The Galaxy – I don’t know how you were inverted, but I hadn’t asked in the first place

English: The Beatles wave to fans after arrivi...

The Beatles wave to fans after arriving at Kennedy Airport, 7 Feb 1964. (Image via Wikipedia)

We start the evening with some Beatles – another timely mood piece.  Of course, it is easy to say “let’s play some Beatles!”, and quite a different thing to actually select the choicest cuts from that Beatle-side of beef.  This is how Beatles sets become so lengthy – I simply can’t resist them.  So we started with one of their high-quality album sides from ’63, It Won’t Be Long, which is found on With The Beatles.  We then went with something from Rubber Soul, You Won’t See Me.  Revolver was next with Here, There and Everywhere, and then we followed that with another Rubber Soul song, Girl,  We then heard a set from The White Album – Glass Onion, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness is a Warm Gun, Martha My Dear, and finishing the set with I’m So Tired.

Modest Mussorgsky, 1874

Pictures at an Exhibition was written by Modest Moussorgsky in 1874 as a tribute to his friend Victor Hartmann, an artist and architect who also designed costumes and scenery for ballets, who had died from an aneurysm the year prior.  Moussorgsky and his friends had organized an art exhibit featuring Hartmann’s works, and the exhibit so inspired Moussorgsky that he wrote this piece in response.  The titles of the individual sections (Il vecchil castello, Tuileries, Bydlo, Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks, Limoges Marches, The Hut on Fowl’s Legs, etc.) are all titles of Hartmann’s works that were featured at the exhibit.  Moussorgsky wrote the piece over the course of three weeks.  Eventually, the piece was used as the source of a number of orchestrations, including one by his friend Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and another one by Maurice Ravel.  Both the orchestrations (especially that by Ravel) and the original piano piece are frequently performed, and the piano piece is considered a good showpiece for piano virtuosos.  Tonight’s recording is a 2002 recording by Evgeny Kissin.

It has been a while since I’ve been able to play a good Doors set, and the last few times I’ve done some Doors, it has all been live recordings.  So this time I went with some of their classics.  We started with The Crystal Ship (long a favorite of mine), then we heard Strange Days, Alabama Song (their excellent take on the song from Bertolt Brecht‘s Threepenny Opera), Five To One, and finished with Light My Fire.

English: Led Zeppelin, January 1975, Chicago

Led Zeppelin, January 1975, Chicago (Image via Wikipedia)

We finished tonight’s show with some live Led Zeppelin.  As great as they were in the studio, they were a truly extraordinary band on stage.  The live recordings that they have made available do not come without some controversy, as there are accusations that Jimmy Page stitched together the best parts of multiple performances, sometimes within the same song, in both live releases (The Song Remains The Same, and How The West Was Won).  My philosophy is to take these recordings at face value – whether they are pieced together or not, this is still some great stuff that displays a level of musicianship that was found nowhere else in the hard rock oeuvre.  From The Song Remains the Same (which received an excellent remastering a few years ago), we heard No Quarter (possibly their best live recorded song, in my opinion), The Song Remains The Same and The Rain Song.


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