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Where Does Tchaikovsky Rank Amongst Composers?

Saturday, December 20th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

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5 Creative Musical Acts You Probably Haven’t Heard of But Should Know

Friday, December 19th, 2014 - by Allston

Australian by birth, Tal Wilkenfeld began playing guitar at age 14. Two years later, feeling “this just isn’t going to work out for me,” she dropped out of high school and emigrated to the United states. A year later, having changed her instrument to bass guitar, she graduated in 2004 from the prestigious Los Angeles Music Academy College of Music.

That same year, she moved to New York City, and began performing with numerous greats – as a guest with the Allman Brothers, then with Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Wayne Krantz, Herbie Hancock, Eric Clapton, and many others. As the lead for her own act, she has earned critical acclaim as one of the most exciting new artists of recent memory.

1. Tal Wilkenfeld – “Serendipity Live”

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Check Out This Clarinet Concerto by Mozart

Thursday, December 18th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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34 Holiday Gifts for the Southern Culture Lover on Your List

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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This holiday season, I know you’ve been wondering: what can I give the Southern culture lover on my gift list? Well, worry no more, because I, your intrepid Southern culture expert, have decided to swoop in like a Christmas miracle and save the day!

Here’s a list of 34 awesome gift choices that cover just about every area of the culture below the Mason-Dixon line. The best part: nearly everything on this list is eligible for Amazon Prime, for all you procrastinators. Enjoy!

5. Explore The Literary South

One of the greatest traditions in the South is storytelling, and a classic Southern story makes a wonderful gift for the bookworm on your list. Here are just a few recommendations.

William Faulkner is one of the best known and most respected authors in the South or anywhere. I’ve always had a difficult time keeping my concentration reading his novels, but I love his short stories. I highly recommend The Collected Stories of William Faulkner (also available for Kindle) as a sort of greatest hits collection and The Uncollected Stories of William Faulkner for deeper cuts (get it here for Kindle).

Georgia’s own Flannery O’Connor also made a name for herself in literary circles, and her short stories are some of the best in American literature as a whole. Check out The Complete Stories (also on Kindle) to experience her true genius in all its glory, but I also recommend the slim volume A Prayer Journal (also on Kindle) for some of the most beautiful, lyrical Christian prayers I’ve ever read.

Of course, there are plenty of great Southern novels to choose from, but here are some of my favorites. Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God delves into the lives of black people in rural Florida with a lyrical flair. In Ellen Foster, by Kaye Gibbons, a precocious orphan tells her own story. James Dickey’s Deliverance is the same harrowing story as the movie, but with greater depth. And Family Linen by Lee Smith is my all-time favorite novel — a twisty, darkly comic family tale.

You can’t go wrong with any of these choices for literature lovers.

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A Flute and Harp Concerto in C by Mozart

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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What Are Your Favorite Mozart Compositions?

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature. Please leave your suggestions in the comments, on twitter to @DaveSwindle, or via email: DaveSwindlePJM AT Gmail.com

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Felix Mendelssohn

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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How’s This Song For An Evening Chill-Out Track?

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by Allston's Afternoon Rockout

From “10 Songs That Remind Me of Summer“:

3. Kool and the Gang – “Summer Madness”

Editor’s Note: Over the spring and summer we launched the PJ Lifestyle Music at Midnight feature, highlighting reader suggestions for great songs worth featuring. One contributor’s infectious enthusiasm and good nature won us over. He’s since expanded his music recommendations to a series of list-article-mix tapes. Now in this daily feature we’re going to start drawing from his lists (and growing an archive of them) to discuss the songs and artists included. Who should be included next? What ideas do you have for music or other culture or lifestyle ideas you’d like to see discussed at PJ Lifestyle? Get in touch DaveSwindlePJM AT gmail.com or @DaveSwindle on Twitter. Here’s Allston’s archive so far, but he’s got more list-mix-tapes in the works:  

The New War Music Series

By Artist and Band

By Decade and Era

By Genre

By Instrument

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Why Politics and Music Are Like Oil and Water

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by David Solway

I’ve been writing on political subjects since 9/11—three polemical books and 400 articles worth. But I’ve done my utmost to keep my poetry free of political themes and pleading, generally the poet’s kiss of death. The classical world made room for politically oriented poetry (cf. the invectives of Archilochus and Alcaeus among the Greeks, Horace and Juvenal among the Romans) but this sprang from a completely different cultural context, and lapsed with time into obscurity. Samuel Butler’s 17th century book-length satiric extravaganza Hudibras dealt with both religious and political subjects—clever and funny, but hardly great poetry. The 18th century loved political/satirical squibs, though with apologies to Dryden, Pope and Swift (and even Peter Pindar), these are scarcely remembered today.

Of course, the political category can be stretched indefinitely—is Yevtushenko’s scathingly tender elegy Babi Yar, for example, “political” or not? I would maintain that it is more a bitter denunciation of human savagery and a memorial to the suffering Jewish people than a political statement. The war poems of Wilfred Owen have an acrid political edge to them, but Owen writes as a humanist under fire, not as a political observer or critic. Admittedly, from time to time some modern poets have managed to align political subjects and poetic excellence (e.g., William Butler Yeats, W.H. Auden); however, a successful conflation of this nature is exceedingly rare and prudently to be avoided.

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This Is An Emotionally Moving Mendelssohn Violin Concerto

Monday, December 15th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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Heavy Metal Christmas Carols With Vocals By… Christopher Lee?

Sunday, December 14th, 2014 - by Stephen Green

That’s right: Christopher Lee.

My holidays are officially happy.

*****

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

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Get Going Today With This Great Haydn Trumpet Concerto Performed by Wynton Marsalis

Sunday, December 14th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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A Mozart Trumpet Concerto For Getting Started Today

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

*****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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10 Songs That Remind Me of Summer

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by Allston

It’s a cold, windy, rainy, crappy weather day outside here. I don’t know about you, but at the moment I could use something to listen to, a reminder of summer. (Stepping into that pothole full of icy water earlier didn’t help matters much.) It’s a long haul until then, but winter makes us appreciate summer, doesn’t it?

If anyone could make you want to give it all up, move to Brazil, and spend your days walking barefoot on the beach, it would be Bebel.

1. Bebel Gilberto – So Nice (Summer Samba)

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A Solo Bach Cello Suite Performed on Viola

Friday, December 12th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

 

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A Beethoven Flute Serenade To Start Your Day

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

****

image illustration via shutterstock / 

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10,000 People Singing ‘Ode to Joy’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Want to see something featured and then added to the collection?

Tweet your selections to @DaveSwindle or email DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.Com or leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

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Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by David Solway

Editor’s Note: see the previous reflection in this series on country music and American values: “3 Reasons Why I Like Country Music

Alan Jackson’s “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” (“on that September day”) is a loving and poignant tribute to the victims of the 9/11 atrocity. Debuting at the CMA Awards festival two months after the terrorist attack, it is country’s version of Billy Collins’s poetic memorial “The Names.” Like Collins (“Yesterday I lay awake in the palm of the night”), Jackson is modest and understated (“I’m just a singer of simple songs/I’m not a real political man”), but the political and communal messages are powerful. Listing the reactions of ordinary Americans, Jackson charts a range of caring responses to the terror attack. These include patriotism, gratitude to heroes, the turn to God for answers, and a reassessment of what matters most in life:

Did you burst out with pride for the red, white and blue
And the heroes who died just doin’ what they do?
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself and what really matters?

“I didn’t want to write a patriotic song,” Jackson told his interviewer Linda Owen at Today’s Christian. “And I didn’t want it to be vengeful, either,” he explained, “but I didn’t want to forget about how I felt and how I knew other people felt that day.”

Whether he intended to or not, Jackson did end up writing a patriotic song filled with solicitude for his country and its people. There is one potentially vengeful, or realistically self-protective, response mentioned (“Did you go out and buy you a gun?”), but most of the emphasis is on holding loved ones close and affirming membership in community: phoning one’s mother with a message of love, standing in line to give blood, speaking to a stranger on the street. Nowhere, of course, does Jackson imagine that ordinary Americans might have felt satisfaction at the thought of America being so wounded, or that their first impulse would have been to blame America and glorify the terrorists.

For many if not most Americans, the assumption of inviolability and non-involvement had crumbled with the Towers. The feeling of immunity or even apathy toward the possible irruption of terror on American soil had been replaced in the minds and hearts of decent people by an unexpected conviction of responsibility, coupled with a deep sense of anger, sorrow and resilience. “No man is an island, entire of itself,” John Donne wrote in the 17th Devotion, “every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Wherever many of us were on that September day, we were also in New York. I was marooned (no boats, no planes) on the tiny Greek island of Tilos, but rapidly understood that Tilos was a part of the North American continent.

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Ozzy Osbourne and the Conservative Tent: Is He In?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Mark Ellis

Editor’s Note: We’re launching some new discussions and debates this winter in dialogue with the new fiction publishing company Liberty Island. See the previous installments: David S. Bernstein on November 19: “5 Leaders of the New Conservative Counter-Culture,” and Dave Swindle on November 25: “7 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Will Be My Last Day on Facebook,” and December 2: “My Growing List of 65 Read-ALL-Their-Books Authors.” Learn more about Liberty Island contributor Mark Ellis in an interview with him and read an excerpt from his short story “Temblor” here

If there is an inherent bipolarity between hard rock and heavy metal and the dissemination of the conservative message, social issues–in particular substance abuse–are at the bottom of that dissonance.

It’s a question about how art and politics intersect, and it becomes a question about how readily conservatives will embrace transgressive and even regressive artists in their quest to more integrally impact popular culture.

Whatever our politics, it is human nature to make special exceptions in the name of art. If conservatives want to impact the entire culture, we’re going to need some bad boys, antiheros, lost souls, dark heralds, and musical provocateurs.

I nominate Ozzy Osbourne for inclusion in the conservative counterculture– although I would never want to do anything to hurt his career or jeopardize his sobriety. I contend that if you peel back all the layers of substance abuse, all the layers it takes to survive being a superstar, you’ll find that rock’s Prince of Darkness is essentially a man with core conservative values.

VH-1 recently announced that The Osbournes reality show will be returning in January for a slate of episodes. The scuttlebutt is that unlike last time, Ozzy wants the show and Sharon does not.

Ozzy claims (and who would doubt) that he was both stoned and inebriated throughout the filming of the show’s original iteration. He’s down with the new episodes because he wants to show the world how he functions without the drugs and alcohol.

And I recommend that conservatives watch the show, which premieres in January, with an eye to claiming rock’s Prince of Darkness for the center-right.

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We Need Much More Beethoven

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Here’s the 9th symphony:

Want to see something featured and then added to the collection?

Tweet your selections to @DaveSwindle or email DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.Com or leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

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10 Songs That Embody the Wars of the 1980s

Monday, December 8th, 2014 - by Allston

Editor’s Note: See the first three installments in Allston’s wonderful new series: “10 Classic Songs from the World War II Era,” “10 More World War II-Era Classic Songs,” and “10 Songs That Embody the Vietnam War Era.” And please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Grenada – Operation “Urgent Fury”

Grenada, beginning on October 25, 1983, just two days following the bombing of our Marine barracks in Lebanon, was a test-case – it signified America’s return to major military Operations, and the end of our post-Vietnam doldrums. More important, it sent a direct message to the Soviets – when they pushed, Reagan pushed back.

Ostensibly conducted to rescue American Medical School students held hostage by an unfriendly Marxist government, there was also the small matter of a certain airstrip under construction by Cuban Combat Engineers (reported by our press as “50 of them,” ultimately turning out to be over 500), and soon capable of handling Soviet bombers that could easily reach the Continental US. No, sorry, this will just not work for us.

The very next year, “Weird” Al Yankovic released a parody of the song, titled “I Love Rocky Road.” The band was also parodied in a Bloom County segment, as “Tess Turbo and the Blackheads.”  One rockin’ mama is Joan Jett.

1. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – “I Love Rock and Roll” (1982)

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Get In the Seasonal Spirit With Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Monday, December 8th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Want to see something featured and then added to the collection?

Tweet your selections to @DaveSwindle or email DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.Com or leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

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‘Nobody’s Right if Everybody’s Wrong’

Friday, December 5th, 2014 - by Allston's Afternoon Rockout

Buffalo Springfield never intended this song to be about Viet Nam, but it very soon became another standard on the airwaves.

3. Buffalo Springfield – “For What it’s Worth” (1967)

Editor’s Note: Over the spring and summer we launched the PJ Lifestyle Music at Midnight feature, highlighting reader suggestions for great songs worth featuring. One contributor’s infectious enthusiasm and good nature won us over. He’s since expanded his music recommendations to a series of list-article-mix tapes. Now in this daily feature we’re going to start drawing from his lists (and growing an archive of them) to discuss the songs and artists included. Who should be included next? What ideas do you have for music or other culture or lifestyle ideas you’d like to see discussed at PJ Lifestyle? Get in touch DaveSwindlePJM AT gmail.com or @DaveSwindle on Twitter. Here’s Allston’s archive so far, but he’s got more list-mix-tapes in the works:  

The New War Music Series

By Artist and Band

By Decade and Era

By Genre

By Instrument

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Pavane for a Dead Princess

Friday, December 5th, 2014 - by PJ Lifestyle Classical Music In the Morning

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 8.06.08 AM

Want to see something featured and then added to the collection?

Tweet your selections to @DaveSwindle or email DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.Com or leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here are the previous recordings included so far in this new feature:

Johann Sebastian Bach

Ludwig van Beethoven

Hector Berlioz

John Dowland

George Frideric Handel

Joseph Haydn

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Maurice Ravel

Richard Strauss

Franz Schubert

Antonio Vivaldi

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3 Reasons Why I Like Country Music

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 - by David Solway

When I was younger, I thought country music was beneath me: I didn’t listen to it much and felt contempt for the idea of it.

One day, I was in a convenience store buying some smokes for the road, and I happened to pick up a Brooks & Dunn CD, having no idea how famous they were or, indeed, who they were at all. For some mysterious reason — or was it just serendipity at work — I figured the CD might give me a few ideas for my own songs.

I was immediately hooked. What I came to like in Brooks & Dunn, and in other country singers I have learned to admire — George Jones, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Jimmy Buffett, Tim McGraw, and many more — are the following:

1. Country music is not obsessed with the new, continually declaring a previous generation “dead.” Instead, it honors its ancestors and traditions.

There has developed, to be sure, some conflict between “Traditional” and “Bro,” the latter preoccupied with girls, trucks, high fives and six packs, but the root note of the country chord, so to speak, remains inheritance and customary usage. Songs like Brooks and Dunn’s “Johnny Cash Junkie (Buck Owens Freak)” comprise a joyful pastiche of country songs and motifs, affirming pride in roots (appropriately rhyming with “boots”) that go back at least fifty years.

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