Robert’s Staff Picks


CD 3538 –  At Folsom Prison – Johnny Cash

In honor of Johnny Cash’s birthday (2/26), I’m picking one a Johnny Cash CD from the Music Library’s collection.  Here’s the transcription of part of Cash’s handwritten notes about “Folsom Prison Blues” that can be found in the liner notes:”The culture of a thousand years is shattered with the clanging of the cell door behind you.  Life outside, behind you immediately becomes unreal.  You begin to not care that it exists.  All you have with you in the cell is your bare animal instincts.”

CD 10051 – True Bluegrass Banjo

Bluegrass music exploded with a bang in the mid 1940s, and the instrument most responsible for the growing popularity of the music was the 5-string banjo as played by the masterful Earl Scruggs.  Scruggs inspired literally thousands of musicians to learn a new way of picking the banjo, and many of these artists went on to inspire countless others with this fascinating new style.  This is a CD that the Music Library recently acquired. I’m obsessed with it.  If you hear banjo music in Katzen–Wednesday mornings from 9:00-11:30–don’t be alarmed…I’m just jamming in the Music Library.

CD 9834 – Harmonium The Klinghoffer Choruses – John Adams

This CD is a great introduction to contemporary opera.  John Adams is also the composer of my favorite contemporary opera–Dr. Atomic.  The Death of Klinghoffer tells the story of the 1984 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro by four Palestinian commandos and the subsequent killing of Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish American passenger, whose body was thrown overboard in the wheelchair to which he had been confined.  Sounds like a pretty interesting opera to me.

CD 6753 – Ruffo

Ruffo Titta, (he reversed his names for the stage) was born in Pisa.  Coming from a large and poor family, Ruffo had an unhappy childhood and received no education.  From an early age he assisted his father as a blacksmith, but because of continued friction between them, Ruffo left home.  By the age of eighteen he had discovered his fine baritone voice and was admitted to the Santa Cecilia in Rome, becoming a pupil of the celebrated teacher, Persichini.  He’s a very interesting musician.

CD 6771 – Legendary Tenors & CD 6772 – Legendary Baritones

These two CDs are fantastic if you want to listen to the progression of styles of singing.  If you’re a baritone looking for new repertoire, I recommend listening to “Legendary Baritones.”  If you’re a tenor looking for new repertoire, I recommend you listen to “Legendary Tenors.”  Both CDs can be very informative. – Virtual Classical Concert Hall

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Medici TV, you should take some time out of your busy schedule and go watch an opera…or a symphonic concert.