London-based French composer and artist Doug Thomas shares his mixtape
LISTEN HERE (opens in Spotify) or via the playlist below
I had a great time in December putting together music for my friend Honor’s wedding in Singapore. We met each other through an immersive theatre company called Punchdrunk, whose shows we have both been to multiple times – on three continents. Their current production “Sleep No More” lured us both to Shanghai last year, and she wanted some of its atmosphere to permeate her wedding, meaning a large dose of 1930s and 40s jazz. But her fiancé (now husband!) is Russian and his family were obviously coming to the wedding, and we thought it would be nice to include something with a Russian flavour as well. So this mix includes not just obvious crowd-pleasers like Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” or Artie Shaw’s “Begin the Beguine”, but also obscurities like “Morning and Evening” by the Leoníd Utësov Jazz Orchestra or the fantastically catchy waltz “Always Together” by Mikhail Mikhailov and the Michael Ginsburg Jazz Orchestra. It’s amazing how seamlessly they fit in. There are also a few deliberate hat-tips to “Sleep No More” in there, such as “Weep No More My Baby” by Al Bowlly and the Ray Noble Orchestra, which is featured on the show’s soundtrack.
Tristan Jakob-Hoff is a composer and arranger whose work is published by Edition Peters. He is also a freelance music engraver and provides professional music services at www.opus101.org.
Composer Paul Burnell has compiled a playlist of “everything that meant something to me with a keyboard connection“. The result is an intriguing and eclectic compilation with “a lot of stuff from the 60s and 70s, including tv themes and a sprinkling of classical, contemporary”
In compiling this mixtape I’ve tried to include tracks that represent both the decades of my life and musical tastes. Unfortunately Bucks Fizz’s Making Your Mind Up didn’t make the final edit although I was obsessed with this song towards the end of my first decade on this planet. My rather rebellious teenage years are best represented by Bowie’s Heroes – like all teenagers I really did think this was written just for me and my friends. My twenties coincided with the rise in ‘Britpop’ and after much deliberation I narrowed my choice down to Oasis’s Wonderwall – but the Directors’ Cut includes other greats from this era including Pulp’s Common People which narrowly lost out to the Gallagher brothers.
In my thirties I was travelling the world as part of my Corporate career, and spent many happy and insane weekends in New York – notionally for work but really to go dancing with my like-minded colleagues. Lady Gaga‘s Telephone best sums up this decade for me, or what I can remember of it.
I’ve always loved some of the great musicals. Whilst the Director’s Cut contains many of my favourite numbers, my selected track is Liza Minelli singing Cabaret – which, along with the Bernstein, will be played at my funeral.
An interest in my Jewish heritage has also led me to include some music with a Jewish theme. John William’s Schindler’s List theme needs little introduction other than to say it is the best soundtrack to a film ever. I’ve also included a classic Klezmer track which is typically haunting and uplifting at the same time, and the beautiful Shalom Aleichem which almost makes me want to light the candles and prepare a Sabbath supper.
My latest interest (or fad) is jazz and I am currently studying jazz piano: which is a totally different experience from classical piano. Thelonious Monk‘s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is a great example of what I’ll never be able to do in a thousand years.
Choosing music to represent my classical (in the broadest sense of the word) taste proved near impossible. Wagner’s Liebestod missed the cut despite being the sexiest piece of music ever written (other than Tom Jones‘ Sex Bomb). Instead, I settled on music with a religious theme: Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms no.2, the Hebrew setting to The Lord is my Shepherd, contains the most beautiful countertenor aria to which I expect people to weep copiously when it is played at my funeral (and then party to Cabaret). To conclude my mixtape, the final Aria in Bach’s St Matthew Passion, “Mache dich, mein Herze, rein” (Make Yourself Pure, My Heart). I’m sure there must be some way in which this sums up the entire collection but I’ll leave that to the listener to discern……
Here’s the 45 minute version:
And the Director’s Cut:
Rebecca Singerman-Knight is a piano teacher based in Teddington, SW London
The first guest post in a new series – The Cross-Eyed Pianist’s Mixtapes
Here Adrian Ainsworth, keen concert-goer and blogger as Specs, shares his mixtape
Art song is almost certainly my favourite area of classical music, which probably explains why Schubert – the master of the form – is also my favourite composer. Appropriately for this blog, he created inventive, unforgettable piano parts that ensure the accompanist is the singer’s equal partner. With over 600 songs to choose from, it was (*adopts Vincent Price voice*) exquisite agony to settle on a dozen or so – but these will do for today. Also, with so many classical performances in the archives, I’ve tried to focus on currently active singers and pianists, who we can still see performing these masterpieces today.