by Jim Lange
In these long and seemingly endless gloomy days of winter, your mood cannot help but be affected. Your musical choices are affected as well and so, in response to my colleague’s post, I have decided to pass on some thoughts and suggestions for your playlist.
Embrace the gloom. Yes, enjoy it. Own it. Become the gloom. I highly recommend some Sibelius tone poems, as hardly anyone could match the Scandinavians for their existential angst. This Naxos release has the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. If they don’t know cold, who does? Sibelius: Tone Poems
Drink plenty of tea or coffee. Hanging out in coffee shops is the best way to keep in touch with other people (so you don’t weird out from being indoors too much) and to put your existential dilemma on display. I highly recommend Estonian composer (Estonia - another freezing place!) Arvo Pärt for your tea/coffee imbibing. This record will send shivers, of the good kind, up your spine. Da Pace Domine and Magnificat are exquisite. Arvo Pärt: Da Pacem
Walk about with a serious expression. Come on, man. Own the angst! Only Mozart’s requiem will give you that extra charge of outrage that you need. Confutatis maledictis, flammis acribus addictis! When John Eliot Gardiner gets going, it’s as if the earth will split in two. Mozart: Requiem
Stare at the snow. Seriously. Nothing is more relaxing. You’ll need music that will help get you in the zone, so I suggest Steve Reich’s Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Electric Organ. These hypnotic patterns are a wonderful accompaniment to spacey snow watching. Besides, you’ve got Zen bragging rights when your friends call and ask what you have been doing all day. “I’ve been…watching snow fall. It’s beautiful.” Reich: The Four Sections; Music for Mallet Instruments
Play in the Snow. OK, so you can let your guard down just a little and go out and play. I recommend C.P.E. Bach’s Symphonies for your frosty frolic. Andrew Manze and his rockin’ English Concert play like the house is on fire. You can savor the joyful sounds, but be sure to show little outward sign. You are gloomy after all. CPE Bach: Symphonies
Turn Off Your Mind. Relax. It’s just a season that will pass. I highly recommend Bang On a Can’s Music for Airports; a literal transcription of Brian Eno’s minor ambient masterpiece. You’ll be floating. And thanking me. You’re welcome. Bang on a Can/Brian Eno: Music for Airports