Thank you, Mr. Parker

In the early 1980’s, I was a budding classical music audiophile who lived on a graduate student income. Winnipeg had a number of good record stores for classical music albums, and I wanted to make sure that I got the best albums for my measly disposable income. I was able to do that with a handy dandy guide courtesy of MPR and Mr. Bill Parker with  Building a Classical Music Library.  It was very helpful identifying good recordings and  performers.

I hadn’t thought about this book for quite a while until Thursday night, when Husband brought it up out of the basement as we were trying to figure out what was so important about our vinyl recording from  1981 of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s piano version of Pictures at an Exhibition.  Paging through the book, I realized how many treasured recordings we have that Mr Parker suggested.

One favorite recording from that period of my life is that of Percy Grainger playing Grieg’s A minor Piano Concerto.  Grainger was long dead by the time of the recording. He made piano rolls of the concerto in the 1920’s, and a piano set up to play the rolls was recorded with the Sydney Symphony. Here is the same set up with Andrew Davis conducting at the London Proms in 1988.

 

What are some of your treasured recordings?

70 thoughts on “Thank you, Mr. Parker”

  1. When I was exploring the world of classical music my two most precious albums were Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s A minor string quartet, opus 132. Then I fell in love with one of Laurie Anderson’s albums, Strange Angels, plus Jane Siberry’s When I Was a Boy.

    That way of accessing music changed totally when I gave up on record albums in any format. I no longer play albums. Now I listen to radio stations with friendly formats. When I want to hear a specific recording, I play it on YouTube.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I also bought Parker’s book and built a modest library around his recommendations. I probably have too many “prized and cherished” recordings to count. A few that stand out are Osmo Vanska’s recordings with the MO of Beethoven’s Fifth. One of the best versions I’ve ever heard of that piece, and I’ve listened to dozens over the years.

    “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis will never leave my collection. Nor will my Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra recordings. And I can’t put a price on my Eva Cassidy collection. Couldn’t part with my Percy Faith Orchestra Christmas album either, for mainly sentimental reasons. It’s the single recording that inspired me to switch from trumpet to French horn for a few years in Jr. High.

    Chicago’s first album (I think) is one I’ll always love. Used to listen to that EVERY DAY after lunch in my English teacher’s classroom one year in HS. That disc got me hooked on “jazz” even though it was a “Jazz-rock” album. Close enough for a 16-yr-old.

    Lots of big band stuff by Ellington, Basie, Ferguson, Kenton, et al that I’d never get rid of either. Keith Jarrett, Dizzy Gillespie, Sinatra, Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald . . .

    Funny, because I also have hundreds of records that I would never know they were gone if someone stole them. 🙂 Go figure.

    Chris in O-town

    Happy Mothers Day to all moms. Get to see mine tomorrow!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Totally agree about the Osmo Vanska and MN Orchestra Beethoven’s 5th – heck, all of that series (they recorded all nine) are fantastic. The last two New Year’s Days I have started with the first symphony and listened through all of them in number order in a single day. It’s fun to hear the progression, where they are the same, and how they evolve to the positively transcendent 9th.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    My musical tastes tend towards country, Roots, and Classical. How is that for a strange combo of interests? I have some old recordings stuck away somewhere, but most of my albums of rock or classical music I gave away years ago.

    In 2004 there was a reunion of my college band program. Our director (Dr. Gerry Olson, now of Madison, WI) gave us a wonderful surprise. He had recorded all of our performances which he kept, then transferred them to CDs. He gave all of us who attended these CDs. At the time I sat first chair, so I played all the clarinet solos as a Sophomore. There I was, years later, listening to these recordings. Gerry was so thoughtful in giving us such a treasure. The pieces we played were classic band numbers, none of which come to mind at this time.

    My phone rings to Beethoven’s Ninth, Second Movement because my phone no longer rings often, and when it does I don’t answer unless i know who it is. Therefore, I want a dramatic moment with my phone action. Nothing is more dramatic than that snippet of Beethoven’s work.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. My mom gets a custom ringtone of Beethoven (daughter gets Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”…husband gets Star Wars). Everyone else gets “Yellow Submarine.” 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Ooh,ooh, ooh, I forgot this one: Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Minor, my Sophomore recital piece. 35 minutes on stage. Love to hear. I used to play the separate movements for various functions which is more manageable than a 35 minute piece.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh, I love that piece, too. I think I mentioned before I was a bass clarinet player. There are no good solo pieces for that instrument, unless you count the Funeral March of the Marionette, or On the Trail from The Grand Canyon Suite. Lucky you!

        Liked by 3 people

  4. OT: Yesterday I had to leave my apartment to pay the rent. A woman apparently visiting someone in this senior living community went to get on the elevator. She said, “Where’s your mask?”

    I should have replied, “Where are your manners?” But did not.

    I’ve been doing a slow burn on this for a day. I live behind the closed door to my apartment, leaving these two rooms for six minutes each month when I pay the rent. The other 99.999 percent of the time I am alone here. I had already made plans to get a mask for those six minutes each month, although Minnesota health guidelines permit people to walk in buildings if they stay six feet away from others.

    What hurts is the readiness of others to make snap judgments about strangers, and then announce those judgments. I think this is a relatively new development in American culture, and it is one I truly regret.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Steve, if you email your address I will deliver some masks to you tomorrow. Give instructions about how to leave them for you since I am sure that I will not be allowed in the building.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Jacque, but a relative of my son-in-law already made some masks for me. My daughter has them and will probably deliver them to me tomorrow. And, no, you would not be allowed in the building. We’re pretty tightly buttoned down here. Thanks again.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. When I got for walks these days, I purposefully go on routes that avoid the popular paths. In part, because I like the solitude and the meditative space I can get into when I am out on my own with my thoughts – and in part because I am loathe to want to deal with the politics of mask etiquette in public. I wear one when going out to the grocery store or other places where it’s hard to avoid proximity. On a walk, i will carry one in my pocket, but mostly keep to areas I won’t need it (because I can cross the street or turn a corner before getting within 10 feet of folks).

      Liked by 5 people

      1. This woman had more right to criticize me, I think, than many people who make snap judgment and then bark at strangers. There are many fools who deny the reality of the virus and who flaunt the rules. Their conduct can result in spreading the virus and maybe even killing people.

        That said, I hate the way so many people feel entitled to criticize the conduct of people they don’t know. This woman, one could argue, “meant well.” But, lordy lordy, people who mean well sure can do a lot of dumb stuff. I’m not generally fond of people who do a lot of judging and commenting on the conduct of strangers.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you’re right in your supposition that the woman was a visitor to the building, perhaps she was concerned that random people without masks are allowed to roam the halls in a building where a loved one of hers resides? You know how little exposure you have, she doesn’t, but if she’s anything like me, she’s keenly aware that you’re only as safe as those around you are careful. I give wide berth to anyone not wearing a mask, especially inside buildings with other people.

          By the way, I think it’s ironic that you, of all people, were called out for not wearing a mask considering your Gravatar on this page. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

        2. I agree, the comment could have been more tactfully delivered. But really, when you think about it, how do you approach a person you don’t know without a mask in place where they should clearly be wearing one? A lot depends on the tone of voice, I think. I know when I see some young whippersnapper (most often male), without a mask, not respecting the appropriate social distance, I want to smack them.

          Husband doesn’t quite seem to get it either. He’s heading to Ely for a couple of weeks tomorrow. He has known this for quite some time. So when does he choose to go shopping for the last few items he needs? Items like fresh ginger, and a couple of cans of coconut milk. Today! If you know anything about shopping at Asian markets, you know weekends are not the time to go. Yet, there he was, with hundreds of other people, many of whom were not wearing masks, and not observing safe distances. Cashiers at the registers were not wearing masks, and no screen to protect them or their customers anywhere. I’m glad he’s leaving tomorrow. I really don’t want to be around him if he doesn’t understand that it’s not just himself he’s putting at risk. I know that sounds harsh, but dammit, he should know better. At this point I’m maintaining social distancing even from him.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. PJ, we have similar husbands. I have nagged and nagged here, with some success. We now have masks and hand sanitizer at the door, in the car, and in our pockets which seems to help. I also got Lou to agree to go to Ace Hardware for small trips and repair materials rather than Menards. Ace has acrylic screens and all employees have masks—you cannot even enter the store without one (which meant in one case, that he had to wear my flowered, pink and blue mask stored in the car, or come home to get his—made me giggle), His awareness is now high enough to understand the risk at least sometimes. It has been frustrating though.

          I know we can’t avoid having this indefinitely and we will get exposed at some point, but I would like to delay this while medical scientists learn more about treatment and prevention. So what I said here is the lecture Lou must listen to over and over and over.

          Liked by 3 people

        4. I don’t make a very good nag, Jacque. I figure he’s an adult, and if we have already had the conversation a couple of times, and he still does stupid stuff like this, I just clam up and keep my distance.

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        1. Another neighbor delivered and additional four masks for husband and me last week. Two very colorful ones, and two white with narrow, dark blue stripes. I assumed husband would choose the latter, but no, he went straight for the more colorful masks. I’m fine with either, so it didn’t matter to me.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Answering the question at hand…oh my. The “Charlie Brown Christmas” album in all its Vince Gauraldi glory. The MN Orchestra recordings of Beethoven’s symphonies noted above. The MN Orchestra recording with Dessa is another, more recent favorite (really really fantastic – I love her poetry and how she can paint pictures with words). Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” A mix CD of 80s dance music I got from a friend. The Beatles “Let it Be”… A recording made my a friend who played a lot of Irish folk – the one I love though is his original music. Lots. Some of it depends on my mood.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Anna, a lot depends on the mood I’m in. Some days I want something soothing and gentle, some days I want more oomph. When I want to dance, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” is sure to get me going, and if I want to sing along, Don McLean’s “American Pie” is good. Sometimes I just want to revel in the beauty of a voice or a certain song. Sandy Denny’s is among my favorite voices, but sometimes I listen more to the lyrics than the voice. Who can resist Bill Morrisey’s “Birches”? Or Ella Fitzgerald singing pretty much anything?

      J.S.Bach’s Goldman Variations performed by Glenn Gould go straight to the heart. So does Dvořák’s Symphony No 9, ‘From the New World’. I own several recordings of it on CD, but I think my favorite is by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Rafael Kubelik. Magnificent! Once, when I was working in Greenland, a flight from LA to Copenhagen with a refueling stop in Søndre Strømfjord, was reportedly kept aloft an additional couple of minutes to allow passengers to hear the conclusion of “From the New World” which was being broadcast from the base radio station at the time of the scheduled landing. Don’t know if that’s true, it was the dj who played it that told me the story, but I like the idea of it.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Today I would wear a mask for warmth! It snowed/rained today.

    I have a set of vinyl of the Tokyo String Quartet playing all of Bartok string quartets. Those are so good.

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  7. My taste in music is pretty eclectic but it tends toward individual artists and small groups. The music and the recordings I treasure evoke people, places, times and experiences in my life. Classical music just doesn’t do that for me. It feels impersonal—I don’t have any associations with it. Years ago, we had tickets to Orchestra Hall for a season. For me, it was an expensive nap.

    I still have some records- a core group going back, some of them, to college. I was persuaded to cull a bunch of them a few years ago and I sometimes regret that, even though I haven’t had a turntable set up for a decade. I kept the ones I really didn’t think I would ever be able to replace and ones that had particular meaning. I still have a lot of CDs, but these days my usual soundtrack is a playlist of about 900 songs on my phone that automatically start up and shuffle whenever I’m in the car. I also have a couple of ’40s era tube radios that have had bluetooth added so I can play whatever I want through them.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. i have pandora these days but there really is something to picking an album out of the stack and putting it on the turntable and listening to the crackle of the first auditory blip before
    kind of blue. another side of bob dylan yo-yo’s bach cello concertos
    sweet baby james , joni’s blue, classical stuff i don’t play one next to another and in rock stuff eva cassidy singing other people’s sons is great but in so much it’s the guy and the path
    paul simon can go 5 different albums
    john prine Leonard cohen jimi hendrix robert johnson west side story rhapsody in blue applaichisn spring, debussy water music
    mid you could list the good ones i’ll jot it down
    i’m physically touching my record collection this weekend going to grab a beer if sampling
    i miss my vinyl.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I got to get rid of spellchecking even with my knowing that I need to check it I forget and it takes off on its own…Who would ever believe that I edit this stuff but I must because it doesn’t all come out garbage… Well maybe that’s open for discussion

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You could have fooled me, tim. The amount of capital letters in the above comment is almost alarming. What happened to your vinyl collection that you miss it?

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        1. i keep dylan the beatles and a couple hundred others i’m my music room but when i want to hear a particular album
          i can’t walk out and touch it
          my 1st thursday card group formed around everyone getting a turn at next selection
          in the turntable
          i took that down 5 years ago and really like pandora but get a little more randy newman and a few others than i require but love the mix that’s set up

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        2. I know you moved to another house in Eden Prairie a couple of years ago. Did you move again recently?

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        3. i moved once to a house with no storage and put lots of stuff in my warehouse now i’m in a house that’s ok for what you need to take with you but not much storage and i’m leaving my warehouse so i’m packing up my stuff to go to mini storage

          Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s late so I’ll add more tomorrow, but a few that I really treasure are:
    – the early 70s group Joy of Cooking, first two albums.
    – a CD that was a gift from Bill and Robin – John Renbourn’s So Clear (dang, I can’t find the first disc, it’s got to be here somewhere).
    – a cd I keep in the car is from when we helped move Steve… Ali Farka Toure with Ry Cooder – Talking Timbuktu

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks everyone!
          I did start the day with a sleeveless T-shirt. But I didn’t have socks either and my feet got cold and then the rest of me and I’ve been wearing a hoodie all day. It’s a really nice hoodie that usually it’s not cold enough for me to wear. It was freebie swag from a lighting convention from ‘Doug Fleenor Design’ and on the back says “Got DMX?” It’s a lighting joke.
          But it’s a nice warm fleece hoodie.

          There was a lot of random thoughts!

          We had a good day. Gifts for Kelly and gifts for
          Me and then we binge watched “Parks and Rec” for a while.
          Pork chops on the grill for supper.

          Liked by 2 people

  10. I wore out many, many albums, especially in the mid 70’s. Cat Stevens’ Tea for the Tillerman, Neil Young’s Harvest, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, and Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark stand out.

    The threat of snow didn’t materialize here, or if it did snow, it had all melted by the time I got up this morning. I have some begonias to plant at my mother’s grave today. This is the first Mother’s Day in I-don’t-know-how-long that I have not been in the flower shop on this day. I had wondered if the threatened snow would keep me from planting, but it looks as if it will be okay, if a little damp and chilly.

    Happy birthday Ben!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. OT: YouTube channel tip. YouTube’s computers have apparently concluded that one of my hobbies is painting. I wish. But in this way I have become reacquainted with a strange figure from my past, Bob Ross. Remember Bob? The Afro guy with the gentle voice, the fan of “happy little clouds,” the guy who proved week after week that he could start and finish a cliched paining in just half an hour. Although I don’t paint, I can get sucked into watching these videos.

    There is a modern version of Bob Ross, a channel called Wow Art. The anonymous painter always starts with daubs of paint on a blank canvas, and you have to wonder, “How is THIS going to turn into a painting?”

    I’ve recently discovered a site that presents videos that ran on UK television a year or so ago. This surprised me. I dislike competition. I particularly hate competition between artists. But I loved this show, which threw portrait painters into competition. I can’t say how, but the Brits have a gift for making good TV from stupid competitions (ie the Great British Baking Show).

    Liked by 4 people

    1. So far I’ve only watched the last video, and I found it quite interesting although my choice of final winner would have been different.

      Bob Ross and his happy clouds and trees, is really quite fun to watch. I first encountered his program back when I was living in Cheyenne.

      I’ll give you an update, when and if I watch the middle video. Haven’t yet checked to see how long it is. Thanks, Steve, these are quite fun.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Husband got all the dandelions out of my iris beds for me today, and got a bottle of champagne for me, and now he is looking up recordings of Mozart clarinet quintet and clarinet quartet recordings, which he insists I purchase. I heard from both children. I am very spoiled.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I should also add that I bought 6 shirts from Talbots at 50% off, as well as 14 pairs of cotton socks from Bombas, and a jug of Thuricide for cabbage/kohlrabi worms. It was a good day.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m not sure that I would call you spoiled, Renee. You have obviously chosen a mate wisely, and the two of you have brought up your kids to be appreciate and grateful for what they have. Congratulations. I’m sure you have earned every bit of recognition that you get.

        Liked by 4 people

  13. Some more precious albums:
    – Benjamin Britten – Ceremony of Carols
    – Prokofiev – has Classical Symphony, Lt. Kiji Suite, and Love for Three Oranges
    – Joni Mitchell – Ladies of the Canyon
    – Los Lobos – Kiko (gift from Joel)
    – Eric Clapton – Unplugged
    – Sound Track from “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”
    – Bob Dylan – Nashville Skyline and New Morning
    – Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Dancer with Bruised Knees
    – Paul Simon – self titled album
    – Joan Baez – Noel

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mussorgsky, Pictures At An Exhibition, RCA Victrola, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Eduardo Mata
    Roxy Music, Avalon
    Nat King Cole, The Christmas Song
    Quartet West, Haunted Heart
    Brand X, Unorthodox Behavior
    Fripp & Eno, Evening Star
    Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie, Jazz At Massey Hall
    Joni Mitchell, Hejira
    D’Jango Reinhardt, The Blue Star Session, Disc #2.
    I could live with just those.

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