Lullabies, P.D.Q. Bach Good Listening
For those long summer evenings, when you're watching the sun go down after a lazy day at the beach and a convivial barbecue, the ideal accompaniment is a good disc for your sound system.
Nothing too heavy; nothing too gloomy. Maybe something a little elegant, or colorful; maybe some music that charms.
Here's a list of recent releases to get you started. Some of them may be obvious choices; others are a little more unusual, and a few are downright wacky. All of the following were reviewed in compact-disc format; some of them also are available as cassettes. Have a good time, and happy summer listening.
-- Perchance to Dream (Delos). Subtitled ``a lullaby album for adults and children,'' this is a collection of dreamy and mood-setting music of the masters, including Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Faure, Tchaikovsky and several others, performed by pianist Carol Rosenberger. Beautifully recorded, with liner notes to encourage a young person's enjoyment of the disc.
-- ``1712 Overture,'' P.D.Q. Bach. P.D.Q. Bach really is the inspired musical parodist Peter Schickele, who lampoons Tchaikovky's famous ``1812 Overture'' and several other well-known classical works in this disc. It's all narrated, too, in Schickele's usual hapless and hilarious style. The more you know about music, the funnier this will seem, but this is a disc to tickle everybody.
-- Mozart Divertimenti (Harmonia Mundi). There's nothing like ``a
little night music'' from the composer of ``Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,'' and these lighthearted diversions are performed in fine style by the New World Basset Horn Trio (basset horns are mellow-sounding members of the clarinet family). University of Washington faculty clarinetist William McColl is among the three players featured on this recording.
-- Fantastic Journey (Telarc). One of the world's leading pops orchestras, the Cincinnati Pops (with music director Erich Kunzel), plays music from such adventure epics as ``Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,'' ``Star Trek V,'' ``Moonwalker,'' ``The Day the Earth Stood Still,'' ``Batman'' and ``War of the Worlds'' in a scintillating disc that's also a bit spooky (particularly when you get to ``The Black Hole'' and ``Poltergeist'').
-- ``Yellowstone: Music of Nature,'' Mannheim Steamroller (American Gramaphone). Conductor/performer Chip Davis, founder of the Mannheim Steamroller, leads symphonic and electronic forces in selections from such nature-oriented classics as ``The Pines of Rome,'' ``The Four Seasons'' and ``Grand Canyon Suite,'' along with some easy-listening Davis compositions from some previous Fresh Aire albums.
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