This Week In Music

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Few composers have had a musical impact as deep Frédéric Chopin. His over 230 compositions notwithstanding, Chopin's innovations surrounding the music forms of the instrument ballade, piano sonata, mazurka, nocturne and polonaise remain a testimony to his enormous impact to classical music and more specifically to the piano. Known for a style that was both technically challenging yet with great depth and expression Chopin grew up in Warsaw Poland, later relocating to Paris where he lived until his death in 1849. Both into a family of musicians, the young Chopin was performing publicly on piano by the age of 7. The comparisons at that age to both Beethoven and Mozart were appropriate considering his G-minor and B-flat major polonaise compositions rivaled many Polish composers at the time. An 18-year old Chopin set out to see more of Europe following additional training was the start of a career as a performer and composer that would ultimately see him leave his homeland for good following the 1830 uprising in Warsaw. This tumultuous time in Polish history would be the inspiration for many compositions showcasing the emotional depth and subtle nuance that made Chopin unique. While in Paris Chopin gave few public performance, and make a handsome living as a teacher to the Parisian elite as well as other affluent students from around Europe. In the late 1840's as Chopin's popularity was fading, his health was also on the decline. The last public performance for this virtuoso and composer would be in late 1848, dying a year later in late 1849 from a long illness. The influence of Frédéric Chopin has lasted well into the 20th century and beyond. His compositions endured the test of time in part due to the unique connection with the audience while at the same time remaining accessible by all.


Columbia Miles Davis Kind of Blue When the words quadruple platinum, number 12 of the 500 greatest recordings, and the greatest jazz album of all-time are mentioned – there can be no mistake which album fits all of those categories, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. Recorded in two unique sessions, the first of which was March 2nd 1959, David would ultimate re-define the direction jazz from a much more harmonically complicated hard-bop style to a sparser cool-jazz style allowing a more free creativity with the compositions. Illustrated perfectly by the title track "So What" consisting of a simple melody, the soloist would be free to explore the modal nature of the key center and beyond without the traditional constraints of a more complex harmonization. Saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley fulfilled this vision effortlessly with solos that to this day stand as unique and innovative compositions in their own right. It wasn't uncommon for Miles to record with little or no rehearsal, giving the musicians merely sketches of the melody and chord changes. And the Kind of Blue sessions were no different. For the decades following this 1959 recording, musicians have lined up in their praises for the defining nature of "Kind of Blue." With comments ranging from "It created a new language of music," to being "universally recognized," this classic recording will remain at the top of the list in the collection of any serious musician.