CD Review: Madeleine Peyroux, Careless Love, 2004
Careless Love is an album of jazz songs, mainly ballads. Madeleine has a soft and rather unique sounding voice, and also plays acoustic guitar on this album. There are a lot of different musicians on here, playing piano, organ, guitar, celeste, and trumpet, among others. Even though there is only one song sung in French (“J’ai Deux Amours”, which I believe means “I have two loves”), the album still has a French feel for me, somehow. There is a kind of wistful and sometimes hopeful sound to a lot of the songs that I really like. Some of my favorite songs are “Don’t Cry Baby”, “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”, “No More”, “Lonesome Road”, “J’ai Deux Amours”, “I’ll Look Around”, and “This Is Heaven To Me”. On the inside liner notes it says: “Dedicated to poets, writers of these songs, memorable people of memorable times such as these, wherever you are…”
CD Review: Springtime in Paris
Springtime in Paris is a CD put out by Hallmark and Somerset Entertainment. It is a CD of French songs, but no singing. The sounds of accordion and violin are quite prominent on this CD. The other instruments include guitar, bass, and piano. This collection includes well-known songs like “Moulin Rouge” and “La Vie en Rose”, but also includes lesser known songs such as “Aubade d’oiseaux”( “aubade” has to do with a daybreak song, and “d’oiseaux” means “of the birds”, so taken together it probably means something like “Daybreak Birdsong”), and “Sous le Ciel de Paris”(literally, “Under the Sky of Paris”, or “Under the Paris Sky”). This music is really relaxing, and I wound up liking the accordion more than I thought I would. I studied French for a few years when I was younger, so I was glad I could find this collection. The only thing is, I would like it if there was singing on at least a few of the songs, with lyrics printed in both English and French.
Highlights from the Nutcracker Ballet
This is a CD of highlights from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. For those that are not familiar with the story, it follows the the adventures of young Clara (sometimes called Maria) and her toy nutcracker that has been magically turned into a prince. They travel to the land of sweets and encounter dancing snowflakes, waltzing flowers, dancers from various countries, and the Sugarplum Fairy and her Prince, among other characters. Then at the end Clara is magically returned to her house on Christmas Eve, and the Prince is turned back into the Nutcracker.
This is a nice CD to have if you have ever seen the ballet, because you can use it to remember your favorite parts. Even if you haven’t seen the ballet, you can just enjoy the music, especially since the music closely follows the story of the ballet. For instance, the the Waltz of Flowers sounds like a waltz, and the dances from different countries all sound different. It seems that every Nutcracker highlights CD has slightly different selections. This one is a mix of standard selections (such as the Snowflakes Waltz and Dance of the Flowers), but other things are omitted, like the Spanish Dance. I’m sure there must be a recording of the complete ballet that one can get, but I never see it around. This particular version is imported from Canada, and is performed by the Northstar Orchestra.
The tracks are:
2) Exit of Guests/Night
4) Snowflakes Walse
5) Entrance of Clara and the Nutcracker
6) Arab Dance
7) Chinese Dance
8) Russian Dance
9) Shepherd’s Dance
10) Mama Zhigole and Clowns
11) Dance of the Flowers
12) Pas De Deux: Fairy Drazhe and Prince Orshad
13) Final Walse/ Apotheosis
Reference: Northstar Orchestra, Classical Christmas: Highlights from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker (Westmount, Quebec, Canada: Direct Source Special Products, Inc., 1998).