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.

Launch of a new series

The “mixtape” featured heavily in my teenage years and early 20s before the advent of CDs, and was an important part of my listening experience. The mixtape was a homemade compilation of music, recorded onto a cassette tape, usually from a vinyl LP, or the radio. My father had an expensive and rather complicated Bang & Olufsen “music center”, as it was called, on which I laboriously transferred favourite tracks from LPs to cassette tapes which I could listen to in my room when revising, or take with me to university when left home. Mixtapes were also made for and exchanged between friends, to share favourite music, or for boyfriends to send messages of love and other stories…… The mixtape could reveal a lot about one’s personality and taste through the choice of music.

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Purists and lovers of vinyl and cassette tapes bemoan the fact that we can’t make “mix tapes” like we used to. Wrong – we can. With services like Spotify, you can create your own personal playlists and “mixes” and share them, so that others may enjoy them too. In this new series,  I’m inviting you to submit your personal “mixtape” and share your music on this site.

  • Compile a mixtape playlist using Spotify (or another streaming service which allows you to create a playlist). The choice of music is entirely up to you – classical, jazz, pop, World, country, folk
  • Duration: approx 45-60 mins
  • Optional: write a short introduction to your mixtape, explaining your choices. Perhaps some pieces are particularly significant or recall a certain person or time in your life. Share your mixtape stories!
  • Send a link to your mixtape  Click Here To Email Me