Sep 18, 2013
Patrick Jordan's 'My Musik'
Inspired by the CBC Radio 2 programme “This is My Music,” we have launched a series in which Tafelmusik musicians offer their reflections on various pieces of music that play a special part in their lives. view full listing
First off, I have to admit that as is the case with some professional musicians, I don’t do a lot of listening to music for recreation! Most of the time when I’m listening, I’m concentrating very hard, which isn’t a break. As a general rule, I’m pretty likely to be listening to CBC 1 or a baseball game.
That said, there is certainly music that is very near and dear to my heart. Between the ages of 14 and 18, I used to go to sleep every night with a few different cassettes playing. Maybe it was the repetition at a particular time of night, or the age that I was hearing that music, but the orchestral works of Ravel and Debussy remain a great comfort to me. Playing primarily in a baroque orchestra, I don’t get to play that music very often, but this summer I had the chance to play Ravel’s orchestration of Le tombeau de Couperin, and I have to say every rehearsal and performance was like sitting down to a meal of favourite treats!
I also used to listen over and over to a recording of the Ravel and Debussy string quartets, which was an ear-opener in another way. When I went to New England Conservatory and finally took the time to study the scores for those pieces, I realized that I didn’t agree with some of the choices the performers had made for those recordings. That was probably the moment that I realized the huge gulf between how music exists — recordings of music, on the one hand and the slightly less tangible notion of the music existing elsewhere (like in my imagination!).
I also have a great love for the music of Morton Feldman. For those who know his music, they’ll also know that depending on what you choose to listen to, it can require a fairly considerable investment of time!! There’s a great piece for chorus, percussion, and viola entitled Rothko Chapel that is quite easy to approach, and what he’s capable of doing to one’s sense of time unfolding is like an incredible drug.
On the more popular front, I have for the last year been listening to a band called Elbow, a British group with a fairly wide range of sounds (it is often compared to Peter Gabriel, which might not be fair to either, but it gives an idea of what it’s like). Their most recent album Build a Rocket Boys has been a lot of fun.
Finally, I would add that I miss long-format classical music programmes on the radio. They still exist to a certain extent, and there are websites that do almost the same thing, but there is an element of that kind of show, usually curated/hosted/produced by someone with a particular taste, from whom one can learn a great deal. I can remember a late night in Boston, c.1989, listening to WBUR and hearing the violin sonata of Albert Huybrechts for the first time. Who knew that I needed that music in my life!?