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50 years of Arts and Humanities

General Music

  • John Luther Adams Light That Fills the World

    John Magruder says:
    Long, meditative pieces made up of slowly-evolving chords and gentle dissonance, at once implacably patient and exhilarating. You can hear the earth turning.

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  • George Cohan Over There

    Ann Lofaso says:
    Cohan wrote this song while sitting in his kitchen in Kingspoint, New York. It was used to encourage civilians to enlist in WWI, a war that was infamous for its trench warfare. It soon became a tribute to all war veterans. In 1936, Cohan won the Congressional Medal of Honor for this song and for "It's a Grand Old Flag."

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  • Aaron Copland Simple Gifts

    Ryan Claycomb says:
    Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring takes the Shaker hymn, "Simple Gifts," and reworks it into what is both modern and beautiful about the Appalachia we know today.

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  • Miles Davis Kind of Blue

    Ryan Claycomb says:
    If Coltrane was the high priest of jazz in the second half of the twentieth century, Miles Davis was its president. Kind of Blue is his inaugural.

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  • Edward Sherman Is Anybody There?

    Ann Lofaso says:
    This is the best pick-me-up song written in the English language. If you are feeling discouraged about school or work, you must listen to this song. It will encourage you to keep going. It is song by John Adams's character in the broadway musical, 1776.

  • Andrew Eversole The Cumberland Ghost

    Margaret Glenn says:
    I have played [this] CD to others and no one leaves unaffected, follow up discussions are profound. It is amazing to hear a tale set in the Appalachian mountains that would normally be coming out of indigenous people's traditions, as well as Buddhism and Hinduism, among others.  

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  • The Five Stair Steps Ooh Child

    Jena Martin says:
    I tend to have different theme songs for different times in my life; this was my theme song during a particularly bad year in college. I still come back to it on really bad days to remind myself that things can (and do) get better.

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  • Carlos Gardel Por Una Cabeza

    Anne Lofaso says:
    I enjoy listening to both the lyrical and the instrumental version of this song, but especially enjoy listening to the instrumental version when someone is tangoing to it. This song shows off the sensual nature of the tango. It exudes passion.

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  • Silvia Gers Sin Trato

    Mark Brazaitis says:
    The Argentine singer Silvia Gers' album Sin Trato is an extraordinary mix of genres: folk, jazz, rock, singer-songwriter. Her talent is encapsulated in the title song, which is haunting, beautiful, and, sadly, urgent.

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  • Hem Eveningland

    Ryan Claycomb says:
    Hem, "Redwing," from their Americana album Eveningland is the most hopeful song I know.

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  • Rene Marie Dixie

    Cari Carpenter says:
    "Renee Marie pairs the Confederate anthem ("Dixie") with "Strange Fruit," making for an uncomfortable juxtaposition. Marie believes, as do some historians, that "Dixie" was written by slaves in the tradition of blackface minstrelsy, though they were denied credit for their composition. Singing the song isn't intended to be ironic, she says, but instead serves as a way of reclaiming the South. Ask Marie about the continued relevance of lynching and she'll talk about the dragging death of James Byrd Jr. near Jasper, Texas, in 1998. In fact, the nooses hung at Jena High School in Louisiana in 2006 serve as the subject for her own composition, "Three Nooses Hanging." - from NPR review

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  • Brian May Who Wants to Live Forever

    Anne Lofaso says:
    Beautiful. Powerful. Captures the human longing to live fully and forever but the paradox that immortal life brings sadness. The song also evokes the idea that time on many levels. The immortal goes through time and watches his or her love ones die - The immortal suffers that pain over and over again. Time ultimately becomes the immortal's enemy just as it is the enemy of those of us who are merely human. There is an instrumental version of this song that is stunning. The violin gives the music more poignancy and sadness than the Queen version, which features the lyrics rather than the music.

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  • Mediaeval Baebes How the Death Comes

    Mark Podiva says:
    A modern interpretation of a Mediæval poem, the song tells of the inevitibility of death.  “All too late, All too late, When the bearer is at the gate…”

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  • Opeth Blackwater Park

    John Magruder says:
    Opeth’s masterpiece is a true symphony in heavy metal, focused, textured, and evocative. The major third introduced in the concluding track is epiphanic.

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  • Pachelbel's Canon in D

    Anne Lofaso says:
    This is my favorite song to listen - both live and in recording. There is no music that more closely replicates the act of making love than this canon. When listening to it, you first feel as if your soul mate is holding your hand as if you are walking along a riverbank. He or she then leans over to kiss you softly - in a manner that tells you that he/she knows every part of you. Seamlesly your soul mate becomes your lover and there is nothing but you and he/she. You have entered a world where only you two exist - no other thoughts and no other material things. The song climaxes fully and with every satisfaction And then it ends abruptly, and you are back in reality.

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  • Nino Rota La Terra Bruccia

    Anne Lofaso says:
    Evokes the sadness one feels when one has lost his or her true. The pain is palpable.

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  • Dimitri Shostakovich Symphony #5

    Mark Podiva says:
    Published as “A Soviet Artist's Practical Creative Reply to Just Criticism,” the final movement of the work seemed triumphant enough to please Communist authorities.  However it hid the oppression that Russia was experiencing under Stalin’s regime in a slow march that ends in a minor key; as the composer later explained: “The rejoicing is forced, created under threat...”

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  • Paul Simon Graceland

    Jay Cole says:
    This is my “deserted island” musical pick—I could listen to this album every day for years and gain something new from each listening.  Each song tells a great story and the results of Simon’s experimentation with different musical styles is pure joy.

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  • Nina Simone Strange Fruit

    Ryan Claycomb says:
    Nina Simone's version of "Strange Fruit" is maybe the most powerful version of a song that is both political and gorgeous.  Her rendition is heartbreaking.

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  • Sondheim Company

    Blair Leland says:
    The concept musical wasn't new, but Company solidified the form and changed "musical comedy" to the "musical play". Nominated for 14 Tonys in 1970 and winning 7 including best musical, music, lyrics, book, director, producer and scenic design.

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  • Strauss Tales from the Woods

    Anne Lofaso says:
    One of the most beautiful waltzes ever written, this song showcases the sophistocation of this musical genre.

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  • Stravinsky The Rite of Spring

    Mark Podiva says:
    The Rite of Spring caused a riot at its premier, and it remains impressive today  There is something about those 11 beats on the bass drum that announce the choice of the one chosen for sacrifice and her eventual dance to the death.

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  • Vivaldi Concertos for Guitar in D Major

    Anne Lofaso says:
    This song shows off the beauty of the accoustic guitar like few others, except some of spanish songs, which feature the classical guitar. Listening to it a like receiving a Swedish massage, soft, pleasurable, and relaxing.

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  • Respighi Pines of Rome

    Adam Nowak says:

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  • Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 1 in D major

    Amy Keesee says:
    This symphony ranges from peaceful, quiet passages to loud, exciting ones, with some surprising transitions.

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  • Camille Sain-Saens Symphony No. 3 Organ Symphony

    Amy Keesee says:
    This symphony has some great melodies-one that was used in the movie “Babe.” This music has a very triumphant feel-great brass and organ parts.

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  • Gustav Holst The Planets Op. 32

    Amy Keesee says:
    The “Jupiter” movement has lots of excitement. It was fun to hear at the Sydney Harbour Bridge Museum as the soundtrack to the story of the building of the bridge.  The “Mars” movement is the inspiration for the Star Wars Imperial March.

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  • Andy Williams Love Story

    Anne Lofaso says:
    Captures perfectly the security of deep love.

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