New Year, New Explorations

Hello, from your brand new hire at the Music Library! A quick note about me; I am a recent transfer student and a music major here at AU. Music has been a part of my life from the time I was born, and I enjoy listening to most everything. However, lately I have reconnected with classical music, so this is a bit heavier on that genre.


Renée Fleming: “Signatures & Great Opera Scenes”

Call Number: 1942

Recently chosen to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl XLVIII, soprano Renée Fleming has blazed a unique trail of success for vocalists everywhere to be inspired by. A graduate from Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam for undergraduate, and Eastman School of Music for her graduate studies, she has performed for various events such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

A four-time grammy award winner, Ms. Fleming was accompanied by Sir Georg Solti and the London Symphony Orchestra for her “Signatures & Great Opera Scenes” record. It includes excerpts from Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Verdi, Britten, and R. Strauss.


Music from Baz Luhrmann’s film: “The Great Gatsby”

Call Number: 10106

No matter what you may have thought of the movie itself, the music used for the Great Gatsby is astounding in variety. With a stellar line up including Jay-Z, Jack White, Lana Del Ray, and Beyonce singing with Andre 3000, that’s just the beginning of what this record has to offer. The album was produced by Baz Luhrmann and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter.

Fun Fact: Jack White went on to produce a limited vinyl edition of this record through his label “Third Man Records.”

symphonie fantastique

Hector Berlioz: “Symphonie Fantastique”

Call Number: 9272

Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” was inspired by Beethoven’s new unconventional style of composing and it consists of five movements, each one describing a part of an artistic journey of an artist on a drug high. It is said that this piece was an attempt to woo and attract the attention of Irish actress Harriet Smithson. After several premiers, the piece failed to grab her attention, but eventually she understood that the piece was about her. They began courting, and in a desperate attempt, Berlioz took a lethal dose of opiates in front of her to convince her to marry him. Out of desperation she agreed, and he then took an anecdote that he had hidden on himself. His composition had become a reality, and created a new direction for music.


Music from the motion picture: “The Pianist: A Roman Polanski Film”

Call Number: 3045

Inspired by a true story, this soundtrack consists of Chopin piano pieces, which was the repertoire of choice of the main character in the movie and in real life. Inspired by events transpiring during the Holocaust, the movie depicts a story of survival because of music. Although the movie is intense, the piano playing is some of the best example of Chopin’s pieces. It’s perfect background music for a quiet night in.


William Porter: “One of a kind music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)”

Call Number: 4054

As an organist, my picks would not be complete without some Bach. William Porter, a long time organ professor from the Eastman School of Music recorded this on the Gottfried and Mary Fuchs organ (Paul Fritts & Company) at the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. The recording includes the infamous Toccata and Fugue in d minor BWV 565, often recognized as music connected with the “Phantom of the Opera.” In the Passacaglia in c minor BWV 582, J.S. Bach takes one theme and runs with it for close to fifteen minutes. The sheer brilliance and variety makes it an epic piece to listen to.

Come on in to the Music Library, located in Katzen, and check us out along with my music picks and the wide variety of music that we have!