The Soundtrack of My Life | Classical, Jazz and Showtunes

Oh, it’s been too long since my last Soundtrack of My Life Post.
Let’s see – I’ve posted about the Early Years, The Middle School Years, High School Anthems, Love Songs and a Cappella Songs. It’s time for Jazz, Classical and Show Tunes!

I know it may seem odd to have a selection of Jazz, Classical and Show Tunes, but [one] being a violinist, I played in many orchestras and pit orchestras for musicals, [two] I sang in Jazz Choir and [three] I dated a guy in my high school Jazz Band.

Classical Music – I’ve blogged about some of these selections before, but I have to include them again...

Gustav Holst’s Jupiter from The Planets Suite
It brings back so many memories - in high school, I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the same Eiji Oue in the video. This was the last piece we performed during our finale concert of a tour in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. I vividly recall that emotional last performance - I was a senior and it would be the last time I performed in an orchestra - the music starting at 3:00 still bring chills down my spine. Eiji's love of music hasn't ebbed over the years - he was as animated 25 years ago as he is now [and he hasn't aged, either].

Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man
This piece is written for brass and percussion only - french horns, trumpets, trombones and tympani - so each time it was performed, I could close my eyes and just listen. It was another selection from the orchestral tour in Yugoslavia. For one of our concerts in the coastal resort of Dubrovnik, the brass section performed it a top of a castle in Dubrovnik, way above the orchestra and audience. I still recall watching the trumpets and horns interact with the tympani on the ground. So very powerful.

Tchaikovsky's Symphony #5, Movement 2, Andante Cantabile that features a fabulous French horn solo. It is such a romantic piece.

My Classical list wouldn't be complete without some outright violin solos:

Beethoven's Romance number 2 in F Major - my first "advanced" solo piece. I still enjoy playing it now.

Franck Violin Sonata - I especially like the first movement, which is simply gorgeous.

Next - Show Tunes

Any song from West Side Story, but specifically The Quintet and Something's Coming. Leonard Bernstein is pure genius. Side note - I had the opportunity to play one concert in 1983 under his conductor's baton as we played Copeland's Lincoln Portrait. It was amazing.

I Could Have Danced All Night
and On the Street Where You Live from My Fair Lady. The context of the songs are full of wonder and new found love - Eliza, who just experienced a magical night and Freddy Eynsford-Hill who just met Eliza and pines for her outside her home.

I Get a Kick out of You from Anything Goes. (Sorry, I couldn't find a suitable YouTube Video)

Finally, Jazz Tunes

Four Brothers, a classic jazz standard composed by Jimmy Giuffre and performed by the Woody Herman Orchestra. It's a mainstay of any high school jazz band.

I also like the vocal version, but sometimes old school is the best.

Route 66, another classic jazz piece, rooted in Americana, whose lyrics take you on a tour from Chicago to LA. I particularly like The Manhattan Transfer Version:

Misty, another horn solo piece that my high school jazz band played. Instead of featuring a fugel horn, we had a french horn player on the solo, which is pretty unusual. The fugel horn is in the video.

Any of Linda Ronstadt's versions of torch songs from her What's New / Lush Life albums, performed with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. I remember how different these recordings were from the Top 40 stuff on the radio in the 80's. It was a breath of fresh air for this music geek. The video below is Linda singing Someone to Watch Over Me.

Whew, that's a lot of music for one post. Next time, I'll keep it shorter. I'll be moving into the college years and partying down!

Lisa Gordon  – (March 5, 2013 at 6:37 AM)  

Great post, Shirley.
I love classical jazz, and there is a station on Apple TV that is just fantastic for this.

Happy day to you!

Clueless in Boston  – (March 5, 2013 at 11:12 AM)  

I'm also a big fan of Classical, Jazz, and show tunes. I absolutely loved the Ronstadt album; she was as good, if not better, than any "girl singer" from the Big Band era. Great selection, but no opera??

shirley  – (March 5, 2013 at 12:33 PM)  

@Clueless in Boston - Hmmm... I have never been a fan of opera and I have to believe that is because I never had exposure to it while growing up. I've found most of my music preferences are based on my personal exposure over the years - I guess I never played any operatic pieces, or the ones I did (like Bizet's Carmen) just didn't leave an impression for me.

MaggieGem  – (March 6, 2013 at 9:13 AM)  

Love these posts... Whenever I see one of yours I always want to list my own soundtrack, mostly Pop/Top 40 tunes though. There wasn't really much music going on in my house besides the radio.

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