of people were killed at a nightclub, largely due to overcrowding, hyped up emotions, and panic. The ironic part is that the club had been ordered to close, didn’t, and the powers that be didn’t enforce the order. Consequently, people died, and now a lot of the music in Chicago appears to be on the same path to extinction. There is also some question as to who really benefits from this ordinance, Chicago politics being, well, Chicago politics.

This situation should be of interest to anyone who enjoys and appreciates music and any of the other arts, regardless of where you live. It’s a trite saying, but if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter where your musical tastes lie. If this kind of law is adopted here, who knows what other city (or maybe even state) might try the same thing. It’s not just music, either. This type of law could be enacted to restrict almost any event, cultural or otherwise.

No, I’m not suggesting a huge conspiracy to destroy culture, highbrow or low, but the actions of the Chicago city counsel are a misguided attempt to police and control our access to a very basic invaluable asset – the wonderful majestic power of human creativity.

Time is of the essence in this situation. The council is scheduled to have its final vote on Wednesday, May 14th. It can allways be overturned in the future, be we all know how hard that can be. You can go to to read in more detail about the ordinance, express your opinion, and hopefully stop this insidious and draconian effort to stifle the arts.


New Music – the Naked and Famous

The Naked And Famous - Sunseeker (Official Video) - YouTube

When I’m driving, I set my radio to scan because I’m not a “top 40” fanatic and I always like to hear new voices. On this particular day, I quickly stopped the scan when I hit on a local college station and heard the breathy, come hither voices in a song called The Sun. It had me twitching in my seat and getting those crazy looks from other drivers. (The whole town knows I’m crazy so it doesn’t bother me anymore.)

As soon as I was home, I logged onto the Internet to find out more about the music and the voices responsible for The Sun. Imagine my surprise when my search found the website and I realized that the band responsible for igniting my interest was another New Zealand offering. Those of you who regularly read my articles know that I am a fan of The Black Seeds, a New Zealand band I stumbled across on C-net. New Zealand has mothered yet another band that fate, in its unfathomable wisdom, has brought to my attention – The Naked and Famous.

In cruising around the Internet, I have found comments from others stating that The Naked and Famous sound is similar to Nine Inch Nails, Radio Head and The XX. I can’t say that I agree, but I’ve only had a small sampling. I find the sound of The Sun a bit techno trance, but that’s my opinion and nothing negative is meant by it because I like some techno trance. The Naked and Famous group’s lyrics and sound in The Sun are edgy and you might expect a rather ‘shocking’ appearance for the group. I was reminded that book covers are often deceiving when I saw their photos. They look like the kids down the street! But the photography and their poses did hint at something hidden–a dark side. I love a mystery.

According to the official The Naked and Famous website, only two songs,Young Blood and Punching in a Dream, are available in the United States on iTunes. I tried to find them on Rhapsody, but they were not there. I did find The Naked and Famous live performance of The Sun on posted by tnafofficial. If you just want to hear the song, I found it posted on Driftwood. You can find The Naked and Famous on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Tumblr. Check out the blub about them at Give The Naked and Famous a listen. You might be surprised.

(Also see my article The Black Seeds – Great Contemporary Reggae Music.)